News for 29 December 2013

All then news for Sunday 29 December 2013

PIA face NBP in National Hockey C’ship final

LAHORE -  Defending champion PIA and National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) set a show down in the final of the 60th NBP National Hockey Championship after winning their respective semi-finals here at the Johar Hockey Stadium on Saturday.

Earlier, PIA defeated Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) 2-1 in a nail-biting first semi-final. Both teams, which had the services of Olympians and international players, fought very hard amid display of classic hockey and amused the spectators with their calculated moves, smart dodges and accurate passes. The white ball continued to roll between the two halves at a fast pace. It was a hotly contested encounter between the two top teams of the championship.

Olympian Kashif Ali put PIA in the lead with a furious stroke on the penalty corner in the 15th minute. After conceding one goal, the SSGC made a number of counter attacks to level the score but goalkeeper Imran Butt frustrated their attempts stopping a couple of hard hits at the post.

In the 32nd minute of the match, Olympian Shakeel Abbasi showed his class dodging halves and full backs of PIA with his amazing strides to hit the ball neatly into the net. The score remained 1-1 at the interval. The tempo of the match electrified as the game started in the second half. In the 39th minute, PIA were awarded a penalty stroke and Kashif easily dodged the goalkeeper to gain 2-1 lead for his team which remained intact till the final whistle was blown. PIA got four and SSGC got two penalty corners.

The second semi-final between NBP and Wapda was a true reflection of the first and it also ended at the identical result of 2-1. Both the teams fought hard to keep the possession of the ball and made many attacks into each others’ ranks to steal an opportunity to score the goal. No goal could be scored in the first half. The Bankers exerted pressure soon after the game started in the second half. They wasted two back-to-back penalty corners but managed to convert another in the 45th minute to register their first goal through forward Kashif Shah who took the ball on rebound and pushed it in the net. In the 53rd minute, M Dilber gently deflected a cross into the net to double the lead. Wapda's lone goal was scored on a penalty corner in the 68th minute when M Imran made no mistake to hit the ball in the right direction. The final will be played today (Sunday) at 2pm.

The Nation

Qayyum terms PHF top brass insincere to game

Azhar Khan

LAHORE - Former international hockey player Qayyum Rashid termed the current Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) management as insincere with the game and demanded the government to put an ad-hoc on the federation to save the national game from further decline.

In an exclusive interview with The Nation, Qayyum Rashid, a two-colour holder as he is also an international golfer, said: “The PHF officials have been doing nothing for hockey and the fate of the national game will not change until the government takes over all the matters and bring in the right persons who can address the decline of the game and help the country in regaining lost hockey glory.”

“If the government takes over all the finances of the federation, these so-called well wishers of the game will flee because they are only a self-serving lot,” he added.

He opined that the current PHF officials were opportunists who had hijacked the federation. “In our times, they were not even the club level players and now they are running the affairs of the hockey. Only Akhtar Rasool is big name amongst them but currently his performance also seems to be overshadowed by these so-called Olympians.”

He said out that the national academies were struggling in hunting talent and the federation did not bother about this and that was the reason the PHF had inducted nine senior players in junior team in the Junior World Cup Hockey where they finished ninth, another disgrace for the country.

“Only a few people are sincere with this game and they are working for the promotion of the game with their heart and soul. Tauqeer Dar is one of them who have been striving hard to produce quality players for the country. His academy ‘Tauqeer Dar Academy’ is providing the youngsters with all the basic facilities and is grooming them well to represent the country at international level. Masoodur Rehman, who is hockey coach of GCU, is also a dedicated person and is endevouring to prepare quality hockey players for the country. If the PHF gets such sincere people, the time is not far when Pakistan will regain the lost hockey glory,” Qayyum asserted.

He said another main reason behind hockey decline in the country was having fewer events at school, college and university level. “Once there used to be very thrilling and healthy competitions among Government College, Islamia College Civil Lines and Railway Road College and the best players among them were picked for the national team camps. But now with little such activities, we are unable to produce quality players who may represent the country and earn laurels for it.”

He further pointed out that unless the players were provided good jobs in various departments, they could not produce desired results. “Munir Dar had a great contribution in providing hockey players’ bread and butter which helped them a lot in performing well and producing more than desired results. So if government provides jobs to our players in various departments, they will fully focus on their game rather than keeping worried about bread and butter and will perform exceptionally well to help the team register victories.”

