KATHMANDU, Feb 11: Three players -- midfielders Ganesh Khadka and Sulav Maskey and defender Saroj Dahal -- have been axed in the second phase of selection for the Group D qualifiers of AFC Challenge Cup to be held from March 2-6 in Kathmandu.
With the exclusion of the three players -- alll new faces -- the national team is now down to 28 members. Khadka, the winger of Himalayan Sherpa Club, was the only one among them to make his debut for the national team during the first friendly against Pakistan on Wednesday.
Maskey and Dahal were limited to bench in the second friendly on Saturday despite being listed in the line-up. Maskey plays for Manang Marshyangdi Club (MMC) while Dahal is from Madhyapur Youth Association.
MMC had the highest nine players in the list of 49 players selected for the first phase of training. Of them, however, only two have made it to the list of 28 players announced on Monday. Martyrs Memorial A Division League leader Three Star has the highest eight players in the squad.
Defender Rohit Chand who plays professional football from PSPS Pekanbaru of Indonesia has also been selected in the squad.
Along with Nepal, Bangladesh, Palestine and Northern Mariana Island are placed in Group D of the Challenge Cup qualifiers. The top team from among them will qualify for the final rounds.
Nepal´s Polish coaches Jack Stefanowski and Richard Orlokiski, assisted by goalkeeping coach Mrigendra Mishra, are training of national team for the qualifiers.