KATHMANDU, August 25: Nepal’s U-15 football team coach Sunil Kumar Shrestha says that the semifinal clash against Bangladesh in the ongoing SAFF U-15 Championship to be held at the ANFA Complex on Friday will be a do-or-die match for his team.
Nepali team is under pressure to claim the title of the championship being held in home ground and Shrestha said that the match against Bangladesh is a big hurdle to pass in order to secure the place in the final.
“This match against Bangladesh is must win for us. We are under pressure to win the championship since it is being held at home. So we have to overcome the semifinal challenge before thinking about the title,” said Shrestha.
Nepal and Bangladesh have similar level but the latter team has better record in the championship and is one of the three nations to win this competition which is the replacement of the SAFF U-16 Championship.
The first three editions of the SAFF U-16 Championship were lifted by Pakistan, India and Bangladesh simultaneously. Nepal’s best run in the tournament came in 2013 as it reached the final only to face 1-0 defeat to India at home ground.
Shrestha said that his players will have to play with same determination that they showed against Maldives and India in the group stage matches. In the group B matches, Nepal had defeated Maldives 6-0 while faced 2-1 defeat at the hands of India in its last group stage match.
“We gave tough fight to championship favorite India. Although the result wasn’t in our side, the performance level wasn’t much different,” added Shrestha.
But he cautions that his players will have to play better football against Bangladesh than they did against India. “We have to improve in certain areas. We were not able to build up the passing game against India, the combination between the goalkeeper and defense wasn’t strong. We will have to work on these things,” further added Shrestha.
He also said that there will be change in the strategy against Bangladesh. “Although we will continue to use same 4-4-2 playing system but there will be change in the shape of the team and playing style,” informed Shrestha. “Against Bangladesh we will try to attack from the wide utilizing the pace of wingers and full-backs.”
Defender Roshan Dong, who had missed the match against India due to red card he faced in the first match, will make come back into the first eleven.
Shrestha is likely to continue the same midfield and attack against Bangladesh that he used in the last group match.
In other semifinal match, India will take on Bhutan at Halchowk stadium on the same day.