News for 02 February 2013

All the news for Saturday 2 February 2013


In with a chance

Malaysia will have a relatively easier pool in the Asia Cup that will be held in Ipoh from the 24 August to 1 September.

In revealing the number of teams qualified to play in the Asia Cup, the Asian Hockey Confederation made it clear that the groupings will be based on the World Rankings issued by the International Hockey Federation.

The teams that are eligible to play in the Asia Cup are defending champions Korea, Asian Games gold medallists Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Japan, China and two teams promoted from the second tier, Bangladesh and Oman.

" The draw will be done at the end of March after we receive confirmation of participation from the teams," said AHF Secretary General Tan Sri P. Alagendra who chaired the 62nd Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur.

" The grouping will be determined by using the FIH rankings."

Going by that decsion and based on the rakings, Group A will comprise of Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan and Oman while Group B will see the likes of South Korea, India, China and Bangladesh.

The Asia Cup was initially slated to be played in Singapore but the AHF decided to award it to Malaysia after the island finished 6th in the second tier tournament thus being ranked 12th in Asia.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Delhi rattles Rhinos, into the semis

K. Arumugam


With clinical early goals, and goals in regular intervals subsequently, Delhi Waveriders have extended their invincible imprint again today at Ranchi.

With a 5-2 thumping win today in Ranchi, Delhi has majestically made it to the semifinals, as it has now collected 39 points, 10 ahead next placed team Ranchi Rhinos.

Sardar Singh's Delhi is the only team not to lose a match, as the Hockey India League has played out 22 matches in 16 action days.

Fit, meticulous and methodical, Delhi raided the Rhino citadel with a vengeance and each time they did so, created an impact on the match.

With otherwise Brindera Lakra and Amit Rohidoss subdued, even the likes of Ashley Jackson and Moritz Fuertz were not their usual stuff as they were till then.

Coach Bansal's Delhi always pinned their strategy on early goals, and it has so far proved to be the edge between them and the rest.

. More than anybody else Gurwinder proved so today against the fairly full Birsa Munda Hockey Stadium.

Gurwinder, Simon Child and Norris combined well in the front while Andreas Mir Bel was outstanding in the midfield. However, it was the difference between two goalies -- Jacobi of Delhi and Sushant / Cortes of Rhinos -- that told on the final outcome.

Gurwinder Chandi rattles the Ranchi citadel with a twin strike, both goals impeccable field effort, exceeding elegance over each other in the third and seventh minutes.

The Rhinos have not recovered from this shock in the rest of the match

First his forehand was misread by young Sushant Tirkey and then trapping a good pass from Akashdeep Singh he dived and hit the ball hard leaving again Tirkey in tatters.

When Amit Rohidas miscued a defense clearance, Simon Child bounced on it to whack a forehander to make the score 3-0, and then Rhino's coach replaced Sushant Tirkey but it did not make much difference.

After Mandeep Singh missed a sitter, Nick Wilson dived to his right to send the ball diagonally across the net to bring the score down to 3-1, but Rupinder Pal added one more through a penalty corner (4-1).

Ranchi converted only penalty corner they got through an indirect from Manpreet, but before that Gurbaj entered his name in the scoreboard, trapping a missed ball by Simon Child.

For his robust and impact making game, Gurbaj was later declared as Man of the Match.

This is third match between then two, earlier one won by today's winners and the other being a 2-2 draw.

Regarding the match, Delhi captain Sardar Singh said: "We don’t take any team lightly as each team has something special in them. Today, our strategy was to play defensive and take our chances, we got the result what we wanted.”

Ranchi Rhinos’ coach Gregg Clark said that they missed many chances in this match rued on missed chances.

“We got good opportunities all through, but we failed to utilise, which cost us the match.”

Stick2Hockey.com



Waveriders beat Rhinos 5-2 in Hockey India League

RANCHI: Table leaders Delhi Waveriders extended their invincible run in the Hockey India League as they trounced Ranchi Rhinos 5-2 at the Astroturf Hockey Stadium on Friday.

Delhi Waveriders have nearly sealed their place in the semifinals with 39 points, 10 more than second-placed Rhinos.

Rhinos defence, without their star defender Birendra Lakra, had an off day as Gurwinder Singh Chandi scored a brace, while Simon Child, Rupinder Pal Singh and Gurbaj Singh scored a goal each for Waveriders.

Ranchi Rhinos started the game with Sushant Tirkey in the goal instead of Cortes, and the move backfired terribly.

In the third minute, Gurwinder Singh Chandi got a good ball in the left flank, but miss-timed his strike. The ball came at a very slow pace and Tirkey who was trying to kick the ball out, missed it, giving visitors an early lead.

