News for 17 December 2013

All the news for Tuesday 17 December 2013

Lucas Rossi first-half hat-trick sets up Argentina win over SA

JONATHAN COOK at Queensmead

SA midfielder Wade Paton shapes to pass as Lucas Vila closes in. Photo: GREG LABUSCAGNE

A Lucas Rossi hat-trick inside 10 minutes plus goals from Joaquin Menini and Guido Barreiros gave Argentina a 5-2 lead at half-time in the fourth Test at Queensmead in Durban Monday and set up a 7-3 victory.

Argentina now lead the series 4-0 with the fifth and final Test at 6.30 pm Tuesday on the Pietermaritzburg campus of the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

Argentina added goals from Matias Rey and Matias Paredes in the second half while SA scored at the end via the stick of Craig Haley.

Lucas Rossi was named man of the match while SA midfielder

South Africa had led 2-0 after 11 minutes through Matt Botha, from the first penalty corner of the match, and a fine field goal by Miguel da Graca.

“We started well but maybe we went to sleep after that and let them back into the game,” said SA head coach Charlie Pereira.

“Their runners are very quick and skilful and they capitalised. We weren’t up to scratch and as time goes by in the series, with such a new group we have, it’s beginning to tell. We haven’t had enough time to train together with this group.”

Pereira said in the first three Tests SA were in the game but admitted that the South Africans were outplayed Monday.  “Three very soft goals changes a 4-3 score where you are still in with a chance to a 7-3 defeat.”

SA captain Rhett Halkett said it was in one-on-one situations that SA were let down. “Individual errors gifted three goals,” said the SA defender. “In the previous three Tests our one-on-one defence was very good but at this level individual errors get punished.

“Tuesday evening in Pietermaritzburg we need to do the basics better.”

Both sides had ample opportunities to add to the 10-goal tally in the game with Taine Paton and Tim Drummond hitting the post, the latter finished off by Haley. Shots also went high and just wide, while Paredes ironically botched probably the easiest chance of the match.

Argentina won the penalty corner count but it was the prevalence of goals inside the penalty spot area that indicated the quality of the attacks by both sides.

Yet it was the difficulty the SA defence and midfield had in containing the fast, skilful Argentine forwards and playmakers that probably made the biggest difference. Turnover ball cost SA once again.


South Africa (2) 3 (Matt Botha 9th, Miguel da Graca 12th, Craig Haley 68th) Argentina (3) 7 (Joaquin Menini 13th, Guido Barreiros 20th, Lucas Rossi 26th, 28th, 35th, Matias Rey 42nd, Matias Paredes 56th)

SA Hockey Association media release

Another day, another goal fest

No fight. The Malaysia hockey team (in blue) steamroll past Thailand 13-0 in the SEA Games group stage match on Monday to record their second straight win with the same scoreline. - BERNAMA

YANGON: For the second straight day, the Malaysian men’s hockey team registered a 13-0 victory at the Thein Phyu Hockey Stadium here on Monday.

Tai Beng Hai’s side overran Thailand for their second win in as many days. The Malaysians had overcome minnows Vietnam by the same scoreline on Sunday.

Yesterday, Mohd Amin Rahim opened the floodgates for Malaysia in the fifth minute. Three goals in as many minutes midway through the first half by Azreen Nasir, Dangerous Lee and Ahmad Kazamirun Nasruddin put the Malaysians in total command.

Another spurt of three goals shortly before half-time from Dangerous, Dedy Jumaiti and Muhd Abdul Rahman made it 7-0 at the break.

In the second-half, Dangerous completed his hat-trick, while Muhammad Adabi and Tengku Abdul Jalil hit a brace each and Kazamirun rounded up the scoring three minutes from the end.

“Although this is the first time that we have put together a squad featuring senior and junior players, everybody is getting along fine and there are no co-ordination problems on the pitch,” said Malaysian captain Mohd Shahrun Nabil Abdullah.

“Although we are the favourites, we play our normal game against every opponent and will not let our guard down. We are not thinking ahead to the final yet because there are still two more (preliminary round) matches to go.”

The only downside for Malaysia is that Abdul Rahman (ankle) and Dedy (knee) were both injured against Thailand and will be doubtful for tomorrow’s top-of-the-table clash against Singapore.

“Singapore are a better side than Thailand and Vietnam but we will adopt the same approach against them. Like I said before, our aim is to secure a berth in the final as fast as possible,” said coach Beng Hai.

A win over Singapore, who also have six points from their opening two matches, would virtually secure Malaysia a top two finish and a place in the final.

The Star of Malaysia

Singapore given a thumping

THE Malaysian women’s hockey team recorded their third win in the Sea Games by thrashing Singapore 8-1 at Theinphyu Stadium in Yangon yesterday.

Captain Nadia Abdul Rahman, who turned 28 yesterday, opened accounts in the third minute followed by goals from Norbaili Hashim (ninth), Nurul Nabila Mansur (19th) and Nurazlin Sumantri(31st) for a 4-0 lead at half-time.

