News for 14 January 2012

All the news for Saturday 14 January 2012


England's Indoor Euro Hopes in the Balance

ENGLAND will need a positive result from their final Pool B fixture against Russia on Saturday if they are to stand a chance of progressing to the semi finals after an entertaining opening day of action at the European Indoor Championships in Leipzig, Germany, on Friday.

Saturday morning’s final group games will prove crucial with England - who take on Russia in the opening match - bottom of the group but still able to reach the semi finals.  They require a victory and for the Czech Republic to beat the Netherlands.

England lost out 5-7 in their opening match against the Netherlands, but scraped a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic later in the day courtesy of a late goal from Hampstead & Westminster's Dan Fox.

“The result against the Dutch was slightly disappointing,” said coach Andy Halliday. “We had enough chances and possession to win.

“And against the Czechs we left it late to score, but we knew they would sit deep and defend, and their goalkeeper kept them in the game with some very good saves.”


Ashley Jackson, Eng v Ned

England had led for much of the second half against The Netherlands and looked set for a deserved victory, but three goals in the final four minutes saw the men in orange snatch the win.

Two early goals from the Netherlands put England on the back foot, but they hit back with Adam Dixon scoring a rebound after Ashley Jackson’s flick had been saved on the line after 14 minutes.

Netherlands extended their lead with a third goal on 16 minutes – despite Nick Brothers getting a touch. However, England battled back in style with Jackson scoring on 19 and 20 minutes – from a penalty stroke and open play respectively, his final goal going in with just four seconds remaining.

He completed his hat-trick two minutes after play resumed, and Jonty Clarke made it 5-3 the next minute.

However, the Nertherlands hit back with goals on 30, 36, 37 and 39 minutes to spoil England’s hopes. They had pulled goalkeeper Brothers off and put an extra man up front, but the plan backfired with a Netherlands counter-attack for their final goal.

But the Netherlands were to go on to lose to Russia in their second match, while England secured their first points with a 1-1 draw against the Czech Republic.

The match saw lots of chances for both sides, but no goals came until the 30th minute when the Czechs took the lead.

Knowing that they face being shunted to Pool C and a fight against relegation, England pulled off their goalkeeper once again, and this time it worked with Dan Fox scoring on 39 minutes to save the day.

Pool A     Pl     W     D     L     GF     GA     GD     Pts
Germany     2     2     0     0     11     3     8     6
Austria     2     1     0     1     7     2     5     3
Spain     2     1     0     1     7     7     0     3
Switzerland     2     0     0     2     3     15     -12     0

Pool B     Pl     W     D     L     GF     GA     GD     Pts
Czech Rep.     2     1     1     0     3     2     1     4
Netherlands     2     1     0     1     9     8     1     3
Russia     2     1     0     1     4     4     0     3
England     2     0     1     1     6     8     -2     1

You can watch all the action from Leipzig on the official tournament website at www.eurohockey2012.de.

England Hockey Board Media release



Promotion in doubt in Lignano

EUROPEAN INDOOR NATIONS CHAMPIONSHIPS 11 - LIGNANO (ITALY)  -  FRIDAY 13TH - SUNDAY 15TH  JANUARY 2012

SCOTLAND 0 ITALY 0
SCOTLAND 3 UKRAINE 4


Scotland`s chances of making the promotion pool of the European Indoor Nations Championships 11 in Lignano are hanging on a very shaky peg, Billy McPherson`s charges drew 0-0 with Italy in the opening fixture and then lost 4-2 to Ukraine in the second match of the day.  The scenario now is that the Scots must beat Sweden in today`s final pool encounter, hope that the result of Italy`s game with Ukraine falls favourably, leaving goal difference to be the deciding factor.

The Scots opened brightly against Ukraine and went ahead in five minutes through an open play goal from Glynhill Kelburne striker Gareth Hall.  The Eastern Europeans retaliated, within two minutes they were back on level terms through a well-taken penalty corner, and then took a 2-1 lead just before the interval.

