This article was originally published on Sushil Thapa’s Blog and has been republished here with permission from the author.
Jack Stefanowski
The coaching duo of   Jack Stefanowski and Richard Orlowski   have taken charge of the national football team of Nepal that is going through a barren run  like never seen before.
The football community has greeted   their arrival with a renewed sense of hope and optimism. Football fans had been   clamoring   for foreign coaches, following the departure of Englishman Graham Roberts.
Thirty-seven year old Polish born   American Stefanowski and his deputy Orlowski face daunting challenges, undoubtedly.
Let me make one thing very clear: They do not have   a magic wand to turnaround Nepali football overnight. It is very obvious that they will do their very best to manage the team and deal with and overcome problems.
The twelve month contract   is a short period of time for the duo to make things happen. Even more importantly, the sorry state of Nepali football   presents bigger   challenges for them.
Their performance will be closely watched and monitored during the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers and SAAF Championship taking place in Kathmandu this year.
Coach Stefanowski   candidly admits coaching the national team of Nepal   poses a big   challenge, but, he has set   himself   attainable   and realistic goals.
The New York University   graduate    brings   15 years of   coaching experience at all levels, coupled with poise, self-belief, resolve, professionalism, discipline and a new level of technical acumen to the table.
He was quick to respond to a host of e-mail questions put forward by yours’ truly.

When asked what he hopes   to   accomplish   in   twelve months?
” My ultimate goal is to improve the overall standard of Nepali football at the national team level,” he said.
“We must work   extremely hard towards reaching the global standards set by European football,   as much as possible. By this I mean, our immediate objective is to improve our FIFA rankings and   finish top of our 2014 AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers”, he added.
Holding very high expectations for the team, he is keenly looking forward to   SAFF Championship and hopes to perform well.
The native of Hicksville, New York resume   showcases his   competency, skills and experiences.
He holds   the   UEFA  ( the governing body of Association Football in Europe) A  License,  USSF( United States Soccer Federation) B License, NSCAA ( National Soccer  Coaches Association of America) national diploma in goalkeeping and IBF ( Brazil International Football) B License.

Given his limited knowledge of Nepali football, he is distinctly in a disadvantageous position. Nonetheless, he is using all resources available to acquaint himself with football in Nepal.
He says,” Since my touchdown   in Kathmandu,  we  have  been reviewing tapes of the national team, watching the ongoing Kathmandu League, interacting with coaches, officials, players, local football experts and sports journalists.”
“We have an increased understanding of Nepali football by now. We will, though, continue with the process and use the remainder of the League season to assess and evaluate Nepali football and players.”
In the dual role of assistant coach   and   goalkeeper coach   Stefanowski’s   career took off at St.Peters’s College in 2000 and worked under head coach Cesar Markovic for four seasons.
Then he moved to Stony Brook University in 2004, and after three seasons he was head coach at Briarcliffe College for a year.
In 2008   and 2009 he held the head coach position at Sevilla FC and   Bayamon FC respectively.
In the role of   assistant coach and goalkeeper coach he   was associated with    Puerto Rico Islanders FC as well.
He   was interim head   coach   of   Puerto   Rico men’s and women’s   national teams.
From 1982 to 2006   he   played football at   youth, club and professional level for New York Wolfpacks Weston, Irish Rovers SC, Brooklyn Knights, Istria SC and Long Island Rough Riders.

 If you are wondering   what his immediate challenge might be.
“To see   all selected players available   for the training camp free of serious injuries. That I feel is my biggest concern at the moment,” he said.

On the issue of the composition of the support staff.
”Apart from us, we will have a Nepali coach   in our   team. We will work together and bring   and share our expertise and experiences to help   raise the standard of football in Nepal”, he said.
Speaking of   coach Stefanowski’s achievement, in 2004 with the Seawolves he helped guide the program to America East regular season and tournament titles and 2ndround of the NCAA College Cup.
He had notable   success with Puerto Rico Islanders FC in 2010. The Islanders shocked the   reigning MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy in the CONCACAF Champions League, won the Caribbean Football Union Club Championship twice   and the United Soccer League (USL) championship ring in 2008.
In 2009 he   was   voted   coach of the year in Puerto Rico.

His opinion about the sorry state of Nepali football   in terms   of infrastructure, grass roots level development, coaching   and professionalism   and administrative incompetency.
“I have always believed the people involved in football (fans, players, coaches, officials and sponsors) are the number one priority.  By getting them all together and working towards one goal,   I don’t see why success cannot be achieved,” he opines.
“We can make significant changes in terms of an increased professional infrastructure, a more organized grass roots development system, and an emphasis on digital technology to enhance administrative efficiency.”
I could not agree more with coach Stefanowski’s opinion. That being said, the fact of the matter is there never has been   a systematic and comprehensive   policy and plan for the development of football on part of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA).
Lack of honesty, transparency, effective and efficient management skills   in officials   in   ANFA continues to   be   a very big problem.
The coaching staff   has to be given a fair chance   to succeed, and that will require ANFA   providing them all necessary tools and a free hand to manage the team.
More important, like in the past   there must be   no interference by the football body when it comes to coaching matters and players selection. Otherwise, it would make no sense at all.

Coach Stefanowski’s   initial   impression of Nepali Football.
He says, “My impression was/is a positive one. There is tremendous potential that needs to be developed through the step –by- step process. The ongoing league is a good start and gives the younger players something to aim for”.
He   is full of praise for Rohit Chand, and added, “There is great hope for others to follow his footsteps”.
Over three decades, the national team had very few foreign coaches, which includes high profile Englishman Stephen Constantine.
By far coach Constantine was the longest serving foreign coach (1999 to 2001), and he was also the most successful also. In his first season led Nepal to silver medal in the SAF Games and guided the U-16 team to the final of the Asian Youth championship.
Prior to him, German Rudi Gutendorf (1981), Irish Joe Kinnear (1987) and German Torsten Spitter (1999) took charge of the national team.
Three Asian coaches Yoo Kee Heung (2003), Japanese Toshihiko Shiozawa (2005/2006) and   former Indian international Shyam Thapa (2006/2007) also took over the team.
In 2008 German Thomas Flath was appointed the head coach, followed by Englishman Graham Roberts (2011/2012).
Even though Coach Stefanowski   faces an uphill task, he sounds confident in himself and ready for the challenge. The big question: What can we expect from him in a year?
Let us wait for now. His work will speak for itself.

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