News for 29 January 2010

All the news for Friday 29 January 2010

Australia defeat Korea 5-1 in the first game of a three-Test series

Australia's three-time World Player of the Year Jamie Dwyer was among the scorers as the Kookaburras crushed Korea 5-1 in Hobart on Thursday in the first of a three-Test series.

After winning the 2009 Champions Trophy on home soil in Melbourne last December, the Kookaburras entered the series with form on their side.

With the 2010 World Cup only a month away, Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth was keen to put his team through their paces against No.5-ranked Korea.

The Kookaburras controlled the match from beginning to end, sending an ominous warning to their opposition at next month's World Cup in India.

With the Korean defence holding tight, the Kookaburras patiently worked the ball around their circle, eventually finding the dangerous Des Abbott alone at the top of the circle.

Abbott was given too much room and he made Korea pay as he scored the Kookaburras first goal at the 17-minute mark.

The Kookaburras defence also proved to be switched on, cutting off several fast break attempts by Korea in the first half, with goalkeeper Ross Meadows keeping a clean sheet in the first half.

Despite Australia's dominance, they were unable to score another goal in the first half. But the Kookaburras showed no mercy in the early stages of the second half.

With regular flicker Luke Doerner missing from the squad due to injury, fellow Victorian Chris Ciriello stepped up to take a penalty corner at the 40-minute mark.

The Kookaburras further extended their lead only minutes later, with Dwyer scoring the simplest of goals after youngster Glenn Simpson caused a turnover further up the field.

From there the flood gates opened, with Eddie Ockenden and Russell Ford scoring to extend the Kookaburras dominance to 5-0.

A late goal to Korea at the 69-minute mark gave them some reward for their effort.

“It was a solid performance, although I obviously don't like it when any team scores against us,” Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth said.

“The match was actually much closer than the scoreboard will show. I was pleased that we debuted yet another player in Kieran Govers and that he played well.”

The Kookaburras will face Korea again in game two of the series on Saturday in Hobart.

Fox Sports

Practice pitch still to be laid

Civil works delay completion of second ground

Prabhjot Singh

Chandigarh: In a virtual cover-up for its failure to get Major Dhyan Chand National Hockey Stadium, the venue for the next month’s World Cup Hockey Tournament ready in time, officials of the Sports Authority of India have virtually resorted to censorship blocking entry of media to the complex.

Incidentally, the national team will be arriving in the union capital on February 1 to start practice at new synthetic surfaces. “There will be lot of wax around and the playfields will be slippery for some days. So we have to get the home team adjusted to playing conditions as well as to the unpredictable weather here,” says chief coach Harinder Singh, who incidentally was in New Delhi yesterday to see for himself the state of preparedness of the stadium.

In all 38 matches will be played during the World Cup. Besides, all participating teams will have a few warm up matches on each of the two competition pitches and a practice ground. This will be the first complex in the country to have three latest poligras synthetic playing surfaces.

While work on laying of the poligras on the practice pitch is still underway, civil works around competition playfield number II and the practice pitch will need another 10 to 15 days to complete. Though work has been going on round the clock at the venue, a lot needs to be fixed and done to make all the three synthetic surfaces available for participating teams in time.

Only two days ago, the main stadium was formally inaugurated. And yesterday, hockey team of the Central Reserve Police Force was called to have a training session there for a preliminary check on the behaviour of the new synthetic surface. A visit to the venue a day after the Republic Day was not without “hiccups” unexpected of a venue where sport’s biggest event - the World Cup - is to be staged in less than a months’ time.

Security deployed at the venue would not allow any one from media to enter the complex unless express or written permission has been obtained from some high ups in the Sports Authority of India, the body that is required to keep the complex under lock and key on pretext of maintaining it after the event is over.

It was after a while that a functionary of the SAI came on line to permit this correspondent’s entry into the complex on the condition that no cell phone or camera would be allowed to be taken in. Name, address and contact details were entered in visitors’ register kept at the gate. While technical experts of the Jubilee Sports Technology Limited, an Australian company, were busy examining the base for the practice pitch, they were hopeful that work on spreading the poligras will start in a day or two and may take a week to complete.

“All depends upon the levelling of the base. On the surface it looks good,” said one of them. While the work on the main competition venue appears to be complete, there is still lot of wet point around. The sprinkler system and the subsequent drainage are yet to be put to critical test under the supervision of the FIH qualified technical experts. Unless a couple of good games are held on the new pitch, nothing can be said.

“We hope everything is fine. We have little or no time to rectify any technical or major snag even if it comes to our notice during pre-competition practice games,” said an official present at the venue. “We are keeping our fingers crossed. Our immediate concern is to complete all works and get out as soon as possible,” remarked another one looking after the civil works holding that unless proper curing is done, “some problems are bound to be there that can be checked and rectified after the World Cup is over.”

When coach Harinder Singh reached the stadium, CRPF team had just arrived. “New pitches are slippery because of waxing of the surfaces. It will take a while to go. Though the home team will arrive here on February 1, other teams will start arriving by February 22, five to seven days before the actual start of the World Cup. We want our players to acclimatise themselves well with the playing conditions here.

“We are planning a couple of practice matches. On February 23rd we will play a warm up game against Argnetina followed by game against the Netherlands on 25th,” says Harinder Singh promising that “it will be good show by home team. We hope to live up to high expectations. All problems have been taken care of and boys are training hard.”

The Tribune

FIH Umpire Managers Seminar in New Delhi

The development of FIH Umpire Managers and FIH International Umpires are the main objectives of the FIH Umpiring Committee. Hockey is changing very quickly and it is crucial to ensure that Umpire Managers are kept updated with the latest demands of our sport.

