News for 04 Septembert 2013

All the news for Wednesday 4 September 2013

Black Sticks excited for return to Taranaki

Black Sticks captain Dean Couzins Photo:

Excitement is continuing to build ahead of next month’s Oceania Cup in what will be Taranaki’s first taste of international hockey in 50 years.

The Oceania Cup will see the Black Sticks Men and Women take on Australia, Samoa and Papua New Guinea for a shot at the title from 28 October – 3 November at TET MultiSports Centre in Stratford.

The last time a New Zealand side played in Taranaki was 1963, when Australia defeated the Kiwi men 3-2 in front of thousands of fans at Pukekura Park.

Things have changed a great deal in 50 years, and the Black Sticks are looking for redemption through winning the 2013 Oceania Cup – which would also see them gain valuable world ranking points.

Black Sticks Men’s captain Dean Couzins recently visited the Stratford venue and was hugely impressed with the effort the Taranaki region has put into the event.

“It’s a pretty stunning location. I can imagine on a clear day with the mountain in the background it would be great to be out on the turf,” Couzins said.

“I think what you find with smaller provinces who host events like this is that they really get the community behind it. You tend to have some quite vocal people in smaller towns, they get stuck in and don’t hold back and I know they’ll be right behind the New Zealand teams.

“There are lots of good people getting behind this event and that connection makes it really special for the guys.”

With both the Black Sticks Men and Women having already qualified for the 2014 Hockey World Cup, the world ranking points on offer for the Oceania Cup winner are enticing.

With the women ranked third in the world, points are extra important for the men who are currently fifth in the world on 1963 points. It’s an intensely competitive table, with just 45 points between the Black Sticks and Belgium in ninth spot.

“I know the New Zealand men are sitting in a nice spot at the moment but there are a lot of teams hot on our heels. It’s very close in those 5-10 spots. If we could pick up the Oceania title it would make a massive difference to that and put some distance between us and the other teams.”

It’s shaping up to be an enormous year in 2014 for Couzins and the Black Sticks Men, with the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Challenge all on the cards.

The 32-year-old veteran, who is now just 14 games away from 300 test caps, said the competitive fire is still well and truly burning.

“I’m still very much enjoying my hockey - the competitive spirit and edge is still there, there’s no doubt about it whether it’s training or game time.

“I’m enjoying the environment with Colin [Batch], it’s a really nice fresh and honest approach. There’s a nice vibe around the team at the moment that’s making it enjoyable, and for someone who’s been around a while that’s nice to have.”

CLICK HERE for more on the Oceania Cup, including draw and ticket information

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Fire still burns for Couzins

Black Sticks captain Dean Couzins is closing in on 300 test appearances and is showing no signs of slowing down ahead of next month's Oceania Cup in Taranaki.

The Oceania Cup will see the Black Sticks men and women take on Australia, Samoa and Papua New Guinea from October 28-November 3 at TET MultiSports Centre in Stratford.

The last time a New Zealand side played in Taranaki was 1963, when Australia defeated the Kiwi men 3-2 at Pukekura Park.

Couzins, who is now just 14 games away from 300 test caps, said the competitive fire is still well and truly burning.

"I'm still very much enjoying my hockey - the competitive spirit and edge is still there, there's no doubt about it whether it's training or game time,'' Couzins said.

"I'm enjoying the environment with Colin [Batch], it's a really nice fresh and honest approach. There's a nice vibe around the team at the moment that's making it enjoyable, and for someone who's been around a while that's nice to have.''

Things have changed a great deal since the last time the Black Sticks played in Taranaki and they are looking for redemption through winning the 2013 Oceania Cup - which would also see them gain valuable world ranking points.

Couzins, 32, recently visited the Stratford venue and was hugely impressed with the effort the Taranaki region has put into the event.

"It's a pretty stunning location. I can imagine on a clear day with the mountain in the background it would be great to be out on the turf,'' Couzins said.

"I think what you find with smaller provinces who host events like this is that they really get the community behind it. You tend to have some quite vocal people in smaller towns, they get stuck in and don't hold back and I know they'll be right behind the New Zealand teams.

"There are lots of good people getting behind this event and that connection makes it really special for the guys.''

With both the Black Sticks men and women having already qualified for the 2014 Hockey World Cup, the world ranking points on offer for the Oceania Cup winner are enticing.

