News for 08 February 2013

All the news for Friday 8 February 2013


SA hockey women to play Oz in semi-finals

Netherlands 3 SA 1

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town



Pietie Coetzee shapes to pass during the Investec Challenge match between SA and The Netherlands at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Thursday night. PHOTO BY PLATE PICTURES


The cards have been drawn for Saturday’s semi-finals of the Investec Challenge following Thursday night’s thrilling action at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town which saw Australia edge England 3-1 and The Netherlands better the Investec South African women’s hockey team by the same scoreline.

Both matches saw the winners lead 1-0 at half-time and featured constant yet varied bombardment of each goalmouth - and had it not been for superlative saves by the world-class keepers on display as shots rained down on them, the goals wouldn’t have stopped coming.

London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists The Netherlands will meet London 2012 bronze medallists England (playing as Great Britain) in Saturday semi-final one at 2.30 pm and the Hockeyroos of Oz will square up to the girls in green and gold at 5 pm.

The difference in both matches came to penalty corner time, from which the Aussies directly scored two, a feat that was repeated by The Netherlands. While SA did score from a PC rebound, it was the direct PC drag-flicks in both attack and defence that were the trump cards - or the match losers - for the four teams.

There was frustration, too, for world record sharpshooter Pietie Coetzee, who went scoreless for the second match in a row despite firing in her shots from all angles and spaces in the strike zone.

On another day Coetzee would have scored a hatful, while her team-mates are also creating enough chances of their own to suggest that Investec SA head coach Giles Bonnet, his trainers and the team are well on the road to Rio 2016, not to mention Hockey World Cup 2014 in The Hague and 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

This Netherlands team is very, very good – their ability to more or less keep SA’s hungry attackers at bay for long periods is coupled with gold medal quality at scoring goals when it matters.

If the Hockeyroos’ bruising 1-1 draw with SA on Tuesday night is the blueprint - a match in which high-class skills were mixed with sickening collisions, much claret and fine stitching – the late semi-final between the Lucky Country and the Rainbow Nation is certain to draw crowds in even bigger numbers than Thursday’s great turnout.

Thursday’s 8 pm match saw The Netherlands beat SA 3-1 with the Oranje’s goals coming from penalty corners by Irene van den Assem and captain Maartje Paumen (2) while SA captain Marsha Marescia had her name ticked on the scoresheet.

The early match saw Australia beat England 3-1 with goals from Anna Flanagan and Jody Schulz penalty corners, as well as a field goal from Georgia Nanscawen, while Nic White pulled one back for the English.

SA Hockey Association media release



Australia too strong for England

Nicola White scores late but Australia are too strong for England


Despite a gutsy performance by England in their final pool match of the Investec Challenge in Cape Town, opponents Australia were too strong, coming out 3-1 victors. The Hockeyroos had a one goal advantage going into the break and then extended their lead to 3-0 before Leicester’s Nicola White pulled back a consolation goal for England in the 68th minute, but the game was already won.

The victory leaves Australia top of the table with one more fixture between hosts South Africa and the Netherlands to be played before the semi-finals on Saturday. England will have to wait for the result to see who they will face.

Speaking after the game team leader Karen Brown reflected on the performance, “I have been really pleased with the effort the girls have shown out here and I think, given the relative inexperience, we have done well to compete for significant periods today. That said however, we do not have a full 70 minutes of consistency yet and that is vital if we are to compete against a side like Australia.”

The game marked Loughborough Students’ Laura Unsworth’s 50th appearance in an England shirt while Pinoke’s (NED) Beckie Herbert now has 100 combined international caps for Great Britain and England.

The first half of the match in Cape Town was a relatively even affair, with both sides keeping possession well and creating chances, but after 15 minutes it was Australia that made the first breakthrough. The umpire ruled a deliberate foul in the circle and awarded the Hockeyroos a penalty stroke which Anna Flanagan duly stepped up and drove the ball past Bowdon Hightown’s Kirsty Mackay in goal.

Despite creating some good chances and strong play from Reading’s Susie Gilbert and Beeston’s Hollie Webb England found themselves a goal down going into half time.

England came out fighting hard, but as Karen Brown highlighted after the game, there were periods where the inexperience of the side showed through and Australia were able to capitalise on this twice more in the second half to take a 3-0 lead.

Australia’s second goal came when they won a penalty corner in the 41st minute and it was the experienced Jodie Schulz who found the back of the net to make it 2-0. Following this, England settled again and continued to push forward looking for their first goal, but Australia were solid in their defence and looked dangerous on the attack. Their third goal came from open play and this time it was Georgia Nanscawen who found a way past Mackay from open play in the 58th minute.

The three goal cushion put the game beyond England, however they did not give up and with only two minutes left on the clock their hard work was rewarded when they won a penalty corner.

London 2012 Olympic duo Nicola White and Laura Unsworth showed their experience and combined well; Unsworth’s strike found White who got her stick down low to deflect the ball into the roof of the net to make it 3-1.

Despite losing all three of their pool matches at the Investec Challenge, team leader Karen Brown has been really pleased with the team’s performance, “We knew coming into this tournament that the other teams were fielding more experienced sides and that this would be a big step up for the majority of the squad. However, I think that the skill and technique of these younger players has matched the other teams, it has just been the physical conditioning that has let us down and I am not worried about that as I know it will come with more time. We are looking forward to playing two more games at the weekend and continuing to build on what we have achieved so far.”

England now have a rest day before their semi-final on Saturday which takes place at 13:00 (GMT); they will play the team that finish top of the table.

Australia 3 (1)
Anna Flanagan 15 (PS)
Jodie Schulz 41 (PC)
Georgia Nanscawen 58 (F)

England 1 (0)
Nicola White 68 (PC)

ENGLAND TEAM v AUSTRALIA

Name (Club)

Started


Susie Gilbert (co-capt) (Reading)
Sarah Haycroft (Surbiton)
Kirsty Mackay (GK) (Bowdon)
Laura Unsworth (co-capt) (Loughborough Students)
Ellie Watton (Beeston)
Hollie Webb (Beeston)
Giselle Ansley (Loughborough Students)
Jo Hunter (Leicester)
Jo Leigh (Clifton)
Sam Quek (Reading)
Susannah Townsend (Canterbury)

Substitute Used

Beckie Herbert (Pinoke (NED))
Sophie Bray (MOP (NED))
Steph Elliott (University of Durham)
Dilly Newton (Canterbury)
Lauren Turner (HDM (NED))
Nic White (Leicester)

Did Not Play

Maddie Hinch (GK) (Leicester)

INVESTEC CHALLENGE FIXTURES & RESULTS

Monday 4 February

18:00 local time - 16:00 GMT - Australia v Netherlands – 2-2
20:00 local time - 18:00 GMT - South Africa v England – 4-1

