Nepal’s national football team, which is preparing to play against powerful Australia for the World Cup qualifiers, is playing in the national stadium after six years through a friendly match in a changed situation due to Covid.
Captain Kiran Chemjong, who is playing in the I-League in India, and vice-captain Rohit Chand, who is enjoying in the Indonesian league, have returned to Nepal for the ‘Three Nations Cup’.
The Three Nations Cup kicks off on Tuesday with a match between the youth teams of Bangladesh and Kyrgyzstan.
The competition to be held at Dasharath Stadium in Kathmandu is considered to be important for Nepali football.
A Long Wait
If the schedule for the 2022 World Cup had not changed due to the coronavirus infection, Nepal would be playing Australia, Jordan and Taipei in Kathmandu now.
But the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) decided to play all those games in Kuwait.
The All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) is orginizing a Three Nations Cup football after the attempt to organize the World Cup selection match in Kathmandu failed.
Nepal, which last played India in Kathmandu in 2015, is getting a chance to play at home after six years.
“I haven’t played in front of a home crowd for a long time. So we are very eager to play in the stadium, ”said vice-captain Rohit Chand.
ANFA President Karma Chhiring Sherpa said, “No matter how hard we tried, the games scheduled in the stadium were being canceled due to various circumstances. Finally, from the Three Nations Cup, we are waiting for the players to play in the stadium and fulfill the desire of the spectators to watch football. ”
Despite being a friendly competition, this competition is recognized as an international sport.
ANFA’s plan to host the World Cup Qualifier 2022 and Asian Cup 2023 in Nepal was repeatedly blocked.
FIFA did not approve the stadium in Kartik last year, saying the stadium could not be rebuilt at first.
Therefore, Nepal was forced to go to neutral ground Bhutan and play with Kuwait.
The stadium was ready during the last South Asian Games. But then the games were stopped due to Kovid’s risk.
After a year of waiting, FIFA decided to play World Cup qualifiers. Nepal is scheduled to play Taipei on April 13 and Australia on April 3.
However, the rest of the Group B match in Nepal was shifted to Kuwait saying that the risk of coronavirus infection had increased again.
In order not to waste the preparations made in the stadium, ANFA created an opportunity to organize international football in Nepal after 12 years.
In 2009, ANFA hosted the Prime Minister’s Cup, which included Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
Preparations for the World Cup
Organizers Nepal and Bangladesh have said that the tournament will be a part of the World Cup qualifiers.
Nepal coach Bal Gopal Maharjan says, “We have been preparing for the World Cup qualifiers for three months. This competition will be an important part of that preparation. ”
Therefore, Maharjan argues that the result is not important. The Bangladesh coach has also expressed the same intention.
Nepal’s first match will be against Kyrgyzstan’s youth team on Thursday.
With a ticket price of Rs 700 and Rs 1,500, ANFA believes that notable spectators will come to watch the competition.