News for 07 February 2013

All the news for Thursday 7 February 2013

Huge test for Investec SA Hockey Women against World's best

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town



Blood was spilt during the Investec Challenge match between SA and Australia in Cape Town Tuesday night and the local girls can expect to sweat blood against Olympic champs The Netherlands Thursday night. Photo: PLATE PICTURES

There will be thrills and spills aplenty when world number one and 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists The Netherlands tackle the host country in Thursday night's dream match of Investec Challenge day three at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town.

Tuesday night saw blood spilt and tempers frayed to the limit during SA's bruising 1-1 draw with Australia's golden Hockeyroos and the South Africans will have to sweat blood Thursday night if they are to contain the silky skills of the Oranje's Kitty van Male and much-decorated captain Maartje Paumen, to name just two of head coach Max Caldas's superstars.

Thursday's 8 pm start is sure to see the Oranje's superb individual skills matched by the quality and fighting spirit that has been so evident in the Investec South African women's hockey team during this prestigious event in the Mother City.

South Africa's world record holder Pietie Coetzee, now on 260 goals in 260 Test matches, will be challenged at penalty corner time by arguably the world's top goalkeeper in the Oranje's Joyce Sombroek, while SA stopper Sanani Mangisa - in the form of her life - will need to produce yet another superlative performance to prevent the imperious Paumen from adding a couple more to her tally following Tuesday's brace in the 4-1 win over England.

The Dutch are probably the most technically sound team on the planet, but the fast breaks and ball control of the South Africans have indicated that they are no slouches in the skills department themselves and this clash shapes up to be the round-robin match of the week ahead of Saturday's semi-finals and Sunday's medal matches.

Thursday's 6 pm clash will see Australia shaking off the bumps and bruises in a bid to beat the old enemy, England.

Tickets cost R20 for adults and R10 for scholars.

SA Hockey Association media release



Smith stripped of hockey captaincy ‘through email’


Austin Smith hold aloft the 2012 Olympic Qualifier Trophy at Kamigahara

Austin Smith says he was surprised to be stripped of his South African men's hockey team captaincy through email.

Hockey South Africa announced an interim coach - Charlie Pereira - and captain - Rhett Halkett - for the World League Round two tournament in Brazil from starting on February 27.

Smith was named in the squad, but for the first time since 2008 he was not the captain.

"I think it was more a case of miscommunication seeing that I told him (Pereira) that I could be reached via email while in India," said Smith in a statement on Wednesday.

"I didn't expect to receive that news in an email though."

Smith said he had since spoken to Pereira and had accepted his apology for what happened.

In the email Pereira disclosed the main reason Smith was dropped as captain was because he would miss the build-up in Rio de Janeiro and it was important that the squad have leadership from day one.

Smith would only arrive in time for the first match in Brazil because of his commitments to club side Den Bosch in Holland.

"When the dates for the training camp before the tournament was announced I already made the commitment to my club."

"I don't agree with all of the reasoning for the decision but it is something we will discuss in person during the tournament."

Smith, 27, made his international debut for South Africa in March 2004 and became captain of the team in 2008.

The New Age



Climax draws near in Hockey India League

Waveriders, Rhinos, Warriors & Wizards set for showdown in Ranchi



FIH President Leandro Negre greets the players of Uttar Pradesh Wizards ahead of their 1-0 win against Dabur Mumbai Magicians on Tuesday. (Photo: Hero Hockey India League)

There are just six matches remaining in the hugely successful first edition of the Hero Hockey India League, which has seen many of the world’s finest players gather in India to take part in a spectacular and unique event.

Although there are still two Round Robin matches left to play, much of the attention is now focussed on the Final Four tournament which takes place this coming weekend in Ranchi. Delhi Waveriders, Ranchi Rhinos, Jaypee Punjab Warriors and Uttar Pradesh Wizards have all booked their places in the Semi Finals, with perennial strugglers Dabur Mumbai Magicians falling by the wayside.

The final nail in the Magicians’ coffin was hammered home on Tuesday, with UP Wizards grabbing a 1-0 win against the team from Mumbai thanks to a penalty corner from former Australian international Luke Doerner. The result guaranteed a Semi Final berth for UP Wizards, and condemned Mumbai to the wooden spoon.

Although the Semi Final fixtures are not yet 100% confirmed, the form book and the format of the tournament allows for some educated speculation about the potential match-ups. First placed Delhi Waveriders look likely to be playing against Uttar Pradesh Wizards (4th), with second placed Ranchi Rhinos going head-to-head with Jaypee Punjab Warriors (3rd). However, should UP Wizards upset the odds and defeat Delhi during their Round Robin meeting this Thursday (7th February), they would move up to third in the table and set up a meeting with second placed Ranchi Rhinos. The Waveriders would then face a Semi Final meeting with Jaypee Punjab Warriors on Saturday.

Regardless of the potential meetings, the HIL Final Four tournament in Ranchi is certain to be an event to remember.  A capacity crowd of 5000 will enjoy Sunday’s tournament final which will have added sparkle thanks to the presence of Indian television presenter and model Mandira Bedi, who is the celebrity host. There will also be a grand presentation ceremony followed by a magnificent fireworks display, ensuring that the inaugural season of the HIL goes out with a bang.

Since our last report on the competition (30th January), a total of ten matches have taken place.  You can find video links to each of the matches below, although please be aware that these are not available to view in all territories. For more information about the Hero Hockey India League, please click here (External Link: HIL Official Website).

