News for 03 June 2012

All the news for Sunday 3 June 2012


New Zealand, Argentina in title clash

S. Thyagarajan



Argentina's Lucas Herman Cammareri (left) battles for control againt Malaysian players during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup men's field hockey tournament in Ipoh on Saturday.

Figuring out the match line up for the final day proved a fascinating exercise in Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament on Saturday. Each of the three ties played had some bearing on the placement in the points table heightening the tension for the viewers and players.

A clear picture emerged only after the last match when Argentina beat Malaysia by a solitary goal. What eventually surfaced however did not conform totally to the configurations worked out for India after the win over Pakistan.

The fight for the glittering Azlan Shah Cup on Sunday will be between New Zealand and Argentina. This is the first title fight for the Kiwis.

India, which was confronted various possibilities had to reconcile itself for a bronze medal contest against Britain after the latter collected full points against Pakistan. India lost 2-3 to Britain in the league stage.

Korea will lock horns with Malaysia for the fifth and sixth places. Pakistan went out of the reckoning and finished at the seventh slot.

Great Britain staged a splendid comeback in the second half after being subdued by Pakistan in the first half.

In fact, the Pakistanis were dominant this period. They moved in tandem using the wingers and shot into the lead from a lovely goal from a back hander by Haseem Khan who made the most of a pass from Waqas.

Notwithstanding the continues feeding from Barry Middleton and Ben Hawes, Britain’s front line failed to generate that measure of velocity to overcome the well organized Pakistani defence.

Midway after the break, Britain brought parity to the score-line thanks to the opportunism exhibited by Barry Middleton

The vision of a draw appeared on the horizon with Britain struggling to improve and Pakistan slowly failing to combat with the escalating pressure to develop.

Pakistan succumbed four minutes before the hooter. Ashley Jackon slotted the match winner from a move initiated by Iain Lewers and developed by Richard Smith.

That goal put Pakistan out of the reckoning for placement matches. It finished at the bottom of the table.

A last minute goal from a penalty corner by Jang Jong Hyun enabled Korea overcome New Zealand. Assured of the Sunday’s final, the Kiwis did not stretch themselves much unlike the Koreans for whom the win came as a morale booster.

The results:

Korea 1 (Jong Jang Hyun) beat New Zealand 0. HT 0-0

Great Britain 2 (Barry Middleton, Ashley Jackson) beat Pakistan 1 (Muhammad Waqas) HT 0-1.

Argentina1 (Pedro Ibarra) beat Malaysia 0; HT 0-0

Table of Points: New Zealand: Played 6, Won 4, Lost 2, Drawn 0, Goals for 18, Goals against 18, Points 12; Argentina 6-4-0-2-15-16-12; Great Britain 6-3-2-1-13-10-11; India 6-3-0-3-12-15-9; Korea 6-2-2-2-11-8-8; Malaysia 6-1-2-3-10-14-5; Pakistan 6-1-0-5-9-16-3

Sunday’s matches: 5-6: Malaysia v Korea; (1-05 p.m. IST); India v Great Britain (3-35 p.m.); Final: New Zealand v Argentina (6-05 p.m.)

Sunil reprimanded

Sarinder Dhillon, Tournament Director, has reprimanded India’s winger S. V. Sunil consequent to an apology tendered by the player for his indecent gesture to the Pakistani supporters after the India-Pakistan match. Sunil however will play on Sunday.

Malaysia to host next edition

Malaysia will host the next edition of the Asia Cup. This was decided at the Council meeting of the Asian Hockey Federation on Saturday.

Earlier, the meeting also unanimously agreed to name the AHF-MHC Hockey Academy here after the second son of Sultan Azlan Shah, the late Raja Ashaman, who passed away on March 30 this year.

A total of 34 students from 14 different countries received their certificates after completing the Technical Officials Course.

Tan Sri P. Alagendra, Secretary-General, AHF announced that the admissions in the academy are open even for students from outside the continent from next year.

The Hindu



Argentina beat Malaysia to book finals berth of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH: Argentina made it to the finals of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after a 1-0 victory over hosts Malaysia on Saturday, while favourites Britain saw their dream of a championship title crumble.

Argentina, the 2008 champions, will meet New Zealand on Sunday, in the finals of the Malaysian tournament which this year is an important last warm-up for the London Olympics.

But the South Americans will go into the last round with considerable trepidation, given that at an earlier meeting in the tournament they were crushed 5-2 by the Kiwis.

It was heartbreak for Britain, however, as they watched powerless from the stands as Argentina's one goal against Malaysia denied them a chance to play in the final.

New Zealand had already booked their final berth on Thursday. But they failed to maintain their unbeaten record, falling to a 0-1 defeat to South Korea, with Jang Jong-Hyun scoring the winner in the 68th minute.

At an earlier match in the Malaysian city of Ipoh, Britain came back from one goal down to beat Pakistan 2-1.

Britain's narrow victory allowed Argentina to play calmly and to concentrate on a simple win against Malaysia to qualify for the finals.

Argentina scored in the 39th minute when a low drag flick by Pedro Ibarra went through the pads of Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar.

But it was a difficult day for Pakistan, with the Asian champions finishing in last place following their defeat to Britain.

Previously, the Pakistanis lowest ever ranking had been sixth place in 2007, when there were eight teams in the competition.

Pakistan coach K.M. Junaid said one of the key reasons for his side's dismal performance was the inclusion of six juniors, who had played in the Junior Asia Cup early May in Malaysia.

"We now realise that it was asking too much from these youngsters who could not cope with the demands of playing in back-to-back tournaments," he said.

Britain coach Jason Lee said the team that played in the competition would be retained for the Olympics, except for two players who would be left out.

"It has been a good tournament for me as we had a variety of opponents and I picked up a lot of pointers that will serve us well this summer," he said.

Britain will play India for third place while Malaysia, the only team in the tournament who have not qualified for the Olympics, and South Korea will battle for fifth position. All the matches will be played on Sunday.

The Times of India



Tame end for Malaysia

MALAYSIA will play South Korea in the fifth-sixth classification match in the Azlan Shah Cup, courtesy of Britain.

By JUGJET SINGH



Malaysia’s Fitri Saari gets past Argentina’s Nicolas Vila Rodrigo (left) and Martin Juan Lopez in the Azlan Shah Cup match yesterday.

