KATHMANDU, March 27: National football team head coach Gyotoku Koji has said that Nepal will have to play up to its mark if it wants to bag valuable away points from the Philippines match in the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers on Tuesday.
Nepal is kicking off its qualifiers of the continental tournament taking on Azkals in the first away match at Rizal Memorial Stadium of Manila.
“Philippines is a strong team and has higher level than Nepal but if my boys play up to their potential, win against home team is possible,” said head coach Koji. Japanese coach also said that AFC Solidarity Cup winner Nepal will play for win to gather full three points.
The match between the two nations in Manila will be their fifth meeting. From the four matches, Nepal has registered just one win which came in the King's Cup held in Manila in 1982 where the travelling side had produced a 1-0 victory.
The Philippines, which is ranked 124th place in the FIFA ranking, holds superiority over Nepal, which has been ranked 170th, has defeated AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers' opponent in friendly matches in 2011 with the score line of 4-0 following two 3-0 victories in 2014 in Qatar.
Meanwhile Nepali skipper Biraj Maharjan said that his team wants to forget about the past record and is committed to producing better result on Tuesday. “We players are excited given the achievement we tasted last year, so we are hopeful of keep up the same winning streak in the Philippines as well. We are fully committed to and confident of pulling victory against the home side,” said Maharjan.
Meanwhile, the Philippines' head coach Thomas Dooley said his team is not unfamiliar about Nepal's good form of late. He also said that past results are not going to affect the outcome of the match. “There is a massive change between Nepal's past squad and the current one. There are some very talented players in the Nepali squad and if they play to their potential, it won't be easy for my team,” said Dooley.
He also said that his team is ready to play AFC Asian Cup but will have to overcome the qualifying challenges against a tough team like Nepal. “We have to do well against our qualifiers' opponent if we want to play top continental tournament but must overcome teams like Nepal, which is very tough to face. But I believe they are not stronger than us so hopefully we can produce home win,” further added Dooney.
Last four results
Nepal 1-0 Macau
Nepal 2-2 Laos
Nepal 3-0 Brunei
Nepal 0-0 Timor Leste
Last four results
Philippines 0-0 Malaysia
Philippines 0-1 Thailand
Indonesia 2-2 Philippines
Philippines 0-0 Singapore