News for 09 April 2013

All the news for Tuesday 9 April 2013


MHL gets thumbs up from Revington



National coach Paul Revington has been monitoring the TNB Malaysian Hockey League for the past three weeks and has given it the thumbs up from the competitive edge right to the ability of players and teams.

And he reckons the keen competition is good for Malaysian hockey as the national players are provided with good matches week in and week out thus keeping them on their toes as the new list of national trainees will only be revealed after the MHL is over.

"I think the speed of all the games I have watched has improved , and I believe this is as a result of a few things. Fitrstly several teams feel they can win the event

"Secondly there is more equal distribution of the Malaysian senior squad players and a subsequent increase in quality foreign players.

"Finally several of the players have entered the MHL on the back of several months Senior squad training, Project 2013 training, MJHL or SASC , more for the foreign players," said Revington.

The South African also revealed that he was constantly on the look out for talented players to be called up for national training in the new list to be unveiled end of the MHL.

"There are several players who have "caught the eye" - but the key will be for these players to produce consistently strong performances throughout the MHL. Consistency is the key," added Revington.

"I must add taht the foreign players have added great value - even if they are primarily from one country."

Revington also made clear the schedule for the national players during the MHL as some felt that he was disrupting the preparation of the MHL teams by having players training during the MHL.

"The he Senior Squad were scheduled to get back onto the pitch this week (Tuesday and Wednesday) in smaller training groups - however I cancelled the sessions for this week. I am very sensitive to "over-training" the players when they are in their League season and if I am selecting a squad from the MHL I must give these guys the best chance to perform in the MHL games," clarified Revington.

"Watching the MHL the past few weeks I believe the squad need to continue to focus on their club performances and I don't want to compromise this (important) club performance quality.

"The Senior squad players are expected to attend twice gym sessions a week (on Tuesday and Thursday) at the ISN with Behrad Honer - compared to three sessions a week outside of MHL phase."

On the preparation of the national side for the World League Semis and the Asia Cup, Revington revealed that besides the matches against China in May, they were also looking at a playing tour in South Africa early June.

"The Tour to South Africa is by no means confirmed. We have meetings this week to finalize our lead up to WL3. I have requested to Tour South Africa between the dates 3-13 June. If we travelled to SA we would hopefully play 4-5 games and all played "up North" in Potchefstroom and possibly Johannesburg too,' said Revington.

Unofficial MHL site



Team to maintain status quo

HAPPY: Terengganu manager has no plans to hire a consultant or change the coaching set-up

By Jugjet Singh



Terengganu’s Fitri Saari (left) is challenged by UniKL’s Mohd Taufiq Abdul Hamid in their Malaysia Hockey League match in Kuantan on Sunday. Pic by Afif Abd Hali

TEAM manager Saberi Salleh  said Terengganu will stick with the present coaching set-up for the second round of the Malaysia Hockey League, as he feels his team have achieved their target even though the results are not  encouraging.

The debutantes had secured six national players to strengthen their campaign, while the rest were mostly Malaysia Games players.

"If you study the standings, Terengganu look like a flop in their first Premier Division season. But in reality, the six national players who we hired have been instrumental in helping our Malaysia Games players improve their game.

"The management can see this change in the young boys, and so, we have no plans to hire a consultant or change the coaching set-up for the second round," said Saberi.

Terengganu paid big bucks to secure Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Fitri Saari, Azlan Misron, Shahrun Nabil, Ismail Abu and Ameerullah Aziz but they have been a flop as they have only one win and one draw to show.

"Every team have an objective, and ours is to help the youth in our team become more confident, matured players by playing alongside established names.

"The state government has pledged to continue supporting our team to play in the MHL, so we are not in for the short term, but looking to nurture our state-born players into better players and I am sure the results will follow suit," said Saberi.

Their only win was against Nur Insafi (5-1) while the draw was against Tenaga Nasional (4-4).

They will open their second round campaign against UniKL, who beat them 3-1 on Sunday.

At the other end of the scale, defending champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) have a four-point lead over Sapura and Tenaga at the halfway stage.

New Straits Times



Dharmaraj worried injuries may scupper KLHC’s run

By AFTAR SINGH



Injured: Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor (front) is among the four key KLHC players on the crock list.

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions KL Hockey Club (KLHC) lead the standings halfway through the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) season. But coach K. Dharmaraj is worried with the number of injuries in the team.