Six minutes into the second half it was 2-2, the build-up came from Andrew Thornton and Chris Wilson, the ball was passed on to Gavin Byers and his cross was slammed home by Ross McPherson.  Ukraine`s lethal set piece then came into play, two fierce drag flicks flew past Andrew Ross into the roof of the net to leave the Scots trailing 4-2 as the minutes ticked away.

The Scotland coach then took a gamble, keeper Ross was taken off and replaced by Thornton as an additional outfield player.  In dramatic final few minutes, Allan Law had a penalty corner effort saved by the Ukraine goalkeeper, then at second set piece Law switched to McPherson to score his second of the game.  Despite desperate last minute pressure by the Scots, Ukraine held out to win 4-3.

A goalless draw is almost unique in the annals of international indoor hockey, traditionally a high scoring sport, but that is exactly what Scotland and Italy served up in the opening encounter.   At one end the Scots created almost no clear-cut chances while at the other Grove Menzieshill keeper Andrew Ross, on his European debut, produced a series of outstanding saves to keep a clean sheet throughout.

The first half was more like a game of chess than indoor hockey with the Scots barely troubling the Italian goalkeeper.  The pattern of the match after the interval was almost carbon copy of the first, although the Scots had a couple of early penalty corners which came to nothing and half chances fell to Gareth Hall and Gary Cameron from open play.   Scotland had most of the possession but the Italians were dangerous in the break and the deadlock remained due to the efforts of Ross between the posts.

Fortunately the other game in Scotland`s pool also ended in a draw, but in contrast Sweden and Ukraine shared six goals apiece.   Poland appear to the frontrunners in the other group with back to back wins over Slovakia and Denmark, the latter will now compete with Belarus for the other promotion pool place.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Live streaming at EuroHockey Indoor Championships

Top indoor action available to view at the click of a button




The European Hockey Federation (EHF) and the Deutscher Hockey-Bund (DHB) are delighted to announce that there is live streaming from all games in Hall 1 at the EuroHockey Indoor Championships.

In addition, there will is a live ticker from all games in both Hall1 and Hall 2.

The men's and women's nations tournament, being held in Leipzig, Germany, began on Friday morning and runs through to Sunday 15th January.

To see the live stream, click here.

For all the latest news from the competition, please visit http://www.eurohockey2012.de/

European Hockey Federation media release



Lay off my boys, says Beng Hai

Coach denies problems among players

By Jugjet Singh



China players celebrate their 4-1 win over Malaysia at the National Hockey Stadium on Thursday. Picture by Nik Hariff Hassan

NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai is fuming  after some quarters claimed that there are  problems among his players, and that is why they played badly in the two China friendlies.

Malaysia are currently involved in a five-series with China, and lost the first two matches 2-1 and 4-1.

"There are absolutely no issues among my players and neither is there a boycott by four players as claimed by several quarters.

"My players have given me and the coaching set-up 110 per cent -- so to speak -- in training and also matches, and I will stand by them in any situation, that is my promise to them," said Beng Hai.

According to Beng Hai, six of his players are currently sitting for university examinations, and the juggling between training,  matches and studies has led to them being heavy footed.

"I have been pressing them hard in training and at this point, they are heavy footed because of that.

"My end target is the Olympic Qualifier in March, and that is when they will be primed to be at their best.

"There is no use in them peaking during the China series, because these are just friendlies which were arranged to complement  my training."

The coach  said the players were perplexed and angry as to why they had been portrayed as having problems.

"The players are hurt as the reports claim that there is a split in the team.

"This is absolutely rubbish, and I would also like to state that we have achieved all the targets set for us, and even won a surprise silver in the Asian Games.

"The end target is the Olympic Qualifier and I urge the critics to give the players a break and don't be quick to judge them just because we lost two friendlies against China.

"For the record, we beat China in the World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill (3-0), then the Asian Games (4-2) and also the Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos (4-2).

"There is absolutely no reason to raise the alarm at this stage, as the coaching set-up is aware of the task at hand and we will prepare the best for Dublin," said Beng Hai.

