News for 06 July 2013

All the news for Saturday 6 July 2013


SA men’s hockey team have a shot at fifth place if they beat Japan

JONATHAN COOK


“We are looking forward to playing Japan and having a shot at fifth place, which would be a good place to finish,” South Africa men’s hockey team head coach Charlie Pereira said from the team hotel in Johor, Malaysia Friday ahead of the World League Plate semi-final clash with the Japanese.

Saturday, world number 12 South Africa will meet world number 16 Japan in the first round of playoffs (or placement match one) for fifth to eighth places. The match will be live on SuperSport 5 and HD4 from 8.45 am (SA time).

All the tournament matches on Saturday and Sunday including the semi-finals Saturday and the gold medal, bronze medal and Plate matches will be live on SuperSport.

“The practice game and recent results against Japan have gone our way,” said Pereira.

Indeed, SA beat Japan 4-1 pre-tournament and few will forget the epic 2-1 win the lads in green and gold accomplished in Japan just over a year ago to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Should SA beat Japan, they will tackle the winners of placement match two, either Malaysia or Pakistan, in the Plate final (for fifth place) Sunday at 11 am (SA time) on SuperSport 7 and HD4. Should SA lose to Japan, they will play in the seventh/eighth playoff match at 8.45 am Sunday live on SuperSport 7 and HD4.

Pereira agreed that it has been a tough few days, as SA ended fourth in Pool B after drawing 3-3 with world number four England, a match they should have won, before losing 6-4 to world 13 Malaysia and 6-2 to world five Pakistan. Then in Thursday’s quarter-final, SA lost 2-0 to world 10 and Pool A winners Argentina – the absence due to illness of captain Austin Smith and a half-fit Jonty Robinson a huge blow.

Captain for the Argentina match, Smith’s deputy, Rhett Halkett, said: “Austin is feeling a fraction better and will hopefully be cleared for Saturday’s game. Jonty probably should not have played as we was not 100%. Similar to Austin against Pakistan the other night.”

Said Pereira. “Our lack of financial resources, which hamper our preparation, make it very frustrating “We cannot compete against the countries that play professionally for the simple reason that we do not train as much, and that is the bottom line.”

The coach said against Argentina SA had some strange calls from the Italian umpire that made the task that much more difficult, given that SA were already two men down.  “In one instance in the second half, Lloyd Norris-Jones was sin-binned for 10 minutes for a first infringement, just when we were getting back into the game. This put the brakes on our pressing game as we had to pull back and consolidate.”

Pereira said on the day Argentina were the better team, goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse making some great saves. “The SA players put in a tremendous effort but we have work to do if we are going to break into the top 10 of world hockey.”

Halkett said it was a tough loss “but credit must go to Argentina who produced a professionally efficient performance. I was very proud of our disciplined performance and definitely thought we deserved a goal. However, it was not to be.”

“Japan will not be an easy game as they have also improved as the tournament has progressed. We do have the psychological edge over them but we will ensure that we do our homework in order to give ourselves the best possible fitting to win that game and contest for fifth place.”

SOUTH AFRICA

Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders); Austin Smith (capt, Western Province), Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Rhett Halkett (vice-capt, WP), Lance Louw (SG), Jethro Eustice (SG); Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KCR), Tim Drummond (KCR), Nick Gonsalves (SG), Taine Paton (KCR); Julian Hykes (SG), Craig Haley (WP), Pierre de Voux (WP), Miguel da Graca (SG), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP).

SA Hockey Association media release



SA lose key players to Dengue Fever

SA midfielder Jonty Robinson and Captain Austin Smith will miss the last two World League matches in Malaysia. The London 2012 Olympians have both contracted Dengue Fever.

Reports indicate that Smith and Robinson (see below) are both in hospital and cannot leave Malaysia until they are clear of the virus.

