Players of Nepal national football team share a light moment during a training session at the ANFA Complex in Satdobato, Lalitpur on Monday. Photo Courtesy: ANFA
KATHMANDU, May 21: A 23-member Nepal national men’s football team has been announced on Monday, with forwards Bharat Khawas and Bimal Gharti Magar left out from the final squad for the two upcoming friendlies.
Head coach Johan Kalin announced the decision to retain some new faces in the team, leaving
out veteran forward Khawas and Magar, who is currently with the Chhinga Veng Football Club of India.
Ajit Bhandari, Saroj Dahal, and Ravi Silwal have retained their places in the defense, while Suraj BK failed to make it to the 23-man list. Suraj was excluded from the Manang Marshyangdi team that drew 1-1 against Minerva Punjab in Kathmandu a few days ago.
Three Star Club keeper Alan Neupane replaced Bishal Shrestha in goal, whole Kiran Chemjong and Bikesh Kuthu were unmoved.
Captain Biraj Maharjan will be leading the team, while Ranjeet Dhimal, Suman Aryal, Ananta Tamang, and Devendra Tamang will accompany him in defense.
Heman Gurung, Aashish Lama, and Tanka Basnet failed to get into the team after their squad appeared against Kuwait, while Sunil Bal, Tej Tamang, and Abhishek Rijal replaced them.
Bishal Rai, Rohit Chand, and Bikram Lama were irreplaceable again as they will accompany forwards Ravi Paswan, Nawayug Shrestha, and Anjan Bista.
The team will be facing international friendlies against Malaysia on June 2 and Chinese Taipei on June 6. The matches will serve as a preparation for Nepal’s second round matches against 2022 World Cup Qualifications.
Kalin, who was appointed by the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) on January, said that the selections were based on training and the performance of players in practice session that confirmed to his tactics for the team.
“It is an opportunity for us to continue building a way of playing. We expect two tough games and hopefully we can take steps forwards,” Kalin said. “The selection is based on the training. Some new players have performed very well in the practice sessions and hopefully they can prove themselves in the games too.”
Kalin added: “Some of the players have fitness problems. We have picked fully fit players.”