The national players will play their third friendly against China today at 5.30pm at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

New Straits Times



Hockey team running out of excuses after losing to China again

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team lacked passion and urgency as they slumped to embarrassing defeats to China in the first two ties of the five-match series which started on Wednesday.

If this is as good as they get, they might as well not deceive us any further as being serious contenders for a place in the London Olympics.

It is the same old story. The same old ritual. The same old script. The team have an elaborate preparation which includes several practice matches at home and abroad. They go through the motions, performing dismally and, invariably, end up failing in their mission.

This time, the objective is the Olympic qualifier in Dublin in March. The team seem to be taking the same route to yet another disastrous campaign.

The management are of course concerned but are refusing to criticise the players publicly.

But excuses like “the team have over-trained” or “they were poor on the day” or “they were two-goals down and spent the match catching up”, do not really work anymore. And the all-time favourite of the moment: “They are on a learning curve” does not wash.

How much time do they really need? Will they ever learn? Are they even capable of learning?

China, a team ranked lower (15) than Malaysia (13), arrived a day before the first match. They trained in the morning and played in the evening, winning 2-1. They didn’t offer any excuses of it being too humid or they being tired. That is what good sportsmen do. Play the game without whining and moaning.

The Malaysians appeared disinterested. They lacked passion, spirit, inspiration and application. They generally made fools of themselves. This from a team which in two months time will challenge for a place in the London Olympics.

How will they ever come up with a winning mentality with this kind of attitude? When will these players learn that every match, friendly or otherwise, should be treated with equal attention and played at the highest level of professionalism. There is simply no excuse for the kind of performance they dished out on Wednesday and Thursday.

Team manager George Koshy was being kind when he said that there is a degree of tiredness after the gruelling physical training they had to undergo in recent weeks, which includes weight training.

But at the same time, he conceded that this should not be used as an excuse for the defeats by China.

“We are concerned about their performances and have told them that this is not acceptable. They should have beaten China. We want them to bounce back for the next game on Sunday and to put the passion back into their game,” he said.

But while the team management try to salvage the series with three more matches to go, there is an urgent need to look for answers in the way the players are performing. The teamwork was missing, over-dribbling, poor passing and pathetic penalty-corners all indicate a worrying trend for such a demanding assignment as qualifying for the Olympics.

The team still used Mohamed Amin Rahim for the set-pieces although they have other reliable flickers in Mohamed Razie Rahim and Faisal Saari. Everybody knows Amin’s capability so why not give the others more chances. After all, that is what practice matches are for.

Then you have the goalkeepers. Roslan Jamaluddin was injured in the Champions Challenge I last month. Although he is said to have recovered, the team officials are still in two minds whether to use him for these matches. S. Kumar was simply awful. The goals he let in were unbelievable, suggesting a serious loss of confidence.

But George said: “Kumar agrees that his game isn’t up to scratch but he has assured us that it has nothing to do with his confidence level. The team should have played smart if they were feeling the effects of the hard training. These matches are designed to give them match practice so they must treat it seriously,” he said.

Perhaps, the team management need to take a harder line. Learning is an ongoing process but this team clearly need some good old fashioned kick up the butt to awaken their senses.

The Star of Malaysia



UniKL primed for JHL battle


JUNIOR Hockey League (JHL) League champions UniKL Young Guns will miss the services of 16 players for this season, but are still confident of challenging both the titles at stake.

The JHL will start on Jan 19, with a record 26 teams competing in Division One and Division Two.

UniKL will be among the nine in Division One, while 17 will be placed in two groups in Division Two.

“We started in 2010 as a feeder for the MHL (Malaysia Hockey League) and it was a success as 21 players went on to play in the senior league, and then 13 of our current and former players donned national juniors colours.

“The 13 former and current UniKl players helped Malaysia win the Sultan of Johor Cup, and four of them are also in training with the senior side for the Olympic Qualifiers,” said UniKL team manager Amir Azhar.

This is no small feat, considering that player pinching is rampant and no team can sustain its momentum without pumping in the money as well.

