President’s Cup begins today

Himlayan News Service

Kathmandu, May 3:

The much awaited Asian Football Confederation (AFC) President’s Cup Football Tournament is all set to begin from May 4 at the Dasharath Stadium. The tournament is a prestigious one as Nepal is hosting such a big event for the first time after conducting the eighth SAF Games back in 1999.

Two matches, drawn from Pool A, will be held at different venues simultaneously. In the inaugural match, Nepal’s national league champions Three Star Club (TSC) will take on Taipei Power Company (TPC), champions for ten consecutive years in Chinese Taipei. The other match, between Regar TadAZg of Tajikistan and Transport United of Bhutan will be played at APF ground in Halchowk.

“It is going to be the first time that our team will play against Chinese Taipei,” said TSC coach Dhurba KC. He added, “We have no idea how good the opponents are. We have to watch the first 15 minutes which will be crucial.”

TPC coach Chen Kuee Jen also had similar feelings to share. “I cannot say anything at the moment. We have to judge the team first in order to say something,” he said. Jen also said that three of their key players are injured.

The injury has also hit TSC hard as its striker Surendra Tamang’s chances to play in the first 11 are dim. Tamang, who was adjudged the best striker in the national league, has been suffering from knee injury for a long time.

“The home crowd and the home ground are advantageous for us but the major drawback is that apart from Surendra, Lok Bandhu Gurung, Pradip Maharjan and Bijay Gurung are also not match fit,” said coach KC.

While skipper-cum-goalkeeper Upendra Man Singh will lead the home team, Wang Jyh-Woei is the TPC captain. The national team skipper hopes to make it to the last four if TSC win or even draw with the Tai Power Company on Day 1.

Headed by Dhurba KC, TSC has formed a four-member technical team to see various aspects of the game. Other members include Jai Krishna Shrestha, Aman Adhikari and Sujan KC.

The preparations are complete and the representatives from the AFC are also satisfied with it. Volunteers and All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) are working day and night to make this event a grand success.

Patron of National Sports Council Crown Prince Paras is scheduled to inaugurate the

11-day event.