The two-time double champions have 16 points from five wins and a draw. And they have an unassailable four-point lead over second-placed Tenaga Nasional and third-placed Maybank.

Dharmaraj said that injuries to key players like defenders Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, S. Shanker and midfielders Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor and Mohd Anuar Sham Kamar could affect their performance in the second round, which begins on Friday.

Razie, who is the penalty corner specialist, is down with a hamstring injury while Shanker suffered a shoulder injury against Terengganu last Friday.

Nabil is still recovering from a knee injury and he did not feature in the last two matches against Terengganu and Sapura in Kuantan last Friday and Sunday. Anuar is also down with a knee injury.

“The matches are getting competitive and all the teams need to be on their toes to give their best. I’m expecting more players to get injured in the second round,” said Dharmaraj.

“All the teams not only have calibre players but they also have good coaches and they will be going all out to end our unbeaten run.

“So, we not only have to play consistently well but also make sure that the rest of my players stay injury-free,” added Dharmaraj.

KLHC will open their second round campaign against Sapura on Friday before they take on debutants Terengganu on Sunday.

Dharmaraj said they faced some anxious moments against Sapura on Sunday before winning 3-2.

“Sapura put us under pressure by taking an early lead before we fought back to take a 3-1 lead. They narrowed the deficit and came very close to scoring an equaliser.

“We can expect another tough encounter against them on Friday. And I hope my injured players will recover in time for the tough match,” said Dharmaraj.

The Star of Malaysia



A casual conversation with Mohammed Imran, regarding blending the old and new skills

By Shiv Jagday


On a hot Sunday evening, March 31, 2013, during the ongoing Malaysian Hockey league, where Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club  (KLHC) had convincingly defeated Nur Insafi club by a margin of 7 – 0. I had an opportunity to strike a casual conversation with Mohammed Imran, captain of the current Pakistan hockey team, and now playing for the KLHC, who seemed to be in a good mood. Obviously, as his club team had just won!

Mind you, I am a complete stranger to this young man, as we were meeting for the first time. Here is how the conversation went.

Q .1.Mohammed, do you think that the silky skills of former Pakistani greats, Manzoor junior and Shabaz Ahmed, be effectively applicable, in today’s game?
A. Mohamed promptly replied - even before I had completely finished asking the question - No way; the game has changed and there is no place for those skills in today’s game.

Q.2. How come, can you please elaborate this point further?

A. See the size of the field has increased in fact doubled. Now we play between, base line to base line, where as, in the earlier days, they used to play between 25 to 25, he elaborated, while pointing towards the field, which was hardly more than 20 meters away, from us, and the league match between Club Sapura and Terengganu was in progress. Further he added that the game had become very fast with the addition of the self pass and self goal.

Fair enough. I agree.  Moreover the players have also attained a higher level of fitness, which has lead to an extremely higher degree of individual work rate. No question about this.

Q. 3. I diverted the conversation from a Q & A one, into a one, with leading questions.


I explained

 

  • Yes there is a higher work rate
  • Pace of the game has extremely increased
  • Size of the field has increased
  • Game has become more of a power play

But I strongly believe that there sure is a place for Manzoor Jr. and Shabaz Sr and their “creative play making” skills, in today’s game, as it will add more grace, creativity, excitement and finesse to the game.

I whispered this politely, as I did not want him to get annoyed with me, and walk away from a stranger, whom he was meeting for the first time.

I looked at Mohammed’s face, from the corner of my eye and could see the strange look on his face -sort of slightly fuming like a wounded tiger - and not being in a mood to carry on this conversation, with a stranger. To keep him interested, I diverted his attention to his personal game by complimenting his playing style as a full back, as it was graceful and honestly I like it. On top of this how he scored the opening PC goal, against India in the recently concluded Azlan shah cup. I could see the change in his mood and being more receptive.

After all, old Shivi has some tricks in his bag, to keep the younger generation interested. 

Thinking of the past; My memories also flashed back to the final day of the Azlan Shah Cup, which had concluded exactly 2 weeks ago …This is a different story that while I was watching this Azlan Shah Cup, qualification match, for the 5 -6th spot position, I was day dreaming, that those were the days, when Pakistan and India, used to meet for the gold medal match in the Olympics and World Cups, and now they are meeting for the wooden spoon match. How things change, if you don’t change with the times.

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." –Charles Darwin

Not trying to contradict myself, but one has to know, what to change – discard – and what to keep – retain. Here is where India and Pakistan went wrong. First they were too rigid and took a long time to adapt to the latest tactics and than later, went way over board and tried to completely imitate the European style and tactics and got caught in the middle, like a man with his feet in 2 boats.

