News for 03 January 2012

All the news for Tuesday 3 January 2012

2011: A wasted year where opportunities lost are galore

K Arumugam

Indian hockey is an undisputed master at the art of turning every golden & godsend opportunity into a tragedy. The year just gone by was no different.

A country that still prides itself as a hockey nation, had done nothing yet again to be so.

Instead, it frittered away all the goodwill and most commercial opportunities that came in its way in 2011.

With a result, no single international activity for seniors took place on the Indian soils. This barren scenario was stark contrast to last year which witnessed World Cup and Commonwealth Games, keeping hockey fans on a thrill.

How can a sport prosper without tournaments hosted on its home?

Hosting tournament costs money, and our hockey administrators revel only on government doles and are therefore ready to send team abroad than to organize something here. This is motored by the fact that government shell out huge sum hoping to revive Indian hockey. Collectively, government of India has spent about Rs 10 crore on hockey alone.

So, we have some tournaments held outside in which India figured.

It covers a Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, another Asian event in Ordos and then a long Australian tour before playing in a worthy FIH event – Champions Challenge I.

Logically, the first three were supposed to be in preparation for the last one, so that India can enter the ‘Lost Paradise’ Champions Trophy on merit.

But our men fell short.

India did well to enter the Champions Challenge Final, but it was not good enough to be the winner.

India could not defeat Belgium in the opener – it was a 3-3 draw – and then went down 3-4 in the last hurdle to the same rival.

This year is remarkable in the sense that our men’s national team had been beset with second half problem.

Suffice to say, Indians played their internationals as if first half is there to score and the next half is to concede!

It seems Indian hockey is again groping in dark despite acquiring ‘miracle’ menfolk from Australia – from coaching to administration.

Michael Nobbs, who was fortunate to get a full 5-year tenure thanks to the vision of Pargat Singh, reasoned Indian debacles to the process of ‘unlearning’ the past and the players lacking in fitness. He assured us if the World Series Hockey is not held, these things can be fixed by the time the Olympic Qualifier is held in February this year.

We have every reason to believe him to deliver, as he has been in the seat only midway through the year.

His beginning did not inspire any of us, nor the majority players, but a judgment will be in order only later this year. This despite being Ordos win, which had mere academic interest.

On the domestic side, Indian hockey was not run by some X or Y organization whatever each faction would like us to believe.

There is every logic to believe that India is divided to rule; it works in favour of the vested international interests. Its shame on India and it is how the world looked at India.

India has thus lost its image world over. Our game suffers because of this perception.

A first-time Tournament Director, for instance, had the temerity to suspend five Indian players It can happen only when your national body counts zero. That this incident and its consequence happened when our team was touring the Chief Coach’s home state and the teams’ affair was managed none other than by the national body’s Chief Executive Officer herself, speak volume about how decaying are things for India on the international circuit.

Indian hockey is never subject to strict scrutiny. Not many raise uncomfortable questions. Most think, perhaps, why to flog a dead horse!

Its again first time in the history of our hockey a tournament allotted to India was taken away without any protest from the national body.

On the face of it, it appeared the FIH and Hockey India spiked the World Series Hockey, but it was actually done in by the divided players. They dug in their own prospects.

The commercial success of Hockey 9s, Ten Sports Channel's TV contract with FIH, speak volume about the opportunities that had been missed out by India. Depite toeing every line of FIH, HI failed to retain Champions Trophy and with that good opportunity for Indian players to rub shoulders with the world's best.

The field of Champions Trophy was enlarged from six to eight to get India and Pakistan in. In the end, it turned out that the latter gained, while the former lost out. India gifted Pakistan Asian Games gold last year, losing to Malaysia in the semis. This year's gift was Champion Trophy. Long live their friendship, at least.

This is in a nutshell is the story of India in 2011.

Former champions MBPJ rope in Project 2013 player Ganeisha


Stronger: Defender T. Ganeisha will be joining Petaling Jaya City Council for this year’s Malaysia Junior Hockey League campaign.

KUALA LUMPUR: After a miserable outing in last season’s Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL), former champions Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) have roped in Razak Cupper T. Ganeisha to beef up the team for the next campaign, which begins on Jan 19.

The Project 2013 squad trainee was in the national team that retained the SEA Cup tournament in Myanmar two weeks ago.

Defender Ganeisha scored seven penalty corner goals to help Negri Sembilan win the Razak Cup Division Two title in Malacca in August. He was also the top scorer in Division Two.

The 18-year-old featured for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the MJHL last year and also played in the senior league for Ipoh City Council in Division Two of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) in September.

MBPJ, who won the overall title in 2006, failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the MJHL for the first time last year after finishing a disappointing seventh in the 10-team Division One.

