National football team off to India for friendly
Lalitpur, June 4
Nepal National football team today left for India to play a friendly match at the Andheri Sports Complex on Tuesday.
Both Nepal and India have taken the match as part of their preparation for the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Nepal, who lost the opening match of the qualifiers against the Philippines, are scheduled to play against Yemen at the Nepal APF Club grounds in Halchowk on June 12.
Head coach Gyotoku Koji named a 20-member squad for the India friendly brining in rookies Bimal Basnet and Hemant Thapa Magar as he made seven changes in the team that played against the Philippines in Manila. Striker Nawayug Shrestha returned to the squad in place of Karna Limbu, while Bikram Lama was omitted from the team as he is suspended for the match against Yemen after he received a red card in the previous match.
Bikesh Kuthu, Kumar Limbu and Bishal Shrestha are the three goalkeepers in the team, while Biraj Maharjan, Ananta Tamang, Aditya Chaudhary, Kamal Shrestha, Devendra Tamang, Jitendra Karki and Bimal Basnet are the defenders. Rohit Chand, Bishal Rai, Heman Gurung, Anjan Bista, Sujal Shrestha, Suman Lama and Hemant Thapa Magar are the midfielders, while Bimal Gharti Magar, Bharat Khawas and Nawayug Shrestha are the forwards.
Koji’s coaching team includes coach Raju Kaji Shakya and goalkeeping coach Ujjwal Manandhar, while ANFA Treasurer Birat Jung Shahi is the team manager and Raju Dahal is the physio for the friendly match against India.
Koji said the friendly match was a chance to know the real shape of the team, especially ahead of the match against Yemen. “We will get to know the condition and shape of the team so that we can improve for the match against Yemen,” said Koji ahead of the team’s departure.
National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista and All Nepal Football Association President Narendra Shrestha among other bade farewell to the team.
NSC Member Secretary Bista said the successes of the national team compelled the government to invest more in football. “The sports sector would reach a new height with the increment in budget this year,” he added.
ANFA President Shrestha said the supporters have a strong belief that our national team is able to compete against any team. “India is a not a new opponent for us as we have played against them several times and produced impressive results. The friendly match will definitely help us to find our weakness and amend them when we take on Yemen at home,” Shrestha added.