The final will be between 2008 champions Argentina and first time finalists New Zealand.

Malaysia were assured of a fifth-sixth placing match against South Korea when Britain beat Pakistan 2-1 in an earlier match.

Coach Tai Beng Hai's men then had the golden pick of either allowing Argentina or Britain to play in the final.

Malaysia needed to beat Argentina to hand the final ticket to Britain and a defeat will see Argentina play New Zealand.

And they chose to go down tamely 1-0 to Argentina.

The first 10 minutes of the match saw Argentina dominating, but missing sitters, while Malaysia strikers return the hospitality at the other end.

The combinations of Faizal Saari and Firhan Ashaari, as well as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Hafifi Hafiz, failed to break the deadlock as the score stood at 0-0 at the break.

After the re-start, Argentina made it count off their second penalty corner in the 40th minute, when Pedro Ibarra's low push deflected off Baljit Singh's stick and sailed between S. Kumar's pads.

That solitary goal was enough to take Argentina into the final against New Zealand.

For the record, Argentina were champions in 2008, while New Zealand have yet to lay their hands on the trophy.

Meanwhile New Zealand, who had already qualified for the final before playing South Korea, kept their energy and allowed the Koreans to collect three points off Jang Jong Hyun's 69th minute attempt.

New Straits Times



Argentina in final

By AFTAR SINGH



Keen tussle: Malaysia’s Saari Faisal and Argentina’s Peillat Gonzalo fight for the ball during their Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match yesterday. — RONNIE CHIN / The Star.


IPOH: Pedro Ibarra scored off a penalty corner in the second-half to earn Argentina a hard-fought 1-0 win over Malaysia and a place in the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament.

The Pan American champions completed their fixtures with 12 points from four wins and two defeats.

Argentina, who won the tournament in 2008, face New Zealand in the final today. They finished tied on points but the Kiwis top the standings on a better goal difference.

Malaysia, who finished rock bottom last year, are sixth in the standings with five points from one win, two draws and three defeats.

Malaysia will take on South Korea in the fifth-sixth place playoff. Britain play India in the third-fourth place playoff.

After letting in early goals in the last three matches, the defenders played exceptionally well yesterday to keep a clean slate in the first half.

While the defence stood firm, the forwards were a let down as they could not tuck away the chances that came their way. It was the first time Malaysia did not score in six matches.

Argentina, who needed a win to qualify for the final, almost opened accounts in the seventh minute but Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar did well to save a close range shot from Martin Vila.

A minute later, Argentina earned their first penalty corner but they muffed the chance to convert because the stopper failed to stop the ball.

Argentina had another chance in the 18th minute but Nicolas Vila Rodrigo’s deflection off a through pass from Agustin Mazzilli went inches wide.

A minute later, Mohd Firhad Ashaari had the opportunity to put Malaysia ahead but his soft hit from the top D was easily saved by Argentine keeper Daniel Bermejillo.

Malaysia earned their first penalty corner in the 23rd minute but Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim flicked the ball wide.

After the breather defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim brought down Vila Rodrigo outside the semi-circle but umpire Kamran Hussain blew for a penalty corner.

Ibarra’s low flick flew past Kumar’s pads into goal in the 39th minute.

Argentina almost increased the lead in the 51st minute but Tomas Argento’s reverse stick attempt went inches wide.

Two minutes later, Tengku Ahmad had a golden chance to equalise but his shot from the right went wide.

In the 63rd minute, Mohd Fitri Saari was flashed the yellow card for a rough tackle on Argento.

Argentina earned two penalty corners in a row in the 66th minute but failed to convert.

National coach Tai Beng Hai said his players were tired and it led to them losing the ball easily to their opponents.

“When the players are tired they are unable to give their best. We will change the line-up for the playoff match against South Korea. Our matches against them have always been close and it will be no different tomorrow,” said Beng Hai.

The Star of Malaysia



Sultan hits out at national team’s porous defence

IPOH: Former Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president Sultan Azlan Shah is happy with the performance of the youngsters but not with the back line of the national hockey team playing in the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

“I am not happy with the defenders as they conceded too many easy goals, especially in the match against New Zealand,” said Sultan Azlan Shah.

Malaysia let in two goals in the first 16 minutes against New Zealand on Thursday. The team’s defensive errors also saw them down by two goals barely 12 minutes into play against India on May 28 and Pakistan on May 30.

“We need to work on our defence as it is very porous. But I must say I am pleased with the performance of the young players in the team. They put in a decent display.

“They should form the team of the future but we have to give them the necessary exposure,” said Sultan Azlan Shah.

The seven juniors in the team are Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Norhizzat Sumantri, Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi, Mohd Firhan Ashaari, Mohd Rahmadan Rosli and Saari brothers Faizal and Mohd Fitri.

Faizal is the top scorer for Malaysia with four goals in the tournament while Fitri and Amir Farid each scored once.

Meanwhile, Malaysia will host the 2013 Asia Cup which is a qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup in Hague, Holland.

The decision to award the host job to Malaysia was taken at the Asian Hockey Federation (AHC) Council meeting chaired by their president Sultan Azlan Shah yesterday.

Initially Singapore was given the job but it was changed at yesterday’s meeting.

“We have decided to award the job to Malaysia and I am happy to announce that it will be held in Ipoh next year,” said Sultan Azlan Shah.

“The dates have yet to be determined as we have to take into consideration the annual Azlan Shah Cup.”

Malaysia last featured in the World Cup in 2002 when they hosted the event.

Malaysia last qualified on merit for the World Cup in Utrecht in 1998 after a hiatus of 16 years. Their previous appearance was at the 1982 edition in Bombay.

Yesterday, Sultan Azlan Shah officiated the certificates presentation ceremony for the Technical Officials course conducted jointly by the AHF-MHC.

At the ceremony it was announced that the AHF-MHC Academy will now be known as the Raja Dato Seri Ashaman Academy, in honour of Sultan Azlan Shah’s second son who passed away on March 30 this year.

The Star of Malaysia



Black Sticks Men lose to Korea 1-0 at Azlan Shah

The Black Sticks Men will go through to the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament, despite losing 1-0 against Korea tonight in Ipoh, Malaysia.

The Black Sticks created numerous opportunities throughout the game, but it was Korean player Jang Jong Hyun who scored in the 68th minute from a penalty corner which went high into the net.

