Coach rules out Nepal’s chances of qualificationAlmutairi says Nepal do not have a realistic chance of making into the 2023 AFC Asian Cup finals due to huge disparity in level of opponents.
Nepal national men's football team head coach Abdullah Almutairi has given up his side's chance for qualification into the finals of the AFC Asian Cup 2023.
"To be realistic, we don't have a chance to qualify for the finals," said the Kuwaiti coach as his side started training for the third and final round of the Group 'A' Qualifiers on Friday. Nepal are drawn along with hosts Kuwait, Jordan and Indonesia in the four-team group to be played in the single round robin format to take place from June 8 to 14.
The winners of all six groups and the five best runners-up will qualify for the finals set to take place in June and July next year.
"In reality, we cannot qualify for the Asian Cup because the opponents are much stronger than us. When we cannot even win the SAFF Cup, we cannot dream of Asian Cup and the World Cup. My target is four points," said the controversial coach who has threatened to quit the job thrice since his appointment as the national team coach in April last year but instead inked contract extension.
"A lot of work is needed to qualify. But we will fight," said the Kuwaiti national, adding that having high expectations would not be good. "If you want to dream, you can dream but keep in mind that it is very hard to achieve everything. You must calm down and accept reality."
Almutairi has announced a 25-member squad for the closed camp training and all except captain Kiran Chemjong and defender Devendra Tamang have joined the training. Chemjong is playing professional football in Maldives and will join the team after a few weeks. Tamang will join the camp after a few days owing to personal reasons.
After a four-week training in Nepal, the team will travel to Qatar, where they are likely to play two friendly matches with local teams before their departure to Kuwait, where they are also scheduled to play a friendly against a local side.
"We have 46 days of camp in total before the Qualifier. It will be decided by the next 10 days if we will play friendly games in the Gulf countries or not," he said.
Almutairi also stressed on the need to build up from the grassroot level to set big goals.
"You need to build step by step from the grassroot level to achieve big ambitions and there must be a big pool of players at the senior level," he said.
Nepal will open their Qualifiers campaign taking on Jordan on June 8, Kuwait on June 11 and Indonesia on June 14.