News for 01 February 2013

All the news for Friday 1 February 2013


Argentina dominate South American Championships

Top ranked men and women surge into tournament finals



Argentina celebrate scoring against Uruguay in the 2013 South American Championships. (Photo: Panamhockey.org)

The men’s and women’s national teams of Argentina are dominating the 2013 South American Championships in Santiago, Chile, with both sides maintaining 100% win records after four days of competition.

Argentina men have been in scintillating form, scoring a staggering 54 goals in their four matches. They opened their campaign with a 19-0 thrashing of Peru, before putting Paraguay (19-1), Brazil (10-1) and Chile (6-0) to the sword. The recent winners of the Champions Challenge 1 have already guaranteed their place in Sunday’s tournament final, despite the fact that there is still a round of pool matches left to play.

Chile have also secured a berth in the final thanks to some very big score-lines. The team scored 39 goals along the way to defeating Paraguay (17-0), Uruguay (8-0) and Peru (14-1), showing that they clearly have the scoring power to trouble Argentina in Sunday’s showpiece.

Argentina striker Lucas Vila leads the scoring charts having netted 13 times so far in the competition, with compatriot Guillermo Schickendantz just behind on 12. 

Like their male counterparts, Argentina women are dominating proceedings in their competition, showing exactly why they are second in the FIH World Rankings with some brutal goal-scoring displays.

Despite entering a team containing many new faces, the Olympic silver medallists opened their campaign with a 20-0 victory over Peru on Saturday before smashing Paraguay 13-0 on Sunday. The current World Champions had a much tougher time of it when they face Uruguay on Tuesday, being forced to fight back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 thanks to goals from Pilar Romang, Luciana Molina and Sofia Villarroya.

Las Leonas consolidated their position at the top of the table on Wednesday with a thumping 5-1 win over second placed Chile.

The final round of pool matches in the women's tournament take place on Saturday. The big match of the day is the meeting between Uruguay and Chile, with the winner sealing a place in Sunday’s showpiece final against Argentina. 

To find keep track of all the news from the Santiago, please click the links below.

South American Championships – Men

South American Championships - Women

FIH site



Holland beat brave Investec SA hockey girls 2-0

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town


In a match of many opportunities, the world’s number one-ranked Holland, the reigning Olympic champions, beat the competitive Investec South Africa women’s hockey team 2-0 after leading 1-0 at half-time at Hartleyvale Stadium on Thursday night.

In the early match world number six Australia came back from a goal down to beat world number four England 3-1.

Both unofficial international matches were played in preparation for the prestigious Investec Challenge, which kicks off at Hartleyvale on Monday.

SA, the world’s 12th-ranked team, started well when the Western Province trio of Tarryn Bright, Jade Mayne and Shelley Russell put together a neat move as early as the second minute but the final blow went wide of the post.

The South Africans then won two penalty corners in succession with the latter effort seeing the ball struck powerfully but on the wrong side of the post.

At the other end outstanding SA goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa cleared with confidence before being forced into making two brilliant interventions. The Dutch began transferring the ball with assurance and Ellen Hoog made no mistake inside the six-yard box to open the scoring.

The big question was whether SA would be able to reproduce another upset after they had got the better of Australia to the tune of 4-0 on Monday.

Four minutes after the changeover, Russell’s pace and control down the right set up a gilt-edged chance that was not converted and SA were undone midway through the second stanza by an own goal.

The Olympic champions were value for their win.

In the opening match Nicola White of England got on the scoresheet inside the first four minutes when she buried a penalty corner rebound in emphatic fashion. Australia equalised through Kellie White after she received the ball in space.

In the second half, Australia’s White made it 2-1 to the 2012 Champions Challenge winners and Fiona Boyce’s goal ensured a two-goal cushion that stayed firm to the final whistle.

Saturday’s final round of internationals before the Investec Challenge will see SA tackling England at 4 pm on Saturday and Holland taking on Australia at 6 pm, both at Hartleyvale, the venue of the Investec Challenge next week.

SA Hockey Association media release



Malaysia in tough company for World League semi-finals

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will have Germany, England, Pakistan and South Korea for company when they host the FIH World League semi-finals from June 29-July 7.

The four teams are automatic qualifiers for the semi-finals based on their FIH world rankings.

Malaysia received an automatic berth after being selected as the host country. The tournament will be held in Johor Baru.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed the five teams for the second semi-final yesterday.

The tournament will have eight teams in the fray. Three more teams will be picked after Round Two of the World League.

Holland will host the first semi-final in Rotterdam from June 13-23. The teams who have automatically qualified for Rotterdam are hosts Holland, Australia, Spain and New Zealand. Four more teams will join the fray after Round Two.

The top four teams from each semi-final will then play in the final round and these teams will gain automatic berths to the 2014 World Cup.

Malaysia were initially scheduled to play in Round Two in Elektrostal, Russia, at the end of May. Their place in that tournament will now be taken by the Czech Republic. The other teams are Russia, Japan, Austria, Ukraine and Egypt.

Germany were originally scheduled to host both the men’s and women’s Hockey World League semi-finals as well as the Women’s Junior World Cup (from July 27-Aug 4 in Moenchengladbach). However, they have chosen to host only the Women’s Junior World Cup due to financial restrictions.

As such, Malaysia will now host the men’s Hockey World League semi-final while the women’s event will be hosted by another country.

FIH president Leandro Negre was pleased to have found an alternative host despite the short notice.

“There is not a doubt that the month of June will be historic and fantastic for our sport. I would especially like to thank Malaysia for stepping in to be hosts on short notice. It is further evidence of the spirit of cooperation that we enjoy in international hockey.”

The Hockey World League Round Two recently kicked off with a women’s five-team tournament in Cape Town, South Africa.

Hosts South Africa and Belgium became the first two teams to earn a spot in the Hockey World League semi-final through the qualification process.

The Star of Malaysia



Punjab Warriors beat Mumbai Magicians 3-1 in Hockey India League

Magicians' only victory has been a 4-0 rout of Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Wednesday.




