Kathmandu, 21 Oct 2009 - Nirajan Malla - one of the key players of the U-19 national squad - who had his right ankle sprained last Wednesday, has recovered from the injury. Malla who was injured while undergoing close camp training will return on training from Thursday.
The national U-19 squad is undergoing close camp training for the AFC U-19 group ‘A’ qualifiers to be held in Kathmandu from Sunday. Meanwhile, midfielder Suman Khadka has sustained injuries on Tuesday. Khadka has a swollen leg and might be recommended for a week’s rest.
“Niraj is our key player and I hope he will make a successful comeback. We have expected good performance from him. The team’s confidence may be down in his absence,” said chief coach Raju Shakya. The names of the last 23 players have also been finalized.
Nepali team has been exhibiting better performance in the age group as compared to the senior squad. Nepali football lovers always have high expectations with the age group. However, the U-16 team’s poor performance in the recently held AFC group ‘B’ qualifiers at home has raised serious question marks.
Mrigendra Mishra and Kishor KC are the assistant coach of the team. Coach Shakya is also hopeful that the U-19 team’s performance will make up for the defeat suffered in U-16 qualifiers. The U-19 team is under training from last three months. Shakya, however, said it would be early to say if the team would advance into the next round.
“We are unaware of the opponent’s strength. Whether the team will advance into the next round can only be said after playing with them. There is lack of playmaker in our team and we are focusing on it,” said Shakya.
Tajikistan, Jordan, Yemen, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan and Nepal have been pitted in group ‘A’ in the U-19 qualifiers held two years ago. Nepal was placed along with Jordan, Yeman and Palestine. Nepal had lost 2-0 to Jordan and 3-0 to Yemen and defeated Palestine 3-0. Nepal has qualified for the final round on U-19 in 2004. The U-19 team is exerting full pressure to put up a good show in the qualifiers.