Women's SAFF Championship

New-look Nepal takes on Maldives today

Published On: December 28, 2016 01:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, Dec 28: Nepali women's national football team head coach Kumar Thapa has hinted of making some changes in the team while his side takes on the Maldives in the second match of the ongoing Women's SAFF Championship on Tuesday. Head coach Thapa said that he was ringing the change as his players were exhausted. 

“We are playing five matches in ten days so we must make sure the players are not overworked,” said head coach Thapa. 

He also stated that the Nepali team which registered 8-0 win over Bhutan in its first match, has strong squad and needs to give playing chance to other players as well. “We need to balance the playing time for the players too because we have quite a strong squad,” added head coach Thapa.

Meanwhile, the Maldives also has kicked off the championship with a 5-2 win over Sri Lanka and has equal points in Group A. However, Nepal is on top due to goal difference. 

Nepal's head coach Thapa stated that the match against the island nation won't be easy. However, he believes that his team is technically better than the Maldivians which could be an advantage for his side.  "After watching Maldives vs Sri Lanka, we saw that the Maldives looks strong physically and we will need to overcome that with tactical and technical advantage we hold over them,” concluded head coach Thapa.

Nepal has superior record against the Maldives given its two wins out of two in the past editions of SAFF Championship. Earlier, Nepal had defeated the Maldives with the scoreline of 6-0 and 5-0 in 2010 and 2012. 

Nepal's captain Renuka Nagarkoti said that the match against the Maldives will be tougher than the first group match given the level of the opponent. However, she was hopeful of playing team game and to register second victory in the competition that will send Nepal to the semifinals. "Both of us won the first match and we will fight as a team to secure our qualification. They look tougher than Bhutan but we will leave no place for complaint when we are down in the field,” said Renuka. 

Striker Sabitra Bhandari, who had demonstrated a sensational game on Sunday scoring double hat-trick against Bhutan, said that teamwork is the strongest part of her side. She also attributed team work as the reason behind victory in the opening match.  "We have a very good team and we have good understanding among the teammates. Tomorrow's match is going to be a tough one against the Maldives. We will work hard for the good result again,” said Sabitra.

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