Gurung faces axe in final squad

Lalitpur, March 17

Skipper and forward Anil Gurung was axed from the national team as All Nepal Football Association announced a 20-member squad for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers match against the Philippines to be held in Manila on March 28.

Gurung, who led the national team to the historic title victory in the AFC Solidarity Cup in Malaysia in November last year, failed to make the cut for the second time since he made the national team debut in 2007. He was entrusted as the skipper from the SAFF Championship held in 2015 in India.

Meanwhile, forward Karna Limbu made a comeback in the team after four years, while midfielder Rohit Chand was named in the final squad after nearly two years. Limbu, who made the national team debut from the friendly against Yemen in 2013, had failed to impress the selectors. Similarly, Chand had not been in the team since the 2015 SAFF Championship.

Goalkeepers Bikesh Kuthu, Kiran Kumar Limbu and Bishal Shrestha along with defenders Rabin Shrestha, Biraj Maharjan, Ananta Tamang, Aditya Chaudhary, Kamal Shrestha, Ranjit Dhimal and Jitendra Karki were named in the squad. Similarly, midfielders Bishal Rai, Heman Gurung, Bikram Lama, Anjan Bista and Sujal Shrestha and forwards Bimal Gharti Magar, Ranjan Bista and Bharat Khawas made the cut. The final squad was announced from the 27

players who were in the closed camp training.

Apart from Gurung, six others — Suman Lama, Devendra Tamang, Alane Neupane, Rajendra Rawal, Man Bahadur Tamang and Bimal Basnet — failed to make it to the final squad.