News for 06 May 2013

All the news for Monday 6 May 2013


Mitton hat-trick seals Kookaburras victory

Jake Whetton & Josh Miller net crucial late first half goals


A hat-trick from local hero Trent Mitton and a slicker, more patient approach helped the Kookaburras to a resounding 5-2 victory over Korea in Perth on Sunday in game two of the four match series. Mitton’s treble was complemented by strikes from Queenslander Jake Whetton and New South Wales’ Josh Miller, the pair getting their names on the score sheet within one minute of each other at the end of the first period.

Kookaburras’ coach Ric Charlesworth was pleased with the progression made on Friday’s 0-0 draw: “We got a bit more reward for the opportunities we made. It was a bit slicker, we were a bit more patient and we made some better chances. A couple of errors in defence cost us so it’s encouraging that we came back from that but it’s work in progress. Three guys made their debuts today and for that reason you’ve got to expect it’s not going to be solid.”

Speaking about the three new faces, Tyler Lovell (WA), Jeremy Edwards (TAS) and Tom Wickham (SA), Charlesworth said he felt they had settled in well, adding, “Someone coming along here wouldn’t have known who the beginners were tonight and that’s how you’d like it. They got their opportunity because they’re ready. In the last two months that’s ten players who have made their debuts. That’s a pretty decent shift.”

Things got off to an inauspicious start for the Kookaburras who were behind inside three minutes when Yoon Sung Hoon met Kim Young-Jin’s cross from the left, adding a telling touch to guide the ball inside the back post to make it 1-0 to the visitors.

Fired up, Jake Whetton and Tom Wickham came close to drawing the Kookaburras level before Trent Mitton did the honours in the 18th minute. From Australia’s first penalty corner of the match, Mitton’s powerful low flick flew towards goal before ultimately ending up in the roof of the net via a deflection. It was no more than the Kookaburras deserved, although they’d earlier been fortunate to see You Hyo Sik fire wide under pressure from goalkeeper Tyler Lovell.

Mitton doubled his tally to put the Kookaburras 2-1 up four minutes later. The goal came as a result of positive umpiring by Tim Pullman, who played advantage through a series of infringements as Korea scrambled to clear the ball under intense pressure. Ultimately, Mitton swept home clinically after the ball fell to him in the middle of the circle. Daniel Beale had initiated the chance with a tomahawk shot from the top of the circle that forced a block from Lee Myung Ho in goal.

Korea fought back soon after from their first penalty corner of the match. Nam Hyun Woo’s lightning quick low flick nestled in the bottom corner to make it 2-2. And just as it looked as though that might be how things remained at the break the Kookaburras extended their lead with two goals in two minutes on the stroke of half time. In the 34th minute, Jake Whetton’s shot from a narrow angle found a way inside the near post after a mix-up between goalkeeper and defender and one minute later Josh Miller converted on the slide after being set up by Mitton on the counter attack to make it 4-2.

A series of Australian penalty corners came and went early in the second half and the Kookaburras always looked dangerous with Matt Willis coming close on one occasion.

Mitton bagged his hat-trick after a period in which Korea had upped the tempo but failed to find a way through the hard working Kookaburras defence. Good interplay on the edge of the Korean circle between Willis and Aran Zalewski allowed Zalewski to thread the ball through to Mitton and he made no mistake from close range to make it 5-2. Chances late on might have added to his and Whetton’s tallies but the match closed without further incident.

The third match of the four game series takes place on Tuesday, 7 May, at 5:25pm WST.  All four matches in the series are being live streamed on the Hockey Australia website at www.hockey.org.au.

AUSTRALIA (MEN) v KOREA SERIES

KOOKABURRAS 5 (4)

Trent Mitton 18,22,52 (PC,F,F)
Jake Whetton 34 (F)
Josh Miller 35 (F)

KOREA 2 (2)
Yoon Sung Hoon 3 (F)
Nam Hyun Woo 26 (PC)

Kookaburras Squad v Korea, 5 May
(Listed alphabetically by surname)

Started
Kiel Brown (Toowoomba, QLD), Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT), Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS), Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD), Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS), Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD), Rob Hammond (Townsville, QLD), Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA), Trent Mitton (Perth, WA), Jacob Whetton (Brisbane, QLD), Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)

Used Sub
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD), Nick Budgeon (Launceston, TAS), Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT), Josh Miller (Goulburn, NSW), Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC), Tom Wickham (Adelaide, SA), Matthew Willis (Tamworth, NSW)

Did Not Play
Chris Bausor (Perth, WA), George Bazeley (Melbourne, VIC), Tristan Clemons (Bunbury, WA), Liam De Young (Brisbane, QLD),  Russell Ford (Eltham, VIC), Dan Mirecki (Melbourne, VIC), Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC), Glenn Turner (Goulburn, NSW),  Jason Wilson (Kingscliff, QLD)

Hockey Australia media release



Monkstown complete remarkable treble in IHL Final


Men’s Irish Hockey League final

Monkstown claimed their third and biggest title of the season as they became the first men’s club to do the Irish Hockey League and Irish Senior Cup since the former was introduced.

