Reality check for host in Nepal-Malaysia friendly today
December 17, 2016 11:07 AM NPT
Nepal’s women’s national football team head coach Kumar Thapa (R) and his Malaysian counterpart Mohd Asyraaf Abdullah during a pre-match conference in Satdobato, Lalitpur on Friday. (Republica)
KATHMANDU, Dec 16: New look Nepali women football team will have a reality check when it takes on Malaysia in an international friendly football match at the artificial turf of ANFA in Satdobato, Lalitpur on Saturday.
The match organized as part of preparation for SAFF Women’s Championship to be held in Siliguri, India, from December 26 to January 4 will be the first international match in charge of Nepal’s head coach Kumar Thapa.
Nepal’s head coach Kumar Thapa who has included seven new faces attributes it will be a challenge as well as opportunity for him in SAFF. “There has been a drastic change in the squad and those newcomers will prove the decision is correct when we play against Malaysia,” Thapa said in a pre match conference.
Nepal is ranked 112 in FIFA Women’s world ranking and Malaysia is placed in the 86th position.
Stating that the friendly against Malaysia will be fruitful for Nepal’s SAFF campaign he said, “Getting chance to play a better team ahead of a tournament is always good. We can test our strength and analyze our weakness so that we can have better results in upcoming game. Also, this will help our new look squad to settle,” he shared.
Nepal has made to the final of all three previous editions of Women SAFF and lost against India in all of them. “Finalist in SAFF has become a benchmark for the team and anything below final mean I have been below par in my job,” Thapa said regarding the challenge and hinted of opportunity that lies ahead of him was scripting history as becoming the first coach to lead the team to title.
Thapa’s newly appointed captain Renuka Nagarkote was optimistic about the result and said that the squad has something better in the store. “We have been training really well in comparison to previous times and the preparation so far has been fantastic. We are just waiting for the match and show where we have come tomorrow”, said Renuka.
According to the captain, new players in the squad have settled and were ready to perform. “The presence of new players has strengthened the squad and we can see a new approach in the team which will help us in the tournament,” ended Renuka.
Thapa’s counterpart Mohd Asyraaf Abdullah said playing against Nepal will be a new experience for his team which played AFF Women’s Championship from July 26 to August 4 in Myanmar. “We played our region tournament few months back. But playing against a new team from totally different background will be fruitful. Nepal has been the finalists of SAFF region for three straight times and they will be strong opponent,” said Abdullah who has made nine changes in his squad that played in the AFF football of ASEAN Football Federation.
“There are nine changes in the squad. I want to make my upcoming generation stronger and I have included some younger players into the squad. I am hopeful of strong challenge from my team against SAFF giants,” he added.
Speaking about the different playing condition than his home country Abdullah said, “It is quite cold here in the morning and evening that in Malaysia. But the temperature is similar during day time, the match time,” he said.
The match has been scheduled at at 14:00 NST. The ticket price has been fixed at Rs 300 and Rs 500.