“We tried a different game plan tonight and overall I was happy with how we played and we learnt a lot. It was obviously disappointing to lose in the final minutes, we wanted to win and we had our opportunities throughout the game but just didn’t make the most of them,” says McLeod.

New Zealanders dominated play in the first half, holding most of the possession and having numerous shots on goal.

Captain Dean Couzins played his 250th international test tonight, joining Ryan Archibald and Phil Burrows as the only other players in the squad to have reached this significant milestone.

It is still to be determined which side the Black Sticks will face in the final at 12.35am on Monday (NZ time), but the Black Sticks are looking forward to the challenge.

“It is the first time we have been in a final at this tournament, so we will be giving it our all,” says McLeod.  It will be the Black Sticks final international game before the London Olympic team is named.

Archibald and Simon Child were rested tonight, but are likely to play in the final.

RESULT
New Zealand 0. Korea 1. HT: 0-0

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Victory over Pakistan leaves Great Britain Men fighting for bronze

TRAILING at half time, Great Britain men battled back in style to secure a 2-1 victory over Pakistan in their final group match at the Sultan Azlan Shan Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia, on Saturday.

The victory left Great Britain lying second in the group behind New Zealand, but knowing that Argentina could deny them a place in the final if they beat Malaysia in the day’s final match. Level for much of that match, Argentina secured a one-nil victory in that match to leave GB fighting for bronze against India tomorrow.

Tactical changes were made for the second half which gave Great Britain the edge and saw them create more incisive attacking play which led to the crucial goals from Barry Middleton and Ashley Jackson.

Pakistan took the lead after 15 minutes when Abdul Haseem Khan made a good jinking run through, and he smashed a hard reverse-stick shot into the net, giving goalkeeper James Fair little chance.

But Great Britain were not too unsettled by going behind, and they came out for the second half with renewed confidence and different tactics which helped them dominate the second half after a poor first half.

Plenty of chances were created by GB, and while their finishing could’ve been a little better they patiently ground out the result, while restricting Pakistan to very few chances.

Fair had kept GB in the game shortly after they had gone one-nil behind, the Cannock man making a brilliant stick save at a penalty corner to deny Sohial Abbas mid-way through the first period.

The breakthrough came on 47 minutes as GB gradually took control, and it came as no surprise with the pressure having been building steadily. A good move down the right side led to the ball being dragged back to the byline, where East Grinstead’s Barry Middleton scored for Great Britain with a slap shot that dribbled over the line into the side netting.

As game wore on Pakistan sat deeper and deeper, and with four minutes left on the clock Middleton’s team-mate at East Grinstead Ashley Jackson scored from two yards out, flicking home from two yards out after a goalmouth melee.

From then on the result was never in doubt, and GB could’ve been further ahead when they forced two penalty corners at the death - but they failed to extend their lead.

Team Manager Andy Halliday said afterwards: “After a disappointing first half the tactical changes created more circle opportunity and the resultant pressure gave us the win we deserved. Once again we adapted our game to deal with the conditions and the opposition.”

British sports fans have another opportunity to cheer on Great Britain next week as the GB women’s team host the Investec London Cup in Chiswick from 5-10 June. Tickets are still available by visiting www.greatbritainhockey.co.uk/investeclondoncup

GREAT BRITAIN 2 (0)

Barry Middleton 47 (F)
Ashley Jackson 66 (F)

PAKISTAN 1 (1)

Abdul Haseem Khan 15 (F)

GREAT BRITAIN MEN’S SQUAD v ARGENTINA

Name (Club) Position Started


James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward
Adam Dixon (Beeston) Defender/Midfielder
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender/Midfielder
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder
Barry Middleton (East Grinstead) Midfielder/Forward
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender

Substitutes

Richard Alexander (Surbiton) Defender/Midfielder
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) Defender
Iain Mackay (Reading) Midfielder
Ali Wilson (Beeston) Defender

Did Not Play

Matt Daly (Surbiton) Forward
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward

Great Britain Hockey media release



India to play Great Britain for bronze in Azlan Shah Cup

IPOH (Malaysia): India's slender hopes of a berth in the final were dashed with results of the last league matches not going their way but the team can still return home with a medal when they take on Great Britain in the bronze medal play-off in the Azlan Shah Cup, on Sunday.

India's nine points from six matches gave them the fourth position, which was finalised after the last round of league matches ended on Saturday.

India will also be hoping to reverse the 2-3 loss of their league encounter to Great Britain, who finished third in the league standings with 11 points form six outings.

New Zealand's 12 points from six matches secured their first entry into the final of the Azlan Shah Cup, where they will meet Argentina, who also finished on 12 points in six games after today's 1-0 victory over hosts Malaysia.

New Zealand finished on top since they had a superior goal difference.

After being assured of a spot in the final, New Zealand showed no urgency in their last match against South Korea, who clinched a 1-0 victory through a penalty corner conversion by Jang Jong-Hyun two minutes from the hooter.

Argentina needed to win the last match against Malaysia since Great Britain had overtaken them by claiming full three points in their 2-1 win over last year's finalists Pakistan.

Argentina faced some anxious moments as Malaysia played an attacking game, but Pedro Ibarra's penalty corner conversion in the 40th minute secured their passage into the final. Argentina had won the Azlan Shah Cup in 2008 by defeating India in the final.

Great Britain trailed by a goal at half-time, but scored twice in the second session to secure a 2-1 win over Pakistan. That, however, failed to list them into the final as Argentina stayed on course with a fourth successive victory.

Pakistan opened the account against great Britain on a field goal by Haseen Khan in the 15th minute, only for Barry Middleton (47th minute) and Ashley Jackson (66th minute) to score for Great Britain in the second half.

Pakistan finished at the bottom of the seven-nation table with just three points from six matches. Pakistan had got the silver medal last year when they lost the final to Australia through a golden goal.

Starting with a win over Argentina, three-time champions Pakistan then lost five successive matches. This is the first time that Pakistan have finished at the bottom of the table in the Azlan Shah Cup.

The Times of India



Pakistan finish bottom for the first time in the tournament

IPOH: Pakistan ended up as wooden spoonist after Britain edged them 2-1 in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament yesterday.

Top seeds Britain completed their fixtures with 11 points from three wins, two draws and a defeat. They play India in the third-fourth playoff match today.