It added to a Leinster Senior Cup title as their smart second half performance at Grange Road tamed a fiery Banbridge that had laid waste to all-comers in the build-up to the final.

But their firebrands up front – Stephen Dowds, Owen Magee and Dane Ward – found little time of the room that saw them obliterate Cookstown in Saturday’s semi-final 6-1.

They threatened to do something similar in the early phases of the final, bursting out of the blocks. They scored inside the first ten seconds as Simon Magowan tore down the right wing.

His cross was clipped in at the near post by Bruce McCandless for a wonder start and further chances from Dowds stung the pads of Dave Fitzgerald. Monkstown had not settled but they got on terms in bizarre fashion as Stephen Forbes dithered before playing a rash pass across the face of goal.

Gareth Watkins gambled and his diving touch was perfectly timed, getting enough on the ball to leave Gareth Lennox no chance.

It gave them the jolt they needed and they went in front on 25 minutes when Davy Carson produced some moments of individual brilliance, drawing two men before unleashing a reverse-stick shot. It was probably goal-bound but Andrew Ward made sure of it.

The lead lasted scarcely three minutes as Phil Brown tore down the right wing and Magowan turned home at close quarters. Andrew Ward, however, ensured Town went in ahead at the break 3-2. His immaculate first touch created the space before rocketing through Lennox.

It was another in a collection of true beauties scored this weekend and was the defining factor in a thrilling, wide open affair prior to the break. But Monkstown player coach Graham Shaw knew that pace could not be sustained and tweaked his team’s set-up accordingly.

He had already had an emotional day, coaching Loreto to runners-up in the women’s competition, a drawn out affair decided on penalties. The Town were not to be denied, limiting Bann to just a handful of second half openings while turning the screw at the far end.

Carson’s calmly taken corner rebound left Bann needing snookers down the final stretch. Dowds did recover one of the deficit with 45 seconds to go but they scarcely had a chance to tip off before the final hooter.

It puts Monkstown into the 2013/14 EuroHockey League while Banbridge will be Ireland’s second European representatives.

Monkstown 4 (A Ward 2, G Watkins, D Carson) Banbridge 3 (B McCandless, S Magowan, S Dowds)

Monkstown: D Fitzgerald, L Cole, N Dee, D Carson, G Watkins, D Cole, S Cole, G Shaw, R Sykes, A Ewington, K Good
Subs: C Ellis, J Beirne, G Groves, G O’Halloran, A Ward, R O’Moore, S Nolan

Banbridge: G Lennox, Stephen Forbes, Scott Forbes, Peter Brown, Philip Brown, B McCandless, S Magowan, O Magee, D Ward, D Carlisle, S Dowds
Subs: J Moffett, J McKee, M Bell, H McShane, S Caruth, P Bingham, C Dowds

Irish Hockey Association media release



Railway Union claim Electric Ireland IHL Title


Women’s Electric Ireland Irish Hockey League final

Julia O’Halloran proved the match winner for the second successive women’s Irish Hockey League final as her superbly taken penalty piled on the agony on Loreto for a second successive year.

In the shoot-out but the Cork woman held her nerve to drift past Jessie Elliott in the one-on-one situation and finally land the title in the seventh round of penalties.

It meant they retained the title, claiming the national double for the first time in their history following March’s Irish Senior Cup success, sending them off to Europe in a fortnight’s time with a flourish.



For Loreto, it was final heartbreak once more but they played their part in a classic.

The Beaufort side had led 2-1 after the first quarter, winning the penalty corner battle. Railway, though, got the first when a switch left to Julia O’Halloran was miscued but Irish international skipper Alex Speers mopped up, volleying home from close range.

That came in the fourth minute but the response was quick with Cathy McKean ramping Hannah Matthews swept shot over Grace O’Flanagan.

Railway were stung by the loss of skipper Emer Lucey who took a ball to the head, forcing further rejigging of their defence as twins Isobel and Cecelia Joyce were both unavailable after playing key roles in Saturday’s semi-finals

And Loreto took the lead from another innovative move switched right and then left to Nikki Symmons who bashed home. The second quarter was tighter though the chances kept flowing with O’Flanagan somehow denying Nikki Keegan while Jessie Elliott’s strong boot denied a volley of Railway attacks.

Sinead Dooley levelled early in the second half and Kate Lloyd’s virtuoso solo effort had Railway in front for a second time in the 49th minute.

Symmons, though, sent the game to extra time when she cracked home her second corner. It was just her sixth game of the season as hip and hamstring injuries curtailed her campaign.