Tuesday 5 February

18:00 local time - 16:00 GMT - Netherlands v England – 4-1
20:00 local time - 18:00 GMT - South Africa v Australia – 1-1

Wednesday 6 February - Rest Day

Thursday 7 February

18:00 local time - 16:00 GMT - Australia v England 3-1
20:00 local time - 18:00 GMT - South Africa v Netherlands

Friday 8 February - Rest Day

Saturday 9 February


15:00 local time - 13:00 GMT - Semi Final 1: 1st v 4th
17:00 local time - 15:00 GMT - Semi Final 2: 2nd v 3rd

Sunday 10 February

12:00 local time - 10:00 GMT - Bronze medal match
14:00 local time - 12:00 GMT - Gold medal match

INVESTEC CHALLENGE STANDINGS

1. Australia (5 pt, 3 matches)
2. Netherlands (4 pts, 2 matches)
3. South Africa (4 pts, 2 matches)
4. England (0 pts, 3 matches)

England Hockey Board Media release



Caruth Withdrawn from Green Machine

Irish forward Peter Caruth has been withdrawn from the Green Machine squad for the upcoming World League 2 Tournament in India due to injury. The Braxgata player, who scored Ireland's golden goal winner in the recent Champions Challenge 1 tournament in Argentina in December 2012 has been struggling with an leg injury and has been unable to train in recent weeks. The decision to withdraw Caruth from the squad has been made as late as possible in the hope that the 65 cap Irish International might have recovered in time. We wish Peter a speedy recovery and look forward to his early return to the Green Machine.

Irish Coach Andrew Meredith has called upon Monkstown's David Carson to replace Caruth in the squad and he will travel to Malaysia with the rest of the Green Machine tomorrow in preparation for World League 2 later this month. Carson has 18 caps and has scored 3 goals for Ireland

The confirmed Irish squad for World League 2 is as follows:

1. David Fitzgerald (Monkstown)
2. David Harte (SV Kampong, Holland)
3. Paul Gleghorne (Instonians)
4. Ronan Gormley (Krefeld HC, Germany)
5. Conor Harte (SCHC, Holland)
6. John Jackson (Braxgata, Belgium)
7. Stuart Loughrey (Team Bath Buccaneers)
8. Bruce McCandless (Banbridge)
9. Chris Cargo (Reading, England)
10. Eugene Magee (Krefeld HC, Germany)
11. Geoff McCabe (Santander, Spain)
12. Phelie Maguire (THC Hurley)
13. Peter Brown (Banbridge)
14. David Carson (Monkstown)
15. Mitch Darling (Three Rock Rovers)
16. Shane O'Donoghue (UCD)
17. Alan Sothern (Pembroke Wanderers)
18. Michael Watt (SCHC, Holland)

Upcoming Fixtures

Men's International Friendlies

Sunday 10th February 2013


11:00 Malaysia vs Ireland (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Monday 11th February 2013

11:00 Malaysia vs Ireland (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

Wednesday 13th February 2013

11:00 Malaysia vs Ireland (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)

WORLD LEAGUE 2 - INDIA

Monday 18th February 2013


16:00 Ireland vs. Bangladesh

Wednesday 20th February 2013

16:00 Ireland vs. Fiji

Thursday 21st February 2013

20:00 Ireland vs. India

Saturday 23rd February 2013

18:00 Ireland vs. Oman

Sunday 24th February 2013

16:00 Ireland vs. China

Irish Hockey Association media release



Top four battle it out for European qualification at Indoor Gala Day

After winning the National Indoor League Division 1 title on final day of the season, Grove Menzieshill Head Coach Chris Anderson is now targeting European qualification for a second year running at Saturday's Indoor Gala Day in Perth.

“Our objective is to win in order to qualify for Europe next year. We will be trying hard to do that. We are training as normal and will continue to do so leading up to Europe [play offs]”, said Anderson.


Chris Anderson AAM Coach

His Grove Menzieshill side face their local rivals Dundee Wanderers in the first of the men’s semi-finals at Bell's Sports Centre and will be confident of progressing to the European qualification match following two wins (8-2 and 4-2) over Wanderers during the regular season.

Anderson will look to the likes of Scottish internationals Ross Stott and Gavin Byers to provide momentum, with the experience of Allan Law and Ross McPherson also important to the side’s chances.

Meanwhile, in the second men’s semi-final, it’s an all capital clash as Inverleith go head-to-head against Grange.


Inverleith - Adam McKenzie

The Stags effectively ended Inverleith’s hopes of reclaiming the Division 1 title from Grove Menzieshill following two draws (2-2 and 3-3) during the season. And they could go one better by beating their Edinburgh rivals to reach the final on Saturday.


Grange M indoor

However, Inverleith Head Coach Stuart Neave knows that if they can overcome Grange then they have a good chance of snatching the European spot in the final.

“We have been preparing for the play offs the same way we prepare for any other match. We have to treat it the same. It is a great opportunity considering the format and if it was the same as last season we would never have this opportunity to be able to compete in Europe”, said Neave.

“Before we get to that stage we have a difficult game against Grange. They are strong and worthy opponents, who we haven’t been able to pick up full points against this season. So we need to concentrate hard on that game before thinking about the next stage.”

With the likes of international players Graham Moodie, Derek Salmond and Adam MacKenzie available to Neave, the Purple Robes will pose a real threat on the day.

Indoor Gala Day at Bell’s Sports Centre, Perth on Saturday 9 February.

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

The Indoor Gala Day take place at Bell’s Sports Centre, Perth on Saturday 9 February.

An action packed day of indoor hockey is on offer, including play-off semi-finals and finals between the top four sides in the Men’s and Women’s National Indoor League Division 1 to determine Scotland’s European indoor participants next season, and the U18 Indoor Cup finals.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Wizards outplay Waveriders

Y.B. Sarangi



STANDING FIRM: Delhi Waveriders' goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi moves to thwart an attack from Uttar Pradesh Wizards' Luke Doerner (right) and Nitin Thimmaiah. Photo: Rajeev Bhatt

Uttar Pradesh Wizards outsmarted table topper Delhi Waveriders 4-1 in a Hero Hockey India League match here on Thursday.

Wizards' fifth victory propelled the team to the third place with 32 points after completing its quota of 12 matches. Waveriders, which gave a patchy performance resulting in its first defeat of the tournament, remains at the peak with 49 points after completing its engagements.

Both teams started off cautiously.

The host aimed at maintaining its supremacy while the tourists looked in no mood to concede any ground.

Waveriders' forwards searched for open spaces while Wizards midfielders moved well to close the gaps as the contest warmed up with a tactical battle.

Wizards showed a good grip over the proceedings early in the second period and crafted two impressive attacks.

Though Wizards garnered two penalty corners in the last six minutes of the second quarter, the Waveriders' custodian Nicolas Jacobi stood like a rock to protect the home citadel.