Nuraini Abdul Rashid (38th) Noor Hasliza Md Ali (59th) and Fazillah Sylbester Silin (52nd and 66th) netted after the breather.

Singapore replied through Eunice Teng in the 49th minute.

Coach Nasihin Nubli said his players showed consistency throughout the match. Malaysia defeated Myanmar (6-0) and Cambodia (36-0) in earlier matches.

They play Thailand today. In the men’s category, Malaysia thrashed Thailand 13-0 and play Singapore tomorrow.

New Straits Times

Hockey team skipper gets big birthday bash

National women's hockey team captain, Nadia Abdul Rahman (right) gets a surprise birthday cake after beating Singapore 8-1 in Yangon on Monday.

THE Malaysian women’s hockey team presented their skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman a perfect birthday gift by thrashing closest rivals Singapore 8-1 at the Thein Phyu Hockey Stadium in Yangon  on Monday.

It was fitting that Nadia, who turned 28 yesterday, opened the scoring after just three minutes into the match played under sweltering mid-day heat.

Norbaili Hashim made it 2-0 six minutes later, with Nurul Nabila Mansur (19th) and Norazlin Sumantri (31st) giving the Malaysians a 4-0 lead at the break.

Nuraini Abdul Rashid made it 5-0 three minutes after the restart before Singapore pulled a goal back through Eunice Teng’s penalty corner in the 49th minute.

There was no stopping the Malaysian women, who had created a world record last Saturday when they blitzed Cambodia 36-0 in the competition.

A brace from Fazillah Silin (52nd and 66th) and a strike by Noor Hasliza Ali (59th) completed the rout.

“This huge win is one of my best presents ever, and to get on the score sheet for the country on my birthday is just wonderful,” said Nadia before blowing out the candles on her birthday cake at the stadium.

Coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim was delighted with the huge win over opponents they are likely to meet again in the final.

With Thailand being held to a surprise goalless draw by hosts Myanmar earlier in the day, Singapore are now the favourites to join Malaysia in the final despite their heavy drubbing.

“It is not easy playing lower-ranked teams as they tend to defend in numbers. I am glad that we managed to overcome Singapore without any hiccups,” said Nasihin.

“My only grouse is that we wasted a handful of scoring chances from penalty corners. We need to work on improving our conversion rate.”

The Malaysian women can confirm their place in the final with a win over Thailand today.

The Star of Malaysia

Coach rues lack of depth

Long-term plan needed to make Malaysia a genuine force

NOT having depth on the bench was one of the main reasons why Malaysia could not make the final of the Junior World Cup that ended in New Delhi on Sunday said chief coach K. Dharmaraj.

Malaysia finished fourth, the same as in the 1979 Paris and 1982 Kuala Lumpur editions. Expectations were high that Malaysia would make the final, but they lost out to France in a semi-final shootout.

"Frankly we lacked strength on the bench as I had around 15 players that could hold their own against top hockey playing nations," said Dharmaraj.

"I am not saying the rest are passengers but when it comes to making changes without affecting the flow of the game, it becomes a tough decision.

"Hence we need to ensure we have a steady number of players who are matured, both in terms of skill and ability to play in such a high level of competition."

For Dharmaraj, finishing fourth was a good result as it bettered the target set by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation but more importantly, ensured that Malaysian hockey stayed relevant.

"We need to start planning for the next Junior World Cup and at the same time, look into what will happen to this team," said Dharmaraj.

"I had four years to prepare this team and enjoyed every minute of it. I have no regrets with the team finishing fourth as we played well and performed above expectations.

"We have to realise that when it comes to world hockey standards, the likes of Belgium, Australia and Argentina are way ahead of us.

"Not to mention the likes of India and Pakistan as well. But we finished ahead of them and really should be proud of what the players have achieved."

Dharmaraj also called on the authorities to have a long term plan to ensure Malaysia win the Junior World Cup in the future.

"I know others might dispute this, but really our current methodology of preparing a team will not be able to ensure a win at the Junior World Cup," said Dharmaraj.

"We need a long term plan, that encompasses at least eight years, working with 12 year olds, with the sole intention of lifting the trophy.

"As for me personally, my contract ends on Dec 31 so I will wait to see what plans, if any, MHC has for me."

New Straits Times

National juniors come undone at the crucial moment

By S. Ramaguru

NEW DELHI: It was the best chance for Malaysia to create history, and they fluffed their lines.

That semi-final loss to France will surely haunt Malaysian hockey for years to come.

Yes, the National Juniors failed when it mattered most and ended up fourth in the 10th edition of the Junior World Cup, which ended on Sunday.

Malaysia had finished in the same position in 1979 and 1982.

Four years in the making, and champions of Asia, the National Juniors can still consider the fourth placing an achievement.

Coach K. Dharmaraj’s boys went through the group phase unbeaten. But they came unstuck in the semi-finals, losing 3-1 on penalties to France after both teams were tied at 1-1 in regulation time.

In the third placing playoff, the demoralised Malaysians went down 7-2 to Holland.

