KATHMANDU, Sept 16: Nepali women football team will be looking to lift its first international title when it lock horns against arch rival India during the final of Second SAFF Women´s Football Championship at Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The match could be an opportunity for Nepal to put a brake on India´s winning streak and avenge previous defeats. The two teams have encountered thrice so far and India had won all matches.
In the first edition of the tournament´s final, Nepal was defeated 1-0 by India. Similarly, Nepal had lost 5-0 during the group stage match of 11th South Asian Games and 3-1 in the final of same event on 2010.
Meanwhile, India will look to set a new record of title hat-trick and maintain its supremacy in the South Asian region.
Nepal´s coach Kishor KC said his team was focused of final. "We are only a step away from creating history," KC said adding, "It will not be easy for us to play against India, but we will spent all our energy to win the title."
Defeating India in the final that has scored highest 30 goals in the tournament will be a tough job. It appeared that Nepali team was under immense pressured during 3-0 win over host Sri Lanka in the semifinal. In the group stage Nepal had defeated Pakistan 8-0, Maldives 5-0 and Afghanistan 7-1.
India came up with consistent performance from the league round to semifinal and was too strong over all opponents. In the group stage, India defeated Bangladesh 3-0, Sri Lanka 5-0, Bhutan 11-0 and thrashed Afghanistan 11-0 in the semifinal.
Nepal is placed on 128th position and India on 52nd position in the FIFA women´s rankings.
Despite India´s favorable record against Nepal and consistence performance, Nepal´s coach Kishor KC has opined that his side could take advantage of opponent´s weaknesses. "India has played only with weaker opponents in the tournament thus its goalkeeper and defense had not bee tested," said optimistic KC adding, "We have got the midfield and forward line strong enough to break Indian defenders and goalkeeper. We will thus play for win trying to exploit those weaknesses."
India´s coach Mohammad Shahid Jabbar has considered Nepal as a strong opponent. "All matches we played in the tournament have been one-sided. But the same can´t happen against Nepal," Jabbar said adding, "Before arriving here we knew that we need to play the final against Nepal, so we have plans against Nepal."
Jabbar said that he has observed the Nepali team closely. "Nepal´s forward and midfield lines are very strong and they have improved after every match. To defend the title we must stop midfielders and forwards from scoring and I am confident that we will be successful in our goal."