Ireland’s most capped international almost won it in normal time only for Kate McKenna to brilliantly save off the line, modestly stating afterwards she knew little about it though it owed much to her cricket reflexes to bat to safety.

It meant extra time, a ten-minute spell which Loreto largely controlled, winning a pair of penalty corners but they were unable to convert, leading to penalties.

Elliott got Loreto off to a flyer when she blocked Smyth’s first effort – initially awarded a penalty goal before being ruled out on an umpire’s referral – but Grace O’Flanagan denied Niamh Small in round two to level things up.

Symmons kept her side’s hopes alive with a nerveless finish to send the tie to sudden death at 3-3. Smyth and Keegan progressed the score to 4-4 but when McKean shot wide, O’Halloran stepped up to be the gamebreaker once again.

Railway Union 3 (A Speers, K Lloyd, S Dooley) Loreto 3 (N Symmons 2, C McKean), Railway win 5-4 on penalties

Loreto: J Elliott, A Meeke, S McGirr, N Keegan, C McKean, C O’Kelly, R Keegan, L Colvin, N Small, H Mathews, A Campion

Subs: N Daly, N Symmons, S Scott, S Clarke, H Mulcahy, J McGirr, R Murphy

Railway Union: G O’Flanagan, K Dillon, J O’Halloran, H Jenkinson, J McDonnell, E Smyth, E Lucey, E Dolan, A Speers, S Dooley, O Fox
Subs: K Lloyd, Z Delany, K McKenna, C O’Loughlin, R Barnett

Irish Hockey Association media release



Paragon clobbers Fatima for fourth straight win

Nigel Simon


Paragon’s Alanna Lewis, centre, goes past Malvern duo Teresa Lezama, left, and Liselle Parris in their T&T Hockey Board Women’s Championship clash at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua on Saturday. Paragon won 6-0. Photo: Anthony Harris

T&T internationals, Kiel Murray and Cogie Butler scored two goals each to lead Paragon to a lopsided 8-1 defeat of Corona Fatima in their T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship Division match at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua on Saturday.

Christopher Scipio, another senior national team player got the first for Paragon as early as the first minute but Fatima responded within four minutes through Dwight King.

Paragon was gifted the lead in the 21st minute when Fatima conceded an own goal after which Murray got his first on the stroke of half-time for a 3-1 advantage.

Two minutes into the second-half, Murray got his second and the team’s fourth while Butler made it 5-1 in the 49th to put the match beyond the reach of Fatima.

Joel Bodkin (54th), Butler (58th) and national midfielder (61st) added one each for the reigning “Big-Four” champions to join defending league holders Petrotrin and Defence Force at the top of the table, with 12 points each from four matches.

There was also wins for Queen’s Park and Notre Dame over Paradise and Malvern respectively.

Over at the Dwight Yorke Stadium, Training Field in Bacolet, Guyanese international Jerazano Bell helped himself to a beaver-trick to lead the Parkites to an 8-3 thrashing of Paradise while at Tacarigua, national youth team player, Dillon Campbell got two in the Dames’ 4-1 whipping of Malvern.

Also at Bacolet, Paradise used a first-half double from Kelese Graham, in the 25th and 26th minute and a late Tiffany James item to beat winless Ventures, 3-0 in the Women’s Championship Division while at Tacarigua national captain Alanna Lewis fired in two to lead Paragon past Malvern, 6-0.

The quartet of Zene Henry, Gabrielle Thompson, Avion Ashton and Arielle Williams added the others for Paragon to secure a second win from as many matches.

T&T HB results

Friday:

Mixed Veterans:

Defence Force 11 (Nicholas Wren 5th, 10th, 25th, 36th, 52nd, Burris Burrows 20th, 29th, 34th, 68th, Neil Lezama 1st, Nicole Aming 8th)3 vs Fatima 1 (Dean Nieves 30th, 67th, Dominic Dougall 31st, Richard Young 56th)
Malvern 2 (Sherlan Cabralis 12th, Koury Bannett 34th) vs Carib 0

Saturday’s results

Men’s Championship:
QPCC 8 (Jerry Bell 6th, 22nd, 46th, 47th, Gary Chin 49th, 62nd, Nicholas Camacho 16th, Kadeem Fortune 42nd) vs Paradise 3 (Vernelle Rivers 8th, 48th, Nave Roach 45th,
Paragon 8 (Kiel Murray 35th, 37th, Cogie Butler 49th, 58th, Christopher Scipio 1st, own-goal 21st, Joel Bodkin 54th, Akim Toussaint 61st) vs Fatima 1 (Dwight King 5th)
Notre Dame 4 (Dillon Campbell 32nd, 61st, Aidan De Gannes 27th, Chad Pedro 58th) vs Malvern 1 (Kristien Emmanuel 47th)