Four minutes later, another mistake by Tirkey and some superb skills by Waveriders' forwards, made it 2-0 for Bansal's team.

Simon Child collected a dreadful miss-hit from Rhinos' defender Amit Rohidas inside the circle, and with Tirkey charging too early, Child managed to hit the target forcing Rhinos to immediately replace Tirkey with Cortes.

Rhinos had their chances, when they earned penalty corners in the 11th and the 19th minute. But the hosts were unable to execute their plans on both occasions.

Waveriders delivered another blow to the hosts in the second quarter, with Chandi scoring one of the best goals of the tournament so far.

Just a minute after Rhinos had missed out scoring on their second penalty corner, Akashdeep gave a brilliant pass to Chandi who was charging in the left flank. Chandi made a fabulous diving connection and managed to generate good pace to beat Cortes.

Shocked by a three-goal deficit, Rhinos finally found their scoring touch in the 23rd minute. Nick Wilson got a good ball to the right of the goalpost, and even as he slipped, Wilson managed to beat Waveriders' goalie Jacobi with a reverse hit to open Rhinos' account.

Rupinder Pal Singh restored Waveriders' three-goal lead with a fierce drag-flick. Cortes managed to get a hand to the ball, but the pace on Rupinder's drag flick still managed to go in the goalpost.

Mandeep Singh twice collected poor balls from Waveriders' defenders after that, but failed to capitalise on both occasions.

Waveriders ended the game as a contest when Gurbaj scored their fifth goal in the 50th minute. Simon Child collected a loose ball close to the Rhinos' D, and although he was unable to take the shot, Gurbaj smacked it past Cortes to make it 5-1.

The home fans had something to cheer about in the final quarter, with Manpreet Singh scoring off a penalty corner.

Delhi Waveriders captain Sardar Singh said that they don't take any team lightly as each team has something different in their store.

"For this match, our strategy was to play defensive and materialize the chances whatever we get. And through this strategy, we got the result what we wanted," he said.

Ranchi Rhinos' coach Gregg Clark rued the missed chances in this match.

"We got good opportunities through-out the match but we failed to utilise those chances, which cost us the match," the South African stated at the post match press conference.

Delhi Waveriders will play against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Lucknow on February 3 while Ranchi Rhinos will face Jaypee Punjab Warriors on Saturday.

The Times of India



Delhi Waveriders beat Ranchi Rhinos 5-2

Delhi Waveriders nearly sealed their place in the semi-finals of the Hero Hockey India League with a crushing 5-2 win over second placed Ranchi Rhinos on Friday.

Rhinos defence, without their star defender Birendra Lakra, had an off day when Gurwinder Singh Chandi scored a brace, while Simon Child, Rupinder Pal Singh and Gurbaj Singh scored a goal each for Waveriders. Delhi Waveriders, still unbeaten in the league, now have 39 points, 10 more than Rhinos.

Ranchi Rhinos started the game with Sushant Tirkey in the goal instead of Cortes, and the move backfired terribly. In the third minute, Gurwinder Singh Chandi got a good ball in the left flank, but miss-timed his strike. The ball came at a very slow pace, and under no pressure, Tirkey, who was trying to kick the ball out, missed it, giving visitors an early lead.

Four minutes later, another mistake by Tirkey, doubles up with some superb skills by Waveriders’ forwards, made it 2-0 for Bansal's team.

Simon Child collected a dreadful miss-hit from Rhinos' defender Amit Rohidas inside the circle, and with Tirkey charging too early, Child managed to hit the target. Rhinos immediately replaced Tirkey with Cortes.

Rhinos had their chances, when they earned penalty corners in the 11th and the 19th minute. But the hosts were unable to execute the plan on both occasions.

Waveriders delivered another blow to the hosts in the second quarter, with Chandi scoring one of the best goals of the tournament so far.

Just a minute after Rhinos had missed out scoring on their second penalty corner, Akashdeep gave a brilliant pass to a charging Chandi in the left flank. Chandi made a fabulous diving connection and still managed to generate good pace to beat Cortes.

Shocked by a three-goal deficit, Rhinos finally found their scoring touch in the 23red minute. Nick Wilson got a good ball to the right of the goalpost, and even as he slipped, Wilson managed to beat Waveriders' goalie Jacobi with a reverse hit to open Rhinos’ account.

This was the 100th goal scored in the Hero Hockey India League 2013.

Rupinder Pal Singh restored Waveriders' three-goal lead with a fierce drag-flick. Cortes managed to get a hand to the ball, but the pace on Rupider's drag flick was so much that the ball still managed to go in the goalpost. Mandeep Singh twice collected poor balls from Waveriders’ defenders after that, but failed to capitalise on both occasions.

