Abdullah Almutairi, the head coach of Nepal’s men’s national football team, named a 23-man squad for the upcoming friendly match against Iraq and the remaining three FIFA World Cup Qualifiers matches on Tuesday. Almutairi completed the squad by removing nine players from the preliminary training group of 32.
Six new players have been added to this reshuffled squad, although ten members of the Three Nations Cup-winning team from April have also been retained. Nawayug Shrestha, Santosh Tamang, Pujan Uparkoti, Bikas Khawas, and Suman Aryal have also been called back after missing out on the Three Nations Cup. Suman Lama and Ashish Lama have returned to the team as well.
Almutairi has left out some of the team’s more well-known stars, such as Bharat Khawas and Ranjit Dhimal, in favor of providing opportunities to the young players who performed well in the first season of the Nepal Super League, which ran from April 24 to May 15.
Fresh young players Bishal Sunar, Gautam Shrestha, Kamal Thapa, Ayush Ghalan, Suraj Thakuri, and Manish Dangi have made it to the senior team for the first team.
Let’s get to know each of them a little better:
1. Bishal Sunar (Goalkeeper)
Shrestha was a member of the Pokhara Thunders in the Nepal Super League. He previously played in the A Division League for Jawalakhel Youth Club and the AFC Cup Qualifiers for Tribhuvan Army Football Club. He has also played a friendly match as a part of the national team against Kyrgyzstan’s U-23 team.
In the NSL, he appeared in four of the team’s six games, three of which were full time. His strong showing in the NSL earned him a spot in the national team.
3. Kamal Thapa (Midfielder)
Ghalan, whose name was virtually unknown in domestic football prior to the NSL, won many hearts with his outstanding success in the most recent league. He also played in the Nepal Super League for the Pokhara Thunders. Despite only appearing for six minutes in his debut match, he was named first-choice in the NSL’s final five games.
This season, he played for Khumalatar FC in the B Division League before joining the NSL. He was able to earn a place in the national team in a short period of time.
5. Suraj Thakuri (Midfielder)
Dangi also played in the NSL for Biratnagar City. He previously competed in the C Division League and the SAFF U-18 Championship in Nepal. As a backup, he appeared in all six league games for Biratnagar City FC in the NSL. Despite not making the starting lineup, he performed admirably when given the chance.
He can play in any position, but his primary position is as a winger. He had previously played for Khalibari Football Club in the C Division League. When Dangi, who had been living in South Korea, came to Nepal to apply for citizenship, he was a member of the C Division League.