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AFC Futsal Championship Qualifiers: Nepali team hope big in maiden tournament

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 13, 2017-Nepal hope to pull off surprising results to make it to the second round of the AFC Futsal Championship Qualifiers from the South and Central Zone that kicks off in Iran on Sunday. 

Nepal are placed in Group ‘A’ along with Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan. Group ‘B’ consists of hosts Iran, Afghanistan and Tajikistan. The winners and runners-up from all eight groups will earn tickets to the final rounds to be played next year in Chinese Taipei. All Nepal Football Association (Anfa ) bade farewell to the team on Thursday. 

Nepal Coach Rakesh Shrestha, the former national football team captain, said he was hoping for a good showing from the team that is participating in the maiden international futsal tournament. “The players’ performance in the domestic league made me hopeful of the team’s prospect,” said Shrestha who conducted more than a month-long training to prepare the team. The final 14-member squad was trimmed from the initial 27 players picked up from the  National Futsal League on August 31-September 10. Rajesh Khadgi and Bishnu Gurung are the assistant coaches. 

Nepal will take on Uzbekistan on Sunday, Kyrgyzstan the following day before wrapping up their campaign with a Turkmenistan match on Tuesday. Rating the opponents as best teams of Asia Shrestha said: “Our target is to make it to the next rounds. We are sound in terms of skill and technique.” 

Nepal skipper Suraj Raut said that years of hardship as a futsal player had finally paid off. “We may be in a preparation camp for a short while but what makes me confident is that we have been in the game for a long time. We will try to utilize the maiden international tournament as an opportunity,” Raut said. “We have really worked hard over the past months and try to give our best.”

Nepali team include 14 players and nine-member officials. Besides coach Shrestha and assistant coach Rajesh Khadgi Anfa Futsal Committee President Ramesh Rayamajhi will be accompanying team as the head of the delegates. Binod Gurung is team manager and Laxman Adhikari is the physiotherapist. Prasun Shrestha, Moti Lal Shrestha, Raj Maharjan and Hari Shankhar Maharjan are the other officials of the team who do not have any special role in the tournament.

Anfa also signed a three-year kit sponsorship deal with Jersey Pasal Nepal for the futsal team. As per the deal, Jersey Pasal will provide two sets of playing and training kits twice a year to national futsal team worth Rs 1 million. They will provide jersey set to the women and age-group futsal team free of cost but the football governing body needs to buy other materials on 25 percent discount. 

Published: 13-10-2017 10:06

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