- Published on Wednesday, 23 September 2015 14:42
Coach Upendra Man Singh today urged the All Nepal Football Association to give exposure to the junior players who earned the AFC U-16 Championship Finals berth.
Nepal made it to the Finals as the fourth best runners-up team in the qualifiers that concluded in Kyrgyzstan on Sunday. Nepal, who defeated Jordan and Kyrgyzstan, finished second behind Oman, who registered a 3-1 victory to top Group B on head-to-head results after the two teams were tied on six points.
Nepal earned the fourth and final best runners-up spot for the 16-team Finals to be held in India from September 15 to October 2 next year. "These players gave everything in the qualifiers and they have the potential to do even better," said Singh upon the team's arrival at the TIA. "We have more than one year to prepare for the championship and ANFA should come up with certain plans to make these players ready for the tournament," he said.
Singh said all the players put in their 100 per cent efforts in the qualifiers. "We played two high-tempo matches and Jordan and Kyrgyzstan. It was the players' hard work that has earned us the berth in the Finals," said Singh. "The match against the hosts was the best one. To come from two goals down and win the match is a big deal," he added.
Singh said the players looked tired in the match against Oman. "We wanted to win the match and qualify as group winners although a draw was enough for us," he said. "But the players could not play their natural game because all the energy was lost in the first two matches," he said. "But we qualified as the runners-up which is also a big achievement for us."
Singh agreed on the improvement in the level of game. "These players are technically very good and play sensibly unlike in yesteryears when we used to just shoot the ball without seeing the teammates or opponents," he said. "We need to keep the momentum going by providing the team with proper training and exposure through friendly matches against local and international teams," added the former national team skipper.
Uzbekistan, Oman, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Kuwait, Malaysia, DPR Korea, Korea Republic, Australia and Japan earned tickets as 11 group winners, while Vietnam, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates were the first three best runners-up teams. India had an automatic berth in the Finals as hosts, regardless of their result in the qualifiers.
Skipper Manish Karki said the team effort earned the Finals berth. "All the players in the team were equally best in the qualifiers." "The team has potential to produce even better results in future tournaments," he added. National Sports Council Member Secretary Keshab Kumar Bista, ANFA President Ganesh Thapa, General Secretary Dhirendra Pradhan and other officials welcomed the team.