Mumbai:  Punjab Warriors completed their domination over Mumbai Magicians in the Hockey India League by scoring their third win against the hosts with a 3-1 margin at the MHA Mahindra Stadium in Mumbai on Thursday.

In a fast-paced encounter, the Warriors - who had beaten the Magicians 4-2 in their first leg clash at this venue and then 4-3 in the second meeting at home - looked a better side in attack as well as defence, especially in the opening half, to emerge deserving winners.

Magicians down 1-3 at the beginning of the third quarter, forced three penalty corners but their main goal-getter, captain Sandeep Singh, who is the leading scorer in the league with 11 under his belt, was unable to score even once.

All the goals for the Warriors, who led 2-0 at half time, were field efforts and were notched by Dharamvir Singh (7th minute), Robert Hammond (22nd) and Malak Singh (52nd) while the lone goal for the Magicians which reduced the margin of the Warriors' lead to 2-1 was notched by Jonny Jasrotia with an indirect penalty corner effort in the 47th minute.

The ninth-round victory put Punjab on 25 points, still third in the table behind leaders Delhi Waveriders (34 points from 8 games) and Ranchi Rhinos (29 from 8) while their eighth defeat from nine encounters had the Magicians on 13, one point earned from today's lost game.

Magicians' only victory has been a 4-0 rout of Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Wednesday.

The hosts just lost their way when nearing the rival 'D' for most part of the opening half, though they fought hard in the second half after being 0-2 down at the halfway stage.

For the Warriors, star forwards S V Sunil and Jamie Dwyer, the captain, combined very well up front with good feeds from the likes of Dharamvir Singh and Ignace Tirkey.

The deep defense of the visitors was also very good with the likes of Mark Knowles and Tirkey showing calm demeanour in clearing the ball and their man-to-man marking was also effective, especially in the opening half when they had the clear edge.

The first quarter saw the Warriors virtually pitching the tent in the rival half and but for some good defending by the Magicians, especially by goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, the home team citadel would have fallen much earlier than when it did in the 7th minute.

The goal was a product of some loose defending by the Magicians who allowed a diagonal hit from the left flank to come to Sreejesh and the deflection from his pads was pouched upon by Dharamvir who scored from 8 yards out.

Punjab changed their goalkeeper by replacing Bharat Chetri with Jacob Stockmann very early in the game.

The Magicians made a good concerted move when Glenn Turner combined well with skipper Matthew Butturuni but the move failed to yield result.

The Warriors continued to attack with vigour in the second quarter and one such move paid dividend when Simon Orchard sent in a square pass deep down the right flank.

The ball eluded the defenders and reached the waiting Robert Hammond near the far post for the player to deflect it in from close.

Down by two goals, Magicians tried to break through the tight Warriors defence, but just could not get a clear look at the rival goal.

Towards the end of the first half of play, Warriors forced the first penalty corner of the game but failed to score with an indirect try.

Crossing over, the Magicians started to dominate the proceedings, but poor marksmanship let them down.

They pressed hard for a goal and finally earned a penalty corner though their expert Sandeep Singh was off the field.

Jonny Jasrotia, who had scored once through the set piece routine in an earlier match, was again on hand to deflect the ball in off the post, beating Bharat Chetri, who had replaced Stockmann, under the Warriors' bar. With better poaching skills, Magicians could have got another goal for the equaliser but following a goalmouth melee, the ball was kicked out by Chetri.

A quick counter-attack ensued and the Warriors secured their third goal. A long though ball from the midfield by Dharamvir was picked up by the diminutive Malak Singh who drew Sreejesh to the right and hit the ball on the run from a very acute angle past the home team goalkeeper into the goal to provide a 3-1 lead with one quarter left.

Magicians, fighting hard for another goal, got three gilt-edged chances when they earned their second, third and fourth short corner awards at the beginning of the last quarter.

Though Sandeep was on the field to take them his drag-flicks failed to find the mark as they were blocked by Chetri on the first occasion and the other defenders later. The India discard thus drew a blank after having scored a hat-trick and two goals in two of the earlier three games.

NDTV



Mumbai Magicians lose 1-3 to Punjab Warriors

By Sudheendra Tripathi


MUMBAI: Even before Mumbai Magicians could soak in the feeling of their spectacular 4-0 win against Uttar Pradesh Wizards at Churchgate's Mahindra Stadium on Wednesday, came the push back to the drawing board on Thursday. Their solitary win in the Hockey India League was soon forgotten as they suffered yet another defeat, their eighth in the league so far and this time at the hands of Punjab Warriors on Thursday.

Punjab, who got the better of hosts Mumbai 4-2 when the two met last earlier in the league, scored a 3-1 win. For the winners, Dharamveer Singh, Robert Hammond and Malak Singh found the target over different quarters, while Jonny Jasrotia reduced the margin for Mumbai off their first penalty corner through a clever variation with five minutes remaining in the third quarter.

Unlike Wednesday, Mumbai were sluggish against Punjab. They failed to construct moves that were creative enough to breach the Punjab defence. Each time Mumbai made a penetration inside the Punjab 'D' their defenders, led by former international Ignace Tirkey, negotiated the situation calmly and with authority. The visitors were not only more compact in defence but were a lot more imaginative up front.

Mumbai, who earned one point from the fixture, have now moved up to 13 points, but remain bottom-placed in the five-team league. Punjab moved up to 25 points and are happily placed at the third spot in a league dominated by Delhi Waveriders. "Defensively we were a better outfit," Punjab coach Barry Dancer said after the match. He added: "We have had some problems with our attacks but today our forwards played really well."

The Times of India



Magicians back to losing ways

By Taus Rizvi


A day after beating Uttar Pradesh Wizards to register their first win in the Hockey India League, Mumbai Magicians suffered another humiliating defeat, this time against Jaypee Punjab Warriors (1-3).

Dharamvir Singh (7th minute), Robbert Hammond (22nd) and Malak Singh (52nd) came up with a strike each for the winners, while Mumbai’s only consolation was Jonny Jasrotia’s solitary goal in the 47th minute.