To recap, this team (Project 2013) was a four-year collaboration between the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) and the National Sports council (NSC).

An elaborate and nationwide search for the right personnel saw 165 players going through the various training stints since the end of 2009.

In 2012, the team won the Junior Asia Cup for the first time. A year earlier, they bagged the Sultan of Johor Cup.

In the end, the best 18 players were selected for the New Delhi assignment and they proved their worth with a fourth placing.

But coach Dharmaraj still feels that their bench was a little weak.

“Frankly, we lacked strength and depth on the bench ... I had around 15 players who could hold their own against the top hockey playing nations,” he said.

“I’m not saying the rest were passengers but when it comes to making changes without affecting the flow of the game, it does become a little bit tougher.

“We need to ensure we have a steady number of players who are matured, both in terms of skill and ability, to play in such high-level competitions.

“I have to admit, though, that we were lucky at times, especially in the group stages. But we deserved a place in the semi-finals as we played decent, if not attractive, hockey.”

Judging by the performance here, it looks like many of them are ready to step up to the senior team. As it is, five of them – skipper Fitri Saari, Mohd Firhan Azhaari, Faiz Helmi Jali, Mohd Syamin Yusof and Mohd Rashid Baharom – were already in the senior training squad.

Of the five, Faiz and Fitri impressed the most in New Delhi.

As for the other junior players, Mohd Izad Hakimi, Rashid Baharom, Mohd Syamin Yusof and goalkeepers Mohd Hafizuddin Othman and Mohd Hazrul Faiz look ready to be roped into the senior team.

The senior team have already qualified for the World Cup, which wil be held in The Hague, Holland, next year. The question is whether national coach Paul Revington will dare to take a gamble on these players.

But of immediate concern for the MHC would be the formation of the next juniors outfit. They will have just three years to prepare as the FIH have brought forward the next tournament to 2016.

“We need to start planning for the next Junior World Cup and, at the same time, look into what will happen to this team,” Dharmaraj said.

“I had four years to prepare this team and enjoyed every minute of it. I have no regrets ... although we finished fourth, we played well and performed above expectations.

“We have to realise that when it comes to world hockey, the likes of Germany, Holland, Belgium, Australia and Argentina are way ahead of us.”

The former national defender also called on the MHC to draw up a long-term plan to ensure the team can finish better than fourth in the future.

“We need a long-term plan – at least eight years – working with 12 year olds with the single purpose of lifting the trophy,” he said.

But will the MHC and NSC be willing to invest all that time and money on one team?

Over to you, MHC and NSC.

The Star of Malaysia

Perak run riot over Pahang to get back on track

By Ashreena Pillai

Mohd Akmal Mohd Tajuddin (left) of Perak aiming to score past Pahang's goalkeeper Benney Anggara Yusuf during their MHC Under 21 hockey match on Monday. Perak won the match 10-1. - The STAR/ Azhar Arif

KUALA LUMPUR: Perak bounced back from Sunday’s loss to Malacca in superb fashion – mauling Pahang 10-1 in their Group A match of the MHC Under-21 hockey tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Perak, who lost 2-1 to defending champions Malacca, took no prisoners as they pulled out yet another big victory over Pahang on Monday.

It was their biggest winning margin in the tournament so far, having previously beaten Sabah 5-0 and Penang 6-2.

Perak went on the offensive right from the whistle to score through Shahru Shahadan Basir (4th minute), Muhammad Akmal Mohd Tajuddin (12th, 27th) and Mohd Harris Fadila Zulkafli (35th) for a 4-0 lead at half-time.

They continued to score at will after the break through Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin (36th, 64th, 65th) and Akmal (46th, 55th).

Pahang, who contributed to their downfall by scored an own goal in the 54th minute, got their consolation goal through Mohd Fahmi Abdullah in the 69th minute.

“It was a good win. After losing to Malacca, we were chasing the win and also a big goal difference to boost our chances (of qualifying) and we got it. Hopefully, the other teams will drop points ... that will allow us to sneak in,” said a beaming Perak coach Manjit Singh.

Penang edged Malacca 1-0 to top Group A with 12 points from five games. Perak are tied for second with Terengganu on 10 points each but Perak have a better goal difference.

Perak have scored 24 goals and conceded seven while Terengganu have only netted 13 and let in eight.

But yesterday’s big win over Pahang came at a cost for Perak as six of their players – hat-trick hero Soffian, Mohd Zulhamizan Awang Abas, Mohd Fitri Ismail, Mohd Najib Abu Hassan, Syed Mohd Sayfiq Syed Cholan and Azril Misron – will be carrying injuries heading into their final group match against bottom-side Kelantan today.

In Group B, Selangor also bounced back from their 5-1 loss to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday, to romp to a 7-0 win over Perlis with goals from Faridzul Afiq Mohd, Nur Amirul Syamim Khalid, Faiq Razin Zariq Idris, Nor Nashriq Farhan Nor Azman and Umar Hakim Ahmad Robangi (three).

