Kathmandu - The Nepal U-23 National Team will be taking on Bangladesh U-23 in a friendly match at the ANFA Complex on Tuesday (3PM Kick off) as part of the preparations for the AFC U-23 Qualifiers.
Tuesday’s friendly is the first for Nepal after their famous defeat of India U-23 in the finals of the SAG in 2016.
Speaking at the pre-match press meet held on Monday, both the coaches expressed their eagerness to win the match as it would set the tone for their respective AFC U-23 Qualifier in 2018 campaigns.
Nepal U-23 head coach Raju Kaji Shakya said that friendly will help him know the shape of the team ahead of AFC U-23 Qualifiers.
“There are a lot of new faces in the team. This friendly will help us in getting in shape for the qualifiers. Our main target is to perform well in the qualifiers. Matches of this are sort always good to know the strength and weakness of a team.”
“We have to admit we have been drawn in tough group. Uzbekistan is the defending champions and hosts UAE and Lebanon are also equally strong,” ended Shakya.
Bimal Gharti Magar, who is the most experienced player in the squad, has been named the captain. His creativity, eye for the goal and his match experiences has made him eligible for the armband.
“There was a huge competition to get the armband. It is a huge honor to get selected as a team leader,” said Gharti Magar.
“I will shoulder my responsibility on and off the pitch. We have worked hard to get in good form. I feel we had the same kind of preparations that we use to have for other tournaments. It will be great achievement to make it through to the next round.”
Magar was cautious at the same time saying that the likes of defending champions Uzbekistan and hosts UAE will make qualifiers tough.
Bangladesh U-23 coach Andrew Ord was excited to be part of South Asia’s tournament for the first time.
“I can tell nothing big about Nepalese football as I am very new in South Asia,” said Ord. “We have prepared very well to deal Nepal. I followed Nepal’s clash against Yemen and found the side is quick.”
“Playing in the artificial turf will be a good experience as we will be facing a similar situation in Palestine,” he added.