Nepal fight back to beat Afghanistan in a volleyball friendlyThe home clean sweep two-match series.
Nepal staged a remarkable fightback to overturn a two-set deficit to beat Afghanistan in a friendly volleyball match at the Army Physical Training and Sports Centre in Lagankhel, Lalitipur, on Thursday.
The victory meant the hosts clean swept the two-match series having won the first, also in five sets on Wednesday. After losing the first two sets 25-22, 25-15, Nepal won the next three 26-24, 26-24, 15-22. In the first friendly played on Wednesday, Nepal had recorded a 22-25, 25-17, 25-21, 23-25, 15-13 win over the opponent. The matches were part of both teams' preparations for the AVC Asian Senior Men's Central Zone Volleyball Championship slated for August 19-24 at the same venue.
Dhan Bahadur Bhatta captained the Nepali team in the absence of regular skipper Em Rana. Rana was ruled out of the match due to a muscle cramp he sustained in the first match. Nepal's Dutch head coach Hann Abing said his team was unable to execute the game plan early on that resulted in his team conceding the first two sets. "The first two sets did not go according to plan," said the 58-year-old Dutchman, who took over the national team rein in June for a three-month stint. Abing said: "It will be tough for us in the tournament proper if we play the way we did in the first two sets today."
The coach was however confident that his skipper Rana could be fit in time for the tournament opener. He praised the performance of Hari Hajuri Thapa, who came in as a replacement for the regular skipper on Thursday. Rana, who was in the stands, was confident of returning to action very soon. "The injury is not so bad and I will be fit for the tournament. I am planning to start training from Saturday," he said adding that his team came with much improved performance in the second match in comparison to the first. "The team made great comeback despite losing the first two sets. The newcomers were impressive."Rana is counting onhome advantage to shine in the tournament. "I saw some areas we need towork on after watching today's match. Hopefully we will address it intime," said Rana. The league-cum-knockout tournament features seven teamsincluding Bangladesh, Maldives, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, andTurkmenistan and hosts Nepal. The fixture is yet to be made.