The high-octane Tenzing Hillary Football Cup 2020 saw the unbeatable Team Lhotshampa from Christchurch lift the trophy once again by beating Nepal United FC from Christchurch too at the grand finals on Sunday, February 2. 

Hosted by Nepal Association Bay of Plenty (NABOP) at Links Reserve in Mt Maunganui, the two-day annual football championship witnessed over 700 people gathered to watch the closely contested adrenaline rushed matches on the ground and cheered for their favourite teams. 

The semi-finals and the final were three most closely contested match of the tournament. In the first semi-final Team Lhotshampa defeated Khakuri FC with the scores 2-3, and Nepal United FC scored beat Gorkhali FC (Hamilton) by 3-1 to enter the finals. 

In the final Team Lhotshampa and Nepal United FC fought to keep the score tied at zero, that went into extra time which again resulted in nil from each side. To break the tie, penalty shootout was done at the end which saw Lhotshampa score 4 goals against Nepal United FC’s 1, thereby, making Lhotshampa the champion two times in a row.

"THC2020 saw incredible talents, amusing sportsmanship and discipline. We hope year by year all the players, teams grow their potential and raise their bars up high. We appreciate each individual's hard work and team effort. You make us proud," Saurab Gautam from the THC Committee said.

Gorkhali FC from Hamilton and Football Club Khakuri from Auckland took the second and third runner up positions in the tournament.

Several renowned people attended the tournament such as, Consulate of Nepal in New Zealand, Peter Gibbs, former head coach of New Zealand national football team, John Adshead (ONZM), who led All Whites team to their first-ever FIFA World Cup in 1982.

Each team had 11 players a side, and the matches were played as per FIFA and NZ Football guidelines and rules. The referees for all the games came from WaiBOP Football Association. The matches were live-streamed on GoalNepal.com.

As the tournament garnered a huge response from the youth of the Nepalese community across New Zealand, businesses and supporters, the hosting rights for THC 2021 has already been offered by local associations in Palmerston North and Waikato. THC committee will be reviewing the offers and declare the name of the hosts in the next few months.

"THC committee and NABOP were thrilled to host the tournament in Tauranga at the home of Tauranga City AFC this year, where it all began.

"Tenzing Hillary Cup is looking to grow even better next year. THC Committee is working tremendously to register as a charitable trust for next endeavours. We welcome all the kind supporters, intellectuals to be a part of our journey," Saurab added.

The final results, awards and prize money presented to teams and individuals are: 

Winning team - Team Lhotshampa, Christchurch- Running Championship Cup, Gold Medals + $1800

 Runner Up - Nepal United FC Christchurch; Silver Medals + $1200

 2nd Runner Up - Gorkhali FC Hamilton; Bronze Medals + $800

 3rd Runner up - Football Club Khukuri, Auckland; $400

Plate Champions - Himalions FC - Palmerston North & Fielding; Running Shield + $300

 Fair Play Team - NABOP Football Team; Trophy + $500

 Golden Gloves - Anukaran Poudyal of Gorkhali FC (Hamilton); Trophy + $100

 Golden Boot - Ramesh Chettri of Himalions FC; Trophy + $100

 Golden Ball - Aashish Rai of Team Lhotsampa ChCh; Trophy + $100