Kathmandu, August 18
Nepal national volleyball team is ready to face Kyrgyzstan in the opening day match of the AVC Men’s Senior Central Zone Volleyball Championship at the Nepali Army Sports Complex covered hall in Lalitpur on Monday.
Head coach Hann Abing said the players were eager to go into the court and face Kyrgyzstan. Turkmenistan will play against Afghanistan and Bangladesh take on Uzbekistan in the day’s other matches.
Nepal and Kyrgyzstan are in the three-team Group A along with the Maldives, while Turkmenistan, Bangladesh, Uzbekistan and Afghanistan are in Group B. Top two sides after the league round will make it to the semi-finals. Nepal had won bronze medal in the championship two years ago in Maldives for their maiden international medal.
Nepal and Kyrgyzstan have met five times previously — all in Central Zone Championship — and the home team is way behind in head-to-head results. Nepal had won 3-1 in the group stage match of the first edition of the championship before Kyrgyzstan registered four consecutive victories — 3-1 in the semi-finals of the second edition, 3-1 and 3-0 in the group stage and playoff in third edition; and 3-0 in third-place match in the fourth edition.
Despite the poor head-to-head records, coach Abing said Nepal needed to concentrate on their own game. “I have seen a couple of videos from the 2017 edition when Kyrgyzstan played against Bangladesh. Some of their players are tall but that’s okay for us. The most important thing for us is to play our own game and we have to look at ourselves when we compete against Kyrgyzstan,” said Abing. “Every game starts at 0-0 and we have 50-50 chances. If we play according to our game, we will get chances against every opponent.”
Abing said he was positively surprised with the team when asked about the two friendly wins over Afghanistan. “The players gave more than I expected and I was positively surprised by them,” said Abing.
“The matches gave me good opportunity to test new players and they did very good job.”
Abing was also impressed with the support from the crowd and hoping to for similar cheer like in the second match against Afghanistan at a time when the team was low and struggling. “The boost from the crowd was really helpful for the team,” he added.
Skipper Em Rana is doubtful for the first match after he sustained muscles injury during the first match against Afghanistan.
“He trained with the team in the morning but we have not let him jump yet. We will closely monitor his condition before taking the final decision,” said the coach.
According to team management, open spiker Dhana Bahadur Bhatta will lead the team if skipper Rana fails to get fully fit for the match.