News for 12 July 2013

All the news for Friday 12 July 2013


Stay but only if your heart is in it, Revington

By Jugjet Singh


NATIONAL hockey coach Paul Revington is said to have packed his bags, and is ready to make an exit by next week.

And if Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) officials fail to convince the South African to stay on until the Asia Cup in Ipoh on Aug 24-Sept 1, hockey will be in the limelight for another own goal.

But in attempting to convince Revington to stay, MHC should also keep in mind that it would be pointless to keep the coach if he has no more heart to lead the Malaysian players.

Revington did throw in the towel two weeks before the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru, but after the intervention of no less than the sports minister himself, he decided to stay on and guided Malaysia to a fifth place finish.

And the indications were there in the press conference after Malaysia beat Japan in the playoff, as Revington was in no mood to discuss about the Asia Cup.

He bluntly said that he would not take any questions about the Asia Cup, which offers the champions direct entry into the World Cup next year.

That was very un-Revington, as the South African is normally very accommodating to the press.

Malaysia have lost a string of coaches before this, as Australian Terry Walsh, and Germans Volker Knapp and Paul Lissek came, trained, and left in a huff.

They lost heart, and if this is the case with Revington, he should also pack his bags and leave.

A good coach does make a big difference, as in the present state of hockey, all a team need is a slight edge in tactics to beat higher ranked teams.

Rankings were torn apart in Johor Baru when World No 10 Argentina held World No 1 Germany 1-1 in Group A, only to lose by 4-2 with two German goals scored in the last three minutes of the final.

However, World No 13 Malaysia were inconsistent, as fitness was not at the best and 60 per cent of the players, especially the strikers, were out of breath by the third match itself.

The Asia Cup is just weeks away, and not much can be done on fitness in the fasting month. But for the long term benefit of the sport, Malaysian players must venture abroad by the droves and play in much more competitive leagues than the Malaysia Hockey League.

The coach can only work with what he has, and at present Malaysia does not have much to offer other than a fighting side.

And a fighting side needs a fighting coach, not one who abandons them when faced with outside problems. Revington must fight with his nemeses, if any, and not throw in the towel yet again.

He is supposed to meet Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and after the meeting, if his heart is still with the players, he must forget about meddling outsiders and concentrate on the job at hand.

But if his heart is elsewhere, bon voyage Revington...

New Straits Times



National team to resume training – with or without Revington

By AFTAR SINGH



National assistant coach: S. Arul Selvaraj.

KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team will resume training on Monday with or without the services of national coach Paul Revington.

The team will be handled by national assistant coach S. Arul Selvaraj.

Arul said that he would continue coaching the team for the Asia Cup in Ipoh from Aug 24 to Sept 1.

“Revington is expected to make a decision by this week. And frankly speaking, I really don’t know what his plans are.

“As for me I will continue training the team for the Asia Cup,” said the former international.

Malaysia failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup in The Hague, Holland, after finishing fifth in the World League semi-finals tournament in Johor Baru last Sunday.

Now they must win the Asia Cup at all cost to make the grade to Hague, Holland.

The National Sports Council (NSC) want Revington to continue training the national hockey team.

NSC director of athletes division Ariffin Ghani said that the World Hockey League semi-finals in Johor Baru just ended and they don’t want to push the South African coach to make a decision.

“We will give him until next week to make up his mind. However, we need his services as the Asia Cup is an important assignment for the national team to qualify for the World Cup.

“And furthermore, the tournament is less than six weeks,” said Ariffin.

Revington, who is under the payroll of NSC, signed a two-year contract last September.

Revington sent an e-mail to Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) last month stating that he was quitting the team due to outside interference.

However, he changed his mind, and decided to continue training the team for the World League semi-finals.

NSC liaison officer for hockey Nur Azlan Shah said that he is still waiting for Revington to contact him to decide whether he wants to continue training the national team.

“Despite the fasting month, the national team will train twice a day,” said Nur Azlan.

All the 18 players, who featured in the World League semi-finals and eight others who were dropped earlier will be called up for training.