It was Pakistan’s worst ever performance in this tournament since its inception in 1983.

Pakistan, who won the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup three times, took the lead in the 15th minute when Haseem Abdul Khan collected a through pass from Muhammad Waqas to beat Britain goalkeeper James Fair.

Britain stormed back after the breather to equalise in the 47th minute through skipper Barry Middleton’s close range shot.

Britain kept up the pressure and their hard work was rewarded in the 66th minute when Ashley Jackson scored a field goal to give his side victory.

In an earlier match, South Korea surprisingly beat New Zealand 1-0.

Jang Jong-hyun scored the solitary goal off a penalty corner in the 68th minute. The result was inconsquential as the Kiwis had already sealed their place in the final with 12 points from four wins and two defeats.

The Koreans completed their fixtures with eight points from two wins, two draws and two defeats. They will face Malaysia in the fifth-sixth placing playoff at 3.35pm today.

New Zealand coach Kevin Marr said two of his key players, Ryan Archibald and Simon Child, are still nursing hamstring and ankle injuries and did not play yesterday.

“We hope they can recover in time for the final. Overall, I am happy with the team’s progress in the tournament.

“I hope we have another good outing in the final,” said Marr.

New Zealand will be playing in their first final of the tournament.

The Star of Malaysia



Pakistan wrap up dismal Azlan Shah campaign with 2-1 loss



Iain Lewers (L) and Richard Alexander (R) of Britain compete against Pakistan’s Abdul Haseem Khan. -Photo by AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan lost to Great Britain in their last match of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia to finish last in the seven-nation tournament.

Pakistan, who were the losing finalists in last year’s tournament, surrendered their lead in yet another match as Great Britain won 2-1.

The Greenshirts scored first through Abdul  Haseem Khan in the 15th minute but gave away the lead as Great Britain’s Barry Middleton equalised in the 47th minute.

Ashley Jackson doubled the lead for Great Britain minutes before full time as Pakistan cemented the last berth.

Previously, Pakistan lost to Korea, New Zealand, Malaysia and India and only recorded one win in their opening match against Argentina.

Dawn



Pakistan lose to Great Britain in Azlan Shah Cup

Three-time champions Pakistan on Saturday, faced their worst defeat in the Azlan Shah Cup after losing to Great Britain 2–1. Pakistan finished last for the first time in the history of the Cup. Abdul Hassem Khan scored Pakistan their lead in the 15th minute, which lasted till halftime. In the 47th minute Barry Middleton scored the equaliser for Great Britain. It seemed that the match would end in a draw but with four minutes remaining, Ashley Jackson scored the winning goal for Great Britain. Earlier, after a dismal run in the ongoing Azlan Shah Cup, including the 2-1 defeat against India, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) chief selector Hanif Khan had declared that the team was unprepared for the Olympics which are less than two months away.

The Nation



Statistical Highlights of Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

K Arumugam


Last seven playing days witnessed 21 matches, three each a day.

21 Matches produced 88 goals

First half goals: 33

Second half goals: 55

Field Goals: 57

Penalty corner goals: 30

Penalty stroke goal: 1 Jong Jung Hyun struck the only penalty stroke goal that the tournament witnessed in the league, that was against Argentina in the 48th minute, which leveled the score 3-3.

Out of 21, only three matches were drawn, Malaysia and Great Britain figuring in two, which meant the tournament produced outright results despite played in league format.

The matches were contested on even keel; 12 out of 21 matches were won by a single goal margin.

Six matches had two goal margin victories.

Two matches produced seven goals each; three matches produced six goals each.

First four days produced as an average five goals per match; next two days about 3, and the last day saw only five goals in three matches. Perhaps energy played a role as the days wore on.v

As many as 54 players figured in the scorers list, to produce 88 goals.

New Zealand had maximum scorers, as many as 11.

New Zealand incidentally posted maximum goals by any country, 18.

The title of least number of goals by a nation goes to Pakistan, which netted 9.

Ashley Jackson of Great Britain top the scorer’s list with 5; he scored in four of the six matches he played.

Matias Pardes of Argentina, Andy Hayward of New Zealand, Nam Hyun of South Korea and the hosts’ Faisal Saari com second in the scorers’ rank with four goals each.

Argentina and Pakistan conceded maximum goals, 16 each, while South Korea the least with just 7 in six matches.

Stick2Hockey.com



Investec SA hockey girls beat Scots by three in final Test

JONATHAN COOK in Glasgow


World record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee might not have broken a personal record but the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team were on song as a whole as they beat Scotland 4-1 in the fifth and final Test of the five-match series against Scotland in Glasgow Saturday.

The result gave SA a 4-0 series win and this time the goals came from captain Marsha Marescia (2), Bernie Coston and Kate Woods while Scotland scored through Sarah Robertson. The match was also momentous because 2011 SA Player of the Year Tarryn Bright celebrated her 200th Test match while Shelley Russell reached the 150-Test milestone, and both did the occasion proud with excellent performances.

The first Test was drawn 2-2 before SA won the second, third, fourth and fifth Tests 2-1, 4-2, 5-2 and 4-1 respectively.

World number 12 SA led 2-1 at half-time with the opening goal coming in the 15th minute when Marescia intercepted a pass 30-metres out, accelerated into the strike zone and slipped the ball past Amy Gibson. World number 18 Scotland went further behind when midfielder Bright made ground in confined space to set up Coston.

Scotland pulled one back when Nikki Kidd went on a stunning left-right diagonal run before Robertson finished off. Turning around 2-1 up, Marescia and company kept working hard and created numerous opportunities, as did the feisty Scots,but the second-half deadlock was finally broken five minutes from the end when a slip-left penalty corner pass after a great Coetzee dummy at the top of the strike zone freed up Woods to fire a powerful shot past Gibson. Marescia madeit 4-1 a minute from the end after the ball deflected off Scotland defender Kaz Marshall’s stick.

Superstar striker Coetzee smashed four stunning goals in Friday’s fourthTest to take her world record tally to a scarcely believable 238 goals in 240 Test matches. Coetzee (33) said before the game that she had never scored more goals than Test matches played in her 17-year international career, “but as long as we score goals and win I don’t care who scores.”

The girls in green and gold head south on Monday for the Investec London Cup, where the talismanic Coetzee will get another chance to break her personal record.

SA Hockey Association media release



Can Pietie break new ground with another record?

