AFC Challenge Cup : Nepal drawn in tough group

Kathmandu, June 9:

Nepal were drawn in Group B for the second edition of the AFC Challenge Cup 2008 along with DPR Korea, Myanmar and Sri Lanka on Monday.

The eight-nation competition will be held in Hyderabad, India from July 30 to August 10.

Nepal, who qualified for the tournament beating Cambodia and Macau in the qualifiers in Cambodia last month, will open their campaign with a match against Myanmar on July 31, before playing DPR Korea on August 2 and Sri Lanka two days later.

Nepal had entered the semi-finals of the first edition of the tournament held in Bangladesh in 2006.

The path for the Nepali team this year too looks difficult after Nepal made an early exit from the fifth SAFF Championship, being held in Maldives, when they lost 4-0 to India and 4-1 to Sri Lanka.

The other opponent for Nepal is DPR Korea, who have put them in a strong position to advance to the fourth and final round of the 2010 FIFA World Cup after beating Turkmenistan 1-0 on Saturday.

The winners of the 2008 and 2010 AFC Challenge Cups will have direct entry to the 2011 AFC Asian Cup to be held in Qatar.

Meanwhile, hosts India were drawn alongside Central Asian powers Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and Afghanistan in Group A.