Sports

Prince replaces Gurung as Koji names final squad

  • Asian Cup Qualifiers against Tajikistan
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Sep 3, 2017-

Nepal coach Gyotoku Koji ringed few changes as 23-year-old striker George Prince Karki made the cut for the first time in the national team for Tuesday’s Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers Group ‘F’ home match against Tajikistan to be played at the APF grounds in Halchowk.

The Tribhuvan Army Club (TAC) forward replaced Anil Gurung in the 23-member team as the veteran striker now have to wait to complete his 50th cap with the senior fold. Already in the twilight of his career, Gurung has been in and out of the national team off late and had played for just two minutes against Yemen in Nepal’s last home match against Yemen. 

Gurung was also out of the national team from the away match of the Qualifiers against the Philippines. Karki, who previously played for Friends Club in the ‘A’ Division League before joining the TAC squad, is considered the new face of Nepali football having impressed Koji in the closed-camp. He has so far been a successful player in his so-far short span of domestic football with the Armymen. 

Nawayug Shrestha, Bharat Khawas and Bimal Gharti Magar complete Koji’s attacking line. The squad also saw the return of midfielders Bikram Lama and Suman Lama. Bikram was serving a red card suspension which he had carried during the first leg match against Philippines on March 28. Rohit Chand -- who is playing for Indonesian club Persija Jakarta --  Heman Gurung, Hemant Thapa Magar, Bishal Rai, Sujal Shrestha and Anjan Bista are the other midfielders. 

Man Bahadur Tamang was the only omission in defense line that saw the return of Aditya Chaudhary who had undergone knee operation soon after the match against Yemen on June 13. Biraj Maharjan, Devendra Tamang, Ananta Tamang, Kamal Shrestha, Dinesh Rajbanshi and Jitendra Karki were retained. Bishal Shrestha was called in place of Alan Neupane among the three goalkeepers. Kiran Chemjong is likely to continue as the regular goalkeeper with Bikesh Kuthu primed as the second choice custodian. 

Koji, who will be assisted by Raju Kaji Shakya, is yet to name the captain of his side. Nepal have so far played two matches of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers losing one against Philippines (4-1) and drawing Yemen 0-0 at home. Only the top two finishers from each six group will make it to the 2019 Asia Cup to be held in the United Arab Emirates.

Published: 03-09-2017 09:23

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