NEPAL



Nepal will look to progress beyond the semi-final stage for the first time in SAFF Suzuki Cup history in Bangladesh this year.

Drawn in Group A, Nepal will kick off the competition against Pakistan on 4th September, and will have an idea of what their opponents will bring as they have been drawn in the same Group as Pakistan in the Asian Games.

The Bal Gopal Maharjan-managed side will also have a few graduates from the side that claimed the SAFF Championship, Under-19s, in 2015. Twenty-year-old Bimal Gharti Magar, who was the captain of that winning team, is one of those players. He is the youngest ever Nepalese international having debuted at the tender age of 15, and he has gone on to score eight times for the senior side.

Magar will definitely play an important role for his nation, along with Ananta Tamang, who was his deputy at Under 19 level. They will look up to experienced players Rohit Chand, Minerva Punjab, goalkeeper Kiran Chemjong, and team captain and the most experienced member, defender Biraj Maharjan ― who has represented his country 65 times.

Although Nepal has not won a competitive match since November 2016, manager Maharjan will hope his young side can produce its best form in the tournament. However, the two times Bangladesh has hosted the SAFF Suzuki Cup, Nepal has failed to progress past the group stage.

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