News for 26 December 2013

All the news for Thursday 26 December 2013

Awais, Ali score hat-tricks as Police outclass HEC

LAHORE: Police, PIA and SSGC won their respective matches on Wednesday at the 60th NBP National Hockey Championship underway in Lahore.

Mohammad Awais and Aamir Ali scored hat-tricks as Police outclassed HEC 7-3 in the second match of the day.

With the match tied 1-1 at the interval, HEC soon lost control of the ball in the second-half and the Police forwards took full advantage of the match, scoring six goals after the interval.

Earlier, PIA defeated Navy 3-1 with Ammad Butt, Mohammad Zubair and Inayatullah being the goal scorers.

In another match, SSGC claimed victory in the tournament with a similar scoreline after surpassing PQA 3-1.

The Express Tribune

Pakistan’s participation in Asian Games doubtful

By Fawad Hussain

KARACHI: Pakistan’s dilemma over its participation in the Commonwealth Games (CWG) has been further fueled with the possibility of the greenshirts missing the ticket for the 2014 Asian Games owing to the Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) indecision.

The Arif Hasan-led Pakistan Olympics Association (POA), authorised by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), asked the PHF to send its expression of interest for the country’s participation at the Asian Games which is scheduled to be held in Incheon, South Korea in September.

“We haven’t received a response from the PHF yet,” Hasan told The Express Tribune on Wednesday.

“We conferred with them about the deadline five days ago. The PHF must send it by December 31 which is the final deadline. Otherwise it will become extremely difficult for us to convince the organisers to grant the team a spot.”

The POA president added that except for the PHF, other sports federations were in loop with his Olympic body and the final contingent would be decided after the deadline.

Meanwhile, the PHF’s version could not be taken as various attempts to contact the top officials – president Akhtar Rasool and secretary Rana Mujahid were futile.

However, an official close to the matter said the PHF was seeking approval from the inter-provincial ministry before contacting Hasan’s body.

The Asian Games’s participation is vital for the greenshirts, especially after failing to qualify for the World Cup, as it will serve as the qualifying event for Olympics 2016.

It may be mentioned that a similar situation rose earlier this year at the time of Pakistan’s confirmation for the 2014 CWG in Glasgow, but the PHF refused to contact Hasan and instead contacted the ministry. The latter advised them to go through the government-backed POA headed by Akram Sahi.

The stand-off has almost ended the chances of Pakistan’s participation in the CWG since the IOC does not recognise Sahi’s association.

The Express Tribune

Indian hockey's roller-coaster ride in 2013

New Delhi:  The launch of a much-hyped professional league on the lines of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the rise and fall of colts, an overhaul of the coaching set-up and women overshadowing their male counterparts -- 2013 was an eventful roller-coaster ride for Indian hockey.

On performance front, it was the junior women's team that stole the limelight by bagging a historic bronze medal in the World Cup held at Monchengladbach, Germany. The junior eves' historic medal, in fact, remained the most striking image of 2013 for Indian hockey. Led by Sushila Chanu, the girls won their first-ever World Cup medal by beating England in the third-place playoff via penalty shoot-out.

But for this, the on-field success of Indian hockey in 2013 was limited to the subcontinent. The senior eves also did well for themselves winning a bronze in the Asia Cup and a silver in the Asian Champions Trophy to make it a profitable year for Indian women's hockey. Just like the girls, the junior boys started the year on a promising note by clinching the Sultan of Johor Cup title in Malaysia, which gave India the self-belief that they can win the Junior World Cup at home.

But Manpreet Singh and his men were in for a rude shock as they failed to live up to the expectations and crashed out in the pool stages, eventually finishing a disappointing 10th in the 16-team event. The senior men's team too witnessed a bright start to the year as the Sardar Singh-led side registered a six-match unbeaten run in the FIH World League Round 2 at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium in New Delhi to secure a berth in the league's semi-finals in Rotterdam that doubled up as a World Cup qualifier.

But the past masters of the game failed to secure a direct entry in next year's World Cup by finishing outside the top three position at Rotterdam. After missing a direct entry at the World Cup through Rotterdam, India's best chance to qualify for the quadrennial event was by becoming the continental champions. But that didn't happen as Korea defeated Sardar and Co. in the final to win the Asia Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.