SA Hockey Association media release



Reduced to hoping

By JUGJET SINGH


MALAYSIA can't afford another drubbing when they play Pakistan in a fifth-eighth classification match of the World League at Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru today.

At stake is the fifth spot, which might just turn into a World Cup ticket after several continental championships are completed.

After Malaysia were thrashed 6-0 by Germany on Thursday in the quarter-finals, national coach Paul Revington, who was visibly shaken, said: "Nothing went right for 20 minutes against Germany (where Malaysia conceded six goals inside the first 18 minutes) but let's forget that painful episode.

"We look toward a fifth place finish to improve our ranking and also a possible outside chance to the World Cup."

There are many "ifs" involved in the fifth placing scenario, and even an International Hockey Federation (FIH) official, who was shocked at how tamely Malaysia fell to Germany, tried to comfort the press.

"Take heart as there is the fifth spot, which might just turn into a World Cup berth after the continental championships are over," he said.

There is the Pan American Cup, Asia Cup, EuroHockey Nations Championship and the Oceania Cup. And if Argentina qualify from Johor Baru and also become champions in the Pan American Cup, another slot opens up in the World League.

The same scenario happens if South Korea qualify and then win the Asia Cup, as well as Australia who have already qualified for the World Cup, also becoming champions in the Oceania Cup.

In the EuroHockey Nations Championship, the prospect is even higher as Germany, England, Belgium and the Netherlands have all qualified for the World Cup -- and if either one of them win in Europe, the door for World League teams would open wider.

Thus, the fifth spot can be priceless, and Malaysia must keep their heads high and work towards that target.

In an earlier group match, Malaysia had raced to a 3-0 lead before being held 4-4 by Pakistan, and that is what Revington's men must avoid at all costs today.

After which, they must beat either Japan or South Africa, to prove that they are truly a team who deserve to play in the World Cup.

Pakistan officials, still reeling over their defeat to South Korea in the quarter-finals, were unavailable for comment on the match against Malaysia.

New Straits Times



Former Olympian wants new PHF set-up

Islahuddin laments Pakistan’s missed chance at World Hockey League

Staff Report


KARACHI: Regretting Pakistan’s ouster from the FIH World Hockey League after being beaten 3-4 by South Korea in the quarterfinal on Thursday, former Pakistan Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui said on Friday that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had failed to raise a proper team in the last five years. “The Greenshirts are ranked fifth in the world while South Korea are eighth so Pakistan should have won from them on any cost. But instead of improving our position in the tournament by winning the match and beating Korea by a big margin, we lost,” he fumed while speaking to media. “Korea finished bottom in Pool A and had Pakistan been in the same pool, we would have probably lost to them in the pool matches as well. Only the top three teams of the tournament will qualify for the 2014 World Cup and with Germany as the only other stronger side there, Pakistan should have been one of them. Instead we got knocked out,” he added.

Islahuddin lamented that Pakistan had missed a golden chance to seal a berth in the quadrennial event slated to be held in the Netherlands. “Pakistan finished 12th out of 12 teams in the 2010 World Cup and it looks like we are not even going to qualify for the next one. There is the Asia Cup that is also a World Cup qualifier but only one team, the winner in that competition will qualify unlike here where three top teams were to qualify,” Islahuddin explained. “There was no team effort on Thursday and the players played individually. There was nothing like a combined game from the Greenshirts. They missed many chances so much so that we even missed a penalty-stroke. The team’s physical fitness can be gauged from the fact that after gaining a two-goal lead they still lost the match.”

He said Pakistan’s deep defence was so lousy that every team in the event scored against the Greenshirts. “Counting the two practice matches, we played six games in the World Hockey League of which we won just one match.” Islahuddin added that it was a time for the PHF to reflect on their short-comings. “The results speak for themselves. The PHF at the moment hasn't even made up its mind whether to play seniors or juniors. A junior team could have also brought similar results but then the federation would have had a team to work on. But there is still too much confusion here so there has been no progress made here by the PHF in the last five years,” Islahuddin said. “The new government says that it prefers merit. So I appeal to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to get people on merit to run the PHF so that the running of hockey affairs in the country go in the hands of people who want to take the national sport seriously and who in turn will bring other good people to make a fine team,” he concluded.

