Thursday, June 13

“We want to attack from the beginning and keep the opponent under pressure”

By a Staff Reporter

The Nepali U-20 National Football Team defeated Sri Lanka U20 3-0 to record their second win in a row in ongoing SAFF U20 Championship on Wednesday at Bhubaneswar, India. Speaking after the match, the assistant coach of the team Balgopal Sahukhala responded that the team’s confidence has leveled up due to consecutive wins.

“We are very happy to register our second victory. With this victory the player’s confidence level has increased. The game was tough in the wee hours. Sri Lanka played a compact game. We had a slow build-up,” Sahukhala responded. “In the second half we picked up our momentum. After we started to score, the game came into our control. We are happy with our performance.” he added.

As of now, Nepal has scored the majority of goals in the second half. Coach Sahukhala said that Nepal’s strategy is to play attacking game since the kick-off. “We want to keep the opponent’s defense line under pressure from the beginning. That is our current style of play.  We want to dominate the opponent from the beginning,” Sahukhala stated. “Even today we had plenty of opportunities in the first half, we couldn’t capitalize it. But the game was solely under our control. Yes, Sri Lanka also got numerous chances on the counter attack as they took advantage of our mistake, but they failed to utilize it as well.” he added.

Nepal is only a team yet to concede a goal in the tourney. Nepal’s defense line looks strong in the competition. Meanwhile, Goalkeeper Ishwor Gurung has also made numerous saves to maintain clean sheet. Coach Sahukhala says that the team can confidently play attacking football because its defense line is strong.

“We have kept the defense tight. Since we are focusing on attacking football, we must be prepared to avoid counter attacks. Even today, Sri Lanka created some opportunities through counter attack. It is obvious when the opponent plays attacking football. We are aware of such a situation and we are trying to avoid them,” Sahukhala clarified. 

Even though Nepal is leading the competiotion’s points table, Coach Sahukhala says they shall not be thinking about the finals right now.  “We still have two matches in hand. We still have to win those two. We should not be overconfident and we should not stop this momentum. We will move forward step by step. Now we will focus on playing against India. We have three days to rest and the players will have enough time for recovery as well.” he concluded.

Meghraj KC is the head coach of the team. Ujjwal Manandhar is the goalkeeper coach and Sahukhala is the assistant coach. Sahukhala, who has been working continuously in domestic football, is working in the age group national team for the first time whereas KC and Manandhar hold experience of working in the senior national team.

In the first match, the Nepali youth team registered an empathic 4-0 victory over Maldives and looked strong in the second match as well. The history of Nepal is also good in this tournament which was previously held under the name of SAFF U19 and SAFF U18. Nepal has won the title twice in three editions and is the strongest contender for the title this time.

Nepal’s Fixtures:

Nepal VS India: July 31, 2022

Nepal VS Bangladesh: August 2, 2022

Final: August 5 , 2022

Final squad:

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

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