ANFA to face Kolkata’s Peerless

Orissa, Feb 5 - All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) U-19 will look to brush aside the bitter defeat at the hands of Nabil Three Star Club (NTSC) in Aaha Gold Cup a week ago when they take on Peerless Club of Kolkata in the quarterfinals of the All India Kalinga Cup Knock-out Football Tournament being held here at Jharusngunda, on Friday.

The team arrived here on Wednesday night after a 36-hour journey but the boys are confident they will prevail over their opponents in Friday's game despite the tiring journey. "We have been through this sort of situation before, but prevailed at the end. I hope we will perform well in Friday's game," said ANFA skipper Nirajan Malla.

ANFA, which received a bye in the previous game, have been tipped by the organisers to reach the finals of the tournament after observing the team during a short practice session today.

"After watching them play I rate ANFA very high but they will face tough competition from other teams which are experienced and physically strong," said M.J. Sahid Jabbar, one of the members of the organising team and head coach of Orissa state football team.

Besides competing against the physically superior teams, ANFA colts have to tackle the heat here, with the local temperature hovering between 28-32 degree Celsius. However, coach of the Nepali outfit, Kishor K.C., says the boys are used to playing in extreme weather. "They have played in hotter climes of Dhaka and a few places in Terai," said K.C.

This is just the third time ANFA is competing in open level championship, the first and second being the Buda Subba Gold Cup last year and the Aaha Gold Cup this year. Coach K.C believes the squad has gelled up pretty well as they have been playing together for the last five years.

Besides being far away from home, the team will garner a lot of support as sizeable contingents of people of Nepali origin work for security forces here.

Nirajan Malla (FRD) will head the stating lineup, also consisting of Sujal Shrestha (FRD), Jagdish Shrestha (MID), Shiva Shrestha (MID), Rupesh K.C. (MID), Ganesh Khadka (MID), Naresh Pokhrel (DEF), Ravi Thapa (DEF), Savendra Shrestha (DEF), Rohit Chand (DEF) and Dinesh Thapa (GK).

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