Kathmandu, March 18, 2017: Nepal announced a 20-member squad for the upcoming AFC 2019 Asian Cup Qualifiers match against Philippines on Friday.
The final squad, which was trimmed from 27 members, comprises of three goalkeepers, seven defenders, six midfielders and four forwards. Star forward Nawayug Shrestha pulled out of the qualifiers as he is nursing left knee injury that he sustained during a domestic knockout tournament recently. Veteran forward Anil Gurung failed to make the final cut.
Nepal will travel to Philippines in what will their first match of the Group ‘F’ to be held at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila. Apart from Philippines, Nepal are drawn against Tajikistan and Yemen in the final round of qualifying tournament to be played over home and away basis.
The 24-team qualifier, which has been divided into six pools, offers 12 berths for the finals scheduled for January 5, 2019 kickoff in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The 12 teams will join defending champions Australia, China, Iraq, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Thailand, Uzbekistan and hosts UAE in the finals.
Apart from Nepal, Jordan, Oman, Philippines, Bahrain, Kyrgyzstan, North Korea, India, Palestine, Tajikistan, Vietnam, Hong Kong, Turkmenistan, Maldives, Lebanon, Yemen, Afghanistan, Chinese Taipei, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Cambodia and Bhutan are the teams in the final qualifying round.
After playing away to Philippines, Nepal will host home games against Yemen on June 13 and Tajikistan on September 5 in Kathmandu. They then travel to Tajikistan on October 10 away match before hosting Philippines on November 14. Nepal round up their qualifying campaign with a game away to Yemen. Yemen can host Nepal at a neutral venue due to political reasons.