Eight teams will feature in the Asia Cup and Malaysia will open their Group A campaign against Taiwan on Aug 24.

Their other matches are against Pakistan on Aug 25 and Japan on Aug 27.

South Korea, India, Bangladesh and Oman are drawn in Group B.

The semi-finals is scheduled for Aug 30 and the final is slated for Sept 1.

The Star of Malaysia



Malaysia go down tamely to Russia in Kazan

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia, powered by four national players, suffered a 4-1 defeat to hosts Russia in the men’s Group A  hockey competition of the World University Games in Kazan on Wednesday.

Malaysia, who outplayed Poland 7-1 in the opening match on Monday, now have to win their remaining two matches against Italy today and South Africa tomorrow to earn a place in the semi-finals.

Russia, who defeated Italy 3-0 in the first match, top the standings with maximum points from two matches.

South Africa are second with four points from one win and a draw.

In the match against Russia, Malaysia took the lead off a penalty corner goal by national defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim in the eighth minute.

But the hosts came back strongly to dominate the match and netted three goals in the space of 11 minutes.

Nikolay Komarov equalised in the 17th minute before Igor Sinyagin gave Russia the lead in the 26th minute.

Two minutes later, Almaz Kurbanov made it 3-1 off a penalty stroke.

After the breather, Pavel Golubev completed the rout in the 48th minute from a field attempt.

France are the first team to qualify for the semi-finals with three consecutive wins in Group B. They trounced South Korea (11-4), Ukraine (10-0) and Japan (5-2).

France will wrap up their group fixtures against Germany on tomorrow. Germany are also expected to reach the last four after two convincing wins over Ukraine (4-0) and Japan (6-0).

The Star of Malaysia



PHF to decide fate of team management next week


It is unclear whether coach Akhtar Rasool (r) will still be in charge come the Asia Cup. -Photo by AFP

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) will hold an important meeting on July 15 to decide whether to go with the same team management for the upcoming Asia Cup.

Pakistan still stand a chance in the shape of winning the upcoming Asia Cup to qualify for the 2014 showpiece event of hockey.

The team lost the first chance to qualify for the mega event after finishing poor seventh in the World Hockey League.

Top three teams had to qualify for 2014 World Cup through the World Hockey League which was utilised by Argentina, Germany and England booking berths in the 2014 World Cup.

No Asian team could qualify for the mega event.

It needs to be mentioned that winner of the Asia Cup will also get a place in the mega event but Pakistan position seems more flimsy in presence of Korea, Malaysia and even China vying for the same spot.

Now the PHF may hire two other coaches — Manzoor-ul-Hasan Senior and Tahir Zaman — to take over the charge from Akhtar Rasool.

However, it will be a tough challenge for both of them to make recovery in such a short period as the Asia Cup will be held in September this year in Malaysia.

Dawn



Pakistan hockey flirting with wrong kind of history


The team will go all-out to avoid the possibility of Pakistan not playing in the World Cup for the first time. -File photo by AFP

Pakistan are on course to make hockey history – but not the way they have been in the past. The team with the most number of World Cup titles (1971, 1978, 1982, 1994) might just find itself out of the mega-event next year for the first time since it started in 1971.

After finishing seventh in the recently-concluded World Hockey League (WHL), which served as a qualifier for the World Cup, the Greenshirts must win the Asia Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia later this year to compete against the top teams of the world at The Hague.

It will not be an easy task for Pakistan to emerge as the regional champions. India face a similarly daunting prospect with their World Cup berth also depending on the Asian event. The Greenshirts will play Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan in the group stages while India will vie against South Korea, Bangladesh and Oman in the other group.

Despite showing occasional flashes of brilliance and flair during the WHL, Pakistan failed to perform when it mattered. The final blow was dealt when the Greenshirts were edged out 4-3 in the quarter-final by South Korea after topping their group.

“The luck factor was not with us. Some missed chances and errors during crucial stages cost us badly. We lost the match against South Korea despite taking a double lead," Pakistan captain Mohammad Imran said while talking to The Express Tribune.

