By a Staff Reporter
Nepal National U20 Team head coach Meghraj KC reiterated that he is optimistic about winning the SAFF U20 Championship. Speaking at the pre-match press conference in Bhubaneswar, India on Monday, KC vocalized that the team’s preparations are complete and they are confident in winning the title.
The youth team has been preparing for the championship for almost two months. The All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) conducted an open trial to form the team as there were no age group players available in the ANFA Academy. As there were no age group tournaments due to Covid-19 pandemic, ANFA hasn’t kept players in its academy.
“Not only in Nepal, but overall in South Asia, the age group competitions are not being held lately. There may be vast changes in every team. Therefore, no one has sufficient information about each other. But we have come here to win.” said Coach KC.
Likewise, skipper Aayush Ghalan said that the team is ready for the championship. Mentioning that the training for the championship went well, he said that the team will try to collect 3 points from the first match. Nepal will start its campaign by playing against Maldives on Monday. The match will begin at 4:15 PM NST in Kalinga Stadium.
On the other hand, Ahmed Shakir, the coach of Maldives, analyzed that the Nepali youth team would be difficult to face as his team is also unaware about Nepal. However, most of the Maldives team’s players play in the top tier league of Maldives, he believes that the result will be in their favor.
The championship, which was previously held under the name of SAFF U19 and SAFF U18, is now being held under the name of SAFF U20 Championship. Nepal had won the first two editions while India had won the latest edition.
The Nepali youth team will kick off the championship by playing against Maldives on July 25. Similarly, Nepal will take on Sri Lanka on July 29 and will face the home side India on July 31. Nepal will play its last match of round robin against Bangladesh on August 2. The top two teams will vie for the title on August 5.
Goalkeeper: Ishwor Gurung, Unesh Chaudhary, Jiyarath Seikh
Defenders: Amar Shrestha, Sonit Dahal, Aayush Shrestha, Ajay Chaudhary, Sumit Shrestha, Srijan Dhani, Roshan Thapa, Abhishek Waiba
Midfielders: Dipesh Gurung, Aashish Rai, Sandeep Karki, Janmajay Dhami, Mohit Gurung, Kritish Ratna Chhunju, Sugam Suwal, Managya Nakarmi, Aayush Ghalan
Forward: Rohit Subba, Niranjan Malla, Rohan Khadgi
Head Coach: Meghraj KC
Assistant Coach: Balgopal Sahukhal
Goalkeeping Coach: Ujwal Manandhar
Team Manager: Diwakar Ghale
Team Physiotherapist: Lokendra Kunwar