Nepal confident facing Kuwait despite conceding seven goals in last fixtureNepal, after axing four main players for disciplinary issues, will be playing Kuwait at a neutral venue on Tuesday.
Nepal's senior men's football team will be playing Kuwait in their FIFA World Cup and Asian Cup joint qualifier's home fixture at the Changlimithang Stadium in Thimpu, Bhutan, a neutral venue, on Tuesday.
"This is an important game for us,” said Nepal head coach Johan Kalin at a pre-match press conference. “We really need to bounce back. We will fight hard."
Nepal will be playing without four main players—forward Bimal Gharti Magar, midfielders Anjan Bista and Santosh Tamang, and defender Dinesh Rajbanshi—as they were cut from the team for visiting night clubs on the eve of their departure to Bhutan.
Despite the suspension of his star players, Kalin said he is confident and is going to focus on the players still on his team.
“My players are in a good mood and are ready to fight hard,” he said. “We will look for a good performance. Kuwait has been doing very well in the qualifiers, but we are confident.”
Nepal are playing their home fixture in Bhutan as the Asian Football Confederation has deemed the Dashrath Stadium unsuitable to host the games.
Nepal had lost the reverse fixture 7-0. Kuwait is second in ‘Group B’ with seven points, ahead of Jordan who also have seven points on goal difference, but behind Australia, who lead the table with 12 points. Nepal are placed fourth with just three points, just ahead of Taiwan. Nepal lost 7-0 against Kuwait before winning 2-0 against Taiwan. Nepal then travelled to Australia where they suffered a 5-0 drubbing before losing 3-0 against Jordan. Nepal have scored only two goals while conceding 15.
“We hope that we will play a good match and take the three points,” said Thamer Enad, head coach of the Kuwait football team. “Nepal is not a weak team. The atmosphere will favour them as they have the same kind of weather in Nepal.”
The game will be played on artificial turf in Changlimithang, something that Enad said his players were not too familiar with. In sharp contrast, Nepal trains on the artificial turf at the All Nepal Football Association facility in Satdobato.
Despite conceding an embarrassing seven goals in the last game, Nepali players were confident.
“Past results do not really have much impact,” Nepal forward Bharat Khawas told the Post. “Wins and losses are part of the game. We are physically and mentally prepared for the match.”
The top team from each of the eight groups and four best second-place finishers will move to the Asian Cup 2023 finals and the third round of the World Cup qualifiers.