NPC, Three Star confident of lifting title

Pokhara, February 2

Coaches of Nepal Police Club and Ruslan Three Star Club were confident of winning the 16th Aaha Rara Gold Cup when the two sides meet in the final of the tournament at the Pokhara Stadium on Saturday.

Four-time champions Three Star coach Meghraj KC claimed that his side had the experienced players with good team work that would help them win the title against departmental side. “Our only target in the final would be to beat the opponents and nothing less than victory is acceptable,” said KC at a pre-match conference on Friday.

Similarly, five-time champions NPC coach Ananta Raj Thapa said his side would try to put up a  good game. “We are trying to make a perfect team out of the young footballers and we arrived here with only 15 days of training,” said the former national team midfielder. Thapa rated the final as a 50-50 affair. “Both teams have equal chance of winning the trophy. Our prime target would be to play a good game and earn support from local spectators,” said Thapa.

Three Star are playing their third tournament since returning to action after 14-month boycott protesting All Nepal Football Association’s negligence that robbed them a chance in the second round of APF Cup. And they have already won Madan Bhandari Memorial Itahari Gold Cup in Sunsari last week. Similarly, NPC also won the NSC Men’s National Football Championship held in Dang on January 21.

Three Star advanced to the final thrashing Uttar Barindhara FC of Bangladesh 5-0 on Wednesday, while NPC beat Dharan FC 1-0 to make it to the final on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Three Star skipper Bikram Lala said his side needed to win the title to prove the worth of the team that made

a comeback after long gap. “We will be under pressure to win the title as the tournament means a lot for everyone,” said Lama.

On the other hand, NPC skipper Hem Tamang claimed that his side would win the title. “It is a well known fact that every team will be under pressure during matches. We will follow the instructions from our coach and emerge as the winners,” said Tamang.

The winners of the tournament, organised by Sahara Club Pokhara under the sponsorship of Himshree Foods, will take home Rs 701,000, while the runners-up will get Rs 351,000 respectively.