News for 25 September 2013

All the news for Wednesday 25 September 2013


Nation’s Cup postponed amid security review

South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia and Ghana to travel to Kenya for continental tourney

By Ayumba Ayodi



National Hockey team Moses Cheplaiti in action during their training session at City Park Stadium on 12th September 2013. PHOTO: CHRIS OMOLLO

Africa Hockey Federation (AHF) has postponed the Africa Cup of Nations that was due to start Wednesday to October 1 at City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

Hosts Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) chairman, Nahashon Randiek, said the tournament has been postponed to monitor the security situation following the Westgate Shopping Mall terror attack on Saturday.

However, Randiek said all the security precautions had been taken even before the shooting, and assured participating teams of guaranteed safety during the event that will double as the World Cup qualifier.

BEAMING WITH CONFIDENCE

Randiek spoke as the Tanzanian women’s team arrived in the country Tuesday for the championships.

Kenya’s men’s and women’s teams were bubbling with confidence as they went through their final touches ahead of the tournament.

Tacticians Meshak Senge and Fidhelus Kimanzi (men) said there charges are ready to rumble.

Countries that had confirmed participation included Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Tanzania and Namibia.

“We are still in consultations with both the Africa Hockey Federation and Federation of International (Hockey),” said Randiek. “Some countries wanted reassurance. We are praying that the situation normalises as soon as possible for the championships to proceed as scheduled.”

Randiek said they were also talking to the respective member countries’ embassies on the need for the event to go on through assuring them of the precautions taken for the safety of the teams. “The stadium will be secured as will their hotels,” explained Randiek.

“We are through with our endurance and conditioning exercises and have just finished our last speed work today,” said Senge, adding that they will embark on polishing our set-pieces, team cohesion and finishing. “We should realise that through several friendly matches that we have organised locally.”

The team has five newcomers from those that took part in the Africa qualifiers for the 2012 London Olympics in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in 2011.

They are goalkeeper Prabjeet Singh, defenders Brian Saina, Costant Wakhura and Hosea Walucho and striker Moses Cheplaiti.

“They are in the team because they’ve proven their mettle,” said Senge, who singled out Saina and Wakhura as being outstanding.

Daily Nation



Nairobi Westgate Shopping Mall Attack Threatens Africa Cup for Nations Competition

The shooting incident that began at the Westgate Shopping Mall at around lunchtime Nairobi time on Saturday September 21, has cast a dark shadow on the preparation and the possible staging of the Africa Cup for Nations Competition scheduled to commence on October 1st. Initial information available points a difficult security situation which the Kenyan National Security Operatives are battling to bring under control. The situation has sent shock waves through the World at large but significantly to nations and individuals who are planning to travel to Nairobi for the event.

While the FIH continues to access the situation in conjunction with its international security partner International Threat Management (ITM), an independent, specialist risk and security-related threats management consultancy firm, the AfHF is working closely with the KHU to ascertain the security situation in the Nairobi area from the National Security point of view. The knowledge gathered coupled with the information the participating teams will make available from their National Security Advisory perspective, will inform the position of the AfHF in going ahead with the staging of the competition.

At this stage the thoughts and sympathies of all should be with the Kenyan people, especially those who have lost loved ones in this attack.

African Hockey Federation media release



Africa Cup for Nations Competition Match Schedule and Officiating Panel Released

The Africa Hockey Federation (AfHF) in consultation with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has released the Match Schedule and the Technical Panel for the 2013 Edition of the Africa Cup for Nations Competition to be held at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi, Kenya.

The Competition commences on Tuesday October 1st instead of the earlier planned date of Thursday September 26th due to the withdrawal of 4 nations in the men’s competition and 2 nations in the women’s competition. In the women’s category, Ghana and Tanzania will set the stadium alive in the first match of the competition before hosts Kenya lock horns later in the afternoon with top seeds South Africa in both the women and men’s competitions.

Both Men and Women’s competitions will follow the one-pool league format as prescribed by the FIH with the two top teams clashing for the ultimate prize and the right to represent the Continent at the 2014 FIH World Cup Competitions.

There will be two new regulations introduced for this competition in line with the reviewed FIH Outdoor Tournament Regulations released in August 2013. According to Rule 9.7 of the Hockey Rules, “Players must not play the ball with any part of the stick when the ball is above shoulder height except that defenders are permitted to use the stick to stop or deflect a shot at goal at any height.” During this competition however, the Regulations provide that “Players may play the ball above shoulder height provided that it is not dangerous or leading to danger.”

The other new provision in the Regulations is in relation to the award of Penalty Corners with the introduction of the penalty corner shot clock. The Regulation states that “When a Penalty Corner is awarded, Umpires shall (to permit defenders to put on protective gear) allow not more than 45 seconds to pass before allowing the Penalty Corner to commence. The engaged Umpire shall advise both the defence and the attackers as the shot clock approaches zero. If both teams are ready before the 45 seconds has expired, the Umpire shall allow the Penalty Corner to commence. Upon expiry of the 45 seconds the Umpire may allow the taking of the Penalty Corner, provided that both teams are ready. This regulation will apply only to the initial award of a Penalty Corner and not to any retake, or to any subsequent Penalty Corner awarded before the ball has travelled more than 5 metres outside the circle.”

