News for 19 March 2010

All the news for Friday 19 March 2010


Argentina send USA to the Bronze medal game

The USA Field Hockey Women's Under-17 National Team fell to Argentina, 3-1 on Thursday in a semifinal contest at the 2010 Youth Pan American Championship.

Argentina captain Fatima Camila Bustos scored first, but Emily Wold leveled the scored in the 23rd minute on a penalty corner deflection. The USA held on through the second half, but Argentina's Miaria Mama scored in the 50th minute and Maria Jimena Cedres added another goal just a minute later to pull away.

"Argentina played with a high level of speed and power," said Head Coach Shellie Onstead. "We did well to match it most of the time, but in the end we lacked their level of execution."

The USA will face Chile in the bronze medal match on Saturday. Argentina and Canada will play for the gold.

USFHA media release



The crowds were fantastic, says Peter Cohen

S. Thyagarajan



GREAT SHOW:Peter Cohen, Secretary-General of the International Hockey Federation, is of the view that the World Cup was an outstanding success.

Chennai: Peter Cohen, Secretary-General, International Hockey Federation, looks back on the recent World Cup in New Delhi expressing his admiration for the stadium, appreciation of the large crowds and the positive side of HI elections. “The World Cup has created the momentum and it must not be lost. Quick action is the key,” says Peter Cohen in this interview. Excerpts:

What is your impression of the 2010 World Cup?

I was very happy. While there were some logistical problems, the tournament was an outstanding success and there were many positives from the FIH point of view. The stadium is world class, one of the best in the world. We are delighted with the partnership with our sponsors, particularly Hero Honda and SAIL. We are hoping to develop a long-term arrangement with both and others as well which should see regular top hockey being played in Delhi.

Were you impressed with India's performance?

While the team did not reach the semifinals there are clear indications that the basis is there and with hard work it can improve its rankings quickly. The key is a comprehensive national programme to identify talent and transparent selection process calculated to put the best players on the pitch.

Are you confident that Hockey India problems will be sorted out before the May 31 deadline?

I attended a number of very productive meetings with representatives of Hockey India during the World Cup. I am very optimistic that the elections will take place before May 31, 2010. The evening before I left Delhi, Leandro Negre, Tony von Ondarza and I attended a meeting with Kalmadi and Batra to review the progress and steps taken. It was a very positive and constructive meeting. We addressed the final steps. I look forward to positive developments in the next week or two.

What's your agenda for Hockey India?

The main focus is to create a sound administration to establish a comprehensive national plan for development. Part of this plan must be to deal with the development of the national teams, men and women, especially over the coming months leading up to the Commonwealth Games and the qualification of both teams for the 2012 Olympic Games. While it will be a longer process to establish both teams at the top of the world rankings, I believe it is a realistic target to qualify for the Olympic Games. The longer term requires a carefully developed and funded programme to identify talent and establish the infrastructure for the training. The focus is not just on the national teams but to set up a consistent programme of competition at all levels so there is consistency throughout the country.

What would you like to see in HI's functioning?


HI must establish a comprehensive and consistent programme, in close co-operation with all State units, to develop a national programme from the grassroots right up to the national team. One approach I would recommend is to set up a commission to study how the top nations do it. For example, Australia, Germany and Holland (to name but three — there are a number of others) have maintained themselves among the top hockey nations for many years. I believe that HI would profit from studying the methods by which they have been able to maintain such a high level of performance. Then it should set up its own model, based on the successful nations, but tailored to suit the specific conditions of Indian hockey. It is not rocket science and not difficult to do. All that is required is commitment.

What about the infrastructure to achieve all this?

One key is to establish the infrastructure and resources. I am confident resources can be found. I base this conclusion on the massive interest demonstrated at the World Cup. The TV ratings were fantastic and so was the sponsorship. The crowds were fantastic, especially for India matches. It proves that the sport is alive in India. The first step is to set up and fund a fully professional administration with a strong CEO. The administration must include a marketing manager whose responsibility is to raise sponsorships, publicity, particularly TV coverage.

Do you sincerely believe that Hockey India will be in place by May 31?

My focus is on the positive. Rather than asking what happens if the elections don't take place before May 31, I prefer to be positive and look to the methodology of accepting the challenge of setting in place the proper processes and infrastructure to ensure that Indian hockey, men and women, will in the foreseeable future be among the very best teams in the world. A good slogan might be — “Look out world, India is on the march”. I am absolutely confident that this can be achieved. The FIH is committed to bringing top hockey to India on a regular basis, to capitalise on the potential. The World Cup has created the momentum and it must not be lost. Quick action is the key.

The Hindu



Kookaburras to face biggest challenge yet - sponsorship

Winning the 2010 World Cup for the first time in 24 years was easy compared to the Kookaburras next challenge – signing up a major sponsor.

Despite being one of Australia’s most successful sporting teams for over 30 years, the Kookaburras have not had a major sponsor since 2000. 

Their success at international level is undeniable. Having won eight Olympic medals from 12 Games, the Kookaburras are undoubtedly one of Australia’s most consistent Olympic teams. They have won a medal at each of the last five Olympic Games and haven’t finished below 4th since 1976.

Their World Cup victory over Germany last week also caps off an amazing run at the prestigious event, giving the Kookaburras their eighth World Cup medal (and their second gold), the most of any nation in the history of the tournament.

The Kookaburras are also the most successful Champions Trophy nation in the world, with their 2009 final victory bringing them a record 24th medal and 10th gold, the most gold of any nation.

And with the Commonwealth Games to be held later in the year the Kookaburras also have a proud history, winning all three gold medals since hockey was introduced into the 1998 Games in Malaysia.

The win in the World Cup elevates the Kookaburras to the number one ranked team in the world. They haven’t been outside the top four in over 30 years.