Hero Hockey India League - Remaining Fixtures

Thursday 7 February 2013

Match 29: Delhi Waveriders v Uttar Pradesh Wizards
Match 30: Mumbai Magicians v Ranchi Rhinos

Saturday 9 February 2013
Match 31: Semi-Final 1
Match 32: Semi-Final 2

Sunday 10 February 2013
Match 33: 3rd/4th Place Play-Off
Match 34: Final

FIH site



Last two league matches of HIL today

Last two league matches will be played today to wind up the month long process which held Indian hockey fans to witness some good hockey

Invincible Delhi Waveriders will take on high on confident UP Wizards in the Thursday's first match while Rhinos, who are second in the points table, will face off Mumbai Magicians, who may save some face with a win.

Record chasing Delhi Waveriders would come across an inspired Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their final league encounter on 7 February, the result of which will also decide the semi-final line-up of the inaugural Hero Hockey India League.

DELHI Vs UPW

The Waveriders have a golden opportunity to become the first team in the Hero HIL to reach the last four stage without losing a single match and given the form they are in, the record looks a definitely possibility for the league leaders in front of their home crowd at Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

However, the Wizards will definitely go all out to end the Waveriders unbeaten run and avoid the leaders in the semi-final.

The Wizards, who are one of the only two teams to have held the Waveriders to a draw in their 11 matches so far, are currently fourth in the standings with 27 points and a victory over the hosts on Thursday could catapult them to the third spot above the Jaypee Punjab Warriors, who completed their league commitments on 29 points with a loss against Waveriders.

That loss has thrown a lifeline to the Wizards and the visitors should play with a carefree approach, having already booked their semi-final berth with a victory over bottom placed Dabur Mumbai Magicians on Tuesday.

However, if the Wizards aim to achieve a first in the competition of beating the Waveriders, they will have to raise their game several notches up. The 1-0 victory over Magicians was hardly a confident showing for the Roelant Oltmans coached side and they can’t afford to waste any chances against the hosts.

It will also be interesting to see whether the Wizards have enough reverses in their tank to keep the pressure on the hosts for the entire 70 minute duration against a team that has made it a habit to punish their opponents by stepping up the pace of the match in the last quarter.

Delhi Waveriders coach AK Bansal said that he will try some junior players in the last league match. “We want to rest some players for the Semifinal clash and try some young players. We are not taking any pressure as we already are in the Semis and leading the points table,” he stated.

Uttar Prdesh Wizards skipper VR Raghunath said that their team will play for victory tomorrow. “It’s our last league match. After this, the semis will start. We had a great match yesterday and we are looking forward to strike a win tomorrow against Delhi Waveriders,” Raghunath added.

MUMBAI Vs RANCHI


Bottom placed Dabur Mumbai Magicians would have nothing but pride to defend when they take on second placed Ranchi Rhinos in their last league encounter of the Hero Hockey India League at the Mumbai Hockey Association Stadium here on Thursday.

The Magicians went into their last two league encounters in a must-win situation to keep alive their semi-finals hopes. But a 1-0 loss against fellow strugglers Uttar Pradesh Wizards on Tuesday was enough to condemn them to the fifth and final spot and thereby throw them out of semi-final reckoning.

The hosts, who have gathered 15 points from 11 outings, have managed to win only one match in the entire tournament so far and the team’s defensive frailties have meant that the Magicians could never launch a serious challenge in the competition.

undefined And at least getting the consolation of ending their campaign on a winning note is also not going to be easy for the hosts against the Rhinos, who are likely to rest their star players ahead of the semi-finals.

The Rhinos have already secured a second place in the league standing and would be facing either Jaypee Punjab Warriors or Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the semi-finals on their home turf and coach Gregg Clark would definitely want to give some of his fringe players a longer run in their last league encounter.

Dabur Mumbai Magicians skipper Sandeep Singh said that they will give their best at the last match of Hero HIL also. “Our team didn’t perform well through-out the League and we didn’t get the results we wanted. But we will try for a good result in the last match and will give our best,” he added.

Ranchi Rhinos coach Gregg Clark said that their team want to continue the winning momentum for Semi-Final match. “Our approach for tomorrow’s match will be the same as previous matches. We will play with same focus and passion against Dabur Mumbai Magicians. As our next match is Semi-Final, we want to take this momentum there,” stated Clark.

Stick2Hockey.com



Mumbai Magicians to play for pride


Players of Mumbai Magicians celebrate a goal against Uttar Pradesh Wizards during their previous HIL match in Mumbai. File photo: PTI

Bottom placed Dabur Mumbai Magicians would look to salvage some pride when they take on second placed Ranchi Rhinos in their last league encounter of the Hero Hockey India League at the Mumbai Hockey Association Stadium here on Thursday.

The Magicians went into their last two league encounters in a must-win situation to keep alive their semi-finals hopes.

But a 1-0 loss against fellow strugglers Uttar Pradesh Wizards yesterday was enough for them to go out of reckoning for a semi-final berth.

The Sandeep Singh-led side, who have gathered 15 points from 11 outings, have managed to win only one match in the entire tournament so far and the team’s defensive frailties have meant that the Magicians could never launch a serious challenge in the competition.

Even ending their campaign with a consolation win is also not going to be easy for the hosts against the Rhinos, who are likely to rest their star players ahead of the semi-finals.

The Rhinos have already secured a second place in the league standing and would be facing either Jaypee Punjab Warriors or Uttar Pradesh Wizards in the semi-finals on their home turf and coach Gregg Clark would definitely want to give some of his fringe players a longer run in their last league encounter.

Mumbai Magicians skipper Sandeep Singh said that they will give their best tomorrow.

“Our team did not perform well throughout the League and did not get the results we wanted. But we will try for a good result in the last match, we will give our best,” he said.

