News for 24 February 2013

All the news for Sunday 24 February 2012


India all but through as second all to play for

Bangladesh and Ireland locked on nine points after day five

Stephen Findlater


Ireland's Alan Sothern remains equal top scorer with India's VR Raghunath (Photo: Cameraworx)

Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013, men’s day four round-up

Bangladesh – Fiji 8-4 (half-time: 3-2)

Mamunur Rahman Chayan’s four goal corner burst eventually put paid to Fiji’s hopes of a first win from a spectacular men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 in Delhi.

It helped Bangladesh land their third win from four games and, with a game against India to come, are hopeful of causing  an upset to try and make it through to round three.

Things looked to be relatively comfortable when Krishno Kumar Das scored twice in the opening eleven minutes, first with a tidy one-on-one finish, next when he guided home Md Mosiur Rahman Mosiur’s whipped pass.

Kamruzzaman’s excellent rising effort made it 3-0 before Fiji stormed back into contention.  Jerome Edwards scored their first with a very smart piece of work down the right, lifting it in from a narrow angle. And Adrian Smith scored his second of the competition from the same corner that succeeded against China for 3-2 at half-time.

Chayan’s first flick made it 4-2 but, again, Fiji replied this time from Alasace Smith’s thumping penalty corner strike. Chayan, though, formally killed off the game with three more drags in the closing 16 minutes to take away Fiji’s dream while Sheikh Md Nannu spun home in the middle of a late goal-rush. Adrian Smith got his second in the final minute to cap a lively performance but Bangladesh’s win means they will certainly finish above their pre-tournament seeding.

Oman – Ireland 2-7 (half-time: 1-3)

Ireland produced a solid if unspectacular performance from a scrappy men’s Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013, beating Oman to improve their chances of progressing to round three. Alan Sothern started their run with his seventh goal of the tournament following a sharp turn and shot and they moved two up when Geoff McCabe’s right wing cross took a heavy deflection from Salim Ali Al Zadjali.

But Oman were an aggressive lively force throughout and nicked one back via Mohamed Hubais Al Shar’s heavily deflected drag-flick in the 28th minute. Conor Harte’s corner goal reasserted Irish control before half-time and a second half effort from Sothern along with two from Mitch Darling extended the lead to 6-1. Al Shar replied from the penalty spot but Davy Carson’s neat chip completed the scoring for Ireland.

China – India 0-4 (half-time: 0-2)

India cruised their way to victory over China to all but ensure they progress to round three of the men’s Hero Hockey World League 2013. Indeed, only a loss in their final game against Bangladesh and a miracle on the goal difference front could see them overhauled by two teams. Two goals in each half were served up the Delhi hosts, the first coming from VR Raghunath’s high drag-flick in the 12th minute, his seventh of the competition. Raghunath added his and his country’s second amid a scramble following a baseline pull-back in the 28th minute to double the difference.

Four minutes into the second half, any lingering Chinese hopes were further dented Mandeep Singh played a ball through his legs to Dharamvir Singh who bundled in once more. And the scoring was completed by Rupinder Pal Singh as he netted his sixth penalty corner goal of the tournament. Should India claim even a draw against Bangladesh in their final game, they will be crowned the tournament champions. China need a huge win meanwhile, over Ireland to have any chance of breaking into the top two.

FIH site



India registers fourth consecutive win

Y. B. Sarangi



Job well done: V.R. Raghunath celebrates with teammates after scoring against China on Saturday. Photo: R.V.Moorthy

India tamed a defiant China 4-0 to register its fourth consecutive win in Round 2 of the Hero Hockey World League (HWL) at the National Stadium here on Saturday.

The host, which will play Bangladesh in its last league outing on Sunday, has 12 points to remain on top and strengthen its claim for a spot in the next round of the HWL.

It was a different kind of test for the busy Indian attackers. The forwards, who were supported well by the fluent midfielders, worked hard and utilised the free space on both the flanks. But they struggled to get past the strong Chinese wall.

After five failed attempts in the initial 10 minutes, India — which required sharpness in finishing — drew first blood through V.R. Raghunath’s penalty corner conversion.

India extended its lead after another phase of toil. Raghunath slotted the ball in from the left in the 28th minute. The host would have taken a comfortable 3-0 lead at half-time had Mandeep Singh’s hit not sailed over the crossbar.

The Indian frontline showed maturity in executing moves and scored two quick goals after the break. Dharamvir Singh slotted in one from a coordinated effort, while Rupinderpal Singh found the mark off the second short corner.

The results: Bangladesh 8 (Krishno Kumar Das 3, 11, A.H.M. Kamruzzaman 16, Mohd. Mamunur Rahman 48, 54, 65, 68, Sheikh Mohd. Nannu 55) bt Fiji 4 (Jerome Edwards 17, Adrian Smith 24, 69, Alsace Smith 51).

Ireland 7 (Alan Sothern 15, 38, og- 26, Conor Harte 30, Michael Darling 40, 43, David Carson 56) bt Oman 2 (Mohd. Hubais Al Shar 28, 50); India 4 (V.R. Raghunath 12, 28, Dharmvir Singh 39, Rupinderpal Singh 43) bt China 0.

The Hindu



Indians enjoy a rainy evening against China

By Ritu Sejwal


NEW DELHI: Indian men maintained their all win record on a wet Saturday evening beating China 4-0 in the Hero World Hockey League at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Rain in later part of the match failed to dampen the spirit of the players and the fans who cheered endlessly despite a slow-paced game. VR Raghunath, Mandeep Singh, Dharamvir and Rupinder Pal Singh scored for India. Sunil SV was awarded the player of the match.

Top-ranked India now stand firm at the top of the table with 12 points from four matches. Ireland, who beat Oman 7-2, are placed second with nine points and are followed by Bangladesh who beat Fiji 8-4. With this win, India have strengthened their position and are almost through to the next round.

The Chinese strategy to crowd the goalmouth every time the hosts launched an attack worked initially but they couldn't hold on too long. Raghunath struck the first blow, making capital of a penalty corner in the 12th minute.

The hosts built on every possibility of attack but commendable show by Chinese goalkeeper Yuanlong Yu kept the Indians at bay. Indian forwards did not take long to come up with a new strategy as Raghunath slammed a loose ball home in the 28th minute. A minute later, Mandeep hit wide with just the goalkeeper to beat.

The Chinese too tried worked hard and on occasions broke through the Indian midfield but ran out of ideas after that.

The Indians came back stronger in the second half and scored in the 39th minute through Dharamvir. The Chinese tried to fight back but Rupinder Pal Singh's conversion of a penalty corner in the 43rd minute nailed the issue.

A penalty corner just seconds before the final hooter gave China the chance to hit one back but a wet turf worked against them.

"We are happy that we are almost there. Bangladesh have sprung a few surprises in the tournament and we won't take them lightly. Will try to play our best game," captain Sardar Singh said.

The Indian men now play Bangladesh while Indian women take on Russia on Sunday.

The Times of India



India outclass China 4-0 in Hockey World League

NEW DELHI: A dominant India continued their winning spree, outclassing China 4-0 to register their fourth consecutive victory in the men's competition of the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Saturday.

Vice-captain VR Raghunath (12th minute, 28th) scored two goals, while Dharamvir Singh (39th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (43rd) sounded the board one each for the Indians.

By virtue of this win, India have consolidated their position at the top of the standings with 12 points from four games, ahead of second placed Ireland who are at nine points from as many matches.

The Indians will play third-placed Bangladesh in their last round-robin match on Sunday and a win will see them progress to the third round of HWL, a qualifying tournament for next year's World Cup to be held in Hague, The Netherlands.

Against 18th ranked China on Saturday, the Indians not only started the match as favourites but also lived up to the billing, dominating the share of exchanges for the entire 70 minutes.

The Chinese were no match for the 11th ranked Indians in terms of skill and filed play as the visitors struggled to get the ball to the other half of the field for most part of the game.

The occasions when China did manage to get inside the Indian D, their forwards lacked purpose and were easily stopped by an alert Indian defence.

From the onset, the Indians mounted continuous raids into the opposition half and got numerous scoring opportunities, but the Chinese had to thank their goalkeeper Xu Rui who denied the hosts on at least three occasions in the first 10 minutes.

But it didn't take India too long to drew the first blood as Raghunath converted the hosts' first penalty corner in the 12th minute.

Raghunath was once again in the thick of things when he scored India's second goal, a field effort, after a brilliant run down the left flank.

