News for 22 March 2013

All the news for Friday 22 March 2013

Open affair in MHL

By Jugjet Singh

THE Malaysia Hockey League, which starts today, will see 20 foreign signings playing for various clubs and double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) will find it hard to defend their titles.

A total of 14 teams will battle in the Premier and First Division of the TNB/MHL.

And the monopoly of Tenaga Nasional and KLHC looks set to be broken this season, as several players have been engaged to boost the chances of other clubs.

Eighteen foreign signings are from Pakistan, and one each from Australia and India.

The clubs failed to secure more players from India due to the reluctance of Hockey India to release its current batch of national players while their juniors are embarking on an European playing tour at the beginning of May.

KLHC have signed six foreigners -- five from Pakistan and the sole Australian to replenish their squad that was hardest hit by debutants Terengganu.

Pakistan national team skipper Muhammad Imran, who scored five goals in the Azlan Shah Cup last week, leads the cast that also comprises the evergreen Waseem Ahmad, Fareed Ahmad, Muhammad Umar Bhutta and Akhtar Ali.

"It will be interesting playing for KLHC this time around as I played for Sapura last season. The MHL is an interesting league and there are no easy matches. I believe that we have a good team and we are capable of defending the titles," said Imran.

Also signed up by KLHC is Timothy James Deavin, who is best remembered for his last gasp goal against Korea at the Azlan Shah Cup that helped Australia earn a 3-3 draw.

Maybank are the other team that went on a recruitment drive, securing former Pakistan skipper Shakeel Abassi, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Waqas and Shafqat Rasool.
Sapura signed Pakistan's Khasif Ali, Yasir Islam, Muhammad Zubair and India's Raja Veerachamy.

Nur Insafi Warriors opted for six players from Pakistan -- Nasir Ahmad, Abdul Asim Khan, Shazad Amir, Imran Muhammad, Hussain Muhammad Salman and Ateeq Muhammad, all from Pakistan.

TODAY -- Premier Division: Tenaga v Terengganu (National Stadium Hockey II, 6pm), Nur Insafi v Sapura (USM, 6pm), KLHC v UniKL (National Hockey Stadium II, 8pm).

Division One: SSTMI v Thunderbolts (Taman Daya, 6pm), Ipoh CC v UiTM (Azlan Shah, 6pm), Sunday 2030 v UniTen (National Hockey Stadium I, 6pm).

New Straits Times

Beefed-up Tenaga banking on at least one silverware


New signing: Tenaga has signed on Sapura’s Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil (right) for the new season.

PETALING JAYA: Tenaga Nasional will be out to shed their bridesmaid’s tag when they start their Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) campaign against debutant Terengganu at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

Last season, Tenaga finished behind double winners Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the Premier Division of the league and the overall tournament but this time they appear to be the favourites to win at least one title.

Tenaga have better depth in the team for the new season after beefing up their squad by signing up Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil from Sapura and Mohd Ramadhan Rosli from UniKL.

They have promoted Muhammad Amirol Aideed Md Arshad and Muhamad Aminudin Mohd Zain from their junior team STMI–Thunderbolt to the senior squad.

Tenaga manager Nor Saiful Zaini Nasiruddin said they have a stronger squad this season but likewise the other teams have also strengthened their team.

“We have more depth in the squad and are stronger compared to last season but you have to remember that other teams have retained 60% of their players and have signed quality foreign players as well,” said Saiful.

“Our new signing wouldn’t have problem gelling with the rest as they had played together when they were with the national team so that gives us an advantage. We are confident of landing at least one trophy this season and will go all out in our opening match to set the tempo for the season.”

Tenaga will be vying for the honours with KLHC, Sapura, Maybank, UniKL, Nur Insafi and Terengganu in the Premier Division.

Seven teams will feature in Division One. They are Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI), Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Uniten-KPT, UiTM, Thunderbolt, Sunday 2030 club and Ipoh City Hall.

The prize money for winning the Premier Division is RM70,000. The runners-up and third-placed teams will get RM50,000 and RM40,000 respectively.