Ranchi Rhinos coach Gregg Clark said that their team would want to continue the winning momentum for semifinal match.

“Our approach for tomorrow’s match will be the same as previous matches. We will play with same focus and passion against Dabur Mumbai Magicians. As our next match is Semi-Final, we want to take this momentum there,” stated Clark.

The Hindu



Unbeaten Delhi Waveriders take on UP Wizards

NEW DELHI: Delhi Waveriders would look to carry their unbeaten run into the semifinals when they take on Uttar Pradesh Wizards in their final league encounter of the Hockey India League on Thursday.

If Waveriders can manage to beat UP, they will become the first team in the League to reach the last-four stage without losing a single match.

However, the Wizards will definitely go all out to end the Waveriders unbeaten run and avoid the leaders in the semifinal.

The Wizards, who are one of the two teams to have held the Waveriders to a draw in their 11 matches so far, are currently fourth in the standings with 27 points and a victory over the hosts would catapult them to the third spot above the Jaypee Punjab Warriors, who completed their league commitments on 29 points with a loss against Waveriders.

Wizards have to raise their game several notches up if they are become first team to beat the Waveriders.

The 1-0 victory over Magicians was hardly a confident showing for the Roelant Oltmans coached side and they can't afford to waste any chances against the hosts.

It will also be interesting to see whether the Wizards have enough reverses in their tank to keep the pressure on the hosts for the entire 70 minute duration against a team that has made it a habit to punish their opponents by stepping up the pace of the match in the last quarter.

Delhi Waveriders coach AK Bansal said that he will try some junior players in the last league match.

"We want to rest some players for the semi-final clash and try some young players. We are not taking any pressure as we already are in the semis and leading the points table," he stated.

Uttar Pradesh Wizards skipper VR Raghunath they would look to go into semis with a win against a formidable team.

"It's our last league match. After this, the semis will start. We had a great match yesterday and we are looking forward to strike a win on Thursday against Delhi Waveriders," Raghunath added.

The Times of India



Coach Oltmans feels UP needs to improve conversion rate

By Sudheendra Tripathi


MUMBAI: Uttar Pradesh needed a win, but Mumbai Magicians need the win desperately. But as it turned out, Uttar Pradesh sailed into the last four by the virtue of their solitary-goal win against the hosts at Churchgate's Mahindra Stadium on Tuesday night.

Luke Doerner gave UP the lead after slotting home with a beautiful short corner variation two minutes before half time. But UP could have doubled their lead after the change of ends when they were awarded a stroke. But UP's German recruit, Jerone Hertzberger, who was nominated to do the honours, found the upright instead.

Hertzberger was not the culprit alone for UP on the night. According to coach Roelant Oltmans, the entire forward line let the team down when it came to converting half chances into goals.

"We had many chances but we missed them, and that is where we have to improve. We didn't give away much and our defence was strong, that was the best part. I'm happy to be in the semis and looking forward to play tough with our competitors," Oltmans said at the in a post-match interaction on Tuesday night.

On the other hand, Mumbai Magicians coach Ric Charlesworth expressed his disappointment.

"I am really disappointed. We got a good start and we were pretty much in control but we did not finish well. That's the game of hockey I guess," he said.

The Times of India



Indian players need to improve tactical skills: Jacobi, Deecke

NEW DELHI: German striker Oskar Deecke and goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi, both members of the London Olympics gold medal-winning team, feel that the India have individually brilliant players but need to improve their tactical skills as a team.

"Indian team is full of individual skilled players. But they lack tactical skills as a group. Some of the Indian guys are brilliant but need to be tactically strong," said Jacobi.

His team-mate Deecke said the Indian players need to understand that they were not playing as individuals but as a team.

"They have to move as 11 players not as individuals. Some of the Indian guys who have experienced the game at the highest level are better than the international guys. We as Germans play man-to-man marking while the Indians are good at dribbling, good at sticks. We can learn these skills from the Indian players during the Hockey India League," said Deecke.

Both the players, along with Indian full-back Rupinder Pal Singh, today paid a visit to the German Embassy to meet the German ambassador to India Michael Steiner. The visit was a part of promoting the sporting ties between the two countries.

The three players are in Delhi Waveriders team in the inaugural Hero Hockey India League. Delhi's captain Sardar Singh was also expected to be part of the visit to the Embassy but could not make it due to prior engagements.

Asked what steps need to be taken to revive Indian hockey, Jacobi said, "There should be a proper youth scouting system to identify the talent at an early age. In Germany, we have a proper system in place which starts right from the school level.

"India have discontinued their youth development system which was there earlier. The players did not get tactical education when it's required the most. You need to grow up with it. When an Indian player reaches 18, he has fantastic individual skills but lacks tactical skills. We, in Germany, scout for the talent early. We don't let go talent," he added.

Deecke also reasoned out the change of turf (introduction of artificial turfs) as another reason for the downfall of the Indian hockey.

"It's pretty easy to explain that. Change of turf is the only case with them," he said.

Talking about Delhi Waveriders' chances in the semifinal of the Hockey India League, Deecke said Ranchi Rhinos are the team to watch out for.

"Rhinos are a very good team. They have got 3-4 good international players. They are the team to watch out for. In the play-offs, anything can happen as you have to start afresh," he said.

Jacobi said the HIL will take some time to grow in terms of standard.

"Before the start of the league, I did not have much expectations from it but once it started, the journey so far has been pretty amazing. I have seen such euphoria before. There is a good mix of international players and it has been a great learning experience.

"The league also provides good opportunity to the Germans to earn some money. It has been an enriching experience," he added.

Deecke said they visited the Golden Temple in Amritsar yesterday ahead of their semifinal clash.