India could have scored another goal two minutes later but an unmarked Mandeep Singh shot over from top of the 'D' to go into the breather with a 2-0 lead.

The Indians continued in the same breathe after the change of ends and tripled their lead four minutes into the second half when Dharamvir scored from a close range following a fine one-two by SV Sunil and Mandeep.

Rupinder then converted India's second penalty corner in the 43rd minute to make it 4-0.

Thereafter, the Indians earned two more penalty corners, but wasted both.

The Chinese did manage to earn their lone penalty corner in the dying moments of the match, but to no avail.

India captain Sardar Singh was satisfied with his side's performance but refused to underestimate Bangladesh whom they face on Sunday.

"We are happy that we have moved closer towards qualifying for round three. We are in a good position but we are in no mood to take Bangladesh lightly. They have sprung a few surprises in the tournament," he said.

The Times of India



India continue winning streak, beat China 4-0



Rupinder Pal Singh. Getty Images

India continued its winning streak at the men's Hero Hockey World League Round 2 and strengthened its position at top of the table with a convincing 4-0 win over China at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi on Saturday.

After its fourth consecutive win, India remained at the top of the table with 12 points from four matches and are followed by Ireland (9) and Bangladesh (9) in the second and third place. The top two teams will qualify for the third round of the World League, which is a qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup.

Though China are ranked seven placed behind India in the FIH rankings they put on a good fight and made the hosts work hard for the goals.

Despite making regular inroads, India just got four penalty corners and managed to convert two through VR Raghunath (11th) and Rupinder Pal Singh (42nd).

Raghunath added the team's second and his eighth from a scramble following a baseline pull-back in the 28th minute and Dharamvir Singh scored in 40th for the World No.11.

India were too flamboyant in their attack in the first half as the Chinese defence stood the test.

While India took the lead through the penalty corner, they had to keep changing the flanks in their attempt to score more. It finally paid off for them in the 28th minute when defender Ranghunath scored from a from the left pulling back from the back-line, as India went up 2-0.

A draw for India in their last game against Bangladesh will be enough for India to move into the next round as the tournament champions while China need a huge win over Ireland to have any chance of breaking into the top two.

DNA



Ireland ease past Oman at World League

Ireland moved another step closer to progressing as one of the top two finishers from the World League round two in Delhi as they saw off Oman 7-2 in a scrappy affair. It leaves Ireland in second place in the competition overnight, an outcome which if maintained after Sunday will see them advance to round three and a step closer to World Cup 2014 qualification.

Alan Sothern started their run with his seventh goal of the tournament and would later move up to eight to lead the tournament rankings while Mitch Darling's second half double helped him earn the man of the match award.

Sothern's first came 15 minutes in when he was found by a lovely reverse pass five metres out and he quickly turned in one touch and smashed home.
The green machine doubled up when Geoff McCabe's right wing cross took a heavy deflection from Salim Ali Al Zadjali. But Oman were an aggressive, lively force throughout and nicked one back via Mohamed Hubais Al Shar's heavily deflected drag-flick in the 28th minute. It came during a particularly messy spell in which a string of sin-binnings were dished out but Ireland reasserted their control when Conor Harte dragged home the third just before half-time.

A more fluid start to the second period yielded a glut of goals, Sothern holding off a couple of rough tackles to slide home. Darling's punch shot found a gap at the near post and his second soon after made it 6-1 with 27 minutes still to play. The game done and dusted, the tie was an exercise in frustration as Al Shar pulled one back from a penalty stroke. Davy Carson applied a delicious chip to Eugene Magee's assist for 7-2 but the closing phases saw Ireland struggle to find a route through a packed defence.

Coach Andrew Meredith felt his side could have run up more goals but was pleased to see his side in good shape going into the final round of games in the competition. "I'm happy with the three points," he said afterwards. "It puts us in a very good position to finish second. That was always the objective. There were clearly a lot of things that happened on the field that we didn't deal very well with and we got far too distracted with elements outside of our control.  Meredith continued "But we had 15 circle penetrations in the first half. That shows tenacity. We weren't as effective as we should have been but we created enough going forward to score seven goals."

Nonetheless, Ireland meet China in their final game, tipping off at 4pm (10.30pm, Irish time). The world number 19 side have been below par this tournament with 13 debutants in their midst but Meredith says they are not to be under-estimated, "They are a difficult team to analyse because they have a lot of inexperience. Historically, they are technically very good and if they combine on the day, they can be very strong. They've been inconsistent so far but they are definitely still a threat tomorrow."

Ireland Starting XI: D Fitzgerald, J Jackson, R Gormley, A Sothern, E Magee, B McCandless, M Darling, P Maguire, C Harte, P Brown, D Carson

WORLD LEAGUE 2, New Delhi, India

Ireland 7 (A Sothern 2, M Darling 2, C Harte, D Carson, own goal)
Oman 2 (M H Al Shar 2)

Irish Hockey Association media release



Bangladesh beat Fiji 8-4 in Hockey World League Round Two

By Arani Basu


Mamunur Rahman Chayan's four goal corner burst eventually put paid to Fiji's hopes of a first win from a spectacular men's Hero Hockey World League Round Two 2013 in Delhi.

It helped Bangladesh land their third win from four games and with a game against India to come, they are hopeful of causing an upset to try and make it through to round three.

Things looked to be relatively comfortable when Krishno Kumar Das scored twice in the opening eleven minutes, first with a tidy one-on-one finish, next when he guided home Md Mosiur Rahman Mosiur's whipped pass.

Kamruzzaman's excellent rising effort made it 3-0 before Fiji stormed back into contention. Jerome Edwards scored their first with a very smart piece of work down the right, lifting it in from a narrow angle. And Adrian Smith scored his second of the competition from the same corner that succeeded against China for 3-2 at half-time.

Chayan's first flick made it 4-2 but, again, Fiji replied this time from Alasace Smith's thumping penalty corner strike. Chayan, though, formally killed off the game with three more drags in the closing 16 minutes to take away Fiji's dream while Sheikh Md Nannu spun home in the middle of a late goal-rush.

Adrian Smith got his second in the final minute to cap a lively performance but Bangladesh's win means they will certainly finish above their pre-tournament seeding.

The Times of India



It's all in the family

Mereseini Marau In New Delhi, India



The Smiths in New Delhi ... From left, dad and coach Hector Sr, Adrian, mum and manager Mili, and team captain Hector Jr. Picture: PENI TOTOKA

Hockey seems to be a family affair for national men's coach Hector Smith Sr. Everyone at home including his wife Seinimili is involved in hockey.

His son and namesake Hector Jr is the national captain, his youngest son Adrian has won accolades for his performance and their mum Seinimili is the team manager.

And they are not the only Smith's in the national camp.

Tai Smith, the development officer for the Fiji Hockey Federation who is also here with the national teams, is Hector Sr's sister.

And then there is Alsace Smith, who is their grand nephew.

Hector Sr was a former national rep.

And he happened to have a strong influence on the choice of his three children's sport.

Seinimili, who only plays social hockey, said the sport had been part of her family for as long as she could remember.

Their oldest daughter Lucretia, son and national captain Hector Jr and nippy Adrian started playing hockey when they were small.

While the two older children only began to play competitive hockey when they went to Suva Grammar secondary school, the youngest and the most outstanding player in the national team for this tournament played for Holy Trinity Anglican School because his school Suva Primary were not involved in hockey back then.

"That's the only sport we play at home and its easy for us because we all go to the same place and at the same time when we go for competitions or trainings,' Seinimili said.

"We support our children in this sport and we are glad that they took to the sport seriously."

Seinimili said they had been looking after the national team for a number of years now.

"Hector was taking the women's team but since our two boys are in the men's team we decided to help the men's team because they didn't have a coach and asked Shaun Corrie to take the women," she said.

The Smiths are offering their services for free.

"We do this for the love of the sport," said the Fiji Hockey Federation treasurer. "Hockey has been part of our family and we are glad that our children followed their dad's footsteps."

All their sacrifices in hockey paid off when the national teams defied all odds to come and play in the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 in New Delhi.

"We qualified after winning the Oceania Pacific Cup, but it was the finances that was the main problem for the teams," she said.

"Because of family matters, Lucretia was not able to come but she was also training for this tournament."

And she said her three grandchildren were showing an interest in the sport too.

Hector Jr said having his dad as coach, mum the manager and his younger brother in the team that represented Fiji a world event was an honour.

This is the first time the national hockey teams have toured to a country apart from Australia and New Zealand and play other high-ranked teams.