“It is a must-win event and we will go all-out for it,” he said. “The opponents will be tough but they certainly are not invincible. We did well against them in the past as well.”

Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool blamed his team’s poor result in the WHL on poor finishing but said that they will play for nothing less than a win in Ipoh.

“We had a bad outing in Johor Baru (WHL) but we didn’t have the full complement of players then as Waseem Ahmad was injured and Rashid Mahmood was not fully fit.

“They are key players in the team. We hope to have them back fully fit for the Asia Cup as we will go for nothing less than a win,” said Akhtar.

Dawn



Waseem fears missing World Cup

By Fawad Hussain



Waseem Ahmed, Pakistan’s most capped player, realises that winning the Asia Cup would be a difficult task. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan’s most capped player Waseem Ahmed has expressed his concern over the hockey team’s chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup to be held in the Netherlands, a statement that came after the Greenshirts missed a golden opportunity at the recently-concluded Hockey World League (HWL) in Malaysia.

Top three teams at the HWL would have earned entry to the World Cup with Pakistan well on course after remaining unbeaten in the group stage and setting up a quarter-final showdown against South Korea.

However, it all went wrong for the Greenshirts as they lost back-to-back matches, before beating South Africa to settle seventh place at the eight-team HWL. They now need to win the Asia Cup to confirm their berth at the World Cup.

Waseem, who missed the event due to injury following an accident, said Pakistan failed to capitalise on a good start.

“I was heartbroken when I saw Pakistan lose the quarters,” the former captain told The Express Tribune.  “They were playing so well against South Korea [leading 2-0] but suddenly lost their grip. The team failed to manage the opposition in the second-half.

“We should have won that match because we got the perfect start. We finished top in our group; Korea finished last. But we failed to capitalise on that.”

Desperate for fifth World Cup appearance

The 36-year old, armed with over 400 international appearances and having represented Pakistan in four World Cup events (1998 to 2010), said he was desperate to play the global event for a fifth successive time.

“Pakistan have never sat out of the World Cup during my career. But now we have come on the verge after missing the best chance to qualify.

“The Asia Cup is going to be tough as teams like India, Korea and Malaysia will give their best shot to become the only Asian nation to play the World Cup.”

However, Waseem was quick to add that the task to surpass the Asian counterparts was not impossible.

“We’ve been doing this for quite some time. We won the 2010 Asian Games gold medal and the Asian Champions Trophy recently. Our world ranking was the best among the Asian teams before the HWL.

“All we need to do is improve on our weaknesses and play up to our potential.”

On road to recovery

Waseem, whose absence according to the team management hurt the side in HWL, said he was recovering well from the shoulder injury.  The former captain was a part of the HWL squad and attended the team’s training camp arranged in Abbottabad but was ruled out after suffering a road accident.

“There’s a little pain left but I have started fitness training.

“I will start hockey training in a week and hopefully will join the camp whenever it starts in a couple of weeks. I am desperate to come back on the field and regain my rhythm.”

The Express Tribune



Pakistan slips to eighth in world hockey rankings


Pakistan finished seventh in the Hockey World League. PHOTO: AFP/FILE

KARACHI: After a disappointing performance at the Hockey World League, the Pakistan hockey team plunged to eighth in International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings released on Thursday.

Pakistan, which was placed sixth in the previous ranking, slipped two places after the national team finished seventh in the league, which doubled as qualifiers for next year’s World Cup.

Now Pakistan team will be making last ditch effort to qualify for the world event by winning the Asia Cup which is scheduled to be played in Malaysia from August 24 to September 1.

On the other side, the German national team, which won the league, maintained their hold on the top spot in the FIH rankings. Germany is followed by Australia and Netherlands.

India is ranked at the number 11 spot.

The Express Tribune



Asia Cup to be do-or-die for Pakistan: Akhtar Rasool

ISLAMABAD  -  National hockey team coach Akhtar Rasool has said that the Asia Cup will be a 'do-or-die' battle for Pakistan.

