Nepal national football team is all prepared to lock horns with their arch rivals, the Indian national football team later this evening in a friendly collision at Mumbai Football Arena in Mumbai India. The game which is set to begin today on 6th June,2017 at 07: 15 PM sharp Nepal standard time is drawing attention of millions of football fans in both these countries.
India is considered a powerhouse in South Asian football with its recent breakthrough into the FIFA top 100 ranking while Nepal is struggling behind in the 169th position. However, it is beyond any doubt that Football is all about emotions and unmatched craze in Nepal. It is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the country which is still fighting strongly to rise up from the damage caused by the match fixing scandals in the past years. Comparing both these teams on the basis of their past encounters, it is an established truth that India looks stronger on paper. They have played against each other in 19 matches, out of which Nepal has turned victorious only on two occasions. Four matches have ended in a draw while India has emerged victorious in twelve of the matches. In all of those matches, Nepal has conceded a total of 32 goals while replying with just eight goals. On their last encounter, Nepal had lost 1-4 to India during the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship fixture on December 2015.
Gyotoku Koji, the Japanese head coach of Nepal national team has admitted that the contest will be a tough one but he is counting heavily on his team led by the experienced skipper, Biraj Maharjan. Nepal team will be missing out on fullback Rabin Shrestha to a Knee injury and Bikram Lama to a match suspension. Bimal Basnet and former U 16 skipper Hemanta Thapa Magar have been named as the replacements. Star striker Nawayug Shrestha is making a comeback into the Nepal team after overcoming an injury.Meanwhile, it might come as a relief to the Nepal team that Indian star striker captain Sunil Chhetri will miss out of the game tonight. Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu is confirmed to be replacing Chhetri as the skipper.
Both India and Nepal are taking today’s friendly as a preparation match for the AFC Asian Cup 2019 Qualifiers. Nepal is scheduled to face Yemen on June 13th while India will play against Kyrgyz Republic on the same day. India being the stronger side both technically and physically will be looking forward to registering a comfortable victory in today’s match. However, Nepal national team with their energetic and young lineup may have a slight edge over their counterparts. Despite looking weaker on paper, Nepal does have the potential to turn the table and give a tough fight against stronger opponents. It is only a matter of few hours before we find out which of these teams emerge victorious in today’s clash.
The Nepal squad consists of the following players.
Strikers: Bimal Gharti Magar, Bharat Khawas, Nawayug Shrestha
Midfielders: Rohit Chand, Bishal Rai, Heman Gurung, Anjan Bista, Sujal Shrestha, Suman Lama, Hemanta Thapa Magar
Defenders: Biraj Maharjan, Ananta Tamang, Aditya Chaudhary, Kamal Shrestha, Devendra Tamang, Jitendra Karki, Bimal Basnet
Goalkeepers: Bikesh Kuthu, Kiran Kumar Limbu and Bishal Shrestha