Meet Tribhuvan Army FC, Bengaluru FC’s rivals in AFC Cup Preliminary Round 2 clash

2018-19 Hero Indian Super League (Hero ISL) champions Bengaluru FC will take on Tribhuvan Army FC on April 14 in their AFC Cup Preliminary Round 2 clash after the Nepal-based outfit beat Sri Lanka Police SC 5-1 on Wednesday. Nawayug Shrestha scored a brace, while Santosh Tamang, Tanka Basnet and Sudil Rai scored one goal each to complete the rout for the Nepalese club. Ahead of their next game against the Blues at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim (Goa), let’s take a look at the Kathmandu-based club in terms of their recent performances, some key players as well as their head coach.

Also known as: Nepal Army Club

Home stadium: Dashrath Stadium

Overview:

Tribhuvan Army FC represents the Nepal Army in the Martyr’s Memorial 'A' Division League, which is the country’s top-flight football competition. One of the top teams in Nepal at present, Tribhuvan Army FC have no foreign players in their squad. After 2019-20 champions Machhindra Football Club failed to obtain their AFC club licence, second-placed Nepal Army Club made it to the AFC Cup Preliminary Round 1 clash against the Sri Lankan club – first appearance in nearly a decade for a Nepalese club in continental competition. It may be noted that the Nepal Army Club got their AFC club licence only after introducing quite a few changes to their charter.

Key players:

Nawayug Shrestha (Forward)

The 31-year-old forward is best known for his exploits with the national team. In 2016, Nawayug Shrestha was the top scorer in the Bangabandhu Gold Cup in Bangladesh, which Nepal won with the striker scoring four goals in the tournament. The same year, he was also part of the side that won the AFC Solidarity Cup. Nawayug scored six goals for Nepal Army Club in the 2019-20 season and played a big role in their finish in the top-2.

Bharat Khawas (Forward)

Tribhuvan Army FC skipper, Bharat Khawas has been a part of the outfit for almost a decade now. The 29-year-old was named the best forward in the Martyr's Memorial ‘A-Division’ League in the 2018-19 season after scoring seven goals. He picked up the award last season too. He also has more than 50 international appearances to his name.

Head coach: Nabin Neupane

Nabin Neupane is a former Nepal international who has been in charge of the Tribhuvan Army FC for last two seasons. He started his managerial career at Manang Marshyangdi though. After leading the Nepal Army Club to fourth in the 2018-19 season, Neupane led the club to a second-place finish in 2019-20, just two points behind champions Machhindra FC, who beat the them 1-0 in their last match to claim the trophy. The 41-year-old head coach has done well in the game against the Sri Lankan club but against Bengaluru FC, one of the powerhouses in the Hero ISL, he and his players will have to do a lot more in order to achieve a similar result.

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