LALITPUR:Preparation to host two major AFC (Asian Football Confederation) football tournaments is underway, hosts All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) said here today.
Nepal is set to host the Group ‘B’ qualifiers of the AFC U-16 Championship from October 5 to 15 and Group ‘A’ qualifiers of AFC U-19 Championship from October 25 to November 4. Dasharath Stadium in Tripureswor and Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) headquarters ground in Halchowk will host the championships, Nepal’s football governing body, ANFA, said here at a press meet today.
ANFA, who has sought Rs 6 million assistance from the government, said it is under tremendous financial pressure to host the events. The estimated budget of the tournament is Rs18 million, informed the organisers. “We are in a difficult situation. The tournament is going to cost a huge amount and so we asked the government to help us financially” said ANFA president Ganesh Thapa.
“Since the AFC will not be providing any aid, it’s a tough job to host the prestigious event on our own. So, we are expecting support from the government, National Sports Council (NSC) and sponsors,” added Thapa. Work is in progress to maintain a perfect playing grounds, the organisers said here today. ANFA has also formed different committees to ease their preparation work.
Nepal are pitted against Iran, Bahrain, Lebanon, Tajikistan, Maldives in U-16 qualifiers while they are up against Tajikistan, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine and Kyrgyzstan in the U-19 championship. Top two teams from seven of the eight Groups in U-16 event will make it to the finals. Only one team will qualify from the Group H which comprises of only three teams unlike four in the other seven groups.
Likewise, top two teams from each of the seven Groups in the U-19 qualifiers will earn tickets to the finals. A best runner up team in both the age-group will also qualify for the finals.
Currently ANFA has kept 34 players under closed camp for the U-16 event. Dambar Singh Gurung and Sunil Shrestha is looking after the team. Likewise, Raju Kaji Shakya, Kishor KC and Mrigendra Mishra has been entrusted with the responsibility to look after preliminary 50 players selected for the U-19 championship.