With the women ranked third in the world, points are extra important for the men who are currently fifth in the world on 1963 points. It's a competitive table, with just 45 points between the Black Sticks and Belgium in ninth spot.

"I know the New Zealand men are sitting in a nice spot at the moment but there are a lot of teams hot on our heels. It's very close in those 5-10 spots. If we could pick up the Oceania title it would make a massive difference to that and put some distance between us and the other teams.''

It's shaping up to be an enormous year in 2014 for Couzins and the Black Sticks, with the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Challenge all on the menu.

The New Zealand Herald

Scottish Hockey launches 'September Spectacular'

Scottish Hockey will host the first in a series of National League Big Weekend events on 14 and 15 September at Peffermill, Edinburgh.

The 'September Spectacular' will showcase eight top quality matches across two action packed days as Scotland's premier clubs do battle in fixtures from both Men's and Women's Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1.

Entry is FREE for all spectators on both days. Come down to Peffermill and support your favourite team!

Download the 'September Spectacular' Flyer (PDF) to share with your club members, friends and family.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Hockey chiefs eye bright future


Big deal: Ulster Hockey yesterday announced two new sponsors Total Hockey and Kukri. Pictured at are Alan McMurray, Total Hockey, Angela Platt, Ulster Hockey and Terry Jackson, Kukri with Ulster players Pippa Best and Michael Robson

Ulster Hockey is all set to enter a new four-year cycle but as the governing body for the sport in the province launches its Strategic Plan for 2013-2017, it admits it's facing many barriers as a result of reduced funding.

However, executive manager Angela Platt believes that much can still be achieved as hockey moves into a new and exciting phase of development, particularly with the willingness of schools, clubs and the valuable team of volunteers.

The Strategic Plan, launched last night at the pre-season Club Forum, sets out the priorities that will help to broaden the participation base, create stronger structures within clubs, improve the quality of coaches and ultimately have better structures in place to enable the most talented athletes to reach their full potential.

"In order to achieve the aims and objectives contained within this new plan we will need the support of Government Agencies, the Irish Hockey Association and everyone involved in hockey within Ulster to play their part," insists Angela.

Over the past four years hockey in general has enjoyed growth in participation and development despite a marginal decline at boys' and men's level. Overall participation numbers, which include male and female adults, juniors, has risen to around 15,000.

The Strategic Plan takes into consideration current priority areas established by Sport Northern Ireland, the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure, the Department of Health, Social Services & Public Safety and the NI Executive, and it also recognises the current developments within the IHA.

Ulster Hockey's management Board will be charged with the responsibility of delivering the vision which includes:

* Participation Development: to increase the number by at least 10% and improve the quality of the player experience, with specific focus on increasing participants in boys and men's hockey.

* Club Development: to build capacity within junior and senior clubs by raising the standard through the enhancement of the Hockey Club Accreditation and development scheme.

* Talent Identification and Development: to enhance our quality-based player pathway system, to identify talented players, develop them and support them to achieve their full potential.

* High Performance development: to help the best to become better and achieve at elite level.

Belfast Telefast

Five gains from India's journey in Asia Cup

Once regarded as the most popular sport of the country, hockey now is not even followed all across the border, thanks to India's dismal show in the recent years.

A country, which has once produced the likes of Dhyan Chand, Leslie Claudius, Balbir Singh Sr. and ruled the world of hockey, is now struggling to even clinch a title in major tournaments.

But all is not lost yet as India just seemed to have regrouped under the able leadership of Sardar Singh and is looking good to get a spot in the coming World Cup.

Here is a look at the five gains India earned out of the Asia Cup:

Coming together as a team: While hockey, over the years, has relied on individual brilliance in the forward line, one can’t deny the fact that it is a team sport which separates the good teams from the rest. India in the recently concluded Asia cup displayed tremendous team spirit with the whole team coming together in unison with one common goal in mind.

Forward line packed the punch: Hockey, just like football, is about the number of goals a team can score and India did not disappoint in this aspect of the game. The forward line packed a punch which helped in converting the half chances into goals that will hold Indian hockey in good stead in the coming years.

