KATHMANDU, Nov 30: With two consecutive losses and poor all-round performance, Nepal national men’s volleyball has been knocked out of men’s volleyball from the group stages at the ongoing 13th South Asian Games (SAG) on Friday.
After a 3-2 set loss at the hands of Bangladesh on the opening day, Nepal fell short yet again after errors in block, receive, service and even spike as it went down 3-0 against the contender India, who never let Nepal get back into the game constantly. Nepal lost 15-25, 13-25, 16-25.
In its second Group A match played at the National Sports Council (NSC)’s covered hall in Tripureshwar, Nepal could not start the game brightly as it went down 12-20 in the first set at one point.
In the first set, Nepal had its spike to blame as it could not find an open space to place the ball with Indian players picking up almost every play with minimum efforts.
However, when India served the ball, Nepal’s libero Binod Chand left many open spaces failing to judge the play in most of the occassions and throwing away easy chances, even, to receive the ball.
After the first time out, it was an improved performance from Nepal with good block and receive, but back to back mistakes from service cost Nepal two quick points when the score was 11-18.
Head coach Leise de Jong made two quick changes in the first set to get the block part better and it paid off with Nepal slowly trying to make a comeback in the set, which looked like a lost cause, and got some points, but eventually lost the set 15-25.
The spike always looked like a problem for Nepal with the spikers failing to get the power behind the shot and getting quick returns from the Indians which was not picked up by especially Chand.
Despite showing some improvements in block in the second set, poor spike let the team down again. It was the worst performance on the day in the second set as the score moved from 6-8 to 6-16 at tone point.
The mistakes in spike and receive pushed Nepal further down than it already was and India did not give Nepal any chance at all to make a comeback in the set.
The problem with the set was again the failure to return the ball and leaving a big hole in the middle with libero Chand giving away a lot of the ball.
All the three departments had problems to begin with and the Nepali men could not fixate in one position and made silly errors which saw the score go 9-23 at one point, which Nepal eventually lost 13-25.
Nepal played incredibly well at the start of the third set, surprising many and keeping India under pressure for some time. But, it gave away a good tight battle which saw the score go from 7-7 to 12-18.
In the set, India showed some negligence in receive and threw away easy chances to return the ball. Nepal’s spike massively improved in the first half of the set, but with India handing strong shots after shots, Nepal faltered with spike and receive failing again and the score became 12-16.
Coach de Jong was furious with his side repeating the same mistake over and over again, and asked his players to clear out the block to their teammates and spike the ball in an open space. The players did that earning two more points, but gave away the chances again with Nepal losing 16-25.
Coach de Jong, however, believed that the team is heading into the right direction citing the entrance of young players into the team.
“We have certainly been moving forward. I have been watching the Nepali team for a while now, and I have seen improvements,” de Jong said, “We need to keep on playing against strong experienced sides like India to better our game.”
“I am pleased with the energy and commitment of the boys.”
Sri Lanka defeated the Maldives on straight sets of 25-18,25-23, 25-17 to strengthen its semifinal charge as the Group B winner. With the loss, the
Maldives has been knocked out of the tournament as it had also faced a straight set loss against Pakistan.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan will face each other for the top spot on Saturday.
Nepali women advance into semis after Bangladesh loses
In women’s volleyball played earlier on the same day, India and Nepal advanced into the semifinals. India registered its second consecutive victory in Group A after it crushed Bangladesh 25-8, 25-11, 25-9.
With India’s win over Bangladesh, Nepal women have also entered into the last four as it had defeated Bangladesh in the first group match.
Runner-up Nepal will take on Group B winner Sri Lanka after it beat the Maldives 25-15, 25-18, 25-14. India will face the Maldives. There are only two teams in Group B as Pakistan did not arrive for the competition.