Women’s Championship:
Paradise 3 (Kelese Graham  25th, 26th, Tiffany James 67th) vs Ventures 0
Paragon 6 (Alanna Lewis 2, Zene Henry, Gabrielle Thompson, Avion Ashton, Arielle Williams) vs Malvern 0

Trinity Men Division
QPCC 4 (Chris Aird 24th, Gary Chin 28th, Marius Massey 42nd, Jerry Bell 57th) vs Paradise 3 (Desmond Archer 42nd, Theron Stoute 55th, Shondelle Felix 61st)

Trinity Women:
Checkers 3 (Mindy Charles 37th, 40th, 59th) vs Petrotrin 0

U-19 Boys Division
Paradise 2 (Keanu Brathwaite 42nd, Omari Brathwaite 46th) vs QPCC 2 (Jarryon Paul 50th, 59th) 
Fatima 8 (Joshua Nieves 18th, 45th, 49th, Marcus Pascall 32nd, 37th, Michael Durity 18th, Jordan Nieves 53rd, Michael Gonzales 58th)  vs Carib 0

The Trinidad Guardian



Tenaga ready to zap

By FADHLI ISHAK



TNB players celebrate a goal against Terengganu in the quarter-finals on Friday

TENAGA Nasional coach Nor Azlan Bakar has stressed that going back to basics will be the key to overcoming long-time rivals Maybank in their TNB Cup semi-final and secure a third consecutive appearance in the final.

Nor Azlan said the team need to be fully focused to get the better of a well-tuned Maybank who pipped them to second place in the Premier Division. The first leg of the semi-final will be held on Friday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Tenaga, who beat Terengganu 8-3 on aggregate in the quarter-finals, had beaten Maybank 5-1 in the first round of the league but lost 3-4 in the return.

"Tenaga and Maybank have had a long history in the TNB Cup. We have had some very close matches playing against them in the past, even from the days when I was still playing," said the former national player.

"The boys showed improvement in our second leg win over Terengganu (5-1) and we need to continue (improving).

"We played very simple hockey in that match and did not hang on to the ball for long. We focused on quick passing and it worked very well for us.

"We need to do exactly the same against Maybank and minimise our mistakes if we are to win against them as I expect it to be very close."

Nor Azlan added that keeping a close eye on Maybank's world-class Pakistan imports, who include big names Shafqat Rasool, Shakeel Abassi and Muhammad Waqas Sharif, will be equally important.

"Maybank are a different side this year. They are much stronger as they have proved with their performances in the league.

"They have an excellent combination of experienced (local) players and dangerous Pakistani players who contribute a lot to their team.

"We will have to keep a close eye on them as they can cause us a lot of problems if we are not careful."

Nor Azlan also disclosed that star striker Faizal Saari has fully recovered from a left knee-injury suffered in their last league game against Terengganu at the end of last month.

Faizal is the team's top scorer with 16 goals in both League and Cup competition this season.

The other semi-final will see Sapura, who advanced with a 6-4 aggregate win over UniKL, play league champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club.

New Straits Times



Sapura ready to give favourites KLHC a run for their money

Reports by S. RAMAGURU


Going all out: Sapura coach S. Kuhan (in blue) believes that his side can snatch an upset win over KLHC after two close matches in the MHL Premier Division.


KUALA LUMPUR: The usual suspects are through to the semi-finals in the battle for the overall title of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

The four teams – Tenaga Nasional, Maybank, Sapura and Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) – have, for the last two decades, dominated the MHL and sharing the title among themselves.

Tenaga and Maybank, who meet in one semi-final, dominated in the 90s while Sapura and eight-time League champions KLHC joined the elite ranks from 2004 onwards.

KLHC will start as favourites against Sapura as they gun for a fourth double in the series.

Sapura team manager S. Kuhan said that the pressure would be on the champions and that “it will help to calm the younger players in our team”.

“They have the edge for sure ... they are the League and defending champions.

“Both the ties will be crucial but the first one is especially important as we have to keep the gap close.

“Our players must not be overawed by the champions,” he said.

Sapura won the League title in 2004 and 2005 and the overall title in 2005 and 2006.

In the preliminary rounds, KLHC won both matches by 3-2 margins.

The close matches will certainly give Sapura some hopes of snatching an upset win in the last four.

However, their form in the quarter-finals against a speedy UniKL side, is a cause for concern.

Still, with Khasif Ali in good form from penalty corners, Sapura may well have the weapon to get the goals.

He is the leading tournament scorer with 17 goals.

Man-to-man, KLHC are stronger and it will take some doing to beat them.

But the Maybank-Tenaga clash is the plum tie of the last four.

They are the only remaining teams in the league since its inception in 1987.

