Nepal wary of injury threat

  • Nepal-Bangladesh friendly
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Jul 11, 2017-The U-23 Nepali team will try to avoid injuries when they take on U-23 Bangladeshi team in a friendly clash here a the Anfa Complex in Satdobato on Tuesday.

Both the age-group teams are taking the friendly as the final preparation to their AFC U-23 Championship Qualifiers that kicks off on July 15. Nepal are drawn in Group ‘D’ in the Qualifiers with hosts United Arab Emirates (UAE), Uzbekistan and Lebanon. Bangladesh are placed in Group ‘E’ with hosts Palestine, Jordan and Tajikistan scheduled for July 19-23.

“With just fews days left for the Qualifiers, we are mindful of avoiding any injuires to our players as we are scheduled to leave for the UAE on Thursday,” said Nepal caoch Raju Kaji Shakya. “We have already finalised a 23-member squad for the Qualifiers and we will be in a trouble if anyone gets injured,” added Shakya, who boasts 10 players in his squad from the senior team. “But we still want to win the game,” said Shakya, who led U-23 Nepali team to gold medals in the South Asian Games (SAG) men’s football in February last year. “The friendly will also help us find our level.” Shakya, who has been looing after the team since June 16, said they would have benifittee a lot had they been allowed to play a much stronger opponents, which they will be facing in the Qualifiers.

Bangladesh captain Sohel Rana, also the member of national squad, said that the match was very crucial for team too ahead of their own Qualifiers. “Victory will lift our morale ahead of the Qualifiers,” said the 22-year old midfielder, whose side boasts five players from the senior national team. “Both the teams have changed since our last meeting during the SA Games,” said Rana, whose team beat eventual champions Nepal 2-1 in the group stage in India.

The new Bangladeshi coach Andrew Ord was satisfied with his team’s four-week training. “We had a very good and uninterrupted training in recent times,” said the Australian, who was appointed as Bangladesh head coach five weeks ago. “I have no idea of South Asian football but know a bit of Asian football...But I have watched Nepal play against India and Yemen, they play will high speed,” said Ord.

Nepal skipper Bimal Gharti Magar, who wore the captain’s armband in the U-16 and U-19 age tournaments, previously said that his side will come up with offensive style. “Most of us have long played together which will always help bring better coordination,” said the forward.

Nepal will open their AFC U-23 Qualifiers campaign with a clash against the UAE on July 15 before taking on Uzbekistan two days later. They round up their group fixtures with a game against Lebanon on July 19. The Qualifiers send 10 group winners and five best runners-up to the finals to be held in China next year.

Published: 11-07-2017 09:42

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