"We went to the temple and it was an amazing experience for us. We prayed for the team."

The Times of India



Floris Evers: Ranchi is my second home now

s2h team




Ranchi Rhinos are all set to play the semifinal come Saturday. Coached by the Proteas Gregg Clark, Rhinos can boast of having more than a couple of national captains on duty. One among them is the Dutch skipper Floris Evers, who wants to be called ‘Mr. Flower’ or just ‘Flower’ to his team-mates. Stick2hockey team had an exclusive chat with the 3-time Champions Trophy winner.

Excerpts:

S2h: You are the Dutch captain, playing in Ranchi with plenty of junior Indian players. How’s the feeling being in India?
Floris
: I love India. I spent a few days in Goa some time back, but now I am with the Ranchi team. From the first day with the team, I am feeling at home. We all international players are joking to each other that Ranchi is our second home now. We are really feeling very good being a part of this team.

S2H: Your team beat Punjab Warriors in their own home in the first match, and then went on win many matches. How’s the preparation now?
Floris:
We are very keenly looking forward to the semis, because winning matches are really important. There is an unwritten rule that you have to win the first match to boost yourself. We have done that long back. Now we are playing in our home-ground for the semis. We are all set to do well, and have a good party tonight.

S2H: Ranchi is the team of captains. Besides you, there is German captain, South African captain, and then there are junior Indian players. Don’t you feel the huge gap in experience?
Floris:
No no, I look at the things very positively. Of course we have many foreign players, who are very experienced. We all can, very honestly, help the Indian youngsters to learn more and groom. We also learn a lot of things from them. Indians are really good with their stick-work; they are excellent dribblers of the ball. So during the practice sessions, we also learn such tricks from them. So knowledge is passed the both ways.

S2H: Hockey India League promises great money for all the players. Apart from the financial point of view, how, according to you, HIL will help Indian hockey?
Floris:
No, for it’s not about the money. We Dutch players had already talked that we would go to play in HIL even for the lesser money. Because more than the money, the whole experience of playing in India, rubbing shoulders with the Indian youngsters, playing in front of highly-enthusiastic Indian fans gives you a life-long experience. People in this city, Ranchi really love hockey, we saw them dancing on stands during practice matches, and it’s a treat to watch. HIL will not only help this game to be popular in India, but abroad as well. It’s being watched in The Netherlands as well. And as I said, not only the Indian players will learn from us, but we also will learn so many things playing with this talented bunch of youngsters.

Stick2Hockey.com



Shrikant: The lone bird will too fly off shortly.

Shashank Gupta


Change is name of the game in Indian hockey. Players got dropped at a drop of a hat, new ones comes all the time, come-backs are not uncommon, captaincy mantle passed on routinely, heads rolled at all levels – coaches, doctor, masseur, manager, and in fact, amusingly, Governing Federation too – yet one name stands starking exception to this. He has been there for almost six years unbelievably. He is Shrikant Iyengar -- the physiotherapist with the Indian national hockey team.

It’s no fluke; there is a reason behind it.

Michaeal Nobbs endorses, “Shrikant is a superb physio! His knowledge and ability to connect with the players is terrific. Ric wouldn’t have taken him on the Mumbai Magicians team, otherwise!”

Shrikant’s beginning was a modest one. A Bachelors in Physiotherapy from KIMS, Bangalore, followed by a training in HOSMAT Bangalore in ‘06, Shrikant spent quite a few months figuring out which sport he wanted to be associated to.

“I worked as a physio for the Indian Oil team in ’06 for the Karnataka Super Division League, coached by Joaquim Carvalho. I had a great time working with players like Viren Rasquinha, Devesh Chauhan. I realized then that these players are real heroes. The stint gave me a strong feeling that this is one sport I want to give all my time and efficiency too,” tells a 32-year old Shrikant, hailing from Raipur.

Opportunity always knocks at the doors of the ones who want to prove their worth to the World. Shrikant moved to Chennai, did a freelance work for free for the Tamil Nadu state team and was noticed well for his work during the Murugappa Cup in the late ’06. This followed an association with the Chennai Veerans in the Premier Hockey League, in early ’07.

shortly, opportunity came knocking the doors of Shrikant. When Carvalho became the national coach, the physio slot was vacant. Coach knew of Shrikant’s talent from a year before when he worked for Karnataka Super Division League.

In comes Shrikant and rest is history.

And what’s so unique about Shrikant that makes him a solid contributor to the team?

“Previously, players used to be scared of talking about their injuries for fear of getting dropped, and never to be picked up again. Now this has changed. On injured, they are not thrown out of the system. Thanks to SAI and HI, we see them through their injuries and rehabilitate. There was lack of information about how to handle the injuries. The idea is to detect the injury at the first stage itself. SV Sunil is a fine example of that. He went through a rarest of rare surgeries and is back in the team, much stronger than ever,” talks Shrikant with conviction.

“Of course it is team work. The doctor, the trainer of the team has a huge role to play. I just feel I am lucky to be here,” says a humble Shrikant.

Well, it’s not so simple to be a physio of a team. As you would observe, being a physio, you need to be very good at your soft skills – communication, relationship, empathy, etc.

“Many players are shy, and they don’t open up so soon. You have to deal with a Punjabi/Oriya fellow with a touch of comfort. At times, you need to speak their language to get a smile from them. The players from Bangalore/Mumbai are extroverts. One has to interact with them differently. And you need to have them open up soon because they need to be educated in terms of injuries, precautions and food-intake,” he shares on how to connect to players.

Short tours, busy schedules, little personal time, plus being a friend, family person, helper to many needy players, can be taxing. It can surely get lonely at times, and being witness to change of players/officials is emotionally draining too.

