News for 04 April 2013

All the news for Thursday 4 April 2013

It's here! Hockey 5 set to make official debut

Asian Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers set to make history

Action from Day 1 of the Asian Youth Olympic Games Qualifier (Photo: Singapore Hockey Federation)

This week's Asian Youth Olympic Games Qualification Tournament is set to make history as it will be the first official FIH event to use the new Hockey 5 format. The stage is set for this exciting, fast-paced, high-scoring version of hockey to come into the spotlight at the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing. FIH.CH took the opportunity to sit down with the chairman of the FIH Competitions Committee, Ken Read, to ask some questions about what fans can expect from the new Hockey 5 format.

This is the first official FIH Hockey5 event. What can fans expect?
A lot of skillful exciting matches played between future Junior and Senior Internationals in this new version of hockey. 10 Asian teams will battle it out for the two Continental places at the Youth Olympic Games, which will take place in Nanjing, China in August 2014. Due to the limitation on a National Olympic Committee’s number of entries for the team sports of football, handball, hockey and rugby – only 1 per gender per NOC – it is in all of the teams’ interests to finish with as high a classification placing as possible, since even a finish in the lower placings may mean YOG participation. 

What are the biggest differences that people will see in the Hockey5 game?
The big differences are the size of the pitch, which is 55m long x 41.70m wide - around half the size of a normal pitch and that a maximum of 5 players per side from each team can take part in the match at any particular time. Each team must have a goalkeeper as part of their five players. The Youth Olympic Games Qualifiers will feature squads of 10 players, although for the YOG themselves it will be squads of 9 players. Matches will consist of 3 periods of 12 minutes with an interval of two minutes between each period. As regards the rules, these are simplified as compared to outdoor hockey. There are no circles, teams may shoot from anywhere, there are no penalty corners and challenges replace penalty strokes. A challenge is effectively a one on one between an attacker and a defending goalkeeper.

Why did the FIH decide to go with Hockey5 for the Youth Olympic Games?
We had seen the success of the 3 on 3 basketball at the last Youth Olympic Games, as well as the impact that twenty 20 and rugby 7s have had on cricket and rugby respectively. Hockey5 is a complementary version of the outdoor game, and we would hope to create the same excitement and interest with this new version of the sport. The smaller squad sizes also enable us to increase the number of participating National Associations at the YOG.

What are the advantages of Hockey5 vs. traditional hockey?
For the Youth Olympic Games and its qualifiers, the rules and regulations must be very precise. However, outside of these tournaments, the advantage of Hockey5 is that while it is closely linked to the outdoor version of hockey, it is both adaptable and flexible in terms of the size of the pitch, the surfaces it may be played on, whether or not boundary boards are used to keep the ball in play and the number of players per team. Additionally the rules are not so complex.

What are the drawbacks of Hockey5 vs. traditional hockey?
Ask me again after the Men’s Asian U-16 Cup Youth Olympic Games Qualifier!

Does Hockey5 have a lot in common with Indoor Hockey? In what ways?
The big similarity with indoor hockey is that Hockey5 is played on a smaller pitch and with fewer players, especially when compared to traditional 11 a side outdoor hockey. The other similarity, we hope, with indoor hockey is that it will be full of end to end action with plenty of goals.

How often/when will the current Hockey5 format/rules/regulations be looked at for revision?
The current Rules and the tournament regulations for Hockey5 have only recently been drawn up. Hockey5 is a new version of the sport so some changes may be necessary in the rules in the short term, in which case the changes will be published on the FIH website. Once Hockey5 is established, we would expect it to follow the same rules cycle as for outdoor and indoor hockey.

FIH site

Pakistan to taste five-a-side pattern today

KARACHI: Pakistan will take on Chinese Taipei in their opening match of the five-a-side U16 Asia Cup in Singapore today with head coach Tahir Zaman hoping for a good start for his young side.    

