The India women's hockey team left from Sports Authority of India (SAI), Bengaluru on Sunday to travel to Oman to defend their title at the Hockey Asia Cup which is set to take place from January 21-28 at the Sultan Qaboos Sports Complex in Muscat.
India will compete against China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Korea and Thailand in the competition for the prized trophy and the top four teams from this tournament will qualify for the 2022 FIH Women's Hockey World Cup to be held in Spain & Netherlands.
On being asked about the strong teams that India have to face in the tournament, goalkeeper Savita, who will be leading the team, said that she believes in focusing on themselves and their strengths.
"Our main focus will always be on ourselves. We have seen videos of recent matches of Malaysia Japan, Korea, China, and other teams and we have prepared for them. But every team has their strengths and weaknesses and hence, we aim to focus on ourselves," Savita said in a Hockey India release.
"We have to ensure we remain strong when taking and defending penalty corners. When we play attacking hockey, we must ensure we also remain tight on defence. If we focus on our strengths, then the opposition will themselves find it difficult to challenge us," she added.
Savita also stressed on the importance of the Women's Hockey Asia Cup for the Indian team and said that playing in the tournament will boost their confidence ahead of upcoming challenges later in the year.
"This tournament is very important for us as we have trained really hard and worked on several aspects of the game in the past few months. We are waiting to play in the matches so that we can showcase what we are practicing and gain confidence," Savita said.
"There are several big tournaments coming later this year, including the World Cup and Asian Games. We also have the FIH Pro League matches this year. Since we have not played many games after the Olympics, this tournament will help us prepare for the challenges that lie ahead of us in 2022," she added.
India will open their campaign against Malaysia on January 21, 2022. (ANI)