The touring side delivered the first blow when Jeroen Hertzberger took the ball on the right flank, moved about 30 yards and executed a spectacular reverse flick in the 39th minute.

The third quarter turned more dramatic as Wizards finished off a well-coordinated attack to take a 2-0 lead in the 49th minute.

Dutchman Hertzberger again scripted the plot as he set up Nithin Thimmaiah on the left and the latter made a diving effort inside the circle.

Jacobi, supported by a defender, gave his best but the ball slipped out and S.K. Uthappa finished off the move to trigger celebrations in the Wizards camp.

Waveriders tried to fight back, but met with hard luck as Akashdeep Singh's goal in the 52th minute stood disallowed. Wizards widened the lead with Pradhan Somanna making the most of an open chance in the 56th minute.

Andrew Haywards converted Waveriders' third penalty corner to reduce the margin in the 64th minute. However, Malayalan Gunasekar hit the mark within seconds to make it 4-1.

Waveriders will meet Jaypee Punjab Warriors in one semifinal, while Wizards will take on Ranchi Rhinos in the other.

The results:

Delhi Waveriders 1 (Andrew Haywards 64) lost to Uttar Pradesh Wizards 4 (Jeroen Hertzberger 39, S.K. Uthappa 49, Pradhan Somanna 56, Malayalan Gunasekar 64).

The Hindu



Wizards hand Delhi first loss in Hockey India League

By Biswajyoti Brahma


NEW DELHI: Uttar Pradesh Wizards came up with their biggest win of the tournament as they upset Delhi Waveriders 4-1, handing the Sardar Singh-led team their first loss in the Hockey India League on Thursday.

The win in the last league encounter was special for the Wizards, as it ensured they would not face red-hot Delhi in the semifinals.

Having finished third ahead of the Punjab Warriors, the Wizards will now clash with Ranchi Rhinos for a place in the final. Table toppers Waveriders will play Warriors in the other semifinal.

The timing of the win was also crucial since the Wizards would be going into the semifinals high on confidence after becoming the first team to beat Delhi in the league. The margin of win was also their best in the tournament.

"Our players finished the moves well and that reflected in the score line," Wizards captain VR Raghuath said later. "We came to the match with the intention to win. We were not thinking much about who our potential semifinals rival would be. The win is important as it came just before the semifinals."

The Wizards were clearly the better side on Thursday. They impressed with swift moves, good ball-control and effective coordination. After a dull first quarter, they raised their game a few notches and put Delhi's defence under constant pressure.

It was Nicolas Jacobi's brilliance under the bar that kept the Wizards at bay for 39 minutes. However, a goal by Jeroen Hertzberger in the 39th minute opened the floodgates as the Wizards slammed home two more in the next 17 minutes.

After getting the ball at the half-line, Hertzberger sent a cross to Nitin Thimmaiah. Thimmaiah's weak shot at the goal was not cleared properly by Jacobi, which gave S Uthappa enough time to score. P Somanna virtually killed any hopes of a Delhi comeback by scoring in the 56th minute.

Delhi made a desperate bid to bounce back, but were denied by an alert Wizards goalkeeper Kumar Subramaniam. Andrew Hayward raised some hopes after scoring in the 64th minute from a penalty corner, but Gunasekar Malaylan ensured that UP went home victorious by slamming a field goal a minute later.

"We are not sweating over this loss as all this is part of the game. What's worrying is the margin, that too on home ground," Delhi coach AK Bansal said.

Delhi captain Sardar Singh said the result could be the outcome of the team's decision to rest key players like Gurvinder Chandi and Gurbaj Singh ahead of the semifinals. "We decided to play rookie players as we did not want to take chances with some of the senior players," Sardar said.

In the final league match, Ranchi Rhinos beat Mumbai Magicians 1-0. Nick Wilson scored the winner in the 61st minute.

The Times of India



UP down Delhi, rise to 3rd

MS Unnikrishnan


Uttar Pradesh Wizards inflicted Delhi Waveriders their only defeat in the league phase when they got into scoring mode late in the match to strike four goals against one in the Hockey India League at the National Stadium here tonight.

UP Wizards, who were one of the two teams to hold Waveriders to a draw in 11 matches, went one step ahead by taking full points off the hosts, though Delhi had already ensured their place in the semifinal with 49 points. The win helped Uttar Pradesh take their points tally to 27 and enter the semifinals. Delhi, Ranchi, Punjab and UP have completed the semifinal line up of the tournament.

Now UP, with 32 points, are placed third while Jaypee Punjab Warriors were relegated to the fourth slot on 29 points. Punjab meet Delhi in the semifinal while Ranchi and UP will calsh in the second semifinal. Both the semifinals will be held in Ranchi on February 9.

UP were determined to garner full points and they spared no effort to win. UP were virtually all over Delhi from the beginning. But for Delhi custodian Nicholas Jacobi's fine saves, with UP muffing two penalty corners, they had to wait till the begining of the third quarter to score their first goal through Jeroen Hertzberger.

Ten minutes later, S Uttappa consolidated the lead and six minutes later P Somanna added the third goal. Delhi pulled one back through Andrew Hayward who converted a penalty corner while Gunasekar Malayan made it 4-1 for UP.

The Tribune



Mumbai Magicians lose 0-1 to Ranchi Rhinos in HIL

MUMBAI: Mumbai Magicians ended their campaign on a disappointing note after going down 0-1 to Ranchi Rhinos in the final league game of the Hero Hockey India League at Mumbai Hockey Association Stadium on Thursday.

Rhinos, who were guaranteed to finish second and face UP Wizards in the semis before this match started, earned five points through a superb field goal from Nick Wilson in the final quarter.

Magicians suffered their 11th defeat in 12 games in this tournament, to finish at the bottom of the table.

Just like the evening match between Uttar Pradesh Wizards and Delhi Waveriders, this game also saw no goals being scored in the first half. There were chances a plenty, but the deep defenders and goalkeepers of both the teams were superb.

Rhinos earned the first penalty corner of the game in the first quarter, but were unable to convert it. Magicians made a number of attacks, entering the Rhinos circle at regular intervals.

They earned two penalty corners in the first half, but Sandeep Singh, the tournament's leading goal-scorer, misfired on both occasions. Sandeep, who has scored 11 goals, all on penalty corners, missed eight penalty corners in the last three games.

The third quarter was also played at same pace, and soon Magicians earned their third penalty corner of the night, as Glen Turner made a good move to enter the Rhinos' D. The push was not stopped properly for Sandip to have a go at the drag flick. The ball went to Mathew Swann, who had a clear shot on goal. However, he ended up hitting the ball wide, and the score-line stayed 0-0.

Rhinos earned their second penalty corner just a few minutes later, but the execution was poor, as the push was not stopped properly.

