Nepal clean sweeps Afghanistan friendly after 3-2 comeback win

Published On: August 16, 2019 09:33 AM NPT By: Suman Chapagain

KATHMANDU, Aug 16: Nepal national volleyball team clinched the friendly series 2-0 against Afghanistan after registering a stunning 3-2 win in the last match on Thursday.

Nepal won the match 3-2 after making a stunning comeback even after losing the initial two sets straight. 

In the second friendly match played at Nepal Army’s Physical Fitness and Training Center in Lagankhel, Nepal did a clean sweep of the series, which is seen as the preparation for the Asian Volleyball Confederation (AVC) Central Zone Senior’s Men’s Volleyball Tournament scheduled to start on August 19. With the performance in both the games, the Nepal team’s confidence has been boosted significantly.

Nepal lost the first set as it fielded its team without the Captain Em Rana Magar, Dhan Bahadur Bhatta and Ishwar Thapa Magar. The first set showed how Nepal was lacking the combination between the players, but the performance was not better in the second set and Nepal went down again. 

Nepal lost the first set 22-25, and could not make a solid comeback in the second. It lost 15-25 in the second set. Then Nepal did a brilliant comeback in the remaining three sets to win the game. 

Nepal started the third set brilliantly with an entertaining 26-24 win which gave the players confidence to perform well. It won the fourth set 26-24 to level the game. The last set was the decisive as the score was leveled 2-2. Nepal brilliantly won the last set 15-12 to win both the friendly matches. 

Nepal spiker Rajendra Bista performed brilliantly in the game and also helped the team win the highest score for an entertaining game. 

The Netherlands-born Nepal head coach Haan Abing expressed his belief that the Nepali team can perform very well in the upcoming Asian tournament, praising his side’s brilliant comeback over Afghanistan. 

“We were successful to perform very well after we went down 2-0 and make a comeback. We managed to show our regular game and win. If we manage to show a balanced game, we are ready for the tournament,’’ Abing said, “The Nepali team has passed the test of the friendly matches as all the players played very well. I am very satisfied with the performance. Receiving, block and service have improved. The new boys played good too.” 

“The friendly matches have shown the standard of Nepal. On the basis of their performance, it shows a sign that we are ready for the tournament,” Abing added, “There are some normal weaknesses in the team though, we will improve that with a week-long training. Still we have some problems with receive and block.” 

Captain Em could not contest in the game because of his injury. Em, who was out because of a calf problem he sustained during the first friendly game on Wednesday, said that the second friendly game showed signs of improvement in the Nepali team. 

“We managed to win the game with a very good performance despite going down initially. The block worked very well in the game and was improved from the last game,” Em added, “Nepal has to take advantage of the home crowd and ground in the upcoming tournament. We have to be prepared for the tournament by setting aside our weaknesses.” 

As the regular captain Em was out of the playing set, Dhan Bahadur Bhatta took over the captaincy in the game, but later he sat on the bench. Bhatta suffered a minor injury from Wednesday’s 3-2 win. 

The defending champion Turkmenistan, Maldives, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh along with host Nepal are taking part in the tournament which concludes on August 24.  

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