As The Shots flew home from Nepal, striker Dan Mellors (pictured, posing for a photograph with a local fan) provided the last entry to his Nepal Diary…
We had the pleasure of going to the Gold Cup Final, and I will admit that there was a bit of jealousy on our part. The stadium was absolutely packed – we couldn’t even get a seat ourselves! It was a really good occasion, but it’s rare that Finals actually live up to their expectations. I think Three Star Club were deserving winners, they were the best team even though MMC had also been one of the favourites before the tournament.
Their players were mobbed at the final whistle, and after the game we were all imagining what it would have been like to play in the Final ourselves.
Whilst we played our quarter-final match on the hottest day of the trip, the Final was played in cool, breezy conditions, which was a bit unlucky. But this year was very much about the experience. I feel that if Aldershot Town come to this tournament again they will know what to do now, and know what kind of game to play. There is no reason that the Club can’t do better next time.
Before we flew home, we arranged a friendly against a Nepalese doctors XI, who played in Manchester City shirts, which was quite surreal! I think we won 12-0 in the end, and the game was good for team morale, especially after such a disappointing tournament. We had five or six different goalscorers and I think everybody came out of it with a bit of confidence. It was just nice to go out and play again, and especially at the Sahara Academy – our visits there have been one of the highlights of the week.
Nepal is a difficult country to sum up. It’s welcoming, definitely – the people are so ready to treat you as one of their own – and very happy too. I don’t think I saw any anger or aggression in my time here, and people seem very grateful for what little they have. The hospitality and friendliness has been second-to-none. Our hotel staff were really friendly, and there was one particular character there that we will all miss, because he was so entertaining.
Even though we haven’t treated it like a holiday, the hospitality has made our trip feel like a relaxing holiday. ‘Nepal time’ is something which takes some getting used to, though, as nothing seems to run to schedule. It can be pretty full-on too, especially on the roads where the rules are completely different, but the overall vibe is very relaxed and light-hearted.
It has also been eye-opening, to see how people live here – we are privileged, and should remember how lucky we are to have what we do. We might complain about one or two stupid things but then you look at life in Nepal and realise how ridiculous those complaints are. Hopefully the players will keep that in their heads and be grateful for what we have.