KATHMANDU, May 16: All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) on Tuesday announced a 20-member national women's football team for the upcoming friendly matches against Malaysia. Head coach Kumar Thapa has made one change in the squad as forward Sajana Rana has come in the place of midfielder Dipa Adhikari.
Except Sajana, all the players had represented Nepal in SAFF Women's Championship held in Siliguri, India from December 26 to January 4.
The Nepali team, which will fly to Malaysia on Friday, will play two matches against the host on May 22 and 24.
Head coach Thapa has named three goalkeepers, six defenders, five midfielders and six forwards in the squad dominated by players of the departmental teams. Out of the 20 players, nine each are from Tribhuvan Army Club and Armed Police Force (APF) while the remaining two are from Nepal Police Club.
Meanwhile, head coach Thapa has said that the preparation has been almost complete. “Since we have been training for the last 12 days, we are on the verge of completing the preparation and it has gone pretty well,” said Thapa.
“Our squad is full of departmental players who train with their teams on a regular basis. So they are in good form, which is a plus point for us,” added Thapa.
ANFA had decided to give continuity to former national team midfielder Thapa as head coach of the women's team. He was in-charge of the team during the fourth edition of Women's SAFF Championship held in Siliguri.
“We had made big changes in the team ahead of Women's SAFF bringing in seven new young players. So for now, our objective is to let them grow together to do well in the future,” added Thapa.
He also said that friendly matches against strong teams like Malaysia which is ranked 16th places above 95th ranked Nepal will be a chance for reality check, according to Thapa. “Malaysia is a very strong team which is currently preparing for upcoming South East Games (SEA). So it is in a good form at the moment and playing against such side will be a reality check for our players,” added Thapa. However, Nepal had defeated Malaysian team by 1-0 in a friendly played at ANFA Complex at the end of last year.
“As we know our national women's team gets very less chances to play international friendly matches, we are slowly changing the trend. Such matches increase the confidence level of our players, which eventually will help for better performance in SAFF,” said Thapa.