Pratibha Mali is a popular name when it comes to the Nepali National Women's Team that started participating in international volleyball tournaments for the last eight years.
Due to her brilliant performance, the Nepali team touched a new height with wins in many tournaments. New Diamond Sports Club has been successful in most of the domestic competitions because of Pratibha.
But in the first match of the CAVA Women's Volleyball Challenge Cup, which kicked off on Monday at home, Nepal won in straight sets over Kyrgyzstan. This time she reached the court not as a player but as a spectator.
Pratibha, who went to the court to cheer up the team after booking the ticket, continued to cheer up the team during and after the match. However, the pain of having to sit on the parapet with the audience while a big competition was going on was clearly visible on her face.
A few weeks ago, she had to undergo surgery after re-injuring her knee during training. Three years ago, he had to be out of court for nine months due to a serious injury to her left knee.
This time due to injury, she had to miss the biggest competition in the country so far. After surgery, she is now undergoing physical fitness sessions. Since 2016, the main player of the team, Pratibha, was not in the team, and its effect was clearly seen in the Nepali team.
Pratibha, who has been playing in the domestic competition from New Diamond Sports Academy, made her debut in the national team eight years ago. She, has been continuously representing Nepal since then. She played an important role in winning the gold medal twice in a row in the AVC Asian Central Zone Volleyball Championship.
After the match with Kyrgyzstan, Pratibha said, "It will be difficult for a person who is always playing on the court to sit with the audience. The Nepali team performed well. I am happy. The new players who made their debut also performed well."
The team's spiker Pratibha was cheering the team by carrying the flag of Nepal with the audience, not on the court this time. Pratibha was the main player of the team, be it winning the gold medal twice in the Central Zone or winning the silver medal at the 13th South Asian Games held at home three years ago.
Most of the previous successes have been credited with the role of Pratibha. Pratibha, captain of Tribhuvan Army Club, Kripa Adhikari, along with her mother and friends were with the audience as Nepal played their first match against Kyrgyzstan at the Covered Hall held recently.
With Nepal's performance, the expression of happiness and sadness was clearly visible on her face. Although the team is out of the CAVA Challenge Cup this time, Pratibha's next goal is the 19th Asian Games. She added, "Now I am paying attention to physical fitness. Now we have to work hard and prepare for the Asian Games."
This time, the Nepali team, which has a majority of young players, will play against South Asia's strong team, India, in the group stage. Nepal started winning by defeating Kyrgyzstan in straight sets in the first match on Monday.
Nepal defeated Bangladesh in the Challenge Cup on Tuesday and entered the semi-finals. Nepal, which is in Group A, lost to India on May 24 and became a group runner-up.
In group games, a team does not depend on a single player. However, Pratibha has been performing the way she has in recent years, due to which other players of the team and volleyball lovers have felt her absence.