Coming back to the present; All of a sudden there was a long range pass - 60 to 65 meters - to the Right Winger of the Sapura team, from his Sweeper, who was floating near his own circle. The RW received the ball and attempted to dodge his marker/ Left Half, and while doing so, the ball crossed the base line, resulting in a free hit for the opponents. I asked Mohammed, do you think, Kaleemulla would have let go the golden opportunity like this. He would have cleanly eliminated his marker, in a confined space and pass the ball to his leading Center Forward, Hasan Sarder, to deflect the ball in the left corner/ roof of the net.        

Than after a couple of minutes, the same thing happened on the left side, just near where we were sitting, the Sapura Left Winger, received a pass facing the gallery, and with his back towards  his attacking goal, I quietly whispered, nothing will happen and all of a sudden there was a Turn Over. I further commented that if Samiullah would have received this pass, he would have received the ball, with his face facing the attacking goal, and his back towards us, and in seconds, he would have eliminated the half back and either entered the opponents circle or crossed the ball to Hasan to deflect it in the goal, probably near the right corner post or roof. It seemed that I had made my point clearly and Mohammed was nodding his head in agreement. Thanks Mohammad, for being understanding!       After all I tamed a Tiger.

Yes, Samiullah, Kalleemullan, Hasan sardar, Manzoor junior, and for that matter even Shabaz senior would not, have come back in defense to do back checking, as much as one should. And this would have been suicidal in today’s game. As in earlier days, the players managed their energy wisely. Where as the current players, don’t have a choice, and have such a demanding role.

Conclusion:

Yes, the game has changed immensely, and also improved tremendously in most departments. A sad part is that, along the way, we have not been able to maintain and execute the “1 on 1 effective offensive and defensive skills”, as mentioned above. This sure has taken away a certain degree of charm from our game. In a way, making it less attractive and entertaining for the spectators.  On the other hand, a shinning example is the way football and basketball has maintained their traditional technical and tactical skills, while building upon the physical and mental aspects of the game. They sure have moved in the right direction and we not so!

With all due respect: The tragedy is that FIH and especially its Rules committee, which had and have the most brilliant brains of our game, have made way too many changes and that also too fast. Some are good and some not so good, which has affected our game in a negative way. The Governing Body of any sports has an obligation to maintain the tradition of the game, while seeking an optimum balance between “Soft Skills and Power / Speed - fitness – aspects” of the game, prior to recommending any changes. Unfortunately for field hockey, the changes that have been made over the years, in my humble opinion have not done so and taken away the emphasis of “creative Soft Skills” from the game. This has left us in a situation, making us wonder, what has happened and why did it happen?

Isn’t it true, that we were in danger of being dropped from the Olympics? We had a close shave.

Please treat the causes and not the symptoms, if we want to see our game become more spectators friendly and entertaining. Develop the creative soft skills of the young players in the junior programs. So we develop very many players of Sardar and Jamie’s level and not just a couple, which is the case now.

I was talking to a 1976 Montreal Olympic Games coach, a couple of days ago, who had watched some international games on TV. Here are his honest views, “I wouldn’t pay a dime, to go and see a current international match, which is so boring”. So sad, but so true!

  • The paradox of our time in hockey is: we have more space on the field, but less game sense and soft skills, to optimize its use
  • We have performance analysis technology at our disposal: But have difficulty teaching our players, the simple art of receiving the ball on the run and eliminating the opponent cleanly

Fieldhockey.com exclusive



Cinch for Maddie Hinch

By Graham Wilson



Maddie Hinch is confident about Leicester's chances

MADDIE HINCH says Leicester can go all the way and retain their Investec championship title after finishing the season at the top of the Premier Division with a 4-1 success against relegated Slough.

Victory meant that Leicester overtook long-time leaders Canterbury to secure their place in Europe for next season.

They will face fourth-placed Surbiton in the first semi-final play-off for the title on April 20 at Reading’s Sonning Lane ground, while Canterbury will play Reading. Hinch, England’s No1 goalkeeper, said: “We played really well in Hamburg, but didn’t put away our chances. If we play like that in the play-offs, we will be fine."

The men’s championship will be decided at Reading next weekend, with Beeston, who ran away with the league, facing the hosts. Surbiton play Canterbury, with the final taking place on the Sunday.