Tenaga were the first double champions in the 1991-92 season while Maybank did it in 1994. Only then came the likes of Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS), Bank Simpanan Nasional, MPPJ, Sapura and KLHC.

Tenaga coach Nor Azlan Bakar predicts a close match as “both teams are familiar with each other and played each other on so many occasions”.

“We play each other every year and have always be among the top four.

“So, we are always aware of the pitfalls in the knockout stage and we cannot take any team for granted,” he said.

“This match is likely to go all the way to the return-leg tie.”

The Star of Malaysia

 



Mirnawan to trim Project 2013 squad for final phase


Mohd Fitri Saari (left) of the Project 2013 squad is now also part of the national senior team

KUALA LUMPUR: At least five players will be dropped from the Project 2013 training squad as the team management plan to keep only 25 players after the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) ends on May 19.

The 25 players on the list will not include players who have been selected for the senior team. Currently the project players in the senior team are Faiz Helmy, Fitri Saari, Izzat Hakimi Jamaluddin and Mohd Syamin Yusof.

Project 2013 team manager Mirnawan Nawawi said yesterday that it is time to cut down on the number of players in the training squad as they move into their final phase of preparation.

The Project 2013’s target is the Junior World Cup which will be held in New Delhi in December.

Mirnawan said that they are also looking closely at the MHL to see if there are any players worthy of a place in the team.

“Of course, at this stage, performance is what counts and that goes for the 30 players in the training squad. Those who fail to shine in the MHL will be dropped. It’s likely that five or six players will be given the boot.

“The 25 players who are shortlisted will train full time until we make the final selection of 18 players in October,” he said.

Mirnawan said that the selection will be done after two major tournaments.

“One is the Sultan of Johor Cup which will be held in September and the other is the six-nation invitational tournament in New Delhi in October. Both are crucial meets for us and the players will have to prove their worth in the two meets,” he added.

The Project 2013 team will go to the Junior World Cup as champions of Asia. They won the Junior Asia Cup in May last year.

The team will play three friendly matches with a Chinese Provincial team from May 20-22 in Bukit Jalil. Then, they will leave for a tour to South Korea where they are expected to play four matches against club sides.

In July the team will tour Europe and play around 10 matches in England, Poland, Belgium and possibly Holland.

“We are still waiting for the Dutch to confirm their programme. The other three countries have already finalised the matches with us.

“So we have more or less confirmed our training schedules and tours. The players in the senior team will rejoin our team from Sept 2. By then the senior team would have finished their assignments for the year,” he said.

Mirnawan also said that players who had earlier opted out of the team for studies or other reasons can still be selected if their performance is good. They must also give us an undertaking that they will be committed to the training. But like I said the selection will be based on their performance in the MHL.”

The Star of Malaysia



Hockey India’s new team

Mihir Vasavda


Michael Nobbs loves it when the Indian hockey team's camp is held in Bangalore. It has nothing to do with the tropical weather or the 100-acre, well-equipped Sports Authority of India (SAI) campus. It's the food, more specifically the dosa.

The 59-year-old says this is something he could "die for": a crispy dosa prepared in ghee, a banana shake and coconut water.

The Australian's love for dosas has already rubbed off on compatriot Jason Konrath, a former Mr Australia who is now Indian team's physiologist. Konrath has made several trips to a tiny restaurant near the SAI campus after first visiting it a week ago with Nobbs, assistant coach Clarence Lobo and India vice-captain V R Raghunath.

As Nobbs and Konrath dig into the food, they attract a few curious eyes. An Australian and a dosa? However, odd as that combination would seem, Nobbs and Konrath will tell you they feel right at home—more than any other previous coaches of the Indian team.

The past 12 years, as its fortunes plunged, the men's national hockey team has seen close to a dozen coaches, including three foreigners (one hired as the technical director).

But the current set-up is unique, and could well be the start of a new chapter. For, with the appointment of South African Gregg Clark as the junior team coach and Australian Matthew Tredrea as the scientific advisor to the women's team last month, almost all the important decision-making positions in Indian hockey are now held by foreigners.

Clark and Tredrea join the existing team of Nobbs, Konrath, High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans (Holland) and women's coach Neil Hawgood (Australia). On the administrative side, there is Hockey India CEO Elena Norman, also from Australia. At a time when Olympic sports in India are trying to make a leap to the next level, it's not unusual to see foreign coaches pitching in. It is, however, rare to see so many experts trying to revive one sport —five Australians, a Dutchman and a South African trying to solve the puzzle that is Indian hockey.

Not only are the faces new, but also the conditions under which they have come. Majority of them have been given long contracts, sparing them the doubts of an uncertain future.