The increased professionalism of the teams, the use of the latest technologies for Video Analysis, Umpire Coaching/Assessment and Video Umpire require that all the Umpire Managers who may be appointed to FIH events to coach the Umpires are properly trained and capable.

For this reason the Umpiring Committee, is organizing an Umpire Managers Seminar in conjunction with the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 in New Delhi (IND), in order to take advantage of the opportunities presented by our sport's top World level event. The seminar will take place from 7-9 March 2010.

The Seminar will be conducted by Ray O'Connor (IRL), assisted by Horacio Servetto (ARG). Both are FIH Umpire Managers and former World Cup and Olympic International Umpires. A specially selected group of 13 Men and 9 Women from the current FIH Umpire Managers List has been invited to participate.

In addition, a short pre-Tournament Training Camp will be held for the panel of FIH International Umpires appointed to the World Cup. The aim of the Camp is to put the finishing touches to the Umpires' individual preparation programs which they have been following in the lead up to the Tournament. These sort of Camps have previously been held prior to each of the last two Olympic Games, in Athens (GRE) and Beijing (CHN), and have been found to have a positive influence on the Tournament performances of the Umpires.


Hockey players train hard in spite of uncertainty

Pakistan coach says his charges will be fully ready for World Cup in India

By Khalid Hussain

KARACHI: Pakistan’s hockey players are training hard to get ready for the World Cup even as uncertainty prevails over their participation in the quadrennial spectacle to be held in New Delhi from February 28.

Shahid Ali Khan, Pakistan’s coach, told ‘The News’ on Thursday that his charges were fully focused on preparing for the World Cup in spite of the fact that the government is yet to take a decision on whether to allow the national team to cross the border and play in the 12-nation tournament.

According to the coach, the Pakistani players were carrying out tough training sessions at the National Stadium in Lahore without bothering about the “if and buts” related to their participation in the World Cup.

“We know that a decision is yet to be taken and that there is a possibility that we might not be allowed to take part in the World Cup,” said Shahid, a former Olympian. “But that doesn’t change anything. We are making tough preparations for the World Cup without bothering about whether we would be allowed to play in it or not. In any case, it is a decision that has to be taken by the government and we would do whatever we are told to do.”

Government authorities are considering calls from various quarters to keep the national hockey team away from the World Cup to protest against Indian Premier League’s decision to snub Pakistani cricketers for its third season.

At an auction in Mumbai earlier this month, IPL franchises decided against picking any Pakistani cricketer for this year’s season, igniting fierce criticism in Pakistan with many former greats calling for a boycott of the hockey World Cup to be held on Indian soil.

It’s not an ideal scenario for the Pakistan hockey team that made the cut for the World Cup by winning a qualifying tournament in France last November and is now looking forward to making its presence in the World Cup.

But Shahid stressed that his boys were not disturbed by the uncertainty.

“Our training is progressing according to plans. The boys are keen to attain peak fitness and the officials are working overtime to prepare strategies. Things are moving in the right direction for us.”

Shahid said that he and fellow team coaches have identified a few key areas that need improvement.

“We are working on overcoming weaknesses in our deep defense, one-to-one tackling. The boys are learning how to avoid coming under pressure in the last minutes of crucial matches. Then we are concentrating on short corner defense and offence.”

Pakistan will carry out two-day trials at the National Stadium on February 5 and 6 after which the selectors will name the squad for the World Cup.

The selection committee is unlikely to make many changes to the side that played a two-match Test series against the Netherlands in Doha earlier this month.

The News International

Participation in World Cup rests with govt: Qasim

By Mohammad Yaqoob

LAHORE: President, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Qasim Zia has said that though the federation is ready to send the national team to India for taking part in the World Cup-2010, the final say in the matter rested with the Federal Government.

Talking to reporters at the National Hockey Stadium where the national training camp for next month’s mega event is currently in progress, the former Olympian said that the national team cannot go anywhere in the world without NOCs from the Federal Government. The same was the case with the World Cup.

The Federal Sports Minister had earlier given verbal permission to the PHF to send the team to the event but on Thursday a statement from Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani aired on TV channels had him creating a lot of confusion when he said that permission had not yet been granted. To this the PHF president said that the PM was the authority and they should let the decision come.

He said Pakistan qualified for the World Cup and the PHF was preparing the national team for its final round, which shows that the federation itself is ready to take part in the event.

To a question, he said that although the PHF had requested the federal government to send a high-level security delegation to India in order to assess the security arrangements, there had been no fresh development on it.

Asked as the Indian hockey authorities had increased the financial package of their players, if the PHF, too, would like to announce any incentive for the players in case of winning the opening match of the World Cup against arch-rivals India, he said that the prime minister was the patron of the federation.

But he would try to request him to announce incentives if he planned to give any when he met the national team before its departure to India.

As the PHF is not eyeing victory in the World Cup and focusing more on winning the opening match against India, Qasim said that the pressure would be on both the traditional rivals when they face each other in the opener.

The World Cup is scheduled to be held in New Delhi from Feb 28 to March 13.


India, Pakistan for Azlan Shah Cup

By Ajitpal Singh

FOUR teams have confirmed their entries for this year’s Azlan Shah Cup but the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) is optimistic another three teams will accept their invitation by this Sunday’s closing date.

Defending champions India, Pakistan, Australia and Malaysia are the confirmed teams.