“One does miss a few players and officials at times. Harendra Singh, Dilip Tirkey, Pradeep Dutta, Bharat Chetri, Baljit Singh, David John are few people whom I fondly remember. Winning together makes you emotionally connected. But then the bottomline is the fact that I represent the country, that keeps me motivated at my work,” says a pensive Shrikant, who idolizes his mother, Mrs. Vijaylakshmi Iyengar. The pride on her face makes his cross all the hurdles.

Having worked with AK Bansal, Joaquim Carvalho, Harendra Singh, Jose Brasa and now Michael Nobbs, Shrikant rates two of his experiences as life changing ones – Baljit’s injury and India’s ouster at the Chile Olympics Qualifier.

“Baljit’s (Singh) injury is something that should not have happened. It shook me. I have never experienced something horrendous of that sort,” tells Shrikant, who turned 31 on 6th of last month.

(The writer prefers not to share the gory and very personal details of what transpired during this unfortunate incident)

“We became traitors to the country after we failed at the Chile Qualifier, ‘08. It changed something in me. It made me mature, better at handling pressure. I promised myself that I wouldn’t call it quits until I see the country competing at Olympics Hockey again.”

So what keeps him going? “Walking off is the easiest thing to do. Even if I can bring about the smallest change, I am here for that,” answers Shrikant.

But sadly, as all good things to a come an end, so will this, or let’s say only for now. Hockey India League, with all possibility, will be the final tournament after which Shrikant takes a break in his association with Indian Hockey. Hereafter, he goes on to pursue his Masters in Australia. We wish him while fondly remembering his passion for hockey sport.

Stick2Hockey.com



Mumbai Hockey Assn may lose C'gate ground

MUMBAI: The government is likely to evict the Mumbai Hockey Association (MHA) from its 2.19 lakh sq feet ground at Churchgate.

On Wednesday, the city collector's office said it had upheld the state sports department's contention that the MHA had violated the terms and conditions of its lease. Last October, the government had directed the collector-the competent authority in the matter-to conduct an inquiry.

The decision to cancel the lease was taken last July at a meeting called by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar. The ground has been mired in controversy since 2003, when its 35-year lease expired. Citizens and players complained that lease conditions were being violated. It was found that the MHA had refused to grant membership to Olympians, Arjuna and Shiv Chhatrapati awardees, and various hockey clubs. The government found its sanction was not being sought for repairs to buildings and its queries not answered.

There were also allegations that the ground was being used for commercial purposes such as weddings. So, when the MHA sought lease renewal in 2004, the government decided not to grant it.The MHA, earlier known as the Bombay Hockey Association, raised the matter before the competent authority, which ruled in the government's favour. The MHA challenged this before the sessions court, but lost. In 2008, it took the case to the high court. It withdrew the case in 2009, at the same time appealing to the government again for lease renewal, but filed a fresh plea due to internal differences. This was dismissed by the court in 2010. The then chief minister allowed a new lease to be signed for 15 years with retrospective effect from 2004, but the MHA did not sign the agreement as it wanted the lease period to be 32 years.

In its Wednesday ruling, the collector's office said the "wedding" allegation could not be proved as the sports department did not allow it a cross-examination. The MHA said it never held any functions on the ground. "The parking lot was let out for weddings, that too on specific days," it said.

The MHA will challenge the government in court.

The Times of India



Battle royale for Division One title

THE NSC-Milo-MHC Junior Hockey League Division One title could go to one of three teams when UniKL Young Guns and Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) play for keeps at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today, with Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) waiting in the wings.

UniKL and SSTMI are tied on 15 points, while PJCC are sitting pretty on 18. However, UniKL and SSTMI have a better goal difference than PJCC which means if either team win today, the title is theirs.

But if the match ends in a draw, then PJCC will be crowned champions.

"This is a winner-take-all situation and my players are primed to give their best. A win is what we are looking for after being silver medallists in both the league and overall to SSTMI last season," said UniKL coach Faiz Isa.

And the title aspirants received a surprise visit from their chairman, Datuk Dr Adham Baba and newly appointed president/CEO, Prof Dr Mazliham Mohd Su'ud ahead of the big battle.

The only blemish in UniKL's run in the league was a 2-1 defeat to PJCC, while SSTMI's blot was a surprise defeat to Anderson of Ipoh 3-2.

SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman said: "Both the teams are title contenders so it will be a difficult match and could be separated by the number of mistakes each side makes. However, after the shock defeat to Anderson, I believe my players have gotten out of their comfort zone and are now more dangerous than when the league started."

But if the 70 minutes do not provide a winner, PJCC will win their first League title since the inception of the JHL in 1995.

Results -- Division One: MBI-Anderson 1 SSTMI Jrs 3, MSS Penang-USM 1 Malacca High 1.

Division Two, Group A: Anderson Juniors 7 Matri Perlis 0, MSS Perlis 4 Seratas 2

Group B: MSD Kuala Langat v Politeknik-KPT (Kuala Langat failed to show up), SMK Datuk Taha 10 SMK Padang Midin 0, MSS Johor 1 Olak-PKT 6.

Today -- Division One: MSSP-USM v SSTMI JRS (USM Hockey Stadium, Penang, 5pm), UNIKL vs SSTMI-Thunderbolt (National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil, 5pm).

Division Two, Group A: Star v Matri Perlis (Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh, 5pm), Seratas v Nur Insafi (Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, Ipoh, 7pm).

Group B: KLSS v SMK Padang Midin (National Hockey Stadium, Bukit Jalil, 5pm), SMK Tunku Besar v Tunas Pahang (Tampin Hockey Stadium, 5pm), BJSS JRS vs Politeknik-KPT (Education Ministry Turf, 5pm).

