Nepal, Bangladesh ready to lock horns in friendlies

Prasun Sangroula

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Kathmandu: Nepal and Bangladesh are all set to play against each other in friendly matches slated for September 9 and 12.

Speaking at a pre-match press conference in the capital on Wednesday, Bangladeshi Coach Gollam Robani Chottani thanked the All Nepal Football Association for hosting the game despite the pandemic.

“It will be an important game for upcoming 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers,” said Chhotani. “We hope for a competitive match.”

Chottani added that the absence of Nepali forward Sabitra Bhandari will provide a sort of relief to the Bangladeshi team. Bhandari is currently undergoing treatment in Qatar for injuries to her anterior cruciate ligament.

Captain of Bangladesh Women’s Football Team Sabina Khatun said that they are ready for the clash. “As most of our team members are aged between 18-25, we all have a very good bonding,” she said.

Nepal’s Coach Gary Phillip said that playing during the pandemic is an opportunity for them, adding that the match will a crucial to prepare for the upcoming qualifiers. “Bhandari’s injury is a big blow for us. We are thinking of playing in a different way. We have the strongest 23-member squad with seven new faces, said.

The national women’s team is preparing for the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers. Nepal have been drawn alongside the Philippines and Hong Kong in Group ‘F’ for the tournament to be played in Uzbekistan.

According to the latest FIFA rankings, Nepal Women’s Team stands at 101st position while Bangladesh has been ranked 137th.