MHF has also invited the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, South Korea, Japan and Egypt for the tournament, scheduled at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium on May 8-16.

“We are targeting seven teams for the competition. I am confident other teams will reply by Sunday,” said MHF secretary Hashim Yusoff.

In last year’s edition, India defeated Malaysia 3-1 in the final while Pakistan finished fourth.

Meanwhile, the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy will be held at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on April 3- 18.

Korea, Pakistan, China and Malaysia, the top four finishers in last year’s Asia Cup will compete for the title.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

England hockey players prepare for World Cup at English Indoor Championships

By Patrick Rowley

England's unusual preparation for the men's World Cup in Delhi next month, switching from indoor to outdoor hockey, continues this weekend.

Many of the top players will take part in the finals of the English Indoor Championships at the Nottingham Arena.

East Grinstead, the holders, will hope Glenn Kirkham and Ashley Jackson make a quick transition to boards, having just returned from outdoor internationals in Cadiz.

If they do, Grinstead, who won all eight of their league matches despite often having to play below full strength, should be capable of defending their title.

Three of their players, Mark Pearn, the free-scoring David De Prez and German Mats Grambusch, have been outstanding.

The men's semi-finals, at 1.50pm on Sunday, see Loughborough Students take on new challengers Surbiton while Grinstead face Reading, with the final at 5.30pm.

The women's semi-finals, Canterbury v Leicester and Slough v Bowdon Hightown, are being held on Saturday.

Holders Bowdon will do well to defeat Slough in their semi-final, as they did a year ago, after unimpressive form in the league.

Slough have a solid defensive unit and also stalwart Jane Smith, who was comfortably the league's top scorer once again.

The Telegraph

Hockeyroos to face Argentina in Townsville

The Hockeyroos will have an opportunity to continue their fierce rivalry against Argentina when they face the world number 2 team in a 4 test series on home soil.

The series will be played in Townsville, Queensland from March 24 – 28. This opportunity to bring high quality hockey to regional Queensland has been brought about by the enthusiasm of the region to promote the sport in the area. Hockey Australia is working with Townsville to ensure this series attracts spectators from the whole of the North Queensland region.

With a number of current Hockeyroos and Kookaburra players such as Teneal Attard, Hope Munro, Kiel Brown, Jamie Dwyer and Mark Knowles originating from regional Queensland, Hockey Australia CEO Mark Anderson said the importance of promoting the game of hockey in regional areas was obvious.

“The large number of players we currently have in our two national teams from regional Queensland displays the importance of this region to the success of our sport at the elite level. Whilst providing an ideal talent pool, the growth of local hockey competitions in regional Queensland is also very important for the continuing success of our sport” said Anderson. “We know that hosting this series in Townsville will assist our local associations and clubs to promote the sport of hockey in their communities.”

The Hockeyroos played an epic final against Argentina at the 2009 Champions Trophy final, going down in heart breaking fashion during penalty strokes.

Regardless of this result the Hockeyroos have been in good form against Argentina of late, recently defeating them in front of their home crowd in a best of five series in late 2009.

This series will allow coach Frank Murray to make some final adjustments to his squad ahead of the BDO World Cup Qualifier event which will be held in Santiago, Chile from April 24 – May 2.

After suffering a surprise loss in the final of the Oceania Cup to New Zealand in August last year, the Hockeyroos were denied direct access to the 2010 Women’s World Cup which will be played in Rosario, Argentina from August 29.

They will need to win the BDO World Cup Qualifier to claim a spot at the World Cup.

Their opposition will include Chile (ranked 16th), Ireland (ranked 15th), Malaysia (ranked 22nd), Scotland (ranked 23rd) and Trinidad & Tobago.

Tickets for this Townsville series will sell out quickly so contact Townsville hockey for ticketing information.

Townsville Hockey
PH: (07) 47784810
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hockey Australia media release

Black Sticks teams prepare for Australian test series

The Black Sticks Men and Women are full throttle into 2010 preparing for a test series against Australia, in Perth, next month. On higher alert to the women, are the Black Sticks Men, who are in camp mode, smack-bang in the middle of their World Cup campaign, which begins 28th February.

First off however, both teams have been playing weekly Wednesday night training matches to build up to the Australia series. Both the men’s and women’s game is between the team travelling to Perth and a composite team made up of guest players, resting Black Sticks players and development squad athletes. The Black Sticks Women begin their test series against Australia from February 13th to 17th and the Men from the 16th to 21st.

Black Sticks Men’s Coach Shane McLeod believes he has a ‘strong forward line providing exciting goal scoring opportunities. This coupled with a creative midfield means that each game is free flowing. Players are vying for 1 of 18 positions [once the team is announced] and will be working hard to make each combination as automatic and as slick as possible’.

Black Sticks Women’s Coach Mark Hager made comment to these training games allowing the new inclusions into the 2010 Black Sticks squad - Natasha Fitzsimons, Cat Finlayson & Laura Douglas - to understand and develop their individual roles within the team structures. He also made mention that the team have been working hard on their strength and conditioning, which will be put to the test under the hot conditions in Perth.

Hockey fans, players, officials, coaches, locals, general public; anyone at all, are encouraged to head down to the North Harbour turf at 60 Paul Matthews Drive, to support the teams and enjoy these warm summer evenings watching New Zealand’s best Hockey players.

The 2010 calendar is looking to be a big year for the Black Sticks with the World Cups from February to March (men) and September (women), the Champions Trophy in July (women) and August (men), as well as it being a Commonwealth year with the Games in Delhi, India, in October.