However despite this success in representing Australia so proudly throughout their history, the Kookaburras were forced to look overseas for financial support in the lead up to the 2010 World Cup.

Unable to find corporate support in Australia, the Kookaburras signed a tournament based shirt sponsorship with Indian company Pernod Ricard India, who used the opportunity to promote their Imperial Blue brand.

Three time world player of the year and 2004 Athens Olympic medalists Jamie Dwyer said that despite being in the team for over ten years, the 2010 World Cup was the first time he had ever worn a sponsorship logo on his uniform.

“I have been in the squad for a long time now, but that was the first time I have ever had a sponsor logo on the chest of our uniform. It was great to receive the sponsor support for the World Cup. In the past we have been told that the Kookaburras weren’t successful enough to get sponsorship. Well it is hard to be more successful than the number one ranked team and now world champions,” said Dwyer.

Hockey Australia Chief Executive Mark Anderson said it is disappointing that despite the Kookaburras doing Australia proud on the world stage, they have been unable to gain any Australian sponsorship, while Indian companies have seen their value.

“Our hockey teams have given Australia plenty of moments to be proud of for such a long time. It is therefore disappointing that we haven’t received the same level of support from corporate Australia. Overseas companies such as Pernod Ricard India are seeing the value in our brand, and their investment in sponsoring our team at the World Cup has given them significant value based on the amount of international coverage they have received over the tournament,” said Anderson.

Anderson also highlighted the Hockeyroos’ difficulty in finding financial support, despite being recognised as one of Australia’s greatest ever sporting teams.

The Hockeyroos have equally given Australia so much to be proud of on the international stage, most significantly winning three Olympic gold medals, the most of any nation.

Ranked as the number one team in the world from the late 1980’s until 2001, the Hockeyroos have experienced major success at all the most prestigious events on the international hockey calendar, including two World Cup gold medals and six Champions Trophy gold medals.

“For so long the Hockeyroos have been associated with winning. You won’t find too many other sporting teams who have been as successful and consistent as we have been on an international stage, and the athletes are great role models,” said Anderson.

Anderson also noted one of hockey’s greatest strengths compared to other sports is the fact that it is played equally throughout Australia by both men and women.

“When you look at the research the participation levels throughout Australia is almost equally split between men and women, making us quite unique and giving us an even greater appeal,” said Anderson.

Anderson said that although gaining overseas sponsorship may be an ongoing option, he is challenging Australian companies to get behind our two very successful national teams.

“On the field we have stepped up and done everything required and given the Australian public so much to be proud of. Now it is time for potential sponsors to stand up as I think it is a disappointing state of affairs if overseas companies can see the value but Australian corporates do not,” said Anderson.

With the Kookaburras set to play in another Champions Trophy in Germany this July, agreeing to play in India at least once a year for the next four years and both teams preparing for the Commonwealth Games later in the year in India, ample opportunities will exist for potential sponsors to support the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos who are also about to conduct their own World Cup campaign to be played prior to the Commonwealth Games. Planning is also in place to conduct an annual international marquee event to be held in Australia early in 2011.

Hockey Australia media release



Coach Brasa pleads for a professional system

Special Correspondent


NEW DELHI: The coach of the Indian hockey team Jose Brasa questioned the relevance of the selection system prevalent in the country, and called it archaic, as he made a presentation to highlight the requirements to take the game forward and to get better results in the international arena.

Keeping his promise of discussing with the media about the past and the future after the World Cup, the Spaniard said that he had made the same presentation to Hockey India two days earlier and would do the same to the Sports Authority of India (SAI), shortly.

“Only Pakistan has the selection system. Spain had a set of selectors in 1960. It was necessary 50 years ago'', said the coach, as he emphasised that the chief coach needed to have the powers to decide on the captain, select the team for a tournament, the support staff, and whatever was required for the team.

Conceding that the selectors did have a role to play in a vast country like India, Brasa said that their services could be utilised in spotting talent at various levels and ensure that such talent was not lost but groomed in a systematic fashion.

Quick to accept his limitations, the coach said that he was only making suggestions, and it was for the officials to decide.

The coach stressed that motivation was the key to the success of a team and said that every effort should be made by all agencies concerned to create a good atmosphere.

Brasa asked for a uniform system of coaching at every level, right from the under-10 age group, and said that there should be a pyramid structure, helping the players graduate smoothly from under-14 to under-18 to under-23 and eventually to the national team.

Different formats


He also underlined the need to have different formats like 3 vs 3, six-a-side, 9 vs 9, on different sizes of the pitch, as was introduced by the famous coach Horst Wein about 30 years ago. Brasa said that it helped in the development of the young players in a healthy way.

The coach was categorical that it was important to conduct State and National championships at various levels to help fresh talent gain focus. He also called for the integration of the various hockey academies, and pointed at the example of Rourkela having three such academies doing the same job.

Brasa was concerned about the bureaucratic hurdles, and said that the team should have a professional manager, and the various agencies like Hockey India or the SAI should have professional managers, who could be contacted for solving problems quickly.

He said that the team also needed 13 other support staff, like five assistant coaches, physical trainers, sports psychologists and medical doctor etc.

He said that the team would start its new cycle after recovering from the World Cup.The team will play the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and would later tour Canada, before going on the European circuit.

While fielding questions, Brasa said that the players went on strike before the World Cup as they had felt that, that was the best time to do so, though it meant that they had lost focus. He was clear that money was not the best of motivators, and said that crores of rupees would not ensure good performance, if there was no motivation driving the players to excel.

The Hindu



Coach should select players and captain: Brasa

NEW DELHI: India's chief hockey coach Jose Brasa Thursday made it clear that the chief coach should get more powers in running the national team.

Brasa said there was no need for a selection committee and it is the chief coach who should select all players, including the captain.

"The head coach should be the general director of the national team having full control of everything. The coach should handle selection of players, selection of support staff, and selection of the captain - and should also do the annual plan," Brasa said.