It will be exciting to see how the players, the team officials and umpires will cope with these regulations. The prospects of a thrilling contest beckons.

Africa Cup for Nations 2013 - Nominations
ACN 2013 Match Schedule

African Hockey Federation media release



Indian women enter semifinals of Asia Cup hockey

KUALA LUMPUR: India defeated hosts Malaysia 2-0 to qualify for the semifinals of the eighth women's Asia Cup hockey tournament on Tuesday.

Poonam Rani (39th) and Lily Chanu (46th) scored two second half goals at the Stadium Hoki Nasional to seal India's place in the last-four stage of the eight-nation tournament.

With six points in their kitty, the Indian women finished their Pool A engagements on second position behind China (nine points).

India will now face Pool B toppers Korea in the first semifinal on Thursday, while China will take on Japan in the second last-four match.

India has earlier spanked Hong Kong China 13-0 in their tournament opener before going down to defending champions China by a solitary goal in their next game.

Knowing well that only a win in the tournament will guarantee them a place in next year's World Cup, the Indian eves started cautiously against Malaysia, who were backed by a vociferous home crowd.

The Indians looked far from promising in the first half as the Rani Rampal-led forwardline failed to breach the Malaysian defence.

Both the teams created a few chances but they failed to break the deadlock in the first half.

After the change of ends, the Indians came out with more purpose and took the lead in the 39th minute through a field goal from Poonam Rani.

Poonam's goal raised India's confidence and they went for relentless attacks, which resulted in doubling their lead soon.

Lily Chanu made the scoreline 2-0 in favour of India in the 46th minute through another field strike.

Thereafter, the Indians played sensibly and denied Malaysia any opening to make a comeback into the match.

The Times of India



India eves beat Malaysia to enter Asia Cup hockey semis

India put on a clinical show when it mattered the most and sailed into the semi-finals of the 8th Women's Asia Cup hockey with a facile 2-0 win over hosts Malaysia at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil Stadium here Tuesday.

After a goalless first half, India turned on the heat in the second half with Poonam Rani (39th minute) and Lily Chanu Mayengbam (46th) sounding the board to secure three crucial points in pool A. With two wins a defeat, India finished second in their group after tournament favourites China.

With the win, India's hopes for a berth in the next year's World Cup at The Hague, Netherland also remained alive. The winner will get a direct entry in the World Cup.

Against the hosts, India were in a must-win situation and they churned out their top game when it matted the most.

The Malaysians did well to hold Indians to a goalless first half. But the Indian came back well in the second half. India broke the deadlock in the 39th minute with Poonam Rani through a field goal.

Mayengbam doubled the lead, also a field goal, in the 46th minute to put India through to the last four as the group runners-up.

Malaysian coach Mohmed Nasihin Nubli said they were not able to sustain their defensive play in the second half.

"They caught us fast with their counter-attack early in the second half. We should have been more alert. But the players did well and it was probably our best game here and now we must remain fifth in Asia,” he said.

Meanwhile, China finished on top of Group A after whipping Hong Kong 7-0 for their third win. Liang Meiyu scored a hat-trick (27th, 48th and 51st). The other scorers were Peng Yang (13th), Xu Xiaoxu (37th), Xi Xiayun (42nd) and Wang Na (49th).

In Group B, Japan also booked their berth in the semi-finals with a 12-0 rout of Kazakhstan. Mazuki Arai (third, 40th and 70th), Akane Shibata (second and 19th), Aya Ueda (26th and 59th), Akiko Ota (8th), Miyuri Nagakawa (15th), Mayuri Ono (21st), Shiho Skai (64th) and Aki Matsuhashi (68th).

The Japanese finished runners-up behind unbeaten South Korea with six points. The Koreans completed their group match with a 16-2 win over Taiwan.

In the semi-finals, Japan will play defending champions China while South Korea will take on India.

China and South Korea have booked their World Cup berths through the World Hockey League. Japan and India need to win the title to go through to the showpiece event.

DNA



Malaysia’s hopes of making semis come to an end

By S. RAMAGURU



Malaysia’s Nurul Nabihah Mansur (right) vying for the ball with India’s Kirandeep Kaur during the Women’s Asia Cup match at the Nasional Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday. — SHAARI CHEMAT / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s hopes of making the semi-finals of the Women’s Asia Cup went up in smoke after a 0-2 loss to India in their last Group A match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday.

The Malaysians did well to hold the Indians to a scoreless first half. But the tide changed in the second half with the Indians breaking the deadlock in the 39th minute with Poonam Rani scoring a field goal.

Lily Chanu Mayengbam added the second, also a field goal, in the 46th minute to put India through to the last four as the group runners-up.

Malaysian coach Mohmed Nasihin Nubli said that they played well but were not able to sustain their defensive play in the second half.

“They caught us fast with their counter-attack early in the second half. We should have been more alert. But the players did well and it was probably our best game here and now we must remain fifth in Asia,” he said.

China ended as Group A champions after whipping Hong Kong 7-0 for their third win. Liang Meiyu scored a hat-trick (27th, 48th and 51st) while the other scorers were Peng Yang (13th), Xu Xiaoxu (37th), Xi Xiayun (42nd) and Wang Na (49th).

