KATHMANDU: Nepal national football team is set to play an international friendly match against Malaysia on April 1. Nepal, who are leaving for Qatar on March 25 to play their last match in AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers against Yemen, will fly directly to Malaysia from the Arabian nation. Although the schedule for the match between two national sides has been confirmed, the venue is yet to be finalised. Meanwhile the national team has completed their preparations for the second leg match against Yemen, according to Coach Raju Kaji Shakya. “We have been training for the last ten days and the preparations are almost complete,” said Shakya who is assisting head coach Gyotoku Koji. Japanese coach Koji has already finalised a 20-member squad and some key players are missing for the match to be held at Qatar Sports Club Stadium. Senior forward Bharat Khawash is unavailable due to suspension whereas midfielder Bikram Lama is ruled out due to knee injury. Likewise, fullback Rabin Shrestha who has been out for seven months due to injury is still unavailable for national team duty. Coach Shakya says that the team is a bit unbalanced due to absence of some senior players but he expects young players to step up. Nepal is already out of the race to qualify for the continental tournament as they are in the bottom of the Group F with just two points gathered from the five matches. In the first leg-match played at Halchowk Stadium, Nepal had managed to hold comparatively strong side Yemen to a goal-less draw. However this time Nepal are eyeing for a win, which will help them to end the campaign on a positive note, says Coach Shakya. “Yes, we have already faced exit from the qualifiers but that doesn’t mean we are going to play for anything lesser than win,” Shakya expressed his optimism. The Philippines lead the points table with seven points accumulated from the five matches whereas Yemen and Tajikistan have equal seven points. In another match of the group, the Philippines will take on Tajikistan.
Nepal to play friendly match against Malaysia
Prabin Bikram Katwal
Published: 05:51 pm Mar 22, 2018