"No one knows better than the coach who should be the captain," he said, referring to Indian team's captaincy drama prior to the World Cup.

Brasa fell out with the selection committee over the appointment of Rajpal Singh as the national captain. Brasa wanted Prabhjot Singh as the captain and four vice-captains -- Adrian D'souza, Deepak Thakur, Arjun Halappa and Rajpal.

On that controversy, Brasa said: "Yes, our suggestion was to make someone else the captain but the selectors thought otherwise."

Following India's dismal eighth-place finish in the World Cup, the Spaniard presented Project India plan to Hockey India (HI) to help the eight-time Olympic champions regain their lost glory.

"I am here to talk positive. I have discussed my plan with Hockey India (HI) and will also discuss it with the SAI (Sports Authority of India) tomorrow," said Brasa.

The coach went on to add that the existence of more than one authority is creating a lot of problems.

"There is more than one authority in Indian hockey, and they should work together," he said.

"Creating a good atmosphere is the need of the hour. In foreign countries, there is just one body which has the control. The sports ministry does have the final authority but they hardly interfere. In India, we have HI and the SAI. It has happened with me that I don't know whom to ask for what," Brasa said.

He also said that India will not participate in the Asian championships, and asked HI to hold the long pending national championships in May and a three-month hockey league from December 2010 to February 2011.

"There should be academies which follow a desired structure where we have four centres for U-14, who will then graduate to two U-18s and then the final centre for U-23 which should be just one in the country," Brasa suggested.

"We also need many artificial hockey pitches in India and besides that the nylon 6.6 astroturf should be there in every state. Hockey India officials tell me that we have 54 such astroturfs but I have also been told that there are just 10-15 of them," he added.

Brasa said it was for the administrators to accept his proposal.

"If we keep the same Indian style, our improvement will be marginal. To make this sport popular, we need sponsors and even the sponsors’ need results. I am just an employee and have no power. All I can do is to offer my suggestions and it is for the authorities to implement them," he said.

The Times of India



Brasa comes up with 'Project India'

Biswajyoti Brahma


NEW DELHI: It's simple and pragmatic. The question is whether the sports authorities in the country will be impressed by national hockey coach Spaniard Jose Brasa's plans for reviving Indian hockey.

Brasa's "Project India" comprises several suggestions, including setting up of a national academy for coaches. His suggestions include a call to Hockey India, Sports Authority of India and the national team to work together in the best interest of the game. "All working together as a team, no political interference, no economic interference," Brasa told reporters on Thursday through a power point presentation.

His proposals spoke about motivation of players as well as things that should be avoided in a bid to ensure that the players are not demoralised. He also called for having a graded system in place as well as having proper food for elite athletes. "Good modern accommodation, insurance, sponsorship and good training facilities help in creating a good atmosphere for the team which is very important if the team has to do better," he said.

Brasa said his intention behind presenting the "Project India" was not to malign anybody or criticise anyone. "It's only for the good of the game."

He said the head coach of the team should be given the full control of the team with power to select the full staff, pick the captain besides selection of the team. "The concept of a team picked by selectors is an old one and it's there only in India and Pakistan. Most of the hockey nations have shunned the practice about half a century ago," he quipped. "The selectors role should be to spot new talent all around the country."

Brasa also spelled out his proposals regarding national-level competitions.

"Eight teams from April 9 to April 11 at the National Stadium will throw up a good opportunity to see domestic players in actions. Than I have a proposal to have another championship involving all the states in May in Bangalore. Then there can be a hockey league on the lines of Premier Hockey League (PHL) between December to February. There can also be selection championship for under 18 and under 14 teams."

The Times of India



Hockey coach brings out new dossier for India Shining

C Rajshekhar Rao


New Delhi: Hockey coach Jose Manuel Brasa has worked out an elaborate plan for taking the game forward in India. He is in the process of discussing the details with top officials, who he hopes will implement his plan and give him more powers.

“I have discussed this with Hockey India (HI) officials Narendra Batra (secretary) and Anupam Ghulati (advisor). They are happy with my suggestions and have promised to try and make things work,” Brasa told the media with whom he shared a power-point presentation on Thursday.

“I am trying to set up a meeting with Sports Authority of India (SAI) officials in the next few days and hope to clarify the importance of the points that I have made,” he added.

In his presentation, Brasa tackled subjects like the importance of national championships and camps, the problem of over-age players, lack of communication between SAI and HI officials, significance of modern gadgets, the attitude of players and remunerations, among other things.

But the Spaniard stressed that he had not put forth any conditions even as he asked for more power, most notably the authority to select the team and captain. He also suggested that the support staff and allowances be decided by the coach.

“The system followed in India is an archaic one. Top hockey countries did away with selection committees for national team 50 years ago. The selectors are responsible for picking junior players and forming a pool of top players. Only the coach knows what is best for the team,” stressed Brasa, who had pitched for Prabhjot Singh as captain for the recent World Cup but the selectors named Rajpal Singh instead.

“My effort is to make the system better because here you have two bodies responsible for the same job. These are just suggestions. The rest is up to the officials. Certain things have to be tackled differently because you can’t take too long to take decisions in matters concerning international sport,” he said.

Brasa has gone into details like how to ensure better co-ordination between the sports ministry (and SAI) and HI, suggesting appointment of point persons from either side to sort things out.

But that might be easier said than done because the two bodies have pulled in different directions in the past.

In fact, the ministry has gone on record saying it does not intend to deal directly with the ad-hoc executive committee of HI and will do so via the Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

DNA



Brasa unveils Indian hockey's revival roadmap

NEW DELHI: Following India's not-so-impressive World Cup campaign, chief coach Jose Brasa on Thursday unveiled the roadmap for hockey's revival and demanded more control in the day-to-day running of the team.