He urged Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, himself a sportsman and patron of hockey federation, to look into this matter and order to put an ad-hoc on PHF and form a committee comprising former Olympians and international hockey players along with government officials as this is the only way to save the national game.

He proposed that services of big names, who had proved their mettle in hockey, might be utilized in the wider interest of the nation. “Khawaja Zakauddin may be given the responsibility of PHF president and Tauqeer Dar as its secretary whereas names like Samiullah, Shehnaz Sheikh, Qamar Zia, Manzoor Jr may also be fairly utilized to bring the top notch performance back into the game,” Qayyum Rashid concluded.

The Nation

English Hockey review of the year 2013

Telegraph Sport runs the rule over another action-packed year in field hockey, ahead of the 2014 World Cup in The Hague

By Rod Gilmour

Finishing on high: England women celebrate beating Argentina at World Hockey League Photo: AP

Match of the year

England beating the Netherlands, the world No.1 side, to reach first European final in 22 years. Alex Danson sent the team into ecstasy, scoring the shoot-out winner after the game was locked at 1-1. "To have finally cracked it, and against the Dutch as well, is a dream come true,” captain Kate Walsh said afterwards. It set up a final against Germany as England looked to overturn six previous European bronze medals by winning gold. The dreaded penalties then unfolded…

Goal of the year

Jelle Galema, who scored against England during the Euro Championships in the summer, helped himself to a beauty in the Junior World Cup earlier this month. The Dutch striker showed his potential with a mazy run before unleashing an unstoppable reverse stick strike to seal bronze against Malaysia. One to watch.

Player of the year

The name Maddie Hinch would have rolled off most players’ tongues after peerless year for England’s goalkeeper. She saved four shoot-out goals in that Dutch thriller, and was the hero in the recent World League semi-finals against Argentina. Her consistency between the posts was highlighted when the Holcombe stopper racked up three goalkeeper of the tournaments in 2013.

2013 hero

Beeston, Sam Ward and the hockey fraternity fund-raising for Martin Scanlon after the striker was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. With club support, Ward, the league’s top scorer, has pledged £120 to the Score4Scan fund for every goal he scores this season.

2013 villain

When Amsterdam’s Valentin Verga swung his stick after one routine challenge, Rotterdam opponent Seve van Ass felt the full force of the impact. The aftermath? Verga was banned for six games. It was worse for van Ass: 10 lost teeth (doctors were able to put four back in) and a broken jaw. "I'm very upset by what happened,” said Verga following his ban.

New year resolution for hockey

Since hockey’s inception to the Commonwealth Games in 1998, Australia have won every gold in both men and women’s events barring India women’s success at Manchester 2002. Surely it’s time for England to have more of a say this time?

Ten words to describe 2013

England women lose to Germans on penalties; golden wait continues.

The Telegraph

2013 Ghana Hockey In Retrospect

Flashback: Ghana versus Germany in action at the World Cup

Ghana hockey had very little to celebrate this year despite making it to the World Cup in Germany at the youth level; the first by a female national team.

The baptism of fire that the U-21 team went through was understandable, against the backdrop that the players were not exposed to the game at the highest level due to lack of funds. The team had been stuck here in Accra and proposed international friendlies were all cancelled because of the usual ‘no money’ syndrome.

The repercussion was dire. But in the face of all these, the ladies played their hearts out and hoisted high the flag of Ghana. Ghana was last in the 16-nation tournament in Monchengladbach, Germany but their steady progress in the tournament won by Holland, was amazing.

However, the last day of the tournament was heartbreaking. Each player was given a paltry $200 for their efforts because the Ministry of Youth and Sports again reneged on its promise to cater for them.

Officials of Ghana hockey had to struggle to raise money for air tickets, accommodation and feeding; it was indeed, a bitter experience.

The common thread that had run through this year’s hockey activities was luck of funds where the sport had virtually become an orphan and players played just for the love of mother Ghana.

From the World League Series in South Africa through to the recently-held World Cup qualifier/Nations Cup in Nairobi, Kenya, Ghana had struggled to raise funds to make appearance at each event for fear of being sanctioned.

Even in Kenya, where Ghana missed out narrowly to pick the ladies’ single ticket for the World Cup in Holland next year, they never disappointed; Ghana should be preparing for the mundial in The Netherlands. After leading 2-0, the ladies were overtaken by events, losing 2-3 to South Africa in the final.

