Kathmandu, Aug. 19: Nepal’s national volleyball players have been eyeing to create a history by winning the title of 5th AVC Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship which will kick off at Army Training Centre, Lagankhel, Lalitpur on Monday.
Nepal start its campaign of the 5th edition of the AVC Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship with an aim of winning title as they encounter favourite Kyrgyzstan in their opening match, Monday at 04:00 pm in the second match of the inaugural day.
The national volleyball players have been hopeful of winning the historical title in their four decade long appearances at international fixtures. The Nepali team made their international debut in 1978 Asian Games held at Bangkok, Thailand.
In their 40 years of international history, Nepal’s biggest feat in the international volleyball was winning the bronze medal at 3rd edition of the AVC Asian Senior Men’s Volleyball Championship when it beat the host, the Maldives by 3-1 set to bag the maiden medal.
The Nepali team’s Dutch coach Hann Abing said he had included best 14 volleyball players of the nation in the final squad for the biggest regional event.
“The level of the Nepal players has increased nowadays and the team has caliber to fight until the final whistle of the event. They will never give-up, that is the strength of our players,” Head Coach Abing said.“The home court and home supporters will be the biggest advantage for us. Besides, young players also had shown their ability against Afghanistan in friendly matches recently held at Army Training Centre, Lagankhel, Lalitpur,” Coach Hann Abing added.
“All teams have similar level of standard and we have already played with all teams. We have fought hard against the title holders in the previous meeting. As a host nation, we have more advantages,” Captain Em Bahadur Rana said.
Team Nepal would face tremendous pressure after the key players Captain Magar and Dhan Bahadur Bhatta suffered injury in the friendly match against Afghanistan.
They are less likely to play against Kyrgyzstan as Captain Magar suffered from hamstring and Bhatta sustained ankle-bone injury. Magar, however, will captain the team against the Maldives in the second match on Wednesday which will be a do-or-die clash for the host if they go down against Kyrgystan.
If the result against the Maldives will be positive it will give the team a chance to secure their spot at the semi-final of the championship which Nepal is hosting for the first time.
Host Nepal has been drawn into the group ‘A’ alongside Kyrgyzstan and Maldives while two-time defending champions Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan and Bangladesh have been drawn into the group ‘B’.
The top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-final of the tournament. The two times defending champions Turkmenistan will take on Afghanistan in the inaugural match of the tournament at 10 am.