Adrian spoke highly of his family support saying it motivated him to play his best.

"I have a lot of support and encouragement from my family and I always value that," he said.

Adrian has tons of respect for his older brother saying he is one of the best hockey players in the world.

"But he doesn't know that," he said.

"I'm proud to have him as our captain, he is the most nicest person I've known and he hardly talks."

The Smiths family are not the only families in this national camp.

Women's coach Shaun Corrie's younger brother Terence is the men's vice captain.

His wife Melba Nautu is the captain of the women's team.

Women's manager Seraphina Mock's son Denzel is also in the team.

And there are sisters goalkeeper Losana Tadu and dual international Soko Salaniqiqi.

The Dutta siblings Leevan and Tiara.

And also assistant manager and former national rep Sainiana Hick's daughter Rita is in the women's team.

The Fiji Times



Nadia urges team to go all out against Japan

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman has called on her team-mates to play above themselves when Malaysia face Japan in a crucial match in the second round of the women’s World League in New Delhi today.

Malaysia are lying third in the six-team competition with nine points from three wins and a defeat. Japan and India are tied with 10 points but the host top the standings with a better goal difference. Only the top two teams will qualify for the World League semi-finals.

“We are just one match away from qualifying for the World League semi-finals. We need to give everything in this match,” said the 28-year-old Nadia, a veteran with 97 international caps.

Malaysia have never beaten Japan. In their last encounter at the Olympic qualifiers in Kazamigahara, Japan, last year, the Malaysians were humiliated 8-0.

“This is the biggest challenge in my hockey career. But I believe nothing is impossible. We upset Russia 3-1 in the opening match. Japan could only draw 1-1 with Russia in regulation time (Japan eventually won the match through a penalty shootout).

“We want to create another upset. It is within our reach,” said Nadia, who has scored four times in the tournament.

The Star of Malaysia



Malaysian women: The faces that hide nothing

Shashank Gupta


These two faces strike ones’ eyes as one settle down and start watching Malaysian girls in action in the ongoing Hockey World League in Delhi that is on its last phase now.

Yes, Fatin Shafika and Raja Nor Sharina catch the eyes, not just being as dynamic as any other battle hardened pro would on the turf, but also for some other reason: they play in Hijaab.

“It’s an open culture in Malaysia. We aren’t from traditional families, it’s just what you choose,” responds a 17-year old Shafika.

Her comment is corroborated by 22-year old Sharina, a University of Malaysia student.

The young Shafika, a 11th standard student, has hockey genes in her veins, as her father and brother too play hockey.

Although Shafika is extremely shy and blushes at every question, she is quite opposite on the hockey field –very dashing and conquering.

“I want to go up, and up in the field, score as many goals as possible,” the midfielder shares in Malay, as her compatriot translates it in English.

Both are friends, and evaluate each other’s personality with fun. vHer friends says that Shafika is always on the phone. When asked if that is her boyfriend on the other side of the phone, she is quick to say a big ‘No’, but smiles and says, “I just like talking to friends.”

Shafika is an avid facebook user, and her role model is Jamie Dwyer. She wants to emulate him. However, when on asked what will be the first thing she will do if she were ever to meet him, her answer reflects her young age, “I will take a picture with him!”

Perhaps to post in her facebook!

Sharina, who is ‘Raja’ to her friends, is a University student, is more academics-oriented though revels quality time with Malaysian novels.

Raja is more experienced of the two, has been playing for Malaysia as young as 18 years old. She was also a part of Round 1 Hockey World League where Malaysia topped the table undefeated. vHowever, Raja has a lighter side to her character. She can change the mood of others.

“Whenever my mentor, Juliani Din Mohamad is sad, I go up to her, crack a joke and make her laugh,” she says with a tinge of mischief on her face. Both of these players have the same passion for any given game, “We want to be in the first-11 fielded in a game.”

And why is it so?

“Because the first-11 is the best of the team; we want to be the best,” they say in unison. Raja won the ‘Player of the Match’ award for the Kazakhstan match which Malaysia won 3-1.

Stick2Hockey.com



‘We play only for our passion’, say Kazakhstan Women players

Shashank Gupta


There is little presence of Hockey in Kazakhstan; In fact, the temperatures are sub-zero, there is no synthetic turf, the players of the Women’s Hockey team find it a bliss to be here in Delhi for the ongoing Hero Hockey World League Round 2.

“I have been here a number of times before and the climate here is wonderful. The people are also nice,” says a much experienced 35-year old Gulnara Imangaliyeva whose first visit to India was back in ’96 when she represented the Kazakhstan National team in the Indira Gandhi Gold Cup ‘96. Gulnara hails from a family of sports professionals and was initiated to Hockey at the age of 13, very much like her much younger compatriot Alissa Chepkassova, a 22-year player of the team, who picked up the Hockey stick at the age of 11.

Most of the Kazakh players come from the city of Taldykorgan, where most of their sporting activity takes place.

However, the 33rd-ranked Kazakhstan hasn’t had a great outing in this tournament so far due to a number of reasons.

“The climate here is much different from the one back home. Moreover, we have practiced in indoor environment and this is the first tournament of the season in outdoor. The game here is very difficult on the technique and tactic fronts. We will attempt to score more goals in the upcoming games,” says the Kazakh coach Serik Kalimbayev, who represented the Soviet Union Men’s National team in the 80’s.

Beating Russia is something special for these ladies. “Oh yes, we would definitely like to beat them. If not that, we want to score a few goals against them,” says the Imangaliyeva, who was also the highest scorer in the Round 1 of the same tournament hosted in Kuantan, Malaysia, in Sept ’12. Then why do these women play Hockey when their nation focuses on many other popular games like Ice Hockey, Football and Volleyball?

“We just love the game Hockey. Without a doubt, we will encourage our next generation to take up Hockey,” say the two passionate women players.

Stick2Hockey.com



Black Sticks Women drop opener in Argentina


NZ goal scorer Gemma Flynn

The Black Sticks Women have been defeated 4-1 by Olympic silver medallists Argentina in their first of a five test series in Rosario, Argentina.

A goal late in the second half by Gemma Flynn got the Black Sticks on the scoreboard and was some reward for a competitive first up game by the predominantly young and inexperienced Kiwi side.

Katie Glynn played her 100th international test match today and captained the side. This Black Sticks team features eight players who played at the 2012 London Olympics, while head coach Mark Hager continues to blood several young athletes in a new cycle now leading up to the Rio Games.

“We created enough opportunities throughout the game which was pleasing, but we just didn’t take our chances. The Argentina goalkeeper had a great game and I think we lacked a little bit of experience in our penalty corner defence letting in three penalty corner goals,” said Hager.

“We were really competitive, but they were efficient in scoring the goals and we weren’t. We had enough chances to get right in the game but we just didn’t make it happen. We will take a lot from it and hopefully put in a better performance in the next game,” said Hager.

Argentina was up 3-0 at half time after scoring two penalty corners and a field goal. They scored another penalty corner late in the second half, but two minutes later New Zealand scored off a penalty corner variation when Anita Punt flicked it to Flynn on the post who tapped it in.

Stand out players were Rose Keddell (Aged 18, Midlands), Northland’s Stacey Michelsen and Auckland’s Katie Glynn.

The Black Sticks play their second test against Argentina tomorrow at midday (NZ time).

RESULT:

Full time: 4-1 (Argentina win)
Half time: 3-0 (Argentina lead)
NZ goal scorer: Gemma Flynn

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Black Sticks women lose opener to Argentina


NZ hockey player Katie Glynn. Photo / Mark Mitchell.

The New Zealand women's hockey side have begun their five-match series against Argentina with a 4-1 loss in Rosario this afternoon (NZT).

A predominantly inexperienced Black Sticks team held their own against the Olympic silver medallists but they were unable to match their clinical finishing, particularly from penalty corners.

Argentina were 3-0 up at halftime after scoring two penalty corners and a field goal. The hosts notched another penalty corner late in the second half, before the Black Sticks scored from a penalty corner variation which saw Anita Punt flick to Gemma Flynn to tap in on the post.

The goal provided some reward for a fighting first up effort on the tour, with coach Mark Hager continuing to blood several young players in a new cycle leading up to the Rio Olympics.

"We created enough opportunities throughout the game, which was pleasing, but we just didn't take our chances," Hager said. "The Argentina goalkeeper had a great game and I think we lacked a little bit of experience in our penalty corner defence, letting in three penalty corner goals.