The Daily Times



Electric Ireland Irish Senior Women finish with draw vs Scotland



The Electric Ireland Senior Women's team rounded off their 4 game stay at Mossley Hockey in Newtownabbey today with a 1-1 draw vs. Scotland.

Ireland had already beaten Scotland twice this week and the visitors were keen to ensure that the Green Army would not make it three in a row. Both teams were offensively minded from the offset which led to a very open game of hockey throughout today's encounter. In a scoreless first half of play the game flowed from end to end as both sides earned a number of penalty corners that could not be turned into scores on the board. Megan Frazer, Nikki Symmons, Lisa Jacob & Katie Mullan were all involved in some of Ireland's most creative play of the half but none could find the target in an exciting game.

Midway through the second half Ireland finally took the lead as a penalty corner variation was deflected home by Nikki Symmons following good work from Anna O'Flanagan to set up the score. Scotland rallied well though and will be happy with their efforts to get back into the game to avoid a 3rd successive defeat. Their play was awarded when Lloyd followed up a counter attack that was initially defended well by Ireland to fire past Emma Gray in the Green Army goal.

After final hooter went to confirm the 1-1 draw, Electric Ireland Senior International Coach, Darren Smith could contemplate the effectiveness of the series in Newtownabbey "After a good week where we were able to play 24 squad players, I feel we have made some progress. I really enjoyed the series of matches here and Mossley Hockey Club were great hosts in combination with the Mossley Mill. We were extremely pleased with all the arrangements"

Smith continued "Now we need to look forward to the European Championships both in terms of enjoying the experience and also playing well. The coming weeks sees us initially head to cork for a 3 day camp at University College Cork, which we are very much looking forward to, before narrowing the squad further and getting back into some hard training. We have a great group of girls who have a fantastic attitude and want to play well. All of us are working hard towards this"

Ireland 1 (Symmons)
Scotland 1(Lloyd)

Irish Hockey Association media release



Pressure on Nobbs as boys fail on big stage

Navneet Singh


Failures in big events, including last month's sixth-place finish in Rotterdam, the qualifying event for the 2014 World Cup, has forced Hockey India to introspect.

It seems there is growing unrest in the squad over the methods of coach, Michael Nobbs, and the attitude of the Australian has only strengthened the view. "Under Nobbs, the atmosphere is not healthy," a regular member of the national team told HT.

The players have not liked the way Nobbs has criticised them off and on. He had in fact blamed the team for its dismal performance midway through the London Games last year.

Since Nobbs took over two years back, the national team has won low-key events but performed miserably in top-level meets.

Tight-lipped

Federation secretary-general, Narinder Batra, was tight lipped when asked about Nobbs's performance. "It's an internal matter. The federation can't give details on the report card of coaches," was his reply but said a post-mortem on what went wrong in Rotterdam was on but there aren't any conclusions yet.

Batra said this amid reports of former national coach, MK Kaushik, who was sacked as the women's team coach following allegations of sexual harassment but was later absolved, being roped in to assist Nobbs ahead of the Asia Cup, beginning August 24, a competition India have to win to qualify for the World Cup.

No thrust

Over the last two years, there has been no major thrust to improve the bench. There is no genuine backup to goalkeeper P Sreejesh. Similar is the case with the forward line. India are yet to mould a substitute for key striker Gurwinder Singh Chandi, who is recovering from injury. Experts feel this has hurt India the most in big matches.

The federation's director, high performance, since March, Roelant Oltsman, did point this out before the team left for Rotterdam, but definite steps to arrest the slump are yet to be put in place.

