NRT discover Achilles' heel in Dhaka



KATHMANDU, May 18: Despite the first round exit of his team from the AFC President´s Cup qualifiers, New Road Team (NRT) coach Diken Suwal is satisfied with his side´s performance in the tournament, held from May 12-16 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

Winning one out of three matches played in the four-team group, NRT finished third with three points. NRT defeated Hasus NTCPE of Chinese Taipei in their last group match to save the face of team and points drought.

In the regional tournament of the third tier footballing nations -- as classified by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) -- Nepal Police club who represented Nepal from 2007-2009 have only succeeded to enter the final in 2007. They were defeated 2-1 by Dordoi Dynamo of Kyrgyzstan currently known as Dordoi Bishkek.

Nepali football´s performance has been deteriorating in international tournaments ever since. In the fourth edition, Police crashed out from the semifinal and they crashed out from the group stage in the last edition as they finished at the bottom of the table with only two points.

Coach Suwal, who is leading NRT in the domestic league, blames three major drawbacks of Nepali national team and clubs -- frail build of Nepali players, lack of preparation and lack of preparation in favorable climate.

Coach Suwal rates the quality and playing skills of other opponents as “similar” to that of NRT. “But the opponents have well-built physique and better finishing skills compared to ours,” said Suwal who also considers luck to be important in football. “The ball hit the woodwork thrice in our 2-0 defeat against Abahani Limited from the host nation.”

Suwal did not hesitate to praise his side´s performance against Dordoi Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan who defeated NRT 3-0.

“The boys put up a good show but were unlucky. They made some attractive strikes on target, but goalie remained the main obstacle in our way. On some occasions, the boys repeated clinical finishing problems as they missed scoring in one-on-one with opponent players. On the other hand, the opponents capitalized on most of the scoring opportunities.”

Suwal blamed such problems for lack of preparation matches of Nepali teams ahead of their international outings.

Another cause for poor show of Nepali sides in international tournaments as pointed out by Suwal is lack of preparation in the favorable environment. “Had we got a chance to prepare in a hot atmosphere as that of Bangladesh, we could have bettered our show in the President´s Cup.”

Besides this, the opponents fielded their teams with quality foreign players, stated Suwal who had fielded Danish Sayan Mosavi in their squad as a key striker in every match they played. He also blamed poor defending line up for his team´s defeat.

Suwal also suggested the All Nepal Football Association, the apex football body of the nation, to try to improve Nepal´s performance by providing proper diet to youth players.

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