In an hour-long presentation titled "Indian Hockey Plan 2010 April-December", Brasa outlined the need for all stakeholders to work together and create a healthy environment for the development of the game.

"All should work together, including Sports Authority of India, Hockey India, the national team and others for the well being of Indian hockey. There should be no ego issues, no protagonists, no political interferences and no economic interferences," Brasa said.

"We need to propitiate, facilitate, insulate a solid internal positive motivation in the whole team, players and support staffs to improve and strengthen our future," he said.

He also asked for full authority in all the decision decision making process related to the national team.

"The head coach must be the general director of the national team with full power, control over everything. He should have his full say in players and staff selection, about captaincy, about annual planning and about the town where the camps will be settled," Brasa said.

"About the accommodation and lodging of the team, hockey facilities and gymnasium, team training material, gradation and daily allowances and budget control and decision in camps and trips.

"The coaches for under-21, under-18 and under-16 teams must also be selected by the head coach," Brasa added.

The Spaniard also asked Hockey India and SAI to act in a more professional manner if they wish to revive Indian hockey's past glory.

"I am just an employee and not an employer. My job is to give suggestions based on my experience and their job is to look into the advise and implement them as soon as possible. We all have to think in one direction what is best for Indian hockey. I am working under the lines and it's upto bosses who have employed me to act," Brasa said.

"All coaches must be properly paid on time, there must be money provision in advance for all camps and trips, need for full time professional team manager, professional hockey coaches and staff.

"There should be proper gradation of players, proper food for elite athletes, good and modern accommodation facilities when team visits outside or playing in India, insurance and general care, good sponsors and sponsorship, good training material and training facilities," he said.

"There must be one executive professional person in SAI and one in Hockey India (HI) who can be contacted in the hour of crisis. They also need to find new talent all around India and build training centre academies to impart skills and knowledge to the selected players," the coach added.

Brasa also said that players should keep themselves at bay from external forces which might act a deterrent in their performance.

"There is love, confidence, friendship, unity and ego which comes under positive internal motivation and money, notoriety, fame, reputation and glory which were guided by external positive motivation. You need to understand that internal motivation is the main force behind every team's success story," he said.

"Negative internal motivations are pressure, fear, insecurity, ridicule and self-mistrust and negative externals are loose-property, loose fame, crowd, miss reputation and loose sponsors. Please ignore these things for the game's sake," he added.

Brasa said that a proper domestic set up is the need of the hour to unearth new talents.

"We need to start the hockey league (December 2010 to February 2011), state under-14 and under-18 selection championships soon.

"We also need to organise goalkeepers and drag-flickers camp here next month," he elaborated.

"If we want good results, we need to change lot of things in Indian hockey. We have to start from somewhere and I think the time is ripe. We should start the reconstruction phase now otherwise desired results are not possible," Brasa said.

Outlining the future plans of the national team, he said he was planning an exposure trip to Canada in June after the Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia next month.

"We need four-five weeks good training. We want to play more matches before the Asian Games in November. After Canada, if it happens, we will go on Europe tour in July. We would like to play Australia, Spain, Holland, England and Germany before the Champions Trophy," Brasa said.

Asked whether the players revolt had anything to do with the poor showing in the World Cup, where they finished a lowly eighth, Brasa said, "There were multiple factors related to World Cup performance. But if the players thought that was the right time (to go on strike), they were right in their decision. You can't blame that for finishing eight."

The Times of India



Brasa asks for more power

India hockey chief coach Jose Brasa unveiled the roadmap for hockey's revival and demanded more control in the day-to-day running of the team.

In an hour-long presentation titled "Indian Hockey Plan 2010 April-December", Brasa outlined the need for all stakeholders to work together and create a healthy environment for the development of the game.

"All should work together, including Sports Authority of India, Hockey India, the national team and others for the well being of Indian hockey. There should be no ego issues, no protagonists, no political interferences and no economic interferences," Brasa said in his presentation.

"We need to propitiate, facilitate, insulate a solid internal positive motivation in the whole team, players and support staffs to improve and strengthen our future," he said.

He also asked for full authority in all the decision making process related to the national team.

"The head coach must be the general director of the national team with full power, control over everything. He should have his full say in players and staff selection, about captaincy, about annual planning and about the town where the camps will be settled," Brasa said.

"About the accommodation and lodging of the team, hockey facilities and gymnasium, team training material, gradation and daily allowances and budget control and decision in camps and trips.

"The coaches for under-21, under-18 and under-16 teams must also be selected by the head coach," Brasa added.

The Spaniard also asked Hockey India and SAI to act in a more professional manner if they wish to revive Indian hockey's past glory.

"I am just an employee and not an employer. My job is to give suggestions based on my experience and their job is to look into the advise and implement them as soon as possible.

"We all have to think in one direction and what is best for Indian hockey. I am working under the lines and it's upto bosses who have employed me to act," Brasa said.

"All coaches must be properly paid on time, there must be money provision in advance for all camps and trips, need for full time professional team manager, professional hockey coaches and staff.

"There should be proper gradation of players, proper food for elite athletes, good and modern accommodation facilities when team visits outside or playing in India, insurance and general care, good sponsors and sponsorship, good training material and training facilities," he said.

"There must be one executive professional person in SAI and one in Hockey India (HI) who can be contacted in the hour of crisis. They also need to find new talent all around India and build training centre academies to impart skills and knowledge to the selected players," the coach added.

Brasa also said that players should keep themselves at bay from external forces which might act a deterrent in their performance.

"There is love, confidence, friendship, unity and ego which comes under positive internal motivation and money, notoriety, fame, reputation and glory which were guided by external positive motivation. You need to understand that internal motivation is the main force behind every team's success story," he said.

"Negative internal motivations are pressure, fear, insecurity, ridicule and self-mistrust and negative externals are loose-property, loose fame, crowd, miss reputation and loose sponsors. Please ignore these things for the game's sake," he added.