Narinder Batra, the secretary general of Hockey India, who has earned more than a few enemies in his three years at the helm, is clear about his goals and why foreign experts are necessary. Because, he says, none of the Indian coaches has the expertise to take the national team to the next level. The latter have not taken kindly to the comparison, particularly, as they say, they were never given either the money or the long contracts their foreign counterparts enjoy.

Saying he doesn't want to talk about the past, Batra notes: "In the three years I have spent with Hockey India, I've realised we do not have  coaches who are well-versed in modern hockey. Why should we be ashamed of learning from people who know it better?"

"I am not here to please anyone," he says. "When I joined, I had given myself 8-10 years to bring about some change and if I do not manage to do that, I will not continue. And to get results, you need to have the right people with the right kind of mentality."

One obvious advantage of having a foreign coach is that he/she is less likely to have a bias against a player from a particular region or background, have favourites in the squad, or be influenced by reputation alone.

Batra's faith in foreign coaches is heartening because Indian hockey's experience with them, or rather the other way around, has not been too happy. Affable Spaniard Jose Brasa was shown the door though he took the team to a silver medal at the Delhi Commonwealth Games and bronze at the Asian Games despite all the hurdles. Towards the end, he was almost like a prisoner, not allowed to voice his opinion in the media. Plus, he had no say in the selection. Ric Charlesworth, regarded as the best coach in the world, had such a harrowing time that he quit even before he could begin.

Regardless of this, if foreign coaches are willing to bet on India, it's because the country is the biggest market for world hockey and the recent success of the Hockey India League established that.

Nobbs, who has spent more time in India than the other coaches, says "to be the best, you've got to learn from the best". He prefers to look at the "Indian way" of functioning through the prism of humour. A big fan of Indian-origin stand-up comedian Russell Peters, the Australian often relates what he sees here to Peters's observations. "It's humorous, the things that are not necessarily funny to a normal eye. You don't achieve anything by being upset and yelling. The system here is very interesting. If you bring all the parts together, it can be a powerful machine," he says.

Oltmans, who worked in Pakistan as their chief coach in 2003-04, is equally aware of the "system" and how to make it work for him: "You always want things to happen quickly, but I am a realistic person. I will try to put pressure now and then, but I will also look at what is the best way to get things done in India."

Each of the seven foreign experts brings along something unique. If Norman can act as the mediator between Hockey India, SAI and the foreign coaches, Oltmans has a 14-year-long experience in top-level coaching and can introduce Dutch-style organisation, which is quite robust in Indian hockey. Nobbs is considered a very good man-manager—essential in an Indian team—while Clark's technical knowledge will benefit the juniors. Konrath and Tredrea have brought their own unique ways to improve the team's fitness.

Former India coach Harendra Singh, who was an assistant to Brasa at the 2010 CWG and Asiad, believes foreign coaches can also be used to improve their national counterparts. "There is no denying that we are far behind what the international standards demand. So it is imperative to have foreign coaches. But at the same time, we should ensure our coaches learn the tricks of the trade from them so we can be self-reliant," says Harendra, who is known to understand the nuances of modern hockey better than many Indian coaches.

Nobbs and Oltmans are realistic about this. "Look, we aren't going to be here forever," says Nobbs. "Roelant, the others and I will develop a system, put a roadmap in place to develop the coaches and improve the grassroots. It may take up to six to eight years but it could be done faster. The need is to focus on the overall picture and Roelant is the perfect man to do that. I've a lot of optimism."

* Michael Nobbs

Chief Coach, men's team

Nationality: Australian


MICHAEL Nobbs cannot stop smiling. His daughter Jamie, a figure-skater, has been short-listed for Australia's Winter Olympics squad and he is relishing the prospect of having yet another Olympian in the family. "It's at times like this that I miss being with my family. But the job here is exciting. The fact that I am here, trying to make a difference, makes the sacrifice worthwhile," says the 59-year-old.

It hasn't been easy though. Under Nobbs, India had its worst-ever performance at the Olympics, finishing at the bottom in London last year. But, as the coach says, they had an eventful year otherwise, finishing fourth at the Champions Trophy, runners-up at the Asian Champions Trophy and winning impressively in several one-off matches.

Nobbs, who was part of the Australian team in the 1984 Olympics, is considered to be a soft-spoken but tough man with his mastery lying in ensuring fitness and diet and in his splendid quality to be able to analyse the opposition's negatives. His contract runs up to the Rio Olympics in 2016, long enough to bring about some changes. Never before has an Indian team coach got a continuous contract for five years.

He believes the London disaster is a thing of the past. "After the Olympics, the selectors and I decided if you've got to fix the problem, then you can't keep repeating mistakes of the past. I'm glad they've shown faith in me. It's a long-term project. There are no miracles in sport. Anybody who has achieved success is because of hard work and we're doing just that," he says.

