Monday, October 24, 2011

Roberts pulls no punches

Nepalese national coach Graham Roberts (pictured) was pulling no punches when he was asked for his opinion of the Nepal results from their current Asean tour, which roles into Cambodia this week with a friendly match against the Cambodian U-23 team on Friday 28 October at the Olympic Stadium at 6pm. He simply wasn't satisfield with the 4-0 defeat by the Philippines and a 2-0 loss to the Malaysian Olympic team and is expecting a much improved performance against Cambodia before two final tour games in Thailand. Nepal are on tour in order to prepare for the South Asian Football Federation Cup which will be held in India in December. They will also be hosting the finals of the 2012 AFC Challenge Cup in their home country with eight teams competing for the coveted title next March. In qualifying for the finals, Nepal opened up with a 1-0 win over Afghanistan, and although they fell to North Korea by the same score, a goalless draw with Sri Lanka ensured their progress as group runners-up. Cambodia failed to qualify for the finals. Currently ranked at 144 in the FIFA World Rankings, while Cambodia languish at 176, Nepal's steady progress has been enhanced since Graham Roberts took charge at the start of this year. The former Spurs, Rangers, Chelsea and West Brom defender was previously coach with Pakistan before linking up with Nepal. My own memories of Roberts was as a prodigious youngster with Dorchester and Yeovil (a team he later managed) in the Southern League before his career took off on signing for Spurs, with the tough tackling hard man going onto win six caps for England.

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