The top six teams from Division One and top two from Division Two qualify for the knockout stage.

Coach Paul Raj, who guided debutants Sabah Hockey Association to the Division Two title last year, was hired by MBPJ to chart their fortunes for next year’s league.

Paul said his target is to take the team not only to the knockout stage but also to a top-three finish in Division One.

“To achieve this I have roped in players from other states to put up a strong challenge,” he said.

“Although I can register 22 players I will only name 18 because I don’t want players to just warm the bench,” said Paul.

He added that the inclusion of Ganeisha was a double boost as he could play in both defence and midfield.

“He is also a good penalty corner flicker and scored a goal against Thailand in the SEA Cup tournament.

“I have also included Ganeisha’s younger brother Atikisha in the team to boost the midfield,” said Paul, who steered the Selangor Sukma (Malaysia Games) team to the bronze medal in the 2006 Kedah Games.

“We also have an outstanding talent in 15-year-old forward Mohd Farhan. He is one to watch for the future.”

The Star of Malaysia

Anderson and ICC join forces for MJHL


KUALA LUMPUR: Perak’s two representatives in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) – SM Anderson and Ipoh City Council (ICC) – have decided to join forces to mount a serious challenge for the Division One crown this year.

Both Anderson and ICC played in Division One last year. Anderson , a regular since the MJHL started in 1995, finished fifth while ICC ended up in ninth spot.

The Anderson-ICC team are now hoping that the joint talent and financial effort will prove beneficial. The team will be coached by ICC’s Dalbir Singh and Anderson’s Mohamed Nizam Mohamed Hashim.

Assistant team manager Whinis­ten David Sager, an ICC representative, lauded the move.

“We had a young team in the fray last year. We were lucky to play in Division One as we finished third in Division Two in 2009. Sabah, who were the runners-up, did not take part and their place was given to us,” said Whinisten.

“But this time our bosses wanted us to look at a joint team with Anderson to put up a stronger team. It’s a good move,” added Whinisten.

The Anderson-ICC team will have three key players from the 2017 Project (National Under-16) squad to spearhead their challenge. They are the Project team skipper Mohamed Najib, Ashran Hamsani and Asril Misron.

“We are not going to set any specific target. Our aim is to finish as high as possible. We want to put up a creditable show. The bulk of the players will come from SM Anderson,” said Whinisten.

Anderson-ICC are probably taking the cue from Bandar Penawar Sports School joining forces with Tenaga Nasional. The two sides combined to form BPSS-Thunderbolt and they won the title for the last two years to end Bukit Jalil Sports School’s (BJSS) domination.

The merger of Anderson-ICC means there will be one team fewer in the MJHL, which begins on Jan 19.

The closing for entries is Friday. The Malaysian Hockey Con­federation (MHC), however, are still hoping to have 24 teams – the same number as last season.

But there are indications that a few new entries, like Sapura, are expected to sign up. A number of teams who skipped the league last year are also expected to make a return.

The Star of Malaysia

Trials to pick Perak Sukma squad

KUALA LUMPUR: The Perak hockey team will hold a three-day trial starting on Friday at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh to pick their squad for the Malaysia Games (Sukma).

The first session on Friday starts at 5pm. The other two sessions will begin at 8am and 5pm respectively.

Manjit Singh has been appointed the coach while the team manager is Azraai Mohamed Zain.

The Sukma, for Under-21 players, will be held in Pahang from May 29-June 6.

The Star of Malaysia

MSSC Under-16 camp

Raja Ashman Shah Sultan Azlan Shah (third from left) sharing a light moment with the participants while State Culture, Arts Youth and Sports Exco Datuk Zainol Fadzi Paharuddin (left) looks on after the launch of the 1Malaysia Youth Under-16 hockey camp on Saturday. Pic by Ikhwan Munir.

IPOH: The Malaysia-Singapore Sikhs Sports Council (MSSSC) 1Malaysia Youth Under-16 hockey camp was officially launched at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on Saturday.

At hand to officiate the four-day national camp was Raja Ashman Shah Sultan Azlan Shah.

"The camp will see 100 youth of all races from every state undergoing basic hockey training with the objective to not only groom our youth with hockey skills, but also moral values, psychological and motivational skills as well," said MSSSC president Datuk Sohan Singh.

The other objective of the camp was to select players for the Junior Hockey League which starts on Jan 9.

The Sikhs have always produced sterling hockey players for the country with the likes of former skippers DSP Mohinder Singh and Sarjit Singh as well as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation secretary general Maninderjit Singh.

Currently, Kelvinder Singh, Baljit Singh and Harvinder Singh are in the national side.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey