Nepal vs Kuwait SAFF 2023 | Struggling Nepal to face the emerging Asian Giants in SAFF opener | SAFF Championship 2023

The Nepali national football team is facing a strong Kuwait in the first match of the 14th edition of the SAFF men's football competition, which will begin on Thursday in Bengaluru, India. For the first time, Kuwait, which has been invited as an invited country to play in the South Asian regional competition, is in Group A consisting of Nepal, India and Pakistan.

Nepal vs Kuwait head to head:

This will be the 10th meeting between Nepal ranked 174th in FIFA ranking and 143rd ranked Kuwait . Before this, in the 9 matches between these two, Nepal lost 8 matches and 1 match was a draw. The interesting thing is that in the last 4 years only, Nepal has met Kuwait 5 times in various competitions.

The last time Nepal and Kuwait met each other exactly one year ago in the month of June in AFC Asian Cup third qualifier. In that match, Nepal was defeated 3-1. It was the second team Nepal when faced Kuwait in their home crowd as almost a playing set senior players had revolted against the work style of former Kuwaiti coach Abdullah Almutairi.

In the total of 9 matches played so far, Nepal has conceded 34 goals while scoring only 2 goals in Kuwait's goal posts. On average, Nepal has scored almost 4 goals from Kuwait in every match. That's why Kuwait is a much stronger team than Nepal based on FIFA rankings and overall head-to-head results.

Kuwait's run in 1982 FIFA World Cup

Kuwait were the first Arab Asian nation to participate in the 1982 FIFA World Cup history. Kuwait even held 1976 Euro champions Czechoslovakia 1-1 in their first match for first World Cup points. They then lost their next two group matches against France and England and were eliminated.

2 years before participating in the world cup, Kuwait were the winners in 1980 AFC Asian Cup defeating South Korea by 3-0 in the final. Out of 18 Kuwait has been successfully qualifying for the Asian Cup for 10 times.

The 1982 FIFA World Cup remains Kuwait’s only participation in the tournament to date

The downfall of Kuwait after FIFA suspension

Due to the FIFA suspension in 2015 Kuwait were out from the Asian Cup after 8 years since 2011. Almost 2 years FIFA ban caused the downfall in Kuwait football as they even failed to qualify this years AFC Asian Cup 2023 going to be hosted in Qatar.

1982: Nepal vs world cup nation Kuwait

Nepal faced Kuwait for the first time in the Asian Games held in New Delhi, India. At that time, the Nepali football team, which had just started playing international football, suffered a 3-1 defeat against the Kuwaiti team who had played in the 1982 World Cup. YB Ghale, who scored the only goal for Nepal, also became the first Nepali player to score a goal in international football. Later, in the Asian Games of 1986 and 1994, Kuwait and Nepal faced each other face to face. In these two games, Nepal was defeated 5-0 and 8-0.

YB Ghale against Kuwait in 1992 ASIAD (middle)

The historic 2nd goal against Kuwait

In the 2000s, Nepal and Kuwait have been consistently in the same group in both Asian Cup qualifiers and World Cup qualifiers. The last time Nepal and Kuwait met exactly one year ago in the month of June in FC Asian Cup third qualifier.

Due to the dispute between some senior players of the national team and the former Kuwaiti head coach Abdullah Almutairi, the second choice team was fielded on behalf of Nepal in the Asian Cup. In that match, Nepal was defeated by 3-1 against Kuwait. This was his second goal from Nepal after 4 decades against Kuwait. Darshan Gurung, who scored a goal for Nepal, has now fled to Australia.

Kuwait Recent Form:

Talking about the last five matches, Kuwait has been defeating the teams much higher than them in the FIFA rankings. After being failed to to qualify for the last Asian Cup Kuwait, is currently standing themselves as a giant killer in Asian football.

These are the victories of Kuwait in the last 5 games:
3-0 against 86th ranked Zambia
2-1 against 109th ranked Tajikistan
2-0 against the 136th-ranked Philippines
1-1 against 85th ranked Bahrain
1-0 against 72nd ranked UAE

Kuwait form (all competitions)
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D

Nepal Recent Form:

On the other hand, Nepal recently played a 1-0 loss against Philippines ahead of the preparatory friendly against Philippines ending their 5-match unbeaten streak. It was the very Nepal who had not lost a single match since they lost 7-0 against Indonesia in the Asian Cup Qualifier held in June last year.

These are the recent results of Nepal in the last 5 games:
1-0 against 136th ranked Philippines
2-1 against 188th ranked Laos
1-1 against 185th ranked Bhutan
2-0 against 188th ranked Laos
1-0 against 195th ranked Pakistan

Nepal form (all competitions)

  • L
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W

Things to learn from Philippines match:

Despite the lack of preparation time due to the league, the migration of senior players abroad and the disorganized football structure, the Nepali team brought a very respectable result against the strong Philippines. The midfield is still a matter of concern after seeing a solid defensive unit in Nepal's game. Nepal is missing a lot in positional play since the ball is not held. There were many mis passes in the last match as there was very little time for coordination among the Nepalese players in the squad.

Well, it has been clearly shown that Italian head coach Vincenzo Alberto Annes, who succeeded in stopping the home team 1-0, has the ability to shock even the big and strong nations with the refined Nepali football team with experienced and new young players.

Nepal vs Kuwait match time & venue

The match between Nepal and Kuwait will kick off from 3:45 PM Nepali Standard Time. The match will be played at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium in Bengaluru.

How & where to watch Nepal vs Kuwait live?

You can easily watch the live broadcast of the match between Nepal and Kuwait through the official YouTube channel of Kantipur Cineplex HD.

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