COVID-hit Nepal eye to level series

Staff Correspondent | Published: 22:52, Nov 16,2020


Nepal football team will look to end their Bangladesh trip on a happy note with a win in the second and final friendly after being forced to arrive in the country with a depleted squad due to a COVID-19 outbreak in their camp.

Nepal had called up 34 players in their preliminary squad for the friendlies but had to come to Bangladesh without three of their regular starters – Amit Tamang, Avishek Rijal and Mikchen Tamang– who all tested positive for COVID-19.

Other than the three starters –Devendra Tamang, Bishal Rai, Sunil Bal and second choice goalkeeper Bikesh Kuthu– also contracted the virus and were dropped from the final 25-man squad that arrived in Bangladesh.

Nepal also arrived without Rohit Chand, who plays for Persija Jakarta in the Indonesia Premier Division League, who got injured during their training camp.

After arriving in Bangladesh, Nepal faced another blow when their defender Ranjit Dhimal tested COVID-19 positive on November 11 and missed the first game.

The under strength Nepal squad suffered a 2-0 defeat in the first friendly match at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on November 13.

After the defeat, Nepal team coach Bal Gopal Maharajan said the outcome could have been different if he could have fielded a full-strength side.

‘We have some regular players with COVID-19 …Today we played without them, otherwise, anything can happen,’ said Maharajan in the post-match press conference.

The Nepal side received some positive news before today’s match, as Ranjit recovered from the infection on Sunday and is expected to play in the second game.

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