However, Pakistan's defeat to Korea in the semifinal of the Asia Cup virtually assured India's ticket to The Hague, Netherlands, which was confirmed after Australia won the Oceania Cup. India's participation in next year's showpiece event was sealed following the completion of the men's and women's Oceania Cup continental championships in Stratford, New Zealand in November.

Like all the continental championships, the big prize on offer for the winners of the men's and women's Oceania Cup tournaments was direct qualification to the World Cup. However, with both the Australian teams already achieving World Cup qualification, thanks to strong performances in the Hockey World League semifinals, the door was subsequently opened to the teams that finished outside the top three at the HWL semi-finals that had not yet qualified for the World Cup.

The Indian men's sixth place finish at the HWL semi-final in Rotterdam has proven to be enough for their participation. But it turned out to be an unfortunate year for neighbours Pakistan as they missed the bus to the World Cup, for the first time since the introduction of the event in 1971.

Barring the silver medal at the Asia Cup, there was nothing much to show for the big boys of Indian hockey. India finished in identical fifth positions in this year's Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the Asian Champions Trophy, where the national federation (Hockey India) had sent a junior team keeping in mind the World Cup.

But the best thing to happen for Indian hockey players this year was the introduction of the professional Hockey India League (HIL). The HIL, conceptualised on the lines of IPL, turned out to be a big success. The event not only gave uncapped Indian players the opportunity to rub shoulders with the best in the world, but also enabled every player, be it Indian or international, to earn hefty pay cheques for just 30 days of hockey. The league was an instant hit as it gave Indian hockey a new star in Mandeep Singh, who represented Ranchi Rhinos, the champions of the inaugural edition.

The last 12 months also witnessed Hockey India making quite a few changes in the game's administrative as well as coaching set-up to bring in professionalism. With noble intentions of bringing back the glorious days of Indian hockey, HI roped in legendary Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans as the High Performance Director.

The national federation also appointed a specialised goalkeeping coach in Dave Staniforth of South Africa to hone the skills of custodians, besides giving the junior men team's reigns to Gregg Clark, the coach of inaugural HIL champions Ranchi Rhinos.

But India's failure at the HWL semi-finals marked the end of senior men's team chief coach Michael Nobbs' Indian sojourn as he quit the job, citing illness just after returning from Rotterdam. After extensive search, HI appointed another Australian, Terry Walsh as Nobbs' successor towards the end of the year. To strengthen the senior team's support base, former India coaches MK Kaushik and Vasudev Baskaran were added as Walsh's assistant.

Restructuring of the selection committee was also an important step taken by the national federation in 2013. In order to bring in more accountability and fresh ideas, HI appointed a relatively young, nine-member selection committee under Olympian BP Govinda's chairmanship. The new-look selection committee had former Indian captains Gagan Ajit Singh and Arjun Halappa besides Syed Ali, RP Singh, Savitri Purty, Mamta Kharab, Surinder Kaur and Saba Anjum. India were also in for a pleasant surprise towards the end of the year when they managed to successfully bid for the hosting rights of 2018 World Cup.

NDTV Sports

The year in review

Malaysian hockey did relatively well on the field despite the battles off the field in the year under review.

Topping the feat must surely be the remarkable achievement of the national juniors who finished in fourth spot in the Junior World Cup, thus equaling the feat of the 1979 and 1982 squads.

Then there was the qualification to the 2014 World Cup by the senior squad, after a hiatus of 12 years. The women were not far behind as they won the bronze in the AHF Asia Cup in November, their first significant medal of any sort.

The emergence of young players, from the national juniors coached by K. Dharmaraj, augurs well for the future of Malaysian hockey. But at the same time how these players will be nurtured is of paramount importance.

National coach Paul Revington, who quit only to return a few days later prior to the World league Semis, made a fundamental mistake, that is over relying on players with past glories, thus has a limited pool of players.

The South African in reality has only 50 players to chose from and that is a fact that cannot be denied. But even within the 50 there is a vast difference in standards and experience. This can only be over come if Malaysia had a development squad akin to what is being practiced in Australia, Germany and Holland.