New Straits Times



Fierce battle between two great pals today

By AftAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) skipper Mohd Syafiq Zulzairin and Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt top scorer Mohd Shahril Saabah are best of buddies off the field.

But once they are on the pitch, they become the fiercest of rivals.

UniKL will square off against double champions Thunderbolt in the last match of the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today knowing that the winner is likely to walk away with the Division One crown.

If they draw, then Petaling Jaya City Council, who have 18 points, will be crowned the new champions.

Last year, UniKL drew 1-1 with Thunderbolt in the final league match and lost the league title to the sports school on goal difference.

They also finished runners-up in the fight for the overall title when they lost 2-1 to Thunderbolt in the final.

Forward Syafiq and Shahril have been the best of pals since they were 10 years old.

“We both lived and played hockey together when he was studying in a primary school near mine in Sentul,” said Syafiq.

“He is my best buddy and we also represented Malaysia together in the Under-18 Junior Asia Cup in Singapore in 2011.”

Syafiq, however, said that he’s prepared to put aside their friendship when it comes to the MJHL.

“I won’t treat Shahril as a good friend in tomorrow’s match ... but as my enemy. We’ve been waiting for the entire season to exact revenge on Thunderbolt,” said Syafiq, who was named the best player in the MJHL last year.

Syafiq, who has scored seven goals so far, expects a tense match “as both teams will be going all out to get an outright win and lift the league title”. Last year, a fight almost broke out when a Thunderbolt player hit his team-mate during a league match in Johor Baru. Quick action by both team managers managed to diffuse the situation.

“It’ll definitely be robust match as both teams want to win,” said Syafiq who, like Shahril, will be featuring in the Under-19 league for the last time.

Second-placed Thunderbolt and third-placed UniKL are tied on 15 points from six matches – three fewer than MBPJ, who have completed their fixtures.

Meanwhile Shahril, the top scorer in the MJHL last year with 18 goals, said that he was happy and proud when Syafiq was named the best player in the league last season.

“He is my best friend ... we know each other’s game well. But tomorrow we will put aside our friendship as our team seek to retain the title,” said Shahril, who is in the Project 2013 squad.

“I’m not too happy with my goal count this season. I’ve only scored six goals in six matches. I need to be sharper in the semi-circle if I am to help my team win keep title.’

For the record, UniKL, who made their debut in 2010, won the league title in 2011 while Thunderbolt have won it twice – in 2010 and last year.

The Star of Malaysia



SSTMI Juniors book last eight spot with easy win

KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Juniors checked into the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League quarter-finals with a routine 3-1 win over alread-qualified MBI-Anderson in a Division One match at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

The sports school have seven points and will wrap up their fixtures against winless MSS Penang-USM in Penang today.

But the biggest surprise was the failure of former five-time double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) to earn a place in the quarter-finals after finishing seventh with just four points from seven matches.

Meanwhile, debutants MSD Kuala Langat have again failed to turn up for their Division Two Group B match.

On Monday, they didn’t show up for the match against KL Sports School. Yesterday, they did the same against Politeknik KPT.

The Star of Malaysia



Kuala Langat shown exit

Although the Malaysian Hockey Confederation Competition Committee met last night, they have yet to issue an official statement on the fate of Majlis Daerah Kuala Langat who failed to turn up for two ,at he's, on Monday and Wednesday.

But it is learnt that MD Kuala Langat have been thrown out of the MJHL and referred to the MHC Disciplinary Board. The tables have been amended accordingly on this unofficial website.

Unofficial MJHL site



Wapda to take on NBP in Pakistan U-21 Hockey final

LAHORE – Wapda and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) scored identical 2-1 victories against their respective rivals Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) and PIA to set a clash in the final of National U-21 Hockey Championship at Faisalabad hockey stadium on Wednesday.

Wapda beat SSGC in extra time after both teams were locked 1-1 after full time’s play. SSGC were leading at the half time 1-0 thrugh a goal by Sohail. Waseem Abbas struck for Wapda in second half to even the match. In extra time, M Suleman struck the golden goal for Wapday in 80th minute to seal the fate of the match.

In a match marred by ugly incident of misconduct, NBP and PIA were locked in a 1-1 draw at half time and failed to score further till the final whistle.

NBP struck better performance in the extra time and M Dilber scored the match winning goal. Dilber was key scorer of NBP who netted two goals while Ammad Butt scored only goal for PIA.

After the match, tournament director M Farooq announced the disciplinary action against the players, PIA hockey team and managers/coaches of both the teams. Players Ammad Shakeel Butt and Afsar Yaqoob were banned for one month and M Sultan Amir for sixth months. Managers of both the teams Qamar Ibrahim (PIA) and M Arshad (NBP) have been warned to be careful in their future conduct whereas coaches of both the teams M Akhlaq (NBP) and M Irfan Mehmood (PIA) have been banned for the next five matches. 

The final will be played between NBP and Wapda

The Nation



Dar Academy boys in various colours at the National Juniors

By Ijaz Chaudhry


Whatever the tier, Dar Hockey Academy’s boys can’t be out of the picture. Rather they would be shining. Be it the school tournament, the local club championships, the age group competitions at provincial, national or international level or the national senior championships. And last year, two of them earned the highest honours, donning the Pakistan senior shirt.

Hence, it was no surprise to see as many as fifteen academy lads appearing for five different teams at the on-going Pakistan’s 32nd National Junior Championships at Faisalabad.