In Group B, Japan easily booked their berth in the semi-finals after a 12-0 drubbing of Kazakhstan. Mazuki Arai (third, 40th and 70th), Akane Shibata (second and 19th), Aya Ueda (26th and 59th), Akiko Ota (8th), Miyuri Nagakawa (15th), Mayuri Ono (21st), Shiho Skai (64th) and Aki Matsuhashi (68th).

The Japanese finished runners-up behind unbeaten South Korea with six points. The Koreans completed their group match with a 16-2 win over Taiwan.

In tomorrow’s semi-finals, Japan will play defending champions China while Korea will take on India.

The tournament is also a World Cup qualifier. China and South Korea have booked their berths to Holland through the World Hockey League. Japan, however, need to win the title to go through to Holland.

The Star of Malaysia



Argentina and the United States top Pools A and B

Rebecca Kanter




Day 3 of the 2013 Women’s Pan American Cup was the last day of Pool Play. There will be two regional semi-finals: USA versus Canada; and Argentina versus Chile.

The nightcap Pool A match was between Argentina and Guyana. Argentina took an early 1-0 lead off a field goal by Martina Cavallero, who slipped the ball past Guyana’s keeper Alysa Xavier. Soon after, Argentina earned a penalty corner that was well defended by Guyana’s defense. Argentina kept up their strong attack and Carla Rebecchi’s goal made it Argentina 2, Guayana 0 within the first six minutes of the match. Cavallero scored again in the 8th minute. Four minutes later, Daniela Sruoga scored off a penalty corner shot that had rebounded off of Xavier. Cavallero scored her third goal of the match in the 16th minute. Immediately after, a goal by Delfina Merino made the score Argentina 6, 0 Guyana. Rosario Luchetti gave Argentina a seven goal lead in the 21st minute. A beautiful lifted penalty corner goal by Rebecchi made it Argentina 8, Guyana 0. Suroga scored another penalty corner goal in the 27th minute. Another goal by Merino and a penalty corner goal by Noel Barrionuevo as time winded down in the half made the halftime score Argentina 11, 0 Guyana.

In the opening minutes of the second half, Rebecchi scored her third goal of match off a penalty corner. Four minutes later, Rebecchi scored again to give Argentina a 13 goal lead in the 41st minute. Captain Luciana Aymar scored two quick goals to make it Argentina 15, Guayana 0. In the 51st minute, Aymar scored her third goal of the match; and then Agustina Albertarrio scored to make in Argentina 17, Guyana 0 in the 53rd minute. Two more goals by Luchetti and one more Aymar, respectively, gave Argentina a 20 goal lead with seven minutes left in the match. Silvina D’Elia scored her first goal of the match in the 69th minute and Barrionuevo scored again to make the final score, Argentina 22, Guyana 0.

In the first Pool A match on Day 3 of the Women’s Pan American Cup Trinidad & Tobago and Canada played. In the 4th minute, Canada earned the first penalty corner of the match.  Canada’s shot went wide, but Canada was awarded another penalty corner. Again, the shot went wide. Canada continued to dominate possession in their attacking half. Throughout the first half, Trinidad & Tobago played great defense to prevent Canada from taking many shots on goal. Trinidad & Tobago continued to force Canada to make passes rather than enter their attacking circle. In the 20th minute, Canada was awarded a penalty corner. Again, Trinidad & Tobago well defended themselves.  In the 27th minute, Canada finally converted one of their shots when Hannah Haughn isolated herself from defenders and hit a hard shot on goal; making the score Canada 1, 0 Trinidad & Tobago. The score remained Canada 1, 0 Trinidad & Tobago at halftime. The second half was nearly the same as the first half. Canada dominated possession and controlled the play in their attacking half of the pitch. And Trinidad & Tobago continued to play incredible defense keeping Canada from having many shot opportunities. Canada’s persistence on attack finally paid off when Stephanie Norlander put in a field goal in the 61st minute. Soon after, Canada was awarded a penalty corner and Brienne Stairs tipped in the goal to make the score Canada 3, Trinidad & Tobago, 0. After the restart, Canada immediately received another penalty corner, but Trinidad & Tobago’s keeper prevented another penalty corner shot from going in. Caashia Karringten and Thea Culley had both had field goals in the final minutes, making the final score Canada 5, Trinidad & Tobago 0.

The United States and Uruguay played to determine the top spot in Pool B. The United States took the early lead in the 6th minute when Rachel Dawson scored off the United States’ first penalty corner. The United States continued to control possession, but Uruguay kept the United States from having many scoring opportunities. In the 16th minute, Kelsey Kolojejchcik scored off a penalty corner to put the United States ahead by two goals. The United States kept up their attack. In the 24th minute, Shannon Taylor scored a penalty corner goal that went right above the Uruguay keeper. The United States kept dominating possession, but Uruguay kept playing strong defense. In the final minute, Kathleen Sharkey scored off a penalty corner to make it USA 4, Uruguay nill at the halftime.

The second half started with the United States’ Paige Selenski immediately scoring off a penalty corner. The United States continued their attacking pressure, but Uruguay defended well to prevent the United States from scoring. In the 54th minute, the United States was awarded a penalty corner and Uruguay’s keeper Rossana Paselle Decia blocked the shot. Paselle Decia then left the match and reserve keeper Lucia Gioscia. In the 64th minute Uruguay was awarded their first penalty corner of the match and Agustina Taborda pushed in the shot to make the score USA 5, Uruguay 1. The United States countered with a penalty corner goal scored by Katie Reinprecht in the 68th minute. Thus, the final score ended USA 6, 1 Uruguay. And with the win the United States earned the top spot in Pool B. And Chile earned the second spot in Pool B.