Goal-Keeping of top quality: To elevate PR Sreejesh as vice-captain of the Indian team did a world of good to his confidence and that showed in his game too where he saved India from conceding a goal in more than one occasion. Barring the match against South Korea in the final, Sreejesh showed tremendous temperament and ability in the field. The point would be vindicated once we take a look at his performance where he conceded only once in the group stage matches.

Defenders coming off age: India, over the years, have always lacked a very good defender ever since Pargat Singh called it a day and to think that defenders like Raghu and Rupinder can fill his boots would be expecting too much too early in their careers. But there is a lot of potential and if they are groomed well the Indian defence should be in safe hands in the years to come.

Fighting spirit: While India might have lost the gold to South Korea in the final of the Asia Cup, there are still a lot of positives that can be taken from the defeat. At times you tend to learn more when you lose than when you win.The manner in which the Indian team came back and took the game to the opposition after conceding two goals in the first half, speaks volumes of their self-belief and confidence. It was not to be this time but we can definitely reap a lot of benefits with this performance in the near future.

More importantly, the team has given us hope and at times hope is bigger than the Pope.

The Asian Age

Long way to go for India

Indervir Grewal

Chandigarh - The second-place finish in the Asia Cup would have been disastrous for India had Pakistan not lost in the semi-finals. Thanks to their loss, India's defeat in the final is being seen as merely another trophy missed.

The team now has to wait till November — for Australia or New Zealand to win the Oceania Cup — for the confirmation of their participation in the World Cup.

Though the qualification worries are practically over, India, under interim coach Roelant Oltmans, have a long way to go if they are to perform well at the World Cup next year.

While the team turned in a gutsy performance, especially the youngsters, the 3-4 loss to South Korea in the final highlighted their lack of consistency. “Considering it was their first big tournament as a unit and the first for many youngsters, I did not expect them to reach the final," said Hardeep Singh Grewal, a former hockey Olympian.

"But the team played only three tough matches, including the lost final. Had they beaten Korea in the final, it would have made them look a lot consistent.”

Lack of consistency

Before the final, India had conceded just one goal. In the final, however, they conceded four, including a soft one. "The second goal should not have been conceded. Fluctuation in concentration levels and consistency is a problem with India. You never find inconsistency in top teams like Australia, Holland or Germany," said former Olympian Pargat Singh. Pargat emphasized the need for a permanent psychologist with the team, saying not only it will help players handle pressure better but also in normal situations. While Grewal said India needed to work on their finishing, Pargat sounded more concerned about individual mistakes.

“There are still a lot of individual mistakes happening. The defenders are still tackling with parallel feet, which increases the chance of being caught wrong footed. Correcting these mistakes will take a long time,” Pargat said. The the task of preparing a competitive team will be a tough one.

The Tribune

Oltmans begins hunt for new India coach

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

Having led India to a runners-up finish at the Asia Cup, and thus ensuring a spot in next year’s Hockey World Cup, Dutchman Roelant Oltmans is now focused on bringing in a new coach for the team.

Oltmans, high performance director of Indian hockey, stepped in after the exclusion of Australian Michael Nobbs, preparing the young team in six weeks for the all-important event.

"It was a temporary arrangement as we all know," said Oltmans. "It is clear that my job is of a high performance director and the coaching part is over. We are looking at candidates and should have a new coach soon.

"It is too early to divulge names, but the process of hiring someone will begin soon."

It is learnt that former India coach Jose Brasa is among those who have applied for the top job.

The 60-year-old Spaniard, who trained India successfully from June 2009 to November 2010, said, "Yes, I have sent my application. I had a wonderful experience of coaching such talented players.

"I believe the Indian players like me as a coach and they want me as a coach, but I am not sure that the SAI and Hockey India officials want the same since I had criticised their harsh treatment towards me and the players," said Brasa.

Who after Oltmans?

Asked if he had thought of continuing to perform the dual duty of a coach-cum-high performance director, Oltmans joked, "Do you want me to live for another 10 years?", before adding, "I understand that some players want it.

"They indicated that much to me in Ipoh, Malaysia. But we have to look at long term solutions and have to decide keeping in mind the best interest of Indian hockey.

"Nothing is impossible, but I see very less chances of it."

Oltmans, who arrived here with the team on Monday night, said he was satisfied with the team’s performance.