The next two Wednesday night games (predominantly for the Black Sticks Men) are scheduled at the following dates and times:
3 February @ 8.00pm
Venue: Crown Relocations North Harbour Stadium, 60 Paul Matthews Drive
10 February @ 8.00pm
Venue: Crown Relocations North Harbour Stadium, 60 Paul Matthews Drive

Hockey New Zealand Media release

KLHC need to buck up in clash against ATM-Airod

By Jugjet Singh

LEAGUE champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) expect a tough time against ATM-Airod in the quarter-finals of the TNB-Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division today at the KLHA Stadium.

KLHC coach R. Vivekanandan was frank in his assessment, when he said his charges might be national players, but they have not been performing to the desired level.

"We started well in the MHL, but in the last few matches, my charges have been committing too many mistakes which led to goals.

"For example, we had 35 circle penetrations while Tenaga Nasional 25 and we lost the match 4-3 in Malacca. And the reason was too many turn-overs in midfield. My team gave away the ball 30 times in 70 minutes," said Vivekanandan.

The coach is a little worried about the quarter-finals, as they will be playing underdogs ATM-Airod, who finished runners-up in Division One of the MHL.

"We are better off in skill, but I believe it will be a tough match because the Army men have proved themselves by becoming champions in the Selangor HA League, and have been keeping themselves busy preparing for this encounter," said Vickneswaran.

ATM-Airod team manager Fizal Muhammad feels they have a mountain to climb, but his charges are game, because they are physically ready to play for 140 minutes in the two-leg quarters.

"Both the legs will be uphill battles for us, and we will be banking on our fitness level. I dare say that my men will match the KLHC players in that aspect.

"We will give our all, but don't judge us by our Selangor League title because the opponents there were much weaker," said Fizal.

Tenaga Nasional, who are the only team to have beaten KLHC in the League, will face Division One champions UiTM and are expected to cruise into the semi-finals.

New Straits Times

Tenaga out to prove a point against champions

By Jugjet Singh

THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) has been reduced to a prize presentation ceremony in Malacca tomorrow, but Tenaga Nasional will still be on a mission.

League champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Tenaga will square off in a match of little importance as the positions were decided last weekend.

But the runners-up want to prove a point by smashing KLHC's unbeaten run before the quarter-finals.

"Win, draw or lose will not change our fortunes, but there is pride to play for. My team will give their best for the sake of hockey, and we will also be looking to break KLHC's unbeaten run in Malacca," said Tenaga coach Manjit Singh.

KLHC could only edge Tenaga 3-2 in an earlier encounter.

"We were narrowly beaten by KLHC, and I see this return leg as a great opportunity to boost the morale of my players before the knock-out stage.

"We have lost one title but will be out for the Overall title, and that is why a win in Malacca is important for us," said Manjit.

Tenaga have been kept alive by national goalkeeper S. Kumar, and his form will play a crucial role in their quest to beat KLHC who have more strikers than defenders in their side.

TOMORROW: Sapura v Nur Insafi (4.30pm), UniKL-Ibil v Maybank (6.30pm), Tenaga Nasional v KL Hockey Club (8.30pm).

l All matches at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca.

New Straits Times

Sapura out to turn the tables on Nur Insafi in first leg


KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Sapura are happy with Nur Insafi’s decision to abort a boycott to play in the knockout competition of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

Sapura, who finished fourth in the Premier Division, are up against the Penang-based side in the quarter-finals. The first-leg match will be played today at the Tun Razak Stadium and the return match will be held at the same venue on Sunday.

Nur Insafi opted out on Monday after the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) turned down their request to play one of the matches at their home venue, the USM Stadium. The MHF technical committee accepted their withdrawal and on Wednesday, Nur Insafi made an about-turn to return to the fray.

Sapura coach S. Prakash said that playing against Nur Insafi for a place in the semi-finals was better than advancing on a free ride.

“Never in the history of the MHL had any team withdrawn from the knockout stage. We are glad that Nur Insafi have decided to stay in the competition,” said Prakash.

“We have a score to settle with Nur Insafi. They beat us 4-1 in the second round match of the Premier Division in Malacca last weekend.”

Prakash added that they were disappointed over the defeat even though they were without the services of three key players — goalkeeper Mohd Nasihin Nubli, midfielder Jivan Mohan and his elder brother, forward Jiwa Mohan — for the match.

“We beat them 4-0 in the first round and losing the second match was a bad result for us. We will have the services of all the three players for the quarter-finals and will go all out for victory,” he said.

Prakash said that Nasihin was rested last week because of a back injury while Jiwa did not play because of his wedding in Penang.

“However, I have warned my players to stay on their toes as Nur Insafi have very skilful players, among them India’s Michael Sandeep, who is dangerous once in the D,” he said.

Nur Insafi, who hired 15 foreign players for their campaign in the MHL, finished fifth in the six-team Premier Division.

The Star of Malaysia

Backline woes for Tenaga as they take on UiTM

KUALA LUMPUR: The Tenaga Nasional defence will not be at full strength for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) quarter-final first-leg match against UiTM at the Tun Razak Stadium today.

Skipper and sweeper Mohd Sallehin Abdul Ghani is out because of a right wrist injury. The 25-year-old national player suffered the injury when he tried to save a penalty corner attempt by Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in a final Premier Division fixture in Malacca last Saturday.

Tenaga coach Manjit Singh said that Sallehin’s wrist was still swollen.

“He has not trained since picking up the injury and it is unfortunate that we will not have the services of a hardworking defender for the match against UiTM tomorrow,” said Manjit.

