Nepal announce squad for AFC U-16 QualifierNepal head coach Sunil Shrestha made three changes to the squad that played SAFF U-15 Championship in Kalyani, India.
Nepal on Sunday announced a 23-member squad for AFC U-16 Championship Qualifiers slated to kick off from September 14 in Jordan.
Nepal head coach Sunil Shrestha made three changes to the squad that played SAFF U-15 Championship in Kalyani, India, on August 21-31. Coach Shrestha opted for Patthunghang Nembang instead of goalkeeper Ishwor Gurung while midfielders Crystal Shakya and forward Dipesh Rai were included in place of Pradip Lamsal and Ashim Rai.
Nepal are drawn in Group 'A' of the Qualifiers that also included host Jordan, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka and Kuwait. Winners of all 11 groups and four best runners-up will qualify for the finals to be played next year. Nepal will take on hosts Jordan on September 14, Kuwait on September 16, Tajikistan on September 20 before wrapping up their group campaign with a match against Sri Lanka on September 22.
Nepal succumbed to a 7-0 drubbing at the hands of India in the final of five-team SAFF U-15. Out of five matches played, Nepal had lost two matches against hosts India including a 5-0 loss at the group stage. But Nepal still advanced to the final after finishing runners-up in the round-robin contest which guaranteed top two teams for a summit clash.
"The tournament in India was really helpful to give exposure to our young players and find out the weaknesses. Many of the players were playing in the international tournament for the first time," coach Shrestha said after finalising the squad. "It seemed like the boys forgot to play football while taking on India in the final," he said of the team’s humiliating defeat against India.
"In five matches we played, there were a lot of flaws in defending and goalkeeping departments and we are working to improve on those aspects," said Shrestha anticipating that his side would face a tough challenge in the Qualifiers as well. "The group comprising of Jordan and Kuwait will be really tough. Tajikistan are also a tough team to beat. We had played Sri Lanka and defeated them in India."
Despite the superiority of Kuwait and Jordan at the senior level, Shrestha is hopeful that any outcome would be possible in the age-group tournament. "We are also capable of giving a tough fight at this level. Our ultimate target is to earn qualification to the next round," said Shrestha.
Goalkeeper: Manoj Dahal, Jineyas KC, Patthunghang Nembang
Defender: Ajay Chaudhary, Abishek Waiba, Jan Limbu, Roshan Thapa, Pragyan Maharjan, Pramish Gurung, Aamir Hamid
Midfielder: Nitesh Shrestha, Crystal Shakya, Janme Jay Dhami, Bipin Tumsing Magar, Mohit Gurung, Nirajan Malla, Anil Chaulagain, Nirajan Khatri
Forward: Sashank Bohora, Sugam Jimee, Krishna Adhikari Yadav, Krish Sapkota, Dipesh Rai