Muscat: India women’s hockey team skipper Savita Punia on Thursday expressed that the side’s experience will be the key to its performance at the Asia Cup.
India will begin its campaign at the quadrennial continental tournament, which is also a qualifying event for the FIH Women’s World Cup 2022, on January 21 against Malaysia.
“The best part about this team is that many of us have been playing together for a long time and I feel this experience and team camaraderie will give us the edge over other teams,” said Savita.
“Our main priority will be to remain focused on our game and ensure we execute the plans against each team without making errors,” the ace goalkeeper added.
The defending champions India are grouped in Pool A along with Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.
Savita, who is leading the team in absence of Rani Rampal, emphasised that getting off to a good start will give India the right momentum.
“We have played Malaysia quite a few times in the past and they are a good side. Doing well against them will give us the right start to the tournament.
“As a team, we believe in focusing on our own game and not worry too much about what the opponent team can or cannot do. We just want to play to our strength.”
The goalkeeper also highlighted that team’s experience at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 has instilled a ‘never-give-up’ attitude and she believes the players will fight till the last minute.
“One of the good qualities of the team is that, we have learnt to fight till the end.
“We don’t give up if we are down by a few goals. I feel these aspects will matter when we play quality teams in an important tournament like this where the qualification for FIH Women’s World Cup is at stake,” she added.
Following their first match against Malaysia on an opening day, India will meet Japan on January 23 and will take on Singapore in their last Pool A match on January 24.
The semifinals will be played on January 26 and the final match on January 28.