Amid cheers and enthusiasm of fans, the Indian men's hockey team arrived in New Delhi on 23 October afternoon after lifting the Asia Cup Hockey 2017 title.
Expressing his delight over the victory, coach Sjoerd Marijne said that the win was the best thing that could happen for a new coach - in his first tournament.
He also said that the team was looking forward to the upcoming Hockey World League finals as their strength would be tested in that tournament.
"I am really happy for the team. I am really happy for the people in India. This makes them happy . Yes, this is the best thing that can happen for a new coach in the first tournament. But, this is not about me; it is about the team. Now, the strength will be tested in the Hockey World League finals," Marijne told ANI.
"We also have a high-ranked team there. This was the tournament we had to win. I love pressure and the pressure we will have in the World League finals. So, we will see what actually our strength is," the coach added.
Meanwhile, former captain and star forward Sardar Singh, after receiving a grand reception at the Delhi Airport, said that his players had followed their coaches and focussed on their respective roles throughout the tournament, which resulted in this victory.
He further insisted that his side was focussing on replicating the performance in the upcoming Hockey World League finals.
"Our core group of 33 players has been training well. All the players are well aware of the plans and it is time to execute them. We should know how to read our opposition's strategy. We have good coaches and players are focussing on their respective roles and that is the reason why we are achieving the results. We are now concentrating on the upcoming Hockey World League finals. Our year is quite busy," Sardar said.
En route to the finals, India also defeated their arch-rivals Pakistan 4-0 in their final Super 4 game of the Asia Cup.
Reflecting on it, the 31-year-old said, "We have continuously outplayed Pakistan and that is good. I think our confidence gets boosted and we gain a different kind of energy every time we defeat Pakistan. Our fans also supported us and we took their support to the ground. Our team was unbeatable in this tournament and this will help in motivating the players for future events."
Sardar further said that the credit for the victory should go to the staff as well as coaches as they were the ones who guided the team at every step of the tournament.
"It was a major tournament. The coach joined us 10 days prior to the tournament. They guided us about little things and the players had adopted them quickly. We have followed the strategies made by the coaches against each team. I think the credit for the victory goes to the staff, coaches and my team-mates," he said.
Yesterday, the Indian men's hockey team registered a convincing 2-1 win over Malaysia to clinch the Asia Cup title at the Bhashani National Hockey Stadium.
Goals from Ramandeep Singh (3') and Lalit Upadhyay (29') secured the title for India as Malaysia failed to make an impact on the game in the early stages, but came back with a solitary goal through Shahril Saabah (50').
This was the third time that India won the Asia Cup title and after a gap of 10 years.