“We only have six players from last season to rely upon, but the new faces have proven to be capable replacements and we will be among the teams to beat for titles in Division One,” said Amir.

For this season, UniKL started preparing right after the last season ended in October.

“We have been training regularly with a Five-days a week training schedule which focused on fitness in the morning and game development in the evening.

“The Young Guns also competed in Division One of the KL League and finished in a credible fourth with five wins including against Sapura and a draw against Tenaga Na sional.

“We also organized a team-building camp from Jan 6-8 in Port Dickson and should peak nicely for the JHL,” said Amir.

Amir feels the traditional Big Four will again rule Division One: “Thunderbolt, BJSS, PJMC and UniKL Young Guns will still be the early favourites in Division One.

“While in Division Two, I expect newcomers Sapura to not only win the League title, but also make an impact in the Overall knock-out stages.”

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

 



Investec SA Women face Spain

There will be no love lost and some old scores to settle when the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team face Spain in the first of the five-match Investec International Series between the two countries at 2 pm at Randburg Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

With the Spaniards ranked 11th in the world to South Africa’s 12th there is little to choose between the two sides and so it proved in their three Test matches last year.

The teams met in a two-Test series in Spain last June and the hotly-contested encounters both went the home country’s way by the odd goal but not without the South Africans feeling more than a little aggrieved with some of the critical umpiring decisions made by the home umpires.

However, the real drama was still to come at the Champions Challenge in Ireland a fortnight later, a tournament in which the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) said captain Marsha Marescia’s squad had to reach the final in order to satisfy the governing body that the team was worthy of going to the London 2012 Olympics. This was despite the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) requirements which stipulated that the SA team need only win the Africa Cup, which they later did, to qualify for London.

The FIH’s experimental tournament format in Dublin also did SA no favours.  For the first time, all eight sides qualified for the title playoffs no matter where they finished in the preliminary round. Quarter-finals were played for the first time and instead of SA, who topped Pool A, going straight to the semi-finals, as was the norm, they had to play Spain, bottom of Pool B, in the quarter-finals.

The upshot was that SA had over 30 entries into the strike zone to Spain’s three, yet the Spaniards won 3-2 in golden goal extra-time. The winner came from a penalty corner awarded for what the South Africans deemed to be a theatrical dive by a Spanish forward worthy of any soccer player.

Considering the animosity between the teams in recent times and with world goalscoring record holder Pietie Coetzee of Southern Gauteng returning to the SA team after a brief rest, spectators can expect fireworks of a special kind.

A further incentive is that the SA and Spanish players need to impress their respective national selectors ahead of the last-chance Olympic Qualifier tournaments that take place for South Africa in Delhi, India in February - and in Belgium for the Spaniards in March.

The SA team will be named Saturday at the conclusion of the national squad training camp.

The other SA versus Spain Test matches at Randburg take place at 7 pm on Tuesday and Thursday next week, and at 2 pm next Saturday and Sunday.

A South African Junior Invitational squad will play an SA Invitation team in the curtain-raiser. Tickets at the gate are R20.

The series will be followed by the Investec Tri Nations between SA, Belgium and Ireland at Randburg from January 25 to February 6.

SA Hockey Association media release



Carrie Lingo retires from USA National Team

Ashley Meunier




COLORADO SPRINGS, C.O. – After a decade of commitment to the program, 2008 Beijing Olympian Carrie Lingo (Rehoboth Beach, DE) has announced her retirement from the USA Women’s National Field Hockey Team.

One of USA’s most recognizable field hockey athletes, the 32-year-old Lingo debuted her career with the National Team in 2002 and played in 190 international matches, making herself one of the most capped and elite athletes in USA Field Hockey history. Lingo represented the red, white and blue at the Pan American Cup, Pan American Games, World Cup, Olympic qualifier and the Beijing Olympics. She earned her first international cap against Mexico at the Pan American Cup where Team USA claimed silver. Lingo boasts two silver medals from the Pan American Games in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. She helped Team USA to a first place finish at the Olympic Qualifier in Kazan, Russia to secure a final placement in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, USA’s first Olympic appearance since the 1996 Atlanta Games.

