The Tenzing Hillary Cup is returning this year with seven football teams from different parts of the country competing for the 2020 championship.

The Tenzing Hillary Cup 2020 is the biggest sporting event within the Nepalese community in New Zealand and this year the tournament hosted by Nepalese Association of Bay of Plenty (NABOP) and THC committee. The matches will be held at Links Avenue Reserve in Mt Maunganui in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty on Saturday and Sunday, February 1 and 2. The hosts are expecting a crowd of over 700 over two days of the tournament.

The seven teams participating in this tournament are Khukuri and Gurkha Football Clubs from Auckland, Gorkhali FC from Waikato, Team NABOP, Himalions FC from Palmerston North, Team Lhotsampa and Nepal United FC from Christchurch.

Tenzing Hillary Cup was first held in 2010 and 2011 as 'NANI' Cup by NABOP, and year 2016 in Auckland saw a better-organised tournament and was named "Inter Nepalese Soccer Tournament".

"In 2017, the tournament was named 'Tenzing Hillary Cup' after discussions within the committee to come up with a better title for the cup.  It was held in Christchurch in 2018 and Auckland in 2019," Saurab Gautam from THC committee told The Indian Weekender.

"The title, "Tenzing Hillary Cup" holds significant meaning and respect for the heroes of both countries, Nepal and New Zealand and are here to stay," he added.

This tournament goes by the name of Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay Sherpa who first conquered the world's highest mountain Mt. Everest. 

"All the teams, players, referees, volunteers, donors, sponsors will have privilege on themselves for being a part of this prestigious tournament," Mr Saurab added.

There have been interests from teams around other parts of the country as well such as Wellington and Hamilton who will be taking part in the tournament in 2020.

Each team will have 11 players a side, and the matches will be played as per FIFA and NZ Football guidelines and rules. The referee for all the games is coming from WaiBOP Football Association. 

The host for this year, Nepalese Association in Bay of Plenty Inc. (NABOP) aims to promote Nepali culture, language, literature, and various social and cultural activities of Nepali diaspora in New Zealand.

NABOP is a non-profitable organisation which was established in 2002 with the sense to form a community to preserve the culture and to help each other to integrate and live harmoniously in their newly chosen home, New Zealand. NABOP is led by Pawan Pandel as its president has a strong relationship with local bodies in the regions and throughout the country.

"Local councils, Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA NZ), and NZ Nepal Chamber of Commerce have always been great supports. As this tournament is not funded by any particular organisation, we are running the tournament on the kindness and generosity of organisations and local businesses in the regions," Mr Saurab said.

Ambassador of Nepal to New Zealand and New Zealand H E Mahesh Raj Dahal, Consulate General of Nepal Peter Gibbs, are expected to grace the tournament as guests along with Tauranga City AFC President, Tauranga City Councilors and local association presidents.