| March 21, 2019

Nawayug who clinched SAG gold was team backbone

KATHMANDU/ILAM, Feb 17: Nepal Army player Nawayug Shrestha has been the talk of the town after his magical goal helped Nepal beat India 2-1 in the 12th South Asian Games football final to win gold for Nepal after a gap of 23 years.

Last time Nepal won a gold medal was at the 1993 SAG held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Similarly, Nepal entered the final this time after 17 years. Previously, Nepal had secured the final spot at the Eighth SAG held in Nepal in 1999.
Nawayug, who hails from Deumai Municipality-4 in Ilam district, scored the gold-winning goal in the 70th minute when the two teams were 1-1.

Born on June 8, 1990, Nawayug has not come into the limelight just for the SAG victory. He has been the backbone of his team, with Nepal claiming two titles within a month, and he was also the key player with Tribhuvan Army Club that finished runner-up in the National League held last year.

Before winning the SAG football title, Nawayug had shown his prowess during the Bangabandhu Gold Cup that Nepal claimed on January 22.

Nawayug was at his best in all the matches he played in SAG, scoring two hat-tricks, although these will not be recognized internationally as the teams involved are U-23.

However, his hat-tricks helped Nepal beat Bhutan 5-0 in the group stage and produce a 4-3 win over Maldives in the semifinal, to fix the final match against host India.

Nawayug was the highest scorer in SAG, with seven goals.

Surprisingly, his first international hat-trick for Nepal was also against Maldives. Nawayug had scored the hat-trick during the semifinals of the Bangbandhu Gold Cup where Nepal beat the opponent 4-1.

He was top scorer in Bangabandhu with four goals to his name.

Nawayug was likewise the highest scorer in the national league, with 14 goals. Army Club finished the competition in second position.

Family elated at success

While sports lovers across the country are jubilant at Nepal defeating India in the men's football final in the 12th SAG, the family of Nepal's star striker Nawayug is elated

Nawayug's father, mother and grandmother are all happy after Nepal defeated India to claim the SAG gold medal after 23 years

"I don't have words to describe how happy I am," said Nawayug's father Chandrasekhar, adding that he is happy at the country's achievement.

He, however, expressed his disappointment at not being able to talk to his son soon after the match.

"We couldn't contact him on Monday," he said.

Nawayug's mother Basundhara said she couldn't control her tears after her son scored in the final.

"I had never imagined my son could be so successful. It's the happiest day of my life."

His grandmother said she is glad that her grandson performed so well in the tournament.