KATHMANDU, MAY 18
The All Nepal Football Association on Tuesday announced the 23-member squad for the upcoming friendly match against Qatar and the remaining qualifying matches of the World Cup and Asian Cup.
Head coach Abdullah Almuitari axed nine players from among the 32 called for preliminary training and finalised the 23-man team. The squad includes 13 players who were not included in the Three Nations Cup, while coach Almuitari has called six new faces in the team.
Strikers Nawayug Shrestha, Ashish Lama and Suman Lama were recalled in the national team along with midfielders Santosh Tamang and Pujan Uperkoti.
Coach Almuitari included midfielders Kamal Thapa, Suraj Jeu Thakuri, Gautam Shrestha and Ayush Ghalan in the national team for the first time along with goalkeeper Bishal Sunar, who joined skipper Kiran Kumar Limbu and Deep Karki.
Defenders Rohit Chand, Ananta Tamang, Dinesh Rajbanshi, Gautam Shrestha, Suman Aryal and Bikash Khawas have been included in the team, while Santosh Tamang, Arik Bista, Sunil Bal, Pujan Uperkoti, Bishal Rai, Kamal Thapa, Suraj Jeu Thakuri, Manish Dangi and Ayush Ghalan are the midfielders.
Likewise, striker Abhishek Rijal and Anjan Bista were joined by recalled trio Nawayug Shrestha, Ashish Lama and Suman Lama.
Four Three Nations Cup winning team members - forwards Bharat Khawas and Darshan Gurung and defenders Ranjit Dhimal and Nishan Khadka - failed to make the cut, while Amit Tamang, Sesehang Angdembe, Ravishankar Paswan, Bibek Basnet and Nitin Thapa faced the axe from the preliminary squad.
Nepal will play a friendly match against Iraq national team on May 29 in Iraq City and head to Kuwait for the second round matches of the World Cup and Asian Cup qualifiers. Nepal will face Chinese Taipei on June 3 before playing against Jordan four days later. Nepal will finish the campaign with a match against Australia on June 11.
Nepal, who lost four matches and won one in the first round matches, are at the fourth position with three points from five matches, while Australia are at the top with 12. Kuwait and Jordan have 10 points each, whereas Chinese Taipei are yet to open their accounts.