"We were really competitive, but they were efficient in scoring the goals and we weren't. We had enough chances to get right in the game but we just didn't make it happen. We will take a lot from it and hopefully put in a better performance in the next game."

Stand-outs for New Zealand were 18-year-old Rose Keddell and veteran striker Katie Glynn, who captained the side in her 100th international test match.

The second test is tomorrow at midday (NZT).

Result from the first women's hockey test match between Argentina and New Zealand in Rosario, Argentina today:

Argentina 4 New Zealand 1 (Flynn)

HT: 3-0

The New Zealand Herald



SA hockey men ready for Brazil

JONATHAN COOK


Last Friday was South Africa men’s hockey team head coach Charlie Pereira’s 51st birthday and his players could do nothing more than also reward the former SA midfielder with a win against Brazil on Wednesday in Rio de Janeiro to celebrate their mentor’s “50th Test match cap” and first as coach.

The former SA vice-captain played 49 times for SA and Wednesday represents his first big test as coach – and he is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring his charges are read for the challenge in this their first match in the World League Round 2 event, where the prize is entry to the WL semi-finals.

The SA team will be captained by Rhett Halkett and apart from Brazil will tackle tournament favourites Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and the USA.

The top two teams at the conclusion of the Rio round-robin tournament will qualify for the two World League men’s semi-finals events, which will take place in Rotterdam, The Netherlands from June 13 to 23, and in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from June 29-July 7.

Those countries that qualify for the World League semi-finals in The Netherlands and Malaysia will be divided into each eight-team tournament on the basis of their world rankings and the top four in each semi-final event will go through to the eight-team final early next year.

The SA team arrived safe and sound in Rio on Friday and training is going very well according to Pereira. “We have had two sessions, with the practice game versus the USA on Saturday, which was played in our second session,” the SA coach said Sunday morning.

“Friday’s s training was obviously at a lower intensity with jet lag and lack of sleep proving difficult to overcome. Our recovery by Saturday was very good and we trained for 75 minutes and then played 25- and 20-minute halves against the USA. We were 3-0 up at half-time and eventually won 3-0, something we have been chatting about. We must attack the lead, and go for the jugular, 3-0 should become 6-0.”

Pereira said the SA lads are looking sharp. “I was amazed at the change from Friday. The recovery from travelling has been good and if we can push on and train hard we will be good for Brazil Wednesday. We had a penalty corner session Saturday afternoon and apart from some small niggles everybody is fit and healthy.

“We had to get GB [Matthew Guise-Brown] onto an antibiotic for an infection in his thigh.”

Pereira said he and trainers Craig Fulton and Pierre le Roux have made a small adjustment to the SA playing pattern that allows the team to attack more. “Our aim is to look for vertical progression and break lines so that we are then challenging the opposition defence. We also want to use the pace we have to get forward and be as direct as possible. Then of course we need to prepare the team in all aspects of our play, starting with outlet play from the back, positioning and link-up play in midfield and then our attack.”

SA MATCHES (SA time)

Wed 27 Feb vs Brazil (2 pm)
Thurs 28 Feb vs USA (4 pm)
Sat 2 Mar vs Trinidad & Tobago (4 pm)
Sun 3 Mar vs Argentina (4 pm)
Tues 5 Mar vs Chile (2 pm)

SOUTH AFRICA MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM

Miguel da Graca, Clint Panther, Ricky West, Oliver Whiteley, Rassie Pieterse (all Southern Gauteng);
Lloyd Norris-Jones, Craig Haley, Ashlin Freddy, Austin Smith, Pierre de Voux (all Western Province);
Taine Paton, Tim Drummond, Gowan Jones (all KZN Coastal Raiders);
Jethro Eustice (KZN Inland);
Jonty Robinson, Rhett Halkett (capt), Matt Guise-Brown (all Northern Blues);
Julian Hykes (North West).

Management - Head Coach: Charlie Pereira. Trainers: Pierre le Roux and Craig Fulton. Physical Conditioning Coach: Rob van Ginkel. Video Analyst: Mo Malebye.

SA Hockey Association media release



Electric Ireland Irish Senior Women Ready For Action

Electric Ireland Irish Women's coach Darren Smith  is looking forward to his first World League campaign with the Green Army with confidence claiming his side ‘are fit, healthy and ready for action.'

Ireland arrived safe & sound in Valencia on Thursday ahead of the Green Army's opening encounter with Czech Republic on Monday 25th February 2013. Ireland then face Belarus the following day. There's then a 3 day gap for Ireland to recover and hit the training field again before The Green Army face hosts Spain for the 4th time in a month on 2nd March 2013, having played three fiercely contested warm-up games at  training camp earlier this month. Ireland will finish off their World League 2 campaign v Italy on 3rd March 2013.

Speaking to hockey.ie ahead of World League 2, Electric Ireland Irish Women's Coach Darren Smith said 'I'm looking forward to the start of the tournament and seeing the girls in action against some good teams. Belarus have been promoted to A division of the European Championship and won World League 1 in Prague late last year finishing ahead of Scotland and Italy. They will be very competitive and a tough team to break down. Spain and Italy play with that skill and freedom that can cause any team problems if they are not prepared and aware.'

Irish fans of the Electric Ireland Irish Senior Women's Squad will be able to watch all four games of the tournament live on the FIH website at http://www.fih.livesport.tv/schedule

World League 2 Fixtures - Valencia, Spain (All times local)

25/02/2012 Ireland v Czech Republic (10:30am)
26/02/2012 Ireland v Belarus (11:00am)
02/03/2012 Ireland v Spain (1:00pm)
03/03/2012 Ireland v Italy (11:00am)

Electric Ireland Irish Senior Women's Squad

1. Niamh Atcheler (UCD)
2. Aine Connery (Corinthian)
3. Nicci Daly (Loreto/Holcombe HC, England)
4. Nikki Evans (UCD)
5. Emma Gray (Hermes)
6. Nicola Gray (UCD)
7. Michelle Harvey (Pegasus)
8. Lisa Jacob (Hermes)
9. Sinead McCarthy (Hermes)
10. Katie Mullan (UCD)
11. Anna O'Flanagan (UCD)
12. Audrey O'Flynn (Hermes)
13. Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins)
14. Pamela Smithwick (Old Alex)
15. Emma Smyth (Railway Union)
16. Alex Speers (C) (Railway Union)
17. Nikki Symmons (Loreto)
18. Chloe Watkins (UCD)

Irish Hockey Association media release



Euro heartbreak for Leicester indoors

Despite putting in their best performance of the tournament so far against German favourites Rot-Weiss Koln, Leicester lost their final pool match at the EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup 2-0 on Saturday morning. The result confirmed the Midlanders' place in Pool C in Vienna.

Pool C sees the bottom two sides in A and B compete to survive the drop to Europe's second tier next season.

And in their first of two games in Pool C, Leicester went down 2-1 to hosts SV Arminen. Katie Long equalised the Austrians half time lead shortly after the break from a penalty corner but their hopes of a share of the spoils were smashed in the dying seconds as Arminen struck from their own set piece.

The result means England's representatives are relegated with a game to play and Reading, next year's representatives, will play in the second tier.

The opening day of the EuroHockey Indoor Club Cup had seen Leicester lose their first match narrowly by just 1-0 to Spanish side Club de Campo before losing to Ginta Strekta of Lithuania 3-1 in the afternoon.

Despite conceding to the Spanish before the break, the 2012 Maxifuel Super Sixes Champions couldn't find a way past the solid defence.

Against Gintra Strekte, Leciester were behind after seven minutes but it remained 1-0 at the break and the Pukkas were well in with a chance. But midway through the second half they conceded a second and a third soon after. They withdrew goalkeeper Maddie Hinch in an effort to battle back but ultimately went down 3-1; Kerry Williams bagging the late goal for the Pukkas from a penalty corner.

Leicester's final match is against Ritm-Azot Grodno of Belarus on Sunday morning (09:00).

England Hockey Board Media release



Grove Menzieshill in relegation decider

Grove Menzieshill need a win against Russian indoor champions HC Dinamo-Elektrostal in tomorrow’s final EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy match in order to avoid relegation to the Challenge I.

The Dundonians started the day in fine form when they secured a vital 5-4 win against HK Zrinjevac in their third Pool B match this morning.

Louise Carroll grabbed an impressive four goals, including three penalty strokes and a penalty corner, before an important winning goal from Louise Baxter two minutes from time earned the Scots a vital five points to carry forward to the relegation pool.

