Photo Courtesy: ANFA Players of U-15 girls’ football team attend a training session at the Nepal Army Sports and Physical Training Center in Lagankhel, Lalitpur in this recent photo.
KATHMANDU, Dec 5: All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) has finalized a 20-member squad for the upcoming SAFF U-15 Girls’ Championship to be held in Bangladesh from December 17 through 24.
Three goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders, and five forwards have been called up in the squad that will take part in the championship.
This is the first edition of the championship.
Karina Dhimal, Bitisha Rajbanshi, and Pushpa Gurung are the goalies in the team, while Sarishma Thapa, Man Maya BK, Sushma Rai, Surakshya Singh, Saraswoti Hamal, and Supriya Rajak are included as the defenders.
Similarly, Preeti Rai, Muna Magar, Sabita Rana Magar, Riya Banu, Sushma GT, and Ashmita Gurung are the midfielders of the team whereas Ashmita Chaudhary, Nikita Thokar, Anjali Chand, Ashmita Ranpal, and Nikita Dhamal are in the forward department of the squad.
A total of 47 players from different districts were called up for the first phase training and later 10 others were added from Coca-Cola Cup National Football Tournament, according to the team’s head coach Ganga Gurung.
An initial pool of 57 players was downsized to 24, from which the final squad was decided, Gurung said.
Nepal will begin the campaign by taking on home team Bangladesh on December 17 in the competition to be held in round-robin format. Two days later, Nepal will compete against India and face Bhutan on December 21. Top two teams will reach the final, which will be played on December 24. All the matches will be played at Birshrestha Sahid Sipahi Mohammad Mostofa Kamal Staidum of Dhaka.
Gurung said her team was confident of winning the title. “Our primary target is to win the title and we are preparing accordingly,” said Gurung.
Young Nepali girls are training at Nepal Army Sports and Physical Training Center at Lagankhel, Lalitpur, from last month. The preparation is in its last phase, which will go for the next seven days at least. Gurung said her team will play in 4-4-2 formation in the championship.
Gurung said that the forward line was the strongest aspect of her team. “But players still have to work hard on their movement. Hopefully, we will sort out all the issues before flying to Bangladesh,” added Gurung.
Paras Chaudhary is assisting Gurung, while Binod Maharjan is goalkeeping coach of the team.