But on the domestic front, it has been shambles as the competitions were run haphazardly, development virtually non existent and states left to fend on their own.

Imagine the National Under 21 tournament being run during the Junior World Cup, thus depriving the nations best 18 players from featuring for their states.

Then there was the case of too many tournaments being lumped together, one after another as MHC could have created history as they ran 6 events within 60 days.

First it was the Raja Noora Ashikin Cup, followed by the National Under 16 Indoor, the National Under 14, the National Veterans and ending up with the National Under 21.

What was more appalling was the fact that the states were not paid the subsidies, from the RNA Cup until the Under 21, with only thr RM1,000 being paid for the National Veterans. To top it all, some quarters in MHC proposed to do away with some domestic competitions, citing money as the main factor.

The Malaysian hockey League and Malaysian Junior Hockey League are two success stories that can be further improved if there is a genuine effort from parties concerned.

But all we hear is that plans are afoot with nothing to show in the end and expect the same circus to continue without a ring master to make the improvements that will make it the money spinner that MHC badly needs.

With the teams doing well at various international levels, money should be the least of worries if MHC had a proper marketing plan put in place and entice sponsors with their success stories.

But all that is being wasted as the officials within MHC jostle for attention of the President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah rather then serve the sport.

Infighting, jealousy, back biting and control freaks are just some mild terms that can be used to describe the chaotic situation that MHC is in at the moment.

With elections looming in the middle of 2014, the campaigning has started, so much so that even the position for the Chief Executive Officer has been left vacant as politics rear its ugly head.

One cannot end the review without mentioning the tragic demise of Chua Boon Huat, Malaysia’s finest hockey sons who left us in August. For Chua had gone before realizing his dream of taking Malaysia to the World Cup.

There is much to look forward to in 2014, but things off the pitch need to change for the better.

Unpaid dues by MHC

t may be the season of giving but not in the case of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.

For their affiliates are fuming that the national body has not paid them their subsidies for participation in the various national tournaments since October.

And this has caused the states to question the priorities of MHC as it has sent the national teams to various tours of late.

MHC has yet to pay participation subsidies for the Raja Noora Ashikin Cup held in October, the National Under 16 Indoor  , the National Under 14 for boys and girls and the recently concluded National Under 21.

The amount ranges from RM3,000 to RM5,000 per state per tournament.

That is not all for Perak and Terengganu who played host to the RNA Cup and Under 14 have yet to receive their organizational grants of RM35,000 and RM70,000 respectively.

"They expect states to participate in every tournament yet they fail to make good their word on subsidy payment " said an irate state hockey association official who declined to be named in fear of repercussions.

"The MHC must also understand that we at the state level are hard pressed financially as so many tourneys are held close to each other.

"We take into account the subsidies to be received and many a time have to dig deep into our pockets when subsidies are not received even though the tournament has concluded."

But while the states are unhappy, they are grateful to the MHC President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah whom they feel has done a lot to uplift the profile and performance of the sport.

"Our President is a class act and may not even be aware of the predicament on the non payment of subsidies," added another official.

"We need to address this issue and hope MHC will settle the dues soon."

For the record the MHC will hold its council meeting on January 4 in Kuantan.

It's now Dato Johari

MHC Hon. Secretary Dato Mohd Johari Abdul Aziz

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation Hon. Secretary Mohd Johari Abdul Aziz has been awarded the Darjah Indra Mahkota Pahang (DIMP) which carries the title Dato by the Sultan of Pahang.

The investiture ceremony will take place on Thursday.

Johari will be the first Secretary of the MHC or the old Malaysian Hockey Federation to be bestowed the honour while serving in the position.

Former Secretary Dato G. Vijinathan was conferred the award upon his retirement.

Other past Secretaries that have served hockey are the late K.Indran, S. Perampalam, the late S.Satgunam, T. Paramalingam, Hashim Mohd Yusof and Maninderjit Singh.

Johari assumed the position in April 2012 and was formerly the Head of Corporate Communications for Tenaga Nasional Berhad.