Nepal eye victory over Bhutan

Lalitpur, August 19

Nepal will be looking for a positive start when they take on Bhutan in the first match of the SAFF U-19 Championship here at the ANFA grounds on Thursday.

Nepal coach Balgopal Maharjan said the team had been training hard to prepare for the tournament for past two months. "The players are physically fit and they want to win the trophy on home soil," Maharjan said. “We summoned the players four months ago but the earthquake ruined our plans," he added. "We regrouped later and are now ready for the championship."

Maharjan said the team prepared itself for the tournament with practice matches with national team, A division clubs and U-16 team. Coach Maharjan said the team's first target was to reach final and win the championship.

Skipper Bimal Gharti Magar said his side wanted to give positive message by winning the championship. “We were defeated by India in the previous edition of the U-16 tournament in Nepal. But this time around, we want to win the title and end title drought for the country,” said Magar.

Bhutan coach Nawang Dhendup said they were ready for the first match against the hosts. “We have been training for three months and players are in perfect shape. The boys are motivated by the inspiring results of the national team," Dhendup said. "I am expecting good results from the team." Bhutan skipper Choki Wangchuk said Nepal were not a new opponent for them. "We had played against Nepal during the U-16 tournament and we know their playing style. We will give our everything to win the match,” he said.

Likewise, Afghanistan coach Logarwal Hayatullah said the team was ready for the tournament and wanted to win the championship. “We have been training for the tournament for the past four months and the players are ready to lift the championship. Our main aim from the tournament is to make the team ready for the AFC U-19 qualifiers,” said Hayatullah.

Bangladesh coach Saifal Bare Titu said they could not prepare well for the championship as they had some problems. “Our players were busy with local leagues and the monsoon was another problem for us,” he said. “We have included fresh players for the championship." Titu said their target was to reach semi-finals. “We want to go match by match and fix the strategy after watching opponents' game.”

India coach Mohammad Yousuf said they wanted to lift the championship. "We prepared two U-19 squads and the next team is in Malaysia. This tournament is a perfect platform to prepare for AFC U-19 qualifiers,” he added. “Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal are strong contenders for the title.”

Maldives coach Athif Mohamed said they had been training since March for the championship. “Our target is to reach final. We have included U-19 players from schools and junior club players in the squad,” he said. He added they were in group of death. “All the teams are equal and they all have chance to win the title.”