Kathmandu: The Nepal women’s volleyball team is preparing for Asian Senior Central Zone Men’s and Women’s Volleyball Challenge Cup, slated to take place from December 21 to 29 in Bangladesh. Like the men’s team, the women’s team is also playing international matches after a break of 2 years.
Focusing on the tournament, the defending champion is currently practicing in the covered hall of Dashrath Rangasala.
As the tournament nears, the final 12 players for the team have been already selected: Aruna Shahi, Prathibha Mali, Sarswoti Chaudhari, Shanti Tharu, Usha Bhandari, Sunita Khadka, Manisha Chaudhari, Kamana Bista, Laxmi Chand, Safiya Pun, Kripa Adhikari, and Salina Shrestha.
Kamana Bista, Shanti Tharu, and Laxmi Chand will be debuting in the national team.
Nepal will take on the host nation, Bangladesh, Maldives, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan.
“I feel we have a better team now,” Jagdish Bhatta, coach of the team, told Nepal Live Today recently in Dasarath Rangashala. “Although we haven’t played any international matches in the last two years, our opponents played either. So I think we can bring home gold once again.”
‘The preparation is going well and the performance by new players is also up to the mark. The combination of old and new players has become very good. We are trying our best to improve our weaknesses.’
For coach Bhatta, the emergence of new players in the team is an indication of improvements in the Nepali volleyball team.
“The new players have the potential to replace the old ones and overcome the team’s weaknesses,” Bhatta said. “They are confident. The players who were not selected for the tournament were also very good. We had a very tough time selecting the players for the tournament.”
Like coach Bhatta, captain of Nepal women’s volleyball team, Aruna Shahi, is also hopeful about winning gold again.
“The preparation is going well and the performance by new players is also up to the mark,” Shahi said. “The combination of old and new players has become very good. We are trying our best to improve our weaknesses.”
Shahi added, “The team has made significant improvements on service, receive and block.”
The captain is disappointed with her performance last time and she does not want a similar thing to happen this time.
“It was the team’s overall performance that made us win last time,” Shahi said. “I feel I have made improvements on my game and I am hopeful of delivering better performance in the matches. Our aim, after all, is to strike gold, once again.”