Mathew Butterani put a lot of pressure on the rhinos defence in the last couple of minutes of the third quarter, and earned a penalty corner in the last minute, as a Rhinos player deliberately hit the ball out of play inside the D.

Sandeep went low to the goalkeeper's right this time, but Manpreet Singh did a brilliant job of deflecting the ball out of the danger area to deny the 26-year-old full back.

Magicians resumed where they had left, earning another penalty corner in the first minute of the fourth quarter, as Faisal Saari was brought down inside the Rhinos' D. And once again, the push was not stopped properly, for the third time in this game by Magicians.

Magicians earned their sixth penalty corner of the game just a minute later, due to some reckless defending by Rhinos. Chinglensana was the Magicians' player brought down this time. And once again, Sandeep's drag flick was deflected wide by a Rhinos defender.

The deadlock was finally broken with nine minutes of play left. Vikas Choudary collected the ball from ahead of the half line, took the ball inside the Magicians D, and gave a majored pass to Nick Wilson. Wilson controlled the bouncing ball well, and struck a reverse hit past charging Magicians goalie Rao to put Rhinos 1-0 ahead.

Magicians still had time to get two more penalty corners. In the absence of Sandeep, Jasrotia took the drag flick, and Cortes made a good save to maintain Rhinos' lead. Cortes was outstanding under the bar, making at least 10 saves.

Ranchi coach Gregg Clark said that the team could have done much better in this match: "The game was alright but psychologically we were better than previous matches.

We could have done better in this match. It doesn't matter who we will face in the semis, we just need to win the match to reach Final match."

The Times of India



Magicians tumble, what’s new?

By Namita Handa


It was yet again the same result for the Mumbai Magicians who have managed only a win against the Uttar Pradesh Wizards this season. They lost their 11th game in 12 matches; this time the 0-1 defeat came against Ranchi Rhinos. Jason Wilson’s only goal in the game’s fourth quarter gave Rhinos the lead.

The tie wasn’t anywhere close to being an interesting encounter. In fact, both the teams dished out below-par performances.

With the likes of Sandeep Singh in the ranks, Magicians were expected to cash in on the penalty corneropportunities. That somehow wasn’t on view. Worse, Manpreet Singh received a yellow card for careless tackle.

No 2 on the points table, Rhino dominated the game but couldn’t create as many goal opportunities as they would have liked. Ranchi Rhinos coach Gregg Clark said, “The match did not turn out to be the way we expected. But the boys hung around and gave us that goal. It’s important to end the league with a win.”

DNA



Tit bits Here and there: Magicians dilemma

K. Arumugam


Delhi coach AK Bansal said that he feels exhausted after his team lost badly to visiting Wizards. “I never had such a feeling till now in the Hockey India League’, he added before the process of press meet started. Captain Sardar said in a lighter vein:“Coach saab and we feel bad so after one defeat, want to sleep and forget it. Think of Mumbai (Magicians) who have been losing almost for a month”. Sardar is evolving.

= = = = = = = = = = =
Tushar Khandkar came to mixed zone – where players and media normally converge after each match – and was hearing to what Delhi coach was commenting to media. When contacted his comment on the match, he said to a s2h reporter: “You know everything, what I have to say? The reporter shot back: “Why do you then come here” He replied, “They asked us to come here”. What a bore he is on and off the field.

= = = = = = = = = = =
When a journalist posted a tough technical question to a team management, its manager replied: “Why don’t you meet us separately”

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There are many people here in HIL who also participated in the Word Series Hockey, perceived rival to HIL. One such is Roelant Oltmans. He was coach of the Delhi team in the WSH. When asked to compare WSH with HIL, visibly embarrassed Oltmans had a rescue: ‘I came only for two matches, as they have changed dates”. The question never asked is, does it mean he did not take the fee?

= = = = = = = = = = =
Same Oltmans was forthright when asked about his new role as Technical Director of Indian hockey team. “ Now am focused on the present job (HIL) I will take about the new job only from next Tuesday”.

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Most part of side stands of Major Dhyan Chand stadium is vacant for all matches. Yesterday was the first time a HIL match was held 6 PM, the time many young students disperse after training in many grounds of the same stadium. Many of them wanted to witness the match, but the security ring won’t allow them. The League organizers, be it WSH or HIL, they are not compassionate at all. Empty stands are ok, but the bogus ticket, which is always given free, is a must.

= = = = = = = = = = =
FIH President Leondro was asked will he still mediate between IHF and HI: Among other things he said smilingly. I have met both 16 times. Even now I have got a call from them (IHF)". To prove that, he almost took out his mobile.

= = = = = = = = = = =
A reporter on the other day wanted to talk to Ashley Jackson. The PR fellow in charge of such things replied: “I will do it next time.” Probably both are not aware Ashley will come to Delhi only next year, as no Rhino match was scheduled for Delhi this year!

= = = = = = = = = = =
So far only two foreign journalists were spotted. First one was ever-green Satwant Dhaliwal of Malaysia. He was there in India for the first 3,4 days. Now, on the last leg an Agency reporter from The Netherlands is here. Let us talk less about global reach of HIL.

= = = = = = = = = = =
Elana Norman, the CEO of HI, was asked about the thin crowd for a particular match in Delhi. “No, the stadium is big here. The same ground in other cities would have looked full”.

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It has almost become routine now to ask foreign players how much Hindi they have learnt. One reporter was so bored of the same question, he wanted a change and asked, "How much Punjabi you know". The foreign players uttered 3,4 Hindi words!

= = = = = = = = = = =
Three fourth of floodlights went off just 5,6 seconds left for the final hooter. That was the time Delhi also got a Penalty Corner yesterday. Thankfully, both coaches accepted to go ahead with the game, the penalty corner was taken. Fortunately for the organizers, the mast on that UP circle was in full bloom. Blushes avoided.

Stick2Hockey.com



When Sardar asks you Ab hockey ho jaye? Don't hesitate. Say yes



Narinder Batra was perhaps one of the best centre-forwards India never had, because his hope of making a career in hockey was nipped in the bud due to internal selection politics.

Returning back to the family business, he's grown in stature as a multi-millionaire with commercial interests in healthcare, education, kitchen appliances and cars agencies.

But the 55-year old's most distinct identity is that of a sports administrator and although he dabbled long in cricket, as treasurer of the Delhi & District Cricket Association, he will forever be looked on as the man who changed the fortune of hockey in the country and worldwide.

Hockey is a poor man's sport and with an annual investment of $32,50,000 towards players and total prize money of Rs.5.4 crores, he successfully tried to revolutionize the sport and bring dignity and luxury to its players.

If Hockey India League (HIL), a five-team franchise-based competition, is what IPL is to cricket commercially, then Batra is Lalit Modi and N Srinivasan, both rolled into one. Like Modi's IPL, the HIL is Batra's own baby and he is the only decision maker. Reminds one of Srinivasan, minus the conflict of interest, of course.