Waveriders ended the game as a contest when Gurbaj scored their fifth goal in the 50th minute. Simon Child collected a loose ball close to the Rhinos' D, and although he was unable to take the shot, Gurbaj smacked it past Cortes to make it 5-1. The home fans had something to cheer about in the final quarter, with Manpreet Singh scoring off a penalty corner.

Delhi Waveriders captain Sardar Singh said that they don't take any team lightly as each team has something different in their store, adding: "For this match, our strategy was to play defensive and materialise the chances whatever we get. And through this strategy, we got the result what we wanted."

Ranchi Rhinos' coach Gregg Clark said that they missed many chances in this match. "We got good opportunities through-out the match but we failed to utilise those chances, which cost us the match," the South African stated at the post match press conference.

Delhi Waveriders will play against Uttar Pradesh Wizards in Lucknow on 3 February and Ranchi Rhinos will face Jaypee Punjab Warriors on Saturday at same venue in Ranchi.

NDTV Sports



Charlesworth blames early goals for defeat against Punjab

By Sudheendra Tripathi


MUMBAI: For the eighth time in nine outings, Mumbai Magicians ended up on the losing side. Their only moment of joy came when they defeated Uttar Pradesh 4-0 at Churchgate's Mahindra Stadium on Wednesday.

While it was a clinical all-round performance on Wednesday, Mumbai looked completely out of sorts when they locked horns against Punjab - for the third time in the inaugural edition of the Hockey India League - at the same venue a few hours later on Thursday.

They conceded early goals and legendary coach Ric Charlesworth admitted later that those early goals were primarily the sole reason why they ended up on the losing side.

"Had we not conceded those soft goals early on in the match, the result could have been different," Charlesworth said. But he also insisted that one of the short corners which Sandeep Singh, tournament's highest goal scorer, executed could have been awarded into a stroke.

"Sandeep's powerful strike clearly smashed in to the hands of a Punjab defender. And as per rules, a penalty stroke should have been awarded. But the umpires felt otherwise," he whined.

Stroke or no stroke, Mumbai eventually went down 1-3 to Punjab for their third straight defeat against the Jamie Dwyer-led side.

The Times of India



Who can qualify for the Hockey India league semi-finals and how

Jaspreet Sahni



Punjab, UP and Mumbai are locked in a three-way battle to decide the last two semi-final spots.

The inaugural edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) is set to enter the home straight with only two of the five teams enjoying the liberty to chop, change and experiment in the last few matches having made it safely through to the semi-finals.

Delhi Waveriders and Ranchi Rhinos are enjoying the bird's eye view with 39 and 29 points, respectively, at the top of the leaderboard. But while these two have the liberty of resting their key players like Sardar Singh and Moritz Fuerste before the semis, the other three teams are in examination mode with their drawing boards and calculators out.

Punjab Warriors, Uttar Pradesh (UP) Wizards and Mumbai magicians are preparing themselves for last-ditch bravado, wizardry and magic that keeps them alive at the end of the league phase, which enters its last week on Saturday.

While Punjab and UP have had a stop-start tournament, Mumbai have failed to get off the blocks having just a solitary win under their belt. But there's still a lot of mathematics left on and off the field that can take two of these three teams through to the semis.

Punjab - 25 points from 9 games with a goal difference of 0

To play: Two home games (Ranchi and Delhi) and one away game (Ranchi)

Having recovered from the early jitters, Punjab have managed to repair their ship and look much more confident in their final bid to enter the semi-finals. With 8 points clear of fourth-placed UP and almost out of Mumbai's reach, Punjab need just a win or two draws to breathe without any trouble. The worrying part, though, is that those desired results need to come against tournament's two best teams - Delhi and Ranchi.

Punjab have two matches against Ranchi and one against Delhi left to play - two teams they haven't been able to get the better of so far. But of late, Jamie Dwyer's men have shown signs of getting their act together, including a four-match unbeaten run.

However, there is something that will keep the Jaypee-owned franchise on the edge. If Punjab don't win one or draw two out of their last three matches and UP beat Delhi twice but lose both matches to Mumbai who then go on to beat Ranchi as well, then Mumbai will go up to 28 points and UP to 27, throwing Punjab out of the competition with 25 points.

Also there could be a tie on points between Punjab and UP. If Punjab draw one and lose their other two matches, and UP win two and lose two, then both will be at 27 points bringing goal difference into play.

But what remains in Punjab's favour is the fact that UP and Mumbai play each other twice in the last week; whoever loses there is bound to benefit Punjab.

