By Pranjal Pokharel

Event Coverage Head of The Zerone 2020

Photos by: LOCUS Photography

83 steps. From one recently welded post to another at the end of the ground. The LOCUS Cup banner behind it flaps in the wind, while the post itself shakes as a ball from long range strikes against it. The play almost comes to a halt as more than half of the players in deep blue call for handball; the referee waives play on. The dust in the air condenses into fog as the clock shows 5:21. A swarm of flies hovers over the goalkeeper in yellow waiting eagerly for the game to end; desperate to hold onto the slim one goal advantage during the final minutes. Scramble, tumble over and then rush back to formation – a moment of indecisiveness, a moment of pure magic, an equalizer in deep injury time, a screamer from nowhere, a last-ditch tackle timed to perfection, penalties missed, penalties scored – everything, and anything, is possible in LOCUS Cup 2020.

The Holy Grail of LOCUS Cup 2020

Whenever LOCUS gets mentioned as an event in a conversation, people assume the main event consists of technology-related programs such as code camps, fellowships, hackathons, and so on. Megh Raj Dangi, the Human Resource Manager of LOCUS 2020, begs to differ. “If you think from a different perspective, LOCUS would be pretty monotonous if all the participants did was work on their projects all the time. LOCUS Cup 2020, organized jointly with the Free Students’ Union, is thus, a breath of fresh air, especially for first-year students who are not acquainted with the culture of LOCUS and would like to know their seniors and peers through a healthy and competitive sports’ event.”

The format of the tournament is simple to understand. Eight players from each side play it out in a reduced team size and field area format. The group stage consists of 4 groups: two containing 4 teams and two containing 3 teams each; the unequal distribution owing to total number of teams/classes being 14 from the entire electrical, computer and electronics department. Each team plays a total of two matches in the group stage. After the table toppers are selected based on goal difference and match points, the tournament proceeds to the semi-finals where the four top teams from each group face-off against each other. Following the semi-finals is, of course, the final – the grandest stage of them all.

Megh Raj Dangi continues, “One of the main inspirations for the LOCUS Cup was the highly successful ‘Electrical Cup 2019’ that we, the students of electrical department, organized with great feedback from everyone involved. If I would have to state the principal motive behind organizing LOCUS Cup, despite the hectic schedule of LOCUS events, it would probably be to establish a common ground for the first-year students and the seniors to interact with each other. In most of the cases, the first-year students don’t even get to build proper rapport with their classmates within two months of the first semester. Through this competition, they get to know their peers better; peers with whom they’ll eventually work on LOCUS projects, this year or in the future.”

LOCUS Cup is not the only football event held in Pulchowk Campus, but, as explained vividly by Sandesh Pokhrel, declared the ‘most valuable player’ of the tournament and a part of the winning team, LOCUS Cup has a certain ‘homely’ feeling attached to it. “Most of my competitors are people I interact with almost every day as I walk down the hallway to my lecture room. Even the event organizers are seniors with whom I share the football pitch during the training sessions and the working space during LOCUS projects. As you can see, they are all close brothers to me.” He continues, “In terms of event management, I have found that the LOCUS Committee is highly concerned with the well-being of the players. We were provided with drinking water and some half-time supplements starting from the semi-finals, such as energy drinks and fruits. The last time a player was injured with a dislocated arm, he was immediately rushed to the hospital. Thanks, in no small part, to the dedicated organizing team.”

Sandesh Pokhrel, the MVP in action!

Asked for the ‘moment of the tournament’, Sandesh Pokhrel replies, “It would be scoring the first, decisive penalty in the shootout of the final. It is always special to know that you’ve done your part for the team. Congratulations to my teammates! The competition will be tough next year, but we are here to stay as the champions.”

“While it is true that the competition was successful beyond initial expectations, there were still some other problems that arose during the event management. Lack of adequate volunteers during the initial group stage matches and scheduling conflicts due to the TU Convocation were some problems the organizing team had to work around. Despite the hurdles, we tried our best to manage the schedule as per the convenience of the participating teams,” Aayam Babu Shrestha, the highest goal scorer of the tournament and one of the coordinators of the program says, “For anyone who is interested in being a part of the organizing team next year, I’d advise them to sort out the volunteer and fund management aspect of the cup well before the tournament. Of course, you can still support the competition in other ways, as players and supporters for example. If you are passionate about football and would like to be a part of LOCUS in one way or another, you’re very much welcome to join us.”

Best Goalkeeper of the Tournament, Biraj Bikram Pathak, confident as ever.

The penalty taker gets ready for his turn. Before him is the goalkeeper awarded the best of the tournament. The crowd bursts into a disjointed harmony of boos and cheers. And silence. If the penalty goes in, this is the end of a long, cumulative effort of the players, managers, supporters and organizers over a period of more than a month. And it does – ricocheting off the top post and into the bottom corner. Jubilant scenes follow – players are lifted into the air, chanting of ‘We Are The Champions’ by Queen is heard out loud and the flashes of the camera are seen lighting up the ground. LOCUS Cup 2020 has officially ended, but not for long. Expect to see a grand spectacle in the years to come; LOCUS Cup, our tribute to the passionate game of football.

Stats for the tournament

Total Matches Played: 17
Winner: BCT CD II Year
Runner-up: BCT AB II Year
Top Scorer: Ayam Babu Shrestha
Best Goalkeeper: Biraj Bikram Pathak
Most Valuable Player of the Tournament: Sandesh Pokhrel

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