Yuvraj Walmiki, who grew up in a shanty in Mumbai, now owns a house in Pune and is seen as one of the most stylishly dressed players on the circuit. He and brother Anup, who also figures in the HIL, now want to build a new house for their parents from their HIL earnings.

Sardar Singh and Sandeep Singh, two of the most high-profile players in the HIL, both own a BMW now.

Birendra Lakra, who belongs to the Oraon tribe from a remote Jharkhand village and played his initial hockey with tree branches posing as a stick, has got a whopping $41,000 to play for the Ranchi Rhinos.

"I just want to tell people that there's respect, dignity and survival in the sport. That they can manage their families and live a good life by playing hockey, so that families don't stop their children from taking up hockey, and children don't run towards cricket or soccer or tennis. I found a lot of reluctance in making people understand or accept hockey. They feel it's a rough game but it's a game which we de facto call our national game. I think there's much more scope in hockey commercially. I don't think we have even tapped 50 per cent of what is possible to achieve," says Batra.

The idea of conceiving the HIL came two years back in an impromptu chat that Batra had with Sahara chief Subrata Roy -- the sport's principal sponsor and also the first to buy a franchise. But tapping others was quite a task. "It was difficult to get franchisees on board. It was difficult convincing them that hockey was sellable to the public and that they can get good returns from their business investment. We got in some people to invest and some sponsors but unfortunately our national team finished last at the London Olympics. So, suddenly we had people and sponsors all running away. They won't take our calls, decline to meet us, the broadcasters had a rethink, so it was tough. I was taken aback a bit with the results but happy that they kept faith in us and it all panned out well in the end," says Batra.

Statistics back the claim in a long way. 

"More people watched the first six games of the HIL than the entire population of Holland," tweeted Jamie Dwyer, top Australian player, emphasizing the reach and impact of the tournament. Already, the tournament has seen unprecedented money in the world of hockey and spurred Indian hockey team skipper Sardar Singh into the one crore annual salary bracket.

Almost 20,000 spectators turned up on the inaugural evening to watch the glitzy opening ceremony and people in Ranchi and Lucknow had to be turned away from the venue because the games were a sellout and tickets were sold in black.

And apart from fielding 50 top-end foreigners and coaches from around the globe, the HIL had its share of glamour with Akshay Kumar, Katrina Kaif, Zarine Khan among the few who performed at the event. Hockey needs its bit of glamour, especially when the sport lacks its own icons to get people hooked to the sport, all over again.

"Two generations have skipped since we last won anything substantial in hockey. You will be surprised even my own family members don't know the rules of hockey, so that's how disconnected young generation is with the sport. We have tried to get the youth, we have been on social media, now we have almost crore followers, but there's still a lot to be done to uplift the market of the sport," he says.

At a time when IPL is getting panned for being the detrimental force in Indian cricket, the HIL is seen as a positive force that will ensure that Indian players, both current squad members as-well-as the fringe, get in sync with the latest demands and rigours.

Already, the pace of the sport has increased, eliciting a roaring thumbs-up from ex-players, while coming to terms with various strategies prevalent amongst top coaches. Also, unlike the IPL, the HIL isn't a shorter format; it's the same 70-minute game played over four quarters instead of two due to television and advertising constraints.

It's been hard work all the while, especially in the last seven months.

The first floor of Batra's high-end automobile agency in Faridabad has been his work office for many years, but now hockey has taken priority over other matters.

"I haven't looked into my business in the last seven months. My day starts at 6 am in the morning and ends at 2 in the night. On my wife's birthday, I reached home at 11 pm and on our anniversary I reached after midnight. I don't know if I have made players happy with HIL but I do know that my wife is very unhappy and just wants this HIL edition to end soon. I have been hopping cities and countries all these months and I could well buy so many flight tickets just by my frequent flying miles," he laughs.

"Every single paper you will find in my office presently will be relating to only hockey," he says sitting on a big table surrounded by piles of papers. Batra believes he was destined for hockey. Having quit the sport in a huff after playing senior nationals for nine years and returning amicably to his business, Dr Farooq Abdullah, the then Chief Minister of J&K coaxed him to return in 1996 and help promote hockey, making him chief of the J&K hockey body.

In 2000, Batra conducted the national championships in Srinagar and impressed then Indian Hockey Federation chief KPS Gill. He was inducted into IHF as senior vice-president till 2004 but soon faced the heat for questioning Gill over misuse of funds. He challenged Gill for the president's post in 2005 but lost the elections and remained in the wilderness till the IHF was suspended in 2008 and Hockey India (HI) was formed.

Batra was called back again and was just a committee member when two of the senior members quit the scene for personal reasons, vacating it for Batra to take over. "Maybe I was destined to remain with hockey. Every time I ran away from the sport, saying I had had enough, I was called back and given charge. It can't be coincidence," he says.

Batra's resolve to change the lifestyle of hockey players came to the fore when he was the manager of the Indian team at the World Cup qualifiers in Edinburgh. The Indian team would train for two hours in the morning, then have breakfast and wash the dishes before getting some rest. Lunch was delivered and then they washed the plates. In the evening they would practice and have a banana as refreshment, come back and wash their clothes in the evening, have dinner and wash the dishes once again before going to sleep.

"How can you expect players to perform if they do so much manual labour. There's a lot of misconception about providing facilities. You can't give them dal-roti and make them into world-beaters. There's more to providing a bed to sleep and turf to run," he says.

Batra admits he's the decision-making authority but insists there are a lot of people in his team who knock in a lot of sense into him. "I could have easily gone wrong, but I don't allow my ego to come in my way. If I have taken a wrong decision, I allow others to tell me on my face and I reason it out. When it's about big money, you can't take unilateral decisions and spoil it all," he says.

So now when you look at the big advertising hoarding and Sardar asks you Ab hockey ho jaye? Don't hesitate. Say yes.

Hockey-o-nomics

  • Rs.0 is what hockey players earn as match fees.
  • Unlike cricketers, hockey players don't get money to play for their country. Their earnings come from salaries by institutions they work for and divide the tournament prize-money or share extra incentives announced by the government.
  • Rs.42 lakhs is what Indian skipper Sardar Singh will now get to play hockey for two months, courtesy the Hockey India League. The HIL helped players get money to play hockey, including junior and fringe players.
  • $ 50 is what players get as per diem on foreign tours. It has now been raised from $ 20 previously.
  • Players now get laundry allowance on tours and kitting allowance from time to time.
  • Rs.15 lakh is what senior hockey players are expected to get in annual retainership from next year. Others are expected to get in the range of 6-8 lakhs per annum.
  • Rs.8 cr is what Sahara India pays to HI as sponsorship money. It's a substantial increase from Rs.2 crores they had invested before.
  • Rs.5 crores is what HI spends annually in running hockey in the country, both men's and women's. However, a substantial part of funding in hockey is borne by the sports ministry, which takes care of its foreign tour expenses.
  • Rs.25 cr is the estimated budget required to run men's and women's hockey in a year.
  • Rs.5.4 cr is the total prize-money of the HIL. The winning team takes Rs.2.5 in prize-money.
  • $ 625,000 is the total purse for all five franchisees in the HIL.
  • 80 is the total number of astro-turfs in the country. Out of this about 60 are in playable conditions.