Brasa said that a proper domestic set up is the need of the hour to unearth new talents.

"We need to start the hockey league (December 2010 to February 2011), state under-14 and under-18 selection championships soon .

"We also need to organise goalkeepers and drag-flickers camp next month," he elaborated.

"If we want good results, we need to change lot of things in Indian hockey. We have to start from somewhere and I think the time is ripe. We should start the reconstruction phase now otherwise desired results are not possible," Brasa said.

Outlining the future plans of the national team, he said he was planning an exposure trip to Canada in June after the Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia next month.

"We need four-five weeks good training. We want to play more matches before the Asian Games in November. After Canada, if it happens, we will go on Europe tour in July. We would like to play Australia, Spain, Holland, England and Germany before the Champions Trophy," Brasa said.

Asked whether the players revolt had anything to do with the poor showing in the World Cup, where they finished a lowly eighth, Brasa said, "There were multiple factors related to World Cup performance. But if the players thought that was the right time (to go on strike), they were right in their decision. You can't blame that for finishing eight.

ESPNStar.com



Brasa charts out roadmap for hockey’s revival

Age Correspondent


New Delhi: “It is time to emulate the Pole Star,” said Indian hockey coach Jose Brasa as he charted out a roadmap for the national team in the upcoming season.

India finished eight at the recently-concluded Hockey World Cup at home, better than their perrormances over the last decade. Brasa pointed out that an overhaul in the “domestic structure and a positive atmosphere for the players” would help fetch better results. “Just like a Pole Star, we have to identify the focal point for Indian hockey. A strong foundation makes for a strong building and the time to take those steps has come,” Brasa said here on the day.

The chief coach held a series of meetings with Hockey India officials and unveiled a “Project India” that spells out the ‘long-term’ and ‘short-term’ goals. Brasa, however, added that his views were “just suggestions” and it was up to the Sports Authority of India and the Hockey India to implement them.

Among the many items listed, Brasa was clear that he wanted more power in running the national team. He also said that the role of the selection committee should be restricted to honing talent at the junior level.

“In Spain, we last heard of national selectors in the 1960 Olympic Games at Rome. The system is that old... exact 50 years old. Be it the NBA, soccer or any other sport, it is the coach’s responsibility to decide the final squad,” he said.

“Also, no one knows better than the coach who should be the captain,” Brasa added, referring to the Indian team’s captaincy row prior to the World Cup. Brasa had chosen Prabhjot Singh for the job, while the selectors backed Rajpal Singh leading to a falling out between the two parties. “We had a different proposal for the post. A captain is important as the players place their trust in him and I think the coach and the players have the right to chose him,” said Brasa.

Talking about his plans for the domestic game, the 57-year old said that setting up academies for different age groups and a centralised coaching system was the need of the hour. He also asked Hockey India to schedule the long-pending national championships in May and a hockey league from December 2010 to February 2011.

Brasa had one last word for the authorities. “If we keep the same Indian style, our improvement would be marginal. This is the time to take some steps... and a few very quick ones for hockey’s sake,” he said.

The Asian Age



Brasa wants more power

OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT


New Delhi: Jose Brasa had lot of things to say before and after the World Cup hockey but chose to remain silent fearing a backlash from the authorities.

On Thursday, he finally spoke and said the chief coach should be the controlling authority to run the national team.

Brasa, however, was careful enough not to paint a picture that he was demanding absolute power. Instead, the Spanish coach, who addressed a press conference, unveiled his “Project India ” plan, which, according to him, is the blueprint to take Indian hockey forward.

Though Brasa said he was not here to criticise anyone, he made it clear that there was no need for a selection committee for the national team, and, all players, including the captain, should be chosen by the chief coach.

“I am here to talk positive. I have discussed my plan with Hockey India (HI) and should also be discussing it with the SAI (Sports Authority of India) tomorrow (Friday),” said Brasa.

“There is more than one authority in Indian hockey and they should work together. Creating a good atmosphere is the need of the hour,” said the coach.

Brasa said the head coach should be the general director of the national team “having full control” of everything. “The coach should handle selection of players, selection of support staff, and selection of the captain and should also do the annual plan,” the coach said.

“No one knows better than the coach who should be the captain,” said Brasa in an obvious reference to the captaincy drama before the World Cup. “Yes, our suggestion was to make someone else the captain but the selectors thought otherwise,” he said.

Informing that India would not be participating in the Asian Championships, Brasa said he had asked the HI to hold the long pending National Championships in May and a three-month hockey league from December 2010 to February 2011. He has also suggested special camps for goalkeepers and drag-flickers.

The Telegraph, India



PHF to hire foreign coach, trainer and psychologist

By Imran Ali Teepu


ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), in a bid to resuscitate the game in the country, is set to hire a foreign coach, physical trainer and sports psychologist, Dawn learnt on Thursday.

“The federation is in discussion with a few foreign coaches and negotiations are underway with a German and Australian coach,” said a source privy to the ongoing developments.

It was under Dutch coach Hans Jorritsma that Pakistan won the 1994 World Cup in Sydney, Australia, while another Dutch man Roelant Oltmans coached Pakistan in 2004 with the green shirts gaining better ranking at the international level during his tenure.

The source said: “Hiring a good foreign coach is vital as well as the most immediate step for the PHF to cope with the physical fitness and technique mythology of the national squad.

It will also help the federation to bail itself out from the severe criticism it has had to face from former Olympians since the World Cup debacle.”

The PHF management, specifically Secretary Asif Bajwa, is under immense pressure to step down after the poor performance of the national team in the recently-concluded FIH World Cup 2010 in New Delhi, India, where Pakistan finished at the bottom of the 12-nation event.

“The PHF has the much-needed financial backing from the federal government,” added the source.

