KATHMANDU, May 2: Nepal Police Club (NPC), which lifted the British Gurkha Cup last week, is the weakest ever NPC team according to its coach Birat Krishna Shrestha because important players including captain Jumanu Rai are injured and inform striker Bharat Khawas left the team recently.
However, Nepali football fans have high expectations from the National League champion in the AFC President Cup qualifying round to be held in Cambodia from May 5 to May 9.
NPC left Kathmandu on Wednesday carrying the burden of expectations as well as worries.
"I´m not afraid but worried regarding the AFC President Cup," said coach Shrestha. "We have limited number of players and we don´t have options to substitute in certain positions. Most of the players in the playing set are injured," he added.
If All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) President Ganesh Thapa is to be believed, team spirit and tactically sound coach are important to win football matches rather than having only star players.
"Nepal Police Club has proven its team spirit by lifting the British Gorkha Cup last week in Kathmandu and it has a very sound coach Birat Krishna. I´m confident that NPC will succeed in qualifying for the final round," said Thapa, while biding farewell to the team amidst a program at the National Police Academy, Maharajgunj on Wednesday.
ANFA President Thapa and Surendra Thike, deputy managing director Nepal Telecom that sponsors NPC, bade farewell to the NPC team led by AIG Kiran Kumar Gautam on Wednesday.
During the farewell program, Thike expressed his delights for sponsoring Nepali league champion and said that the Telecom would continue the sponsorship in future.
NPC will take on Dordoi from Kyrgyzstan in its first match and then clash against home club Phnom Penh Crown FC and Yeedzin FC of Bhutan during the qualifying rounds. If skipper Rai is unable to recover from injury in time for the game, midfielders Yogesh Shrestha and Bhola Silwal will take the charge of strike duties for NPC.
However, NPC, which reached the final in 2007 and semifinal in 2008 edition of the tournament, is upbeat regarding the qualifying rounds. "The first match against Dordoi is vital for us. If we win or succeed in holding Dordoi, we have good chances of qualifying for the final round," said skipper Rai.