Daily Express



FIH CEO Fairweather speaks to iSportconnect

Inaugural Hockey India League will be ‘key’ to FIH Expansion



(Photo: (C)MARK SHAPIRO)

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is looking for the newly created Hockey India League to act as a ‘key fixture’ in their calendar, as the federation looks to have hockey played throughout the year.

The Hockey India League finished its first season in February this year, with five teams competing.

Speaking exclusively to iSportconnect, Kelly Fairweather, the CEO of FIH commented on the inaugural event: “The first one was really exciting. It was a bit of an unknown and it is no secret that it is based on the IPL model.

“There were five teams, next year we will have six. There were over 50 million viewers and it went out to 83 countries. There were over ten million viewers over the semis and the final so it is heading in the right direction.

“There is also a big following on Facebook and Twitter.”

One aspect of the game that Fairweather wants to see improved is the continuity of tournaments throughout the year, beyond the Olympic cycle.

Fairweather said that the Hockey India League would be crucial to this strategy: “To come back to our philosophy of trying to have hockey throughout the year, this is going to be a key fixture in that strategy.

“Will we have more leagues like this? We have received a lot of interest. There is already the European Hockey League which has been going for five years and we have received interest from other parts of the world.

“At the moment we want to bed down the Hockey India League in 2014, we have our World Cup in Holland in 2014, which is a joint World Cup.

“Then we are looking at expanding a women’s equivalent of the Hockey India League, but that will probably be ready in 2015-2016.”

Fairweather was speaking exclusively to iSportconnect about the Hockey India League, the success of London 2012 and why the FIH thinks social media is the way forward for second-tier sports. To read the full interview, click here >>

Source: iSportconnect

FIH site



HIL is a "key fixture" in FIH's calendar: FIH


LONDON: The Hockey India League (HIL) is a key fixture in International Hockey Federation's calendar as the event would help in enhancing the possibility of playing the game throughout the year, FIH chief executive Kelly Fairweather said.

The inaugural season of HIL finished in February this year, with five teams competing for top honours.

"To come back to our (FIH's) philosophy of trying to have hockey throughout the year, this (HIL) is going to be a key fixture in that strategy," Fairweather said.

He said the the FIH has received interests from other hockey playing nations to orgainse such leagues after the tremendous success of inaugural HIL.

"Will we have more leagues like this? We have received a lot of interest. There is already the European Hockey League which has been going for five years and we have received interest from other parts of the world. At the moment we want to bed down the Hockey India League in 2014, we have our World Cup in Holland in 2014, which is a joint World Cup," Fairweather was quoted as saying by iSportconnect.

"Then we are looking at expanding a women's equivalent of the Hockey India League, but that will probably be ready in 2015-2016," he added.

"The first one (HIL) was really exciting. It was a bit of an unknown and it is no secret that it is based on the IPL model. There were over 50 million viewers and it went out to 83 countries. There were over ten million viewers over the semis and the final so it is heading in the right direction. There is also a big following on Facebook and Twitter."

 

The Times of India



3rd Hockey India National Championships in Pune from May 28

MUMBAI: The men's Senior National Hockey Championship will be held from May 28 to June 10 in Pune, the Mumbai Hockey Association (MHAL) said on Monday.

The Sub-Junior National Hockey Championship for boys and girls (West Zone) will be held between April 11 and 16 here.

MHAL President Mangha Singh Bakshi announced this on Monday.

A committee comprising former India captains Viren Rasquinha, Anil Aldrin, Darryl D'Souza, Davinder Kumar, Girish Pimple, Cornelius D'Costa and Edgar Mascarenhas has also been instituted to work towards helping youngsters from Mumbai get selected for India camps besides conducting free and fair trials.

MHAL has given lifetime membership to 13 international players and will extend this gesture for every Mumbai player who represents India in the years to follow. They also announced a set of new initiatives including revival of tournaments like Bombay Gold Cup, Super League and leagues from senior to fourth division, a release from the association said.

"For the first time in history, MHAL will be fielding Mumbai teams for Sub Junior, Junior and Senior Nationals organized by Hockey India Men's and Women's discipline," said Bakshi.

The Times of India



HI forms high performance and development committee

NEW DELHI: With an eye to promote the sport at the grassroot level, Hockey India on Monday formed a High Performance and Development Committee for the year 2013-14 to be headed by its secretary general, Narinder Batra.

The 15-member committee includes Olympians, international players and chief coaches while Sports Authority of India will be an invitee member.

