Nepal and Bangladesh will face each other in the final of the sixth edition of the SAFF Women’s Championship on Monday. The tournament's sixth edition is sure to crown a new winner in tournament history. Ahead of the tournament, both team are aiming to win the title and look confident for their respective title charges.
Speaking at the pre-match press conference on Sunday, Nepal head coach Kumar Thapa again expressed his wish to keep the trophy here in Nepal.
“A new champion will be crowned this time. Everyone knows this and we don't want to miss that opportunity,” coach Thapa said at the pre-match conference. "We don't want to make the fans sad after ninety minutes. The SAFF trophy has in Nepal and we will not let this trophy go out. We want to win this trophy and keep it as champions for two years.
This is Thapa’s second stint as the Nepal women’s national team head coach. In his previous stint, Nepal bowed out of the semifinals in 2016. That was Nepal’s worst finish in tournament history. Nepal have made the final in every other edition and want to one-up their previous record and win the trophy this time.
Thapa also expressed his satisfaction with the performance against India. “We are happy with our performance against India in the semi-final and will try to do better in the final”, said Thapa, who has represented the men’s national team in SAFF tournaments as well. “Our team has the correct strategy, we have done the hard work and the fans are with us. We won’t let that go to waste.”
Thapa also praised the Bangladeshi team at the press conference. He believes that the Bangladesh side is stronger than ever.
“The team energy and spirit of Bangladesh are good and we respect them”, added Thapa. “Bangladesh are a young side, stronger than before. If the weather cooperates, I hope you will see a good game”.
Thapa also informed that Sabitra Bhandari and Manjali Kumari Yonjan are in the process of recovery. Both did not feature in the previous two matches due to dengue infection.
Anjila Tumbapo Subba is captaining Nepal for the first time in this tournament. Injury to regular captain Renuka Nagarkoti opened up the opportunity for Subba to captain the side. Subba also stated her wish to win the title in her captaincy. She believes Nepal are in the final due to teamwork.
“I am glad to reach the final after defeating India for the first time; we are here because of teamwork”, said Subba. “Rather than speaking, we want to show our game on the field."
Nepal have history on their side as well. In three meetings in the SAFF Championship history, Nepal have managed to defeat Bangladesh on all three occasions. But it won’t be easy this time if it was in the past. Bangladesh look to have improved massively and won’t go out without a fight. Nepal, on the other hand, don’t want to disappoint their home fans and will do their all to keep the trophy home.
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