Kicking it with Bharat Khawas, Nepali football player

Bharat Khawas was appointed as captain of Nepal U-22 national team for the AFC U-22 Cup Group D Qualifiers which were held at Dasharath Stadium, Kathmandu from June 16-June 24. In the AFC U-22 Cup Group D Qualifiers, Bharat scored 1 goal and had 3 assists. Due to his growing popularity in football, Bharat Khawas has been nominated for the NSJF Pulsar Popular player of the year award. Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF) is organizing its annual NSJF sports awards on July 4 in Kathmandu.

I recently caught up with Bharat Khawas at Himalayan Java to talk about the beautiful game of football, his passion for the game and other things.

Nirmal: When did you first fell in love with the game of football?
Bharat: I got into the game because of my dad who was a huge football fan. I have been playing football for about 14 years now. I joined the ANFA Academy before I was 10. I have played in three different clubs so far and recently with Nepal U-22 national team.

Nirmal: Who is your favorite player in the world? Which team do you follow?
Bharat: My favorite player is Didier Drogba. My favorite team is Chelsea. Although I do like watching Barcelona games due to the times the games are shown I do not get to see that many matches.

Nirmal: What are your personal and team goals in the national team?
Bharat: My personal goal is to be known as a tough striker in South Asia. I would like to say that would be my motto. My team goal would be to lead Nepal to the Asian Cup and also help the country to be South Asia champions.

Nirmal: What are some of the challenges for Nepal to compete successfully in international matches?
Bharat: I definitely believe that we need more international experience. We need more warm matches as well as friendly matches. I think ANFA and Nepal’s government are doing what they can to get the players more international experience. They were working to get us more international experience before the AFC U-22 Cup Group D Qualifiers also.
Also I do want to say that ANFA is very necessary for the development of football in Nepal. ANFA is like home to me and I’m very thankful to them.

Nirmal: What can fans do to be more supportive of football in Nepal?
Bharat: I think fans can create pages and websites supporting players. I think has been doing a good job profiling the players and giving them a platform. If fans can somehow promote the players in any way they can, I think that would be great.

Nirmal: What do you enjoy doing besides playing football?
Bharat: Usually I’m around people who love to talk about football but in my free time I go swimming or do weight training.

It was good to catch up with Bharat and talk about football in Nepal. I wish him all the best and hopes he gets the Pulsar Player of the year award. But besides the award itself, I think the bigger joy for me comes from the fact that football is definitely getting bigger in Nepal and a humble and talented Bharat Khawas is there to lead our young squad.

By the way, there are eight categories in the sports awards; Pulsar Player of the year, Pulsar Best Player (Male), Pulsar Best Player (Female), Best Coach, Best Young player, Best Para Athlete, Lifetime Achievement Award, Special award and Popular player of the year. The best player of the year male & female will get one Pulsar motorbike each while other winners in each category will receive Rs 30,000.

To vote for Bharat Khawas, type pulsar BK and send it to 3131. You can also dial 1605 and follow instructions to vote Khawas.