The Star of Malaysia


Our performance was pathetic: Ajit Pal

Rohan Puri

NEW DELHI: Former captain Ajit Pal Singh expressed his disappointment with the Indian hockey team's performance in the junior World Cup and said that the time has come for the country to produce results. "Their performance was very disappointing. I never imagined they would finish tenth. I was expecting them to be among the top four teams," Ajit Pal told TOI on MOnday.

"They were pathetic in the entire tournament. They struggled in the matches against Canada and South Korea. We always conceded a goal in the beginning and then we panicked. That was the story throughout the tournament," he added.

When asked as to what the team was lacking, he said, "Despite having five to six senior players in the team, we could not do well. Our goalkeeping was poor. We need to do a lot of work in that area. Same is the case with defence. We gave a lot of open spaces to the opponents to come and attack. Missing chances to score goals is another area of concern. This has been the scenario for a long time."

Ajit Pal, under whom India won their only World Cup in 1975, also said that bringing foreign coaches for different teams hasn't helped much. "I don't know what these coaches are doing. We have brought in all these foreign experts, physical trainers and scientific staff but the performance is still below par. Where have we reached?"

The Times of India

India should stop changing coaches, says Negre

NEW DELHI: India should stop changing coaches if it wants to reclaim its position as one of the world's best teams, the president of the international field hockey federation said Monday.

"There has to be a continuity in the coaching staff," FIH president Leandro Negre said on the sidelines of an event to announce the schedule of the inaugural Hockey World League final in New Delhi from Jan. 10-18. "There's no way a team can develop if coaches keep changing every now and then."

Eight-time Olympic gold medalist India, which has struggled at the world level recently, experimented with several coaches, including four foreigners in the past six years.

Former Australia player Terry Walsh last month replaced Michael Nobbs, another Australian, and will work in tandem with high performance manager Roelant Oltmans of the Netherlands.

Spanish coach Jose Brasa and Ric Charlesworth of Australia are others to have had stints with the team in recent years.

The FIH president also felt the junior system needs to develop a better feeding mechanism.

"There are 27 hockey academies in India and there is the need to take advantage of that, to develop good under-14 and under-16 teams. India seems to be improving its domestic structure in the past few years but a lot still needs to be done," Negre said.

Negre conceded it was important for the FIH to see the country improve, especially since it has been hosting several FIH tournaments, including the Junior World Cup that concluded Sunday with Germany winning and India finishing 10th.

"There was not much enthusiasm for the tournament because India did not do well but I know for sure that hockey is still very important for people here. It's the only country that can host so many competitions and it's important that India does well," Negre said.

India hosted the World Cup in 2010 and has been named to host it again in 2018. It will also organize the Champions Trophy in December 2014.

India won its only World Cup in 1975 and the last of its eight Olympic gold medals at the 1980 Moscow Games. The team failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and finished last in London last year.

The Times of India

Get over the glorious past, plan for future: Terry Walsh

NEW DELHI: Newly-appointed coach of the national men's hockey team Terry Walsh feels India needs to stop harping on its glorious past and focus on building a strong development programme, which is the need of the hour.

Walsh, who took over the reigns of India last month from compatriot Michael Nobbs, was straight-forward in his reply when asked about the corrective measures for India, a nation which has won a record eight Olympic gold medals in hockey in the past.

"We can't keep on harping about our past. It is not going to help us because the game has evolved over the years," Walsh said in an interview during the just-concluded Hero Junior Men's Hockey World Cup at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

"When India was winning its eight Olympic gold medals, other countries had already started to put in place their development programmes and they are reaping the dividends today," he said.

"We need to put in place a correct structure as soon as possible. We need a strong development program. By development program I mean we need to build our base from the grassroot level, we need to work with kids of 8-10 years.

"As long as we don't have a strong development programnme it will be difficult for us to compete with top teams of the world on a consistent basis," said Walsh, who represented Australia in two Olympics.

The 59-year-old is also not satisfied with Indian players' mental and psychological levels.

"We also need to work with the mental and psychological aspect of our players. Mentally and psychologically we are nowhere near the top teams. Realistically speaking, we are number 10 in these areas," Walsh said.

"But I don't think we need a fulltime psychologist for that because it is the players who need to address their issues and take responsibility.

"Yes, occasionally we can take the help of a psychologist but it is not the solution," he said.

Walsh accepted that the Indian players are skillful, but wondered how they can be so "careless" in their basics.

"The Indian players have skills and they are very flexible and agile. But they are very careless and lack in basics," he said.

He said no coach can help India until and unless the base of the game in the country is strong.

"If you talk about how long it will take there is no instant answer because there is no magic wand. Until and unless a strong development programme is put in place it will be difficult to match the standards of Australia or European teams," concluded Walsh, whose first assignment with Indian team will be the Hockey World League Final to be played here from January 10-18 next year.

The Times of India

Psychologist need of the hour for Indian hockey: Sardar

NEW DELHI: Indian hockey teams, both senior and junior, were often guilty of buckling under pressure in big events and senior national team captain Sardar Singh on Monday called for roping in a qualified psychologist to work on the mental preparation of the players.

