KATHMANDU, Sept 8: Nepali women football team aiming to claim its maiden Women´s SAFF Championship title will open its campaign by taking on Pakistan on Saturday in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
During the third encounter between the two teams, runner up Nepal will look forward to giving continuity to its dominance over the South Asian rival.
In the previous two meetings, Nepal had defeated the Pakistani side with a huge margin. Nepal had defeated Pakistan 7-0 during the 11th South Asian Games in Bangladesh in 2010.
Nine months later, Nepal had another big win over Pakistan during the first edition of the SAFF Championship held in Dhaka. On the occasion, Nepal had defeated Pakistan 12-0.
Rather than scoring numerous goals, Nepal´s coach Kishor KC is looking for three points and beautiful performance from his side. "We have arrived here not to shower goals but to earn full three points. I would be satisfied with the team if it earns a small margin win, KC said.
KC also revealed that his side will play aggressively from the beginning. KC is likely to come up with 4-3-3 formation against Pakistan. "All the departments of team are equally efficient and balanced. I hope this will help us play maintaining our own style."
Nepal´s skipper Jamuna Gurung who has 17 international goals under her belt opines that the first match of the campaign will be vital for setting up the team. "We have already played with the team," Gurung said, adding, "We are confident of beating them."
Pakistani coach Mohumad Rasid said that his team was ready to face the Nepali side despite unpleasant past records. "Though we have lost previous matches with a big margin, our team is capable of throwing a tough challenge to Nepal," said Rashid adding, "We know Nepal is a good side but we have our plans."
In another match of the day, Afghanistan will face Maldives.
India, Sri Lanka off to flying start
Defending champion India and host Sri Lanka made a flying start in the Second SAFF Women´s Championship with comfortable victories.
In the opening match played on Thursday, India edged past Bangladesh 3-0 with all goals coming in the second half. India opened the score in the 64th minute through Kamala Devi and doubled tally in the 77th minute through Bembem Devi. Alochana Devi sealed the victory during the last minute of match.
In another match, host Sri Lanka thumped Bhutan 4-0 with two goals in either halves. Niluska Kumari put the team ahead in the fourth minute and Malisa Nilin piled more pressure with the second goal in the 21st minute.
Chalani Kumari Eakanayake made it 3-0 12 minutes into second half while Prabind Maduki Parera sealed comprehensive victory six minutes from time.