Manjit added that another defender, Zahirin Zakaria, aggravated a spine injury in the match against KLHC and had been ruled out for the rest of the competition.

“Zahirin was admitted to the Malacca General Hospital and the doctor said that he needed a complete rest. In the absence of two defenders, I will have to reshuffle the whole defence for both legs of the quarter-final tie against UiTM,” said Manjit.

National penalty corner flicker Mohd Amin Rahim will now marshal the Tenaga backline. The other defenders in the team are Mohd Madzli Ikmar, Baljit Singh Charun and Lawrence Stevens.

Manjit added that in the absence of Sallehin and Zahirin, Tenaga would have to take a more cautious approach against Division One champions UiTM.

“We are not sure of their real strength as we have never seen them in action. However, my boys are in high spirit after coming back from two goals down to end KLHC unbeaten run with a 4-3 victory,” he said.

“Mohd Amin scored a hat-trick against KLHC and we will bank on him again to deliver the goals against UiTM.”

The Star of Malaysia

Ireland A Women's Squad Announced

The Ireland A Women's coach, Guy Garrett, announced his training squad prior to their competition against Germany U21's taking place 17th - 21st March in Dublin.

The Ireland A squad sees the inclusion of several new players who have progressed as a result of their impressive performance at the U18 EuroNations Tournament as well as club performances in recent ESB Irish Hockey League games.

A further review will take place after the ESB Senior & ESB U21 Inter-Provincial tournaments; to be played between 26-28 March, 2010.

The objectives of the Ireland A squad is to identify talent, to provide a continum in player development and to prepare players for the Ireland Senior Womens squad.

The Ireland A Womens programme takes into account the considerable club and provincial commitments for the players.  All players will attend a senior squad regional session each week as well as two Ireland A training camps, on 21 February and 7 March, in preparation for this series of test matches.

Commenting Coach Garrett said "This past year stands to the success of our Ireland A Womens programme.  We had had 6 players move from the programme to compete in the Champions Challenge II and EuroNations tournements last Summer this attests to the current depth of our squads."

"We very much look forward to hosting the Germany U21 squad, who provided very useful experience last season.  We will also host strong oppositon when we play the Scotland U21 Women's squad, prior to the Junior Celtic Cup in July.

I strongly believe that, not only are we producing more and more talented players, but also more completitive players.  A long-term vision is now turning towards the medium-term, which our programme and development reflects." he continued.

1. Aisling Campion Loreto HC
2. Miriam Crowley UCC HC
3. Stephanie Quinn Armagh HC
4. Chloe Watkins Hermes HC
5. Nicola Evans Railway Union HC
6. Kate McConnell Pegasus HC
7. Brenda Flannery Galway HC
8. Orla Fox Pembroke Wanderers HC
9. Victoria Green Clifton Ladies HC
10. Hollie Jenkinson Railway Union HC
11. Hannah Matthews Loreto HC
12. Liz McInerney UCD HC
13. Kate McKenna Railway Union HC
14. Hannah McMillan Queens University
15. Gillian Pinder Hermes HC
16. Katherine Steenson Armagh HC
17. Anna O'Flanagan Hermes HC

Ireland A Programme:

21 Feb, 2010 Training camp Dublin
7 Mar, 2010 Training camp Dublin
17 Mar, 2010 Ireland A vs Germany U21 Dublin
18 Mar, 2010 Ireland A vs Germany U21 Dublin
20 Mar, 2010 Ireland Senior vs Germany U21 Dublin
21 Mar, 2010 Ireland Senior vs Germany U21 Dublin
5-6 Jun, 2010 Training camp Dublin
12-13 Jun, 2010 Training camp Dublin
29-30 Jun, 2010 2 match vs Scotland U21 Ulster
2-4 Jul, 2010 Junior Celtic Cup (U21) Ulster

Irish Hockey Association media release

'Sometimes it is demotivating to work here'

Mihir Vasavda

Mumbai: India’s Spanish-born hockey coach Jose Brasa has revealed that the ways of the mandarins of Indian hockey has been motivation-sapping. He has also said that it was only the support and unity shown by the players that has kept his hunger alive for coaching the team.

Having completed six months as the head coach of the Indian hockey team, a time during which the players went on a strike demanding salary, Brasa said that his journey has been rather incredible though difficult at times.

For one, Brasa would have liked to train the boys in New Delhi at the World Cup venue — Dhyan Chand National stadium — rather than at the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune. It is this lack of planning and foresight that has left him demotivated at times.

“It has been an incredible journey for me so far. But sometimes it is difficult to work here. It’s difficult to communicate and to plan. We never know what we are going to do the next day. And sometimes you completely lose your motivation to be here,” Brasa told DNA.

However, the players single-minded will to do well has spurred him to keep his spirit high. “It’s necessary to put extra effort to regain and recover that lost motivation. It’s always the players who help me recover. They are a great bunch of guys and it is very motivating for me to work with them,” Brasa said.

The Spaniard doesn’t want to dwell too much on the what could have been different or what could have been better. “Well, we can talk about it after the World Cup. But one of the reasons is that Hockey India is provisional body. We have no parents. We don’t know where to go for help, and it is difficult to get answers. I hope everything will be sorted soon and we will find our parents soon and feel more protected,” he said rather philosophically.

‘The important thing is not what happens, but what you do after.’ That’s the message Jose Brasa has printed and pasted on the doors of all the players at the hostel of the Balewadi Sports Complex in Pune. And perhaps, it’s this message that has helped the team gel.