The just-concluded Junior World Cup here was the recent example of Indian players' weak mental conditions as, despite being tipped as a semifinal contender, the hosts crashed out in the pool stages to eventually finish a disappointing 10th.

Asked if he felt the urgent need of a psychologist in the team, Sardar said he hoped the senior national side gets one before Hockey World League final round to be held here from January 10-18.

"I feel we definitely need a psychologist with the team as early as possible. We even discussed this thing with (Hockey India's High Performance Director) Roelant Oltmans. When we were watching India's Junior World Cup matches from the stands, the players looked to be under pressure," Sardar told reporters during an event of his Hockey India League side, Delhi Waveriders here today.

"I felt that they were finding it difficult to handle the pressure of playing in front of home crowd," he said.

"Last time Hockey India said that they will try to rope in a psychologist and I am sure Oltmans will tell Hockey India our views. I hope before the Hockey World League Final, we will get the services of a psychologist," said the star midfielder, who is also the skipper of Waveriders.

"In the Dutch league, my team Bloemendaal lost first four games. Then the coaches there analysed why we lost and took one-on-one session with all the players. After that we won five games in a row," added Sardar, citing the example of his European club side.

Sardar said the pressure of expectations did not help the Indian youngsters at all in the Junior World Cup.

"It was not their level. They are much better players."

Sardar said with a number of big events lined up, including the Senior World Cup and Champions Trophy, 2014 is a big year for Indian hockey.

"Our present focus is on Hockey World League Final and we hope to do well there. 2014 is very important year for us and we will try to give our best," he said.

India will be under the guidance of newly-appointed coach Terry Walsh in the Hockey World League Final and Sardar said the team was trying to adjust to his style of coaching.

"We have been training hard under Terry since the last one month. He has joined us just a month back and we are trying to adapt to his style," he said.

"Every coach has different style but in Terry we have got one of the best coaches in the world."

Bollywood actor John Abraham, who was today announced as a co-owner of the Waveriders team, was also present on the occasion, where the Delhi outfit named a completely new support staff for the second edition of HIL.

The Waveriders have appointed former India international Cedric D'Souza as the chief coach, while Berkhout Hendrik Bortel will be his deputy.

Among other important appointments, David R Schieffelers of Netherlands has been roped in as physio while South Africa's Robin van Ginkel has been appointed as the physical trainer.

Former India player Dhananjay Mahadik has been named as the video analyst and Ram Kishan as the team's masseur.

Meanwhile, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) today officially launched next month's Hero Hockey World League Final to be played at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium here.

FIH president Leandro Negre termed the inaugural Hockey World League as a "big success" so far and once again identified India as the hub of hockey for the next couple of years.

"Hockey World League means open doors. The tournament means opportunities to all member nations of FIH.

"In the inaugural HWL, four continents were involved and 14 events were held. 60 nations and more than 200 players participated. 350 matches were played with 500 hours of hockey. I think this competition was a big success," he said.

He also lauded India's organisational capability. "We just finished the Junior World Cup and now the Hockey World League will be held in mid-January followed by second HIL which is starting at the end of January. Only one nation has this kind of organisational capability and this country is India," Negre said.

The Times of India

Bhubaneswar, not Delhi to host 2014 Men's Champions Trophy

NEW DELHI: Orissa's capital Bhubaneswar will host the 35th edition of the Champions Trophy men's hockey tournament to be held from December 13-21 next year.

The eight-team elite International Hockey Federation (FIH) event will be held at the Kalinga Stadium, which is presently under renovation and will be in full shape by June next year, Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra said.

Batra also informed that Hockey India will host the event in collaboration with Orissa state government.

"It has been more than a month that we have allocated the Champions Trophy to Orissa and it will be held in Bhubaneswar," Batra said.

"We have full support from the Orissa government. The stadium will have two astroturfs, one is ready and the work on the other is going on. The Orissa government has assured us that the entire construction work will be completed by June next year," he said.

Batra said being medium sized stadium and the growing popularity of the game in Orissa, the Champions Trophy is expected to draw huge crowds to the ground unlike previous events at capital's Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Batra also said that Delhi government was partially to be blamed for low spectator turnouts during the just-concluded Junior World Cup.

"We could put the tickets on sale just one week before the tournament because they gave us permission at the eleventh hour inspite of the fact that we applied for the same in September," he said.

"I sometimes just wonder is the Delhi government anti-sports?"

The FIH also gave thumbs up to Bhubaneswar when a delegation of the world body visited the Kalinga stadium earlier this year and were impressed with the facilities.

The Times of India

We want three venues for 2018 WC: Negre

Biswajyoti Brahma

NEW DELHI: Disappointed with lack of spectators during the junior World Cup, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is looking for alternative venues in India for future events. FIH president Leandro Negre told TOI that he would like to see India hosting the 2018 World Cup at three venues. "The problem is junior tournaments don't attract crowd. That's not a problem only in India. It happens in Malaysia and other countries too. So we are looking at some other cities for future events," Negre said.

