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Abdullah Almutairi sets high standards for Nepal

Kathmandu: Newly minted head coach Abdullah Almutairi is confident Nepal can advance to the third round of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 and lift the SAFF Cup crown as well.

Almutairi, who has replaced Bal Gopal Maharjan, takes charge of Nepal as part of a development partnership between the Qatar Football Association and the All Nepal Football Association.

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The 39-year-old Kuwaiti national believes the gap between the South Asian sides is not huge and winning the SAFF Cup in September is within Nepal’s grasp.

"We will play beautiful football in a 4-3-3 formation. Our ambition will be to make it to the third round of the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers 2023 and win the SAFF Championship," said Almutairi.

Nepal are riding high, having defeated Bangladesh 2-1 to lift the Three Nations Cup 2021 last week.

In the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 in June, Almutairi’s charges are fourth in Group B with three matches to play.

"If we win, I will be responsible and same is the case with defeat. But drastic change is not possible overnight in football. It takes time," said Almutairi, who watched the Nepal players’ performance during the Three Nations Cup.

"There are many talented players in the team and they could bring happiness to Nepali peoples' faces."

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