"We have to remember that our main focus was to win the tournament and reach the World Cup directly. Now, ideally New Zealand or Australia should win the Oceania Cup (Samoa and Papua New Guinea are the other teams in the competition) and we are confident of going through.

"The players did very well and it is really, really encouraging for the future of Indian hockey. Of course there is room for improvement, but overall I am pleased."

The Asian Age

Dutch coach pleased with India's hockey performance

NEW DELHI: India's high-performance hockey manager Roelant Oltmans says his role as India's coach is over with the just-concluded Asia Cup and soon someone from overseas will take charge of the team soon.

The high-profile Dutchman said on his return from Ipoh, Malaysia, that he is "mighty pleased" with the showing of the young Indian team, which though it lost narrowly to South Korea in the final have virtually made sure of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup at The Hague.

Oltmans, who was propelled into the coach's seat with the sudden departure of Australian Michael Nobbs, said the team that lost the final 3-4 to South Korea are at the threshold of their next big leap.

"The overall performance has been good. Now we have to analyse and start preparing for the next step. They are getting into an important phase of their hockey life. They have a series of international tournaments coming up in 2014 and they have to gear up," Oltmans told IANS in a free-wheeling interview.

Oltmans doesn't see Asia Cup as a failure or success, he is only interested in seeing how well the greenhorns have progressed playing in a pressure-packed event.

"Progress leads to better performance and that will encourage them to aim higher. Of course, we have lost the final of the Asia Cup, but certainly we have made some progress," said Oltmans.

The Dutchman is also happy with the fitness levels of the players.

"I think the way we played against South Korea in the final, despite trailing 0-2 in the first half, is praiseworthy. We should be happy with the fitness levels of the team, more so because we were competing with one of the fittest teams in the world," he said.

What is the big difference between a coach and a high performance manager?

"They are two completely different jobs. A high performance manager needs to prepare the team for future whereas a coach prepares it from tournament to tournament. Both have different responsibilities and both jobs are tough. All I can say is that the Asia Cup was a one-off tournament for me as coach and a new man will be taking over before the Asian Champions Trophy in November," he added.

Oltmans is highly impressed with Nikin Thimmaih, Mandeep Singh and Ramandeep Singh. More so with Nikin and Ramandeep, who made their international debut at the Asia Cup.

"I am impressed with the maturity shown by the youngsters. A team will perform at its best only if the players have no egos and only individual heroes. They should be sure about their roles," he said.

The high-performance manager sees bustling young forward Mandeep as someone "special".

"For me, Mandeep is special and of real quality. He is only 18, and has a bright future ahead. Ramandep came in as a replacement for S.V. Sunil and has proved his worth. He looked a bit diffident at the beginning, but as the tournament progressed he evolved and was a live-wire. Nikin was spotted at the national championships and just as well we picked him for the Asia Cup," he said.

Oltmans has an encouraging word for seniors whom these youngsters replaced for one reason or the other.

Impressive performance by the youngsters doesn't mean that it's the end of the road for seniors, he said.

"There is no difference between juniors and seniors. Gurwinder Chandi, Sunil and Danish Mujtaba were also part of the camp. They can always come back, but on performance," said Oltmans.

With next year's World Cup berth almost assured, Oltmans doesn't want to think too much about Olympic qualification. He is not merely concerned about qualifying for the 2016 Rio Games, he is thinking about the performance as he is reminded of India finishing last in London last year and the failure of the eight times champions to qualify for the Games in 2008 in Beijing -- for the first time in 80 years.

"Before thinking of Olympic qualifiers, we should concentrate on the Asian games next year at Incheon, South Korea. Champions there will get a direct entry in Olympics and the Asia Cup silver will make us serious contenders for the gold," he said.

The Times of India

Oltmans had positive impact on us: VR Raghunath

Sunil Subbaiah

BANGALORE: VR Raghunath has established himself as the Indian hockey team's Mr Dependable. But before success came knocking on his doors there were years of struggle and hard work that he had to endure to cement his place in the team.

Raghu, 25, was at his best at the Asia Cup at Ipoh, Malaysia, last week. He was adjudged the 'Most Outstanding Player' of the tournament. "I may be an established player in the team but that hasn't stopped me from learning. I am keen to learn new techniques and skills from other players and coaches," said Raghu.

