Midfielder Khadka gets national team recall

  • Saff football
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Aug 28, 2018-

Midfielder Nirajan Khadka on Monday marked his comeback to the national fold after six years as interim head coach Bal Gopal Maharjan finalised a 23-member Nepali squad for the Saff Championships slated for 4-15 in Dhaka.

Defender Suman Aryal also broke into the national fold for the first time. Tribhuvan Army Club forward George Prince Karki and defender Kamal Shrestha are among the notable absentees. Central midfielder Khadka, who last featured for the national team during 2012 AFC Challenge Cup, impressed coach Maharjan with his club performance as well during the training camp. “He is a talented player and has the ability to hold the ball and play possessive football. He is equally good in penetration and scoring. He was very effective for Three Star the last season,” said Maharjan of Khadka’s call-up. Maharjan had also led Nepal to the Bangabandu Gold Cup title in Dhaka in 2016.

Maharjan praised left-back Aryal as a quality player. “I hope he will fill the void left by Rabin Shrestha. He is technically sound player,” added the coach, who was appointed interim head coach on Wednesday replacing Japanese Gyotoku Koji.  Reliable left-back Shrestha has been out of action since March last year with ligament injury.

Khadka said he was confident of earning his way back to the national team. “I took it positively after being left of the 2013 Saff Championship squad,” he said. “I have really worked hard all these years,” said Khadka who won seven titles with Three Star last season and leading the team on five of those occasion.

Khadka even didn’t hesitated blaming personal egos of some the top Anfa officials for his exclusion this long. He was left out from Nepal’s squad of 2013 Saff Championship under Polish coach Jack Stefanowski but was in the team’s pre tournament (Saff Championship) friendly matches for Bahrain and Kuwait.

The final squad was picked up from the 30 players who are under closed camp training. Nepal will take on Pakistan on September 4, Bhutan two days later and Bangladesh on Sept 8 in Group ‘A’ matches.

Nepal squad

Goalkeeper: Kiran Kumar Limbu, Bikesh Kuthu, Alan Neupane

Defender: Dinesh Rajbansi, Devendra Tamang, Biraj Maharjan (C), Ananta Tamang, Aditya Chaudhary, Rohit Chand, Suman Aryal

Midfielder: Hemant Thapa Magar, Heman Gurung, Bishal Rai, Sunil Bal, Sujal Shrestha, Nirajan Khadka

Forwards: Bharat Khawas, Bimal Gharti Magar, Nawayug Shrestha, Anjan Bista

Published: 28-08-2018 10:20

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