It was Magicians eighth defeat from nine matches, while Punjab recorded their fourth win in nine games, with one draw and four losses. Punjab added five points to their tally of 20. This was the third time Mumbai lost to Punjab in as many encounters.

Punjab’s dominance started from the seventh minute when Dharamvir breached a poor Mumbai defence and flicked the ball over the right of custodian P Shreejesh to disturb the scoreboard.
The visitors upped the score in the second quarter when Robert Hammond deflected a superb cross from the right wing, making Mumbai defenders look like bystanders.

Mumbai had their chances, including three penalty corners, but never made them count. However, Jasrotia reduced the margin in the 47thminute. He deflected a pass that hit the right side of the post making it 1-2 in favour of the hosts. In the 52nd minute, Punjab’s Malak Singh solo move made it 3-1.

Results: Jaypee Punjab Warriors 3 (Dharamvir Singh 7th, Robbert Hammond 22nd, Malak Singh 52nd) bt Mumbai Magicians 1 (Jonny Jasrotia 47th)

DNA



Prestigious match on card on Friday

s2h team


Hitherto undefeated Delhi Waveriders will lock horns with equally strong but 5 points shorter in the points table team Ranchi Rhinos tomorrow.

For many these two outfits are billed for the Feb 10th final, but having played two matches each, and Delhi having won one and drawn the other, the curiosity is whether the home team can revenge the defeat when they met here last week.

That match was perhaps the best of the HIL which produced nine goals

The Rhinos now are keen to settle the score after having come close to an upset on Wednesday.

If the Rhinos manage to win Friday’s tie by at least a four goal margin then they can leapfrog the Waveriders in the standings on better goal-difference. However, given the display of their visitors's wares, the local side will have to climb a mountain to achieve this.

The Rhinos strive on their home support and only the Waveriders have so far managed to breach their citadel. But that was before the hosts hit a purple patch in the competition. Just like the Waveriders, the Rhinos have also been in exceptional form in their last four encounters and would take confidence from the fact that they could pressurise the league leaders on counter attacks.

undefined Rhinos’ striker Mandeep Singh, second highest goal scorer with six field goals, is growing in stature. He will be keen to add to his tally and so would be their penalty corner specialist Ashley Jackson.

Coach Gregg Clark, said, “We played well yesterday and would look to repeat the same performance. We plan on improving certain aspects that we took back from yesterday’s game. We will definitely give them a tough challenge tomorrow”.

Coach Ajay Kumar Bansal said, “We plan to work on some quick passes and team coordination strategy for tomorrow’s match. We have a strong team and we plan to use that against them. Birendra Lakra is one of their game makers and we will look out for him.”

Stick2Hockey.com



Kaushik Column: New legs from New Zealand add value to Delhi

M.K. Kaushik



M.K. Kaushik

I should state in the outset the match between two top teams of the ongoing Hockey India League was interesting despite ending without a result.

But I have a point. I hoped more crowd turn up, enjoy the fervour that goes with such high level matches.

undefined Coming to the game, Delhi yesterday were a little down. They looked over-confident, a bit tired. Such things let the things down.

At the same time, I am aware playing matches on successive days is not an easy task. From this standpoin, the home team must have been a satisfied one with the draw.

I honestly feel the think-tank of the Waveriders should have given more emphasis on the fitness issue. More players should have been substituted. I have seen some players are not utilized.

The mental and physical fatigue cost the Delhi team, let them to commit many fouls. A player like Sardar Singh getting card twice shows the level of stress Delhi team had endured. This is a a wrong message the team sends to itself.

The team is fortunate to have two players from New Zealand who gave them enough options for substitution. Keeping in view the tight schedule, recovery path and discipline would play a vital role in the upcoming matches.

In fact the inclusion of new players is helping every team. The incorporation of Australian players in Mumbai team helped them win their maiden match.

Ranchi, on the other hand, dominated the game. I congratulate them for playing a wonderful game. They looked as a more tactically sound team in yesterday's match.

However, Ranchi should have taken advantage when Sardar Singh was given card. In fact, Delhi team should be complimented for handling the game very well in that crucial stage.

As told to Tazeen Qureshy

Stick2Hockey.com



‘Changes in rules have been difficult’

“Money is not an attraction for coaches,” says the legendary player and coach, Ric Charlesworth. By Nandakumar Marar.



Ric Charlesworth…“Working with players from other countries will be exciting, but the rush and the difficult schedule of the HIL will be very hard.”  R.V. MOORTHY

Ric Charlesworth is back in India, this time as the chief coach of Mumbai Magicians in the Hockey India League.

The Australian faced unexpected problems while preparing his team for the HIL. He had to race against time to get Mumbai Magicians, comprising internationals from different nations, ready for the five-team competition, and also handle problems that were beyond his control, like the decision to send back the four Pakistani players in the wake of the political tensions between India and Pakistan.

A stickler for detail, and his obsession for long-term planning well known, it was not easy for Charlesworth. The Mumbai Magicians coach, however, took things in his stride. “This league has a chance to improve the game and (helps me to) avoid those who made my last experience (in India) difficult,” said the Australian, who had to return home after a bitter experience in India in 2008.

Charlesworth was the Technical Advisor for Indian hockey then. Based on his personal observations, he had prepared a blueprint for rebuilding Indian hockey. Treating coaches, players and others on contract as paid professionals was among the critical points in the document that he had prepared. However, the Indian Hockey Federation, the Sports Authority of India and other agencies involved in the running of the sport in the country at that time thought Charlesworth’s ideas were too radical and consequently dumped them.

Last year, Australia, coached by Charlesworth, won the bronze medal at the London Olympics, followed by the 2012 Champions Trophy in Melbourne.

On the invitation of the Dabur Group, the renowned Australian coach accepted the offer to take charge of their franchise in the HIL. The Mumbai Magicians coach has been guaranteed the freedom to execute his plans.

In his playing days, Charlesworth was regarded as a great playmaker and an inspiring captain of Australia. He is universally accepted as a master tactician and a coach under whom the ‘Hockeyroos’ played to win. He spoke to Sportstar recently on India hockey.