“I cannot speak highly enough of the contribution that Carrie has made to the National Team,” said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. “I want to congratulate her on what she has been able to achieve as a player in our sport and wish her every success in her future endeavors. I am positive that the same strengths and attributes that she displayed when playing will ensure success.”

With the Olympics only months away, Lingo’s decision to retire came earlier than she and the team would have liked. Lingo has gone under the knife seven times in twelve years, and only for her right knee. In 2003, after her third surgery, the doctor told her to kiss her athletic career goodbye because she would never play again. Her response was, “I am not stopping. I’m going to figure out a way for me to keep going.”

Lingo played up until the 2011 Women’s National Championship. Even though she was not at her best, she was selected to compete at the Champions Challenge I in Dublin, Ireland, a tournament that features the teams ranked No. 7 – No. 14 in the world. Putting the team first, Lingo removed herself from the roster knowing she could not give her team 100%. 

Similarly, Lingo made the decision this week to remove herself from the Women’s National Team.

“My leg just can’t take the training anymore. It’s ready to retire,” says Lingo. “I came to this decision after much thought. I am not physically able to give 100% to the team and that is what is needed from each and every player to put USA Field Hockey on the podium in London.”

“Carrie has been one of the cornerstones in the recent development of the USA Field Hockey program,” said Terry Walsh, Technical Director of High Performance. “I think her presence will forever be a part of the USA Field Hockey fabric. She has had a major impact on the mentality of the group and the hardship she has endured over the last two years has silently been an incredibly powerful driver for the whole program.”

While Lingo’s future is somewhat uncertain right now, she is in the process of starting a non-profit organization called Amateur Athlete Scholarship Fund, to help fund amateur athletes like herself on the USA Men’s and Women’s Field Hockey Team and any athlete that needs extra help while pursuing the Olympic dream.

“Carrie Lingo epitomizes an Olympic athlete,” says former teammate and 2008 Olympian Kate Kinnear. “Through her unselfish commitment, passion and pride she has led the team through the darkest of times to the most recent Olympic qualification at the Pan American Games. I feel extremely honored to have been her teammate for so many years and thankful to have her as a dear friend.  I congratulate her on an outstanding career and thank her for the sacrifices, commitments and example she has set for all future USA Field Hockey players to follow."

Lingo isn’t sure if she will be in London or not, but said she will do whatever she can to support the team, especially leading up to the Games.

“I have no doubt at all that Carrie’s presence will be in London and her contribution will continue even though it will not be on the pitch,” said Walsh. “She will be missed, but she will always be a part of this group.”

Lingo graduated from the University of North Carolina in 2001 with a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Psychology. During her career as a Tar Heel, the team won a NCAA National Championship Title in 1997. She missed the following season due to a knee injury suffered while training with the USA U-19 National Team. She was a two-time All-ACC honoree and a member of the squad that finished runner-up to Old Dominion in the 2000 NCAA Championship final, where she was named to the NCAA Championships All-Tournament Team. She captained the No. 4 ranked Tar Heels to a 14-7 record her senior year. In 2002, Lingo was named to the ACC 50th Anniversary Team as one of the top field hockey players in conference history.

A retirement celebration will take place this summer to honor Carrie Lingo and her years of leadership, support and commitment to USA Field Hockey. Details will be announced on www.usafieldhockey.com.

USFHA media release



Canadian Women's National Team prepares for upcoming Olympic Qualifier

Squad focuses during Training Camp in Vancouver


The Women's National Squad has completed the first week of their Training Camp for the upcoming Olympic Qualifier, February 18 - 26.  The camp included fitness testing, mental training, weight training, on-field sessions and intersquad games.  Check out the photos. 

The athletes selected to represent Team Canada at the Olympic Qualifier will be announced on Tuesday!  Stay tuned.