However, Charlotte Jones’ side lost out 5-1 to Italian champions HF Lorenzoni in their first relegation pool match this afternoon. Louise Carroll got the solitary goal for Grove Menzieshill.

They now face a relegation decider against the Russians tomorrow morning with the winner retaining their place in the Trophy and the loser dropping out of the competition to the Challenge I.

For a full round-up of scores and pool standings in the EuroHockey Indoor Club Trophy, please visit the EuroHockey website.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Honours even between Kelburne and Grange


Kelburne vs. Grange SC Final

It was honours even in today’s top of the table clash between Glynhill Hotel Kelburne and Grange in the Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1 as the two pacesetters battled it out for a 3-3 draw at Bellahouston.

The Paisley side were 2-0 up but the capital outfit fought back to claim an important point and stay in contention for the Division 1 title.

Despite dropping their first points of the season, Kelburne remain unbeaten and maintain their position at the top of the league from Grange on goal difference.

They can stretch their lead to three points next weekend when they play their game in hand against Inverleith at home.

Elsewhere, Grove Menzieshill remain a single point behind the top two after a convincing 4-0 away win against AMN Hillhead in Glasgow.

Western Wildcats and AAM Gordonians was postponed.

In Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 2, Dundee Wanderers extended their lead at the top of the table to eleven points following a 6-3 win over second place Falkirk GHG.

Both Glasgow University and McWhinney Uddingston remain in the hunt for promotion following the students’ 6-2 win over bottom place Highland and the Lanarkshire side’s comprehensive 5-0 away win against Granite City Wanderers.

Meanwhile, at the foot of the table, CALA Edinburgh climbed out of the relegation zone following a vital 3-2 away win over fellow strugglers Dundee University.

St.Andrew’s University moved one place up the table after a 6-2 triumph over Alpha Data Carnegie and Stepps losing 2-1 at home to Aberdeen GSFP.

For a full round-up of today's results and league tables, please visit the Men's Aberdeen Asset Management National Leagues.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Wanderers secure back-to-back weekend wins

Dundee Wanderers look to have confirmed their place in the top half of the Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1 following wins against Inverleith and Western Wildcats.

Only Glynhill Hotel Kelburne stand in their way and the Paisley side would have to win their two pre-split matches by considerable margins to overcome their inferior goal difference to Wanderers.

The Dundonians took care of the Edinburgh side on Friday night with a 5-1 win and were successful on their travels today as they notched up five goals without reply against Western Wildcasts at Auchenhowie.

In Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 2, Watsonians moved up to second in the table after a 2-1 away win against Granite City Wanderers in Aberdeen.

The Edinburgh side are two points behind leaders GHK, who defeated Borders Fjordhus Rievers 4-1 at Tweedbank.

Elsewhere, Haddington Ladies recorded an important 4-1 win over Waverley Inveresk Trinity to move six points clear of their rivals at the foot of the table. Glasgow University remain in the relegation dogfight after a 4-1 defeat at home to city rivals Hillhead Ladies.

Erskine Stewart’s Melville against Highland was postponed.

There was a shock in Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 3 as leaders AAM Merlins Gordonians suffered a 6-0 defeat at the hands of second place Dundee University.

Aberdeen University moved up to third with a 2-0 win over Ayr Ladies, while Bon Accord MBC secured a good result away to Stirling University, winning 3-2.

St.Andrew’s University recorded a comfortable 4-1 win over Stirling Wanderers.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Canterbury lose out to Reading


Reading women 2012-13

LEADERS Canterbury missed out on a good chance to open up a gap on second-placed Leicester in the Investec Women’s Premier Division, but they suffered a 2-0 home defeat to Reading on Saturday.

Reading, who are also strong contenders to reach the end of season play-offs, hadn’t read the script as they powered to a 1-0 lead inside the first minute courtesy of an Elizabeth Hunt strike.

A second goal from Elspeth Cockburn seven minutes from time sealed the win for Reading who remain in third.

Bowdon Hightown closed the gap to fourth-placed Surbiton when they won 4-2 at Olton and West Warwickshire to draw level on points and pull closer to a spot in the end of season competition.

Olton started brightly and found the net twice in the opening seven minutes to put Bowdon on the back foot.

But Tina Cullen came to Bowdon’s rescue after half an hour, slotting in to lead the fight back. Further goals from Sally Walton and Claire Hartley put Bowdon 3-2 up.

Naomi James had the chance to draw Olton level after being handed a penalty stroke by the referee on 63 minutes, but her effort hit the post and her misery was further compounded a minute from time as Claire Hartley swept home to wrap up the points.

Clifton have to keep picking up points If they want to be in the mix come the end of the season and they did just that with a 4-2 win at University of Birmingham.

Sutton Coldfield also have an outside chance of making that top four and they kept up the pressure on the teams above with a 5-2 win over basement club Slough. Jane Sixsmith and Sarah Mills both scored a brace.

Beeston suffered only their second loss of the campaign in the Investec Conference North, although it was a heavy one as Loughborough Students hit top form to win 7-3.

In the Investec Conference West, Buckingham continued their remarkable run of form with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Gloucester City. That’s 14 wins from 14 now.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (February 23 2013):

Investec Premier Division: Slough 2, Sutton Coldfield 5; Canterbury 0, Reading 2; Olton and West Warwickshire 2, Bowdon Hightown 4; University of Birmingham 2, Clifton 4.

Investec Conference East: Wimbledon 2, Oxford Hawks 1; Chelmsford 0, Ipswich 0; Bromley and Beckenham 1, Old Loughtonians 1; St Albans 1, Harleston Magpies 1.

Investec Conference North: Brooklands Poynton 2, Wakefield Bradford 2; Beeston 3, Loughborough Students 7; Whitley Bay and Tynemouth v University of Durham postponed; Ben Rhydding 1, Liverpool Sefton 0; Cannock 1, Doncaster 2.

Investec Conference West: Bristol Firebrands 3, Taunton Vale 0; Swansea City 5, Staines 0; Buckingham 3, Gloucester City 0; Trojans 3, Barnes Ealing Hounslow 1; Isca 3, Stourport 2.

England Hockey Board Media release



Beeston's Super Sunday against Loughborough Students


Ben Arnold celebrates a goal for Beeston in the Men's Hockey League

Come and watch two of the country’s top sides battle it out in a Midlands derby as Beeston play Loughborough Students in the Men’s Premier Division on Sunday 24 February.

With Beeston sitting in top spot and Loughborough Students creeping up to third it promises to be a thrilling encounter with both sides aiming to finish in the top four to give them the chance to compete in the League Finals Weekend on 13-14 April at Reading Hockey Club.

With representatives from England, Scotland, Wales and Great Britain in their ranks this is your chance to see top class hockey and who knows, maybe even spot future Olympic stars.

Beeston’s Super Sunday will take place at Highfields Sports Club at 2pm on Sunday 24th February and they are hoping for their biggest attendance for a Premier League match.

Families are welcome and there will be a free bouncy castle for Children, as well as food and drinks and a fully licensed bar serving real ales supplied by Nottingham based, Castle Rock Brewery.

Prior to the big game there is a warm up match between Beeston and Loughborough Students 2nd teams in the Midlands Challenge League which starts at 12pm.

Tickets available on the door only: £4.00 adults, £2.00 students and under 18’s are free.

Parking at the club is free but allow extra time for your journey due to the tram works in the area.

England Hockey Board Media release



Tough task for Revington

THE Malaysian national coach Paul Revington will have his hands full as he attempts to take Malaysia to a better finish than the sixth last year, and seventh the year before in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on March 9-17.

Australia will start as favourites but Malaysia will also have to contend with 2012 champions New Zealand, Pakistan, India and South Korea.

"We have had a good couple of weeks of training and recent games against Ireland to prepare for the Azlan Shah Cup. It is always nice to have games at the end of a training phase and I think both Ireland and New Zealand (end of the month) games are well timed for us," said Revington at yesterday's sponsorship presentation ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.

The Azlan Shah Cup received an RM1.7 million boost yesterday, as the   longest running international hockey event in the world enters its 22nd edition.

Raja Muda Perak Raja Nazrin Shah was present to receive the contributions from sponsors. Yayasan Sultan Azlan Shah, represented by Raja Datuk Seri Eleena Sultan Azlan Shah, handed the highest amount of RM500,000.

Also present was Tan Sri P. Alagendra, the secretary general of the Asian Hockey Federation.

Revington sees Australia as the raging favourites to claim a record seventh Azlan Shah Cup title.