In the first match of Day 3 of the Women’s Pan American Cup, Mexico and Chile played. In the opening minutes, Chile’s Manuela Urroz shot and a deflection by Mexico put Chile ahead 1-0 over Mexico. Soon after, Chile was awarded the first penalty corner of the match, but the shot was blocked by Mexico’s defense. Chile had another penalty corner shot blocked by Mexico’s keeper Selma Flores Ladron de Guevara.  Chile continued their offensive attack and earned a couple more penalty corners that were again was well defended by Mexico. In the 21st minute, Manuela Urroz scored to give Chile a two goal lead against Mexico. Five minutes later, Francisca Vidaurre made the score Chile 3, Mexico nill. In the 31st minute, Vidadurre scored again this time off a penalty corner to give Chile a four goal lead in the match. Chile kept up their attack and Daniela Caram made it Chile 5, Mexico nill. Mexico, however, did not let up and earned their first penalty corner of the match in the final minute of the first half. Mexico’s shot was blocked by Chile’s keeper Claudia Schuler and the score at halftime remained Chile 5, Mexico nill.

At the start of the second half, Chile quickly earned a penalty corner, but the shot went wide. Mexico did not let up and earned a penalty corner, but were unable to score off it. Chile went back on attack and Camila Caram’s hard shot gave Chile a six goal lead. Three minutes later Camila Caram scored off a penalty corner to make it Chile 7, Mexico nill. Mexico then substituted starting keeper Flores Ladron de Guevara with reserve Monserrat Inguanzo Garay. Mexico then had a shot that was blocked by Chile’s defense, and Chile went back on attack. Mexico had some opportunities down in their attacking end, but Chile prevented them from taking shots. In the 63th minute, Camilia Caram scored her third goal of the match off a beautiful lifted shot that went high into the goal. Mexico countered by running down on attack, but Chile quickly regained possession. In the 67th minute, Daniela Caram scored again, this time off a penalty corner, to make the score Chile 8, Mexico nill. With two minutes remaining, Mexico earned a couple penalty corners, but both were blocked by Chile’s defense. Thus, the final score was Chile 9, Mexico nill.

The Women’s Pan American Cup will continue on Thursday September 26th. Please stay tuned to www.panamhockey.org for live updates, videos, photos, and more.

Pan American Hockey Federation



Team USA Prepares for Pan American Cup Semi Finals

The last game of pool play at the Pan American Cup concluded just as the sun started to set behind the mountains and chilling temperatures crept in. The U.S. Women’s National Team earned their position in the semi-finals this afternoon by defeating Uruguay 6-1. After three games, Team USA finishes Pool B undefeated also beating both Mexico and Chile previously this week.

“Today we had a very good first-half performance,” said U.S. Women’s Head Coach, Craig Parnham. “We executed in a lot of areas we have been working on and there were a good percentage of penalty corner goals.”

The U.S. spent the first half of the match against Uruguay as an attacking entity. There was a sense of fluidity in today’s play from the backfield through to the forward line. The combinations were endless. Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.) earned the first point of the day off a shot from the top of the circle. Dawson then found Kelsey Kolojejchick  (Larksville, Pa.) off the right post for a redirected tip. Minutes later Shannon Taylor (Midlothian, Va.) added a goal for the U.S. as her initial shot deflected off a Uruguay defender’s foot and into the cage. Team USA took full advantage of a corner awarded with 30 seconds remaining in the first half. Dawson was able to find Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa.) for a tip as time expired giving USA a 4-0 lead after one half. 

“I think we brought a lot of energy in the beginning stages of the game that allowed us to earn scoring opportunities,” said Dawson. “I think the energy in the first half really allowed us to let the game flow a bit easier in the second half.”

The second half commenced with another assist by Dawson. This time she found U.S. teammate Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) on the left side of the circle to push the ball past Uruguay’s leaning goalkeeper. Uruguay was able to tally their first point of the match when they snuck the ball past U.S. goalkeeper, Alesha Widdall (Witney Point, N.Y.) with five minutes remaining in the game. Katie Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa.) closed out the scoring frenzy for Team USA extending the final score to 6-1.

“Part one of our journey is accomplished by earning nine points during pool play,” said Dawson. “We now go into the semi-final where all teams are equal.”

“It was very important for us to come away today with a win,” said Parnham. “We will wait to see who we play but we are excited to start the next phase of the tournament.”

Team USA’s next opponent will be determined after Canada finishes their match against Trinidad and Tobago. The semi-finals are scheduled for Thursday, September 26 and the gold and bronze matches on Saturday, September 28.

To support Team USA’s progress throughout the Pan American Cup follow @usafieldhockey for live updates and results.

USFHA media release



TET to sponsor Black Sticks at Oceania Cup



Hockey New Zealand is pleased to announce that Taranaki Electricity Trust (TET) has come on board as the naming rights sponsor of the Black Sticks for the 2013 Oceania Cup to be held in Stratford at the end of October.

