APF-Friends renew rivalry today Slug: Safal Pokhara Cup opener
POKHARA, Oct 29: Departmental team Armed Police Force (APF) and NIBL Friends Club will renew their rivalry when they lock horns on Tuesday in the curtain raiser of Safal Pokhara Cup International Football Tournament to be held in Pokhara.
Earlier in September 16, APF had defeated Friends 3-2 during the group round match of Ncell Cup Championship held in the capital. Friends will be looking to avenge the defeat of Ncell Cup while APF is determined to give continuity to its dominance over the Lalitpur based team.
Despite the defeat, Friends studded with four national players including the national team skipper Sagar Thapa, is confident of victory and are in high morale. "We had long training despite the Dashain break and we had sound preparations," said Dilkaji Gurung.
Along with skipper Thapa, Nirajan Khadka, Jagjeet Shrestha and Deepak Bhusal are the other national players with Friends Club. "We also have four Nepali internationals in the squad and thus I am confident of coming up with better show than that during Ncell Cup," coach Gurung said.
Not only Friends but also APF is also optimistic of better game due to long preparations. APF skipper Kumar Thapa said, "We had recently defeated Friends in the Ncell Cup and we will play with the same morale this time as well. We will give continuity to our win over Friends."
The winner between APF and Friends will lock horns against Ncell Cup champion Laxmi Hyundai Manang Mrashyangdi Club (MMC) in the quarterfinal.
The 12-day long tournament will feature 12 teams, including eight A division clubs, one team from host city and one team each from Bangladesh, India and Bhutan. Bangladesh will come up with its U-23 national team while Bhutan´s A division team Druk Pol FC and Kolkata Port Trust of India are the other foreign teams.
MMC, Yeti Airlines Himalayan Sherpa Club, Friends, New Road Team (NRT), McDowell´s Ranipokhari Corner Team (RCT), APF and Machhindra Club are the teams from Nepal to compete in the event.
The organizer Kaski District Football Association (KDFA) on Tuesday informed that all preparations for the tournament had been completed. "The tournament is organized with the aim to develop Pokhara as a sports city. I hope the tournament will serve as platform for new talents as well as help identify new talents," the president of organizer KDFA.
According to Gurung, they leveled the ground surface and finished construction of temporary parapet with 1,000 spectators capacity of 1000 .
Meanwhile, two changing rooms for referees and players have been constructed under the aegis of Kaski District Sports Development Committee at the cost of Rs 2.7 million.
The winner will get Rs 305,000 while runner-up will get Rs 150,000. The best player of the tournament will be given Rs 75,0000 while best players of four different positions -- goalkeeper, defense, midfield, forward -- highest scorer and best coach will be awarded Rs 15,000 each.