However, a sports analyst said: “It will be critical to select the right kind of foreign coach who should be aware of Pakistani culture and our system of hockey in order to derive the required results.

“Liberty to work with the players and having a major say in the selection of the national squad besides training the local coaches would be the factors determining the success of a foreign coach,” he pointed out.

“Otherwise all the money spent on the foreign coach will go down the drain,” he added.

Regarding the hiring of a sports psychologist, he said: “The players should at least be able to read and write, one of the basic components of sports psychology.”

Dawn



Lissek for Pakistan?

Former Malaysian coach Paul Lissek, who helped Australia defeat Germany in the World Cup Final, could well be the man who will be entrusted to chart the fortunes of Pakistan. Below is the story from a newspaper in Pakistan and although they have not named the German, this blog is aware of the discussions that have been initiated with Lissek since the Junior World Cup in Johor Baru last June.

The Pakistani officials are believed to have talked to Lissek in New Delhi and since Malaysia has not got back to him for the so-called development [rogram they had in mind, there is a strong possibility that the opening match between Malaysia and Pakistan in the Azlan Shah Cup on May 7 will see the former coaches of the two nations lining up against each other.

But that will only happen if the word of NSC Director General Dato Zolkples Embong is to be believed as he had said Roelant Oltman would start work on May 1 while MHF Deputy President Nur Azmi Ahmad has said that Oltmans reports on June 1.

In the meantime Azmi could do better by sorting out the position as to who is the hed coach of the national team, Stephen van Huizen or Tai Beng Hai, as well as who is the Team Manager for Azlan Shah, George Koshy or Dato SS Cheema.

The story from Dawn newspaper in Pakistan

Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), in a bid to resuscitate the game in the country, is set to hire a foreign coach, physical trainer and sports psychologist, Dawn learnt on Thursday.

“The federation is in discussion with a few foreign coaches and negotiations are underway with a German and Australian coach,” said a source privy to the ongoing developments.

It was under Dutch coach Hans Jorritsma that Pakistan won the 1994 World Cup in Sydney, Australia, while another Dutch man Roelant Oltmans coached Pakistan in 2004 with the green shirts gaining better ranking at the international level during his tenure.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Olympians suspect financial mismanagement in PHF

Otherwise there is no logical reason for Qasim Zia to shield Bajwa, says Shahnaz

By Khalid Hussain


KARACHI: Former Olympians gunning for sweeping changes in the national hockey set-up in the aftermath of the World Cup debacle raised suspicions of financial mismanagement within the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) here on Thursday.

Shahnaz Sheikh, former Olympian, told ‘The News’ that he is bewildered by PHF president Qasim’s Zia’s reluctance to sack “incompetent” officials, adding that the only reason why such an action is yet to be taken is that there could be financial mismanagement in the PHF.

“There is something going on behind the scenes,” said Shahnaz, a former Pakistan coach and manager. “People are talking about some kind of a cover-up and I also suspect that there could be financial mismanagement within the PHF which is why there is a resistance to calls that a new secretary should take over replacing Asif Bajwa, the man whom we all believe should be held responsible for Pakistan’s humiliating performance in the World Cup.”

Pakistan crashed to an embarrassing last-place finish in the 12-nation World Cup in Delhi earlier this month. The country’s hockey chiefs sacked the team management and the national selection committee but several former Olympians and international players believe that the main culprit of the World Cup disaster was spared.

Several former greats from all over the country gathered here on Thursday at a “Meet the Press” hosted by the Karachi Press Club to voice their disapproval over Qasim’s refusal to remove Bajwa.

Shahnaz and Gulraiz Shaikh came from Sialkot, Shahbaz Ahmed came from Faisalabad and Saeed Khan from Lahore. From Karachi there were former Pakistan skipper Islahuddin, Akhtar-ul-Islam, Samiullah, Ayaz Mehmood, Rasheedul-Hasan, Qamar Zia, Naeem Akhtar, Mansoor Ahmed, M. Irfan, Kamran Ashraf, Parvez Iqbal, Qamar Ibrahim and Masood-ur-Rehman.

“By allowing Bajwa to continue as secretary, Qasim Zia has taken a fatal decision for Pakistan hockey,” said Shahnaz. “After what happened at the World Cup there is no justification to protect him,” he stressed.

Shahnaz said that he has written to Chaudhry Nisar Ahmed, chairman Public Accounts Committee (PAC), to launch an inquiry into PHF’s accounts.

“This PHF set-up has received hundreds of millions of rupees from the government,” said Shahnaz. “I believe that it spent almost 200 million rupees on World Cup preparations during the last 18 months or so. All of those precious funds have gone down the drain with the 12th position in the World Cup.”

Shahnaz said that the national team management failed miserably in their World Cup task which was to get the best out of their players in Delhi. “Our planning was too defensive,” he said. “It brought Sohail Abbas and our goalie under too much pressure,” he added. “Sohail was our main weapon as a drag flick expert but he failed to give his best because he was under too much pressure as a defender.”

Rasheed-ul-Hasan, another former great, blamed the PHF officials for dragging players into politics.

“The worst thing that has happened to hockey is that the PHF officials have dragged the players into politics just to shield themselves,” he said referring to the fact that the entire national hockey team announced retirement after losing the playoff for the 11th place against minnows Canada. Rasheed alleged that the players took the decision on the instigation of PHF officials

“They have set a very bad precedent,” he said, adding that all the Olympians have united to help put Pakistan hockey back on track.

“The problem with the current PHF is that they don’t have any role models,” he said. “If you look at the national team management and the selection committee which were sacked after the World Cup, Hasan Sardar (former chief selector) was the only person who was a role model. What our hockey and the youngsters need are role models whom they can follow and win laurels for Pakistan.”

Islahuddin said that Olympians and internationals have joined hands from “Karachi to Khyber” to save Pakistan hockey.