"I am sure if this tournament had been held at the new stadium in Mohali, it would have been full. Or for that matter it would have been full in Ranchi too. Having it in Delhi has its own drawbacks since this is the capital and it hosts so many events."

Negre said his proposal to Hockey India was to host the league matches of the World Cup in places like Mohali or Chennai. "We have allotted tournaments to India till 2018. India will also host the World Cup in 2018. We have increased the number of participating countries from 12 to 16 and the format will be like the one we have in the junior World Cup - four pools of four teams each. My proposal to Hockey India is to play matches of two pools in Mohali, two pools in Chennai and the semifinals and the final in Delhi. That will attract more spectators."

Admitting that the FIH needed to do more to draw people to the stadium, Negre said the world body was also trying to make it more TV friendly. "We need to be more proactive. We need to have a plan in place so that more fans come t watch the game. It's not a bad idea to involve Bollywood stars to make it more attractive. Hockey India needs to do more to attract crowd. It's also our (FIH) job to ensure that," he said.

"We had a meeting with the Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and they have advised some changes to make the game more TV-friendly. They asked us that we should have a 45-second stoppage-time after a penalty corner or the goals to show the emotions of the players to TV audience. It's like showing the moods to the viewers," he mentioned.

Referring to allegations on fixing in other sports, Negre said FIH needed to be careful since professional leagues in the sport have started. "First of all, I am proud and happy that hockey is very clean. But we have to be prepared for the future. With Hockey India League and other professional leagues, we have to be more careful. If you control it the game will remain clean."

My proposal to Hockey India is to play matches of two pools in Mohali, two pools in Chennai and the semifinals and the final in Delhi. That will attract more spectators.

The Times of India

Cedric to coach Waveriders

Rohan Puri

NEW DELHI: With the second season of the Hockey India League (HIL) just a month away, last year's runners-up Delhi Waveriders have roped in former national coach Cedric D'Souza to help improve the team's performance.

"We are looking to win this tournament. We have brought in several new faces. We have two new defenders, Tristan White and Steven Edwards. In the midfield, we have Timmothy Drummond. Jason Wilson is the new striker we have got. He is a great flicker," Cedric D'Souza said at a promotional event held at the National stadium here on Monday. The franchise also announced a new face, actor and producer John Abraham, who will also be the co-owner of the team.

Also present were captain of Delhi Waveriders, Sardar Singh and chief advisor, Ajit Pal Singh. Sardar told TOI: "Right now we are focusing on the world league round four, which is in Delhi. We had a month-long camp in Bhopal with our new coach Terry Walsh. That was a good experience. We have another practice camp from Dec 28 to Jan 9 and then we play the world league. That will also help us to prepare for HIL."

Delhi Waveriders school event

A first of its kind school tournament — the Delhi Waveriders School Cup— was launched earlier in the day. Backed by Hockey India (HI), the tournament will witness 32 school teams in Delhi/NCR battle it out for top honours.

The Times of India

Delhi Waveriders Cup to promote hockey at grassroots level

NEW DELHI: A first-of-its-kind hockey school tournament -- Delhi Waveriders School Cup -- will witness 32 school teams in Delhi/NCR battle it out for top honours at the Major Dhyanchand National Stadium starting on Monday.

The school tournament has been backed by Hockey India (HI) with an aim to promote the national game at the grassroot level. The real estate major, Wave Group, will be hosting the tournament, presented by the Ponty Chadha Foundation.

The tournament was flagged off by Union minister for new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah, while the president of International Hockey Federation (FIH), Leandro Negre was also present at the inaugural ceremony.

"It is a great opportunity for the young talent to showcase their skills, it is a good initiative by The Ponty Chaddha Foundation and Hockey India. These tournaments help in nurturing young talent. I wish all the participants good luck," Farooq Abdullah said.

The tournament will conclude on December 24 and the winning team will get a chance to play an exhibition match against last year's HIL (Hockey India League) runners-up, Delhi Waveriders.

The team will also get an opportunity to visit the Indian national camp, thereby learning the nuances of hockey from the topmost players in the country.

The national selectors will also be present during the tournament and the youngsters will get an opportunity to showcase their talent in front of them.

"We want to promote hockey in India at all levels. This is an exciting tournament where we would be scouting for young talent, we will be having National Selectors present during the tournament," Hockey India secretary general, Narender Batra, said.

The aim is to take this tournament to other cities as well, thus creating the best national level school hockey tournament in the country.

The Times of India

Coach suggests shrink to spur hockey team

KARACHI: After Pakistan’s poor finish at the Junior Hockey World Cup, chief coach and manager Manzoorul Hassan stressed on the need of a psychologist to improve the squad’s form.

All hopes were pinned on the colts following the senior team’s failure to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. However, the team’s ninth-place finish in New Delhi quashed the aspirations of hockey fans in the country.

Although, Pakistan defeated hosts India in the ninth position play-off, Hassan termed the team’s overall performance ‘unsatisfactory and disappointing’ on their return.