The Division One champions will receive RM30,000, the runners-up RM20,000 and third-placed team RM10,000.

The Star of Malaysia

Coach hopes UniKL can spring a surprise against fancied KLHC

Dependable: Skipper Baljit Singh Charun is among the experienced players in UniKL.

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) coach Arul Selvaraj hopes to pull off an upset when his team start their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) campaign against double winners Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) at the National Hockey stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

UniKL finished fifth in last year’s six-team league but Arul believes this season they can mount a better challenge as his players are more matured.

“Compared to last year, we did not have much time to prepare for the new season as I just joined the team on Tuesday after the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup last Sunday,” said Arul, who is the national team’s assistant coach.

“KLHC had gone through a major revamp this season and might not be sharp in the early stages of the season. It gives us a chance to snatch a win. It’s always good to play the big boys of the league early as it gives us a chance to gauge ourselves. I believe if we do everything right during the match, the results will come.”

UniKL have two experienced players in skipper Baljit Singh Charun and former international S. Selvaraju.

Arul also has the highly rated young defender G. Kavin Kartik to bolster his defence.

“We retained 80% of our players from last season and I was happy to see the players are still fresh and sharp,” added the 39-year-old Arul.

The Star of Malaysia

Executive Board makes key decisions at latest meeting

Extra time is out: shot clock for penalty corners is in

The FIH Executive Board held one of its three annual meetings last weekend in Lausanne. It was the first time that the board had met since the elections of the new members at the FIH Congress in Kuala Lumpur last November and several items were on the agenda during the busy two days.

Most notably, the Executive Board decided to implement a 45-second shot clock for all penalty corners. After seeing that the time taken for penalty corners was gradually increasing, the Executive Board felt this was an important measure to speed up the game while still giving teams enough time to prepare for penalty corners. The rule is set to take effect in time for the Women’s Hockey World League Round 4 tournament in Argentina.

Another major change on the competition side was the decision to no longer have extra time at any FIH events. Classification games that are tied at the end of regulation will go directly into a shootout.

The Invitational places for the 2014 Champions Trophy were also announced. Receiving the two invitation places for the men’s Champions Trophy are Germany and England. On the women’s side, the two coveted invitational places go to New Zealand and China.
In addition to the above decisions, the new Executive Board received updates on several of the key points in the FIH Strategic Plan. They include:

Project Brazil:
An FIH delegation was in Rio from March 3-7 for discussions about the competition venues. In addition, there is ongoing work with the Brazilian Hockey Confederation to improve the performance of the men’s and women’s hockey team via a structured performance program.

Complementary game:
Work on the Hockey 5s continues to move ahead as it will be used for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. The rules have been adapted to make it more athlete-friendly with the game being played in three, 12-minute thirds. Hockey 5s will be used for the YOG qualifiers starting in April.

Commercial Strategy:
A new commercial strategy is being launched for the 2015 – 2018 cycle with ambitious targets for sponsorship, TV/digital rights and hosting fees.

Event Assignment Process:

The Event Assignment Process kicked off in February with many National Associations expressing interest to host upcoming FIH events. The early assignment of events underpins the whole strategic plan as allows early planning and allows us to talk to sponsors and broadcasters with the knowledge of when all events take place

FIH Academy
The Academy is being created with the goal to add educational element to FIH via an academy structure approved via FIH Foundation. It will involve an online learning resources plus seminars and will be aimed at coaches, officials and administrators.

FIH site

Rasool backs revival of national selection committee

By Fawad Hussain

"The team management should be allowed to prepare the team for next year’s World Cup according to its plan," says Rasool. PHOTO: ONLINE

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team’s chief coach Akhtar Rasool backed the idea of the national selection committee’s revival, saying he has no issues if the federation decides to return to the previous mode of selecting players.

According to reports, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) was considering the revival of the selection committee after the Greenshirts’ dismal finish in the recently-concluded Azlan Shah Cup.

