Himalayan News Service
Biratnagar, January 1
Mahendra Gold Cup, the oldest football tournament is to start from Friday in Biratnagar, with Dharan Football Club taking on ANFA Academy.
Eleven Nepali clubs including Mahendra Police Club, Sahara Club, Tribhuvan Club, Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT), Dharan Football Club, ANFA Academy, district-level clubs from Sunsari, Jhapa and Morang are taking part in the tournament. Five Indian clubs DSP Durgapur, George Telegraph and Taltala Dipti are other participants.
The clubs are divided into two groups. Mahendra Police Club, Sahara Club and George Telegraph drawn in Group A and RCT, Tribhuvan Club and Taltala of Group B are favourites to win the title.
The winner of the month-long tournament will be richer by Rs 51,000 along with the cup while the runner-up will get Rs 25,000.
Talking about strategy for the opening game, Dhurba KC of ANFA Academy said the team would take the field with the 4-4-2 format adding the team was weakened by the absence of striker Santosh Sahukala, Suraj Kharbuja and mid-fielder Ramesh Sinkeman.
On the other hand, rumours were rife that DFC was trying to rope in national players. Suraj Khaling is leading the team while Dilli Ram Shrestha and Deepak Limbu are expected to join the team soon. The DFC officials said they would opt for a power game to counter ANFA Academy.
Meanwhile, the organisers blamed Manang Marsyangdi Club for bypassing the Biratnagar tournament despite earlier promise. Two years ago, the team had left the city without informing the organisers abstaining from a semi-final match of Nirajan Cup.