JONATHAN COOK in Glasgow


World record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee is on the cusp of another record when she takes to the pitch in the fifth and final Test of the five-Test seriesagainst Scotland in Glasgow come the 3.30 pm (SA time) flick-off Saturday.

“I have never scored more goals than Test matches played so it will be interesting to see what happens today,” said Coetzee ahead of thematch. “It will be tough as Scotland have probably had a close look at me on the video of Friday’s fourth Test but as long as we score goals and win I don’t care who scores.”

Coetzee smashed four stunning goals in the fourth Test to take her world record tally to a scarcely believable 238 goals in 240 Test matches as SA won 5-2.

The closest the superstar striker has got to getting her goal tally ahead of Test matches played has been a couple of times where she has been level-pegging on goals scored and test matches played.

The match is also momentous because 2011 SA Player of the Year, Tarryn Bright celebrates her 200th Test match while Shelley Russell reaches the 150-Test milestone.

SA lead the series 3-0 with the first Test drawn 2-2, the second,third and fourth Tests run 2-1, 4-2 and 5-2 respectively.

QuipuTV are providing “live” free-to-air online streaming of theTest matches and it is globally available through the Scottish Hockey andQuipuTV websites, as well as facebook.com/quiputv<http://facebook.com/quiputv> and Twitter at #SASCOhockey which provides SA fans with ample choice tofollow the fifth Test of the five-Test series; at 3.30 pm (SA time) Saturday.

SA Hockey Association media release



Scots lose final match at Titwood

Scotland`s women lost the final test match 4-1 to South Africa at Titwood, but the scoreline flattered the visitors slightly as the Scots gave as good as they got for most of the contest.   South Africa have won the five match test series 4-0 with the first game drawn.

Scotland had an early chance to take the lead, a solo run by Morag McLellan won a penalty corner, but Leigh Fawcett`s shot went wide of the target.  Minutes later it took a goal-line save by Catriona Ralph and then a block by goalkeeper Amy Gibson to the keep the eager South African forwards at bay.   It was a fairly even contest in the opening 15 minutes, but South Africa went a goal up with a set piece strike by Marsha Marescia went low past Gibson.    The Scots went two behind five minutes later, the defence failed to clear and Bernadette Coston was left with simple chance to slot the ball past Gibson.

The Scots rallied from the double setback to pull one back, Nikki Kidd went on a brilliant solo run which opened up the South African defence, she released the ball to Edinburgh University`s Sarah Robertson who fired the ball past the goalkeeper.   In the closing minutes of the half Ailsa Wyllie set up a glorious chance to Sam Judge, but the Scotland striker miss-hit the ball and the goalkeeper comfortably blocked the effort.

Early in the second half Robertson won Scotland a penalty corner but Kidd`s drag flick was saved by the keeper.   The game became a midfield stalemate with no real chances to either side, although Becky Ward sent a shot wide of the South African goal at a penalty corner.    In 55 minutes Gibson kept the Scots in the game with a brilliant triple save at a set piece.

Superior fitness finally told in the closing ten minutes as the London bound South Africans stepped up the pace, they went 3-1 ahead through a low shot by Kate Woods.   The result was finally sealed with a late strike from Marescia, her goal-bound shot was deflected off the stick of Kareena Marshall into the roof of the net for fourth goal.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Scotland Women beaten but hardly disgraced

Scotland Women 1 South Africa Women 4.

By Patrick Rowley


Scotland’s women were beaten by three clear goals by South Africa for the second successive day when they went down 4-1 at Titwood in Glasgow.

Fielding a quite inexperienced team, they were nevertheless competitively in the game until the final five minutes.

It was their fourth defeat by the South Africans in what was a gruelling seven day test series against a team six places higher in the world rankings.

South Africa, preparing for next week’s Investec Cup in London and the Olympic Games, were at full strength while Scotland were missing six first choice players including their four members of the Great Britain squad,

The Scots used all 23 players in their squad, including six who were having their first taste of international competition.

Scotland had an equal share of the ball for much of the game but never recovered from conceding two goals inside 20 minutes.

The South African captain Marsha Marescia jinked through the Scottish defence and hit a fine shot but the visitor’s second by Bernadette Coston was a soft goal.

Scotland’s talented Nikki Kidd, who flitted in and out of the game, set up the home side’s goal, scored by Sarah Robertson, one of the debutants.

South Africa were quicker at the breakdowns, tackled well and more of a unit in attack. Yet Scotland could have levelled before Kate Woods (penalty corner) and Marescia scored the visitors’ late goals.

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Fighting draw in Terrassa

SPAIN 2  SCOTLAND 2


Scotland`s men, 22nd in the international rankings, took on world number five Spain in their own territory in Terrassa and came away with a very creditable 2-2 draw in the first of three test matches.  

This was Derek Forsyth`s debut as national coach and his new charges provided him with a very encouraging result in the initial build-up for the first round of the World League in Portugal this September.

Almost inevitably it was Spain who had most of the possession and the lion`s share of the chances, but Sheffield goalkeeper Jamie Cachia stole the show with a string of fine saves to frustrate the London-bound Spanish.   The host side were given a real shock when the Scots took the lead in 24 minutes, Dan Coultas low penalty corner shot flew into the bottom corner of net.  But almost immediately the Spanish equalised and that was the score at the interval.

Spain took a 2-1 lead in the second half, but the Scots were not to be denied, Alan Forsyth waltzed past a defender and squeezed his shot into the roof of the net from the top of the circle.

After the game Eugene Connolly, Scotland`s manager, said:  "This was a top performance, everybody played with guts and we hung on to our composure to grind out an excellent result."

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Scotland's best result for years

Spain 2 Scotland 2

by Patrick Rowley


Scotland achieved their best result since they beat England in September 2003 when they held Spain, the Olympic and Champions Trophy silver medallists, to a 2-2 draw in the first of three tests in Terrassa.

They took the lead with a drag flick corner conversion by Dan Coultas in the 23rd minute. 

Pol Amat soon put Spain on equal terms and Spain went ahead when Amat scored his second, with a quality reverse stick strike after 47 minutes.

But Scotland came back with a superb individual goal by Allan Forsyth to earn the draw.

Spain pressed hard for the winner but were denied in particular by Jamie Cachia (Sheffield) who had an outstanding game in Scotland’s goal.

