Bangkok:Indian women team's superb performance in the Asia Cup, particularly their attacking style, has come in for praise from the continent's hockey fraternity who on Saturday said the country deserves to be in next year's World Cup.
"India played like a champion and deserves to go to the World Cup, not we. You should win this championship, your girls were very good the other day (against Korea)," said Sun Jong Kim, senior vice-president of Korean Hockey Federation, whose national team was stunned by India 3-2 in the semifinal.
Pakistan's double Olympian Tahir Zaman liked the on-field aggressive attitude of Indians and said they kept the tempo up with their attacking game from the beginning against Korea.
The former coach of the Azerbaijan women's team held Indian defence and goalkeeper Dipika Murthy in high esteem.
"Your goalkeeper and defence was really good when Korea came alive in the last 15 minutes and stood up to the task.
As a coach, my Azerbaijan team played India many times, we together practiced at Doha as well. So, I had watched them keenly in the recent times and they are improving," he said.
Fumio Ogura of Japan, treasurer of Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) said he particularly liked the attacking style of the Indians in their semifinal triumph.
"I liked the attacking style of India. People tend to become defensive with the introduction of synthetic turf, but your (Indian) players showed attacking game pays," Ogura said.
Ogura, also the tournament director for the Chennai Chief Minister's Cup held in the late 1990s, was equally happy to see so many field goals.
"The third (Indian) goal against Korea was fantastic, even boys won't be able to score that way," he said. Effusive in his praise, he hailed the match-wining effort of Rani Ramphal, who scored from almost zero angle from a solo run.
"She is just 19-year old and has a bright future. I think she is future star material and will be there for long time." R Viswanathan, vice-president of the Sri Lankan Association, also praised the Indian girls for their fine show against South Korea.
"I really feel your coach has done a wonderful job," he said.
Brig R Musarrat-Ullah Khan of Pakistan, AHF Executive Committee member, said, "I saw India winning gold in Manchester (Commonwealth Games) and I think they would keep up the tempo."