Fantastic season for Sahara FC UK. First time Nepalese and Gurkhas history this is a big achievement. 2012-2013 Season comes to an end today results are as follows:
ADSFL Division 3 League Cup- Champions
ADSFL Division 3 League- Runners up( promoted to Division 2)
ERIC Holbrook FA CUP- 2nd Round
Sunday 05th of May 2013 will forever be written in history as Sahara FC UK clinched silverware in its inaugural season in the English League, by beating Hartley Sunday FC in the Division 3 league cup. Just a week later on the 12th of May, the club then went on to secure second place in the year long fight (18league games) within Division 3 and consequently guarantee promotion to Division 2 of the Aldershot and District Sunday Football League. It has simply been one of those amazing season that has culminated with two back to back achievements, a feat that Sahara FC UK is extremely proud to boast.
Sahara UK was initially formed in 2006 under the vision of entrepreneur and keen sports enthusiast Mr Navin Gurung. An adhoc committee was formed and Mr Gurung approached the most talented Nepali footballer at the time, Nawal Gurung (Current Player-Manager) to kick start his vision. A football trial was organised in Farnborough inviting all Nepali players in the area, leading to 25 players being selected. Sahara UK has since then been attending the annually held Aaha Gold Cup in Pokhara, Nepal together with participating in local and regional Nepali football tournaments in the UK.
This year has been much different. Sahara UK has genuinely got a plan, a short-term and a long-term thereof. In order to get the players exposed to the English game, Sahara UK decided to enter into a league officiated by the local County Football Association (Hampshire FA). The Aldershot and District Sunday League is a district Level League covering the South West of England and one of hundreds of regional leagues run throughout England and Wales. The standard of the league is not officially graded but can be classed as equivalent to Level 15 on the English League System (Premiere League being Number 1). Most leagues have at least 10-20 teams competing and most often played on a promotion-relegation basis. Upon application to the Aldershot and District Sunday League, Sahara FC UK got automatic entry into Division 3 out of the 7 possible divisions. Normally, new teams entering a league would need to join from Division 7. Sahara’s short term plan is to continue in the current league and has plans to win Division 1 in the years to come, after which the club is eligible to apply for Inter-District League (Hampshire Premiere League or Aldershot & District Premiere League), a significant jump in the football pyramid (Level 12).
The project is a start of something potentially big and will eventually lead to Sahara UK owning its own ground facilities and paying players to play for its club. It will also be an opportunity to show-case Nepali talent whereby the clubs will inherently provide promising youngsters exposure in the bigger stage. Already this season, in one of its many games up and around Hampshire County, Sahara UK players have attracted interest from various semi-professional managers. Recently, the manager of an established UK club invited each and every player of the Sahara UK Squad for a trial at their club, after witnessing the club play in the final of the Division 3 Cup. It is also worth reminding that Sahara’s opposition on the day Hartley Sunday (albeit only its part-time Sunday squad) was a club formed as far back in 1897. This just goes on to show the magnitude of Sahara UK’s achievement this year. It is a great feeling and something that has done the Nepali Community proud, as felt by a sell out crowd on the finals of the Div 3 League Cup at Krooner Park on the 5th of May. The destination is far, the road ahead has bends, and Sahara is likely to face a lot of difficulties along its away.
In the short term, however, Sahara UK will next year be bigger and better. Division 2 will be a tougher task and an ability to compete with better teams in the region. It also guarantees entry into the Senior Cup where Sahara will take on established clubs in the area. The squad will primarily remain the same apart from a couple of new additions and few players going out on loan to other clubs to provide them with regular football. This is all exciting times for everyone associated with the club. Sahara UK also plans to re-attend the Aaha Gold Cup in the near future. Experience under their belt now from playing regular football through-out the year is likely to benefit the boys going into a prestigious tournament. Sahara UK is also looking to attract more investment from all sectors. Last but not least, the club would like to thank everyone for their continuous support and encouragement and is looking forward to this new challenge. Ultimately, the winner in this football journey is Britain and Nepal.