Question: Foreign coaches attached to various HIL teams bring different lines of thinking to the job. What excites you the most about this assignment? Is money the main attraction?

Answer: Working with players from other countries will be exciting, but the rush and the difficult schedule will be very hard. It is a pity the timing is so rushed. Money is not an attraction for coaches. I have to take leave from my job to do this.

India and Pakistan have a habit of entrusting their National squads to famous former players, who may or may not have coaching achievements to back them…

This occurs in all countries (former players as coaches). Some former players are good coaches, some not so good. If you do not coach well, your players will struggle to improve. This is the major task.

Cricket has a parallel here; Greg Chappell was a great batsman but was not successful as the coach of the Indian cricket team when compared with the low profile Gary Kirsten, who played a big role in India’s World Cup victory. What is your take?

India tends to measure results on short-term basis. Kirsten’s time here (with Team India) was short. If he were the coach now, what would be said? Every coach will struggle without being able to set the agenda and without any support.

India’s playing style comes close to Australia’s. How far will natural skills alone carry us without a method of training in place at different levels? Is that the biggest challenge before India’s chief coach Michael Nobbs now?

There are many challenges. You need to have the skill, organisation, endeavour, co-operation and knowledge — all are important. Besides these, the changes in rules have been difficult. Physical play is rewarded, and defending has been made easier.

Indian players are rated among the best in the world from time to time. Sardar Singh is a current example. Others have been playing as part-time pros in club leagues around Europe, where performance is paramount. However, when these players come together in the National squad, the results are below par…

India is, I believe, amongst teams between number six and 10 in the world. Its challenge is to get to the top five.

Sportstar



Weekend Preview: Scottish Men's National Indoor League

Grove Menzieshill and Edinburgh University may have enjoyed the plaudits after securing the Division 1 and Central Division titles respectively last weekend but there are still title, promotion and relegation issues on-going in Divisions 2, 3 and Midland & North on Saturday.

National Indoor League Division 2 – Forthbank, Stirling


Hillhead still lead the way in Division 2 and will fancy their chances of maintaining their position at the top of the table when they meet bottom place CALA Edinburgh and Alpha Data Carnegie in Saturday’s indoor session at Forthbank.

Grove Menzieshill A are hot on their heels though and the division’s current form side could extend their winning run to ten matches if they can overcome a tricky fixture against third place AAM Gordonians and Inverleith II.

However, should the Aberdonians win against their Dundee rivals and secure positive results against Stepps and Falkirk GHG, they could put themselves right back in the mix at the top.

Only four points separate the five teams from 4th to 8th place; Falkirk GHG could secure their place in the league next season with important wins in matches against relegation rivals Inverleith II and Alpha Data Carnegie.

A win for Stepps or Alpha Data Carnegie in their head-to-head clash could ease both clubs’ relegation fears.

National Indoor League Division 3 – Bell’s Sports Centre, Perth

The Division 3 title race will go right down to the wire with both FMGM Monarchs and McWhinney Uddingston looking like the two sides who will battle it out for first place.

The Taysiders will be confident of overcoming relegation threatened Granite City Wanderers in their first match and there could be a title decider between the top two if McWhinney Uddingston can also record a victory against Olympic Garscadden in their first fixture of the session.

However, third place Quaser have a chance of forcing their way into the promotion places if results involving the top two go their way and they can notch up wins against Dundee Wanderers II, Watsonians and Granite City Wanderers.

At the bottom, Granite City Wanderers simply must pick up points from their three matches if they are to avoid the drop into Midland & North for next season.

There is also a crucial encounter between Dundee Wanderers II and Kelburne II that will go some way to determining who avoids relegation.

National Indoor League Midland & North Division

Perthshire can secure the Midland & North Division title by beating Aberdeen GSFP and Stirling Wanderers this weekend.

The league leaders remain unbeaten in the division this season and will be confident of doing the business to collect the main prize.

However, if Aberdeen GSFP can defeat Perthshire, city rivals Granite City Wanderers II and Harris Academy FP II, they could take advantage of any slip-up by the league pacesetters.

Please visit the Men's National Indoor Leagues for more info on fixtures and venues.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Big guns on show at the Indoor Gala Day



Scottish Hockey today announced the schedule for the Indoor Gala Day at Bell’s Sports Centre, Perth on Saturday 9 February.

An action packed day of indoor hockey is on offer, including play-off semi-finals and finals between the top four sides in the Men’s and Women’s National Indoor League Division 1 to determine Scotland’s European indoor participants next season.

What’s more, the finals of the U18 Indoor Cup will also take place during the Gala Day, with Grange and Clydesdale going head-to-head in the boys final, while Strathallan School and George Watson’s College will contest the final of the girls competition.

Robert Heatly, Scottish Hockey Chief Executive, said, “The indoor Gala Day presents a fantastic opportunity to watch some of Scotland’s best players compete in the National Indoor League play-offs for European qualification.

“We also have the added interest of the boys and girls U18 Indoor Cup finals and this event will offer the competing teams and players a great stage to display their burgeoning talent.

“I expect a great day of indoor hockey for spectators and would encourage members, parents and friends alike to come along and support the teams taking part.”

Entry is FREE for Adults, U16s and Senior Citizens. With some of Scotland’s finest exponents of the indoor game on show, be sure not to miss out.

Spectators will also have the chance to enter a prize draw by purchasing a Gala Day programme for only £1, fantastic value. The prizes on offer include:

 

  • Shirt and photos signed by GB Olympians Laura Bartlett & Emily Maguire
  • Bottle of Black Famous Grouse Whisky (over 18s)
  • Two places at one of Scottish Hockey’s Summer Day Camps (excl. residential) worth £160
  • Two bottles of wine (over 18s)
  • Scottish Hockey Clothing Goody Bag including Jacket, T-shirt, Shorts and Socks
  • Byte hockey stick (size to be arranged with Byte after draw)

There will also be music and team presentations so remember to bring along your camera!