Dar hockey academy established in late 2006 in Lahore is being run without any help from the government or the PHF. Easily the finest hockey academy in the country, it is now regarded as a role model for all the sports. Starting with just seven boys, the Dar HA progressed into a reservoir of talent benefitting domestic and national outfits at all the levels.

The talent scouts of the academy spot players even from far flung areas like D.G.Khan and Peer Mahal. These lads are given accommodation, food and education in Lahore, all at the academy’s expense.

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

2008: won the Maharaja Ranjit Singh tournament in India
2010: toured Holland, Belgium and Germany- remaining unbeaten
2011: toured Holland and Germany-winning all the matches
2012: toured Holland, Belgium and Germany- this time played almost all the matches against the first teams of the top flight clubs, losing just one out of the 15 matches

The lads playing in the current national juniors include some appearing at this level for the first time, a few having attended the national junior camp, others already with the Pakistan junior colour (a couple of whom have attended the national senior camp) and one Khalid Bhatti played for the national senior team last year.

Teams with the Dar HA Players:
Customs: Abid Bhatti, Aamir Ali, Aamir Yaqoob, Awais, Waseem Akram
Wapda: Khalid Bhatti, Ssaleem Nazim, Aleem Bilal 
Punjab: Ahad
National Bank of Pakistan: Brothers Fasial Qader and Arslan Qader
Higher Education Commission: Sohail, Sikandar, Asad Aziz, Ubaid Sunny

www.darhockeyacademy.com

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



TriFinance EuroHockey Championships

Tickets go on sale for Europe's biggest event of the year




The European Hockey Federation and Royal Belgian Hockey Association are delighted to announce that tickets for the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships are now on sale. The sale of tickets started at 9am CET (Central European Time)  on the morning of the 6th February 2013.

The price of tickets range from 10 to 55 euro during the ‘Early Bird’ period and are for sale through the official tournament website: www.eurohockey2013.be. The Early bird period will run up until 27th March 2013.

The VIP arrangements for individuals and companies are also available from now on.

For more information –  visit the following websites.

www.eurohockey.org

www.eurohockey2013.be

FIH site



Bowdon prepare for Canterbury clash


Sally Walton  of Bowdon

AFTER narrowly losing out in the semi finals of the Maxifuel Super Sixes Championships last month, Bowdon Hightown return to outdoor action with a tough clash against leaders Canterbury in the Investec Women’s Premier Division on Saturday.

They conceded two goals in the final 30 seconds at Kettering and their final hopes were dashed, but they are determined to put that behind them with victory at Canterbury – which could see them climb into a play-off spot.

“Coming off the back of the indoor semi finals where we were disappointed to lose, we’ve got to pick ourselves up and go all out for a play-off spot,” said Bowdon Hightown manager Dieter Hill.

“The next couple of weeks are key for us, as we have a rearranged match against Surbiton soon as well. Apart from Sophie Crossley (ankle) we are at full strength, so we’re looking forward to a tough clash with Canterbury – as they always are.”

In other matches in the Investec Women’s Premier Division, Leicester will be aiming to overtake Canterbury with a win at home to Olton and West Warwickshire, while Reading and Surbiton, third and fourth respectively, do battle at Sonning Lane.

Meanwhile, Clifton host Slough and Sutton Coldfield entertain University of Birmingham.

The top two clubs in the Investec Conference North, Beeston and University of Durham do battle on Saturday.

Level on 30 points each, the match could prove crucial to the promotion hopes of both sides and begins at noon.

Second bottom of the Investec Conference West, Staines will need to be on top form if they are to stop unbeaten leaders Buckingham notching up a 12th straight league victory on Saturday.

And in the Investec Conference East, top of the table Sevenoaks play host to Oxford Hawks while second-placed Harleston Magpies entertain Bromley and Beckenham in a bid to catch Sevenoaks.

Tickets for the end of season playoffs on 20-21 April are on sale now. Find out more and book via www.englandhockey.co.uk/leaguefinals

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, February 9 2013)

Investec Premier Division

Clifton v Slough 11:30
Canterbury v Bowdon Hightown 11:45
Leicester v Olton & West Warwicks 12:30
Reading v Surbiton 13:30
Sutton Coldfield v Univ of Birmingham 14:00

Investec Conference East
Sevenoaks v Oxford Hawks 12:00
Harleston Magpies v Bromley & Beckenham 12:30
Old Loughtonians v Ipswich 13:00
Horsham v St Albans 13:30
Chelmsford v Wimbledon 14:00

Investec Conference North
Beeston v Univ of Durham 12:00
Doncaster v Brooklands Poynton 12:00
Liverpool Sefton v Cannock 12:30
Loughborough Students v Whitley Bay & Tynemouth 12:30
Ben Rhydding v Wakefield Bradford 13:30

Investec Conference West
Bristol Firebrands v Stourport 11:30
Barnes Hounslow Ealing v Gloucester City 12:00
Swansea City v Trojans 12:00
Taunton Vale v Isca 13:30
Staines v Buckingham 13:30

England Hockey Board Media release



Southern Okanagan Secondary School honours FHC alumna Lesley Magnus


Photo: Oliver Chronicle

Southern Okanagan Secondary School in Oliver, B.C. recently held a ceremony to recognize the field hockey accomplishments of Field Hockey Canada alumna Lesley Magnus. 

Lesley graduated from SOSS in June of 1995 after leading her school team to the Consolation Trophy at the AAA Provincial Tournament in the Fall of 1994.  She went on to an outstanding career at the University of British Columbia - during her time at UBC (1995-2000)  the T Birds won back to back CIS Championships in 1998 and 1999.

"In five short years, Lesley developed into one of the top field hockey players that Canada ever produced," said UBC Coach Hash Kanjee.  "This speaks to her talent, her athleticism, but more importantly, her character, her work ethic and her never say die competitiveness."

