Nepal faced a challenging defeat against Kuwait, the favorites, with a score of 3-1 in the opening match of the South Asian Federation Football Championship held in Bengaluru, India. This outcome has dampened Nepal’s chances of winning the tournament, as they had a poor start.
Considering the strengths and performance of their opponents, the result was expected. Despite the loss, the 3-1 scoreline isn’t too disappointing for a team that entered the championship without adequate preparation.
Before the match, there was speculation about whether Nepal could surprise everyone. However, it became clear that this was not the case based on the match’s outcome. Kuwait, a strong Middle Eastern team, lived up to expectations and dominated the game both technically and tactically. They controlled the majority of the ball possession, constantly pressuring Nepal’s defense and scoring three goals throughout the match.
Although the first half performance from Nepal was lackluster and uninspiring, they showed improvement in the second half. The coach seemingly motivated the players to be more aggressive and executed successful counter-attacks, creating several scoring opportunities. Nepal managed to score a goal through striker Anjan Bista, marking his 12th international goal.
Now, Nepal finds themselves in a do-or-die situation against India in their second match. If they suffer another defeat, their tournament journey will come to an end. India, who defeated Pakistan 4-0, appears determined to defend their title. Nepal will need to prepare a strong game plan and be highly competitive to have a chance against India’s impressive and cohesive style of play, led by their captain Sunil Chhetri, who scored a hat-trick in their previous match.
The coach has two days to strategize and instill a winning mentality in the team. It is crucial for the players to maintain composure, focus on their strengths, and approach the match with a positive mindset. They must avoid complacency, mediocrity, and loose play against the formidable Indian side if they want to avoid a similar fate as Pakistan and achieve victory.