Indoor Gala Day - Saturday 9 February 2013, Bell’s Sports Centre, Perth

Game 1 10.00

NIL Play-offs: Women's Semi-Final 1 - 1st vs. 4th

Game 2 11.00

NIL Play-offs: Women's Semi-Final 2 - 2nd vs. 3rd

Game 3 12.00

NIL Play-offs: Men's Semi-Final 1 – 1st vs. 4th

Game 4 13.00

NIL Play-offs: Men's Semi-Final 2 - 2nd vs. 3rd

Game 5 14.00

U18 Girls Indoor Cup Final:  Strathallan School vs. George Watson's College

Game 6 15.00

U18 Boys Indoor Cup Final: Grange vs. Clydesdale

Game 7 16.00

Women's NIL European Qualification Match: Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2

Game 8 17.00

Men's NIL European Qualification Match: Winner SF1 vs. Winner SF2

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Waseem, Shakeel invited to camp for Azlan Shah Cup


Waseem and Shakeel (pictured) have since been inspirational in leading a largely young Pakistan team to success.. – Photo by AFP

LAHORE: Pakistan stalwarts Waseem Ahmed and Shakeel Abbasi have been named amongst the 25 probables invited to the national team’s training camp to select the team for the 22nd Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in March.

The call-up for the duo is the strong indication that the national team management headed by Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary still has faith in the experience that Waseem and Shakeel bring to the Pakistan team and are reluctant to raise a younger team for the 2014 FIH World Cup.

Earlier, it was widely expected that the Waseem and Shakeel would be sidelined like the fellow players in their age bracket namely Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt and Salman Akbar in order to induct fresh legs into the team ahead of the World Cup.

And while Sohail and Rehan were not called up by the national team since their 2012 London Olympics debacle where they finished seventh, Waseem and Shakeel have since been inspirational in leading a largely young Pakistan team to success. Waseem had announced his retirement from international hockey after the Olympics was forced to withdraw his decision and he and Shakeel helped Pakistan secure third position in the FIH Champions Trophy in Melbourne — which was incidentally Pakistan’s first podium finish in the event in eight years.

The duo followed that up with a string of impressive performances in the Asian Champions Trophy where the team won gold.

The training camp will be held at the National Hockey Stadium here from Feb 10 with the Azlan Shah Cup set to be held in the Malaysian city of Ipoh from March 9 to 17.

Probables: Imran Shah, Imran Butt, Syed Kashif Shah, Mohammad Imran, M. Rizwan Senior, Mohammad Tousiq, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Mohammad Waqas, Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Ali Shan, Mohammad Ateeq, Waseem Ahmed, Mohammad Kashif Ali, Shakeel Abbasi, Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Salman Hussain, Umar Bhutta, Mohammad Rizwan Junior, Mohammad Irfan Junior, Mohammad Dilber, Mohammad Khalid Bhatti, Tasawwar Abbas and Talal Khalid.

Team management: Akhtar Rasool Chaudhary (Manager-Head coach), Abdul Hanif Khan (Coach), Ajmal Khan Lodhi, Ahmed Alam (Assistant coaches), Faiz-ur-Rahman (Physio), Nadeem Khan Lodhi (Video Analyst).

Dawn



Abbas, Butt not included in list of probables for Azlan Shah Cup

KARACHI: Former Pakistan captain and penalty corner specialist, Sohail Abbas and experienced forward, Rehan Butt failed to find a place in the list of probables announced by the national hockey federation for the Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Malaysia.

Both the Olympians were missing from the list of 25 probables, who will attend a training camp under the supervision of head coach, Akhtar Rasool and coach, Hanif Khan before the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament.

The camp is scheduled to begin from February 10 in Lahore to prepare for the competition in Ipoh from March 9th to 17th that also includes India. Pakistan plays its opening game on the 9th against New Zealand.

The federation has included all those nine players who had to return from India without playing in the Indian Hockey League due to security issues surrounding Pakistani sportsmen in India.

The PHF has given authority to the chief coach and coach to finalize the squad of 18 for the tournament.

Pakistan Hockey has seen an upward trend since Rasool and Hanif took over, finishing with bronze medal in the Champions Trophy in Melbourne and winning the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha after beating India in the final.

Probables: Imran Shah, Imran Butt, Kashif Shah, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Tauseeq, Fareed Ahmed, Rashid Mehmood, Mohammad Waqas, Shafqat Rasool, Haseem Khan, Ali Shan, Mohammad Atiq, Wasim Ahmed, Kashif Ali, Shakeel Abbasi, Mohammad Irfan, Salman Hussain, Umer Bhutta, Rizwan Jnr, Irfan Jnr, Mohammad Dilbar, Khalid Bhatti, Tasawar Abbas and Talal Khalid.

The Times of India



Azlan Shah Cup: Pakistan’s preliminary squad announced

By Our Correspondent



Pakistan would be hoping to continue their good form once the tournament begins in March. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan’s hockey team management retained all players of the Asian Champions Trophy title winning squad as it announced the preliminary squad for the forthcoming Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

In what will be the first international assignment for the national team this year, the squad includes seniors Waseem Ahmed and Shakeel Abbasi while experienced Rehan Butt has been snubbed again.

Umar Bhutta – who was dropped from the Asian Champions Trophy – regained his place in the 25-player initial squad.  Another player making a comeback is Rizwan Junior.

Pakistan’s preliminary squad includes I Shah, I Butt, S Kashif Shah, M Imran, M Rizwan Senior, M Tousiq, F Ahmed, R Mahmood, M Waqas, S Rasool, A Haseem Khan, A Shan, M Ateeq, W Ahmed, M Kashif Ali, S Abbasi, M Irfan, M Salman Hussain, M Umar Bhutta, M Rizwan Junior, M Irfan Junior, M Dilber, M Khalid Bhatti, T Abbas & T Khalid.

Greenshirts to begin training from February 10

Meanwhile, according to a Pakistan Hockey Federation official, the team will start its preparations at the National Hockey Stadium in Lahore from February 10.

