Nepal capable of beating Yemen, says coach Koji

Lalitpur, June 12

Nepali national football team head coach Gyotoku Koji said the current national team was capable of producing good result when his men face Yemen in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers’ Group F match on Tuesday.

Nepal are hosting Yemen in their first home match of the Qualifiers at the Nepal APF Club grounds in Halchowk. The Group F also comprises of the Philippines and Tajikistan.

Koji said he did not have options and was forced to rely on the current squad as couple of players, including Rabin Shrestha and Bikram Lama, were not available for the crucial match. “We will try to give our best performance from the current squad because we do not have other options. However, result will depend upon how we play on Tuesday,” said Koji.

Nepal head coach Koji also said Yemen were a strong side. “Yemen are tough opponents and we will play the game that we have learnt over the time period,” he added.

Koji said it would take time to overcome the lapses that were seen during their international friendly match against India in Mumbai last week. “We failed in defense because we were not able to manage risks in the defensive line. But we are analysing the errors and working on that. We cannot make changes within a week,” he added.

Similarly, skipper Biraj Maharjan said the team would try to win the match. “We will go for a win on home soil because it will be difficult  to register a victory in away matches,” he said. “We have set a target of keeping it a clean sheet. We will also improve in defense and coordination among the players,” he added.

Earlier, Nepal had faced a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Philippines in their away match on March 28.

Meanwhile, Yemen head coach Abraham Mebratu said the civil war back home affected team’s preparation and they had to travel to Egypt to prepare for the match. “Since we were not able to have training in Yemen due to civil war, we prepared in Cairo and also played a couple of matches,” said  Mebratu. “And Yemen’s football is in poor condition as no league has been organised since 2014,” said Mebratu, who informed that majority of his team members were playing professional football in neighbouring countries.

Yemen coach Mebratu said he was aware about Nepali football team which had improved a lot and was getting better. “I know Nepali football since 2012 when our youth team played against them. And we also played an international friendly match in 2014. They are stronger side and we have respect for the team,” said Mebratu.

Yemen skipper Ayash Mohammed Ebrahim said his team would try to win Tuesday’s match against Nepal. “We have prepared well and will focus on accumulating all three points against Nepal,” he said.

Earlier Yemen had defeated Tajikistan 2-1 in their first match of the group.

Nepal Squad: Goalkeepers — Kiran Chemjong, Bikesh Kuthu and Alan Neupane; Defenders — Biraj Maharjan (C), Ananta Tamang, Aditya Chaudhary, Kamal Shrestha, Devendra Tamang, Jitendra Karki, Dinesh Rajbanshi and Man Bahadur Tamang; Midfielders — Sujal Shrestha, Bishal Rai, Rohit Chand, Anjan Bista, Hemanta Thapa Magar, Rajendra Rawal, Heman Gurung and Sunil Bal; Forwards — Anil Gurung, Nawayug Shrestha, Bharat Khawas, and Bimal Gharti Magar.