Lalitpur, August 26
Nepal coach Bal Gopal Maharjan was optimistic of a win when his team will face Afghanistan in the semi-final of the first SAFF U-19 Championship at the ANFA Complex on Thursday.
Maharjan said Afghan players were physically strong. “We have watched their game and we are confident of putting up a good fight as our boys are fit and ready for the match,” said Maharjan. “We made mistakes in the previous two matches and we need to correct them in the semi-final.” Maharjan said boys were not able to hold the game.
“We worked on this in training and I expect the boys to deliver in the match,” added the former national team skipper. Maharjan said boys will have advantage as regular goalkeeper of Afghanistan will not be in the match. “The boys need to put their shots on target and I believe it would be hard for the new custodian to save all,” he said.
Skipper Bimal Gharti Magar said the team needed to improve in the midfield section. “Afghanistan are physically strong team and the boys have to give everything to win the match,” he said.
Afghanistan assistant coach Sayed Rajab Shah Masomi said his team need to improve in attacking. “Nepal will have advantage as they are playing at home but my boys are ready for the challenge. I am expecting for a good match,” he said. Sayed said their second choice keeper was equally good and he was ready for the match.
Bangladesh will take on India in the second semi-final match. Bangladesh coach Saiful Bari Titu said India were the best team of the tournament. “They are balanced and they play compact game. Their midfielders and defenders are strong and all players have quality to score goals. We need to take care of everything while we play against them,” said Titu.
He added his team had problem in defense line. “We did not deserve to lose the match against Nepal. But as we are up against India, we are committed to give a tough fight,” he added.
India coach Syed Sabir Pasha said Bangladesh were good side and they had good football culture. “I have been competing against them. Previously as a player and now as a coach. They showed their strength against Nepal,” he added. “Bangladesh had good ball possession than Nepal. They are organised and it
will be a very tough match. Our strength is our unity,” added Pasha.
A version of this article appears in print on August 27, 2015 of The Himalayan Times.