“The camp would be staged in two phases and will continue until the team’s departure,” said the official.

The Azlan Shah Cup will begin in Ipoh from March 9.

The Express Tribune



Pakistan National U-21 Hockey

LAHORE – Four more matches were decided in the 32nd National Junior U-21 Hockey Championship on Thursday at Faisalabad Hockey Stadium.

Wapda crushed Balochistan 7-0, Punjab Whites beat Higher Education Commission 4-1, PIA thrashed Islamabad 7-0 and Pakistan Customs routed Khyber Pakhtunkhwa 6-0. No upset was recoded as all the leading teams had easy sailing to the next round.

Wapda led 3-0 against Balochistan at half time. M Suleman and M Umair scored two goals each for Wapda while M Adnan, Aleem Bilal and Ijaz had one goal each. Punjab faced strong opposition from HEC as the first half remained goalless while Punjab came with full force in the following session to keep their opponents under persistent pressure with penetration and aggressive play. Zeeshan converted two goals while Amir Shahzad and Daud added one goal each for the winners.

Today’s fixtures: PIA vs KPK, HEC vs Balochistan and Customs vs Islamabad.

The Nation



Goal jolts UniKL into action

By Jugjet Singh



An Olak player (in Blue) tries to get past the BJSS Juniors defenders in their NSC-Milo-MHC Junior League Division One match yesterday.

UNIKL Young Guns came back from a goal down to hammer Malacca High School 4-1 and move to the top of the Division One standings of the NSC-Milo-MHC Junior Hockey League.

Malacca HC's Ashraf Zuhry jolted the title pretenders with a penalty corner goal in the 30th minute, but even with home ground advantage, the hosts let slip the edge in the second half.

Syafiq Zulzairin started the fightback with a 37th minute field goal, and goals from Norsyafiq Sumantri (54th), Syafiq (60th) and Hafif Elkan (67th) made sure UniKL stay in the hunt for the league title.

Meanwhile, the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) will be a handicapped tournament as only six teams registered for the Premier Division, and five for Division One when entries closed on Wednesday.

The tournament, slated for March 22-May 12, will see double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, Tenaga Nasional, Sapura, Maybank, UniKL and Nur Insafi playing in the Premier Division.

In Division One are UiTM, Bukit Jalil Sports School, Thunderbolts and UniTen.

"Terengganu have requested to play in the Premier Division, but that will be decided by the competitions committee. When entries closed, there were only six teams in the Premier Division and four in Division One albeit Terengganu who might play in either division," said Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) secretary Johari Aziz.

Missing from last year's Division One list are champions Armed Forces, who said all their players would be attending courses, Johor HA and Politeknik-KPT.

RESULTS -- Division One: Andersons 1 Bukit Jalil SS 1, Malacca HS 1 UniKL Young Guns 4, USM 0 SSTMI 7.

Division Two -- Group A: Anderson Juniors 3 STAR 0, IMas Penang 4 Kelantan 5, KLSS 4 Tunku Besar 2.

Group B: Datuk Taha 4 Johor HA 4, Padang Midin 0 Politeknik KPT 4, Olak PKT 6 BJSS Juniors 2.

Today -- Division One: Anderson v SSTMI (Azlan Shah, 5pm).

Division Two, Group A: Matri v Kelantan (Alor Star, 3pm), Perlis v Anderson Juniors (Alor Star, 5pm).

Group B: BJSS Juniors v Johor HA (Ministry of Education, 5pm).

New Straits Times



Defending champions back on track after big win in Penang

By RONNIE OH



Going through: Thunderbolt’s Mohamad Zulhamizan (centre) dribbling past MSSP-USM players Mohd Jasmizan Zainol (right) and Mohd Faiz Kahar Muzakir during their MJHL match at the USM Stadium in Penang yesterday. — ZHAFARAN NASIB / The Star.

GEORGE TOWN: SSTMI-Thunderbolt showcased their credentials as strong contenders to retain the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League Division One crown by whipping MSSP-USM 7-0 at the USM Stadium here yesterday.

Their fourth win in as many matches gave them the maximum 12 points and they are within striking distance of current leaders Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) who beat Malacca High School 4-1 at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium yesterday. UniKL and second placed MBPJ both have 15 points.

Another big win by Thunderbolt when they take on MBI-Anderson in Ipoh today could see them leapfrog over the UniKL and MBPJ to the top of the standings.

Yesterday’s big win brought back the smiles to Thunderbolt coach Wan Mohd Roslan as he had to make do without two regulars – forward Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman and midfielder Mohd Amirol Aideed Mohd Arshad – who have been sidelined after a motorcylce accident.

“We may still be far from being at our best but I am happy with the result,” said Mohd Roslan.

“The seven goals we managed to score will not only serve as a good encouragement but will surely be useful in terms of a healthy goal difference.”

Yesterday, it was the Penang side who almost drew first blood in the 14th minute when MSSP-USM’s Mohammad Izzuan Halim failed to connect a Mohd Rahimi Iskandar cross into an empty goal.

The miss only served to wake up the slumbering Thunderbolt team as Muhamad Hafiz Seleman fired in two quick goals in the 16th and 23rd minutes.

The goals doused the early fire from MSSP-USM and the vistors took advantage to score another five goals in the second half, with an own goal in the 51st minute.

Their other goals came from Mohd Najmi Farizal (41st), Zizi Azwan Basri (45th), Mohd Sufi Rohulamin (56th) and Shahrusahadan Basri (61st).

Meanwhile, UniKL will have to keep up their winning ways if they harbour hopes of winning the league title. Yesterday’s match with Malacca High was UniKL’s penultimate tie in their league fixtures with their last game against Thunderbolt on Feb 7.

The Malacca side took the lead in the 30th minute when Mohamed Ashraf Zuhry scored from a penalty corner set piece move.

But a four-goal blitz in the second half ensure a convincing win for the KL team.

Mohamed Shafiq Zulzairin scored a brace in the 37th and 60th minutes while Norshafiq Sumantri and Mohamed Hafif Elkan added the other two goals in the 54th and 67th minutes respectively.

