KATHMANDU, March 17: Skipper Anil Gurung has been axed from the national football team while three other players have made comeback to the squad, which was announced by head coach Gyotoku Koji on Friday.
Manang Marsyangdi Club captain Anil, who has won 49 caps for national team, was struggling to get playing time under Koji as he had played just two matches coming off the bench in AFC Solidarity Cup toward the end of last year. It was the most recent international tournament Nepal had played.
Defender Jitendra Karki, midfielder Rohit chand and forward Karna Limbu have made comeback to the national side.
Anil Gurung was named the national captain after four players including then captain Sagar Thapa were banned from football following a match fixing scandal. He, however, started as captain only against Sri Lanka during the SAFF Championship in 2015. His deputy Biraj Maharjan wore the captain's armband in his absence in the starting lineup. Despite Anil's exclusion, Biraj is yet to be given the captain's role.
Koji has called three goalkeepers, seven defenders, six midfielders and four forwards in the 20-man final squad.
Similarly, Suman Lama, Devendra Tamang, Rajendra Rawal, Man Bahadur Tamang and Bimal Basnet who were in the preliminary 27-member squad did not make the cut.