The Kathmandu-based club will be aiming to continue their fine domestic form.
Like much of their opponents in Group E, Nepal’s Manang Marshyangdi Club are also taking part in the AFC Cup for the first time in their history. A club which has been dominating the Nepal A-Division League in the last decade, has finally got one shot at proving their might in the mighty continental cup.
Despite being underdogs in the group, MMC will look to take everyone by storm and remain as the flag-bearers for Nepalese football by leaving a bright mark.
About The Team
Manang Marshyangdi Club emerged as one of the top clubs of Nepal after their inception in 1982. Since then, they’ve won the Nepal A-Division 8 times in 37 years, picking up their dominance after the turn of the 21st century. In addition to that, they’ve won the Aaha! Gold Cup five times, along with the Pokhara Cup twice as well.
They’ve also won the King’s Cup in Bhutan once in 2017, having maintained quite a bit of dominance in continental cups in recent years and dazzling everyone with their attacking football.
The Nepalese giants won the Nepal A-Division in 2018-19 season in dominant fashion, only losing one game in 13 games and winning 12 to sail their way into victory. Not only that but during the season they also went on an unbeaten winning streak of 12 games and bulldozed their way into attaining AFC Cup qualification.
After their terrific league campaign, MMC also participated in the prestigious Sikkim Gold Cup in India, defeating sides like Calcutta Customs and ATK Reserves en route to winning the tournament.
The Nepali club will be aiming for glory against their Group E opponents
Chirring Lopsang Gurung
After Manang Maryangdi decided to part ways with Fuja Tope and Suran Shrestha after the league division, experienced candidate Chirring Lopsang Gurung was roped in instead. The Nepalese coach has a handsome experience behind him, having coached MMC multiple times in the past. He knows the club in and out, coming in during a vulnerable period when the Nepalese champions need a stern head to guide them in their inaugural AFC Cup campaign.
On top of his stint at Manang Maryangdi, Gurung has also managed the Nepal U-18 national team in the past and is a highly respected candidate in the fraternity. He’ll be aiming to use his experience and astute tactical knowledge to guide MMC through to the next rounds while retaining their reputation for playing some astounding attacking football on the way.
Afeez Olawale Oladipo
Olawale will be his side’s main attacking threat
The leader in attack for MMC, Olawale’s been in deadly form heading into the AFC Cup. He bulldozed over many defences in the league season, scoring goals at will to help the club breeze their way into winning the league title.
Oladipo won the Golden Boot at the end of the season, having scored seven goals in 13 league appearances for the league winners. He caused defenders trouble with his physicality, movement and deft finishing ability in the final third and helped his side make history. As better oppositions await, the 24-year-old aims to showcase his ability at the grandest stage to raise his stock and take MMC well ahead in the tournament.
The Nigerian striker’s played his trade in Indian Football in the past and could be an asset for MMC in the Indian dominated group. Somide’s played for East Bengal and Gokulam Kerala in the past, scoring quite a few goals.
Naturally, he knows how Minerva Punjab operate and could also learn Chennaiyin FC’s system pretty well. Despite not playing many games for Manang Maryangdi in the league, he’s been brought in especially for the AFC Cup. A clinical, quick striker with a real hunger for scoring, he’ll aim to use his experience to down the Indian sides and take his side forward.
The 23-year-old midfielder is a rising prospect in Nepalese football and after impressing for Nepal’s youth sides, came up for MMC this season. Gurung was an influential figure in Maryangdi Club’s fantastic league campaign, sitting in the heart of midfield and dictating games with his creativity.
He was a spark in the middle, helping them move forward, dictating the tempo of games and entertaining fans with his brilliant ability. Gurung ended up being named the “Best midfielder of the league” after the season, which itself validates his influential work for the Nepal champions. The 5’4’ dynamite will now look to bamboozle continental opponents and be a thorn in midfield throughout.
What To Expect?
The team from Kathmandu are in hot form following a dominant league campaign
Despite coming into the group E as underdogs, Manang Manyangdi are in hot form heading into some crunch fixtures. Following a dominant league campaign and proper preparation for the big ones, they’ll pick up the gears and give their all to stun their rivals in the group.
Considering all the shocks they’ve produced in recent times, overwhelming the Indian giants and the experienced Dhaka Abahani doesn’t seem too farfetched for the vibrant Nepalese unit.