National football team head coach Johan Kalin today announced the final squad for the upcoming two matches of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Preliminary Competition and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 Qualifiers.
Nepal will begin the Group B campaign with the away match against Kuwait on September 5 before facing Chinese Taipei five days later. Drawn in Group B, Nepal will also face Jordan and Australia in the joint qualifiers of the two tournaments.
Skipper Biraj Maharjan was not considered for selection for the second straight time after he was left out for the friendly match against Malaysian Super League champions, Johor Darul Ta’zim Football Club on Monday. Led by Sujal Shrestha, Nepal faced a 1-0 defeat against the Malaysia club in the one-off match.
Kalin removed two players, goalkeeper Alan Neupane and forward Bimal Rana, from that squad to accommodate star players Kiran Chemjong and Rohit Chand — who ply their trades in foreign leagues.
Chemjong, who had gone to Japan for training and trail with Japanese club, joined fellow glovesmen Bikesh Kuthu and Bishal Shrestha, while seven defenders — Saroj Dahal, Ajit Bhandari, Dinesh Rajbanshi, Ananta Tamang, Devendra Tamang, Rajeen Dhimal and Suman Aryal — retained their places in the national side for the two matches.
Likewise, Chand joined Sunil Bal, Ravi Paswan, Anjan Bista, Sujal Shrestha, Heman Gurung, Bikram Lama, Tej Tamang, Santosh Tamang and Bishal Rai in the midfield, while Bimal Gharti Magar, Abishek Rijal and Nawayug Shrestha remained as the three strikers after the exclusion of Bimal Rana.