This is the first time that an official tournament is being played on a five-a-side pattern and this has hindered Zaman, a former Olympian, from predicting the performance his side will put in.

“We have trained a lot for the format,” Zaman said before the match. “The players underwent a long training camp back home where they worked hard in both defence and attack areas.

“Although our team has been rated better than many other opponents, we still cannot predict the results. However, I am confident that the hard work will yield results. Hopefully we’ll get the desired results.”

As many as 10 teams are taking part in the competition that will run till April 7.

Pakistan are placed with Japan, China, Sri Lanka and Chinese Taipei in Pool A, while the other group includes Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh and Kazakhstan.

The Express Tribune

Hockey 5 format a success at Hong Kong tournament

Four test games played with Youth Oylmpic Games format

Jamie Dwyer was one of the international stars that gave a high five to the Hockey 5s

The Hong Kong Football club held its Hockey 6s tournament over Easter weekend and as part of the action, the top international stars took part in Hockey 5 matches as well to test the new format that will be used for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing.

Rain cancelled one of the three scheduled match days, but for the two days that were played, there was positive feedback from the organizers and full house of spectators. The games were played in three 10-minute periods on a smaller pitch which allowed for many goals to be on display.

The two games averaged more than 20 goals a game. With teams being allowed to score from anywhere on the pitch and high skill level of the players, it made for an exciting atmosphere.

FIH Executive Board member Michael Green was in Hong Kong for the series and shared his feedback, “Overall, the Hockey5 rules worked out very well. There were some nice changes and it was a good challenge for the players. There are still some areas that need to be monitored, for example the number of substitutions for the Youth Olympic Games, the length of the periods and whether or not there should be side boards to keep the ball in play.”

Owen Hughes, the organizer for the Hong Kong Football Club said the format was a hit, “The spectators really enjoyed the fast-paced action of the Hockey 5s format. With all the goals and the friendly atmosphere it was a very positive addition to the event.”

The results from the games, which were comprised of representatives from the respective countries and regions are below. The organizers gave each team a creative name to add to fun of the event.

Earth (Australia) beat Air (Holland) 15-8
Water (Great Britain) beat Fire (Asia) 12-8

Earth (Australia) beat Fire (Asia) 16-5
Air (Holland) beat Water (Great Britain) 10-8

FIH site

PHF to host Malaysia soon

Mohsin Ali

Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Qasim Zia

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Qasim Zia has revealed that Pakistan would soon host Malaysia as they were in close contact with Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and things were heading towards right direction.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Qasim said on Wednesday: “Hopefully, the bilateral hockey series with Malaysia will be held soon as possible. We are also in close contact with other federations, but still the security concerns are holdin international teams from visiting Pakistan.” 

He said their main task was the World Cup 2014 and the team would leave for Malaysia to take part in the World Cup qualifiers and Asia Cup while Pakistan would also participate in the Junior Hockey World Cup in Delhi.

To a query about Pakistan-India bilateral hockey series, Qasim replied: “As far as the relations between both the federations are concerned, we are enjoying very cordial ties. It is the Indian government, which is the main hurdle in restoration of bilateral series.”

“We will not play any direct series with them until and unless they fulfil the promises, but as the members of the FIH, we have to honour our commitments and have to play against them in international events, whether in India or somewhere else,” he added.

He said the federation had given chance to young players in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to groom them at international level by resting key players Shakeel Abbasi, Rashid, Rizwan Senior, Waseem and Tauseeq.

“I am quite satisfied with the juniors’ performance in the event.”

He said Sohail Abbas was given too many chances but the age factor had taken its toll. “Imran and Atiq are doing fine job in short corners department and Tauseeq is also a very good addition.”

“The main reason behind why juniors are not playing outstanding hockey is the fact that the international hockey has not been played in the country for the last few years. Though juniors are being given chances at national and international events yet we can't put too many young players in international events. But gradually the junior players will be provided chances to showcase their skills at international level,” the PHF chief said.

