x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Nepal U19 side feel pressure to replicate senior success in UAE

Their U19 captain Bhuban Karki concedes his team are in a tough group with India, Pakistan and the UAE

SHARJAH // Bhuban Karki, the captain of Nepal’s Asia Cup Under 19 side, said his team feel under pressure to emulate the success of their senior colleagues on these shores.

Nepal’s national team will make their debut at a global competition at the World Twenty20 in Bangladesh in March, after they qualified from the tournament in the UAE last month.

They are likely to be a welcome addition to tournaments at the top level, given the fact they usually attract swathes of supporters to their matches.

Under the guidance of their outstanding player, captain Paras Khadka, the senior team thrived thanks to the voluble support of thousands of Nepalese expatriates at the World T20 qualifier in November.

Now Karki and his age-group team, who are pitted in a tough group with India, Pakistan and UAE, are tasked with maintaining those standards at the Asia Cup.

“It was very inspiring to see Paras and the national team doing very well here,” Karki said.

“We were excited to see them doing so well in that tournament, but that also creates its own pressure as well. I think we can do something, too.”

Given that Nepal are the lowest ranked side in the tougher of the two pools here, the captain accepts his side’s chances are slim. However, he says there is more to it than results.

“We are here to gain knowledge,” he said. “We want to enjoy the experience and these are very good matches for us to be involved in.

“It is a very big opportunity for us. If the boys on our team do very well they could make it to the senior team.”

pradley@thenational.ae