With nearly 200 international caps, Raghu points out that he has emerged more mature as a player than he was two seasons ago. The penalty corner specialist lauded interim coach Roelant Oltmans, who replaced Michael Nobbs. "It was different working with Oltmans. He is a great motivator on and off the field. He is always positive in his approach and that has made a good impact on the players," he said.

The Times of India

Cash awards for Raghunath, Sreejesh, Ramandeep

NEW DELHI: Hockey India (HI) on Wednesday announced cash awards for three players who were part of the Indian men's team that won the silver medal at the recently concluded Asia Cup tournament at Ipoh, Malaysia.

HI will give Rs.1 lakh each to defender VR Raghunath for winning the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament Award and vice-captain and goalkeeper PR Sreejesh for winning Goalkeeper of the Tournament award Sunday.

Another Rs.1 lakh will also be awarded to debutant forward Ramandeep Singh for scoring a goal on debut for India. Ramandeep scored his first international goal against Oman in their opening match of the tournament.

HI secretary general Narinder Batra congratulated the team.

"Out of four individual awards at the Asia Cup, Indian players have won two. It speaks highly about the performance of Indian team. Debutant Ramandeep Singh also deserves a special mention for his maiden goal in his debut match," said Batra.

The Times of India

Individual awards don't matter: PR Sreejesh

Prasanth Menon

KOCHI: Indian custodian PR Sreejesh returned from Ipoh, Malaysia with the 'Best Goalkeeper' award in Asia Cup hockey. However, the award meant little to Sreejesh as a fighting Indian team went down to South Korea in the final. Soon after the title clash, he posted a message on his Facebook page that read: "The day I received my award without any feeling... Feeling sorry. I mean it."

After arriving back in the country late on Monday night, Sreejesh explained the reasons behind his sentiment. "Hockey is a team event. Individual rewards don't matter unless your team wins. Yes, the award is a recognition of my performance in the tournament. But I feel good only if your team wins. Does the award hold any value otherwise? I still have not come to terms with the loss in the final," said the Indian vice-captain.

However, the Kochi lad is pleased with the performance put in by a relatively inexperienced team. "Some of our senior players were injured. We had a new coaching set up which didn't get much time to settle down with the players. Add to it, there was pressure of ensuring qualification for the World Cup. Considering all these factors, I think we did a marvelous job and we have virtually made it to the World Cup. I think, in the final we lost to Korea due to inexperience." said Sreejesh.

Sreejesh was brilliant under the bar throughout the tournament. His performance against South Korea in the group stage, where he pulled off some stunning saves, helped India win the match. Even in the semifinal against hosts Malaysia, Sreejesh gave a good account of himself. His sharp reflexes and agility won him many admirers, most important of whom is the newly-appointed goalkeeping coach of India, Dave Staniforth.

The former South African goalkeeper had words of praise for Sreejesh. "He is a very good goalkeeper. He also knows he is a good goalkeeper. But he needs to keep his feet on the ground. He has set himself very high standards," the 37-year old has said during the course of the tournament.

Sreejesh reckons Staniforth's arrival has been beneficial. "For the first time in my career, I am getting the services of a goalkeeping coach. Being a goalkeeper himself, he understands the nature of our problems really well.

He has infused a lot of confidence in me. Before we left for Ipoh, we used to have two training sessions a day with him. In Ipoh even on match days in the mornings, we used to have specialized sessions on goalkeeping. He rectified even my minor mistakes. And I think that showed in my performance. The best goalkeeper award should be credited to him not me," said a humble Sreejesh.

Staniforth has been given a short-term contract till the Junior World Cup in Delhi in December. Sreejesh feels a goalkeeping coach is a must in modern hockey. "Goalkeeping is a specialized job and the role of a goalkeeper is crucial. Staniforth has been fantastic. He knows how to get the best out of goalkeepers. I hope he stays with us long enough," Sreejesh said.

The Times of India

Manpreet to lead jr India squad

Age Correspondent

Midfielder Manpreet Singh will lead India in the Sultan of Johor Cup junior men’s hockey tournament, it was announced here on Tuesday. The event will be a test for the young side, who are preparing for the Junior World Cup at home in December.

Striker Affan Yousef was named the vice-captain.