“We had a bad outing in Johor Bahru but we didn't have the full complement of players then as Waseem Ahmad was injured and Rashid Mahmood was not fully fit," Akhtar said while commenting upon Pakistan's chances for qualifying for the mega event, which will be held in The Hague, Holland, next year.

"They are key players in the team. We hope to have them back fully fit for Ipoh as we will go for nothing less than a win," he added.

Akhtar blamed poor finishing as one of the main reasons for the failure in Johor Bahru.

Former winners Pakistan and India have played in all editions of the World Cup but now face the prospect of being shut out of the 2014 World Cup after failing to land one of the qualifying spots in the recently-ended FIH World Hockey League semi-finals in Johor Bahru and Holland.

Pakistan ended up seventh in Johor Bahru, while India finished sixth in Holland earlier last month. Both the traditional rivals will now look to the Asia Cup that takes place in Ipoh, Malaysia, from August 24 to September 1 to book a berth in the World Cup. Only the winners will make the cut.

The two teams will have to contend with hosts Malaysia and South Korea for the sole ticket to The Hague.

In the Asia Cup, Pakistan are in the same group as Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan. South Korea, Bangladesh, Oman and India make up the other group.

The Nation



Job is honorary for Indian coaches

Krishna Kanta Chakraborty


CHENNAI: While the foreign coaches for the Indian hockey team earn a lot, their Indian counterparts have never received a single penny from the national federation for their services. Even as the recently sacked Michael Nobbs got a monthly remuneration of $11000, three former Indian head coaches - V Baskaran, Cedric D'Souza and Harendra Singh - did their job for free.

"I have worked with the various Indian sides from 1998 and finally took over as chief coach in 2008 but never got a single penny for my service. I am not demanding crores, but I think we are good enough to expect some remuneration for our hard work," Harendra told TOI. The Sports Authority of India (SAI) takes the final call on coaches' selection after recommendation from the national federation (at present Hockey India). While all the foreign coaches sign a professional contract with the SAI and receive monthly salary, there's never any contract for the Indian coaches. It was the same for Nobbs' assistant Mohammad Riaz as well, who was relieved from duties along with Aussie.

The SAI authorities informed that the Indian coaches don't get remuneration because they are employed with some other company. While Baskaran worked for Indian Railways, Harendra, Riaz and Cedric are still on the payroll of Air India. It's understood that the Indian coaches get $500 on a foreign tour which exceeds 10 days. Moreover, the fact that most Indian coaches don't have a professional coaching licence goes against them.

Harendra feels "it's a ridiculous rule" and that the SA should change it immediately. "There is a tendency to look down upon us. The belief is that foreign coaches will bring India Olympic medals overnight, and time again, it's being proved wrong," he said.

Baskaran, under whom India played two World Cups (1998 & 2006) and an Olympic (2000), supported Harendra.

"It's unfortunate but this is a reality. Indian hockey is suffering because it's controlled by people who have no idea or interest in the game. I have never received any money for my services to Indian hockey. On the other hand, HI hired three professionals from Australia - coach Nobbs, exercise physiologist Jason Conrath and chief executive Elena Norman for a very high salary. But the Indian coaching staff in the same team - Riaz, Jugraj Singh and Clarence Lobo didn't get any salary," Baskaran said.

He feels that the entire system needs an overhaul. "It's about development and training programmes... We don't have anything in place. Look at teams like Belgium and New Zealand, they were nowhere close to India, and now they are beating us day in day out."

The Times of India



Finding good goalkeepers a big challenge

Y. B. Sarangi


There is a pressing need to find suitable back-up for the national side’s top goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh.

In the recently-concluded Hockey World League in Rotterdam, the country’s second goalkeeper P.T. Rao, 34, played for only six minutes in the first (against Ireland) match, even as India finished sixth among eight teams. Michael Nobbs had no choice but to field his best goalkeeper as the journey got progressively tougher.

The outgoing coach recognises this area of concern.

“Yes, we do not have a back-up for Sreejesh. P.T. Rao is stop-gap, and has done well. But age is against him, and we need to find some new goalkeepers,” says Nobbs.

