Kathmandu, 17 Oct 2009 - After the poor performance of football team in the AFC U-16 Championship qualifier at home, Nepali football lovers hope the U-19 team will put on better performance to heal the pain during the AFC U-19 Championship qualifier.
The Group B qualifiers of the U-19 Championship will kick off on October 25 at the Dasharath Stadium, Kathmandu. The team is intensely focusing on preparation forgetting the festive mood of Tihar.
The team received a bad news on Thursday morning as doctors announced that skipper Nirajan Malla has cracked his right ankle and should rest for at least seven days.
Nirajan hurt himself while jumping to collect an aerial ball on Wednesday evening’s training. He applied first-aid but on Thursday morning, the doctors examined him. He is now with plasters on his right foot resting at the ANFA Academy hostel.
The striker is upset but hopeful that he would recover in time for the matches. “Doctors have advised to take complete rest for seven days and they are hopeful of my recovery,” he said. “I hope I´ll be fit for the first match.”
Nirajan is also keen to perform his best at home as he has already made his marks in age-group teams since entering ANFA Academy six years ago. A promising future star, Nirajan wants to prove in the U-19 age group.
“Nirajan is the pillar of our team,” Ganesh Thapa, All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) president, said. “I´m worried about his injury but hope he will be all right by the time the tournament kicks off.”
It’s odd for the striker to move on crutches and miss the training sessions. “Our coach (Raju Kaji Shakya) had told me to keep high morale and to have willpower for recovery,” he added. “I hope I´ll not disappoint him and my teammates who want me to be on ground.”
The Sankata Club´s striker felt uneasy to be photographed with crutches. “You should also photograph me when I´ll score in the U-19”, the injured striker showed his guts.
“Junior boys had poor show, we want to change the image of Nepali team this time,” he added.
Six nations - Tajikistan, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan and the hosts Nepal - are participating in the tournament.