Friday, April 19

Nepal’s football squad for AFC Asian Cup qualifiers excludes star players

By a Staff Reporter

Kathamndu – The All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) has finalized Nepal’s football team for the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers 2023 to be held in Kuwait.

The final squad of Nepal does not feature 11 senior players including regular captain Kiran Chemjong.  

Chief coach Abdullah Al Mutairi on Friday announced the 23-member final squad for the qualifiers to be held in June.

Ten senior players who were forced to leave the training camp due to an altercation with the chief coach have been excluded from the team. Captain Kiran Chemjong was outside the country when the dispute broke out on April 26 but he had sided with the players by posting a Facebook post in support of the players. Chemjong was in the Maldives playing professional football in the island nation.

Chief coach Al Mutairi had said long before the altercation that Nepal is not capable to qualify for the Asian Cup. During the training for the qualifiers, he had an altercation with stand-in skipper Rohit Chand over the players’ accommodation.

Altogether 10 players undergoing training for the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers were allegedly forced to leave the camp on April 26 due to the ill-treatment by the chief coach.

The dispute erupted after the chief coach ordered stand-in skipper Rohit Chand to leave the training camp after he demanded players to be kept in a hotel instead of ANFA hostel. The other nine players who tried to discuss the issue with the coach were also told to leave the camp. The dispute flared up after the nine senior players left the camp saying that the players were ill-treated for raising genuine concerns.

Chief coach then announced a new team with 17 new players.

A probe committee under the coordination of Nepalese Army’s retired Major Genera Victor Rana on Wednesday handed over a 28-page report in connection to the incident to ANFA General Secretary Indra Man Tuladhar. However, chief coach made the final squad public as the report of the probe committee has not been made public.

Nepal’s Final Squad:

Goalkeeper: Deep Karki, Bishal Sunar and Tikendra Singh Thapa

Defenders: Bikash Khawas, Bikash Tamang, Gautam Shrestha, Rajan Gurung, Shiva Gurung and Suman Aryal

Midfielders: Aakash Budha Magar, Arik Bista, Nir Kumar Rai, Pujan Uparkoti, Roshan Rana Magar, Santosh Tamang, Sesehang Angdembe, Sunil Bal and Suraj Jyu Thakuri

Forwards: Aayush Ghalan, Darshan Gurung, George Prince Karki, Manish Dangi and Navayug Shrestha

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