Match against India important, says Koji

Kathmandu, June 5

Nepal national football team head coach Gyotoku Koji said Tuesday’s international friendly match against India at the Andheri Sports Complex in Mumbai was an important one.

Speaking at a pre-match conference in Mumbai on Monday, Koji said the match was part of his team’s preparation for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers.

Nepal are set to host Yemen at the Nepal APF Club grounds in Halchowk on June 13.

“The match is important one as we have taken it as a part of preparation for the Qualifiers. Since India have improved a lot in the last couple of years, the match will help us in finding out our weakness,” said Koji, who predicted a tough match. “We will put our best game against the hosts and go for a win,” said Koji.

Nepal skipper Biraj Maharjan said the match would be helpful in forming the best team for the Yemen encounter. “We will get to know our weak points and correct them in forming the best team for the Asian Cup Qualifiers match against Yemen,” said Maharjan.

India are also preparing for the Qualifiers as they are scheduled to play against Kyrgyz Republic on June 13. Indian team head coach Stephen Constantine hoped for a competitive match. “We hope to put in our best in the game and win it as the match equally importance us ahead of the Kyrgyz encounter,” said Constantine, the former Nepal national

team coach.

In their first match of the qualifiers, Nepal lost to Philippines 4-1 in Group F, while India beat Myanmar 1-0 in Group A. Currently, India are at 100th spot in FIFA ranking, while Nepal are well behind their South Asian neighbours at 169th.

“We have reached to this level after a lot of hard works but ranking will not make much difference in friendly match,” added Constantine, who confirmed that skipper Sunil Chhetri would not play against Nepal and will be replaced by Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.