Uttar Pradesh - 17 points from 8 games with a goal difference of -6

To play: Two home games (Mumbai and Delhi) and two away (Mumbai and Delhi)

UP got their campaign off to a promising start, including holding favourites Delhi to a 1-1 draw and blanking Ranchi 2-0. But VR Raghunath and Co. have slipped big time towards the latter part of the league phase, struggling to reach the semis.

Mathematically, UP need to go past their opponents in any two of their last four matches. However, if those two wins were to come against Mumbai, it will ensure Sahara Group a safe passage into the semi-finals, without worrying about the results of their other two games.

But if UP win one and lose three of their last four games and Mumbai win two, then Dabur Group will leapfrog Sahara Pariwar into the semis by one point. Also if UP lose both the matches to Mumbai but defy the odds to beat Delhi twice, they will get to 27 points. In that case, UP will want either Ranchi to beat Mumbai in the final league match or Punjab to taste defeat in their remaining three matches.

But there could also be tie between UP and Punjab at 27 points if UP win two and lose two, and Punjab draw one and lose two of their remaining matches.

So UP's main focus will be to brush Mumbai aside and walk into the knockout stage, which will be to Punjab's liking as well.

Mumbai - 13 points from 9 games with a goal difference of -8

To play - Two home games (UP and Ranchi) and one away game (UP)

Consolation points (teams losing by a margin of 2 or less goals earn 1 point) have kept Mumbai in the hunt, but if Punjab manage to win one or draw two of their last three matches, then Mumbai will trade punches with UP (explained above) for the last spot as two of the remaining matches of both the teams are against each other.

However, with one less match in hand than UP, the Dabur-owned team could be left to rub its hands in the end. That also means Mumbai not only have to beat UP in both the matches, but also upset Ranchi to keep their hopes alive.

One advantage that lies with Mumbai is that they play the last match of the league phase (against Ranchi) and could be in a position to get their calculators out to know what's required to sneak into the last four. In short, Mumbai are the team who depend as much on the other results as what they do on the pitch.

IBNLive



Of Dhyan Chand's wizardry and Hitler!

NEW DELHI: The gold medal-winning Indian hockey team of the 1936 Berlin Olympics practiced on the deck of the ship during their 15-day-long voyage, losing hundreds of hockey balls in the sea.

This and several interesting incidents find mention in Mumbai-based author Laxmi Tendulkar Dhaul's "In the Shadow of Freedom", published by Zubaan.

In this account, Laxmi traces the turbulent time lives of her parents Ayi Tendulkar and Indumati Gunaji and her German stepmother Thea von Harbou, using a wealth of documents, letters, newspaper articles and photographs to piece together the inter-meshed histories of two women, the man they loved and their own growing friendship, and two countries battling with violence and non-violence, fascism and colonialism.

In the August of 1936, Berlin was the venue of the Olympics. The Indian hockey team led by the wizard Dhyan Chand was invited to a reception by Tendulkar and Thea.

During the reception, team member Joseph Phillips told his hosts that during the long bumpy sea journey that took almost 15 days on the ocean liner Aitheneaver, the enthusiastic team constantly practiced on the deck, losing hundreds of hockey balls in the sea.

The book mentions India's superlative performance in the matches as the team registered a 4-0 win against Hungary, 7-0 versus the US and 9-0 against Japan. In the semi-finals, the team blanked France 10-0.

In the final, Germany was pitted to be the favourites and Dhyan Chand was not on the starting line-up as he was running high fever. But Dhyan Chand decided to play and because of the wet ground, he took to the field without his spiked shoes. The Germans were outclassed and India won 8-1 with the unwell and barefooted Dhyan Chand alone scoring six goals.

Legend goes that Hitler was very much impressed by Dhyan Chand's performance and suggested that if he decided to stay in Germany, he would be given the rank of a colonel.

In the early 1930s Ayi Tendulkar, a young journalist from a small town in Maharashtra, travelled to Germany to study. Soon, he married Eva Schubring, his professor's daughter but the marriage was short-lived. Tendulkar earned fame in Berlin as a journalist and married filmmaker Thea von Harbou, divorced wife of Fritz Land.

Many years his senior, Thea became Tendulkar's support and mainstay in Germany, encouraging and supporting him in bringing other young Indian students to the country. Hitler's coming to power put an end to all that, and on Thea's advice, Tendulkar returned to India, where he became involved in Gandhi's non-cooperation movement, and where with Thea's consent he soon married Indumati Gunaji, a Gandhian activist.

In this unique account, Indumati and Tendulkar's daughter, Laxmi traces the turbulent time lives of her parents and Thea, against the backdrop of Nazi Germany and Gandhi's India, using a wealth of documents, letters, newspaper articles and photographs to piece together the inter meshed histories of two women, the man they loved, their own growing friendship, and two countries battling with violence and non-violence, fascism and colonialism.

