KC announces 25-man squad for 2023 U-20 Asian Cup QualifiersThe team has been training at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato.
Nepal U-20 national team head coach Meghraj KC announced a 25-man preliminary squad for the 2023 AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers on Wednesday.
KC has dropped Sonit Dahal, Ayush Shrestha, Roshan Thapa, Mohit Gurung and Rohit Subba—all of whom were part of a disappointing SAFF U-20 Championship campaign—for the September 10-18 qualifiers set to be held in Bahrain.
The U-20 team had a brilliant start in the SAFF defeating the Maldives 2-0 and Sri Lanka 3-0 before losing to eventual champions and hosts India 8-0, which had proved fatal in their bid to reach their third final.
Following their exit from the group stage despite holding Bangladesh to a 1-1 draw in their final group, Nepal assistant coach Bal Gopal Sahukhala had stressed that his side needed to improve both physically and tactically to put up a strong show in Bahrain.
KC has introduced goalkeeper Top Bahadur Rana, defenders Jaan Tamli, Shekhar Khawas, Shyanshu Bhusal and Raj Thokar, and midfielders Rakesh Bishwokarma and Sanjeev Lama in the squad.
The team has been training at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato.
Nepal are drawn alongside Qatar, Bahrain, Bangladesh and Bhutan in Group B. Nepal open their qualifiers campaign with a match against Bhutan on September 10 before taking on Qatar on September 12, hosts Bahrain on September 14 and Bangladesh on September 18.
The group winners (from Group A to J) and the five best runners-up will secure their berth to the Asian Cup finals to be held from March 1-8 in Uzbekistan, who have already qualified as hosts.
India, whose football federation was recently suspended by FIFA citing “undue influence from third parties”, will not participate in the qualifiers if the suspension is not lifted before the schedule. India are pitted against Asian powerhouses Australia, Group H hosts Iraq and Kuwait in Group H.
Nepal U-20 squad
Goalkeepers: Ishwor Gurung, Unesh Chaudhary, Jiyarat Sheikh, Top Bahadur Rana
Defenders: Amar Shrestha, Ajay Chaudhary, Sumit Shretha, Srijan Dhani, Abhishek Waiba, Jaan Tamli, Shekhar Khawas, Shyanshu Bhusal, Raj Thokar
Midfielders: Dipesh Gurung, Aashish Rai, Sandeep Karki, Janmajay Dhami, Kritish Ratna Chhunju, Sugam Suwal, Managya Nakarmi, Ayush Ghalan, Rakesh Bishwokarma, Sanjeev Lama
Forwards: Niranjan Malla, Rohan Khadgi