TET’s support extends well beyond the Black Sticks teams, with the trust also assisting with a significant upgrade of the Stratford hockey turf including the upgrade of lights, increased seating and an additional multi-sport turf.

“We are proud to help bring this event to Taranaki and perhaps the most pleasing part of this for us is that there will be a legacy for the sport and the players in the region beyond the event,” says TET Chairman Brian Jeffares.

“The Black Sticks are inspirational – both on and off the field – and it is fantastic to have them in our community for the week and showcasing their sport and motivating the next generation of hockey players,” says Jeffares. 

Event Manager Richard Palmer says the support from the Taranaki community has been incredible and tickets are flying out the door.

“The finals day function has already sold out, but there are still general admission tickets available including family and tournament passes at discounted rates – with a Village Green and entertainment planned throughout the week, it is shaping up to be a really great event,” says Palmer.

Other Taranaki partners that are supporting the event include the TSB Community Trust, Stratford District Council, Sport Taranaki, Hockey Taranaki and the Taranaki Synthetic Turf Trust.

About TET
The Taranaki Electricity Trust was formed in 1993 at the time New Plymouth Energy merged with Taranaki Electricity Board. The Taranaki Electricity Trust is now a Charitable Trust. The Trust receives investment income which is distributed, through grants, back to the community which originally built the power company.

About Oceania Cup
The Oceania Cup is being held at the TET MultiSports Centre in Stratford from 30 October-3 November. The Black Sticks Men and Women will take on Australia, Papua New Guinea and Samoa. With important ranking points on the line, Trans-Tasman rivalry will be strong with the Black Sticks Women looking to retain their 2011 Oceania Cup title while the Black Sticks Men will take on World Champions Australia for a chance at Oceania Cup victory. Tickets are available at www.ticketdirect.co.nz

Hockey New Zealand Media release



2018 World Cup - Malaysian bid is a strong one

by  Satwant Dhaliwal


The bid by Malaysia for the hosting rights for the 2018 World Cup is a strong one.

And the International Hockey Federation (FIH) will make the decision by November 7 this year on just who will host the 2018 event that will see participating teams increased from 12 to 16.

Four official proposals to host the men’s World Cup have been made, with a further three submissions being made for the women’s equivalent. The National Associations of Australia, England, India, Malaysia, and New Zealand have all put extremely strong cases forward in an attempt to lure the sport’s top properties to their territory.

THE FIH Chief Executive Officer, Kelly Fairweather who was down in Johor Baru for a flying visit for the Sultan of Johor Cup and also held a meeting with Malaysian Hockey Confederation President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and Vice President Manjit Majid Abdullah said that they were no longer considering joint bids for the men and women's World Cups.

"If one were to look at the history of World cups, only twice did FIH allow joint World Cups, and both the times it was in Holland, which is traditionally strong both in mens and womens hockey," said Kelly who was once the coach of current Malaysian coach Paul Revington.

"Thus from a marketing and branding perspective, we have to acknowledge that the two events be kept separate and the evaluation committee is looking at the bids as a stand alone bids and not joint.

"I came here to inspect the venue in Johor Baru as we have already inspected the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil and the two pitches in Kuantan. I also understand from Tengku Abdullah that renovations to the stadiums will be undertaken and we are grateful for that."

Tengku Abdullah said that Malaysia was working hard towards securing the 2018 World Cup and hoped that things will fall in place.

"A lot of hard work is and will be put in trying to convince the FIH to let Malaysia host the World Cup. Not only will we benefit from hosting it, but it will also give us head start in preparing a good team for we will receive an automatic spot in the World Cup," said Tengku Abdullah.

Meanwhile Kelly also added that the 45 second shot clock and the video referral will be used for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in December this year.

Official Sultan of Johor Cup site



Malaysia optimistic, India confident

by  Satwant Dhaliwal


Malaysia will be looking towards a win in the match against England on Wednesday. But they are well aware that the familiar foes could well pull the rug beneath them and thus will be cautious in their approach.

Having won both their matches thus far, a 4-2 win over Argentina followed by a 5-1 win over Korea on Monday night, Malaysia will inch nearer to Sunday's final if they can defeat England.

Malaysia played the English in three matches in early August in Leeds. Although skipper Fitri Saari was not in the team for the matches due to commitments with the senior side, he is well aware of the pitfalls if England are taken lightly.

"England may have lost both their matches but they are a good side and we must be cautious against them," said Fitri.

"We have a winning run that we should maintain and the English will be a stern test.

"They can derail our hopes of making the final , and thus we need to make use of our chances and plug the leaks in our defence."

Although the tea has downplayed the importance of the SOJC, the Malaysian hockey Confederation president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad shah wants them to win the tournament.

"We are the Asian champions, hence I see no reason why we should not win the tournament," said Tengku Abdullah.

"Although we have won two matches, I believe we can play better and need to cut out simple mistakes that allow opponents to score."

For England, the learning process continues.

"We played thrice against malaysia and it went down to shootouts to determine the winner. Malaysia are really a great side and have skillful players and it will be a great learning mission for my players," said coach Jonathan Bleby.

"We had some 17 penalty corners in two matches but have yet to be effective in that department. Hopefully things will look good against malaysia."

Meanwhile, the match of the day will obviously be between Pakistan and India.

Though the match is at junior level, the clash between these two countries at any level will no doubt be an attraction for fans.