UniKl have 15 points from six matches while Malacca High School have five and still in a chance to make the cut for the knockout stage.

At the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Bukit Jalil Sports School finally secured a point after a 1-1 draw with MBI-Anderson.

MBI-Anderson took the lead in the 17th minute through Mohamed Norsyahmi Rasidi. But BJSS managed to secure the equaliser in the 28th minute through Mohamed Khairul Ikhwan.

With one more match to go against Malacca High on Sunday the BJSS team look set to miss the cut for the last eight for the first time. Their fate will depend very much on how SSTMI Juniors fare in their last two matches.

The Star of Malaysia



Poor response for this year’s Malaysia Hockey League

KUALA LUMPUR: Only 11 teams have signed up for this year’s Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) – compared to 13 last year – when entries closed yesterday.

There were six teams in the Premier Division and seven in Division One last year.

All six Premier Division teams are back in the fray this time. But the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have been saddled with a minor problem with Terengganu’s entrance.

Terengganu, having hired some of the best players in the country, will surely be way too strong for the other teams in Division One.

They have asked to play in the Premier Division and the MHC will only make a decision prior to the team managers’ meeting on March 3.

The six Premier League teams who are back for another season are KL Hockey Club, Tenaga Nasional, Maybank, Sapura, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Nur Insafi.

The teams who have signed up for Division One are UiTM, Uniten-KPT, Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and Thunderbolt.

Last year’s Division One champions Johor have not entered a team while Politeknik-KPT have declined to take part.

Armed Forces have verbally agreed to take part but have asked for more time to make a final decision.

MHC secretary general Johari Abdul Aziz said that teams could still register with them in the coming week.

“The competitions committee will also look at Terengganu’s request to play in the Premier Division and decide on the format of play for the new season,” he said.

Terengganu’s request is not without precedent. In 2011, Yayasan Negri Sembilan entered a team comprising 11 foreign players. The MHC put them in the Premier Division although they should have featured in Division One. The team did not take part the following year.

This season’s MHL is due to start on March 22, with the final slated for May.

Last year, KLHC won the double.

The Star of Malaysia



KLHC hit for a sixer



As the entries closed for the 2013 season of the Malaysian Hockey League, not only were there six entries for the Premier Division, but defending champions KL Hockey Club were also hit for a sixer as six of their more established players left for so-called greener pastures.

KLHC were the hardest hit in terms of players exodus with the emergence of a team from Terengganu, reportedly paying mega bucks to lure national players to migrate.

And so far KLHC team manager George Koshy has confirmed that six of his players - Mohd Shahrun Nabil,Mohd Ameerullah, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tg Jalil, ismail Abu , Fitri Saari  and skipper Azlan Misron have left his club.

"We have no choice but to look at securing foreign players. Though in the past we have refrained from hiring foreign players, the exodus has left me with little otions but to look beyond our shores as we need them to replace such high calibre players with the foreign players," said Koshy.

"But nothing confirmed at this juncture as we still have time to name the team and the next month will be used to re-think and look at the options that are open to us."

It is a big risk that Terengganu has taken by signing up top names for they have to wait for the MHC Competitions Committee to determine where they play in the coming season.

A precedent to parachute teams into the Premier Division was first done when UniKL were allowed into the top division and this was followed by the entry of Yayasan Negri Sembilan.

Besides the six, Terengganu have also signed up Jivan Mohan and keeper Mohd Khairul from Sapura.

The other teams from the Premier Division that have confirmed their entries are, Tenaga Nasional Berhad ( who have recruited Mohd Marhan Jalil and Mohd Ramadan), UniKL, Sapura, Maybank and Nur Infasi.

For Divsion One, last years champions and runner up of the President's Cup, Johor and Armed Forces failed to submit theie entries. The four teams in the division so far are SSTMI, BJSS, Uitm and Uniten.

The MHL is expected to commence on March 22 and conclude by May 12.

Unofficial MHL site



Special Olympians stun USA

T&T’s Special Olympics (SOTT) field hockey delegation, led by a hat-trick from Devan Mahadeo, recorded a famous 7-1 crushing victory over the USA in the most valiant of team efforts, when action continued in the 2013 Special Olympics International World Winter Games, South Korea, yesterday.

The team smarted from a disappointing 8-0 defeat at the hands of Hungary, to display a confident, all-rounded effort against the Americans. T&T too, started brightly against the Hungarians, but was unable to sustain the momentum.

Gaitrie Rampersad opened scoring for SOTT, before Mahadeo’s hat-trick, and Marlon Worrel, Michael Johnson and Rishi Ramsumair’s lone effort finished off the USA.

T&T will face Jamaica from 10 am (local time) this morning, while USA will challenge Hungary.

The Trinidad Guardian



Star-studded line up of players for Hockey 6s tournament

Australian legend Jamie Dwyer will headline talent in expanded international team contest



Australian legend Jamie Dwyer. Photo: Dickson Lee

Australian legend Jamie Dwyer will headline an expanded international team competition featuring 25 of the world's top players at the Hong Kong Football Club Hockey 6s next month.

For the first time in its history, the tournament will begin with a full 11-a-side exhibition match, the World Hockey Challenge Hong Kong, on March 28.

The World Hockey Challenge will feature stars from the four representative teams - Australia, Great Britain, the Netherlands and the Hong Kong Barbarians - competing in the international section of the Hockey 6s. The International Federation of Hockey (FIH) has backed the all-star format.

"We are very excited at the continued growth of the Hockey 6s," said Hockey 6s committee chairman Patrick Watts. "This year's tournament is breaking new ground in international hockey and the committee is delighted to continue Hong Kong's well-established tradition of introducing innovative and entertaining formats in international sport in the mould of the Hong Kong Rugby Sevens and Cricket Sixes."

FIH president Leandro Negre said: "It says a lot about the popularity of hockey that the tournament continues to grow each year."

