Nepal facing Bahrain but with dim hope

Kathmandu, 11 Oct 2009 - Nepal are at the bottom of the table with zero points in AFC U-16 Group B qualifiers. Nepal´s chances of qualifying as twice before are very dim. Nepal still have some mathematical chances though.

Nepal had qualified for the AFC U-16 championship in home-ground in 2000 and 2005. But this time, if Nepal are to qualify for the championship they need to defeat Bahrain at any cost when they compete at Dasharath Stadium on Sunday. Nepal will be out of competition before the final round if Nepal lose the upcoming match or if it ends with a draw.

Among the participating teams, Nepal are the only team without any point. Other four teams have scored at least three points. Tajikistan are leading with seven points while defending champions Iran are in second place with four points. Bahrain and Lebanon have each earned three points.

Nepal were not able to score a single goal and lost 1-0 in the first match against Lebanon despite dominating the opponents. According to the team´s chief coach Dambar Gurung, Nepal lack strikers. Nepal lost with Iran 3-0 because of the team´s own mistakes. Nepal conceded two goals due to the mistakes of goalkeeper Shamsher Khatri who made his first appearance in the match.

“Playing good is not enough in football, one needs to score,” said Gurung. But Nepal have failed to score. Sunday´s match is equally important for Bahrain. Bahrain must not lose the match in order to qualify. Therefore, Bahrain will use their full strength against Nepal. Only two leading teams will be selected for the final round. Considering the present score, Tajikistan and Iran are most likely to reach the final.

Nepal´s deputy coach Sunil Shrestha says, “We have to defeat Bahrain in order to enter another round. We have no alternatives except victory but that is not possible unless we score. We missed many opportunities.”

Shrestha hinted at some changes in the team but did not disclose the details. Forward Ram Thapa may not play the match against Bahrain as he is injured. According to the team´s doctor Raju Dangol, Thapa is suffering from knee injury.

Iran and Lebanon are scheduled to play the first game on Sunday at Dasharath Stadium.

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