“Pakistan hockey is heading towards complete disaster. The man responsible for it is Asif Bajwa. He called all the shots and should take responsibility for the World Cup debacle,” said Islah, captain of the Pakistan team that won the 1978 World Cup.

“Give us the reasons why he can’t be removed. If the PHF president says that Bajwa is an elected secretary then the past four secretaries were also elected. Khalid Mehmood, the previous secretary, was removed by Bajwa on a mere letter from the then sports minister,” he recalled.

Islah said that he and other Olympians will speak at similar “Meet the Press” events all over the country in the coming days.

“We gave them a three-day deadline but it seems that the authorities want to persist with the people who led Pakistan to a humiliating 12th position,” he said.

“We will speak at similar events in various cities as we we’ve been offered those platforms for the betterment of Pakistan hockey.”

Islah said that the Olympians are hoping that Qasim Zia will act on their suggestions and sack Bajwa as PHF secretary. “If he does that, we will give him around five to seven names from which a new secretary can be selected.”

Ayaz Mehmood said that a young and dynamic person should be roped in as new secretary, who is capable of running Pakistan hockey in a befitting manner.

The News International



Olympians up pressure on PHF, reveal failure report

By Shazia Hasan


KARACHI: Pakistan hockey legend Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has revealed before the media his in-depth report of what went wrong with the national team at the recently-concluded World Cup even before the Pakistan team’s former coach and manager’s reports have reached the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) President Qasim Zia.

Lamenting Pakistan’s disgraceful performance at the mega event where the team finished at the bottom, Shahnaz said that it could mainly be attributed to the defensive match plan design of the team management.

In his report that he presented at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on Thursday when the former hockey legends met up again to discuss their further strategy at the passing of the deadline given to Qasim Zia to sack his Secretary Asif Bajwa, Shahnaz said: “The mega event was not taken seriously with the team training being carried out on drills alone.”

He pointed out: “But the team’s temperament and endurance can only be built on match practice.”

Speaking about the faults seen in the way Pakistan played at the World Cup and before that as well, he said: “I have told them [team management] so many times to refrain from playing defensive hockey. You pretty much lose the match the moment you play defensively. It is also demoralising for the players. That’s what happened to Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt and Zeeshan. Also taking your first penalty-corner after 35 minutes means that a player like Sohail has lost his energy by then. Another problem was our goalkeeping. We won the 1994 World Cup due to our goalkeeping and here the substitute goalkeeper, Nasir Ahmad, wasn’t even tried after the regular one, Salman Akbar, failed miserably.

“Pakistan has won 20 gold, 14 silver and 13 bronze medals in hockey up until now but our decline started in 2000 when European hockey introduced new rules to suit their playing style,” he said. “Now we have buried our own system in modern hockey,” he added.

The former Olympian wondered how the PHF remained optimistic about a miracle in the World Cup when the national team’s performance remains inconsistent even in B/C-grade tournaments.

Giving further causes for the team’s debacle in the mega event, his report states: “The team’s composition of senior and junior players saw most of the younger players being assigned the duty of providing defensive coverage to the older players. Then two forwards playing with the team for the last two or three years were also dropped for the World Cup. The decision of playing the aging Waseem as centre-half failed to deliver, too.”

Rolling substitution was also seen as a major problem. “The management on the bench was mostly shouting in rage rather than design a timely substitution for the aging players. Subsequently most of the goals were conceded in the dying moments of the matches.”

Shahnaz also observed that the handling of the ball was very poor in the circle be it during attack or defence. “Most of the goals against Pakistan were scored on counter attacks by the opponents showing a physical fitness problem. Required strength/endurance and circuit training was not planned during training camp,” he said.

Other faults in Pakistan’s way of playing at the mega event pointed out by the former Olympian can be summed up as follows: “Bad ball watching, open spaces in Pakistan’s defence, individual play, weakness in taking and defending penalty-corners.”

Shahnaz has also made some valuable suggestions for the betterment of Pakistan Hockey. He has demanded restructuring and decentralizing of the PHF along with finding the right man to carry the PHF slogan.

He also called for quality of players in the pool to be enhanced, forming a coaching committee and coaching manual, selection of team management through advertisements and interviews, establishing a committee of experts to study various styles and systems for technical/tactical support to the teams and the creating of a post of analyst who can advise the team management on tactical manoeuvring during a match or tournament.

The detailed report has already been forwarded to Federal Minister for Sports Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani, the PHF president and the Senate Standing Committee on Sports.

Meanwhile the list of hockey legends forming the pressure group to convince the PHF President Qasim Zia to oust his Secretary Asif Bajwa grew to 98 as former Olympian goalkeeper Qamar Zia disclosed on Thursday.

The meeting, organised by the KPC Sports Committee, also saw Pakistan’s junior hockey team coach resigning from the post after saying that he wished to part ways with the PHF like his colleague Shahbaz Ahmed Senior had done a few days ago.

Olympians Islahuddin Siddiqui, Samiullah, Shahbaz Sr, Ayaz Mahmood, Rashid-ul-Hasan, Akhtar-ul-Islam, Qamar Ibrahim, Moinuddin, Saeed Khan and Mansoor Ahmed along with a huge number of other international players addressed the gathering to voice their grievances with the workings of current PHF set-up.

The Olympians were due to see the sports minister late Thursday night after he specially flew in from Islamabad to meet with them.

Dawn



Demand removal of PHF secretary Asif Bajwa

Ex-Olympians ‘mourn’ decline of Pakistan hockey

By Mirza Iqbal Baig

KARACHI: Former Pakistan hockey Olympians Thursday reiterated their demand for removal of the general secretary of the national hockey federation, saying they were 'mourning' after a disastrous World Cup showing. They said Mohammad Asif Bajwa and his close associates were responsible for debacle in the global competition. Pakistan finished 12th in the 12-nation event that ended last week in New Delhi, the worst-ever showing for the country, which previously won four world and three Olympic titles.