"Australia are always highly competitive no matter what players they bring to an event.

"Pakistan and India are experiencing an upward curve in performance while Korea and New Zealand are both arriving with new coaches and with teams that have produced consistently strong performances in recent years."

l THE Malaysian women's hockey team must beat Japan in Round Two of the World League in New Delhi, India, today.

Coach Nasihin Nubli and his charges were left with only  one option to qualify for the semi-finals stage for a shot at  playing in the World Cup.

Their task was made difficult after Japan held India to a 2- 2 draw and then beat them 3-2 in the penalty shoot-out which  left both sides with 10 points each with a match to spare.

Malaysia, who have nine points from three wins, fell behind  as the tournament has a unique format where every match  must produce a winner.

And if there is a draw, a penalty shoot out is conducted  where the winners collect two points and the losers one  point.

Japan, who have two wins and two draws, won both their  shoot-outs and this has given them the edge even though  Malaysia have won three matches.

After beating Fiji 12-0 on Friday, Nasihin said: "The  big win has set up the mood to challenge Japan, and I am confident we will not disappoint."

New Straits Times



We need to get our fundamentals right, says coach Revington

KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey coach Paul Revington is not setting a target for Malaysia in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from March 9-17.

For the South African, he is more interested in getting the team’s fundamentals right.

Besides Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan and South Korea are in the fray. All five invited teams are past champions and are ranked higher than Malaysia. Malaysia are the odd ones out, finishing second three times.

“I am not too concerned about what the other teams are doing at the moment. We are several months or even years behind most of the world’s top 10 teams. We have a lot of catch-up to do. We need to get our fundamentals right as it will help us to play consistently well,” said Revington after the launch of the 2013 edition of the tournament here yesterday.

Malaysia are using the tournament to prepare for the World League semi-finals, a qualifier for the 2014 World Cup, in Johor Baru in June.

“We must use every available opportunity to bridge the gap against the world’s best. In that sense the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is an important part of our training programme,” he added.

Revington believes world champions Australia are the favourites for the title.

“Australia are highly competitive no matter who they bring to a tournament. Their depth of talent is well known.

“As for Pakistan and India, they are experiencing an upward curve in performance which is healthy for the international game.

“South Korea and New Zealand are both coming with new coaches. But they have produced consistently strong performances in recent years,” said Revington.

In the run-up to the tournament, Malaysia will play two friendlies against New Zealand in Malacca on March 4 and 5.

The Star of Malaysia



Malaysia in for a rough ride...

THE Azlan Shah Cup received an RM1.7 million boost yesterday, as the the longest running international hockey event in the world enters its 22nd Edition.

Incepted in 1983, the tournament will be held in Ipoh on March 9-17 with Australia as the raging favourites to lift their sixth title.

Defending champions New Zealand, who beat Argentina 1-0 in the final last year, Pakistan, India, South Korea and hosts Malaysia are the other casts for the Six-Nation.

Raja Muda Perak Raja Nazrin Shah was present to receive the contributions from sponsors in Kuala Lumpur. Yayasan Sultan Azlan Shah, represented by Raja Datuk Seri Eleena Sultan Azlan Shah, handed the highest amount of RM500,000.

Also present was Tan Sri P. Alagendra, the secretary seneral of the Asian Hockey Federation.

National coach Paul Revington will have his hands full as he attempts to take Malaysia to a better finish than the sixth last year, and seventh the year before.

“We have had a good couple of weeks of training and recent games against Ireland to prepare for the Azlan Shah Cup. It is always nice to have games at the end of a training phase and I think both Ireland and New Zealand (end of the month) games are well timed for us.

“And I will be looking for results, which means I will be pushing for improvement in performance in every match,” said the South African.

Revington sees Australia as the raging favourites to claim a record sixth Azlan Shah Cup title.

“Australia are always highly competitive no matter what players they bring to an event. Their depth of talent is well known and they will arrive as favourites for the title.

“Pakistan and India are experiencing an upward curve in performance, which is healthy for the international game. While Korea and New Zealand are both arriving with new coaches and with teams that have produced consistently strong performances in recent years.”

“We will name 16 players on Thursday before the New Zealand games - with two final places possibly being announced after the NZ games,” said Revington.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey



Shakeel, Waseem dropped from Azlan Shah squad

Mohammad Yaqoob


LAHORE: As expected four changes were made to the 18-member Pakistan hockey squad announced here on Saturday for the upcoming Azlan Shah Cup scheduled to be held from March 9 to 17 in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Those who made it to the national team for half-line position are Tassawar Abbas and Amir Shahzad while strikers Imran junior and Irfan junior have also been inducted with Mohammad Imran being retained as captain.

Seasoned campaigner Shakeel Abbasi and Waseem Ahmad along with Rashid Mahmood and Rizwan senior have been dropped to give them rest and to test new players.

Announcing names of the team, head coach Akhtar Rasool accompanied by coach Hanif Khan and assistant coach Ajmal Lodhi told media that all the seniors were still part of the national pool of players.

It is to be noted that Shakeel was not fully fit due to his injury he received in the last Asian Champions Trophy while Waseem suffered fever when the camp started here on Feb 10 with both the players reporting to the camp commandant about their absence from the camp.

However, Rashid and Rizwan did not report to the camp since they had left for Holland to play league matches after only informing the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).

However, it has also been decided not to take any action against them.

The head coach maintained that the new players have been inducted into the squad with the hope to find out new talented players to strengthen pool of players for future tough assignments, adding that it was an ideal time to test new players.

He further said that all the four players had proved their mettle in the last national junior hockey championship due to which they got the nod from the team management.

Akhtar said that though he did not expect a place on the podium, the team would certainly give their best to achieve the best possible results during the Azlan Shah Cup.

He claimed that the boys had done a good training in the camp and would play a decent game to maintain the winning streak.

It is also pertinent to mention that Pakistan team have recently earned a bronze medal in the Champions Trophy held in Australia and clinched the Asian Champions Trophy staged in Doha.

Also, Hanif backed the head coach over the selection of the team, saying that though critics would criticise the decision of giving chance to the new players, it was the need of the hour.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Imran Butt, Imran Shah.
Full-backs: Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Imran (captain), Muhammad Atiq.
Half-backs: Rizwan junior, Farid Ahmed, Amir Shahzad, Mohammad Tauseeq, Tasawar Abbas.
Forwards: Waqas Sharif, Shafqat Rasool, Haseem Khan, Mohammad Imran junior, Ali Shah, Mohammad Suleman, Kashif Ali and Irfan junior.
Seven standbys: Khalid Butt, Kashif Shah, Sabtain Raza, Muzammil Bhatti, Mohammad Suleman, Arslan and Dilbar.

Dawn



Squad announced for Azlan Shah Hockey Cup



Muhammad Imran Senior was reassigned the role of team captain to lead the new young talent in the Azlan Shah Hockey Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmed, Rashid Mehmood and Rizwan Senior will miss out on the Azlan Shah Hockey Cup in Malaysia, as Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) coaches Akhtar Rasool and Hanif Khan announced the squad in Lahore yesterday.

According to Khan, four adjustments had been made to the team. Tasawar Abbas, Muhammad Shahzad, Muhammad Imran Senior and Muhammad Irfan Junior have been chosen to replace the seniors for the tournament which will start from March 9, while full-back Kashif Shah has been given time off to rest.

The squad was chosen based on the players’ performance in the national training camp which started on February 10 with 32 probables. Khan said the seniors were still a part of the team; however, the coaches wanted to test out the new talent in Ipoh.

“It is the only tournament where we can test the new talent before the Asia Cup and Challenge Cup in September,” Khan told The Express Tribune. “Abbasi and Waseem have their own importance, but at the moment we don’t have anyone to replace them in the bigger tournaments.

“We started short-listing the youngsters a month ago before the camp started, and now we have a good mix of players. This is the time when the younger talent can prove their worth. As far as Abbasi and others are concerned, we will need them in the future.”

Meanwhile, Khan also emphasised that other teams in the Azlan Shah Cup, including India, Australia, New Zealand, the hosts and Korea will be relying on new players, which was why Pakistan needed the younger talent to counter the opponents.

“Other teams will also use younger players in this tournament. It’s an invitational event so it’s a good time to test these players. Major players are given rest from these tournaments everywhere, so it is definitely not a snub for the seniors.

“Our goal is to have the best possible combination before the Challenge Cup.”

The team will be leaving for Ipoh on March 7, while the camp will continue for two more weeks.

