Nakhonratchasima VC carrying Thai hopes in Asian Women's Club Championship
Nakhonratchasima ended the Thailand League campaign with an impressive 3-1 victory over Supreme Chonburi VC in early March to surge to the top of the eight-team standings, which resulted in a berth in the Asian Club meet to be held in Nakhon Pathom from April 17 to 25.
The second phase of the Thailand League has already begun and as of Wednesday three teams were tied at the top. Nakhonratchasima occupy the top position because of their record of nine wins against one loss and better average in games. They need to maintain their winning streak to clinch the crown at the end of the season.
Meanwhile, the Asian tournament will see 10 teams fight for top honours and a lone berth in the FIVB World Women's Club Volleyball Championship in Zurich, Switzerland from May 7 to 11. Hosts Volero Zurich will be joined by continental champions from South America, Europe and Asia. Two wildcards – to be jointly decided by the FIVB and the organisers – will complete the line-up of clubs taking part in the world meet.
There is no doubt that Nakhonratchasima will face a tough challenge. China are fielding the formidable Bohai Bank Tianjin, who have won the title on four occasions and are raring for more success. Japan will be represented by the 2002 Asian Club winners, Hisamitsu Springs. Kazakhstan will field virtually their national team and Vietnam will field Thong Tin Lienvietpostbank, who stunned the 2013 Thailand League winners, Idea Khonkaen, in the previous edition.
Nakhonratchasima have been given a difficult mission. They not only have to put up a decent fight, but also prove to the local crowd that they, indeed, deserve the chance to represent the country in the Asian Club.
What are the prospects for Nakhonratchasima, who will be competing in front of home crowds? They have set their sights on making it to the top four. It will take some big steps to realise their dream.