Sports

Nepal coach’s future in doubt

- Post Report, Kathmandu

National football team head coach Gyotoku Koji on Friday led a 32-member squad to Thailand to prepare for the 18th Asian Games but his return to Kathmandu was left in limbo owing to visa and work permit issues.

The Department of Immigration (DoI) on Friday deemed Koji ineligible to enter Nepal due to visa status and work permit issues. Koji, who led the team to AFC Solidarity Cup title in November 2016, had been in the country without work permit and even his tourist visa acquired in January had expired about a week earlier. “He visa renewal was possible but which didn’t happen,” said Ishwari Raj Paudel, an official at the DoI, hinting that he took job in Nepal without work permit from the authorised body. “He won’t be able to return Nepal in tourist visa for next one year but can arrive by completing other procedure,” said Paudel without specifying anything.

Koji took over the Nepali team in March 2016 and is to lead Nepal in the Saff Championship to be held in Dhaka on September 4-15. His contract with Anfa is due to expire in November.

Anfa said that it failed to get working permit for Koji due to change in government rules. Anfa General Secretary Indraman Tuladhar said they would still find a way out for Koji to return to Nepal. “We want to see him handle the team for Saff Championship at least,” added Tuladhar hoping to keep the coach until September at the least. “We can extend his contract beyond September depending on the Saff results.”

The Nepali team, meanwhile, will undergo a 10-day special training as part of the preparations for the Asian Games set for August 18-September 2 in Indonesia. The Asiad officially opens on August 18 but football

kicks off on August 14. Nepal are scheduled to play two practice matches in Thailand against Police Tero on August 7 and Thailand U-23 on August 10.

The team will have U-23 players as per the tournament rules but each team is eligible to field three over-aged players. Koji has already declared a 20-member Nepali squad for the Asian Games which has goalie Kiran Chemjong, midfielder Bishal Rai and Rohit Chand as over-aged players. Kiran will also wear the captain’s armband. Nepal are pitted with Japan, Vietnam and Pakistan in Group ‘D’.

Published: 2018-08-04 09:46:18