The Times of India



Pakistan National U-21 Hockey

LAHORE - Higher Education Commission (HEC) scored the biggest margin victory of the 32nd Junior U-21 National Hockey Championship with 18-1 thrashing Balochistan at Faisalabad Hockey Stadium on Friday.

In the other matches, PIA routed Khyber Pakhtoonkhawa 11-0, Pakistan Customs outpaced Islamabad 8-1 and National Bank of Pakistan beat Punjab Colours 3-1.

HEC led the first half 6-1 against Balochistan. Adeel was leading scorer for HEC as he slammed five goals for his team while Babar smashed four, Hassan, Shaheryar and Nadeem two goals each and Sohail and Fareed had one goal each for the winners. Qazi Asfand scored only goal for Balochistan.

Today’s fixtures: HEC vs Wapda, SSGC vs Army and Customs vs PIA.

The Nation



Anderson shock

SSTMI EXCITING: Triumph makes title race a three-team affair

By JUGJET SINGH


ANDERSON  of Ipoh  created the biggest upset in Division One of the NSC-Milo-MHC Junior Hockey League when they beat double champions Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) 3-2 at the Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday.The unexpected defeat opened up the league title to three teams, as SSTMI must now beat Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) and UniKL to lay their hands on the trophy.

"It was a really unexpected result as we planned to have an easy match against Anderson ahead of our crucial matches with PJCC and UniKL, but it turned out to be a disastrous outing," said SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Wan Abdul Rahman.

It was a shocking defeat indeed for the coach, as it was SSTMI's first defeat to Anderson in the history of the JHL.

The trio that caused the upset were Johari Sani (52nd), N. Kaatigan (62nd) and S. Deveandren (64th).

Both the SSTMI goals were scored by Shahril Saabah (49th, 67th).

Wan Roslan also blamed the defeat on fatigue: "We played USM in Penang on Thursday (won 7-0) and reached Ipoh around midnight, and my players didn't recover for the Anderson match.

"Luckily, the competitions committee changed our next match (against PJCC today) venue from Taman Daya to Bukit Jalil."

In Division Two, Kelantan HA became the first team to qualify for the semi-finals from Group A when they thrashed Matri 7-0 for their seventh consecutive win.

RESULTS -- Division One: Anderson 3 SSTMI 2.

Division Two -- Group A: Matri 0 Kelantan 7, Perlis 3 Anderson Jnrs 3.

Group B: BJSS Juniors 1 Johor HA 1.

TODAY: Bukit Jalil SS v USM (Ministry of |Education, 5pm), Malacca High School v Petaling Jaya CC (Malacca, 5pm).

Division Two -- Group A: Kedah HA Juniors v 1Mas Penang (Alor Star, 5pm), Perlis v STAR Ipoh (Sungai Petani, 5pm).

Group B: Datuk Taha v Politeknik KPT (Seremban II, 5pm), Tunas Muda Pahang v Kuala Lumpur SS (Kuantan, 5pm).

New Straits Times



MBI-Anderson send double champs packing in Ipoh

By S. RAMAGURU


KUALA LUMPUR: MBI-Anderson caused a sensational upset when they sent double champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt reeling to a 3-2 defeat in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

Thunderbolt went into the match as red-hot favourites, having scored a whopping 23 goals en route to winning their previous four matches. They had marked their return to action after a three-week break by chalking up a thumping 7-0 win over lowly MSS Penang-USM on Thursday.

MBI-Anderson, however, began the match with just five points in the bag and were just looking at maintaining a top-six position so as to make the cut for the last eight.

After a quiet first-half, yesterday’s match exploded into life with five goals.

Mohd Shahril Saabah opened the scoring for Thunderbolt in the 49th minute but Mohd Johari Sani equalised with a field attempt three minutes later.

MBI-Anderson then went 2-1 up in the 62nd minute off a N. Kaatigan penalty corner goal before S. Deveandran added the third two minutes later.

Shahril got his and the team’s second goal in the 67th minute but MBI-Anderson held on for all three points.

Thunderbolt coach Wan Mohamed Roslan said it was difficult to explain the reason for their loss.

“We had numerous penalty corners and controlled the match. Yet we let in some soft goals. We even had the lead,” he lamented.

Roslan felt that the travelling they’ve had to do over the last two days could have taken its toll on the players.

“They were tired and their movements were affected. We are in a fix now ... we have to win both our remaining matches – against Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) on Sunday and Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) on Feb 7.

“It’s a must-win situation for us. We can’t afford to drop even one point if we are to retain the title.”