With the Asia Cup around the corner and many important competitions such as the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the World Cup coming up next year, who will share Sreejesh’s workload?

“I am worried. God forbid, Sreejesh gets injured. What will happen then?” asks Olympian goalkeeper A.B. Subbaiah.

“I am not against P.T. Rao. But he is 34. We need to find a pool of 10 talented goalkeepers, and train them properly.”

Nobbs cautions that time is running out.

“There is not enough time to build them (promising youngsters) up and give them enough experience.

“It takes 12 to 18 months… to build them up physically and train them with modern goalkeeping training and techniques, then give them 20-30 internationals before they are of real value to the programme,” he says.

Edgar Mascarenhas, who guarded the Indian goal in the mid-1990s, points out the flaw in the handling of affairs.

“I have been noticing the pattern for some years, and only two goalkeepers are being called for a camp. There is hardly any competition. So complacency is bound to creep in.”

Subbaiah agrees.

“During our days, there used to be good competition… Ashish Balal, Aloysius Edward and Edgar Mascarenhas and I were fighting for places in the National team. So, everybody tried to give his best,” he recalls.

Mascarenhas, who is initiating an effort to train talented ’keepers in Mumbai, points out that Sreejesh was the only Indian ’keeper who was seen in action in the Hockey India League.

“Rest were all foreigners. Each one of them showed his class, and was a match-winner,” Mascarenhas says.

Good goalkeepers can be groomed through solid training, Mascarenhas says.

“During my time, we had the opportunity to train under Cedric D’Souza.

He had brought (1988 Olympics gold medallist) Ian Taylor from Britain, and we benefitted by following his regimen. Taylor taught us how to kick the ball without giving rebounds,” he says.

Nobbs also speaks of the importance of nurturing talent.

“I think there are many (good goalkeepers) around. We just need to get them into academies that can do the basic work so that when they hit the national programme, they, at least, have a chance, and then, be able to compete against the players already there.”

Hockey India, seems to have realised the urgency of the matter; it has included seven goalkeepers among the 48 probables in the camp for the Asia Cup.

The Hindu



Sixth out of eight is really sad!

Uthra Ganesan


India coach Michael Nobbs is no novice in the use of technology. But the use of latest gadgets hasn’t translated into on-field success. After finishing sixth in the Hockey World League Round 3, India now needs to win the Asia Cup in August to qualify for the World Cup.

With players walking the ramp with panache, in stylish new outfits under flashing pop lights, the sending-off of the Indian hockey teams, both men and women, after the Hockey World League Round 3 was a glamorous event. Unfortunately, that was to be the only good thing about India’s campaign in the competition.

The women’s team finished seventh in the eight-team field, which was expected, while the men ended up at sixth spot, which was not.

Before departure, there were high hopes from the Indian men. Even though the team was not expected to beat the likes of Australia or Netherlands, India was expected to finish at least in the top three, thereby staying in the reckoning for World Cup qualification. Instead, India’s only win in the competition came against lowly France.

The reasons for such a dismal performance were many. Traditionally a slow starter, the format should have suited India. After three league matches each, every team had to play the quarterfinal, which meant India could get into a rhythm by then. That did not happen as India started with a surprise draw against gritty Ireland, lost to Holland and then drew again against New Zealand, before being thrashed 5-1 by Australia in the quarterfinal.

“We should have won that first game. But even after that we had our chances. The entire team deserves blame for the poor performance,” admitted captain Sardar Singh. He is right, because every player, including Sardar, was guilty of silly mistakes not expected at this level of play.

Hockey India’s High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans has tried to give a positive spin to the outing. “India played good hockey in some matches but were not consistent. I won’t say their performance was bad but there are areas where improvement is needed. India needs to play against top teams more regularly for that,” he has said. What he left unsaid was that the areas of improvement are widespread.

It was an all-round failure. With three penalty corner experts — a luxury in modern hockey — India managed to convert less than 30 per cent of its chances. Against Holland, it earned four and wasted them all. In games against Australia and Spain, the defence gifted away own goals to the opposition. Poor defence meant India let in 18 goals through the tournament.

