Final 23-member U-15 squad announced for SAFF Championship
August 8, 2019 07:51 AM NPT
KATHMANDU, Aug 8: Head coach Sunil Shrestha on Wednesday announced the final 23-member Nepal U-15 football squad for the upcoming U-15 SAFF Championship which is set to start from August 21 in India.
Despite naming the 23-member final squad for the tournament, which will be played at the Kalyani Stadium and will run till August 31, coach Shrestha did not name the captain for the side.
Shrestha said that he will name the skipper for the team only when the team takes on India in the first match.
When Nepal takes on the host India in the first match of the championship organized by the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) and with the coordination of the Indian Football Federation (IFF), it will be targeting to improve its results of the earlier edition.
The last edition of the tournament in 2018 saw Nepal get beaten in the semifinal against Pakistan 4-0. Coach Shrestha said that the team is preparing to bring good results this time after failing to perform well in the last edition.
“We have got the first match of the tournament against host India. We haven’t produced good results against India in the earlier editions. So, we have been preparing to win against India in the opening match of the tournament,” Shrestha said, “We have been planning to train outside Kathmandu for a week to have a favorable weather in India. After a week of training, we will leave for India.”
Nepal has not yet won a match against India in any of the past six meetings. It lost twice in the semifinals against the 2019 host, while it lost in the final once, in the third place match once and in the group stage once.
The tournament was being played as the U-16 until the fourth edition when the name was switched to the U-15. In the 2018 edition, Nepal became fourth, while Bangladesh won the tournament defeating Pakistan 3-2 in penalties in the final after a 1-1 draw in the regulation time. Nepal lost 1-0 to India in the third place match.
The edition was hosted by Nepal after Pakistan and Sri Lanka announced they will not be contesting in the tournament at the last stages. So, Nepal got the chance to host the tournament which divided six teams to three groups.
This time around, Maldives and Pakistan will not be participating in the tournament. Citing internal reasons in the last edition, Sri Lanka will be taking part this time.