India Today



An honour to lead Indian hockey team, says Danish

By Abbas Ali


ALLAHABAD: Exuding confidence that the Indian team will perform well in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament to be played in Ipoh (Malaysia) from March 9, the newly-appointed captain of the Indian hockey team Danish Mujtaba said a new chapter in Indian hockey is waiting to be written.

Danish was on Wednesday named the captain of the team for the Sultan Azlan Shah invitational, selected on the basis of their performance in the ongoing Hero Hockey India League.

"It is a dream come true for me. I had toiled hard and I have got the returns. It is an honour for me to lead the country in international hockey. However I will continue to play as a common player," he told TOI from Delhi.

The 23-year-old has hockey in his blood - his maternal grandfather Idris Ahmed, his uncle Atif Idris and elder brother Hamza Mujtaba have played for India.

A product of Delhi-based Air India-SAI Hockey Academy, Danish made his national debut against Canada in 2009. He represented India during the London Olympics. He is currently playing for the Delhi Waveriders in the Hockey India League (HIL).

The Times of India



Negre has come to India with vested interest: KPS Gill

NEW DELHI: The Indian Hockey Federation on Thursday alleged that FIH president Leandro Negre has come to India with some vested interest in mind and termed his statement that IHF should join and support the Hockey India (HI) as "shocking and absurd".

"Negre's statement that he does not wish to involve in the dispute between the IHF and HI but the IHF should join and support HI is shocking and absolutely absurd. This clearly shows the intent and bias of the FIH towards the illegal Hockey India (HI). The IOC must take a note of his visit which is clearly with vested interest in mind," said IHF patron and chief advisor, KPS Gill in a statement.

Gill, in his scathing criticism of HI secretary general Narinder Batra, alleged that the now suspended IOA vice president had been the pivot of the illegal IOA elections, which went against the directives of the IOC.

"It is absolutely shocking to see Negre going around with Batra visiting the various venues of the Hockey India League in the country. The now suspended IOA and the FIH have been solely responsible for the creation of this illegal HI and the FIH gave it affiliation violating their own statues," he said.

Gill said the discrimination in the selection of the Indian team for the London Olympics by deliberately keeping out the IHF-promoted World Series Hockey (WSH) players was solely responsible for the debacle at the quadrennial event.

"Batra is only to be blamed for it (London Games) as he did so with the sole intent to destroy the IHF and due to his vindictive attitude towards WSH players, the national team has already suffered," he said.

Gill, however, welcomed the selection of drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh, who was named the player of the tournament in last year's WSH, in the 18-member Indian squad for the Hockey World League Round 2 to be held here from February 18 to 24.

He also pointed out the discrimination faced by the Indian officials in the ongoing HIL.

"The Indian officials in the HIL have been complaining about the discrimination while the foreign officials are being paid much higher and also given better facilities than the Indian umpires," he alleged.

The Times of India



Field hockey Club World Cup planned in India

NEW DELHI: Field hockey's world body FIH is planning a tournament for the world's top clubs that would see India emerge as a hub for the sport, according to media reports.

"The FIH is planning to hold the Club World Cup in India," FIH chief Leandro Negre said was quoted as saying. "It is too early to say anything about the event, but my personal wish is to start the tournament next year."

Negre said the tournament was being planned with five continental champion teams from Europe, Asia, the Americas, Africa and Australia, along with the Hockey India League champion team and two wild card entrants.

"The proposal is still under discussion and we'll make an announcement shortly. The proposal is to hold the Club World Cup for the first four years in India and then, maybe, shift it to other nations. We would like to have a contract with a nation for four-five years but it can be trimmed," he added.

Negre hoped the suspension of the Indian Olympic Association by parent body International Olympic Committee would not prove to be a roadblock in the revival of the game in the country.

"The next Olympics is still some time away and I hope the matter will be resolved soon between the IOC and IOA. But if it is not resolved and the IOC asks us to stop India from participating in international competitions, it will be a shame," he added.

The FIH has already carved out a three-week window in the sport's calendar for the ongoing HIL, which involves the world's top players representing five city-based franchises: Delhi Waveriders, Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Mumbai Magicians and Ranchi Rhinos.

The HIL is designed to revive the sport as India has struggled in recent years after ruling the hockey world for several decades. Its last of eight Olympic gold medals came at the boycott-marred 1980 Moscow Olympics.

Meanwhile, Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra told reporters on Thursday that India would bid for the 2018 World Cup.

The Times of India



'Tireless' FIH president once again talks of a Club event

K Arumugam


The FIH President Leondro Negre is not tired of telling same thing last three years without seemingly making any solid progress whatsoever on the ground. May be he is not tired, but anybody who attended his press conferences in the last three years, is.

At least I am.

One fine morning before the start of 2010 World Cup with full glare of global media in front of him -- a big occasion after unseating seemingly strong going Els van Breda Vriesman - Leondro Negre was in full bloom when announced a big Club thing coming to India. The details are on record, mere google is suffice to access it all.

It was late Feb 2010. He definitely said the event will be on turf next year.

This is the problem. When one says the event comes next year, and it is almost a year away from now, nobody remembers. The cycle continues.

He said nearly same when interviewed last year during the Azlan Shah Cup.

Same scene was witnessed yesterday at Major Dhayan Chand Stadium in New Delhi. He dwelt the same in the same press room midway through Commonwealth Games too.

The FIH is going to organize a world level club tournament in India.

This what the president has been informing us, tirelessly.

Each time same announcement though details varied.

That time Indian entry can be an institutional team, now winner of the Hockey India League, to eke out an example

We are at loss to understand what prevents the FIH to host the tournament it talks about for so many years.

Does it involve huge money? No window available? No sponsors? What the hell that is a big roadblock.

One never knows.

Another name of sports is dynamism. Track was laid and Formula 1 races were held all within a year, at least in India.

Here even two factions conduct mega level events – World Series Hockey and Hockey India League – simultaneously. The scale, logistics, money involved in these two events are huge, the Club thing pale against this.

Against the backdrop, what a hell about world’s top six or eight clubs playing a tournament for about a week?

Ask Malaysia, one of their State Unit would have done. Ask India, same will happen. May be many more countries be willing.

Why the FIH could not get this done last three years.

