KATHMANDU, Sept 9: With a complete defensive fragility and poor execution of tactics saw Nepal national football team start its second round of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (AFC) with a 7-0 hammering from Kuwait, the team is planning to avoid repetition of the same mistakes and improve some aspects against the next opponent: Chinese Taipei.
Nepal opted for a 4-5-1 defensive-minded style against Kuwait, and was expected to at least do the basics right which was to not let Kuwait dominate the flanks. That was exactly what the winning team Kuwait did as Nepal made the opponent’s job easier letting the wingers cross the ball into the box often.
Furthermore, Nepal could not get creative in the attacking areas as the midfielders were stopped from coming out of their areas and threading the ball to the attacking players. The lone forward Bimal Gharti Magar was completely isolated upfront and could not link with the wingers which saw the team give away possession cheaply.
The selection was not that good as well from the head coach Johan Kalin as he opted for Ravi Paswan and Sujal Shrestha in the flanks, failing to control their flanks and create good crosses in the box. On Tuesday, Nepal takes on a Chinese Taipei side that suffered a 1-2 home defeat at the hands of Jordan.
In the match against Chinese Taipei, forward Bimal Rana will replace Nawayug Shrestha, while defender Ravi Silwal who was set to replace the injured Ajit Bhandari could not fly to Taiwan because of visa problems.
Speaking in a pre-match press conference on Monday, Swedish Kalin said that the team needs to revive its usual game in order to prevent the mistakes it did against Kuwait. “For some reason, we failed to play our usual game against Kuwait. We need to be back on track when we play against Taipei. We know where we made the mistakes and hopefully that is not repeated,” Kalin said.
However, Nepal’s failure to play any other style than defensive has become a major concern about the team, with wingers not providing enough width and the midfielders failing to provide good passes to the forwards.
Nepal needs to play to the capabilities of its wingers in Anjan Bista and Ravi Paswan, by deploying Sujal Shrestha in the midfield where he plays his best game. Shrestha has been poor in the wing and has offered none to little creativeness from the flanks.
With the midfield of Bikram Lama, Rohit Chand and Bishal Rai, the team could not offer anything to the forward players and was compacted in its own areas, which saw a large gap grow between the attackers and the midfield.
The striker Magar might also be replaced with fresh Rana, who can bring pace and creativity with his game.
Kalin said that the plan is to put up a good performance and get back on track quickly. “We have a plan against them, but we can’t disclose it before facing them. We have to put a good performance, and if we do that, we will win,’’ Kalin added.
While Taipei coach Louis Lancaster who saw his team get beaten 2-1 at home, said that his team will not hold back and go forward at its will to take its chances to score.
“This is a must win game and we are not going to hold back. We will go forward and take our chances. If we fail to do it again, the pressure will keep on building,’’ said Englishman Lancaster, “I will like my team to express itself and leave the field without any regrets.” Nepal and Chinese Taipei faced each other in June this year, and played a 1-1 draw in Taiwan.