NRT expected to face tough fight



KATHMANDU, May 11: In their first international event after 14 years, New Road Team (NRT) are eager to make the AFC President´s Cup Group ´A´ qualifiers a memorable journey.

NRT will face Abahani Limited, the home team, at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka, Bangladesh on Wednesday.

It´s important for NRT to perform well in the match to keep up the morale and hopes high for the qualification to the final round. The hosts will be tough in their own turf, but NRT coach Yogambar Suwal rated the level of Bangladesh league champions on par with Nepal´s half-way league champions.

“However, we will be under pressure as they will have the home ground and crowd and the climate conditions too will be favorable for them,” Suwal said.

NRT is going on all-out campaign with aggressive formation of first-choice players. Captain and goalkeeper Surendra Shrestha will guard the post while Sagar Thapa, Biraj Maharjan, Umesh Uprety and Navin Neupane will take the charge of defence.

Laxman Ruchal, Rajesh Shahi and Ranjit Shrestha are the midfielders while Danish Shayan Mosavi, Nirajan Rayamajhi and Bijay Majhi will take the responsibility as strikers.

Coach Suwal said that his side will play for a win. “We must win tomorrow´s match to pave way for the final round,” Suwal said.

Coach Suwal rates his side as a balanced squad. However, NRT failed to repeat their first leg performance during the initial stage of the second leg of the ongoing domestic league.

“There were improvements in the later stage of the second leg. There were some problems with goalkeeper. But our midfield is strong and the forwards have the capacity to score at any time,” Suwal expressed his confidence.

Besides, much of the NRT´s performance will depend on how striker Mosavi performs. He has proved to be the best among more than a dozen foreign players in domestic league. So far, Mosavi has scored 13 goals from 18 matches.

On the other hand, Abahani is confident of making through the final round. Bangladeshi league champions Abahani will also present them as the strong contender. Six members of the national squad are included in Abahani team.

“Any of the participating team could be strong, but we will try to put up good performance and become a group winner,” stated Abahani manager Satyajeet Dasrup.
Dasrup, however, feels threat from Dordoi Bihkek of Kyrgyzstan, the five-time finalist and the two-time title holders.

NRT captain Shrestha said that NRT would anyhow make through the second round to save dignity of the nation. “We are fit in all departments of the game. We were concerned only over hot climate of Bangladesh, but we are happy to know that our match is scheduled late in the evening. We will utilize the chance of playing in the international tournament after one-and-a-half-decade.”

Along with the host, Dordoi Bishkek of Kyrgyzstan, Hasus NTCPE of Chinese Taipei and NRT are pitted in the group. The top two teams of the group will qualify for the final round of the tournament.

NRT´s International Participation

1985 Asian Club Championship Football (Colombo, Sri Lanka)
1996 Asian Club Championship Football (Colombo, Sri Lanka)
1996 Promise Cup (Maldives)
2010 AFC Presidents Cup (Dhaka, Bangladesh)

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