Nepal U-18 football team starts preparations for SAFF
August 5, 2019 11:14 AM NPT
Players of Nepal U-18 football team attend a practice session at the training ground of Jawalakhel Youth Club in Lalitpur on Sunday. Photo: Republica
KATHMANDU, Aug 5: Nepal U-18 football team has started preparations for the upcoming SAFF U-18 Tournament which kicks off from September 20 in Nepal.
In the tournament played at A-Division League outfit Jawalakhel Youth Club’s ground in Lalitpur, head coach Chet Narayan Shrestha has called upon 46 players for the preliminary round selection.
Shrestha informed that 30 players have already joined the training session, while the other players are yet to arrive in Kathmandu.
Shrestha picked up those 46 players after watching their performance in the recently-concluded 5th Lalit Memorial U-18 Tournament played at the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) Complex in Satdobato. The youth Nepal team has been playing in Jawalakhel’s ground because of lack of stadiums.
Even though it was decided that the seven-team South Asian tournament was said to be held at the Armed Police Force (APF)’s Halchowk Stadium, it has not been fixed yet. Shrestha further added that the decision for participation of all seven teams will be known within a week.
Nepal is the winner of the two earlier editions of the tournament, and is aiming to add another title when it starts the third edition. Nepal defeated India in the first edition of the tournament in Satdobato, while it won back-to-back SAFF beating the same team in Bhutan in the second.
In the first edition, Nepal beat India 5-4 in the tie-breaker to win the title. The game was pushed to the tie-breaker after both the teams played 1-1 draw in the regulation time. Likewise, Nepal won the second edition beating India 2-0 in the final.
“We were the winners in the earlier editions. We are aiming to do a hat-trick playing good football. We have already started training in that regard,” coach Shrestha said. “We have called upon 46 players according to their performances in the U-18 Lalit Memorial Tournament. We will select 30 players after 10 to 12 days of training. Two weeks after that, we will name the final 23.”
Shrestha added that since the ANFA Complex will be hosting 2022 AFC World Cup Qualifiers and South Asian Games (SAG) training, the U-18 team was holding training camp at Jawalakhel’s ground.
“The youth team has been preparing in the Jawalakhel’s ground because of the busy schedule of the national team,”
Shrestha further said. “There were 30 players on the first day of the training on Sunday. We held normal physical fitness regime on that date. We will start full training from Monday.”