The Committee will prepare blueprints and ensure that same pattern of coaching is followed in the country at all levels, and will meet quarterly to discuss the progress.

The formation of the committee was a necessary step after appointing Dutchman Roelant Oltmans as director (high performance) earlier.

Members: Narinder Batra (Chairman), Roelant Oltmans (Vice-Chairman), Elena Norman (Convenor), Ajit Pal Singh, Balbir Singh, Dilip Tirkey, Sukhvir Singh Grewal, Thoiba Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Dr RP Singh, Surinder Kaur, Saba Anjum, Michael Nobbs, Neil Hawgood and Gregg Clark.

The Times of India



Hockey India forms High Performance and Development Committee

Having observed Indian hockey up close for a while now, Dutchman Roelant Oltmans has taken the first step towards bringing uniformity in the development of the sport across the country.

Hockey India (HI) has announced the formation of a 15-member High Performance and Development Committee for the year 2013-14. The committee will work on the development of hockey at the grassroots level in the country, on the lines of the system in Europe and Australia, under the guidance of Oltmans.

“At the moment, there are a good number of people — players and coaches — in the country who are involved in hockey and they are not on the same page. Our aim is to ensure that everyone in the country speaks the same language and is on the same page when we talk of hockey, right from the schools and grassroots to the senior national team,” Oltmans said.

Oltmans, who was appointed the High Performance Director by Hockey India in February, is already in the process of preparing blueprints to develop a uniform pattern of coaching at all levels. The structure will be finalised after consultation with other members of the committee.

“The committee is likely to meet for the first time in May since the national championships are currently on for various age groups. I expect to have at least six to eight meetings a year, to not only exchange new ideas but ensure the development continues on the right track,” Oltmans said.

The process will also include feedback and consultation with various coaches and players, working at the grassroots level. “The idea of involving Olympians, international players and national coaches is to get more and more ideas for proper planning in the development of the game,” Batra said.

The committee: Narinder Batra (chairman), Roelant Oltmans (vice-chairman), Elena Norman (convenor), Ajit Pal Singh, Col. Balbir Singh, Dilip Tirkey, Sukhvir Singh Grewal, Thoiba Singh, Mukesh Kumar, R.P. Singh, Surinder Kaur, Saba Anjum, Michael Nobbs, Neil Hawgood, Gregg Clark (all members) and the Sports Authority of India (special invitee).

The Hindu



Another Committee, another habitual ritual

Now it is High Performance and Development Committee


New Delhi - A High Performance and Development Committee for 2013-14 has been formed by Hockey India, which offers another seat of chairmanship for its omnipresent Secretary General, Narinder Batra.

The new committee of 15 members will be headed by Narinder Batra Secretary General of Hockey India and High Performance Director, Hockey India Roelant Oltmans will be the Vice-Chairman.

The committee will have Ajit Pal Singh, Col. Balbir Singh (former Olympian and National Selector), Dilip Tirkey (former Captain and Member Rajya Sabha), Sukhvir Singh Grewal, Thoiba Singh, Mukesh Kumar, Dr RP Singh, Surinder Kaur, Saba Anjum, Michael Nobbs (Chief Coach, National Senior Men Hockey Team), Neil Hawgood (Chief Coach, National Senior Women Hockey Team) and Gregg Clark (Coach, National Junior Men Hockey Team) as its members.

Ms Elena Norman, CEO, Hockey India will be the Convenor of this Committee. The Sports Authority of India will be the Invitee Members of this Committee.

This committee will work on the high performance and development of hockey at grassroot level in the country. Committee will prepare blueprints and ensures that same pattern of coaching will be followed in the country at all levels.

Since the appointment of Roelant Oltmans as Director, High Performance by Hockey India it was a necessary step to form this Committee so as to ensure that the game of hockey progresses in the country at all levels.

According to a press release by HI, the idea of involving former Olympians, International players and Chief Coaches in this Committee is to get more and more ideas for proper planning in the development of the game.

The Committee will meet quarterly to discuss the progress and share new ideas.

Stick2Hockey.com



Aussie masters in return Fiji tour

By RASHNEEL KUMAR


EXCITEMENT is building up with the impending visit of the Australian masters hockey team.

In 2012, 42 visitors made up the Australian masters mens contingent. The masters team was accompanied by family and friends.

This year there are 62 who will be visiting the country and the Fiji Hockey Federation is ready to host them.

The team arrives on April 13.

The Fiji Times