The teams are de to meet again tomorrow (Monday) and Tuesday afternoon.

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Black Sticks Women beaten 3-1 by Korea in first friendly match


The Black Sticks were beaten 3-1 by Korea today in their first friendly match. The remaining three matches, in the Taeneung province will be played as official tests.

RESULT
New Zealand 1 (Charlotte Harrison). Korea 3. HT: 0-3

Hockey New Zealand Media release



SA hockey women’s matches to be broadcast live

JONATHAN COOK


The world number 12 Investec South Africa women’s hockey team’s Investec London Cup matches against world number four Great Britain and world number three Germany on Tuesday and Wednesday are to be televised “live” on SuperSport 6 at 5.30 pm and 9 pm (SA time) respectively.

The broadcaster revealed the news Sunday. There are several repeats of the two matches, while SuperSport also indicated that should SA reach the semi-finals, room would be made to accommodate the match, albeit, a few hours after the actual match would take place. The final, whether SA get there or not, will be live on SuperSport 6 next Sunday, June 12 at 5 pm.

Great Britain are regarded by SA head coach Giles Bonnet as a serious contender for the London 2012 Olympic Games gold medal.

SA played friendlies against GB at the splendid 16 000-seater Riverbank Arena in Olympic Park as well as at the hosts’ state-of-the art Bisham Abbey training centre in London last week and Bonnet was generally impressed. “GB are in very good physical condition and if they put it together sufficiently well I think they could play in the final,” said Bonnet.

Germany, a similarly well-organised team, are not ranked third in the world for nothing and will present an interesting challenge for SA, as the Germans are in South Africa’s pool at the Olympics.

SA were without superstars and double Olympians, the world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee (238 goals in 241 Test matches), and Kate Woods, while GB were resting stellar players in forward Alex Danson and penalty corner star Crista Cullen. GB won the matches 5-1 and 3-0 after SA had had an uncomfortable journey to London. Even so, the scores were not a fair reflection of the matches as SA had as many goalscoring opportunities as the British.

SA then travelled to Glasgow and a five-Test series against world number 18 Scotland that was incorporated into a punishing week of training ahead of London 2012, which starts in less than two months’ time. Coetzee and Woods missed the first three matches, where SA drew 2-2 with the competitive Scots before beating them 2-1 and 4-2. Coetzee (four goals in the fourth Test) and Woods made a big impression in the last two matches, which SA won and 5-2 and 4-1. Scotland head coach Gordon Shepherd was impressed with the overall speed of the SA players. Scotland were missing their four GB squad members.

Bonnet was similarly enthused by the overall play of the South Africans. “The style of play we are working on is starting to bear fruit and it is heartening to see the number of goal shots we are creating, as well as the limited number of chances the opposition are getting.”

The Investec London Cup, a six-nation event that also includes world number one Holland, Australia and Ireland, takes place at the Old Memorial Ground in Chiswick, London.

SA Hockey Association media release



Hockey star Herbert reveals agony as she misses Games again


Out of luck: Beckie Herbert will miss the Olympic Games

British forward Beckie Herbert has revealed that she learned of her failure to make the London Olympics by email.

She said: 'I didn't cry at first, but then a wall of emotion hit me.

'There's no good way of finding out you're not going to the Olympics.

'But we'd all agreed that email was the best medium possible. It meant we could decide where we were and who we were with.'

The 25-year-old Leicester forward, who also missed out four years ago, added: 'Going to the Olympics is what I've wanted ever since I was a kid.

'I thought missing out on Beijing would make it easier this time round because I could anticipate feelings before they hit me, but it's harder.

'But I genuinely am delighted for my friends who are on the team.

'I have to allow them to be happy. If the women win gold, I know that I will have contributed, even if I don't have a medal.'

Daily Mail



Ipoh gets honour

THE Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) yesterday picked Ipoh to host the 2013 Asia Cup, which also doubles up as a 2014 World Cup Qualifier.

The AHF Council opted for Malaysia instead of Singapore, the initial hosts.

"We have decided to award the host job to Malaysia and I am happy to announce that it will be held in Ipoh next year," said AHF president Sultan Azlan Shah.

Malaysia last played in the World Cup in 2002 when they hosted the event. Prior to that, Malaysia qualified for the 1998 Utrecht World Cup after 16 years with their previous appearance being in 1982 in Bombay.

Sultan Azlan also announced that the AHF-MHC Academy will now be known as the Raja Datuk Seri Ashaman Academy, in honour of the second son of Sultan Azlan Shah who passed away on March 30 this year.

On the Malaysian team's performance in the Azlan Shah Cup, Sultan Azlan said: "I am not happy with the performance as we conceded easy goals, especially in the match against New Zealand. We need to work on our defence as it leaks easily.

"But I must say I am pleased with the performance of the young players in the team as they have put up a decent performance."

New Straits Times

 



ATM, Malacca take Raja Ashman trophies


Armed Forces emerged champions of the National Indoor Tournament when they defeated Kuala Lumpur 3-1 on penalty strokes after being tied 4-4 at the end of regulation time at the Indera Mulia Stadium in Ipoh.

It was the first major title for Armed Forces since their Razak Cup triumph in 1982.

And in the women’s final, Malacca showed their class in romping to a 4-0 win over PDRM.

Malacca won the bronze in the men’s category while Penang were third in the womens category.

Both teams were presented with the Raja Dato Seri Ashman Trophies by FIH President Leandro Negre and HRH Sultan Azlan Shah.

Former international Chua Boon Huat was the unfortunate player to have missed the crucial stroke in the penalty stroke shoot out when his attempt bounced off the upright. Muhd Nurhafiz Jamil Azomi stepped up to put the ball past Mohd Fitri Jasni to give Armed Forces the title.

Armed Forces took the lead in the 2nd minute via Mohd Syafiq Yaacob. But the city side were on level terms in the 5th minute through Kevinder Singh. But Armed Forces went ahead again through Mohd Hanip Che Halim but Kevinder was on target seconds later to make it 2-2.

Chua made it 3-2 for KL in the 13th minute only for Syafiq to score two minutes later. A goal by Chua gave KL a 4-3 halftime lead. But Armed Forces never gave up and netted the equaliser 70 seconds from time off a penaltry stroke converted by Mohd Nurhafiz.