This is laidback attitude.

What would one say about an organization that took three years to agree to World Cup proposal?

Or is it FIH's February Fever?

Is it not wise to sneak in news through its second rung officials to initiate a debate or awareness, rather than FIH president himself do the parroting thing?

Stick2Hockey.com



Competent authority rules against Mumbai Hockey Assn

The Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd's (MHAL) hopes of continuing to occupy the premises suffered a blow of sorts after a competent authority looking into the matter ruled against them. In its verdict, the competent authority seconded the government's decision to cancel the lease of land allotted to MHAL and have asked them to move out of the venue.

The association officials said they haven't received any official intimation yet. "We have the option of appealing the verdict to the higher authorities. Once we get the written order, we will go to the city civil court and request intervention," MHAL honorary secretary Ram Singh Rathor said.

In October last year, the state government stressed that the be taken back from MHAL since the body has a host of complaints registered against them by members of the public including prominent former India hockey players from Mumbai, Shiv Chhatrapati awardees and Arjuna awardees among others.

The complainants had alleged "violations of the lease agreement and rules and regulations, failure to encourage hockey, utilisation of the plot for wedding receptions and other commercial functions, renovation of the stadium and administration office without the government's consent."

The association, originally affiliated to the Indian Hockey Federation, came under the wings of Hockey India recently and is currently hosting the Hockey India League matches at the stadium.

Indian Express



SSTMI retain title

Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School emerged league champions of the MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League Division One when they edged UniKL Young Guns 4-3 in a winner take all clash at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

It was a thrilling game of hockey but a pity as not many fans turned up, no thanks to the peculiar decision of MHC who did not do justice by moving the match to 7.00pm despite an appeal by UniKL.

And on the pitch the umpires made a stark difference as to the amazement of many, they allowed SSTMI's M. Najmi Farizal Jazlan to complete 70 minutes despite three clear incidents where he hit the UniKL players which warranted a sending off.

Still not taking anything away from SSTMI, they were deserving champions have played four matches within eight days and despite the hiccup of losing to MBI-Anderson, they came back strongly to win two crucial matches, against PJCC and UniKL.

"It was surprising to score all four goals from penalty corners. Guess everything worked well for us today. It is indeed a welcome relieft to defend the title and we now look towards the overall title," said SSTMI coach wan Roslan.

It was UniKL that took the lead in the 6th minute through Mohd Azrul Hasbullah who made a brilliant run down the centre and finished it off with a deft push into an angle to put his team 1-0 up.

But SSTMI were undeterred and came back strongly to take the lead as Azril Misron knocked in a penalty corner rebound in the 14th minute before Amir Zulkarnain Robangi put the Johor team 2-1 up by converting a penalty corner in the 27th minute.

However UniKL hit back in the 29th minute via an own goal, with Najmi having the last touch to turn the ball into his own goal. A penalty corner set piece was finished off by Azli in the 31st minute to give SSTMI a halftime 3-2 lead.

UniKL came out with their guns blazing and were on level terms in the 38th minute through Mohd Syafiq Zulzairin. However Amir had the final say four minutes from time, giving SSTMI the title and RM15,000 that came with it.

PJCC takes home RM10,000 for the second spot with UniKL netting RM8,000.

Unofficial MJHL site



SSTMI's deadly conversions

By JUGJET SINGH



SSTMI players celebrate winning the NSC-Milo-MHC Division One league title at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

TENGKU Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts survived a seven-goal thriller to defend their NSC-Milo-MHC Division One league title at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

The double champions edged UniKL Young Guns 4-3 in a highly entertaining match which went to the wire and kept the fans at the edge of their seats for 70 minutes.

Even though UniKL took a fifth minute lead, Thunderbolts converted four penalty corners out of the six they won, to grab the title.

The Thunderbolts heroes yesterday were Amir Zulkarnain who scored two penalty corner goals in the 27th and 66th minutes, while the other two were scored by Azril Misron in the 13th and 31st minutes.

The UniKL goals were scored by Azrul Hasbullah (fifth), while Thunderbolts Najmi Farizal scored an own goal in the 28th minute, and the third was scored by Syafiq Zulzairin in the 38th minute.

Thunderbolts received RM15,000, while second spot went to Petaling Jaya City Council, who also ended on 18 points but lost out on goal difference and received RM10,000. UniKL won RM8,000 for third placing while fourth placed Anderson received RM7,000.

"It was a grueling match for my players because we played four matches back-to-back and they did look tired in patches, but their never say die attitude finally won the day," said Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman.

Wan Roslan was also surprised with their penalty corner conversion: "It was an almost perfect show in the penalty corners which won us the title, and frankly speaking, I did not expect the win to come from that department," said Wan Roslan.

UniKL coach K. Embaraj was disappointed with the result, but not with his players.

"My boys have every reason to hold their heads high even in defeat, as they gave their all. Still, I believe in looking forward, and the overall title can be ours if they play with this much of commitment in the knock-out stage," said Embaraj.

The quarter-finals start on Feb 22.

RESULTS -- Division One: USM 4 SSTMI Juniors 3, UniKL 3 SSTMI 4.

Division Two, Group A: Star 3 Matri 1, Seratas 5 Nur Insafi 0.

Group B: KLSS 6 SMK Padang Midin 0, SMK Tunku Besar 3 Tunas Pahang 2, BJSS JRS 0 Politeknik-KPT 3.

New Straits Times



Thunderbolt edge UniKL in thrilling decider

By S. RAMAGURU


Champions: Thunderbolt players and supporters celebrate after beating UniKL 4-3 to win the Malaysian Junior Hockey League title at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday. — S.S. KANESAN/The Star


KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt won their third MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League title on goal difference after edging Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 4-3 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Azril Misron (14th, 31st) and Amir Zulkarnain (27th, 66th) scored a brace each for Thunderbolt while 2011 league champions UniKL replied through Mohd Azrul Hasbullah (5th), M. Najmi Farizal (own goal, 29th) and Mohd Syafiq Zulzairin (38th).

Thunderbolt, league champions in 2010 and 2012 and overall champions in 2011 and 2012, completed their fixtures with 18 points – the same as second-placed Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ). Thunderbolt, who received RM15,000 for emerging champions, had a goal difference of +27 while MBPJ’s was only +2.

MBPJ took home RM10,000 while third-placed UniKL pocketed RM8,000.

Thunderbolt and UniKL went into yesterday’s match needing an outright win to take the title as MBPJ had already completed their fixtures.

And it was UniKL who shot into a fifth-minute lead when Mohd Azrul outran the Thunderbolt defence to score from an acute angle.

Thunderbolt hit back with an Azril penalty corner goal in the 14th minute.

Thunderbolt made it 2-1 in the 27th minute when Amir shot home from their third penalty corner. This time UniKL hit back after just two minutes when Thunderbolt’s Najmi slotted past his own goalkeeper.

