Posted 13 January 2003 - 09:33 AM
Nepal aims for goals galore against Bhutan
The loss in their opening match against hosts Bangladesh on Saturday has left Nepal with a daunting task.
Nepal starts as firm favourites against the South Asian minnows Bhutan on Monday, but securing all three points alone would not be sufficient. Anything less than a margin of seven goals would leave the team in a tight corner.
Bhutan, since being affiliated to FIFA in 2000, have so far played only nine games without a win. They were trounced 6-0 by Maldives in their first ever appearance in the SAFF Championship.
And despite the reverse in the match against the hosts, Nepali team hasn’t lost hopes as yet. "I am confident that we can still progress through to the knockout stage," Yukee Heung, Nepal team coach, said confidently. "I don’t think there should be any difficulty putting past seven goals against Bhutan."
But the Dutch coach to Bhutan national team, Henk Walk, looks determined to make it difficult for Nepal.
"From yesterday’s game, I’ve noticed that Nepal is a strong team. But we would try hard to keep the margin as low as possible," Walk said, giving example of friendly matches they had against Bangladesh.
Bhutan were blanked 5-0 by powerful Bangladesh in the first match but put in a spirited performance in the next one to narrow the deficit down to 1-0.
Given the very short time - two weeks – the Nepal coach Heung was given to prepare the national squad for the event, he seems to be satisfied with the performance of Nepal.
Short of match practice and knowledge about the Bangladeshi side, Nepal entered the match opting defensive strategy and later changed the gear to adopt more attacking approach.
"We had several chances in that session," Heung noticed. "But despite all the hard work, our attackers failed to capitalise on them."
For the Bhutan game, there will be some changes in the side that started against Bangladesh yesterday, Heung informed.
He said that Hari Khadka, who is still trying to regain full fitness after injury, would be placed in the bench to save him for Wednesday’s vital game against Maldives. He is also unimpressed over the performance of Khadka’s strike partner Nirajan Rayamajhi but he has not decided if he would be sidelined on Monday.
He also complained that some of the players did not follow what they had been asked for.
"I’ve repeatedly cautioned them not to go for off-side trap," said the Korean coach. "Sadly, they did not pay attention and we paid a heavy penalty as the Thai linesman failed to spot the offside which allowed Bangladesh an opportunity to score the decisive goal."
But Raju Shakya, the assistant coach, insists Nepal, which has a history of gathering pace after a slow start, would stage a come-back. In the SAARC Gold Cup held in Sri Lanka in 1995, Nepal went down to Bangladesh but fought their way back to reach the last four.
"We’ll go for the kill to grab all six points from the next two matches," declared the former national team captain. "I feel we can still repeat history."
And if things go to the liking of Nepal in the match against Bhutan, coach Heung says, the team would experiment on new tactics for the important clash with Maldives.
it should be BURMA not Myanmar