Bikesh Kuthu, Tej Tamang left out from preliminary squadKuthu, the second choice goalkeeper of the national team, had captained Kathmandu led by former national coach Bal Gopal Maharjan to title in the Nepal Super League on Saturday.
Nepal Super League winner and Kathmandu Rayzrs captain Bikesh Kuthu and midfielder Tej Tamang were among the notable names left out from the 32-member preliminary national football squad released by the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) on Sunday.
Nepal’s newly appointed coach Abdullah Almutairi announced the preliminary squad for a friendly match against Iraq on May 29 and Nepal’s remaining three fixtures of the FIFA World Cup and AFC Asian Cup joint qualifiers matches set from June 3 to 11 in Kuwait. The closed camp training will begin from Monday.
None of the five members of Kathmandu, who played for the national team in the last international fixture – Three Nations Cup – were included in the squad. Along with goalkeeper Kuthu and Tamang, Sanjok Rai, Chhiring Gurung and Tridev Gurung failed to make it to the preliminary squad. Tridev had picked up injuries during the Nepal Super League.
Kuthu, the second choice goalkeeper of the national team, had captained Kathmandu led by former national coach Bal Gopal Maharjan to title in the Nepal Super League on Saturday.
Midfielder Sujal Shrestha, who is nursing his injury, has also been axed from the squad while Santosh Tamang, Pujan Uparkoti, Nitin Thapa and forward Nawayug Shrestha have made their comebacks to the preliminary squad.
Defender Gautam Shrestha and midfielders Kamal Thapa and Ayush Ghalan, who all played for Pokhara Thunders, Biratnagar City FC midfielders Suraj Jeu Thakuri and Manish Danghi have been called for the national team closed camp for the first time.
After their friendly against Iraq in Basra International Stadium, Nepal will play their Group ‘B’ joint qualifier match against Chinese Taipei on June 3, Jordan on June 7 and Australia on June 11. Nepal is second from the bottom in the five-team group after playing as many matches. They have three points, winning one and losing four games. Australia lead the standings with 12 points and Chinese Taipei are at the bottom without a win.
Nepal lost 7-0 to Kuwait in their away match and 1-0 in a home match played at a neutral venue in Bhutan due to unavailability of a stadium that met the international standard. They defeated Chinese Taipei 2-0, lost 5-0 against Australia and 3-0 against Jordan in away matches.
Nepal were set to host the remaining three matches but they were postponed to centralised venue in Kuwait due to Covid-19 pandemic.
Goalkeepers: Kiran Kumar Limbu, Deep Karki, Bishal Sunar
Defenders: Dinesh Rajbanshi, Gautam Shrestha, Suman Aryal, Ranjit Dhimal, Ananta Tamang, Nishan Khadka, Amit Tamang, Bikash Khawas, Rohit Chand
Midfielders: Bishal Rai, Arik Bista, Manish Dangi, Kamal Thapa, , Nitin Thapa, Santosh Tamang, Sesehang Angdembe, Suman Lama, Sunil Bal, Suraj Jeu Thakuri, , Pujan Uparkoti, Ayush Ghalan, Bibek Basnet, Ravi Paswan
Forwards: Abhishek Rijal, Anjan Bista, Bharat Khawas, Darshan Gurung, Nawayug Shrestha, Aashish Lama