In the women’s final Malacca took the lead in the 11th minute through Nor Aisyah Yaacob. And in the 26th minute they were 2-0 up via Ayu Malina Zainuddin.

Awaratul Aisyah Yaacob made it 3-0 in the 30th minute before Nur Aisyah scored the fourth in the 40th minute, taking her tally in the tournament to 30 goals which ensures she finished as top scorer.

Roll of Honour

Men


Champion: Armed Forces
Runner Up: Kuala Lumpur
Third: Malacca

Most Promising Player: Muhammad Najmi Farizal Jazlan (Perlis)
Man of the Match (Final): Chua Boon Huat (Kuala Lumpur)
Best Goalkeeper: Mohd Khairul Affendi Kamarulzaman (Armed Forces)
Top Goal Scorer: Mohd Anuar (Malacca)
Fairplay: Pahang

Women


Champion: Malacca
Runner Up: PDRM
Third: Penang

Most Promising Player: Nurizwana Ahmad Tajuddin (Penang)
Man of the Match (Final): Ayu Malina Zainuddin (Malacca)
Best Goalkeeper: Nur Afiqah Omar (Malacca)
Top Goal Scorer: Ayu Malina Tajuddin (Malacca)
Fairplay: Johor

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Armed Forces and Malacca win indoor titles

IPOH: Armed Forces emerged champions of the National Indoor Hockey Tournament when they defeated Kuala Lumpur 3-1 on penalty strokes after the final match ended 4-4 in regulation time at the Indera Mulia Stadium in Ipoh.

It was the first major title for Armed Forces since their Razak Cup triumph in 1982.

Malacca stamped their class in the women’s final by romping to a 4-0 win over Police.

Malacca won the bronze in the men’s category while Penang were third in the women’s event.

The Star of Malaysia



New Jersey and South move up in rankings

COLLEGE PARK, MD – Action continued this afternoon in College Park, MD on day two of the US Women’s National Championship. The week-long trial for selection to the U.S. National Team proved suspenseful and pressure filled. The competition was high as athletes battled for a chance to shine in front of National Team coaches.

After suffering a 7-0 loss on day one of the tournament, the North came out with vengeance and capitalized on Mid Atlantic’s errors. Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, VA) scored four times in the North’s 6-5 victory. Taylor’s hat trick is the third of the tournament. Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa) scored four goals and Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa) scored three goals yesterday in their first match of the championship event.
“The girls played incredibly well today after a disappointing start to the tournament,” said North coach Paul Caddy. “The team cohesion was much better today, which I think was the difference between yesterday and today.”

Taylor’s first three goals were scored off of a penalty corner. Her fourth goal came at the 68 minute mark and was the game-winner for the North.

“It was definitely a high scoring game,” Taylor said. “I think both teams were working very hard and taking advantage of the opportunities that they got. We struggled yesterday, but came back and showed a lot of character today and were able to come out with a win.”

Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa) and Katie Grant (New York, NY) led New Jersey with two goals apiece en route to a 7-1 victory over California. New Jersey improves to 2-0 in the tournament with 14 goals scored in total while only giving up one goal to their opponent. California falls 0-2.

Reinprecht scored both of her field goals within 30 seconds of each other. Michelle Cesan (New Vernon, NJ), Teresa Benvenuti (Morristown, NJ) and Lisa Patrone (Sewell, NJ) all contributed to New Jersey’s six-goal run.

“I think Reinprecht was exceptional coming through and overloading the field, which made her really dangerous,” said New Jersey coach Kristen Winn. “I am very happy with my team’s performance, but it’s still really early in the tournament. We had a long preparation with lots of fitness and I think that is one thing that is coming through.”

Pennsylvania earned their first win of the tournament this evening against the Midwest, scoring four consecutive goals on their way to a 6-3 victory. Rachel Sumfest (Lewisburg, Pa) tallied two goals early in the second half to increase the lead, 4-0.

“This was Pennsylvania’s first tournament game after being rained out on Friday and the team is playing really well together,” said coach Denise Zelenak.

Despite opportunities, Pennsylvania’s defense held Midwest scoreless in the first half. Midwest fought back to score three second half goals, but it was not enough to close the gap Pennsylvania had created.

Due to inclement weather, Pennsylvania and New England’s match was cancelled yesterday and has been rescheduled for Tuesday, June 5 at 3:00pm.
The South took on New England under the lights in the final match of the day. The South had a dominating performance, creating multiple scoring opportunities and capitalizing on two before the end of the first half. New England’s defense was pressured in the second half as the South continued to set the pace. Michelle Kasold (Chapel Hill, NC) scored two field goals for the South increasing her goal tally to four for the tournament. 

With 12 minutes remaining, New England made a bold decision to pull goalkeeper Amy Swensen (Grantville, Pa) from the cage for an extra field player (kicking back). Unfortunately, it did not pay off. New England was unable to tally a goal and Swensen returned to the game for the final four minutes.

Ainslee Lamb, Boston College head coach and coach of the New England team, commented after the game that the decision was twofold. Lamb used it as a training opportunity and was looking to ignite some energy in her team. 

“I felt it was a good time for us to practice using a kicking back and I also know that when you pull a goalie, your team’s mentality increases and the pressure increases. I felt that it was a really good time to ignite that,” said Lamb. 
All teams have a rest day tomorrow. Play will resume on Monday, June 4 at 2:00pm. Admission is free and open to the public. All matches will be held at the Field Hockey and Lacrosse Complex on the University of Maryland campus. News, schedule and results and further information can be found on usafieldhockey.com.

USFHA media release



Junior India hockey players set to get Rs 10,000 stipend per month

NEW DELHI: After announcing graded payment system for the senior team players, the Hockey India (HI) is set to provide a stipend of Rs 10,000 per month to the men and women's probables in the junior India set-up.

"The modalities of the graded payment system has already been finalised. The highest bracket will be that of Rs 8 lakh. But we always had this in mind that we need to provide financial assistance to the junior players both men and women," HI secretary general Narinder Batra informed said.

"After discussions, we thought that each and every junior player will be provided Rs 1.2 lakh per annum (Rs 10,000/- pm). This money will be provided so that the players can buy their individual kits. The hockey sticks are costly and you require good shoes for playing on astro-turf," Batra added.

However, the goalkeepers in the probables list don't need to spend this stipend money for buying kits as HI will bear their expenses.

