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The Voice of Magic in Nepali football

24 Feb 2022 (Dhaka)

Mr. Sanjeeb Shilpakar is known all across Nepal for his voice being synonymous with all the major football events. He is mostly known for his dedicated commitment as a commentator and has become popular among Nepali football fans for his great verbal delivery of the game and beyond.

Football runs in his blood, no wonder Sanjeeb felt passionate about football since his childhood. His father was a lifetime member of the Three Star Club in Nepal where he also started playing since he was just 10 years old. By the time he was 20, he started playing in A division football, however, that couldn’t be continued later on with studies and other circumstances. But coming from a player’s background is what has helped him the most to know about the details of the game. So doing the football commentary is the closest he could get to the game which also kept feeding his love for football.

He is serving as the secretary general of Three Star Club for a long time now. Currently he is the Senior Vice president of Nepal Sports Journalists Forum (NSJF) which is an umbrella organization of all the sports journalists in Nepal. Also he has association with AIPS and AIPS Asia.

During his early career he was a journalist and also worked as a TV presenter. With a lot of such exposure, in 2002 he made his television debut at the national TV Channel, NTV.

He is mostly known for being the host of the weekly magazine show at NTV called “Khel Khel”. 20 years ago, there was no dedicated sports channel in Nepal, therefore, that was perhaps the only sports show that was widely on air. At that time, football commentary was also an unconventional career choice to make, as Sanjeeb says, “People might not believe how can someone’s passion be a commentator? Some people want to be doctor, some want to be engineer but I wanted to be with Football. It is all I have known since my childhood,” Sanjeeb continues.

“The job of a commentator is not as easy one. You are put in a position of great trust and responsibility. Lots of dignitaries are watching the game. You have to be really mindful about the choice of words, and without a doubt, you have to understand the game well for making instant reflections. I feel honoured that I got the chance to be the main commentator of the First Edition at AFC President’s Cup 2005 held in Nepal where my club, Three star participated as league champion from Nepal. That was a rewarding moment to cherish for me.”

“Nepali football is growing recent days with a lot of initiatives being taken by ANFA. With each new milestone, Nepali football is reaching to a greater height which brings a lot of hope. South Asian football is also expanding and a significant amount of development work has been happening”. As Sanjeeb hopes, the fan engagement will take Nepali football to greater reach. In the coming days there will be more meaningful fan engagement and football enthusiasts will also take interest choosing commentary as a career choice. Building the football culture is important. South Asian football is going to develop when the culture will develop all across and none connects the game better with fans than those who describe the matches i.e. the commentators. International Mother Language day therefore is our opportunity to celebrate and engage local languages with local fans and promote multilingualism in South Asian football.