Nepal gear up for AFC Challenge Cup


KATHMANDU, Jan 11: Nepali national football team will begin its training for the upcoming AFC Challenge Cup 2012 qualifiers from next week. Nepal will be hosting the Group ´D´ matches of the qualifiers at the Dasharath Stadium and the Armed Police Force Headquarters, Halchowk from March 20-31.

Nepal which has already booked a berth for the qualifiers as the host nation will only compete against three other teams -- defending champions North Korea, Sri Lanka and the winner of the playoff between Afghanistan and Bhutan. The two-leg playoffs are slated for February 9 and 16.

All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) is looking for a foreign coach. Until then, it has decided to give the responsibility for the selection of players to coach Krishna Thapa who had led the Nepali team to the semifinals of the Sixth SAFF Championship in Dhaka, Bangladesh last year. It has also been confirmed that Nabil Three Star Club´s coach Megh Raj KC will assist Thapa while former skipper Upendra Man Singh will help him as goalkeeping coach.

"We are trying to bring in a foreign coach for the team. If that does not materialize, we will find a suitable person for the job from within the country," said the ANFA Spokesperson and Vice-president Lalit Krishna Shrestha.

"We have to prepare our team for the challenge and also chart out plans to have it better organized. We will soon begin with the repair works of the stadium as we have taken charge of it from the National Sports Council," he added.

According to Shrestha, the training will kick off from January 17.

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