Said coach Baljeet Singh Saini, "It is not often that teams like Argentina, England or Korea send their full junior squads for a tournament. But the Johor Cup will be a perfect opportunity to test ourselves against them since everyone has the World Cup on mind and will be fielding strong teams.

"We have picked our best lot. We have included a few (junior) players from the senior Asia Cup team that returned yesterday, as we need some experience too."

Mandeep Singh, Manpreet, Amit Rohidas and Kothajit Singh were members of the Asia Cup team, while defender Gurjinder Singh will miss out with an elbow injury.

Promising midfielders Devindar Walmiki is the surprise inclusion though, but Saini said the team were picked purely on the basis on "current form and fitness".

The six-nation tournament will feature Argentina, England, India, South Korea, Malaysia and Pakistan.

Goalkeepers: Harjot Singh, Sushant Tirkey;
Defenders: Amit Rohidas, Jarmanpreet Singh, Kothajit Singh, Surender Kumar, Sukhmanjit Singh, Pardeep Mor;
Midfielders: Manpreet Singh (captain), Prabhdeep Singh, Harjit Singh, Satbir Singh, Imran Khan;
Forwards: Mandeep Singh, Amon Mirash Tirkey, Mohammad Amir Khan, Talwinder Singh, Affan Yousef (vice-captain)

Standbys: Jagdeep Dayal (goalkeeper), Dipsan Tirkey (defender), Gurmail Singh
(defender), Stanli Minz (midfielder), Lalit Upadhayay (midfielder), S.K. Uthappa (midfielder), P.L. Thimmanna (forward), Ramandeep Singh (forward), Malak Singh

The Asian Age

National award-winning documentary on hockey Olympian Vivek Singh's battle with cancer finds no takers

Rutvick Mehta

“Yuvraj Singh recovered from cancer. A documentary was made on him, all corporates wanted to buy it and it was showcased to millions on national television,” says Rahul Singh. “Vivek Singh died of cancer. A documentary was made on him, it won the national award, but no one is interested in releasing it.”

More than a year after being awarded the Swarna Kamal for best non-feature film at the 2012 National Film Awards, And We play On a documentary on former hockey Olympian Vivek Singh, who succumbed to cancer in 2005 has found no takers for a theatrical release.

The difference, as Vivek’s younger brother Rahul puts it, is not Yuvraj and Vivek’s stories, but their sport. “You can sell anything if it’s related to cricket, but if the same story involves a hockey player, no one bothers to hear.”

The documentary written, directed and produced by Pramod Purswane – talks about Vivek’s battle with cancer that eventually took his life at the age of 37. It also focuses on his family, which decided to set-up a hockey academy for young players in Varanasi, Vivek’s hometown.

The academy called the Vivek Academy now has over 100 boys and girls training under Vivek’s father Gaurishankar, with no support from the government. Rahul says it is for the academy, not for their materialistic pleasures, that the money would be used.

Shot with a budget of Rs14 lakh, Purswane has only earned Rs3 lakh, which was the prize money of the national award.

Not a penny beside that.

“We took the film to some national and international festivals and almost everyone who saw it was in tears. We have since gone to various corporates Reliance, Universal etc but none were interested. “National Geographic offered us a sum of Rs2 lakh, and said they will air it as many times they wish,” Rahul, a former national hockey player, says with a tinge of sorrow.

“Look, ours is a country of heroes,” adds Purswane. “It takes a Farhan Akhtar to sell Milkha Singh and people remember Bhagat Singh as Ajay Devgn, not the man himself. The problem with this was that it was hockey, not that it was a documentary. It is a very touching story but in the end it is hockey, no one watches it.”

And yet while money was important, the main purpose of this documentary was to tell the story to as many youngsters as possible, irrespective of the means. So Rahul decided to send DVDs to various schools and colleges across Mumbai, but they too showed little interest.

“It is almost as if anything free doesn’t have value anymore,” says Rahul.

But youngsters who have seen it say it is nothing short of inspirational. “There is a scene in which Vivek’s mother has to literally run with him while he’s playing to feed him when he was a kid. I want to be as dedicated to the game as that,” says 21-year-old Amol Pal, a product of the Vivek Academy who now plays for Mumbai Customs.

Players who have played with Vivek believe that seeing his style of play (he is regarded as one of India’s best centre-halves), a lot of kids would’ve starting playing hockey.

