Nepal leaving with least expectations in Asian debut

  • Fiba U-16 Women’s Asia championship
- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 19, 2017-

Nepal will have least expectations when their young women’s hoopsters take to the court in the Fiba U-16 Women’s Asia Championship that kicks off from Sunday in Bengalaru, India.

The eight-nation regional tournament will be the first participation of any Nepali women’s team at the Asian level tournament. Drawn alongside hosts India, Iran and Sri Lanka, Nepal coach Bipin Kapali urges to keep calm and expect for a decent showing from his side against the strong opponents.

“As we are competing in the Asian Championship for the first time, I have expected a good show from the team rather than hoping for big results,” said Kapali on the eve of the team’s departure to Bengaluru. 

Kapali had trained the current U-16 team for the last three months for the tournament where Iran will also make their debut in the championship. Considering the uncertain nature of age group tournaments, Kapali said he would first like to evaluate the performance of his opponents before making any predictions for latter stages.

“We are infact totally unaware about the status of our opponents in age group. I think India are strong since they have been dominant force at the South Asian level,” said the coach. 

“Iran have a strong men’s team in basketball and despite their girls’ team is participating in this tournament for the first time, we cannot take them lightly. It will be too early for us to predict if we can make it to the knockout stage or not,” the coach added. Malaysia, Chinese Taipei and Maldives are draw in Group ‘B’, while the top two finishers will make it to the semi-finals. 

Kapali is satisfied with the team’s preparations for the tournament. The Nepali eves not only played against senior women’s team during their pre-tournament preparations but also competed against different men’s team. 

“The girls have worked really hard. Playing against the men’s team have made them physically stronger. Additionally, as many as five players from the final squad have been playing for the same team in domestic tournaments for a long time and they can forge good understanding between them,” the coach added. 

A total of 93 players were called up in the initial phase of training and were later cut short to 33 before a final 12 member squad was announced under the captaincy of Pratikshya Magar. Other members in the team include Shreyasi Rana, Nistha Rajbhandari, Nilam Sherpa, Mamata Gurung, Tshering Chokee Sherpa, Aditi Choudhary, Sushma Gautam, Roshani Shrestha, Erisha Shrestha, Sanskriti Maskay and Asmita Thapa.  

Saroja Shrestha Koirala, the recently nominated member of Nepal Basketball Association (NeBA), is the team manager while Sushil Gurung is the assistant coach. Raj Kumar Maharjan will also be accompanying the team in the capacity of manager.

Nepal Olympic Committee President Jeevan Ram Shrestha, NeBA President Lama Tendi Shrestha, General Secretary Narendra Thapa among others bade farewell to the team on Wednesday.

Published: 19-10-2017 10:28

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