It’s a good time to test the juniors: Abbasi

Abbasi felt that the pressure to lead the team will be on Muhammad Waqas and Shafqat Rasool in the presence of new players.

“It’s a good time to test the juniors, the ball is in their court,” said Abbasi. “The seniors are still working hard to win events.

“We won the Asian Champion’s Trophy last year, and then won a bronze in the Champions Trophy, so it’s time for the younger players to step up. We are all trying to have a strong team by September. We can’t afford to experiment in bigger tournaments, but the Azlan Shah Cup is a good event to test the combination.”

The Express Tribune



Shakeel Abbasi and Wasim Ahmad given ‘rest’

Pakistan names 18-member squad for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

By Muhammad Ali




LAHORE: Pakistan hockey selectors on Saturday named an 18-member squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be played from March 9-17 in Ipoh, Malaysia. The team was announced by chief coach and manager Chaudhary Akhtar Rasool at a press conference at the National Hockey Stadium. Mohammad Imran will lead the squad, but senior players Shakeel Abassi and Wasim Ahmad have been given rest. The team have four new faces and the team management is hopeful to get decent results in the event. “The team are a blend of youth and experience. The fresh legs are half line players Amir Shahzad, Tasawar Abbas and forwards Irfan Junior and Mohammad Imran Jr,” said Akhtar who took over as coach for the London Olympics last year. Coaches Hanif Khan and Ajmal Lohdi were also present on the occasion.

The team chief coach said the seniors had been given ‘rest’ in order to test the abilities of new players. “Rizwan Senior, and Mohammad Rashid, who preferred playing league abroad rather than joining the national camp, were not considered. The team management has sent a complaint against them to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF),” he said.

When asked about the team’s chances, Akhtar refused to predict the team’s chances on reaching the victory podium, saying that they were working hard on improving the team’s performance and were confident to get decent results. “I don’t want to make tall claims regarding the team reaching the victory stand, but one thing is very clear that we are going there with a high aim to show consistency keeping in mind our title victory in the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha last year.”

Akhtar said the four new players were from the junior team and the team management had taken Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as an event to test the talent of new players for building the senior team for future needs. “We are giving rest to some senior players because Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is the only tournament ahead of us to gauge the potential of new players as we will be playing a number of important tournaments afterwards and there is lesser chance to induct new faces,” he stated.

The former Pakistan captain said he had faith in new comers and believed they would be justifying their inclusion by putting up their best in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in which world’s best teams would be participating. He said the team management was making changes in the side keeping in view the future assignments including next year’s World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Hanif Khan said he was not afraid of criticism and was fully satisfied on the selection of the team. “We are going to try new players and at this stage it is difficult to say how they will perform but hopefully they will live up to the expectations,” he maintained.

Pakistan finished a poor seventh in the 2012 Olympics but since then have shown improvement by finishing third in the annual Champions Trophy in Australia and by winning the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha, Qatar – both last year. New Zealand will defend the Sultan Azlan Shah title after winning last year's event. Australia, India, host Malaysia and South Korea are the other teams taking part. Pakistan will face New Zealand in their opening game on March 9. Pakistan have a rich history in field hockey, having won three Olympic and four world titles, but the greenshirts have slumped since winning their last major title in 1994.

Squad:

Goalkeepers: Imran Butt, Imran Shah. Full-backs: Mohammad Irfan, Mohammad Imran (captain), Muhammad Atiq. Half-backs: Rizwan Junior, Farid Ahmed, Amir Shahzad, Muhammad Tauseeq, Tasawar Abbas. Forwards: Waqas Sharif, Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Mohammad Imran Junior, Ali Shan, Muhammad Suleman, Kashif Ali and Irfan Junior.

Stand byes: Khalid Butt, Kashif Shah, Sabtain Raza, Muzammal Bhatti, Muhammad Suleman, Mohammad Arslan and Mohammad Dilbar.

The Daily Times



Pakistan announces squad for Azlan Shah

LAHORE: Pakistan on Saturday rested five of their key players in a bid to try out some youngsters for next month's Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Malaysia.

The six-nation tournament will be played in Ipoh, Malaysia, from March 9-16.

The 18-man Pakistan squad will be led by Mohammad Imran, but senior players Shakil Abassi, Mohammad Waseem, Kashif Shah, Mohammad Kashif and Rizwan Senior will be rested.

Coach Akhtar Rasool said the team is a blend of youth and experience.

"We have rested some players in an attempt to try out some youngsters for the future assignments," said Rasool, who took over as coach for the London Olympics last year.

Pakistan finished a poor seventh in the 2012 Olympics but since then have shown improvement by finishing third in the annual Champions Trophy in Australia and by winning the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha, Qatar -- both last year.

New Zealand will defend the Azlan Shah title after winning last year's event. Australia, India, host Malaysia and South Korea are the other teams taking part.

Pakistan will face New Zealand in their opening game on March 9.

Pakistan has a rich history in field hockey, having won three Olympic and four world titles, but the country has slumped since winning its last major title in 1994.

Squad: Mohammad Imran (captain), Imran Shah, Imran Shah, Tassawar Abbas, Imran Junior, Rizwan Ahmed, Mohammad Ateeq, Arsalan Qadir, Mohammad Suleman, Mohammad Dilbar, Irfan Junior, Amir Shahzad, Fareed Ahmed, Mohammad Tauseeq, Shafqat Rasool, Abdul Haseem Khan, Waqas Sharif, Ali Shan.

The Times of India



Telkom Orange win as Kenya Police are held to a draw

By Oscar Pilipili



Joan Chemutai of Kenyatta University (left) tries to dribble past Telkom’s Margaret Kinuthia during the National Hockey Union tournament at City Park, on Saturday. [PHOTO: MARTIN MUKANGU/STANDARD]

NAIROBI; KENYA: The eagerly awaited Nairobi Hockey Association tournament bullied off to blistering pace at City Park Stadium on Saturday.

The tournament offered a great opportunity for teams to gauge their readiness for the new season and so they turned out in large numbers.

Big guns showed their intention to come out victorious by winning respective opening matches.

Despite not fielding some of their regular players, National women’s league champions Telkom Orange had little difficult in dismissing Kenyatta University 3-0 in their first match of the competition.

Jackie Mwangi who was voted the top scorer with 20 goals last year sent strong signals of achieving the feat again after she struck a hat-trick for the Orange women during the match.

The tournament that is featuring mainly league-playing teams saw Vikings defeat Mount Kenya University 3-0 to be ranked among the favourites.

One goal each from Jacinta Nthenya, Jacinta Masila and Charity Milla were all that Vikings needed to bag maximum points in the second women’s encounter of the day.

Premiership runners-up Kenya Police were held to 1-1 draw by KCA University in their first match.

Veteran striker Moses Cheplaiti scored for Police while Chris Wokila replied for the Thika Super Highway-based students.

Technical University displayed a spirited show before succumbing to a slim 1-0 defeat in the hands of experienced Green Sharks.

Andrew Young scored Sharks’ winning goal.

Other teams participating in the two-day tournament are: Wazalendo Youth, Strathmore University, United States International University, Sliders and Parkroad.

Nairobi Hockey Union secretary Tom Olal  said this is the first in a series of tournaments that will culminate in launching of a league in Nairobi County.

He indicated that the branch which houses most hockey teams in the country is complimenting efforts by the national office to improve the standards of Kenyan hockey.

“The state of hockey in Nairobi reflects the face of the sport in the country because most players are found in the Capital City,” said Olal.

“Expect to see more and more of such tournaments take place in Nairobi.”

According to Olal, the tournament ends today with prize giving ceremony at the same venue.

Winners in each category will be awarded Sh20,000 and runners-up pocket Sh10,000. The top scorer in each category gets Sh2000 each.

“We welcome all hockey fans to come in large numbers and witness our teams showcase what they would offer during the national league,” added Olal.    

The Standard Online



HI derecognises Air India for non-payment of membership fee

NEW DELHI: Hockey India on Saturday derecognised Air India as its associate member with immediate effect due to non-payment of membership fee.

The decision was taken unanimously in the executive board meeting of HI held on Saturday at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

HI derecognised Air India for non-payment of their annual membership fee since 2010-11.

Air India has been a member of HI since 2009 and in 2012 it was demoted to associate Member due to non-payment of their annual membership fee.

HI secretary general Narinder Batra said despite repeated reminders Air India has not paid its annual membership fee since 2010-2011, following which the national body was forced to take the extreme step according to its rules and regulations.

