'We were hoping to play India because Nepal has home crowd behind it' - Afghanistan coach Yousef Kargar

Afghanistan coach Yousuf Kargar looks forward to semi-final clash with Nepal while also remarking that he would have preferred to face India...

Afghanistan head coach Yousef Kargar had hoped to avoid facing Nepal until the final, however having finished second to Maldives in Group B of the SAFF Championship 2013, he had no choice but to gear up to face the Gorkhalis.

Talking about the upcoming semi-final clash, the Lions of Khorasan coach commented, “Football is a game in which you can’t avoid your opposition. We were hoping to play India because Nepal has home crowd behind it. Now we face Nepal, and we are okay with it.”

Giving his views on what he thought of the Gorkhalis’ performances so far, he opined, “Nepal is very strong technically and have good speed. We will try to take care of their strong points, moreover it’s their home


stadium, which is another positive for them. “

Regarding the game against Maldives, Kargar mentioned, “Today we are satisfied with our game though we missed chances. I think we played a good technical game and played good possession football.”

One big negative though, was the patchy form of star striker Belal Arezou, who had another ordinary game, before being substituted. The Afghanistan coach though, was hopeful that the player would soon return to his best and stated, “Every player has his up’s and down’s. Moreover Belal had an injury and he has only recently recovered. Hopefully like last semi-final (in 2011), Arezou shall score the winner.”

The coach was also happy to be playing at the Dasarath Rangasala stadium, after having had to play the last two games at Halchowk.

“This ground is much better than the Halchowk ground, and many of our players have played here previously. It was a good chance for Maldives, as they played their third game on the same venue.”

When asked if he would like a repeat of the final of 2011 SAFF Championship, he revealed, “It’s a game, we have to first beat Nepal to reach final, and whether it be India or Maldives there, we will be okay with it.”


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