In 2000 Lesley was selected to the Women's National Team and played for Canada until retiring in 2005. She earned 55 Caps during her career.

Lesley has now returned to Oliver and is coaching the SOSS Senior Field Hockey Team.  She led her team to the Bronze Medal at the AA Provincial Tournament in November 2012.

SOSS presented Lesley with a recognition board on Feb. 1 which will be mounted on the wall of the new gymnasium.  Congratulations Lesley!

Click here to view Lesley's alumni profile

Field Hockey Canada media release



USA Field Hockey Announces Play It Forward Program in Partnership with STX

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey and STX, LLC are eager to announce their latest collaboration, Play It Forward.

"We are delighted to begin a partnership with STX, a U.S. brand who will play a key role with us as we continue to grow our sport," said Steve Locke, Executive Director of USA Field Hockey.

Sponsored by STX, Play It Forward is an equipment grant and stick recycling program that will provide field hockey equipment to boys and girls, ages 11-18, as part of the ongoing effort to inspire participation and growth of the game. Schools, youth organizations, and community groups across the country are welcome to apply.

To kick start the donations, STX has committed to providing hundreds of sticks to the first accepted applicants. Starting February 5, 2013, teams and organizations can apply for the STX equipment online at usafieldhockey.com. Programs that are selected to receive the product grants will be awarded in late April.

“As the U.S. market leader in field hockey, STX is proud to partner with USA Field Hockey in driving future growth and success for the sport,” said Ed Saunders, Director of Marketing for STX.

To help spread the message of the Play It Forward program and offer additional playing opportunities, USA Field Hockey and STX will be hosting two free clinics, with instruction from National Team athletes. Equipment donations will be accepted at both events, scheduled for spring and summer 2013.

In addition to the product donated by STX, the Play It Forward program will rely on local equipment drives to supply sticks to teams and communities in need. USA Field Hockey encourages its members to get involved, by collecting new or gently used equipment in your area. Local Play It Forward equipment drives can include new or gently used sticks, balls, shin guards and uniforms. USA Field Hockey will offer an online donation and request form for members looking to donate or request the new or gently used equipment.

Members and teams interested in hosting a local Play It Forward equipment drive should visit contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it for more information.

The Play It Forward program is a part of USA Field Hockey’s comprehensive ‘Grow the Game’ campaign. For more information about the Play It Forward program or other USA Field Hockey development initiatives, visit usafieldhockey.com or contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

About STX

STX is a global sporting goods leader in the sports of lacrosse, field hockey and golf. With its 1970 introduction of the first synthetic lacrosse head, STX ushered in the “modern era” of what is now the fastest growing team sport. Based in Baltimore, the home of lacrosse, STX has been universally recognized for innovation in product design and development. STX continues to strive for new performance standards in sporting goods equipment at the highest levels of competition. For more information, visit http://www.stx.com.

USFHA media release



Disney Field Hockey Showcase commences today at ESPN Wide World of Sports

ORLANDO, Fla.- Disney Field Hockey Showcase is the ultimate place for top field hockey clubs to be seen by hundreds of college coaches looking for great field hockey talent. The four day showcase event held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Orlando, Fla. commences today and will feature over 3,300 athletes from across the United States.

“We are excited to welcome everyone back to the ESPN Wide World of Sports where talent is showcased and family and friends are able to experience the magic of Disney,” said Karen Collins, Director of Events and Logistics. “We are thrilled this event continues to grow in number of participates and level of talent each and every year and we look forward to another successful event here at the proving grounds.” 

The Disney Field Hockey Showcase is one of six USA Field Hockey national events, where talented high school aged athletes on club teams display their skills in front of hundreds of college coaches and recruiters. The Disney Field Hockey Showcase typically held in the beginning of February, originated seven years ago and began with just 56 teams. It now features over 180 teams and 3,300 athletes competing on 15 pristine field hockey pitches.

Visit usafieldhockey.com for all Disney Showcase news, results and an up-to-date schedule of games. Join the conversation on Twitter @USAFieldHockey #DisneyFH13. 

USFHA media release



Position Vacant - ACT Academy of Sport National Training Centre

Head Coach - Hockey Program


Hockey ACT - on behalf of Program Partners Hockey Australia (HA) and the ACT Academy of Sport (ACTAS)

Term of position:

 

  • The coach will be engaged on an initial 2 year contract from March 2013 to March 2015, subject to ongoing partner funding contributions, completion of a 6 month probationary period and satisfactory performance reviews. Salary package and position details:
  • Annual CPI incremental adjustments dependent upon satisfactory performance reviews;
  • Superannuation of 9% will be offered;
  • An annual salary is to be negotiated in consideration of the coaches qualifications and experience and in line with the HA HP Coach Success profile framework;
  • Agreed work related mobile phone expenses will be reimbursed through the ACTAS program budget;
  • $1,500 will be allocated for agreed Coach professional development within the ACTAS budget with additional opportunities supported by HA/HACT;
  • A workstation, laptop, internet and phone access will be supported by Hockey ACT and ACTAS.
  • The position will be located at Hockey ACT offices located in Lyneham, ACT, and
  • There will also be interstate travel.

APPLICATIONS CLOSE WEDNESDAY (COB AEST) 13 FEBRUARY, 2013

Applicants must address all aspects of the selection criteria, include a current CV and nominate three referees.

Please address applications to:

Andrew Stainlay
Sports Programs Manager
ACT Academy of Sport
PO Box 147,
Civic Square ACT
2608

Or e-mail to a This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Hockey Australia media release