Three Thunderbolt players were shown the yellow card in the match. Azmi Deramaan, who was also yellow-carded in the match against MSS Penang on Thursday, will be suspended for the match against MBPJ as he has eight demerit points. The other two – Mohd Huzairy Zin and Amir Zulkarnian – can play in the next match.

The defeat has now changed the title equation, with the advantage clearly in favour of MBPJ and UniKL.

The Star of Malaysia



T&T loses 4-0 to Jamaica at Special Olympics field hockey

A rivalry was re-established yesterday, but in the end Jamaica emerged triumphant when they defeated T&T’s field hockey team 4-0 when action continued in the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Games, in Seoul, Korea.

While most of the outdoor activities were inevitably cancelled due to icy rain, the gymnasium saw a heated battle between the Caribbean counterparts, both of which recorded a win and a loss against the same opponents, the USA and Hungary, respectively, a day prior. The scoreline may not have given T&T the justice it deserved after holding Jamaica, which were favourite, throughout most of the encounter.

At the end of the match, the teams were able to share in the applause and posed for photos for the spectators who were drawn to the contest, which displayed speed, agility, and at times, physical play.

Two days prior, the sport of field hockey and by extension the winter games were left to mourn the death of one of its players, Gareth Cowin, an athlete from the Isle of Man, who died at hospital after falling ill. As a result, the 2013 Special Olympics World Winter Game has been dedicated to the memory of Gareth.

Special Olympics T&T has joined the rest of the Special Olympics movement in sending condolences to his family and the programme. Action in floor hockey will continue today.

The Trinidad Guardian



SA hockey women go hi-tech

By JONATHAN COOK


CAPE TOWN – It is no secret in top-level hockey that the fine line between winning or losing a match – and ultimately a tournament – is almost impossible to define, such is the cut-throat nature and competitiveness of the wold’s top 12 teams.

Rugby and cricket have had a high-tech approach to analysing performances for some time – and to some extent that has applied to hockey as well – but a revolutionary new hockey-specific software tool has been designed and developed by one of the finest players in the game’s history that is providing the South African women’s team’s coaching staff and players with the opportunity to take their exhaustive analysis to a new level.

And that new cutting edge was reflected in the world No 11 South African team’s performance in winning the World League round two event at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town last weekend, as well as in the stunning 4-0 defeat of world No 6 Australia in an unofficial Test on Tuesday that was played in preparation for next week’s prestigious Investec Challenge that also includes world No 1 and 2012 London Olympic Games gold medallists Holland, as well as world No 4 and Olympic bronze medallists England (playing as Great Britain).

The Dutch-based Alyson Annan, a legend in the game, is at the heart of that new cutting edge.

She played in three Olympic Games for Australia’s fabled Hockeyroos – Barcelona 1992, Atlanta 1996 and Sydney 2000 – and has two gold medals on her mantelpiece, while her 227 Test matches saw the lethal goalscorer find the back of the net 166 times.

A degree in economics gives a hint of an analytical mind – and that ability to assess statistics and the like, coupled with her remarkable hockey knowledge, saw Annan given the opportunity as a consultant to Ortec TSS five years ago to build a unique product for hockey – and by all accounts the long and challenging process it has been a most successful one. How did she hook up with South African head coach Giles Bonnet?

“Giles was looking for extra information on his players, team and the opposition,” says Annan.

“So last December we met with Giles and discussed the options and opportunities that Ortec provides in terms of data and statistics that measure the effectiveness of individual players as well as teams.”

And what advantage does Ortec offer to teams and players? How does it do this? Or by what means or method? “Ortec, with the use of software, code every action of each player, the location of the action and attach a grade to each action, so it is a very intensive process,” says Annan.

“After each match we provide an individual player and match report with extensive information about Giles’s team’s performance. We also provide a live performance graph during the game to the bench, which provides information to the staff on the bench about their team’s performance.”

This vital information can be most useful to the coaches sitting on the bench and high up in the stands in adding another dimension – and even confirmation – to the assessment they are making on their team, individual players and the opposition during the heat of the match. Taken to its extreme, it can arguably change tactics and win games.

Individual players or a line of players –defensive, midfield, or forward line – and the team can be provided with vital information that can turn a tournament on its head.

The South African team wrap up their preparation for next week’s Investec Challenge at Hartleyvale in Cape Town when they play England at 4pm at the same venue today, followed by Holland against Australia at 6pm.

