Former U-19 players join U-20 closed camp

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By A Staff Reporter,Kathmandu, July 10: More than half of the players called for the closed camp of the national U-20 men’s team are the ones who were selected for the closed camp of the SAFF U-19 Championship in September 2023.

The All Nepal Football Association (ANFA), on Monday, called 40 players for the closed camp as the Association is preparing the squad for the upcoming SAFF U-20 Men’s Championship and AFC U20 Asian Cup Qualifiers slated for August and September respectively.

Of the 40 players, 21 are the players who were in the 35-member closed camp for the SAFF U-19 championship last year. Moreover, over a dozen of the 21 players were in the squad that participated in the SAFF U-19 tournament. Nepal lost the tournament in the semi-final against India then. 

Samir Tamang, Yogendra Karki and Nirajan Dhami are the forwards who are continuing their journey from U-19 to U-20. Moreover, Samir has also debuted for the senior team in the World Cup Asia Qualifiers second round when Nepal faced Bahrain in the second-leg.

Midfielders in the SAFF U-19 Championship, Kushal Deuba, Lachu Thapa, Abinash Syangtan, Anil Bomjan, Harish Raj Bhatta and Dhan Singh BK are in the U-20 closed camp. 

Likewise, Nepal’s defenders during SAFF U-19, Semanta Thapa, Aayush Timsina, Ashwin Ghorasainee and Ninsang Parangden Limbu have been called for the closed camp as well. 

Goalkeepers Jiyarath Sheikh, Rubin Bogati and Amit Tamata are also in the squad alongside Bishal KC and Krishal Moktan. KC and Moktan are two of the 19 players selected after district, provincial and central selections.

Some other players who were in the closed camp of the U-19 team last year and been selected for the U-20 closed camp include Yogendra Karki, Saroj Darlami, Ram Thapa, Sujat Dangol, Niraj Karki and Krishal Moktan. Niraj was in the reserves during the SAFF U-19 Championship.

The team will be trained by head coach Urjan Shrestha, assistant coach Sashindra Dhimal and goalkeeping coach Raju Singh. 

Nepal is hosting the SAFF U-20 Men’s Championship in August. Similarly, Nepal faces defending champion Uzbekistan alongside Bahrain, Chinese Taipei (host) and Cambodia at AFC U20 Asian Cup Qualifiers in September. 

Citing that regular players have been called for closed camp, the ANFA has expressed the U-20 team to challenge for the SAFF Championship and qualify for the AFC Asian Cup.

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