When this scribe asked Qasim why the federation was not taking past legends on board and not listening to their genuine demands, he replied: “Soon after taking the charge as a PHF chief, I invited all the past greats and they were very much on board. They have same passion and affection for hockey, which we have and I also wrote them letters asking them to come and guide us how to regain lost glory of hockey. But I have not received any reply from them in this regard. My doors are always open for them. Taking this opportunity through this interview, I request all the hockey legends to come and discuss with us the ways and means to improve the standard of hockey. It will not only beneficial for hockey players and federation but also for the country to climb back to the same heights which we were once,” he added.

“I am open to healthy criticism as I am very much open to suggestions. The hockey greats must come up with solid plans, ways and means, how to improve hockey and it is my promise I will do my best to implement all those suggestions in true letter and spirit,” Qasim concluded.

The Nation

Dharmaraj wants his charges to spar with foreign imports


KUALA LUMPUR: The Project 2013 squad want to play friendlies against the 20 foreign players who are plying their trade in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj (pic) said that he had requested the National Sports Council (NSC) to pay the import players to play against his team every week.

“Although most of the Project trainees are featuring for their respective clubs in the MHL, it will be worth playing against the foreign players once a week,” he said.

“We need to play as many matches as possible in preparation for the Junior World Cup (in Chandigarh, India from Dec 5-16).

“I will also get to gauge all the 35 players in the training squad.”

There are 18 Pakistani players, one Indian and one Australian featuring in the MHL.

Dharmaraj, who guided Malaysia to victory in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca last May, said they would play their first friendly against the foreigners on Tuesday.

“Although the Project players feature in the MHL, we still train every week on Tuesdays and Wednesdays,” said Dharmaraj, who also coaches double champions KL Hockey Club (KLHC).

Dharmaraj said that two or three players in the MHL had caught his eye.

“I’ll call them up to join the Project squad after the league ends on May 12,” he said.

One of them is Joel van Huizen, the son of former national coach Stephen van Huizen. Joel plays for Sapura in the MHL.

The Star of Malaysia

From England to Oman: One umpire's adventure

Paul Walker with the rest of the umpiring crew from the Oman tournament

English umpire Paul Walker recently returned from a hockey adventure where he was the neutral umpire at the inaugural Arab Club Hockey Championship in Oman. Far away from home and surrounded by an entirely different hockey culture, Walker learned many lessons during the event. Below is his first-hand account of his trip:

On the 9th March I travelled to Muscat, the capital of the Sultanate of Oman, as the neutral umpire for the 1st Arab Club Hockey Championship held from 10-18th March. I was joined by Thomas Eilmer from Austria as the Umpire Manager, along with national umpires from Oman, Egypt and Libya. The aim of the tournament was to promote hockey in the Arab region, as such, the attendance of teams and umpires from Libya went a long way to achieving that goal.

The group of umpires had a range of previous experiences and this made it a challenge to try and get the balance of servicing the tournament with the best umpiring possible and learning from each other. An equal standard of play from a number of teams created a lot of closely competitive matches that gave the umpires an opportunity to experience the pressure of an international tournament. This is demonstrated by the need for a shoot-out to decide the second team to qualify for the final, and that both the bronze medal match and final were decided after extra time and a shoot-out. Throughout the tournament, all the umpires showed improvement thanks to the coaching and feedback from Thomas.

From a personal point of view, this tournament was very different to those I had previously umpired. Local culture and tradition made the tournament fiercely competitive and also presented unexpected challenges, all of which I learnt to take in to my stride and to adapt to each set of events.

The hospitality and willingness to promote the city of Muscat and the Sultanate of Oman as a whole by the Omani umpires and tournament organisers was fantastic, with several opportunities provided to visit the significant local sites, including Sultan Qaboos Mosque and the souq (market) in Muttrah. Oman was a beautiful country and hosted a successful 1st Arab Club Hockey Championship, which will hopefully develop and flourish over the coming years.

FIH site