The federation seems unhappy with the management’s decision to make overwhelming changes – like dropping seniors Shakeel Abbasi and Mohammad Waseem – to pave the way for new faces in the tournament.

The decision has been dubbed the main reason for the team’s disappointing show.

Rasool, a former Olympian who heads the team management, said he was not against the idea of the revival of the selection committee.

“I will have no issues,” the chief coach told The Express Tribune.

“It would be a welcome development for me as I feel an increase in the stakeholders in the selection matters will ultimately benefit the team.”

However, Rasool defended team selection by his management.

“Our selection was based on honesty and there was no favouritism. We will follow the same principle if the decision to bring back the selection committee is finalised.”

Coach wants preparatory process to continue

While Rasool backed the revival of selection committee, he stressed that the team management should be allowed to prepare the team for next year’s World Cup according to its plan.

“We tested youngsters in the interest of the team. It was their first assignment and they failed because of inexperience. There was no better time to field them than the Azlan Shah Cup.

“They have no dearth of talent and we should continue giving chances to them. There’s no doubt about the team’s weakness in many areas, but excessive criticism is not fair as it is just the preparatory stage.

“We will try to remove the weakness in future training camps. Our next assignments are the World League and Asia Cup and hopefully the team will return to form in these tournaments.”

Meanwhile, Rasool added that he will submit the Azlan Shah Cup’s report to the federation shortly.

He expressed disappointment at the cancellation of the India series, terming it a big loss for both countries. Furthermore, he hinted at a plan for an extensive training camp as a replacement for the bilateral series that was scheduled next month.

The Express Tribune

Three Rock Rovers to host IHL Finals

Dublin based club, Three Rock Rovers have been selected as the hosts the Irish Hockey League 2013 Finals which will take place on the 4th & 5th May 2013.

The IHL Working Group wish to congrautlate Three Rock Rovers on securing the Finals for their club and also wish to applaud all of the clubs who submitted excellent detailed applications to host the showpiece Finals making the final descision a very difficult one.

Speaking to, Three Rock Rovers Rob Johnson said 'On behalf of Three Rock Rovers Working Committee, we're delighted that our club have been selected to host the IHL Finals on the May Bank Holiday. We're looking forwarded to finalising our plans for the weekend and providing a wonderful environment for the hockey community and people new to the game to enjoy a great weekend of activity with us in Rathfarnham'

The Irish Hockey League is in it's 5th season this year. The action begins on 6th April 2013 and continues for 5 weeks in a row before the Finals. more details surrounding the Finals will be released in the coming weeks.

IHL Men's Schedule - click here

Electric Ireland IHL Women's Schedule - click here

4th/5th May 2013 - IHL Finals @ Three Rock Rovers HC

Vistit for more info on Three Rock Rovers Hockey Club

Irish Hockey Association media release

SA hockey icon Marescia honoured by Sports Minister

Marsha given deserved credit for reaching 300 cap milestone

Marsha Marescia. (Photo: FIH / Donald Macleod)

Marsha Marescia, the Investec South African women’s hockey team captain, was honoured by Minister of Sport and Recreation South Africa, Mr Fikile Mbalula, MP, at a Gala Dinner on Tuesday night.

The occasion was a celebratory dinner hosted by the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa at the CSIR Conference Centre in Pretoria, and was in honour of the SA hockey icon having reached the 300 Test match milestone against Ghana at the World League Round 2 event in Cape Town earlier this year.

The Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa, and the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), as well as the South African Hockey Association (SAHA), also honoured the twice World All Stars midfielder and triple Olympian (Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012).

The central theme of the dignitaries who addressed the SA captain and the invited guests was how Marsha Marescia’s values have set an example for South Africa’s youth as well as South Africa’s men and women.

Highlights of Marsha Marescia's career were also shown, in which key figures in Marescia's life journey also paid tribute to her.

In her moving response, the guest of honour paid tribute to all those who had helped to shape her life and career, none more so than the central figure in her life, her mother, Marian Marescia.

Marsha Marescia (30) married Dutch hockey coach Alexander Cox earlier this year.

SA Hockey Association media release