But blaming the defence cannot be an escape route for the others. For a long time now, the team management has been over-reliant on the playmaking abilities of Sardar Singh, playing him for more than 60 minutes in every game. As a result, the captain’s performance took a hit. He was below par, committing basic errors in passing that he would not otherwise do.

“It is tough. I understand I need to take responsibility but in today’s hockey, no one can play for the entire duration. It kills you. I couldn’t run as much as I should have, I was making mistakes despite being aware of them. Fitness needs to go up but so does the use of rotations,” Sardar admitted.

Others were equally guilty. Off the ball running was pathetic, the forwards were hardly seen in strategic positions to try and get the ball in. The Indian attack was lacklustre. Even though a couple of players were inexperienced at this level, the effort itself was lacking. There was no adjustment to the on-field situation, no Plan B, no fightback. Basic trapping and passing errors meant the ball possession was measly.

It was an insipid performance from a team that boasts of a foreign coach who has been in the saddle for almost three years and a High Performance Director who is considered among the best brains in the business.

In contrast, Belgium, which won the competition defeating Australia on penalties in the final, has been a revelation. Belgium’s rising graph was evident way back in 2007, when it upset Germany in the EuroHockey Nations Championship and qualified for the 2008 Olympics. And the coming of Dutchman Marc Lammers as coach has seen the team growing in strength. Defeating Australia twice in a competition is no child’s play. Lammers has some reputation as a coach. Despite playing only five times for the Dutch national team, the 44-year-old is regarded with respect. He managed to take the then World No. 20 Spain to the top-four at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. For eight years, he helmed the Dutch women’s team, winning silver at the 2004 Olympics and gold four years later, claiming the World Cup and the Champions Trophy in between.

Since taking charge of Belgium, he has not allowed the team to fall out of the top-10 in world rankings. Techno-savvy and easy to talk to, Lammers is easily the younger version of the legendary Ric Charlesworth.



Sportstar



TN govt to set up hockey stadium in Tuticorin

Chennai: Tamil Nadu government Friday announced various initiatives to promote sports, including establishing a world-class hockey stadium in Tuticorin at a cost of Rs seven crore.

A modern stadium with synthetic turf besides floodlights and water sprinklers will be established at Kovilapatti in the district where hockey is a favourite sport, a government press release here said.

Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has approved Rs seven crore for this purpose, it said.

She further allocated Rs 70 lakh towards setting up badminton academies in Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchirappalli and Dharmapuri districts with a view to attract more players.

Each academy will be allocated Rs 14 lakh towards setting up training facilities and procuring modern equipment. Training would be imparted to 15 players for 10 months in these academies, it added.

Government will also conduct more inter-university sports championships covering track events, badminton, basketball, hockey, kabaddi, tennis and table tennis, for which Rs one crore has been allocated, it said.

The government announced increase in the honorarium of sports coaches from Rs 8,000 to Rs 15,000.

Zee News



U.S. Women’s Indoor Team announces upcoming series with Canada

Indoor head coach Denise Zelenak will name roster after July 20 training weekend




COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – The U.S. Women’s Indoor Field Hockey Team has announced the U.S. Women’s Indoor Team will compete in a series of three test matches against Canada at the Sportsplex in Feasterville, Pa. next month. The teams will play matches at 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 3 and play the final match on Sunday, August 4 at 10:00 a.m.

“It is with great pleasure that I look forward to welcoming our friends from up North, to re-establish this great friendship and work together to develop and strengthen our Men’s and Women’s Indoor programs,” said Nigel Traverso, Manager of the U.S. Indoor Teams.

The selection process for the test series began earlier this year at open try-outs on March 10 in Pottstown, Pa. and will be completed after the current training schedule concludes the weekend of July 20.

“We have a talented and internationally experienced pool of athletes and I am excited to see how they compete at the final selection weekend,” said U.S. Women’s Indoor head coach Denise Zelenak. “This test series with Canada is an important step in our goal to win the 2014 Pan Ams.”

