Kathmandu, 23 Nov 2009 - Midfielders Pradeep Maharjan and Vishad Gauchan have been excluded from the national football team for the upcoming sixth SAFF Championship.
National coach Krishna Thapa did not name the Nabil Three Star Club duo in the 20-member squad that was announced amid a press conference at the Dasharath Stadium on Monday.
“Pradeep is facing fitness problem,” Thapa said. “He tried hard to recover but could not. Therefore we left him out.”
Thapa claimed that Vishad missed out training sessions and he could not uplift his game standard.
Both Maharjan and Gauchan had debuted in the national team in the Fourth SAFF Championship held in Karachi, Pakistan, against India in 2005.
The team named on Monday has two goalkeepers. Three coaches with the team, Thapa, Maheshwar Mulmi and Upendra Man Singh picked up Nepal Army´s Bikash Malla and Nepal Police Club´s Ritesh Thapa for the job.
Other two keepers in competition -- Kiran Chemjong and Rupesh Shrestha -- missed the chance for inclusion in the team. “Kiran missed training sessions and Rupesh is physically unfit,” added Thapa.
The team consists of seven defenders and seven midfielders. Friends Club´s Nurraj Kafle is out of the team due to injury. Robin Shrestha, Rakesh Shrestha, Sagar Thapa, Biraj Maharjan, Anjan KC, Chun Bhadur Thapa and Rohit Chand complete the defense line-up.
The midfielders selected in the team are Sandeep Rai, Raju Tamang, Bijay Gurung, Bhola Nath Silwal, Yogesh Shrestha, Ranjit Shrestha and Nirajan Khadka.
Youngster Nirajan Malla missed out the forward spot due to injury and Bikarna Shrestha was not named for disciplinary reasons. The forwards named in the team are Anil Gurung, Jumanu Rai, Santosh Sahukhala and Chetan Ghimire.
“Ganesh Lawati is a laborious player but he could not make it to the team because he had tough competition with other sharp strikers,” explained Thapa.
Thapa claimed that the team is strong in midfield and forward line-up and that the national squad is superior to Afghanistan and India.
“We will play as per opponent,” he said. “Against the team like the Maldives with whom we have 50-50 chance, we will try to mark talented players and score.”
Nepali team is heading to Kolkata on Thursday for two practice matches. The sixth edition of the SAFF Championship is being held in Dhaka on December 4 -14. Nepal will face the Maldives, India and Afghanistan in the group matches.