Technically sound Nepal hope high

KATHMANDU: Nepal will depend on the technical superiority when they take on Yemen in the AFC Under-19 Championship Group A qualifiers that begin here from Sunday.

In a pre-tournament conference today, Nepal’s chief coach Raju Kaji Shakya said his side was one of the most technically sound teams in the tournament and will go according to their feature of the game. “After playing together for such a long time it won’t be much difficult for our boys to have a good coordination on the field. I have given them a complete freedom to cash in on the technical abilities,” said the confident coach.

Nepal lost 3-0 when they last played against Yemen in 2007 at the AFC U-19 Championship finals in Tashkent. Despite the loss, Nepal’s game was much appreciated by the then Yemen coach Mohammad Bokshan.

“It’s only about the matter of converting on the opportunities. Having some influential players like Nirajan Malla, Rohit Chand, Ganesh Khadka and Dipak Bhushal in the squad, I am confident of capitalising on them,” added Shakya.

However, the most notable player in the team, Malla, is still uncertain of starting in the first match though he has recovered from the injury he sustained 10 days earlier. Team management will take the decision on Sunday morning whether to play him or not.

“He is one of the chief assets for us and we don’t want to lose him for other four games. We have decided to monitor on his condition on Sunday morning before taking any decision,” Shakya said. The Yemen coach Sami Naash looked confident of playing against the home side with an ease. “The weather here resembles same as our country but we have not found the grounds of high standard. Still we can perform here,” said Naash. The Yemen team, which has been preparing for this tournament since the last four months, played few matches against the United Arab Emirates U-19 team in Dubai before coming to Kathmandu.

Meanwhile, the other participating teams Jordan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Palestine are also confident of to qualifying for the finals. Jordan coach Mohammad Abdil Azim said he was not in mood to take any team lightly though they are the strongest team in the qualifiers. Jordan had played two friendly matches against Syria and one each against the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon before they set for the qualifiers. Likewise, Tazikistan coach Gafurov Salokhddiv said his team would give a good show as the side had been preparing for the tournament for two years.

Today’s matches

• Tajikistan vs Kyrgyzstan

@ 1200hrs,

Dasharath Stadium

• Nepal vs Yemen

@ 1430hrs,

Dasharath Stadium

• Jordan vs Palestine @ 1400hrs, Halchowk