At the conclusion of the series with Canada, Zelenak will announce the squad, which will travel to Leipzig, Germany in January 2014. That tour may prove to be the final preparation for the next Pan American Indoor Cup, which serves as a qualifier for the Indoor World Cup.

“We have set our sights high and to that end we have planned a tour to Leipzig, which is the location of the Indoor World Cup scheduled for February 3-8, 2015,” said Zelenak.

The U.S. women earned silver at the 2008 (San Juan, Argentina) and 2005 (Kitchener, Canada) Pan American Indoor Championships. In the five tournaments since the inception of the Indoor Pan Am competitions, Argentina has taken gold twice while three other countries earned gold once. Zelenak led the indoor squad to its first ever victory over Argentina in a series of test matches held in March 2013 at the National Training Center in Buenos Aires.

The August series with Canada is sponsored in part by the Mystx Field Hockey club.

Admission to all matches is free. A player clinic is planned for Saturday afternoon, August 3, between matches. 

USFHA media release



Junior Black Sticks draw 1-1 with Way Farers

Olivia Lartey




With barely three weeks to the start of the Under-21 female hockey World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany, Ghana’s junior team appears to have hit the right form drawing 1-1 with a crunch male team, the Way Farers, in a warm-up match at the National Hockey Stadium last Tuesday.

The score line, notwithstanding, the national team played one of their best games in recent times and deserved to have carried the day but for the occasional bullying by their male counterparts.

Captain Nafisatu Umaru struck from a well-rehearsed penalty corner before the end of the first 35 minutes but the Way Farers pulled level on the stroke of full time from a similar penalty corner perfectly connected by Eric Mensah.

The females matched their male opponents’ equally in an end-to-end action but were occasionally overpowered physically by the male team who looked well-built and strong on the ball.

Coach Edmund Odametey told the Daily Graphic after the match that the idea of playing against male teams was to condition the ladies physically and to test their fighting spirit for the July 27 to August 4 tournament.

“I am very happy with my girls. With this I know we will make Ghanaians proud in our maiden appearance at the World Cup,” he said.

Ghana, one of two Africa representatives at the World Cup, is paired in Group A together with Holland, USA and Korea Republic. The Ghanaians play Holland on July 27.

GhanaWeb



Top hockey at Riverside Elite Club Challenge in Durban this weekend

JONATHAN COOK



Riverside, KZN Raiders and South Africa star Wade Paton.

THE inaugural Riverside Elite Club Challenge will take place on Friday and Saturday evenings, as well as Sunday morning at Riverside Sports Club in Durban North in what will be a feast of top men’s club hockey.

KZN Coastal club champions Riverside will take on the Southern Gauteng champs, Wanderers Chariots, as well as Northerns title holders UP-Tuks and Western Province champions WPCC Badgers over the weekend.

While there are many senior provincial players, SA U21 and SA Schools' stars, amongst the big names Riverside have recently returned World League midfielders Wade and Taine Paton in their midst, as well as goalkeeper Gowan Jones, all members of the South Africa men’s hockey team just back from Johor Bahru in Malaysia.

The Riverside first team have not lost a match since early 2012.

Stellar players in the Wanderers Chariots side are SA team-mates Miguel da Graca and former Maritzburg Varsity star and current SA centre back Jethro Eustice, as well as national central defender Ricky West.

Among a further galaxy of stars at another club, the WPCC Badgers boast the likes of double Olympian (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) attacking wing back Andrew Cronje, as well as Athens 2004 Olympian Steve Evans in their line-up.

Riverside Hockey Club chairman Wayne Phillips foresees not just a bumper weekend of quality hockey, but the dawn of a new venture that could well become a fixture and indeed a highlight on the South African hockey calendar.

“It is significant that the three major South African hockey provinces can boast non-tertiary clubs as their champions,” said Phillips, the former Natal and SA goalkeeper.

“The vision of the event is to hopefully catalyse the development of a parallel non-tertiary-based club structure to the current Varsity Cup and University Sport South Africa hockey events, which are on offer to the tertiary clubs.