Citizen



Meredith's Hard Working Green Machine

Easing gently into the New Year wasn't a luxury afforded to Ireland Men's Coach Andrew Meredith at the start of 2013 as his ‘Green Machine' commenced preparations for the upcoming World League 2 Tournament in New Delhi at the end of February where Ireland will face China, Fiji, Bangladesh & hosts India. Meredith's squad gathered in Dublin as early as 2nd-4th January 2013 to begin work on what will be a challenging tournament for the Green Machine coming quickly on the back of Ireland's Bronze Medal finish at the Champions Challenge 1 in Argentina in December 2012.

It was an ideal situation for Meredith to have the squad together again and put through their paces early in the year. It was also a good opportunity for the Coach to view additional players who hadn't been with the squad in Argentina and provided the coaching team with up close analysis of the talented players available for selection.  The camp in Dublin in early January was quickly followed up with a camp in Belfast from 25th -27th January 2013 and again provided the coaching team with necessary time both on and off the field in preparation for the elite competition of World League 2.

Away from the squad itself, an interesting feature of both camps in Dublin & Belfast was the opportunity for invited local Senior club coaches to sit down with Meredith, a 2-time Olympic Gold medal winner from his days as Assistant Coach with Germany, to discuss current trends in Hockey Coaching, the development of the Irish Team and the coach's own philosophy on the game. Meredith is a firm believer in knowledge sharing and sees every tournament that Ireland are involved in as an opportunity to capture information on the game and share this with the hockey community for the benefit of the long term development of the players and the game in general  in Ireland. It's a tradition that the new coach intends to keep and is already looking forward to sharing the World League 2 experience with coaches in the coming months.

A busy January was made even more difficult for Meredith when during the most recent training camp in Belfast, the Irish coach was forced to rush home to Germany where his wife had been admitted to Hospital in an emergency. Thankfully his wife is now out of Hospital and everyone associated with Irish Hockey wishes her a speedy recovery. For a coach of any level, it is never easy to have to leave your players unexpectantly, particularly given the detailed level of planning that goes into International Hockey training camps but there was good comfort for Meredith in knowing that the Squad were in the exceptionally good hands of his experienced backroom team for the last days of the camp in Belfast.

With the Men's squad now selected, Meredith's thoughts can now turn to a big month for Irish Hockey. The coach can confidently look forward to competing at World League 2 level safe in the knowledge that the Green Machine have worked extremely hard (technically, tactically & physically) in the month of January and are ready to once again show their worth on the world stage.

Everyone involved with Irish Hockey wishes the Green Machine the best of luck and we are all looking forward to seeing the fruits of the labour on the field in New Delhi. Who knows, all going well, Meredith's next coaches meeting could yet prove to be the hottest ticket in Irish Hockey.

Irish Hockey Association media release



FUNdamental Field Hockey Grows in Miami

Youth Development Manager, Liz Tchou, will introduce field hockey to physical education teachers in the Miami-Dade School District


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey launched 250 FUNdamental Field Hockey programs in 2012 and is now looking to further expose the sport of field hockey in Miami, Fla. Youth Development Manager, Liz Tchou and physical education consultant, Karen Marley met with Dr. Jayne Greenberg last October to discuss introducing the sport to several elementary school physical education programs. Greenberg, District Director for Miami-Dade County Schools, and Special Advisor on Youth Fitness to the President's Council for Fitness, Nutrition and Sport, has invited USA Field Hockey back to Miami to begin the process.

"Miami-Dade County Public Schools is honored to partner with USA Field Hockey to bring the sport to a community where field hockey is played on a very limited basis. In our multi-cultural community, this will give our students the opportunity to re-experience the sport played in their countries of family origin,” said Dr. Greenberg. Karen Marley and Liz Tchou will present at the district’s professional development day for teachers on Friday, February 1. The day long instruction will provide local physical education professionals with the tools to implement FUNdamental Field Hockey safely and efficiently within their classrooms.

“When introducing the sport in new areas, it’s important that we ‘teach the teachers’. We need to make sure that they can successfully implement FUNdamental Field Hockey and explain the game to their students,” said Tchou.

Several USA Field Hockey member clubs have also teamed up in the area to bring FUNdamental Field Hockey to the school district.

“Florida is an excellent place to look to introduce field hockey. There are clearly pockets of the sport in the state, likely from Central American and South American influence, and the world’s largest amateur field hockey tournament, National Hockey Festival, is being held less than two hours away in November. We are excited to explore opportunities to develop this region and introduce more playing opportunities for children in the area,” said Tchou.

FUNdamental Field Hockey is USA Field Hockey’s youth development initiative to expose the sport and inspire participation to thousands of children, ages 7-11, nationwide. The program provides free field hockey equipment and a full curriculum, from Harrow Sports, to schools and youth organizations looking to run field hockey programming. In 2012, Fundamental Field Hockey joined forces with Partnership for a Healthier America and the Let’s Move program to help keep kids active and combat childhood obesity.

