Sports

Rana replaces Adhikari for Nepal

  • Nepal-Malaysia friendlies
- Post Report, Kathmandu

May 17, 2017-

National women’s football team head coach Kumar Thapa on Tuesday made just one change to the squad that took part in the Saff Championship for the two friendly matches against Malaysia.

Barring midfielder Dipa Adhikari of Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC), Nepal will field the same 20-member team that crashed out in the Saff Women’s Championship semi-finals in December-January in Silliguri, India. Adhikari has been replaced by Sajana Rana of Nepal Armed Police Force (APF) Club for the friendlies against hosts Malaysia at the Stadium Likas in Kota Kinabalu on May 22 and 24.

The Army forward has been excluded from the team due to administrative reasons from Nepal Army (NA). “She was not available despite corresponding with the NA,” said coach Kumar Thapa. “I came to know that she has not turned up for her team after returning from Saff.”  

The inclusion of Rana meant Nepali will have six options upfront including Sabitra Bhandari—the highest goal scorer with 12 in the Saff Championship—Nirmala BK, Krishna Khatri and Sharmila Thapa. Namita Kumari Dali, Anjila Tumbapo Subba and Anjana Rana Magar are three goalkeepers in the team.

Gita Rana, Punam Jargha Magar, Hira Kumari Bhujel, Anchali Waiwa, Manmaya Limbu and Kabita Dhimal are the defenders. Midfielders Sapana Lama, Anita Basnet, Renuka Nagarkote, Dipa Rai and Manjali Kumari Yonjan complete the Nepali lineup.

Thapa said the tournament will be crucial to keep his team in shape. “Besides, playing abroad and particularly outside the South Asian country will motivate the players,” he said.

Thapa, who claimed to have instilled new system since his appointment as coach just before the Saff Championship, said that the tournament was also an opportunity for him to check if the system was well adopted. “The team is playing together after five months (Saff) and the matches will be a reality check,” he said.

Thapa said he had asked All Nepal Football Association to arrange at least a friendly after three months, but Malaysia invited them as part of their preparation for South East Asian Games in August. “We had defeated them 1-0 in a friendly in December last year. So maybe they have invited us considering us a strong opponent.”

Nepal secured second place finish in the first to third editions of biennial Saff Championship going down to India in the finals. But Nepal crashed out from semi-final of the last (2016) event again facing defeat at the hands of India.

Published: 17-05-2017 09:37

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