* Roelant Oltmans

High Performance Director

Nationality: Dutch


'It took 30 years to fall to this level... We will rise, but not for 6-8 years'

ROELANT Oltmans believes it's natural that the world is "giving something back" to the country that taught the world hockey. The wily Dutchman was in contention for the post of chief coach of the Indian team two years ago when, to the surprise of many, Hockey India chose to go with Nobbs. They ultimately turned to the 58-year-old for a bigger and more important role—as High Performance Director, Oltmans is responsible for all Indian teams (men's, women's, juniors and seniors) and for developing the game at the grassroots.

For the past one month, Oltmans has been travelling across the country, spotting talent at various sub-junior national tournaments. He is impressed. "A lot of people say that we have to start from scratch in India. That's not true. The basic framework is good and the talent pool is huge. We just have to get everyone on the same page and then move forward."

As Holland's coach for 14 years, Oltmans saw the team win the gold medal at the Atlanta Olympics, two World Cups, three Champions Trophies and the Euro Hockey League. He also coached Pakistan in 2003-04. However, he admits, India poses a different challenge. "It took 30 years for us to fall to this level, so we cannot expect any overnight miracles. We have to give ourselves six to eight years at least before we will start winning major trophies. I am sure we will get there," he says.

'My aim is to have the side play 70 minutes at same pace'

* Jason Konrath

Physiologist, men's team

Nationality: Australian


AT THE end of a tiring training session, a worried Sardar Singh walks up to Jason Konrath and seeks ways to reduce his extra flab. "It's not much, mate. Don't fret over it," Konrath tells him. Singh may have just a couple of extra centimetres around his waist, but for him and other players in the team, the Australian physiotherapist is the role model. Almost everyone wants a body like his and Konrath, 28, is more than happy to lead by example. "I like to understand what a player is going through when he is training. Depending on that, I chalk out a plan for him and work on his fitness," he says.

Konrath's name was suggested to Hockey India by Nobbs. A bodybuilder for the past 10 years, he was the Mr Western Australia for three years and won the Mr Australasia heavyweight title in 2011.

The Indian team's fitness had reached its peak during predecessor David John's regime, so the challenge for Konrath is immense. "He did a great job and I'm confident of taking it to the next level. The players are receptive to what I say, which is quite important... My aim is to make this side play 70 minutes of modern hockey at the same pace."

* Neil Hawgood

Chief Coach, women's team

Nationality: Australian


'We can't win just every now and then, or play well in only one half'

JUST 'Hawgood' is the women's hockey team? Well, it's improving, says the jovial Australian. The team has not won a major event since the 2002 Manchester Commonwealth Games, and the 50-year-old Australian is under no illusion. However, since Hawgood took charge last year, from fitness to strategy, the team has undergone some massive changes.

"Working with the Indian women's team has been fantastic. We have increased their ability to train at higher levels. I want the team to not just win a game every now and then, or play well in one half and fade away in the second," he says.

Hawgood represented Australia in the 1988 Olympics, scoring five goals in seven games. He's had coaching stints with club sides in London, Queenstown, Western Australia and Scotland. First target would be to ensure the team's qualification for next year's World Cup and Rio. Like Nobbs, he will be in charge of the side till the next Olympics. "We are in a rebuilding phase where we are working on certain aspects of the game, with fitness being the key," he says.

* Elena Norman

CEO, Hockey India

Nationality: Australian


'Things easier for me with a staff on the same wavelength'

IT'S NOT often that you see a woman CEO running an Indian sports federation, especially someone from abroad. Coming from a country where sports federations are run in a highly professional manner, 38-year-old Elena Norman has made the transition to Indian sports administration quite admirably. "The fact that I had worked here for the hockey World Cup and later on during the CWG was helpful. It helped me understand how things work here," she says.

Norman moved to India in 2007, when she joined a Delhi-based sports management firm, where she handled cricket-related marketing affairs before moving to hockey administration. The move to hockey has been swift and successful. Norman served as International Hockey Federation's marketing consultant in the 2010 hockey World Cup that was held in New Delhi, and prior to that, was associated with HI as a foreign marketing consultant.

Along with Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra, she holds the key to making crucial decisions. "It made sense. India is one of the biggest countries in world hockey with a great tradition. I think with a staff that is on the same wavelength, things have become easier for me. Our ultimate aim is to run Hockey India in a highly professional way," she says.

* Matthew Tredrea

Scientific Advisor, women's team

Nationality: Australian

Rugby expert to tone up women's team

COMING from a sport that demands a high level of fitness and physical strength, the 26-year-old's mandate is to make the women's team physically and mentally fit ahead of crucial tournaments this year. For long, the Indian women's team has had a habit of conceding goals at crucial moments.

Before this, Tredrea worked with the Newcastle Knights (Australian professional Rugby League club) for almost two years as the Assistant Strength and Conditioning Coach. It will be interesting to see if Hockey India's approach of bringing in an expert who has been involved in rugby reaps rewards in the area of fitness.