“There are very few people like Vivek,” Ramesh Pillay, a former national player who shared rooms with Vivek, says, “His way of speaking in Bhojpuri was so sweet that it would make the anyone feel happy.

“But we hockey players don’t know anything about publicity, how to deal with the media. We just play and then step aside. That’s our problem.”

Rahul, meanwhile, has not given up hope. “My brother used to always say ‘If I am able to inspire one more Vivek Singh, I will be happy.’”

Loss of money notwithstanding, Purswane is now working on a film on Ramakant Achrekar, Sachin Tendulkar’s coach.

“I plan to club Vivek’s movie with this, so that it is seen by more people. I’m sure I’ll earn money from this one,” he says.

Maybe, just maybe, cricket would help.


Despondent national hockey squad returns with bronze from Asia Cup

Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Asif Bajwa talking to the media at the Allama Iqbal International Airport. PHOTO: Screenshot

LAHORE.: After Pakistan failed to qualify for the hockey World Cup for the first time in its history, the  Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Asif Bajwa said on Tuesday that all measures, including any possible roll of heads, will be taken to strengthen the sport in the country, Express News reported.

Speaking to the media after returning from their disappointing campaign in the Asia Cup at the Allama Iqbal International Airport, Bajwa said that the team is going through a reconstruction phase and would certainly bounce back strongly in the coming events.

He defended the team’s performance saying Pakistan played exceptionally well in the Asia cup except in the semi-final. Pakistan needed to win the tournament in order to qualify for the 2014 World Cup.

Asked whether he would resign after Pakistan was unable to qualify for the marquee event, the PHF secretary said that the body is a democratic set up and that all such decisions would be taken with consensus by the executive board.

Bajwa added PHF executive board would hold a meeting next week to review the the situation.

Commenting on the deteriorating situation of hockey in the country Bajwa said in-fighting between Olympians has caused damage to the sport in the country.

Out due to a solitary mistake

Pakistan team coach Akhtar Rasool said they had worked hard and it is reflected from the fact that Pakistan scored 27 goals while conceded only four goals in the tournament. He added that Pakistan went down by a solitary mistake in the semi final which was sheer bad luck.

The Express Tribune

Government urged to appoint Shahnaz as new PHF secretary

Staff Report

LAHORE: Hockey fans and critics have demanded the Pakistan Government to appoint former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh as new secretary general of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). The present management – under Qasim Zia and Asif Bajwa – is under fire after the national squad for the first time in the history of field hockey failed to qualify for the World Cup 2014.

It is pertinent to mention here that Pakistan have won the World Cup four times: the inaugural competition in 1971 and again in 1978, 1982 and 1994.

“Asif Bajwa has failed miserably to run the national federation. He should be sacked at once,” the hockey fans and critics said while registering their complaints against Qasim and Asif.

They said that Shahnaz, who is a best technocrat, should be given the responsibility of the PHF secretary general.

“Asif and Qasim brought misery and agony for the national sport of the country,” they lamented.

Forward Shahnaz played between 1969 and 1978. He was capped 68 times and scored 45 goals for the national hockey team. He won silver in 1972 and bronze in 1976 Olympics .

Shahnaz won the 1971 World Cup and was runner-up in 1975 and won again in 1978.

Shahnaz was one of the most skilled hockey players that Pakistan produced. At the same time Shahnaz was also an explosive player who stood tall among his contemporaries and would have easily walked into any field hockey side in the world.

Shahnaz had also the honour of winning the Asian Games gold medal thrice: 1970, 1974 and 1978.

Shahnaz also have a good hockey head over his shoulders. During his brief stint as coach of the national junior team, Pakistan won the Junior Asia Cup.

The Daily Times

New pitch for Bolivarian Games will be at Chilcayo, Peru

Big step forward for hockey development in Peru!

The President of Peruvian Hockey Federation announces that synthetic pitch for Bolivarian Games will be at Chiclayo.  It will be located at the emblematic San Jose School.

It is big step forward, great news for hockey development in Peru.  Gianni Delucchi, President of this sport announced that the first official pitch will be located at the emblematic San Jose school, in Chiclayo, and it will be ready for the Bolivarian Games in November. This will also help to decentralize the sport.