"Although it was tough to derecognise Air India as an associate member but discipline should be maintained for the smooth functioning of the National Sports Federation. We expect all the affiliate members and associate members to work professionally which is the basic criteria to develop any sport in the country," Batra said in a statement.

Hockey India now has 32 state member units, five associate members and two members through State Olympic Associations.

The Times of India



Honourary doctorate recognition for hockey, asserts AB Subbaiah

By Jaideep Shenoy


MANGALORE: Olympian Anjaparavanda Bopaiah Subbaiah was an elated man. He saw honoris causa given to him by Mangalore University at the 31st annual convocation held on Saturday more as a recognition for India's national game -- hockey rather than the individual and also elated that the university had chosen to honour a sportsperson with a honorary doctorate. This doctorate could inspire other sportspersons also to excel in their chosen sport, he said.

Interacting with TOI on the sidelines of the convocation, Subbaiah, former India goalkeeper who thwarted many a ferocious raids on Indian citadel in his hey days said, "I have been associated with hockey in its various facets for the past three decades -- as a player, coach, selector and administrator." Stating that he is not against any other sport cricket included, he said it is a matter of satisfaction that academic bodies are recognising sportspersons.

Eminent saxophone artist -- Kadri Gopalnath on whom Bangalore University conferred an honorary doctorate in 2004 said he was elated that a university in his home town had deemed it fit to recognise his achievements in the field of music with a honorary doctorate. "It always feels nice when a institution in one's place of birth recognises an individual," said Gopalnath, who has received numerous recognitions from institutions the world over.

Dramatist Chandrashekara Kambhara, winner of Jnanpeeth award in 2011 was happy that Mangalore University had recognised him for his literary prowess. The founder vice-chancellor of Kannada University, Hampi, Kambhara said, "It is a matter of satisfaction when any university recognises an individual with a honorary doctorate." HR Bhardwaj, governor, also the chancellor of the university conferred the honorary doctorates.

The Times of India



Malaysia, MEG in league decider

By Sunil Subbaiah


BANGALORE: The Malaysian Junior National team quelled a late DYSS 'A' surge to score a 3-1 victory to move into the final round of the Super Division hockey league (first phase) here on Saturday.

The Malaysians, who topped their group will now take on MEG 'A, who held ASC to a 2-2 draw and finish first in their pool. The winner of the contest will advance to the National League to be held is the third week of March.

Malaysia made it to the decider following an unbeaten run while MEG, who were tied with ASC with four points each, prevailed on a better goal average. The scorers for Malaysia were Fitri Saari (7th), Hafiz Zainol (58th) and Rashid Baharom (66th) while Sheshe Gowda fetched DYSS a consolation goal in the eighth minute.

Having already secured a berth in the decider, Malaysia began aggressively, mounting forays and attacking in precision. Their efforts bore fruit in the seventh minute when they earned a penalty corner with Saari finding the target following a direct hit.

DYSS retaliated immediately through Sheshe Gowda. Launching a solo counter from the midfield, Sheshe Gowda was barely tested as he dribbled down the flanks before slotting the ball home.

DYSS were relentless in the final minutes but the visitors held their nerve to thwart the threats.

Thirteen minutes to the close, DYSS were reduced to ten men when Sachin Mallad was given temporary marching orders following dangerous play. He was earlier booked in the second minute for a similar offense. Mallad's teammate Shreyas GR too was penalized in the 65th minute for a rough tackle in the Malaysian circle.

Results: Malaysia: 3 (Fitri Saari 7; Hafiz Zainol 58; Rashid Baharom 66) bt DYSS 'A': 1 (Sheshe Gowda 8); MEG 'A': 2 (Robin 72; Sagaya Jaychale 38) drew ASC: 2 (Baria 11, 24).
Sunday's fixtures: 4.15pm: Malaysia vs MEG 'A'.

The Times of India



Juniors need something extra   

STIFF TEST: PJCC vow to fight despite missing key players

By JUGJET SINGH



Petaling Jaya CC’s Muhammad Farid Md Zuki (right) tries to get past SSTMI Juniors’ Khairul Helmy Mohd Napi in their first leg quarter-final of the Milo Cup on Friday. Pic by Owee Ah Chun

TENGKU Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Juniors know that they have to produce more of the same if they are to advance to the semi-finals of the Milo Cup today.

They stunned Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) 4-3 in the first leg quarter-finals on Friday but the one goal cushion is not enough against a team who came so close to winning the league title.

PJCC only lost the league title to Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (Thunderbolts) on goal difference after both sides ended with 18 points.

The main reason PJCC are in trouble is because of suspensions to their key players.

Khairol Shafik Kasim and Asraf Zulzali are not eligible for the quarter-finals after picking up demerit points, while Khairol will also miss the first leg of the semi-finals if his team get past SSTMI Juniors.

"The suspensions hit us hard as my side looked lost without the key players. Frankly, we were lucky to reduce the deficit from 4-1 to 4-3 with a final push to give us hope for the return leg," said PJCC coach Azlan Saufi Hafifi

"I knew it would be tough for us in the knock-out stage as the stakes are much higher. But we were slow in starting off the match and fell back early. Hopefully, my players will play consistent hockey to bounce back in the return leg."

The other three first leg ties turned out to be one-sided affairs, and SSTMI Thunderbolts, Anderson and UniKL will have easy return legs after taking big leads.

Today -- Q-finals, 2nd leg: KL Sports School (0) v Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (4) (Ministry of Education, 5pm); Kelantan (1) v Anderson (5) (Terengganu, 5pm); Malacca High School (0) v UniKL Young Guns (7) (Bukit Serindit, 5pm); SSTMI Juniors (4) v Petaling Jaya CC (3) (Taman Daya, 5pm).

Note: First Leg scores in parenthesis.

New Straits Times



No big hurdle for MBPJ

By S. RAMAGURU



Splash: UniKL’s Muhammad Haziq Samsul (right) tussling for the ball with a Malacca High School player during their quarter-final first leg match of the MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Friday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) are unperturbed they have a one-goal deficit to overcome against SSTMI Juniors in today’s second leg quarter-finals of the MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League.

MBPJ surprisingly lost 4-3 at home in the first leg on Friday, but assistant team manager Zainal Abidin Ismail believes it is not an insurmountable task to reach the semi-finals.

“All we need is an early goal to rattle SSTMI. Luckily, it’s only a one-goal deficit. We’ll attack from the get-go. We believe we can win the match,” said Zainal.

MBPJ were the only big guns to suffer defeat on Friday. Champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and MBI-Anderson are all virtually assured of places in the last four.

Thunderbolt were 4-0 winners over Division Two champions Kuala Lumpur Sports School, but coach Wan Mohamed Roslan does not want his team to take the foot off the pedal for the return leg.

“We will not take things for granted. We will play to win. But we may give some of the fringe players a chance to play,” said Wan Mohamed.

UniKL were the biggest winners on Friday, thumping Malacca High School 7-0. They will play the return leg at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium.

Coach K. Embaraj, however, is not going to let his charges relax.

“We will field the best players as we want to try out a few strategies for the semi-finals. We also have the two suspended players (Mohamed Azrul Hasbullah and Meor Mohamed Azuan) back. We want them mentally and physically ready for the semis,” added the former international defender.

Like Thunderbolt, MBI-Anderson also have a four-goal cushion after beating MSS Kelantan 5-1 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh. It is highly unlikely they will fumble against the Division Two outfit despite the return leg being held at the Kuala Terengganu Hockey Stadium.

The Star of Malaysia



Counsels summoned in Sardar case



KARACHI: Abdul Aziz Memon, the commissioner appointed by Sindh High Court has issued letters to counsels of all parties involved in a damages/defamation case filed by senior journalist Sardar Khan (picture) to appear before him on March 7, 2013 at court’s Bar Library.

The court last month had accepted Sardar’s plea seeking appointment of a commissioner for expediting the suit filed in 2010. 

The commissioner, a former district judge has asked the counsels to appear with all relevant evidence, affidavits etc.

Sardar, a former employee of Voice of America is seeking damages of Rs1380.3 million.

The case was filed against Asif Bajwa (Secretary Pakistan Hockey Federation), Voice of America (VOA-BBG) Ms. Jennifer Janin (Head of Urdu Service VOA), Razi Rizvi and Kokab Farshori, (Managing Editors in Washington), Ayaz Gul (VOA Bureau Chief), Pakistan Herald Publications (DawnGroup) along with its employees Rishad Mahmood and Shazia Hasan.

Journalism Pakistan