The Nepal, SAFF U-18 Championship winners intend to defend their title when the competition kicks off on September 20 in Kathmandu.
The 25-member squad has begun their closed-camp training in Pokhara from Sunday as section of their products for the event. The squad will be cut to 23 in due date. The squad practiced at Bijaypur Army Barracks area for two days but following moved on to Sahara Academy area as the ground at the Army barracks wanted some days to make it ready for practice.
Head coach Chet Narayan Shrestha stated the team had to move to Pokhara for practice as most of the grounds were not accessible in Kathmandu.
“The weather and the training ground are good in Pokhara. Besides, players will also feel a sense of freshness when they train in such fine weather,” stated Shrestha.
Shrestha stated Nepal’s training for the tournament has been excellent and the team strives to secure the title.
“We have a good attacking line. Midfielders gel well with the forwards and the defense is also good,” he said. “Except for a few reserve players at the defense, we have a good and a balanced team,” he said.
The team further adds Manish Dangi, who has earlier played for South Korea’s U-17 team. Dangi, who plays as an ahead, appeared in Nepal to perform for his country and coach Shrestha stated he is one of the star players in the team. The coach recognizes India and Bangladesh as the other prime contenders for the title. “But every team is strong. They have become better than before,” he stated.
The Nepali team performed a training match against Kaski district league champions Adarsha Yuwa Club, which they won 10-1 on Thursday. The team secured six in the opening half and added four in the second in the match performed at the Sahara Academy grounds. Coach Shrestha handled a diverse collection of players in respectively half. Nepali side will also play different friendly toward Pokhara XI on Sunday.
The third version of SAFF U-18 Championship is listed for September 20-29 at the Armed Police Force’s Club grounds in Halchowk.
Nepal acquired the first edition in 2015 winning over India 5-4 on penalties following a 1-1 draw.
They also raised the second edition conducted in Bhutan, beating Bangladesh 2-0. The first time Nepal obtained the title was when the tournament was performed as the U-19 event. The second in 2017, it was renamed at the U-18 tournament.