SAFF Championship to kick off today, Nepal to face Maldives

Photo: ANFA

NL Today

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Kathmandu: With curtains about to come off the SAFF Championship 2021 on Friday, Nepal has completed all preparations for the tournament.

Nepal will begin their SAFF Championship campaign against hosts and defending champions the Maldives on Friday and the Nepali side believe they are ready to get the tournament going and hopefully get their hands on the trophy for the first time.

Speaking in the pre-match press conference in Male on Thursday, Assistant Coach Kiran Shrestha said the Maldives will be one tough team against Nepal. “They are a good team and the defending champions. Also, they are playing on the home pitch. They will be very hard for us to play against them,” said Shrestha.

When asked about which teams were favorites for the tournament, Shrestha said India and Maldives were the teams to beat. “India has won it seven times, the Maldives twice,” he said.

Shrestha added preparations for the Nepali side have been good and the friendlies and closed camp will help them in the tournament.

Nepal’s Captain Kiran Chemjong said they were ready to put up a fight against the opposition teams. “Maldives will have home advantage and home fans. We respect all the fans but the advantage doesn’t matter to us. We are here to fight on the pitch for results,” said Chemjong.

The game between Nepal and the Maldives will kick off at 9 pm local time. The opening match of the tournament will be played between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh at 4 pm.

Nepal had played two friendly games against India―drawing one and losing the second―in Kathmandu and also underwent a closed camp in Doha, Qatar.