Nepalese Youth bring football action to Hamilton

Nepalese Warriors and Manawatu United Football club (Photo by Tapan Pradhan)

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, January 26, 2023

Hamilton has been buzzing with excitement this summer with a multitude of sporting events planned for Football and Rugby.

While many International tournaments like the FIFA Women’s World Cup, planned later this year, are keeping the sports calendar of the city busy, few select community sports events are garnering a huge bank of supporters and showcasing young talent emerging in the region.

One such event is the ‘Tenzing Hillary Cup (THC), which is one of the biggest football tournaments among Nepali youth in New Zealand, scheduled to take place on 4 and 5 February 2023 in Hamilton.

Tenzing Hillary Cup holds significant meaning and respect for the heroes of both Nepal and New Zealand. ‘Tenzing Hillary’ refers to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, who were the first people to conquer the World’s highest mountain Mount Everest.

With an emphasis on bringing everyone together through sports, this tournament is proud of uniting both the teams as well as individuals and communities from all around the country together in a spirit of camaraderie.

How it started

Tenzing Hillary Cup initially started with the aim to unite Nepali youth for the love of sports, but it was soon apparent that it had broken the age barriers and helped to bring the larger community of Nepalese ethnicity together and given them a reason to come together and create a strong entity which only grew larger with time.

THC Committee has since been working with the local associations and clubs in whichever city it is held to maintain and improve the standards and maintain the tournament’s consistency.

Dr Chandra Sharma Poudyal, Event Coordinator THC and President of the Gorkhali Football Club Waikato said, “Since we established Gorkhali Football Club in 2014, it was my dream to bring Tenzing Hillary Cup (THC) to Waikato. This was made possible in 2023 with the tireless effort of my team members and the supportive role of THC committee members. THC was, is and will continue to be one of the greatest football events among Nepali youth living in New Zealand.”

This Year’s Event

THC 2023 Waikato is organized in Hamilton by THC Committee in collaboration with the two Nepalese local organisations, Gorkhali Football Club and Nepal New Zealand Waikato Friendship Society during the Waitangi weekend on 4th and 5th of February 2023 at Ashurst Park, Te Rapa, Hamilton.

Dr Achyut Aryal, the CEO, of Auckland College of Tertiary Studies who is a proud supporter of the tournament, said, “We would like to see our community in the sport which will not only support sportsmanship but also helps to establish our community identity. We do have some talent in the community and this game helps to identify that hidden talent pool in the community and give recognition for future growth in the area.”

Teams pose for a picture after a busy day of sports at THC 2021 (Photo by Tapan Pradhan)

Competing Teams

There has been growing interest among Nepalese football teams to participate in THC since it started in the year 2015 in Bay of Plenty by the Nepalese Association of Bay of Plenty.

Nine Nepalese teams from different regions of New Zealand have registered for participation in THC 2023. These teams include:

  1. Gorkhali Football Club, Waikato
  2. Khukuri Football Club, Auckland
  3. Gorkha Football Club, Auckland
  4. Mt 8848 Football Club, Auckland
  5. Nepalese Warriors Football Club, Bay of Plenty
  6. Manawatu Football Club, Manawatu
  7. Nepal United Football Club, Christchurch
  8. Kathmandu Football Club, Christchurch
  9. Team Lhotsampa, Christchurch

 

Growing Interest from organisations, Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Interest coming from related organisations such as New Zealand Football and Soccer United football supplies and funding support from organisations including Wel Energy Trust, Trust Waikato, New Zealand Waikato Friendship Society and many local businesses have boosted the confidence of organisers and brought the event together, stronger than ever before.

Arjun Mahajan, from Lugtons Real Estate, who is one of the sponsors and an avid supporter of the event said, “The Nepalese community comprises of some of the most amicable and positive members in our Waikato community. Seeing them build a platform for the youth to showcase their sporting talents is an absolute pleasure. But the most amazing feat is their ability to invite the larger community and make them feel welcome. It is an absolute pleasure to be a part of this amazing initiative and it is exciting to see all the young talent in action.”

Bal Timilsina, President, of Nepal New Zealand Waikato Friendship Society (NNZWFS) said, “NNZWFS and I believe that the Nepalese community loves football and holding one of the biggest Nepalese football tournaments of New Zealand certainly facilitates community engagement where organisations work together to make it happen. Other significant aspects of this tournament are promoting social connectedness between Nepalese spread out within New Zealand and motivating active living.”

There is a long list of VIPS joining this event ranging from New Zealand Football president, Dr Johanna Wood to local MP, Honorable David Bennett, and different community leaders, media people and sports lovers from across New Zealand.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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