Field Hockey Canada media release



Fitness a big worry as team stares at Olympic qualifiers

The countdown to the Olympic Qualifiers, scheduled in the Capital from February 18, has begun, but the women's hockey coach, CR Kumar, is yet to find 18 fit players from a pool 45 probables who would carry the country's hopes.

Spotting the final squad, says Kumar, will be done during the four-match series against Azerbaijan starting January 15. "We want to give all the players a chance," the coach said after a friendly match with the Azerbaijan team on Thursday.

"Right now, my job is to get some of the experienced players in the camp back in shape, as we can't depend too much on young blood to shoulder the responsibility during the qualifying event."

Coach plays it down

But with time running out, fitness issues have cropped up, which is a worrying factor for the team management. The chief coach, however, played it down, saying, there is still time at hand.

"Don't go by the slow-pace friendly contest today. The players didn't push hard," he said, hinting at a better performance in the four-match series.

Though the chief coach defended the players on Thursday, the real test lies ahead.

With four weeks left for the main event, the buzzword in the camp is, will the players rise to the occasion?

India's ace midfielder Gurbaj Singh hurt his right knee while during a training session on Wednesday.

'Injury not serious'

Gurbaj has been ruled out of the five-match series against South Africa beginning January 16 in the Capital, and the Olympic qualifying tournament.

The injury, according to the team management, isn't serious, but it would take a minimum of three weeks to heal.

Hindustan Times



National Under-21 Hockey Championship: WAPDA, NBP get victories

Staff Report


LAHORE: National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) outplayed Islamabad 14-0 and Pakistan WAPDA overpowered Balochistan 12-0 in the National Under-21 Hockey Championship at National Stadium here on Friday. In another match of the day, PHF Academy defeated Sindh 4-0.

Matches for today:

Khyber Pahtoonkhwa vs Sui Southern Gas Company
Railways vs Punjab Colour
Higher Education Commission vs Punjab White
Army vs National Bank of Pakistan

The Daily Times

 



Tanvir Dar HA boys dominate the show at the national juniors

By Ijaz Chaudhry


At the ongoing Pakistan’s 31st National Junior Championships in Lahore, the boys of Tanvir Dar Hockey Academy are seen in all the hues and shades--of the 15 teams participating, as many as seven have Dar HA players on their rolls. Since the Lahore based academy has players only from Punjab, they can’t probably be seen in the colours of other regional sides: Sind, Khyber PK, Balochistan, Islamabad and FATA as well as the PHF Academy. That leaves nine outfits which could possibly select the Dar HA boys. That 19 academy boys figure in seven of these nine teams is simply amazing.

Tanvir Dar hockey academy running since 2006 without any help from the government is now being referred in Pakistan as a role model not only for hockey but for all the sports.  Starting with just seven kids, it has now become the biggest conveyer belt for providing young talent to Pakistan hockey. Always on look out for budding potential, Dar HA has a number of players from outside Lahore- even from far flung areas like D.G.Khan and Peer Mahal. These lads are given accommodation, food and education in Lahore, all at the academy’s expense.

Dar HA supported by private sponsors has already made several tours abroad:

2008: won the Maharaja Ranjit Singh tournament in India
2010: toured Holland, Belgium and Germany- remaining unbeaten
2011: toured Holland and Germany-winning all the matches

The 19 lads playing in the ongoing national juniors include some appearing at this level for the first time, a few having attended the national junior camp, others already with the Pakistan junior colour (a couple of whom have attended the national senior camp) and another two who have played for Pakistan ‘A’.

Teams with the Dar HA Player:

WAPDA: Khalid Bhatti, Rizwan, Aleem & Saleem Nazim
National Bank of Pakistan: Brothers Arsalan & Faisal Qadir
Punjab Whites: Bilal Majeed
Punjab Colours: Sohail Riaz
Pak Boards: Aqeel, Aamir Ali, Aamir Yaqoob, Awais & Waqas
Sui Gas: Asif, Adnan & Zeeshan
Higher Education: Asad, Sikander & Rana Umair

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit: www.sportscorrespondent.info

www.darhockeyacademy.com