And for Pakistan coach Manzoorul Hassan, the rivalry between the two teams is healthy and gives world hockey something to look forward to.

"There have been many matches between these two countries at senior and junior level and I have been involved in many matches,' said Manzoorul.

"But to me, the final of the 1975 World Cup stands out as the best match ever played as both the teams showed remarkable skills. Although we lost the final, I must say that it still ranksa s the best ever match the two countries played.

"Coming back to this match, we will have to be at our very best if we are to gain anything as the Indians have shown they are the team to beat."

India were the losing finalist last year and they know that a win will give them an advantage to make the final.

"It will be a pressure cooker situation as is the case when India plays Pakistan," said coach Greg Clark.

"Both teams are out to take a step closer to the final and emotions are high. This is my first "derby" kind of match and I am looking forward to it."

Official Sultan of Johor Cup site



Dominant Pakistan eye India scalp

KARACHI: Pakistan are looking to tame India today to inch closer to the final of the Sultan of Johor Cup junior hockey tournament, currently underway in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.

Pakistan colts are leading the table on goal difference in the six-nation tournament with victories in both their matches against South Korea and England. Malaysia and India are second and third respectively and are also unbeaten so far.

Two more matches will be played today with Korea taking on Argentina while hosts Malaysia face England.

Pakistan head coach Manzoorul Hassan expects the tie against India to be a tough task.

“The rivalry is healthy and gives world hockey something to look forward to,” he said. “India are a good side and they have proved that so far. We will have to give our best to beat this team.”

Pakistan defeated Korea 3-0 and thrashed England 6-2 in their first two games.

The Express Tribune



Pakistan's hockey coach Akhtar Rasool resigns over failures



LAHORE: Pakistan's field hockey head coach Akhtar Rasool resigned from his post Tuesday after the national team failed to qualify for next year's World Cup.

Pakistan, once considered an Asian giant in the sport with four world titles and three Olympic golds, failed to achieve victory in the Asia Cup in Malaysia earlier this month – an event which they needed to win to qualify for the World Cup in the Netherlands.

Pakistan also failed to finish among the top three in the World Hockey League in Malaysia in July, which could have earned them a direct berth in the World Cup.

To add to their woes, they were also eliminated from next year's Commonwealth Games in Glasgow after a tussle between the two factions of the Pakistan Olympic Association delayed their entry for the Games beyond the deadline.

Rasool, who has been the coach for over a year, said he has tendered his resignation to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).

“I have resigned from the post and have sent my resignation to the federation,” he told reporters.

His resignation is the second this month after PHF secretary Asif Bajwa quit his post over the team's failure.

Despite the failures on his watch Rasool is among the favourites to take over as PHF president in federation elections next month.

“I have given my blood to hockey,” said Rasool, a former captain and a member of Pakistan's 1982 World Cup-winning team.

“I will consult my close friends before taking a decision on contesting the PHF elections.”

Pakistan also has another Olympian Tahir Zaman as deputy coach who is favourite to replace Rasool.

Pakistan finished eighth in field hockey at the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and seventh in last year's Games in London.

Their only achievement since winning the World Cup in 1994 was a gold in the Asian Games three years ago.

Dawn



Failed PHF blames players to save face

ISLAMABAD - Instead of accepting their failure and tender their resignations after failing to qualify for the Hockey World Cup 2014, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) top brass has issued show-cause notices to senior players for poor show in the recently-concluded 9th Asia Cup in Malaysia.

What a great joke as the current PHF management has almost destroyed national game. Despite getting funds of millions of rupees, the performance of the national team going from worse to worst in the last five years. Above all, it was for the very first time in number of events that green shirts had scored more goals than conceding, a rare feat, which was not witnessed since long. This feat was only achieved due to the brilliant goalkeeping of veteran goalie Sulman Akbar, who stood like a solid rock against all the opponents and it was due to his exceptional goalkeeping, Pakistan team remained in the hunt till the loss in the semifinals. Instead of appreciating Salman for his tremendous work, the PHF had wasted little time in issuing him the show-cause notice.

It is hard to believe that the current management is still at the helm of the hockey affairs despite a change in the centre. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken over the reigns of the country and as a true sportsman, it was expected that the PM will take a very serious notice of the incumbent PHF top brass and order the sacking of the entire management as a patron-in-chief of the PHF, but to the utter disappointment of hockey lovers and the Olympians who had pinned great hopes with the PM of taking a positive step, nothing was done.

Qasim Zia enjoyed more than five years in office while Asif Bajwa although had finally resigned but he is still very much in the frame and dreaming of reoccupying top slot in the PHF due to his strong political connections in the ruling party.

The IPC Minister Syed Riaz Hussain Pirzada had sent a summery to Prime Minister and advised him to appoint ad hoc on PHF to streamline the affairs of hockey, but it seems Prime Minister had not intentions of streamlining the poor state of affairs of hockey and the current management is free to do what ever they want to do with this beautiful game, which is fast losing its charm in the country.

It is totally unfair to put the entire burden of defeat on the shoulders of players and get away with this childish act. The PHF president must accept his complete failure, as Pakistan team's international ranking has gone down ever since Qasim and company took the helm of affairs of the federation. They lack direction and don’t have any realistic plan to take hockey back to those heights which Pakistan team was once enjoying.

