India women’s hockey team completed their dominance in Japan with 5-4 shoot-out win over China in the Asia Cup final. The victory on Sunday, marked India’s first Asia Cup title triumph in women’s circuit after 13 long years. With the World Cup less than a year away, chief coach Harendra Singh believes it is just the beginning as his side has set sights at bigger goals.
“The Asia Cup is just the foundation, we have to achieve much more. The year 2018 is very crucial for Indian women’s hockey. We have three important tournaments — Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the World Cup and I expect minimum 2 medals out of this three tournaments,” said Harendra to PTI.
Harendra had never coached a women’s team in the past but he has made a strong start into the role. As the women’s team replicated men’s team’s success, Harendra feels that ‘nothing is impossible’ in hockey. “I don’t remember whether I had followed women’s hockey closely before the Hockey World League (HWL) Semifinals in Johannesburg earlier this year. But, I knew I can deliver in women’s hockey also. I can make a significant contribution for the Indian women’s team,” he said.
Harendra, who guided India to the Junior World Cup title in Lucknow last year feels the two victories can’t be compared. “I had three years to prepare the junior men’s team while I prepared the girls in just 23-24 days. So the satisfaction of both the wins are different. (But) I am never satisfied,” he said.
Harendra also said that the Rani Rampal-led side can hold their heads high. “Since taking over, I just focussed on team bonding and worked on developing their confidence. They have worked towards that and also showed the world that they don’t need favours from others. They can earn their World Cup berth on merit,” Harendra concluded.