"For goalkeepers, the cost of the protective gears are very high. As for the other players, Rs 1.2 lakh is good enough to buy hockey sticks and shoes but for the goalkeepers, HI will buy their gears," said Batra.

However, money will be deposited in corresponding player's bank account on quarterly basis i.e. Rs 30,000 in every three months.

"We have collected the bank account details of the players as well as their parents. In case of minors (some are below 18 years), we would deposit the money in their parents' bank account."

The Times of India



Hockey India proposes Indo-Pak series between domestic teams

NEW DELHI: The growing thaw in Indo-Pak bilateral ties is spilling over to the sporting field with Hockey India proposing an annual eight-team tournament featuring the top four domestic sides of both the countries, starting this year.

HI is all set to invite its Pakistani counterparts for a meeting later this month to fix the modalities of the event, to be called the Indo-Pak Champions Cup.

According to HI Secretary General Narinder Batra, the resumption of bilateral Test series between the two countries will also be a topic of discussion during the meeting.

"We will send an invitation to PHF President Qasim Zia and Secretary General Asif Bajwa next week to visit India for a detailed discussion on the bilateral calendar for the next three years," Batra said.

"The bilateral hockey series between India and Pakistan may resume this year but everything will depend on how the talks progress.

"We also plan to organise a bilateral tournament between the top four domestic teams of India and Pakistan. The tournament will be an annual affair and the proposed name is Indo-Pak Champions Cup," he informed.

Batra also said that India might host the proposed Cup and the Test series between the two countries this year before Pakistan takes over the next year.

Both the events would be hosted by the two countries on an alternate basis.

Asked if it is feasible to host both the events in Pakistan due to the fragile security scenario there, Batra said in such a case Pakistan can organise the series at a neutral venue.

"It would be too early to comment on this thing. Precisely, for these reasons we will be inviting PHF officials for discussions. All these issues will feature in the talks," the HI Secretary General said.

The last Indo-Pak hockey Test series, with three matches in each country, was held in early 2006. Pakistan had won three matches, India had clinched one while two were drawn.

The Times of India



Pakistan’s Olympics participation in jeopardy


Pakistan might face an Olympics ban if the stand-off between PSB and POA is not resolved. -Photo by AFP

KARACHI: The International Olympic Committee has summoned Pakistani sports officials to resolve a row over alleged government interference that could jeopardise the country’s attendance at the London Games.

Pakistan Olympic Association president Syed Arif Hasan said on Saturday his country might face a ban if a stand-off with the Pakistan Sports Board is not resolved.

Under Pakistani sports policy, no national sports federation head can have more than two tenures and the Pakistan Sports Board wants the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) to follow suit.

But Hasan insisted the POA was an autonomous body that would only follow IOC rules.

“The IOC has summoned both the parties on Monday to make clear that any government interference is unacceptable in Olympic association matters, but things can go wrong,” said Hasan.

“Under the IOC charter, political and government interference is not acceptable and it can lead to the cancellation of IOC membership and in turn an Olympic ban,” Hasan, who won a third term as POA head in February this year told AFP.

“It is a very dangerous scenario.”

The two sides have been summoned to appear before the IOC in Switzerland on Monday.

In its letter to the POA, the IOC said government interference was “unacceptable.”

“As the London Games are fast approaching, your National Olympic Committee and the Olympic movement in your country must be in a position to work in a serene and peaceful atmosphere in order to prepare your athletes and your delegation to the London Games in the best possible manner,” the letter said.

“Any attempt from any government body to implement provisions which are not compatible with the basic principles which govern the Olympic movement would be considered as government interference and would result in protective measures,” said the letter.

The IOC also said the POA’s February election was “fair and “as per the IOC rules.”

Pakistan’s only chance to win a medal at the London Olympics lies in field hockey in which they have qualified as Asian champions.

They have also received two wild-card entries each in athletics, swimming and shooting and may also get one in boxing – but do not stand a real chance of winning a medal in those fields.

Dawn



Ad hoc body imperative to save hockey from total collapse

By Mohsin Ali


ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team not only let country down but also entire nation as they were hammered first by New Zealand, then South Korea, again beaten 3-2 by the minnows Malaysia while arch-rivals India also scored victory against them and finally England defeated them 2-1 in last group match on Saturday in the Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament currently underway at Ipoh.

These back-to-back defeats shattered all the Green shirts hopes of making to the final. With this disastrous performance against such low profile teams, one thing is quite clear that how they face likes of Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Spain and other European hockey teams in the upcoming 2012 London Olympics.

Pakistan Hockey Federation had made tall claims before the start of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, that team is in supreme form and would return as champions but those proved only claims.

When this correspondent contacted former Olympian Shehnaz Sheikh for his comments on such dismal performance of Pakistan, he said: “The current PHF hatchery has destroyed Pakistani hockey and brought only bad name for the country in almost all the tournaments those they played except the Asia Cup which hey won after a gap of two decades.”

Shehnaz stated: “After spending more than four years at the helm of federation Qasim Zia and co had failed miserably to deliver and now they must quit immediately and if they stay further then Pakistan will have no chance of finishing at the top half in the London Olympics.

“I appeal to Patron-in-chief of Pakistan hockey, Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and Patron Rehman Malik to sack the entire body and appoint an ad hoc committee immediately if Pakistan want to win medal in the Olympics,” he added

Talking to this scribe former Olympian Samiullah said: The federation lack the vision as they fail to produce even a single player during their tenure and now are left with no other option but to bring back Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt to save their face in the Olympics. He also slammed Sohail Abbas nomination as captain as he had already passed his peak time and now proving liability for the team. Sohail missed so many short corners scoring chances so there is no place for him in the playing eleven, he added.

The management instead of accepting their poor show they blamed the junior players for team debacle which is injustice with them instead of blaming the juniors the management should have accepted the responsibility and quit the job immediately.

Naveed Alam former Olympian slammed Qasim Zia and blamed him for appointing Akhtar Rasool as head coach to settle old scores and said Akhtar has no experience of coaching and his appointment had badly damaged the country’s reputation at international level.

Naveed urged Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and appoint an ad hoc body to save the hockey from further disaster as already a lot of time had been wasted and further wastage of time would prove further disastrous for the game of hockey in the country. Pakistan only chance of standing on the podium lies in hockey but with such performances there is no hope of winning the medal in Olympics, he concluded.

The Nation