Shivraj Chouhan distributes funds to 18 women hockey players

Bhopal: Madhya Pradesh chief minister, Shivraj Singh Chouhan tonight distributed drafts worth Rs23 lakh to 18 Indian Women Hockey players and five officials.

At a function at his official residence, Chouhan also gave away a cheque of Rs50 lakh to clear the outstanding dues of the players.

Chouhan had earlier given Rs1 crore to the Union sports ministry for clearing the dues of hockey players and promoting the game.

He said that till now women hockey players had not received anything from Hockey India and therefore he was giving an additional Rs50 lakh to them.

"I have been told that the money will come tomorrow, but as noone has seen tomorrow therefore I am giving away Rs50 lakh today itself to the players," he said.

The chief minister also honoured the women hockey players, former players and officials on the occasion.


Haryana govt gives Rs 1 crore to women hockey team

CHANDIGARH: Chipping in with financial help for the national women hockey team, the Haryana government has released a cheque of Rs one crore for the players.

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda said at a press conference that they decided to release the cheque after learning about the plight of the players.

Madhya Pradesh government has already contributed Rs one crore for the players and Corporate body ASSOCHAM had also donated Rs 10 lakh.

The Union Sports Ministry had approached various state governments to help the players, who are protesting against the delay in payment of their dues and incentives apart from demanding treatment at par with their male counterparts.

Hooda also said that they could consider giving a job to skipper Surinder Kaur if the player makes a request.

"In case she desires for a government job, we will take care," he said.

The Times of India

HI elections may be delayed further

MUMBAI: The Hockey India (HI) polls look certain to be further delayed. An order passed by the Mumbai High Court on Wednesday has given HI six weeks to arrive at a decision regarding the affiliation of Maharshtra Hockey Association (MHA), forbidding them from carrying out any election procedure until then.

The two-division bench comprising Justice KR Joshi and Justice DK Deshmukh had asked the HI representatives to be present at the hearing and questioned the 10-month delay in considering MHA's application for affiliation. At the latest hearing, the bench instructed HI not to take any decision on the managing committee, including the elections, until MHA's affiliation was sorted out.

The order has come as a big boost for MHA. "We've been struggling for the past 10 months since the application was filed and this is a definite victory for us. This judgment holds great significance for other associations which have been struggling for affiliation like us," said MHA spokesperson Joaquim Carvalho.

The Wednesday court order follows the Jaipur HC order which had put a stay on the minutes of the January 11 meeting of HI, in which the affiliation process was given final touches. It seems unlikely now that the elections will be held before the hockey World Cup, which begins in New Delhi on Feb 28.

The Times of India

Hockey India has to consider MHA application, rules Bombay HC

Mayura Janwalkar — With inputs from Mihir Vasavda

Mumbai Hockey Association (MHA) advocate Rakesh Kumar said HI will have to consider their application for affiliation in six weeks. Affiliation will entitle these associations to voting rights in HI’s elections.

The MHA had sought a court direction to the HI granting them affiliation. The MHA was aggrieved by the meeting for affiliation held by HI on November 30 last year without taking into account a letter written by them in July 2009 requesting affiliation.

Kumar had argued that MHA was the oldest association and a founding member of Indian Hockey Federation and had hosted the hosted the fifth World Cup in 1981-82.

Justice DK Deshmukh and justice AR Joshi ruled that HI cannot proceed with its elections without considering granting affiliation to MHA.

The latest development came after the Maharashtra Olympic Association (MOA) on Wednesday disaffiliated MHA headed by Victor Ellis, saying it had received written complaints against it.

According to MOA secretary Babasaheb Landge, the affiliation to MHA was given on a temporary basis and its executive committee on Wednesday decided to withdraw the recognition after it had received complaints from other stakeholders in the state, including Mumbai and Vidarba Hockey Associations.

All the three units were members of the suspended Indian Hockey Federation, the forerunner of Hockey India.


Bombay HC gives Hockey India six weeks to sort affiliation issues

MUMBAI: In yet another setback to the Hockey India elections, a Bombay High Court division bench on Thursday directed HI to consider affiliation applications of all three units in the state -- Mumbai, Vidarbha and Maharashtra -- in six weeks' time before going for the polls.

"The division bench of Justice DK Deshmukh and AR Joshi of the Bombay High Court today disposed off the petition filed by the Mumbai Hockey Association (MHA) and directed HI to consider the applications for affiliation of all three units within six weeks," petitioner's advocate Vijendra Jabra said.

"The division bench has ruled that until they consider the applications, HI cannot conduct the elections," Jabra said.

The latest development came after the Maharashtra Olympic Association (MOA) on Wednesday disaffiliated MHA headed by Victor Ellis, saying it had received written complaints against the faction from different quarters.

According to MOA secretary Babasaheb Landge the affiliation to the Ellis-led MHA was given on a temporary basis and its executive committee yesterday decided to withdraw the recognition after it had received complaints from other stakeholders of the game in the state, including Mumbai and Vidarba Hockey Associations.

All the three units were members of the suspended Indian Hockey Federation, the forerunner of Hockey India.

The Times of India

Mumbai HC’s directive

MUMBAI: Hockey India has been directed by a two-member bench of the Mumbai High Court to consider affiliation for Mumbai Hockey Association within six weeks. The order issued on Thursday also directed HI not to hold elections till then.

Judges D.K. Deshmukh and A.R. Joshi, hearing a petition filed by MHA, directed HI to not only consider Mumbai’s affiliation but also of all Maharashtra units seeking the same facility.

