When Nepal’s plane took off for Malaysia to take part in the AFC Solidarity Cup, the team was stacked with strikers.
With Anil, Nawayug, Bimal, Anjan, Suman, Bharat and Ranjan, in the team’s ranks, Nepal had 7 players capable of spearheading the attack.
Although Nepal still have 4 of those players and have added Karna Limbu, they will have to make do without the services of Anil Gurung, Suman Lama and Nawayug Shrestha. Let’s take a look at what their injuries could mean for Nepal’s frontline.
It’s always tough losing guys to injury, especially players who are huge difference makers to the team. Nepal lost Nawayug Shrestha, the man who’s been on fire throughout 2016 for the national team as he spearheaded an attack that delivered the national team a hat-trick of trophies.
Although he’s being replaced by an able striker in Karna, it was Nawayug’s understanding with Bharat Khawas that was crucial in creating goals for Nepal. Of course his performances weren’t up to his usual standards in Malaysia, but his absence must have been definitely felt by Koji while selecting the team.
Suman Lama’s case is different. Although part of the team that was victorious in Malaysia, he was mostly warming the benches and used late on in games as an impact substitution. With Nawayug out with injury, it was his chance to showcase his talents in the starting line-up and it must be very heartbreaking for him to be out injured and miss the Philippines clash.
The biggest name to be cut from the squad has to be Anil Gurung. A long time veteran of the team and the out captain, many had been calling for his axe for some time now. His role was very similar to that of Suman in the squad and it will be his leadership in the dressing room that will be missed the most.
Anil isn’t our best option of getting a goal, but his ability to rise up and get on the end of crosses despite his small stature was unparalleled and he could have been a good option off the bench when in need of a late goal.
After Karna Limbu, Anil’s omission has been the talk of the town since the teams were announced and what we need to keep in mind is Anil has been only cut from the team and not retired and could easily mount a comeback if he impresses Koji in the domestic front.