“I was not expecting such a finish,” said the dejected head coach, adding that had hoped the team would do well, especially after winning against their senior counterparts in a practice match.

“We had prepared a lot,” said the Olympian as he referred to the practice games prior to the tournament.

He said the squad had been in good form, but once the event got underway the greenshirts lost their rhythm. Hassan added that their practice in New Delhi had gone well, but Pakistan had failed to survive under pressure.

“My assessment is that the players lack mental strength and there is a need for therapy which can prepare them for such major tournaments,” he confided while talking to The Express Tribune.

“I only had three months to work with them and I am hopeful I will be given another chance in the same capacity,” said Hassan, eager to prove his worth.

Meanwhile, captain Umar Bhutta laid blame of the failure on the umpiring in the crucial group match against Germany where the greenshirts were hammered 1-6, calling some of the decisions ‘wrong’.

The Express Tribune

NBP National Hockey C’ship from 19th

LAHORE - The 60th edition of National Hockey Championship will be played from December 19 at Johor Town Hockey Stadium under the aegis of Punjab Hockey Association (PHA) on behalf of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).

“Leading teams drawn from all the affiliated units of the PHF will feature in the event the final of which will be played on December 29,” said PHF spokesman on Monday.

He said for the smooth conduct of the event, the PHF had appointed following panel of technical officials. Lt Col (r) Nadeem Ahmad Bhatti tournament director, Olympian M Shafqat assistant tournament director, Dr Majid, Qadeer Ahmed, Khalid Munir, Haroon Saeed, Rana M Afzal, Allah Dad, Ishaq Bhatti, Zulfiqar Bhutto, Mian M Farooq, Ejaz Chattah, Sohail Ashraf, Mujahid Afzal, M Yaqoob, Jalil Shah, Ihsanul Haq Babar and Javaid Sadiq judges, Rashad Mahmood Butt umpires’ manager, Rana Khalid assistant umpires’ manager while Haider Rasool, Kamran Sharif Ch, Anwaar Hussain, Atif Malik, Haroon Rasheed, Afsar Ali, Mohsin Ali Khan, Shahid Pervaiz, Rana M Liaqat, Munawwar Hussain, Amir Hamza and Munir Ahmad umpires.

Ajmal Khan Lodhi will be organising secretary while Anjum Saeed coordinator. The championship briefing meetings will be held on December 18.

The Nation

Lifting Slough a cinch for Maddie Hinch

By Mike Haymonds

Maddie Hinch is proving to be a formidable opponent both at home and abroad [PA]

ENGLAND goalkeeper Maddie Hinch, who won her third Keeper of the Tournament award in 2013 at last week’s World League final in Argentina, where England took a bronze, is proving hard to beat at home too.

Hinch returned to domestic indoor hockey at the Maxinutrition Hockey 5s at Bromsgrove School, and helped Slough to top of the Premier table with a 100 per cent record at the league’s mid-point after wins over Olton (4-2), Canterbury (8-3), East Grinstead (5-0) and Sutton Coldfield (5-1).

Besides Hinch, Slough fielded 2012 Olympian Ashleigh Ball and former indoor internationals Alex Scott and Harriet Cunningham, with Scott bagging 10 goals, five on each day.

Scott said: “Our coach Kalbir Takher used the subs well. We were never behind in any game and were always in control.”

This is the first tournament being played with five-a-side instead of six in a move to make the game more attractive.

Slough are now poised to qualify for the semi-finals in Kettering on January 11. The final is at Wembley Arena on February 2, together with the men’s semi-finals and final.

In the men’s Premier Division in Birmingham, East Grinstead, bidding for their sixth successive title, won all their four games, putting them three points clear of Reading and five ahead of Bowdon with Canterbury six adrift.

Daily Express

Euro Hockey League reveals draw for KO16

KO16/FINAL4 double event will take place in Eindhoven 16-21 April 2014

Oranje Zwart's Mink van der Weerden will be one of the stars in action at the EHL KO16/FINALFOUR double event in Eindhoven at Easter. Photo: Euro Hockey League / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Hilversum, December 16, 2013, - Following the completion of the Round 1 events in October and the announcement that MHC Oranje Zwart will host the unique KO16/FINAL4 double event at Easter, the Euro Hockey League (EHL) and the European Hockey Federation (EHF) are pleased to reveal the draw for the KO16 round of the competition.

KO16/FINAL4 marks the start of an intense, action-packed five-day knock-out phase, with the 16 teams toughing it out until only the new EHL champion is left standing. Among the top teams to qualify for KO16 are Dutch Champions H.C. Rotterdam, German giants Rot-Weiss Köln, Belgian aces Waterloo Ducks and English Champions Beeston HC.

The so-called KO16 is the jewel in the crown of the EHL, being an event that witnesses sixteen of the finest club teams in Europe going head-to-head in knock-out action. Just four teams will remain in the competition at the end of this three day event, forming the line-up for the grand finale: EHL FINAL4. The knock-out format ensures that every game has meaning, with each team knowing that defeat will result in elimination from the world’s greatest club hockey competition. The KO16 matches will take place on April 16th and 17th, with the quarter final (KO8) matches being played on April 18th.

