Abdullah Almutairi, the head coach of Nepal’s men’s national football team, named a 23-man squad for the upcoming friendly match against Iraq and the remaining three FIFA World Cup Qualifiers matches on Tuesday. Almutairi completed the squad by removing nine players from the preliminary training group of 32.
Six new players have been added to this reshuffled squad, although ten members of the Three Nations Cup-winning team from April have also been retained. Nawayug Shrestha, Santosh Tamang, Pujan Uparkoti, Bikas Khawas, and Suman Aryal have also been called back after missing out on the Three Nations Cup. Suman Lama and Ashish Lama have returned to the team as well.
Almutairi has left out some of the team’s more well-known stars, such as Bharat Khawas and Ranjit Dhimal, in favor of providing opportunities to the young players who performed well in the first season of the Nepal Super League, which ran from April 24 to May 15.
Fresh young players Bishal Sunar, Gautam Shrestha, Kamal Thapa, Ayush Ghalan, Suraj Thakuri, and Manish Dangi have made it to the senior team for the first team.
1. Bishal Sunar (Goalkeeper)
Sunar has played for various national youth teams, such as the under-16 and under-18 national teams. He was also called for training for the Three Nations Cup in the national camp but failed to make it to the final squad. Still, his participation in that training opened a new opportunity; he was listed in the A category for the NSL and thus was contracted by FC Chitwan for Rs 200,000.
He played five games for the club. In his first NSL match itself, he saved a penalty from Lalitpur City Fc’s captain Anjan Bista. But, he was sent off in the fifth match, which was against Pokhara Thunders, with a red card.
In the past, he had played for Brigade Boys Club in the A Division League. Similarly, he also played for Manang Marsyangdi in the Aaha Rara Gold Cup in Pokhara.
2. Gautam Shrestha (Defender)
Ghalan, whose name was virtually unknown in domestic football prior to the NSL, won many hearts with his outstanding success in the most recent league. He also played in the Nepal Super League for the Pokhara Thunders. Despite only appearing for six minutes in his debut match, he was named first-choice in the NSL’s final five games.
This season, he played for Khumalatar FC in the B Division League before joining the NSL. He was able to earn a place in the national team in a short period of time.
5. Suraj Thakuri (Midfielder)
Suraj Thakuri played for Biratnagar City FC in the NSL. Entering the ground as a substitute in the opening game, he played the last three games as a first-choice full-time midfielder. His performance overshadowed many great players in the NSL.
Before this league, he played for Jawalakhel Youth Club in the A Division League .