The team, however, found solace in Elizabeth Opoku’s exploits where she was adjudged the Best Player of the tournament, as well as the top scorer.

Opoku had been the livewire of all the national teams but she fumbled at the World Cup where she could hardly get her rhythm. Obviously, the World Cup experience impacted her delivery in Kenya where she won the double awards.

Local front

Back home, NDK Financiers and SAPHOLDA created a new rivalry that was unmatched by any of the junior teams, giving the Dwadifo Adanfo Hockey League a new image.

The competition was intense and attendance encouraging but SAPHOLDA’s dream of dominating the seniors’ league for the next five years was cut short by NDK who won the league with ease.

Trustees of SSNIT and Golden Sticks of the Ghana Commercial Bank, as well as CEPS (GRA), and Reformers of the Ghana Prisons Service, picked tickets from the male and female divisions to represent Ghana at the next Club Championship in Uganda in January 2014.

Trustees reclaimed the league ahead of Golden Sticks while Ghana Revenue Authority (CEPS) Ladies beat Reformers to lift the ladies trophy. La Junior won the youth league in a straight fight between them and Tema Manhean.

The winners and runners up in the A-League have stepped up their preparation for the club championship (which is in two weeks), hoping to build on the silver won by Exchequers in 1991 in Zimbabwe.

It is worth mentioning, however, that this year the local hockey league received the highest sponsorship ever.

From Bajfrieght and Logistics, Dwadifo Adanfo through to Beige Capital, the local league got the best shot in the arm.

Ready to set league ablaze

By Ajitpal Singh

Officials and sponsors at the Malaysian Junior Hockey League launch in Bukit Jalil yesterday. Pic by Hasriyasyah Sabudin

UNIKL Young Guns have beefed up their squad with players with talent and are confident of ending their two-season drought in the upcoming Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

The club secured loan deals for Sapura's Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahman and KLHC's Norshafiq Sumantri and have retained nine players from last season's squad.

Team manager Mohd Faiz Isa said his team have been preparing for the league since October.

"We had so many players turning up for trials but only 22 were picked for the tournament. We are aiming for the Division One title and the Milo Cup (overall) this season," said Faiz at the tournament launch in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

"Our aim is to groom our players for bigger challengers. We are corresponding to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation's (MHC) efforts to develop players for the 2016 Junior World Cup.

"This year, seven players from the national Junior World Cup squad were from our club but they are now overage for the league."

The league, scheduled on Jan 10-March 9, has attracted a record 30 teams despite the withdrawal of Pontian's SMK Dato Penggawa Barat yesterday,

Seven teams, including last year's double champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt make up Division One while Division Two comprise 23 teams split into three groups.

Four teams each from Division One and Division Two will qualify for the Milo Cup.

MHC competitions committee chairman M. Gobinathan said the tournament's best player award has been renamed as the Chua Boon Huat award.

"We have decided to rename it in honour of the late Boon Huat. I hope it will inspire the league's young players to do better.

"We have split Division Two into three groups and have placed all the respective teams in their own regions.

"This is to minimise traveling cost as last year, some teams had to travel from north to south on a weekly basis," said Gobinathan.

Division One -- UNIKL Young Guns, Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt, SSTMI Juniors, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), Malacca High School, Anderson, Kuala Lumpur Sports School (KLSS).

Division Two -- Group A: MSSPP-USM, SMK Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Star), Kota Star Association (PHKS), Nur Insafi, 1Mas Penang, SMK Syed Hassan, 1Mas Kelantan, Matri Perlis;

Group B: KLHC Juniors, Anderson Juniors, Larut Matang & Selama, Felda Academy, MSP Pahang, SMK Padang Midin, Olak-PKT, Permatang Juniors;

Group C: SMK Tunku Besar, SMK Dato Mohd Taha, Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), BJSS Juniors, SMK Dato Bentara Luar, SM Sains Selangor, Politeknik Johor Baru.

New Straits Times

Time to repair the Hockey Stadiums in Selangor

The idiom Flogging a dead horse comes to mind when I think about the condition of the Hockey Stadiums in Selangor.

For years hockey lovers and enthusiast together with the Selangor Hockey Association have lobbied, pleased, raise the issue via letters, reports, working papers to repair the 2 hockey stadiums in Selangor, but all have fallen on deaf ears. Hockey in Selangor continues to be sidelined by the authorities.

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Selangor Hockey Association media release