Nepal ready for Malaysia friendly

Lalitpur, December 16

Nepal women’s national team is all set to take on Malaysia in an international friendly match here at the ANFA Complex Grounds on Saturday.

The match is part of preparation for the Nepali team, which is scheduled to participate in the Women’s SAFF Championship slated for December 26 to January 4 in Siliguri, India.

And Nepal coach Kumar Thapa is in mood to test his players from the tie. “At least six players will make their debut against Malaysia and the match will be a testing tool to know how the players cope under pressure situation. The match will also provide them with the much needed exposure,” said Thapa.

“We need to beat Malaysia as that will help us to make the team mentally strong,” added Thapa during the pre-match conference here at the ANFA Complex today.

Thapa also said the SAFF Championship is challenge and opportunity for him. “Nepal have always been the finalists and making it to the final will be a challenge. And winning the championship will be an opportunity for me,” Thapa added. Nepal have been runners-up in previous all three editions.

Similarly, newly appointed Nepali team skipper Renuka Nagarkote said the current squad was stronger than the previous ones and the team had the best of the preparations. “The team is strong in terms of team work despite having new faces,” said Nagarkote.

“And we are blessed with one of the best coaches who has worked very hard in preparing us for the championship,” Nagarkote added. “The friendly match against Malaysia will provide us with an opportunity to know our strength and weak points,” she said.

Malaysian team head coach Mohd Asyraaf Abdullah said he would take the match seriously against three-time SAFF Championship finalists Nepal and also include nine debutant players in the squad. “We have made nine changes in the team as the friendly will be a good experiment for me and with more options of players. At the same time, we will also take the encounter very seriously,” said Abdullah.

He also said they came to Nepal with a preparation on artificial turf after knowing that the match between would be played on the astro-turf.

Abdullah also said the weather condition would not be an issue for his side. “The weather in morning and evening are quite cold. But as we are playing in the afternoon, we will not have any issue with the temperature,” he added.