Sabitra and Preeti are unlikely to play in Lebanon


Kathmandu, May 31: Nepali women’s team prolific striker Sabitra Bhandari aka Samba and mid-field maestro Preeti Rai are two of the 30 players who have been called for the closed training camp of the national women’s football team for the upcoming Four Nations Cup in Lebanon. 

The closed training camp for the national women’s football team is set to start on June 2 at the ANFA Complex. Head Coach Rajendra Tamang has called a 30-player preliminary squad for the closed camp on Wednesday. 

The participation of Samba and Preeti however is not yet certain for the Lebanon tour according to Coach Tamang. 

Sabitra is currently associated with En Avant Guingamp, a Division 1 French Club. Her contract with the French Club could hinder her participation in the tournament, the coach hinted.

Talking to The Rising Nepal, coach Tamang said, “Sabitra recently arrived in Nepal. The new season of the league in France will start in September. However, we are unaware of several conditions on her contract with the French club that will allow/disallow her to play in the upcoming tournament for Nepal. Thus, we will discuss it with experts when she arrives at the closed camp on June 2.”

Sabitra and Preeti had also missed the final of the WAFF Championship against Jordan in February. Sabitra could not play in the final because it was out of the FIFA window for the clubs and she had to return to France. 

On the other hand, Preeti was injured in the semi-final against Lebanon. Upon the team’s return, Preeti was received at the Tribhuvan International Airport in a wheelchair.

Mid-field maestro Preeti has been recuperating from the injury she sustained in Jordan. Informing of the improvement of Preeti, coach Tamang said, “Preeti’s health has improved. She shared the desire to be at the closed camp. However, she has not completely recovered. She will be training under proper guidance. It is not sure if Preeti will be completely fit by the tournament in Lebanon kicks off.”

While Lebanon’s tournament’s participants and fixtures have not been disclosed yet; it has been speculated to be organised within June.   

“The team will be training for a possible tournament in Lebanon. The tournament’s date and other participants have not been revealed yet. The training has been started to ensure we are ready when called,” said coach Tamang.

The capabilities showcased by the players throughout the tournament led Lebanon, the team which lost to Nepal in the WAFF Championship semi-final, to invite Nepal to West Asia. Nepal had reached the final while debuting in the WAFF Championship.

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