POST TIME: 12 September, 2018 01:09:02 AM
Four semifinalists eye to play final
SAFF last four matches to be played today
Sports Reporter

Four semifinalists eye to play final

Indian footballers stretch at Sheikh Jamal Dhanmondi Club ground in the capital yesterday ahead of their SAFF Suzuki semifinal tie against Pakistan today. BFF Photo

All the four semifinalists’ coaches and captains are eyeing to play the final of the ongoing SAFF Suzuki Cup Football Championship when Nepal will take on Maldives in the first and  India will face Pakistan  in the second.

All the two semifinal matches will take place at the Bangabandhu National Stadium with the first match will be held at 4 pm and the second at 7pm.

Bal Gopal Maharjan, coach of Nepal, who thinks they are the favourites against the Maldives and will field a fresh striker, said, “Tomorrow will be a new striker, Nepal never played in the final of the SAFF but could reach only in the semifinal. So this time it is another opportunity for us to move into the final.”

“Yes, obviously I am confident, as my captain said, we are confident but not over confident about to win the match. We developed match by match, so in the semifinal boys will perform better,” replied to a query.

Bal Gopal Maharjan, former national star of Nepal, replying to another query said, “Might be their would be change if necessary in the tomorrow’s match, but my substitute line also very strong, they are capable to score goals, I have belief on them.”

Bal Gopal, who thinks, Nepal is favourites in the match, said Yes, of course, we are favourites, I have confidence on my boys, they will score more goals tomorrow.”

“I don’t fully believe on luck, only 10 percent luck, you have to dedication and have to work hard,” said Bal Gopal, said replying to the query when Maldives qualified in the final after winning by toss.

Segrt Peter Hrvatsko, coach of Maldives said that he was surprised and excited after winning the toss, when they moved into the last fours having the toss favour.

“We are ready to take on Nepal, they are very strong side, they have very good quality players, but we will try our best to go to final.”

Captain of Maldives, Mohammed Mujthaaz said, “Thanks God, we qualified in the semifinal. We are ready to play the match and will try our best.”

“I have to give Nepal some complements, they are very speedy, we have some injury problem in the team.

“What happened in the past we don't care about it we want focus on this game. I advise the boys not lose their focus from the game. In 1982, Italy was also in odd position in the group stage but they won the World Cup, so nobody knows what will happen,” said Segrt Peter Hrvatsko, Yugoslavia born German coach.

The assistant coach of India Venkatesh Shanmugam said, “India-Pakistan match is always exciting, they always seat on rivals, it will be very competitive match we will try to do good result. We don’t think we are favourites.”

“We have four players from Under-20, rest of the players are Under-23 but we are here with the target of SAFF title,” said Venkatesh.

Pakistan coach Jose Norgueira of Brazil said, “I am really excited to qualify in the semifinal, very important match, all teams of semifinals are good, I have no pressure, India are higher ranking then us, we do hope to good show in the game.”

Pakistan coach also gave tribute to Indian team when he said, “Pakistan never played in the final, India are seven times champions, the synchronies of Indian team is very good, they have long time preparation.”

This will be the 24th meeting between India and Pakistan when in their previous 23 times, India won 10 times and Pakistan could manage only three times and rest of 10 matches were drawn.