Asian Central Zone Senior Volleyball Championship

Nepal to vie with Turkmenistan in opener

Published On: March 14, 2017 10:15 PM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

KATHMANDU, March 14: Nepali national men's volleyball team will compete against host Maldives, Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan in the Asian Central Zone Senior Volleyball Championship to be held in Male from March 22 to 30.

The winner and the runner-up of the tournament will book tickets for the second round of the tournament. Nepal will be competing for the third time in the event.

Nepal will vie with Turkmenistan on March 23, the Maldives a day later and Kyrgyzstan on March 24. The last two editions of the event, which saw Nepal's participation, was held in Bangladesh. Nepal's run had ended in semifinals on both occasions.

Nepal is preparing to field four new players in the tournament. The closed-camp training of the team started on February 21 under coach Birendra Chaudhary. Nepal Volleyball Association has called 22 players in the first phase of training. However, Tribhuvan Army Club players Raj Kumar Thapa and Hari Hajur Thapa, Western Region's Ghana Shyam Chaudhary and Kamal Sunar did not join the training.

Chaudhary had announced a 12-member team for the tournament about a week ago. Im Rana Magar has been named captain of the team while Mahendra Shrestha was named vice captain. Kul Bahadur Thapa, Ishwar Thapa, Narendra Giri, Bhairab Bam, Man Bahadur Shrestha, Dhan Bahadur Bhat, Durga Mahato, Dil Sunar, Raj Kumar Niraula and Hari Thapa are the other members of the team. Chandra Kunwar, an influential player was not called for the team due to his injuries.    

Durga who made it to the national team for the first time will play the role of a setter while Dil is open spiker, Raj Kumar is side spiker and Hari is quicker. Nepal is preparing to leave for the tournament on March 20.

According to captain Im, the current squad is stronger than in the past. “We have been playing more international tournaments of late and the confidence level of players has grown up than in the past. The new players are working hard and the team is a mixture of new and old faces.” 

He also added that the team aims to secure a place in the final. “We had less international exposure when we played in the first two editions. However, our performance had increased in the second edition. We have been trying to finish among top two teams and book place for the next round,” said Im, who had shouldered the responsibility of skipper in the last two editions of the tournament. 

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