Mumbai, Vidarbha and Maharashtra protested against HI’s directive to merge into one entity under the one State one unit rule. Mumbai had filed a petition in the Mumbai High Court seeking continuation of its identity as a separate unit.

As per the High Court order, Mumbai Hockey Association can approach the court for relief in case directive for affiliation as a separate unit is not considered within the time frame.

According to the petitioner’s advocate, Vijendra Jabra, the division bench of Justice Deshmukh and Justice Joshi disposed of the petition filed by Mumbai HA and directed HI to consider the applications for affiliation of all three units within six weeks.

The Hindu

The goalkeeper who played as a forward

"People always have high expectations because India has the maximum number of gold medals at the Olympic Games. We would certainly want to be in the limelight for winning on the field and making our country proud. At the same time, we want the support we got from the nation to continue not only in the coming World Cup, but forever," says team goalkeeper Adrian D’Souza, in this interview with Nandakumar Marar.


Adrian D’Souza (extreme right) is prominent as the players address a press conference during the crisis.

Adrian D’Souza emerged as the public face for the Indian World Cup probables, who went on strike at Balewadi, Pune, recently, protesting against Hockey India’s inaction over payment of cash incentives for performances in 2009. He appeared at press conferences and television debates to present the players’ viewpoint in response to probing questions from the media, former internationals and administrators on the decision of the players to stop training one month before the 2010 World Cup.

The India goalkeeper is familiar with pressure situations, having made 114 international appearances (up to Champions Challenge 2009 in Argentina). Life takes on a surreal appearance when he is in goal, with his face hidden behind a helmet and body padded with protective gear. The mask was not there during the six-day strike, as Adrian used his communication skills as one of four spokespersons, along with Arjuna Halappa, Prabhjyot Singh and Deepak Thakur, in negotiations with officials.

He played a critical role in keeping the 22 seniors together when the situation reached boiling point in the wake of HI’s 48-hour ultimatum to resume training or leave the camp. The laptop was a constant fixture in his room at the Balewadi Boys Hostel, as team-mates moved in and out of Adrian’s room for feedback on various issues during those stormy, tense, six days when the National probables made news for not playing.

From the start, the goalkeeper was clear in his mind about the need to take a strong stand and about who would benefit from the players’ agitation. “Parents of children interested in sport will choose on the basis of earning power. I feel this is the time for us seniors to do something for the sake of hockey-playing youngsters all over India who want to make it a career,” said Adrian, captain of India at the 2005 Junior World Cup and one of FIH’s nominees for ‘Most Promising Player of Year 2004’.

He emphasised that cash incentives for performances in 2009, demanded from the hockey administration, was not for the 22 seniors alone. “We wanted all those who played for India in 2009 to benefit. The list of players given to HI contained names of all team members of winning squads last year. This is a starting point, we hope others in the Indian hockey family will benefit,” he said.

A product of the Bombay Republicans Club, Adrian was chosen by the Air India Hockey Academy in New Delhi. He is now employed with Air India as Assistant Manager and represents the organisation in domestic events. He is confident of his team-mates carrying forward the Balewadi unity into the 2010 World Cup. “We certainly want to be in the limelight for winning on the field and making our country proud. At the same time, we want the support we got from the nation to continue not only in the forthcoming World Cup, but forever,” he said, overwhelmed by people’s support during the trying times.

Excerpts from an interview:

Question: A start has been made at Balewadi regarding cash incentives to Indian teams (men, women, juniors) for titles in international hockey. For youngsters to take up the game and for support from parents, what more is possible in the present circumstances?

Answer: We had seen our seniors trying to make a constant and regular incentive plan for players in the past. In the present circumstances, we as players need to get better in our ranking. India has slipped down and that is due to not qualifying for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Hockey has to be televised more so that people understand the sport and love watching it.

Hockey followers, outraged at the way players were taken for granted by officials, came out in support. Celebrities and corporates offered help so that you could get back to training and not worry about money matters. What is your opinion about this reaction?

Firstly, we were very happy and humbled to see the nation react this way. The reason for this, I believe, is the nation knew what our situation was and also realised that we stood up for what was right. Moreover, hockey is our national sport and can’t be treated this way.

Hockey India officials were talking openly that players were more interested in money than playing for their country. What would you like to tell the nation on this matter?

When we were told that we gave money priority over representing India, it really hurt us. We felt that our patriotism was being questioned. The nation knew that we definitely deserved something for what we did. If earning money had been our priority, I would be happily playing for my company, Air India, as they treat their sportspersons really well. The country will always be my first priority.

The united stand by the 22 players in Balewadi was a new happening in Indian hockey. What made the players stick together? Is there a lesson in this for other sportspersons?

We 22 players stood united all the way. For the first time no one backed out and we remained together. The best part is that now there is more unity in the team. I’m sure this will definitely help us in the tournaments ahead. I’m sure every other sportsperson, especially in a team sport, would appreciate that unity is very important when you want to win.

The Development Team in Lucknow backed the seniors on strike. What made these youngsters — the best of whom were in contention for places in the India squad for the World Cup as replacements for the seniors — take this courageous stand?

The development squad that is preparing for the SAF Games realised that we senior players were not only speaking for ourselves, but for all the hockey players across the nation and also the kids who will take up the sport.


Legend Dhanraj Pillay with school children in Ranchi. The players on strike contended that only if hockey was made monetarily attractive would the younger generation take to it.

The decision to stop training was the outcome of resentment building up in players over a period of time. Can you take us through 2009 for an idea of achievements from the players’ viewpoint? Is there a precedent in the form of cash incentives for titles?