Hindustan Times



Feel vindicated by HI's nomination: Kaushik

NEW DELHI: Three years after he resigned as the national women's hockey coach on charges of sexual harassment only to be absolved later, Maharaj Krishan Kaushik now feels vindicated after Hockey India nominated his name to assist Indian men's team coach Michael Nobbs till the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Kaushik, who was a member of India's last Olympic gold medal winning team at the 1980 Moscow Games, said the federation's decision speaks for itself about his innocence.

"I am happy that HI recommended my name for the job. The matter is now with Sports Authority of India who will take the final decision. It's an honour for any player to coach his country, But I feel vindicated," Kaushik said.

"It was the same federation which initiated an enquiry against me but after I was cleared of all the charges, it has now nominated my name to coach the men's team. So it proves my innocence," an emotional Kaushik added.

It may be recalled that Kaushik was removed from his job following allegations of sexual harassment by some members of the side. He was subsequently absolved of the charges following an enquiry by the sports ministry.

Kaushik recalled the tough period and said the controversy, which rocked Indian hockey just months before the 2010 Commonwealth Games, was one of the most difficult phases of his life.

"I must say it was a tough phase because my reputation and my family's reputation was at stake. The girls were misguided by some people who conspired against me. But the enquiry commission didn't find anything and subsequently cleared me of all the charges," he said.

"I pray to God that this doesn't happen with anyone," Kaushik added.

Asked about the under-performing Michael Nobbs, Kaushik backed the Australian and said a coach alone can't change the fortunes of a team.

"A coach plays a major role and Nobbs is undoubtedly under tremendous pressure but hockey is a team game. Team work is vital to the success of a side," he insisted.

"In the FIH World League Round 3 in Rotterdam, it was visible to everyone that we made elementary mistakes."

Kaushik said once his appointment is confirmed he would sit with the entire team management and find out solutions which can help India qualify for next year's World Cup.

He, however, said the pressure would be high on India in the upcoming eight-nation Asia Cup which they need to win to qualify directly for the 2014 Word Cup to be held in Hague, the Netherlands.

"In Rotterdam the pressure was less but in the Asia Cup the pressure on the Indian team will be immense and they will have to perform under pressure," Kaushik said.

After failing to secure direct World Cup berth from the FIH World League Round 3, India will now have to win the eight-nation Asia Cup, scheduled to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from August 24 to September 1 to seal their place in next year's showpiece event.

The Times of India



PCTC win in DS Murthy and V Karunakaran memorial hockey

Shrivathsa Sridhar


BANGALORE: Sai Raj Singh scored a brace while Kalyan Kumar too found the net as PCTC beat BEML, Bangalore 3-0 in the DS Murthy and V Karunakaran memorial hockey tournament at KSHA on Monday.

Results: PCTC: 3 (Kalyan Kumar 6, Sai Raj Singh 11, 46) bt BEML, Bangalore: 0; HAL: 3 (Ramesh Krishna 2, Sujith 4, OG-8) bt RBI: 1 (Santosh Poovaiah 24). Today's fixtures: RWF vs SAI 'A' at 2.45 pm; Canara Bank vs SAI 'B' at 4 pm.

The Times of India



Fiji 6-a-side hockey

Zanzeer Singh


clubs from Suva and Nadi will add spice to the Lautoka Hockey Association six-a-side tournament at the Nadovu grounds this afternoon.

Swipers from Suva and Rebels from Nadi will feature in the event in the build-up to the Inter District Competition in Lautoka from July 20 to July 21.

Lautoka hockey executive Martin Coffin said the two clubs had requested to play in their tournament.

He said their inclusion would boost the interest of sport in the Sugar City.

"Playing on the grass turf will pose as an obstacle for the Suva club," Coffin said.

"However I'm sure that they will acclimatise to the conditions quickly."

Rebels head Pool A with Rockefellers and Falcons Rage. Pool B has Mates, Swipers and Falcons Super.

The tournament will start at 1.30pm.

The Fiji Times