There is a limit to each and every thing, masses had waited with great patience for the last five years hoping that a change in the government would bring change in the fortunes of the national team, but their patience is running out fast. The time had already gone for the government to act, now its do or die situation as masses are not going to wait long for things to go in same direction. They demanded immediate action from the Prime Minister to safe the blushes of hockey and revive the game sooner rather than later.

The Nation



Pakistan hockey: Mission resurrection begins

By Fawad Hussain


KARACHI: A couple of hours after Akhtar Rasool resigned as the national team’s head coach and manager yesterday, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) announced the preliminary squad for forthcoming assignments, excluding a majority of players who participated in the Asia Cup.

Veteran striker Shakeel Abbasi and seasoned goalkeeper Salman Akbar are among the ten snubbed players in the list of 27 probables who will start the training camp from Friday in Lahore.

However, Mohammad Imran, who led the team at the Asia Cup in which the side failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, has been retained.

Pakistan will take part in the Nine-a-side International Super Series in Perth, Australia from October 17 – 25 besides playing few Tests against the home side and Argentina.

The greenshirts will then fly to Kakamigahara, Japan to defend their Asian Champions Trophy title on November 1.

The PHF management replaced senior players in the initial squad with members of the national junior team, who are currently participating in the Sultan of Johor Cup in Malaysia.

Rebuilding has begun:  Tahir Zaman

Tahir Zaman, who will supervise the training camp and is most likely to replace Rasool as the team’s coach, said the probables were selected unanimously by all stakeholders in light of the Asia Cup report given by the team management.

“Tough decisions became inevitable as we are facing the challenge of rebuilding,” Zaman told The Express Tribune.

“Our next target is the 2014 Asian Games in which we will aim to qualify for the 2016 Olympics.

“We will now bank on our junior players and will give them exposure in this rebuilding process. We have time for that now as we are no more contenders for the World Cup.”

Zaman vowed he will ensure that only the best players get the nod.

“The only recommendation from now on will be based on consistent performances. Only players fulfilling this criterion, irrespective of their age or name, will be in the team.”

The Olympian, however, said the players who were dropped or overlooked could make a comeback.

“We have dropped Abbasi, Waqas Sharif, Mohammad Irfan and Zubair.

“Salman [Akbar], Rashid [Mehmood], Haseem Khan and Fareed Ahmed are busy in the Dutch league so we decided not to include them in order to give exposure to the youngsters.

“But the doors are not closed for anyone as any player can make a comeback by proving his worth.”

He also confirmed that the PHF will soon hold an exhibition match in honour of Waseem Ahmed where he will formally announce his retirement.

‘My best wishes remain with Pakistan hockey’

Rasool, who stepped down as the head coach and manager yesterday, wished the team well for the future. “I have tendered my resignation to the PHF,” said Rasool. “My services and best wishes will remain with the country’s hockey.”

Rasool is the second top PHF official to resign in the aftermath of the failure to qualify for the World Cup. Earlier, Asif Bajwa handed his resignation as the PHF secretary amid heavy criticism.

It is expected that Rasool will now contest elections for the post of the PHF president later this month.

Probables

Imran Shah, Imran Butt, Khurram Majeed, Mohammad Imran (c), Mohammad Ateeq, Aamir Shahzad, Shafqat Rasool, Yasir Shabbir, Mohammad Salman Hussain, Mazhar Abbas, Amin Yousaf, Mohammad Khalid, Syed Kashif Shah, Mohammad Rizwan Junior, Mohammad Tousiq, M Faisal Qadir, Mohammad Dilber, Ali Shan, Mohammad Umair, Mohammad Umar Bhutta, Zohaib Ashraf, Mohammad Kashif Javed, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Mohammad Suleman, Arslan Qadir, Ahmed Zubair and Ayub Ali

The Express Tribune



PHF names 27 players for training camp

LAHORE - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Tuesday announced the names of 27 players for attending a training camp here from September 27. The camp is being organised for participation in the International Super Series being played from October 17-25 in Perth, Australia and it will be followed by team's participation in the 3rd Asian champions Trophy being held from November 1-10 in Kakamigahara, Japan. The players are Imran Shah, Imran Butt, Khurram Majeed, M Imran, M Ateeq, Aamir Shahzad, Shafqat Rasool, Yasir Shabbir, M Salman Hussain, Mazhar Abbas, Amin Yousaf, M Khalid, Syed Kashif Shah, M Rizwan Junior, M Tousiq, M Faisal Qadir, M Dilber, Ali Shan, M Umair, M Umar Bhutta, Zohaib Ashraf, M Kashif Javed, Ammad Shakeel Butt, M Suleman, M Arslan Qadir, Ahmed Zubair and Ayub Ali.

The Nation



The team that punched above its weight

Sudheendra Tripathi


MUMBAI: Their only objective at the start of the Mumbai Magicians-Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd-conducted Super League was to finish on the podium. On Tuesday, the mission stood accomplished for debutantes Union Bank of India (UBI).

UBI defeated Sports Authority of India 3-2 in their last league outing at the Mahindra Stadium on Tuesday, thus finishing third on the points' table. It is a different matter that they will have to contest a hardliners battle against Central Railway today and if they lose, they could, on paper, finish fourth.

"I am extremely satisfied with the performance of the team," Deepak Joshi, senior player, who doubles up as coach, said.