"And because we want to sell this vision - perhaps in time culminating in an ultimate playoff between the non-tertiary SA club champions and the SA University champions to decide an overall winner - we have invited UP-Tuks to this event this year.

"The option also exists to expand the concept to include the elite women's clubs.”

Phillips said the event is the initiative of Riverside Sports under the guidance of general manager Roger Gardner.

In the 1980s was integrally involved in hatching the Toyota Easter Club Rugby Champions event.

“Riverside Hockey Club is the implementing party on behalf of the club’s mother body,” said Phillips.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) recognised Sue Simmonds is the tournament director.

There are also junior matches as well as a Masters match on Saturday.

More information can be found at this fine hockey club's website www.riversidehockey.co.za

FIXTURES

Friday: Riverside vs UP-Tuks (6.30 pm); WPCC vs Wanderers (8 pm).

Saturday: Tuks vs Wanderers (6 pm); Riverside vs WPCC (7.30 pm).

Sunday: WPCC vs Tuks (9 am); Riverside vs Wanderers (11 am).

SA Hockey Association media release



Eadie double puts Scots into contention for promotion in Spain

A double from Jennifer Eadie, together with goals from Laura Page and Waverley Miller, gave Scotland U18 Girls an excellent 4-0 win over Italy in Santander, Spain today.

As a result, the young Scots advance into the promotion pool stage of the EuroHockey U18 Championship II this weekend, when they will play the runners-up and winners of Pool B.

Following today’s success over the Italians, Scotland U18 Girls Head Coach Colin Clarke said, “We will prepare over the next 48 hours to play our semi-final against opponents who we’ll find out about after tomorrow’s pool games.

“The girls responded in the right way after the set-back of the opening game against Poland. The squad played with the necessary momentum. Their visual connections, coupled with their patience in retaining the ball is something to build on for Saturday.”

Scotland had to be patient in during the first half, but eventually opened the scoring not long before half-time when Jennifer Eadie finished off a penalty corner set-play to make it 1-0 in the 27th minute.

Five minutes after the re-start, Eadie doubled the advantage from the penalty spot to make it 2-0 and leave the Italians with a difficult task of getting back into the contest.

However, the Scots left their opponents with little hope in the 57th minute when Laura Page was on hand at a penalty corner to give her side a 3-0 cushion.

The scoring was rounded off right on full-time as another penalty corner gave Waverley Miller the opportunity to grab Scotland’s fourth goal in the 70th minute.

As a result, they finish top of Pool A with four points.

Please visit the EuroHockey website for more information, including fixtures, results and pool standings.

Scotland U18 Girls (Eadie. J 27', 40', Page 57', Miller 70') 4-0 Italy

Scotland U18 Girls: Megan Inch, Waverley Miller, Emily Newlands, Susan Graham, Katie Hibbert, Kerry-Anne Hastings, Alison Eadie, Maisie Morris, Laura Page, Kirsten Peters, Jennifer Mathieson, Jennifer Eadie, Jessica Ross, Camilla Brown, Claire Hill, Fiona Burnet, Emma McGregor, Rowan Sinclair.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



NOW: Pensions Speed Cage Challenge


NOW: Pensions Speed Cage in London

Members of the public had the chance to test their hockey skills in the brand new and very popular NOW: Pensions speed cage at London's Victoria Station.

England men's squad players David Beckett, Alistair Brogdon, Andy Bull, Darren Cheeseman, David Condon and Richard Smith were on hand to provide tips to Londoners passing by.

The winner of the speed hitting competition will be able to take three people with them on a three-night trip to the European Hockey Championships in Belgium thanks to England Hockey sponsors NOW: Pensions.

The speed cage is the latest initiative by NOW: Pensions and England Hockey to help bring the sport to new audiences. The NOW: Pensions speed cage will next be seen in Victoria Square, Birmingham on 26 July, so it's not just Londoners who get to try it out! The cage will also be be in Wakefield for the NOW:Pensions Nations Cup on 1st to 4th August, during the day in Wakefield city centre and then at the match venue.

England Hockey Board Media release