Dwyer, co-captain of the Australian national team and 2004 Olympic gold medallist, will lead the Australia team. Dwyer also won bronze medals in Beijing in 2008 and London last year, and won gold with Australia at the Champions Trophy in 2012 in Melbourne and the World Cup in 2010. He is a five-time FIH World Player of the Year, most recently winning the award in 2011.

Barry Middleton will lead Great Britain, who finished fourth at the London Games, in a side that includes Rob Moore, Ben Hawes, Dan Fox and James Fair.

The Dutch team are stacked with present and former internationals including Quirijn Caspers and Michael Green, a former world player of the year.

The club competition will be contested, with 30 international and regional sides on March 29 and 30.

South China Morning Post



Hockey benefits from Inspired Facilities funding


Hannah Macleod helps announce Sport England's Inspired Facilities round three funding

The Hermitage Academy in County Durham, in conjunction with Durham Hockey Club, is among hundreds of sports groups celebrating legacy investments from Sport England to improve local sports facilities.

£16.6 million of National Lottery funding has been awarded to 310 projects, taking the number of local communities supported by Inspired Facilities to more than 1,000 – one year ahead of schedule. The investments will bring big improvements to local facilities from new playing surfaces to floodlights and better changing rooms – and at least £20 million more will be offered through two further funding rounds.

The fund is part of Sport England’s Places People Play Olympic and Paralympic legacy programme and all improved facilities carry the London 2012 Inspire mark – celebrating the link to the Games.

England and Great Britain hockey stars Helen Richardson and Hannah Macleod were on hand to present cheques to some of the lucky projects along with Minister for Sport and Tourism, Hugh Robertson, and Jennie Price, Chief Executive of Sport England.

The most recent round of funding is the third of five rounds, with hockey once again benefiting through the refurbishment of pitches and facilities across the country.

Hockey Facilities Fast Facts

 

  • The Inspired Facilities fund gives grants of up to 50k for clubs and 150k for local authorities/schools
  • Nearly half of hockey’s 1000 useable pitches will be in need of refurbishment in the next four-to-eight years and this fund has proved invaluable
  • Installation of MUGAs (multi-use games area) such as the one at Barnes where Helen and Hannah launched round three funding awards helps to ease congestion on full sized pitches, allowing more people to play locally
  • MUGAs are great for Rush Hockey, Back to Hockey and Young People activity
  • The Inspired Facilities Fund is one of the easiest funds to apply for with no red tape and a simple online application process
  • The Inspired Facilities Fund allows for things such as the installation of lights, upgrading of clubhouses, making sports facilities more environmentally friendly (new boilers, better showers, lower energy bills etc)

The announcement was made at Barnes Sports Club, which received £50,000 of funding to pay for a multi-use games area that can be used for hockey and netball. Currently hockey players from Barnes Sports Club have to travel four miles to train.

Sport England’s Chief Executive, Jennie Price, said: “We have had such a fantastic response from sports clubs to Inspired Facilities that we’ve reached our target of making 1,000 grants a year early. Demand remains strong so will offer a further £20 million of funding over the next 15 months.”

Hugh Robertson, the Minister for Sport and Tourism, said: “Six months on from the start of the London 2012 Games, we have extremely strong foundations in place for the sports legacy. The Places People Play programme goes from strength to strength and this £16.6 million investment will improve facilities at local sports club across the country, encouraging participation and giving people more opportunities to get involved in sport.”

Olympic bronze medallist, Helen Richardson, said: “Good local facilities are really important for grassroots sport so these lottery investments will have a big impact. It’s fantastic to see that lots of hockey clubs are benefitting too.”

Michael Harriman from Barnes Sports Club said: “The help from Sport England is greater than just the financial assistance offered. The Inspired Facilities programme provides clubs with guidance on planning permission, contractors, materials and construction. This knowledge, which is shared with clubs throughout the country, is an invaluable aid to the volunteers who run grassroots sport.”

Six months on from the start of the Olympics, today’s milestone is further evidence of the steps being taken to build on the momentum of 2012:

  • Last week Sport England launched a new £40 million fund to help local sports projects
  • Last month £493 million was committed to 46 sports over the next four years
  • 15.5 million people are now playing sport every week, more than ever before.

England Hockey Board Media release



Polytan/STI named FIH Preferred Pitch Supplier


A partnership for progress: Polytan/STI and the FIH (Photo: Grant Treeby)

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) and Polytan/STI (Sports Technology International) are pleased to announce Polytan/STI as FIH Preferred Pitch Supplier.

Polytan/STI are globally renowned as world class manufacturers, designers and builders of sports surfaces which are found from local sports centres to the most prestigious locations as surfaces of choice for elite sporting competitions such as World Cups, Olympic and Commonwealth Games. Polytan/STI's product range includes surfaces for sports as varied as hockey, tennis, rugby, athletics, football, golf and more.

The agreement which covers the period until 2016 is an extension of a partnership which began during the Men's Hockey World Cup in February 2010 for which Polytan/STI installed 3 surfaces at the Mayor Dhyan Chand National Stadium in Delhi which later that same year was also the venue for the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Polytan/STI’s premium brand Poligras has in fact been the surface of choice in many of hockey's recent top tier events, including Olympic and Commonwealth Games, Champions Trophy tournaments and World Cups, and received accolades during the Olympic Games in London last summer, when the innovative and iconic blue-coloured fields of the Riverbank Arena played a pivotal role in making this Olympic tournament one of the most successful and talked-about in hockey history.

FIH President Leandro Negre said, “We are very happy to extend what has been a highly successful partnership to this date, and look forward to cooperating even more extensively with Polytan/STI over the coming years. The blue pitch in London was an absolute highlight of the Olympic Games, and we are excited to see which new heights our partnership will take us to during the upcoming years."

Polytan/STI Managing Director Stephen Niven said, “We are extremely pleased to confirm this agreement between FIH and Polytan/Sports Technology International, building upon the relationship developed over the past 3 years. Polytan/STI has provided the surfaces for many of hockey's top level competitions in recent years, and we are looking forward to taking our involvement in hockey to the next level through close cooperation with the world governing body."

FIH site