"We had very little time to prepare the team and subsequently get the right kind of balance. But despite that we put up such a splendid show. It is really commendable. Now all we hope is that we can hire some reinforcements so that we can be a force to reckon with in the Super League," Joshi added.

Sure, hockey is a team game and the successes and failures come with acollective effort. But Union Bank of India had some fantastic individual performances which eventually helped them finish where they did. Goalkeeper Sudhir Dixit is one such shining example. He did concede some goals, but Dixit made some breathtaking saves during the league too.

"My performance was average. Sure I made a few good saves, but I conceded goals at the same time. I have to work on areas when a striker gets a clear shot at the goal. I think I let in a few goals like those," he said.

The Times of India



Hockey NZ's new chief: 'Nothing's really broken'

By David Leggat


Hockey New Zealand's new chief executive Malcolm Harris believes the sport is well positioned to press ahead in the coming years.

Harris is replacing Hilary Poole, who has moved on to be Netball New Zealand's ceo - a role Harris has been filling on an interim basis since the departure of Raelene Castle.

He sees similarities in the sports, in terms of the importance of strengthening the ties at community level, growing the sport and being strong and competitive when it comes to the pinnacle events.

"I see a very robust plan in place. It looks really solid to me," Harris, a former executive with Fisher and Paykel, said.

"Nothing's really broken. This is about delivery, implementation and fine tuning, pathways and winning pinnacle events."

The New Zealand men's and women's teams, ranked No 5 and No 3 respectively, have a busy year, starting with the Oceania Cup tournament in Stratford starting on October 30, which will feature two clashes against Australia for both teams.

There follows the World League finals in December and January, the World Cup in The Hague and the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.

HNZ has put its hand up to host the World Cup in 2018. That decision is expected in November. Having the sport in good health can't hurt the campaign.

"There's some work to do with the visibility of the game and the brand at one end," Harris said.

"And at the community and grassroots, it's about growing junior hockey."

Hockey has about 63,000 affiliated members and Harris reckons the sport has great potential. His aim is to push that number up "very quickly".

Harris is also aware of the importance of the corporate side of sport. He described the commercial environment as "challenging".

"I think I have some value to add from the corporate background.

"I come from the other side of sponsorship, so I understand the value sport needs to provide. It's about leadership and governance, whether its hockey, netball, athletics or rowing.

"The business of sport has a huge amount of synergies across them."

Harris acknowledged he had a steep learning curve ahead and intends to be "a big sponge" in the coming weeks.

A self-confessed sports nut, he is excited by the challenge, and appreciates the importance of that World Cup bid.

"If we can nail that World Cup then there's some momentum and real will and support to put things in place right through the next five years."

The New Zealand Herald



The Victorian Police Hockey Association succeed on and off the field

The Victoria Police Hockey Club has built on its recent success at the 2013 World Police and Fire Games with a new initiative engaging detainees at the Melbourne International Transit Accommodation Centre.

Field hockey was played at the 2013 World Police and Fire Games staged in Belfast, Ireland for the first time since 2007 in Adelaide where the Victoria Police Hockey Club (VPHC) won gold in the Men’s, Mixed and Indoor competitions.  The VPHC were determined to defend their titles.

Due to the distance and cost involved in competing in Ireland a combined team from all Australian states and territories police and fire services was selected to compete at the games with eight members of the Victoria Police Hockey Club amongst the squad of 28 players for the men’s, women’s and mixed competitions.  Significantly all three teams were coached by Sergeant Dave MAGHER of Geelong Police Station.  The men’s team was led by captain Detective Senior Constable Stuart McLEAN of Santiago Taskforce and Senior Sergeant Pixie FUHRMEISTER of Broadmeadows Police Station captained the women’s team.

The opportunity provided VPHC members the opportunity to represent not only the club but also Victoria Police on the world stage.

The Australian team was successful in winning gold medals in both the women’s and mixed competition and bronze in the men’s competition, a fantastic achievement.

After the games the VPHC members were invited to tour the Irish Republic with members of the Irish Garda and played social matches against Irish County teams.

On return to Australia the VPHC members have built on their regular schedule of games against secondary school students by arranging and conducting a hockey clinic and social match with detainees at the Melbourne International Transit Accommodation (MITA) centre on Wednesday 18th of September, 2013. 

The detention centre in Broadmeadows houses predominantly short term refugees who are likely to be resettled in the local community in the near future.    As the detainees are often from countries in conflict and have a distrust of authoritative figures, VPHC members identified this was an excellent opportunity to positively introduce these detainees to members of Victoria Police through sport and fulfils Victoria Police’s commitment to engaging with new and emerging culturally diverse groups.  It is hoped the relationships established will assist in directing the participants away from crime or anti social behaviour once in the community and assist the detainees to make positive lifestyle choices.

The day was a great success with over 20 detainees aged between 2 years and adults taking part in the clinic with a competitive match held at the conclusion.  The management at the centre have commended VPHC on the assistance they provided, commenting that although English is limited for most detainees their faces lit up and they were all trying to converse with the police members. The 6 VPHC members who took part were described as exceptional by participants and have been requested to make the day a regular occurrence.

If anyone is interested in becoming a member of the VPHC please contact the secretary Pixie FUHRMEISTER.

Hockey Australia media release