Subas Humagain, Kathmandu
Nepali National Football Team’s center back Rohit Chand will not participate in the international friendly series against India.
Rohit, who was in closed training for the national team, had left for Indonesia last week. He has been playing for Persija Jakarta, Indonesia for a long time. Rohit departed from Nepal last week to fulfill his club responsibilities.
Rohit had returned to Nepal after the league was postponed even after reaching Indonesia twice before. He returned to Nepal a month ago and had been training with the national team since then.
“I am ready and very excited for the league,” said Rohit via social media on Saturday. His agent Ratan Mushtika also confirmed that Rohit has completed his quarantine and is ready to join the Persija squad for training. Rohit was included in the 25-member squad announced by coach Abdullah Almutairi for the SAFF Championship and India friendlies.
General secretary of the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Indraman Tuladhar said that ANFA had given permission to Rohit to join the club. “Rohit went to Indonesia after getting our approval. He received a red card in the last international game and we knew he wasn’t playing the first match. He left the national team last week to fulfill his club duties, ”said General Secretary Tuladhar.
Rohit was shown a red card in the last match of the Asian Cup and World Cup qualifiers against Australia two months ago. Nepal competed against Australia with 10 players in the second half. After Rohit’s departure, Pujan Uparkoti dropped down and partnered Ananta Tamang in the defense.
According to ANFA, the red card ban would mean Rohit would miss the first match anyways as the suspension would take effect in the next official international match. Although the cards of the qualifiers will normally apply to the first game of the next round of the same competition, ANFA has requested FIFA to apply the game against India as it is international friendly. Rohit’s card suspension would not apply in SAFF Championship even if there was no friendly against India. However, there has not been any answer to ANFA’s request to FIFA.
With Rohit’s absence, there will be some changes in Nepal’s defense against India. Coach Abdullah Almutairi had been playing Ananta and Rohit regularly in the central defense. Rohit’s place will be taken by either Pujan or Dinesh Rajbanshi. With the return of Tej Tamang in the central midfield, Pujan will be able to support Ananta in the central defense. Dinesh is also an option that can operate in central defense. Another option is young defender Rajan Gurung, who is on the verge of getting his first senior callup.
With the news of Rohit’s absence, the team will now be selected from 24 players in the match against India. There will be two friendly matches against India at Dasharath Stadium on September 2 and 5. The team will then leave for Qatar to prepare for the cleanup. The SAAF Championship will be held in the Maldives from October 1 to 16.
25 member team for SAFF and India series:
Kiran Chemjong (Goalkeeper), Deep Karki (Goalkeeper), Bishal Shrestha (Goalkeeper), Vikesh Kuthu (Goalkeeper), Ashish Lama, Ananta Tamang, Anjan Bista, Ayush Ghalan, Bishal Rai, Dinesh Rajbanshi, Gautam Shrestha, Kamal Thapa, Manish Dangi, Nawayug Shrestha, Nitin Thapa, Pujan Uperkoti, Rajan Gurung, Rohit Chand, Santosh Tamang, Sujal Shrestha, Suman Aryal, Suman Lama, Sunil Bal, Suraj Jeu Thakuri and Tej Tamang