Kakamigahara (Japan), Nov 4 (IANS) Two weeks after the men’s team lifted the Asia Cup beating Malaysia in the final, an inspired Indian women’s team will vie for top honours when they take on China in the summit clash of the women’s Asia Cup 2017 at the Kakamigahara Kawasaki Stadium here on Sunday.
It’s a sweet double that the Indian eves are aiming for and going by skipper Ritu Rani’s optimism, the girls are all set for an exciting finish.
“We are extremely motivated after the men won the Asia Cup. Now it’s our turn to win. The mood in the dressing room is upbeat. Everyone is excited and fully prepared for the final. We want to qualify for the World Cup next year by winning this tournament,” the skipper asserted.
Her confidence stems from the team’s stupendous form in the tournament as they have remained unbeaten with convincing victories in the Pool stage besides beating Kazakhstan in the quarter-final and defending champions Japan in the semi-final.
“The match against Japan was really good. Getting off to a good start was always the plan and every member of the team executed their specific role brilliantly. We played as per the strategies planned by our coaches and ensured there were minimal errors,” Rani said on winning 4-2 against hosts Japan in the semi-final on Friday.
Though India notched up a formidable 4-1 win against World No.8 China in the Pool Stage, India are aware they need to bring their A-game to clinch the title.
During the Asian Champions Trophy last year, India had lost to China 2-3 in the Pool Stage but came back strongly in the Final to beat them 2-1 in a crunch game.
“We know China is a good team and can be quite unpredictable. We can’t take them lightly simply because we have beaten them before. We have worked on our game plan for Sunday and focus will be on following the strategy made by our coaches,” the captain added.
With 27 goals in the tournament, India’s forward line has been rather fierce creating penalty corners and finding spaces to pump goals.
Off the total goals scored, dragflicker Gurjit Kaur has eight goals to her name and is also the third highest goal scorer in the tournament so far. Navjot Kaur and Navneet Kaur have four goals each while Deep Grace and Rani have scored thrice.
Young gun Lalremsiami has scored twice while Neha Goyal, Sonika and Vandana Katariya have a goal each to their credit.
“I think it has been a collective team effort in the tournament so far and Gurjit has been excellent in all the matches. We want to come up with an overall performance tomorrow too,” she concluded.
The winner of the final will directly qualify for the 2018 World Cup in England.