Grand finale: FINAL 4
The final stage of the EHL tournament is the thrilling FINAL4. This will be the grand finale. During Easter the four best teams will challenge each other and fight for the prestigious EHL 2014 title and win the much-coveted Alain Danet Trophy. These finals will be played on Sunday April 20th and Monday April 21st. Former winners include the Dutch teams HC Bloemendaal (2013, 2009) and HGC (2011) and German’s UHC Hamburg (2012, 2010, 2008).

Players that make the difference
The EHL tournament will feature many of the world’s greatest players giving their all to achieve the dream of winning the greatest prize in club hockey. Countless international players will be on show at KO16 and FINAL4 in Eindhoven, including Dutch international superstars Jeroen Hertzberger (H.C. Rotterdam) and Mink van der Weerden (MHC Oranje Zwart), Germany legends Benni Wess and Christopher Zeller (both Rot-Weiss Köln), English superstars Adam Dixon (Beeston HC) and Simon Mantell (Reading HC) as well as many, many more.

New competitors
SV Kampong (NED), Harvestehuder THC (GER) and Surbiton HC (ENG) have all reached KO16 in their very first Euro Hockey League season. These clubs will be hoping to push on through KO16 to the EHL FINAL4 tournament.

Editors’ choice
Although every match at KO16/FINAL4 Eindhoven has the potential to be hugely entertaining, there are a number of truly mouth-watering fixtures.

SV Kampong (NED) versus KHC Dragons (BEL): Kampong made a stunning début in the Euro Hockey League at Round 1.2 Lille, breaking the record for the highest number of goals scored in one match with a thumping 14-0 victory over SC Stroitel Brest of Belarus. Kampong then recorded a hugely impressive 4-2 triumph over German champions Rot-Weiss Köln, a team containing a number of Olympic Gold medallists including Benni Wess and the Zeller brothers, Christopher and Philipp. Their opponents Belgium’s Dragons are rightly considered to be one of Europe’s most feared teams, and were Silver medallists in last season’s EHL. Their team contains some of the hottest talents in Belgian hockey, including penalty corner expert Loick Luypaert and attacker Florent van Aubel. It promises to be a sensational contest.

Harvestehuder THC (GER) versus HTC Uhlenhorst Mülheim (GER): An all-German encounter between two of Germany’s most impressive teams. Like Kampong, Harvestehuder made a big impression as EHL debutantes at Round 1.1 Barcelona, surging to the top spot in Pool D with victories over Cardiff & Met (9-1) and English Champions Beeston (3-2). The team lead by double Olympic Gold medallist Tobias Hauke have established themselves as one of the tournament favourites, but meetings between two teams from the same nation are always unpredictable. Mülheim have a seriously strong team, and if the likes of giant striker Thilo Stralkowski and rising star Christopher Rühr – unquestionably one of the hottest young talents in the game – are on form then there is no telling what might happen.

The complete draw can be found below.

The Draw...

Match Schedule

The following matches are scheduled:

Wednesday 16 April 2014 (KO16)

11.30 Club de Campo de Madrid (ESP) v Saint Germain HC (FRA)

14.00 Harvestehuder THC (GER) v HTC Uhlenhorst Mulheim (GER)

16.30 HC Rotterdam (NED) v WKS Grunwald Poznan (POL)

19.00 SV Kampong (NED) v KHC Dragons (BEL)

Thursday 17 April 2014 (KO16)

11.30 RC Polo de Barcelona (ESP) v Reading HC (ENG)

14.00 Racing Club de Bruxelles (BEL) v KTHC Rot – Weiss Koln (GER)

16.30 Waterloo Ducks (BEL) v Beeston HC (ENG)

19.00 MHC Oranje Zwart (NED) v Surbiton HC (ENG)

Friday 18 April 2014

11.30 Club de Campo de Madrid/Saint Germain HC v Harvestehuder THC/HTC Uhlenhorst Mulheim

14.00 Waterloo Ducks/Beeston HC v Racing Club de Bruxelles/KTHC Rot-Weiss Koln

16.30 HC Rotterdam/WKS Grunwald Poznan v SV Kampong/KHC Dragons

19.00 MHC Oranje Zwart/Surbiton HC v RC Polo de Barcelona/Reading HC

Sunday 20 April 2014 (KO4 / Semi Finals)

H.C. Rotterdam / Grunwald  / Kampong / Dragons
OZ / Surbiton / RC Polo / Reading

WatDucks / Beeston / RC Bruxelles / RW Köln
Campo / St Germain / Harvestehuder / Mülheim

Round 5 (Final) 21 April 2014

Bronze medal match: (Loser SF 1 v Loser SF 2)

Final: (Winner SF 1 v Winner SF 2)

Note: Match times and schedule subject to change due to the requirements of television or other factors as determined by EHL.  EHF / December 2013.

Euro Hockey League media release