But Thunderbolt were not done yet. Two minutes later Azril got his second, and the team’s third, off another penalty corner.

UniKL then drew level at 3-3, thanks to Syafiq’s field goal just three minutes after the restart.

It was then left to Amir to turn hero for Thunderbolt when he scored the winning goal in the 66th minute off a penalty corner.

Thunderbolt coach Wan Mohd Roslan said that winning the title was hard work.

“But we need to win titles to keep our sponsors happy. So for that reason, we’re extremely pleased to have emerged champions,” he said.

“We’re also happy that our penalty corners worked well, for once.

“All our goals today came from set pieces. Our midfield was almost non-existent.

“That is an area of concern for us for the knockout stage. But we’ll worry about that later. For now, we’re just happy to go back with the title.”

UniKL coach K. Embaraj was clearly disappointed with the result as “we had a good chance to win the game and lift the title”.

“We had the lead and we also came back to draw level at 3-3 in the second half. But we were not able to fend them off in the later stages of the match.

“We have one more title to fight for and we’ll prepare harder. We don’t want to be runners-up a second time like last year,” he said.

The teams will have a long break now as the knockout stage will only start on Feb 22.

Six teams from Division One and two from Division Two (to be decided after the playoff on Feb 15) will compete in the knockout stage.

The Star of Malaysia



MHL set to lose top stars from India and Pakistan


KUALA LUMPUR: Players from India and Pakistan usually make up the bulk of foreigners in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

But the revived hockey series between India and Pakistan in March and April could see some of the more talented players missing out on the MHL, which is scheduled to start on March 22.

As it is, Pakistan are not too keen on their players featuring in the MHL, with Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Asif Bajwa commenting that the MHL does not help in the development of his players.

“We are reviewing the participation of Pakistani players in the MHL,” Asif had said after the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) council meeting here last Saturday.

“The MHL, as we have seen in the past, does not help in the development of our players. Do we want them to play in Kuala Lumpur?

“We’ll discuss it with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) as the release is given directly to the Malaysian authorities.”

There were several Pakistan players who played in the MHL last season for clubs like Maybank and Nur Insafi, notably national stars Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmad and Muhammad Imran.

“We are concerned because the players’ form dipped drastically when they returned from playing in the MHL,” claimed Asif. “As such, we need to discuss it first before granting any approval. Our concern is the players’ form and also if the MHL is being run professionally.”

India and Pakistan will be in Ipoh from March 7 for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the MHL clubs are likely to woo their more experienced players.

Double champions KLHC are said to be keen on hiring foreign players after six of their national stars left to join Terengganu.

The Premier Division of the MHL will have six teams – KLHC, Maybank, Sapura, Nur Insafi, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Tenaga Nasional. Newcomers Terengganu have applied to play in the higher division and the MHC competitions committee will decide on it later.

Teams who have signed up to play in Division One are UniTen-KPT, UiTM, BJSS and Thunderbolt.

The MHL is slated to end on May 12.

The Star of Malaysia

 



Wapda lift Pakistan National U-21 Hockey title

LAHORE – Wapda defeated National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) 2-0 to clinch the National U-21 Hockey Championship title at Faisalabad’s Hockey Stadium on Thursday.

Wapda struck one goal each in both the halves to outsmart bankers who appeared a pale shadow in the match compared to their earlier sterling performances in pool matches of the event. Asad Bashir produced the 12th minute field goal and M Munir enlarged the lead with the 63rd minute field goal.

Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) downed PIA by 3-2 in the classification match for the third and fourth place. SSGC were locked in a 1-1 draw at half time against Arslan Sherazi scored the 9th minute goal in a field move as airlines equalised with the 20th minute goal scored by Rizwan Ali. Two minutes into second half, PIA gave a big surprise to SSGC by restoring edge after receiving a field goal from Nohaiz Malik. SSGC hit back quickly when Sohail scored a penalty corner goal in the very next minute and M Asif netted a field goal, one minute before the close of the play to herald SSGC victory.

Athletics Federation of Pakistan (AFP) president Maj Gen (retd) M Akram Sahi was the chief guest on the occasion and gave away prizes to the winners. Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Asif Bajwa, organising secretary Rana Mujahid Ali, Tournament Director M Farooq, Olympian Anjum Saeed, Olympian Danish Kaleem, Olympian M Usman, Olympian Shafqat Malik and officials of DHA Faisalabad were also present on the occasion.

The Nation



Wapda claim National Hockey Championship

KARACHI: Wapda scored a goal in each session to lift the 32nd Junior U-21 National Hockey Championship trophy, overcoming NBP 2-0 in the final in Faisalabad yesterday.

The winners dominated their opponents for the better part of an epic battle.

They adopted an aggressive strategy and began attacking right from the beginning. Their efforts paid off when they secured the lead in the 12th minute through Asad Bashir.

NBP strived for an equaliser but their attacks were not good enough to tame Wapda, who moved into the second session with 1-0 lead.

The final session saw an exchange of attacks but it was Wapda again that struck through Mohammad Umair seven minutes before the end of the game to claim the title.

Meanwhile, SSGC won bronze after edging out PIA 3-2 in the third-fourth position match.

The Express Tribune



Hockey Australia unveil new website

Partnership with IMG STG will provide a range of new services




Hockey Australia (HA) and IMG Sports Technology Group (IMGSTG) have formed a partnership that will see IMG STG provide a range of services to grow and enhance the sport of hockey moving forward.

Central to the partnership is a fresh new website, in addition to the provision of IMG STG’s 'best-in-class' technology that is currently utilised by over 38 National Sports Organisations and Elite Sporting Bodies around the world.

The new member database and online payments gateway will allow hockey to provide better services to members, reduce volunteer administration workload, accurately report participation numbers and attract new participants to the sport.  The technology partnership will also see Hockey implement a new online payment system as used by many of Australia’s prominent sporting entities including Swimming Australia and Cycling Australia.

IMG STG Chief Executive, Brian Cooney, is delighted to work with one of Australia’s most prominent sporting organisations. "The new partnership with Hockey Australia ties in perfectly with our renewed focus on the team sports market now that we have added competition management to our suite of products and the united way in which the National and State bodies have approached this project has been very encouraging."

HA Chief Executive, Mark Anderson said, "Hockey Australia is pleased to work with together with IMG STG to deliver a high quality membership product and websites to the hockey community. The project team involved representatives from across all levels of our sport. They have been impressed with the quality of the product and the responsiveness of IMG STG to their feedback. We look forward to working together with IMG STG across the hockey community to ensure that it is a successful launch."

Work has begun on the implementation of the various platforms for HA with the roll out to commence over the course of the next few months.

to see Hockey Australia's new website, please visit www.hockey.org.au.

Source Material: IMG STG Media Release.


FIH site