Coach keeps Sahukhala out of national team

KATHMANDU, June 25: Citing violation of discipline, Coach Graham Roberts of the Nepali national football team on Friday took disciplinary action against forward Santosh Sahukhala and decided to keep him out of the team.

The national team started its closed-camp on Thursday and attended a training session on Friday for the upcoming World Cup qualifying matches against East Timor. The matches are scheduled for June 29 and July 2 at the Dasharath Stadium, Kathmandu. 
“I´m not involving him (Sahukhala) in the upcoming two matches. He can stay here in hotel and train with the team but he´ll not be involved in the matches against East Timor,” said Roberts to Republica.

According to Roberts, all other team members reported to team hotel on Thursday evening but Sahukhala came to the hotel on Friday afternoon only. “We (the team) had two important meetings on Thursday evening and Friday Morning, he missed both of them and came late without informing,” explained Roberts.

“If I let him do that, other two will do the same next time and I can´t compromise on discipline issues. I´m back to Nepal for a year and I want to make the team a professional one,” said Roberts.

Roberts said that he is disappointed but he doesn´t think that not having Sahukhala is a great loss to the team. “He should learn to be a part of the team,” said Roberts.

“If I can leave my family in England for the team why not Sahukhala,” questioned Roberts. “We have other strikers in the team to take his place. However, if I get wrong on this issue, I´ll be sacked but I don´t mind that,” added Roberts.

Meanwhile, Sahukhala said that he didn´t violate the team´s norms intentionally. “I was not aware of what time to join the team on Thursday and came late because of my family duties on Friday and I explained it to the coach,” said Sahukhala.
He said to Republica that he will stay and receive training with the team till Tuesday and would leave the hotel after that if he is still not forgiven for his mistake.
Roberts had kept the Manang Marshyangdi Club´s forward Sahukhala out of training ground on Friday.

Earlier, Shiva Shrestha and Anil Ojha were axed from the previous national team as ANFA had taken disciplinary action against, citing their involvement in a drunken brawl incident during the team´s visit to Pokhara for friendly series against Bhutan before the AFC Challenge Cup Qualifying rounds.

ANFA, by then, had said to launch further investigation into the matter but ANFA called them back in the team this time without making the investigation report public.

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