Kathmandu: The Nepali national women’s football team, which reached Uzbekistan with the goal of playing in the Women’s Asian Cup for the fourth time, lost to the Philippines in the first match.
In Group F, Nepal took the lead at the beginning but could not hold on to the last goal and scored two goals.
Nepal is playing against Hong Kong in a group of only three teams. Nepal needs a clear victory today to maintain the possibility of being selected in the Asian Cup by becoming the group winner.
Today’s game is important for Nepal as only the group winner will be selected in next year’s Asian Cup.
Playing with Hong Kong after 32 years
Nepal’s national women’s football team is set to play Hong Kong after 32 years. The Nepali women’s team made its debut in international football in 1986 through the FC Women’s Championship in Hong Kong. In the first match, Nepal lost 1-0 to Hong Kong.
Three years later, Nepal lost 3-0 to Hong Kong in the 1989 Asian Championship. Thirty-two years later, the two teams are facing each other.
When they meet at the JAR Stadium in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on Tuesday, Hong Kong will be aiming to repeat the same result and beat Hong Kong for the first time. The game will start at 3:45 Nepali time.
Though the national team did not beat Hong Kong, Nepal’s APF team defeated Hong Kong 3-1 in a friendly match. Some of the players who played that game are now even in the national team.
Hope to bring good results
Head coach Gary Phillips was disappointed with the Nepali team after losing the first match against the Philippines. Gary, who is also the technical director of ANFA, said that Nepali players lack experience in international matches.
Similarly, injuries of goalkeeper Vimala Chaudhary and defender Puja Rana also affected Nepal.
In the second game, coach Gary also hopes to bring good results. He is trying to say that Nepal will play for victory.
Similarly, captain Renuka Nagarkot said that she scored the goal in the first game as she could not handle it herself and said that she will play in the second game by correcting that weakness.
Nepal’s women’s team had played three Asian Championships in 1986 and 1989, including 1999. Since there was no need to play selection at that time, Nepal had played the Asian Championship directly.
But now we have to play the selection phase. As there is a basis for Asian Cup selection even for the Women’s World Cup, the team not selected in the Asian Cup will be automatically eliminated from the World Cup.
Only if Nepal wins against Hong Kong will it be possible to reach the Asia Cup. In case of a draw or defeat, Nepal will be eliminated from the group stage.
If Nepal beats Hong Kong with good results and Hong Kong also beats the Philippines, all three teams will have the same three points. In this way, Nepal is likely to be in the top spot. But for that, Nepal will have to beat Hong Kong today.
For Hong Kong, as it is the first game, there is still a possibility of selection even if the result is the same. Only the top team in the group will be selected for next year’s Asia Cup in India.