'India's talent pool is maybe the biggest... It's an exciting challenge'

* Gregg Clark

Coach, junior team

Nationality: South African


THIS is the rare case of a coach of a senior team taking up the role of coaching a junior side in another country. But Gregg Clark likes to do things differently. South Africa's chief coach for close to a decade, Clark took over the job for the Indian junior team last month. "I know it's not a popular way of doing things; some people would see it as a step down. But the challenge here is exciting. The junior World Cup will be in India this year and it's a massive opportunity. I also enjoyed my time here during the Hockey India League," he says.

"India has one of the biggest talent pools, if not the biggest. Perhaps where the foreign coaches, myself included, can help is looking at structured approaches which are more prevalent in modern hockey."

His appointment was largely based on his exploits in the Hockey India League, where he guided a fairly young Ranchi team to the title. Even otherwise, Clark, 42, is South Africa's most-capped player and was the national team coach for the last two Olympics.

His primary objective, he says, is to ensure that the junior team reaches at least the semifinals of the World Cup later this year in Delhi.

Indian Express



Kazan hosts seminar for judges from all over Russia

Preparation for the 2013 Summer Universiade




The international hockey judges seminar kicked off at the Field Hockey Centre on May 2 to train national judges for high-quality officiating during the 2013 Summer Universiade. Representatives of 9 regions of Russia (among them Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod Region, Rostov Region, Republic of Tatarstan) will come in Kazan for the seminar. A total of 50 umpires and referees will update their qualification and enrich their knowledge of judging at major international tournaments.

Steve Catton, who was the technical official for the Sheffield Summer Universiade's field hockey tournament, shared his knowledge with the seminar's attendees. "Many years have passed. I've been to the previous the hockey tournament at the 1991 Summer Universiade. It would be wonderful if this sport was included in the programme of each Universiade. Although we understand well enough that not every city seeks to host this tournament as not every city has at its disposal sports venues fit to host field hockey events. It's great that it is back to the sports programme. I can't wait to see a field hockey tournament at the Summer Universiade again," Steve Catton commented.

A total of six judges, three onfield umpires, two scorekeepers and one match commissioner, will be officiating the hockey tournament. Sylvie Petitjean, a judge at the Olympic Games in London, which ranks among top-nine competition directors of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), was appointed the director for the hockey tournaments of the upcoming Games. The panel of judges for the Summer Universiade tournament in Kazan will be made up of 29 best officials of Russia. Hockey was included in the programme of the upcoming Summer Universiade thanks to the success of Dynamo Kazan FHC.

"Games of the Russian Championship between Dynamo Kazan and Dynamo Elektrostal will be held on May 3-4. We've especially arranged the date of the seminar to conicnide with these events so that our officials, which will be working at the Summer Universiade, and those young judges, who will be overseeing international tournaments in the future, could go through efficient practical training at this championship," said Tatiana Zinovieva, the FISU Technical Delegate.

Upon completion of the training, the judges will meet again in Kazan at the hockey tournaments of this summer's World University Games which are scheduled for July 7-15. The tickets to these events are already available for purchase at the website of KASSIR.RU, the Official Ticket Operator of the 2013 Summer Universiade.

Media Department of Kazan 2013 Executive Directorate

FIH site



China hosts umpiring course in Changzhow

Jan Hadfield




The Chinese Hockey Association , with the assistance of the FIH, has recently organised an Umpiring Course  held in conjunction with the Qualifying Tournament for China’s prestigious National Games – the “Chinese Olympics”. The 15 umpires on the umpiring panel plus all technical officials & CHA staff at the tournament attended the seminar, held at Changzhow from April 30-May 4. The course was conducted by FIH Umpires Manager, Jan Hadfield.

The format of the seminar involved the 1st day covering a range of theoretical components, whilst the remainder of the course was based at the Changzhow Hockey Stadium for the first 3 days of the tournament itself & focussed on individual & group coaching sessions. In the lecture room at the Mingdu International Convention Centre the sessions covered the role of umpires at tournaments, analysis of umpiring philosophies, major umpiring skills, current briefing updates & discussions centred on issues raised by the panel umpires regarding interpretations & modern trends in umpiring

5 games were played each day with each umpire receiving individual coaching, whilst a group session reviewing the day’s progress was held post-dinner each evening. The facilities at the International Convention Centre were first-class, whilst the hockey stadium itself is a superb purpose-build hockey centre with 3 artificial turfs, magnificent grandstand covering 3 levels, plus numerous offices & VIP viewing areas.

The hospitality of the CHA is unrivalled & their organisation first-class. Initiatives such as this course are the result of much planning & foresight – the focus on umpiring at this senior level sets an example for all National Associations.

FIH site