Is the pitch for Bolivarian Games located at Chiclayo?

We had a meeting that happened to be surprising to me.  Jose Quiñones, COP President, invited the hockey board to a meeting in July. At that time we were informed we were going to Chiclayo. We have already been there, and the pitch will be awesome. The pitch will be located at the emblematic – more than 600 students, San Jose School. Once more I want to say that the place is awesome.

Why in a province and not in Lima?

It is difficult to find a site. Magdalena closed the door.  We tried our best in Miraflores, it did not work either. We also planned a project for Costa Verde, but once again we could not go forward. We also tried at Universidad Agraria, but they needed two months to give a reply. We did not have that time. Chiclayo appeared as the opportunity and we took it.  Besides we have been trying to decentralize hockey for a long time, and this would be the chance.  We hope this site will ‘provide’ players to our National Team in the next years.

Why a sand pitch and not water pitch?

Because an investment of 1.5 million dollars in Chiclayo; on a pitch that will not have an intensive use is difficult. I would like to thank Gatorade, Jao, Play Station and Chery cars for their support.

Peruvian National Team will have to travel to Chiclayo for training, as this is the only pitch we have. What is the plan?

We have to organize periods of 10 days per month at Chiclayo before next tournaments. COP and Regional Government of Lambayeque promised support for tickets and accommodation.

Are the teams prepared for the Bolivarian Games? Do we have a chance to win the Gold?

Men’s Team will fight the gold and the women will fight a place in the podium. There will be 7 men teams and 4 or 5 women teams participating. Chile’s men team is the most difficult rival, but we can give them a good fight.

Pan American Hockey Federation

Hockey scores!

By Randy Bennett

The Banks Barbados International Hockey Festival was a success, the president of the Barbados Hockey Federation (BHF), David Rouse, said at the conclusion of the 28th edition at Kensington Oval on Saturday.

Rouse told NATIONSPORT that judging from the responses of the players who competed, especially those from overseas, the tournament was well-received.

“I think overall it was a success, and I am saying so judging by the enjoyment of the teams,” he said. “The visiting teams enjoyed themselves tremendously, especially the lone international team, the Durham Jesters.”

“Our social events were very well-attended, and this was very pleasing to see following a falloff in recent years.”

Rouse said that the Trinidadian police team which had suffered a setback due to the passing of one of their colleagues, still attended social events and continued playing in the competition.

This led to them receiving the Michael Owen Spirit of the Festival Award, which is given to the team which best depicts the true spirit of the festival, he said.

Prior to the start of the annual event, Rouse, who is also chairman of the Festival Committee, expressed concern about the the lack of an artificial turf and the impact it would have on the future staging.

“There are international teams who will not come to the festival because we do not have an AstroTurf,” Rouse said then.

“The Astroturf is crucial to the success of the festival and there is a distinct possibility that we could end up losing the festival to another country if we don’t address the matter.”

He revealed that both the Cayman Islands and Tobago were working towards installing synthetic surfaces, with hopes of hosting similar festivals.

And with plans to relay an AstroTurf in time for the 2014 festival, he had already received bookings from teams in Hong Kong, Germany, England and Dubai to compete in next year’s competition.

This year, matches were played on grass at Queen’s Park and the Police Sports Club, Weymouth.

Rouse pointed to a lack of marketing as one of the more disappointing aspects of the competition.

In acknowledging that this was due mainly to a lack of funds, he said that more needed to be done to make the festival more attractive.

“I was a bit disappointed with the turnout for the final day at Kensington Oval. I guess this was mostly due to the rain and the fact that people probably didn’t know it was the finals unless they read the papers.

“We didn’t do much advertising, obviously because we didn’t have the money to, but to get people to come out we know we have to advertise,” Rouse said.

He added that they would also be looking to better market the competition internationally, in an effort to attract more teams to the island.

One of the other areas where he highlighted they would be also looking to improve was in attracting umpires.

Rouse explained that most of the local umpires were players, and this led to a shortage of officials for some of the matches.

“The Barbados Tourism Authority (BTA) would have usually afforded the funding for umpires years ago, but because of the economic conditions they can’t do as much,” he stated.

“There were some umpires from Trinidad that had expressed interest in coming to officiate, but we got the funding too late and we weren’t able to get back to them in time.”

The Nation News