Roberts vows to qualify for next round

KATHMANDU, June 27: Nepali national football team´s British coach Grahm Roberts is in no mood to take low profile East Timor lightly during the World Cup qualifying matches to be held on Wednesday and Saturday at the home ground Dasharath Stadium.

"We will treat East Timor the same way we did North Korea and other teams during the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers," Coach Roberts said during a press conference in the capital on Monday. "We will win every match." 
East Timor is ranked 200th in the FIFA rankings while Nepal occupies 147th spot. "Ranking is nothing and the boys will give 150 percent on Wednesday," Roberts said adding, “I am not worried about them."

The winner among them will play against Jordan on July 23 and 28.

Roberts had guided Nepali team to the final rounds of Challenge Cup on April, finishing as runner-up of group D.

The national team had started close camp training from Friday, only five days ahead of the match. The coach, however, claims that the training is sufficient. "The training is not insufficient. Once you put the team that is fit in a system, long term training is not necessary," Roberts said, adding that his players were fit as they were busy in the domestic league.

Among 25 players called for the closed camp, Robert dropped Jawalakhel Youth Club´s midfielder Bishal Rai while he had already excluded Manang Marshyangdi Club´s (MMC) forward Santosh Sahukhala alleging him of violating discipline. "Rai is young and talented player and he will be included in the U-19 national team. I have talked to him," said Roberts.

For the first time, four goalkeepers have been included in the list of final 23 players with MMC´s Bishal Shrestha as the new face. Likewise, Mega Three Star midfielder Yogesh Gurung is also a new face in the national squad.

"The decision to exclude Sahukhala from the squad was mine and ANFA has nothing to do with it. Sahukhala can be included in the team in next stage of qualifiers," stated Roberts.

"This time we will try to score more goals," Roberts, whose side scored only one goal during the Challenge Cup qualifiers off the three matches played, said.

The coach also hinted of no change in the defense lineup and custodian from that of the Challenge Cup. The defense lineup consists of Sagar Thapa, Rohit Chand and Sandeep Rai while Kiran Chemjong is the custodian. He is also in the mood to field midfielder Shiva Shrestha in the starting lineup on Wednesday. "Shrestha is a talented and hard working player. His distribution ability is fantastic," Roberts said.

Shrestha and Anil Ojha were barred from the Challenge Cup squad at the last moment after they got involved in a brawl with teammates after consuming alcohol. But both of them were called in the camp for World Cup qualifiers.


Goalkeepers: Kiran Chemjong, Ritesh Thapa, Bishal Shrestha, Bikash Malla
Defenses: Rohit Chand, Sagar Thapa, Biraj Maharjan, Rabin Shrestha, Bikash Singh Chhetri, Deepak Bhusal, Sandip Rai
Midfielders: Nirajan Khadka, Bijay Gurung, Bhola Silwal, Anil Ojha, Shiva Shrestha, Yogesh Gurung, Jagjeet Shrestha,
Forwards: Jumanu Rai, Anil Gurung, Bharat Khawas, Ganesh Lawati, Sujal Shrestha.

We´ll put up a good show: Timor coach

East Timor´s Brazilian coach Antonio Carlos Viera said that his side will try to put up a good performance against Nepal in the qualifiers. The 55-year-old Brazilian made such comment upon the team´s arrival at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Monday.

Viera said that his team has prepared well for the matches. "We have prepared for the event for the last three months and the team is now well set," he added.
The coach, however, said they have never faced Nepal before and therefore don´t know how it plays.

The last time East Timor played an international match was a friendly against Indonesia in 2010. On that occasion, East Timor was defeated 6-0. The South East Asian country has not won any of the 10 international matches it has played from October 2007 till date.

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