Yes, in the past players did get incentives when they finished on the podium. Definitely, it is a kind of motivation. We, the players, did bring up this topic in our meeting long ago and also took it quite seriously by the end of 2009. Some of the tournaments in which we finished on the podium in 2009 were the Azlan Shah Cup, the Punjab Gold Cup and the Champions Challenge. These were three international events where we did quite well.

As a goalkeeper, you are familiar with reacting to shots at goal from all angles and dealing with many things at the same time. Was the decision to stop training in protest more challenging, individually and collectively, than a crisis situation in a match?

Playing as a goalkeeper has been a part of me since I was nine years old. This protest was something new, quite challenging at times. The support I was getting from all my teammates, and vice versa, made me stronger. We knew that we would make it work, come what may. Hopefully, in the near future, we wouldn’t have to do something like this. I hope the new hockey body to be elected will do its best for the future of the sport and the players.

A hockey-loving India has expectations from the national squad at the 2010 World Cup. Does the unity during strike extend to training sessions afterwards? Can we expect Indian hockey to be in the news for happy reasons in Delhi and after?

One thing is for sure, the nation will be watching us. More people are aware that the World Cup is to be hosted by India. People always have high expectations because India has the maximum number of gold medals at the Olympic Games. We would certainly want to be in the limelight for winning on the field and making our country proud. At the same time, we want the support we got from the nation to continue not only in the coming World Cup, but forever.

You are a more visible face now, having constantly appeared on television debates during the strike days and spent time away from hockey to fulfill the role of a spokesperson for the team. Any career thoughts away from hockey?

On the field I am very visible with my goalkeeping gear which makes me look like the odd man out. People have often told me that I look completely different in reality. I would certainly love to be in shows and debates, as a face for today’s youth. I would regard that as a humble thought, more than a career thought.


A new dimension in Indian hockey


The Indian players at the National camp in Balewadi corrected misconceptions among hockey administrators about the players being a hapless bunch, satisfied with scraps thrown their way in the keenness to wear national colours. The 22 internationals, whose approach during the face-to-face negotiations with Hockey India officials was remarkable for unity in action and clarity of thought, came across as young men ready to assert themselves without any fear when the opportunity arose.

The players are career-oriented individuals in the prime of youth, for whom money is as good a motivating factor as the honour of representing the nation at World Cups or the Olympic Games. The thought process is similar to that of any bright youngster in the corporate world, waiting for the opportunity to move up in life using talent, training and experience in a chosen field.

The administrators did not bother to understand the mindset of the players, tending to believe strongly that they are servile individuals whose livelihood depended on meagre allowances paid for attending national camps and tour allowances handed out during matches. Most of the Balewadi campers, whom the HI officials attempted to talk down instead of winning their trust and respect, are employed with public sector companies such as Air India, Indian Oil Corporation, Bharat Petroleum etc and attached to star-studded hockey teams.

Attending long-duration India camps, like the ongoing one for the 2010 World Cup, is a financial loss for these internationals for whom motivation to win titles in domestic hockey tournaments comes in the form of substantial allowances, performance-based incentives, good hotel accommodation and the best of equipment. Questioning the HI officials’ decision to brand them as mercenaries, striker Deepak Thakur pointed out that he could have earned Rs. 50,000 by playing 10 days of domestic tournaments for IOC, which he was actually forfeiting by attending the national camp.

Thakur was one of four player-spokespersons during the Balewadi standoff, along with forwards Prabhjyot Singh, Arjun Halappa and custodian Adrian D’ Souza. All four took an active part in the negotiations and faced the nation to explain their viewpoint. The confidence displayed on the field was reflected in their body language off the field too. Thakur and Prabhjyot are Deputy Managers with IOC, while Halappa is a Deputy Manager with Air India. D’Souza is an Assistant Manager with Air India. All four have played club hockey in the Bundesliga, the German league, and so have been exposed to the professional hockey structure in Europe.

Indian hockey is a paradox. The national team has a corporate sponsor, the internationals display the sponsor’s name on their shirts at international events, but there are no match fees from HI and the daily allowances are so low that it is humiliating to even mention them.

Goalkeeper D’Souza revealed that he got $14 as daily allowance for the 2009 Azlan Shah Cup, which India won defeating Malaysia 3-1 in the final. The national team players said during media briefings that such daily allowances were not sufficient to even buy them a cup of tea at the official hotel where all participants stayed.

Thakur, Prabhjyot, Halappa, D’Souza and others at Balewadi, who are in the reckoning for places in the Indian 2010 World Cup squad, are familiar with commercial aspects of sport like match fees, sponsorship and television rights. Asking for cash incentives for victories in 2009 was just the beginning of a struggle by the 22 players to ensure remuneration for all those who figured in winning teams last year. The refusal by HI to respond to initial written communication, leading to stronger action, evoked an ultimatum from administrators instead of understanding.

HI can use internationals with established reputations in promoting the sport through hockey carnivals, clinics and television shows. Prabhjyot was among the FIH nominees for the 2007 ‘Male Player of the Year’ award. D’Souza was the first Indian to be among the FIH nominees for the ‘Most Promising Youngster’ category in 2007. Neither went on to win awards, but continue to be match-winners for India.

Cricket continues to attract crowds, sponsors and public regardless of India’s performances in the 50:50 World Cup or the T20 World Cup. Players become larger-than-life personalities and marketing takes care of the rest. Hockey officials can take the cue and convert the best players into youth icons, instead of projecting them as mercenaries. It is a win-win situation for India’s national game.