Nepali eves hope to go one better this time

KATHMANDU, NOV 03 – Nepali women footballers are hoping to erase their bitter memories of twice going down in the SAFF Women’s Championship finals by finally clinching the title in the third attempt.

To make that dream a reality, Nepal coach Kumar Katuwal is looking for ways to get the better of India this time around when the third edition of the tournament kicks off in Lahore, Pakistan, on November 11. “It is time for us to erase the runners-up tag by getting hold of the trophy,” the coach said. Nepal lost in final to India 1-0 in 2010 and 3-1 in 2012.

But the key to their success would be the inclusion of Anu Lama, country’s highest goal scorer, in the squad. Apart from the predator’s quality, the experience of Lama, who has 28 international goals to her credit, playing in both the previous editions would also come in handy, according to the Nepal coach.

Unfortunately, the Armed Police Force (APF) Club recruit is currently under 21-day quarantine, a precautionary measure taken by the security organ for their officials who returned from ebola-hit region Liberia. Three more senior players Bhagwati Thapa, Laxmi Poudel and Usha Bhandari are also under quarantine for the same reason.

“Anu (Lama) is the key player and we are hoping she will be able join us in training,” added Katuwal. He also informed that none of the players kept for monitoring have shown any signs of contracting the disease and are set to join the training camp from Tuesday.

“We will take physical and skill tests and only if they pass the hurdles will they be able to fly to Lahore,” added Katuwal, who is already without four seasoned players in Jamuna Gurung, Chandra Bhandari, Pramila Rai and Deepa Chettri.

The coach however is confident that the new players will be able to fill in the shoes of experienced players. “There is a huge competition among the players and I am confident they will be able to take on any country including holders India,” said Katuwal, who has trimmed the squad to 29.

In all eight teams hosts Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka will vie for the championship.

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