By a Staff Reporter
Kathmandu – In a remarkable feat, the debutant Church Boys United Football Club has been crowned the champions of the Martyr’s Memorial ‘A’ Division League 2023 with a game in hand. The team’s goalless draw against Three Star Club in the 25th-round match on Tuesday proved to be sufficient for the newcomers to clinch their maiden top-tier league title.
Having accumulated 45 points from 25 matches, Church Boys now stands atop the league table. Two-time defending champions Machhindra FC trail behind by a margin of 6 points, having played 24 matches. Even if Machhindra wins both their remaining matches and Church Boys drop points in their final game, the title will still belong to Church Boys due to their superior head-to-head record.
With this victory, Church Boys becomes only the second club to win consecutive division league titles, following in the footsteps of Manang Marshyangdi Club. Church Boys initially qualified for the Martyr’s Memorial C Division in 2019, emerging victorious in the C Division Qualifiers. They went on to win the C Division title in their first season and secured promotion to the B Division in 2021.
Continuing their winning streak, Church Boys triumphed in the B Division in their first attempt in 2022, thus securing a place in Nepal’s top-tier league.
The club sustained their winning momentum and now celebrates their triumph as champions of the Martyr’s Memorial ‘A’ Division League in their inaugural season.
Church Boys’ journey in the top division was filled with ups and downs. The club commenced the ‘A’ Division journey under the guidance of American Citizen Pradip Humagain, experiencing a strong start to the season. However, midway through the campaign, the club bid farewell to Humagain following the meager performance and appointed the highly successful Nepali coach, Bal Gopal Maharjan, to lead the team.
Under Maharjan’s guidance, Church Boys rallied and conquered the top-tier title. This achievement marks Maharjan’s first league championship as a coach, alongside the club’s captain, Ananta Tamang.
In their maiden top-tier campaign, Church Boys recorded 12 wins, 9 draws, and suffered 4 defeats. They still have one match remaining to be played. The club encountered setbacks against Tribhuvan Army Club in both legs, as well as against Jawalakhel Youth Club in the first leg, which interrupted their previously unbroken winning streak. Additionally, they faced defeat against Sankata Club in the second leg.
Church Boys must now patiently wait until Saturday to officially lift their maiden Martyr’s Memorial ‘A’ Division League trophy. In addition to the title, the club will be rewarded with NRs. 7.5 million as a testament to their remarkable achievement.