DHANGADHI, Jan 8: Far-western’s biggest football tournament, third International Invitational Khaptad Gold Cup is set to commence on Tuesday as organizers completed all the preparations for the tournament on Monday. Sudur Paschim XI will face Mechi Netralaya Kakarvitta Football Training Center in the opening match of the tournament. The knockout event is scheduled to be held in Dhangadhi from January 8 to 19.
A total of 12 teams are competing in the tournament to be held at the Dhangadi Stadium. Jhapa, Armed Police Force (APF) Club, Chyasal Youth Club, Three Star Club and Delhi Football Club apart from the Sudur Paschim and Mechi are in Group A. Likewise, Group B consists of Manang Marshyangdi Club, Sankata Club, Nepal Police Club, Gorkha Boys Sports, Rupandehi, Morang XI, and Dhaufins Team, a family club of Cameroon.
The winner of the tournament will take home Rs 2.1 million, which is the highest prize amount in Nepali football outside the Kathmandu Valley. The runner-up will win Rs 1 million. The best player will take a two-wheeler home. Similarly, best players in four different positions—goalkeeping, midfield, defense and forward—will get Rs 15,000 each. The man-of-the-match of each game is set to receive Rs 10,000 each. The estimated expense of the event is Rs 14 million.
Sudur Paschim XI had signed a title sponsorship deal with Nepal Ice of Chaudhary Group for the edition. Club President Suresh Hamal and CG Brewery Senior General Manager Pradip Pudasaini signed the deal during a program in Kathmandu. The tournament will be played under the title Nepal Ice Sudur Paschim Khaptad Gold Cup.
However, the tournament will be without defending champion Tribhuvan Army Club as it was handed a ban by the organizers on the grounds of its players manhandling Sudur Paschim players during Sarlahi Gold Cup final last year.