For more information on FUNdamental Field Hockey, please visit usafieldhockey.com

USFHA media release



Viewpoint: Learning from the best

by Steve Jaspan


2013 came rushing through the door and already January has flashed by.  It’s all happened with plenty to talk about in the World of Sport and in the Special World of Hockey.

Let’s start with Lance Armstrong.  Having read his books, what he went through in recovering from testicular cancer and his achievements on the bicycle made me feel he was a great role model but now as the truth is revealed it turns out that he is just the opposite.

Thus far hockey has been relatively untouched by doping and scandal and all I can say is. “Long may it last”.  It is simply not fair play for athletes who abide by rules and good practice to be disadvantaged because others cheat. What sort of role models are these people for our young sportsmen?

Then we move to the Australian Open in Melbourne where the World’s finest tennis gladiators (except for the injured Rafa Nadal) produced wonderful tennis but sometimes in cauldrons of excessive heat.  I can’t help wondering what the Medical Committees of the ATP and WTA have to say about this.  I note that the presentation of the game and on court post match interviews have also been receiving increasing attention.

I watch other sports such as soccer, rugby and cricket and am amazed how many matches the top players are expected to play often with little recovery time.  In rugby the “laws” of the game (most other sports call them rules) are such that the physical “demolition” of an opponent in the tackle, scrum or ruck is very much part of the game.  This has resulted in many players sometimes having one or two very serious injuries per season.

Are our top hockey players “over worked, given the present hockey calendar, including the new Indian Hockey League? Do they have adequate medically approved recovery periods? Have we found the right balance including player “protection”?

I have marvelled at how soccer steadfastly refuses to use full technology.  Only goal line technology will be introduced after some shocking decisions in recent years including the 2012 World Cup where England’s legitimate goal was disallowed.

Recently, watching Barcelona versus Malaga in La Liga, the TV replays showed that the linesman (referee’s assistant) disallowed 2 goals by Pedro for offsides which were perfectly good goals.  So why doesn’t soccer use more technology or even change their offside rule?

All of the abovementioned cameos have direct or indirect parallels for hockey.  There is no doubt that there are areas in which we are leaders (e.g.  rules), areas in which it is  ‘a work in progress’ (e.g.  TV umpire referrals) and areas in which we have more work to do (e.g.  game presentation).

It’s always healthy to take a look in the mirror and we must find a balance between enhancing the attractions of our game (for players and spectators), the morals (drug free and fairplay) and the’ heart and soul’ (traditions, loyalties and friendships) of our game!

FIH site



A historic visit to Bangladesh

WL Round 2 nation rolls out the red carpet for FIH President




FIH president Leandro Negre received a hero’s welcome on his visit to Bangladesh this week. Negre’s arrival inducted a new edition in the history of Bangladesh sports as it was the first arrival of any FIH president in the country.

Negre spent a busy day at Dhaka after his arrival as he met the state minister for youth and sports Ahad Ali Sarker and the president of Bangladesh Olympic Association and also attended a dinner arranged in honour of the FIH president.

The officials of the Bangladesh Hockey Federation led by general secretary Khawaja Rahmatullah accorded a red carpet welcome to Leandro Negre after his arrival at the airport. Negre is scheduled to initiate hockey federation’s 40th anniversary program at the federation.

Abdus Sadeque, a Bangladesh hockey legend relished a unique reunion with Negre, when they met as part of the trip on Thursday.

Sadeque played against Negre in Spain in 1969 as a player for Pakistan and the meeting was recalled at the FIH congress in Kuala Lumpur where Negre was re-elected FIH president for a the second time.

Sadeque recalled the modesty of Negre when they first met after a long interval. “He remembered the occasion and we shared the good memory of playing against each other, we even went to his home where his father met us, I invited him to come to Bangladesh and he vowed to come at his convenience” said Sadeque who is also a vice president of the hockey federation.

Sadeque is one of dignitaries who will be receiving an award for his contribution in the country’s hockey in the Bangladesh Federation’s 40th anniversary celebration on Saturday. The former player hopes the work to uplift the standards as soon as possible. “I always said that that three T’s training, technique and tournaments are the important element of developing hockey, the current federation has tried hard to keep the hockey rolling and Bangladesh has won two international tournaments in AHF Cup and the first round of Hockey World League, I believe Bangladesh can reach higher if all the things goes well” said Sadeque.

Indeed, hockey in Bangladesh is on an upswing. The team was successful at the Hockey World League Round 1 tournament and earned a berth to Round 2, where they will  in New Delhi, India at the end of the month. Both events are historic firsts for the up-and-coming nation.

With files from the Dhaka Daily Sun

FIH site