Around two dozen former team members urged Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Qasim Zia to remove PHF secretary Asif Bajwa from his post. "I will appeal to the government of Pakistan, especially to PHF chief Qasim, to save hockey by removing Asif Bajwa because his whimsical decisions have been the root cause of our debacle," former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui told a news conference. "Our campaign will not finish on ousting Asif Bajwa alone, but we want a complete revival of hockey. We are in mourning and want the government to take serious steps." Islahuddin said they gave Asif Bajwa free hand since his coming from 'back door' after ousting Khalid Mahmood and it was time for him to resign and go home in the larger interest of the game.

Pakistan lost their opening match against arch-rivals India 4-1, a jolt from which they never recovered, going on to lose to low-ranked South Africa and then Canada in the play-off for 11th and 12th places. Former star Shahnaz Shaikh termed the result a 'tsunami'. "Our worst-ever showing is like a tsunami in our hockey, which has a resplendent past, a past where we never accepted anything other than gold," said Shahnaz, regarded as the best left-side forward in his heyday. Shahbaz Ahmad, a member of the last Pakistan team to win the World Cup in 1994, said Asif Bajwa had to resign. "It's imperative now that secretary resigns and after that it will take some time, maybe three, four years, to revive our hockey," said Shahbaz.

Pakistan have won an unprecedented four World Cup titles, but have not won a major competition since their last Cup win in 1994. They finished eighth in 2008 Beijing Olympics, their worst-ever result in the Games. Former captain Sami Ullah also deplored last week's result. "We have forgotten merit, which is the key thing to achieve success," said Sami, under whom Pakistan won the Asian Games in Delhi in 1982. "We need to have competent people at the helm." Sami alleged that Asif Bajwa was indulging all kinds of power game which brought hockey's downfall. "Asif Bajwa should learn lessons from his mistakes and honorably go home." The former Olympians said they would hold similar press conferences in other cities and meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and sports minister Ijaz Jakhrani in an effort to revive Pakistan hockey.

The Daily Times



Former Olympians 'in mourning' for Pakistani hockey

KARACHI: Pakistani former Olympic hockey stars demanded the sacking of the secretary of the country's hockey federation on Thursday, saying they were "mourning" after a disastrous World Cup showing.

Pakistan finished 12th in the 12-nation event that ended last week in New Delhi, the worst-ever showing for the country, which previously won four world and three Olympic titles.

Around two dozen former team members urged Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Qasim Zia to remove secretary Asif Bajwa from his post.

"I will appeal to the government of Pakistan, especially to PHF chief Zia, to save hockey by removing Bajwa because his whimsical decisions have been the root cause of our debacle," former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui said.

"Our campaign will not finish on ousting Bajwa alone, but we want a complete revival of hockey. We are in mourning and want the government to take serious steps."

Pakistan lost its opening match against arch-rivals India 4-1, a jolt from which they never recovered, going on to lose to low-ranked South Africa and then Canada in the play-off for 11th and 12th places.

Former star Shahnaz Shaikh termed the result a "tsunami".

"Our worst-ever showing is like a tsunami in our hockey, which has a resplendent past, a past where we never accepted anything other than gold," said Shaikh, regarded as the best left-side forward in his heyday.

Shahbaz Ahmed, a member of the last Pakistani team to win the World Cup, in 1994, said Bajwa had to resign.

"It's imperative now that secretary resigns and after that it will take some time, maybe three, four years, to revive our hockey," said Ahmed.

Pakistan have won an unprecedented four World Cup titles, but have not won a major competition since their last Cup win in 1994. They finished eighth in last year's Beijing Olympics, their worst-ever result in the Games.

Former captain Sami Ullah also deplored last week's result.

"We have forgotten merit, which is the key thing to achieve success," said Sami, under whom Pakistan won the Asian Games in Delhi in 1982. "We need to have competent people at the helm."

The former Olympians said they would hold similar press conferences in other cities and meet Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and sports minister Ijaz Jakhrani in an effort to revive Pakistani hockey.

The Times of India



Olympians reiterates demand of removal of Bajwa

KARACHI: Country’s top Hockey Olympians of yesteryears Thursday reiterated their demand of removing Secretary of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Asif Bajwa after Pakistan’s disastrous 12th spot in World Cup in New Delhi (India).

Speaking at Karachi Press Club (KPC) Meet- the- Press Programme held under the aegis of its Sports Committee, former Olympians including Akhtar-ul-Islam, Islahuddin Siddiqui, Samiullah Khan, Shehnaz Shaikh, Rasheed-ul-Hasan, Ayaz Mahmood, Shehbaz Ahmed held messrs Bajwa and his close associates responsible for debacle in global competition.

“We gave Bajwa free hand since his coming from back door after ousting Khalid Mahmood and it is time to him to resign and go home in the larger interest of the game,” Islahuddin told a questioner.

Former Olympians Moinuddin, Qamar Ibrahim, Saeed Khan, Mansoor Ahmed, Kamran Ashraf and large number international players also attended the programme.

KPC Sports Secretary Syed Khalid Mahmood conducted the programme and President Imtiaz Faran and Secretary A.H.Khanzada also spoke on the occasion and expressed their dismay over the poor hockey scenario in the country.

Former winger Samiullah titled “Flying Horse” for his speed alleged that Asif Bajwa was indulging all kinds of power game which brought his down fall.

“He (Bajwa) should take lessons from his mistakes and honorably go home,” Sami said.

All the Olympians said they are not interested in offices in PHF but working to revive hockey and put it back on track. They categorically denied any personal agenda.

“We want betterment of hockey and our agenda is to serve the country by working,” Shehnaz Shaikh.

Shehnaz Shaikh said the huge chunk of money was spent on the preparations of the team and demanded its complete audit and detail accounts.

Former Pakistan Manager/coach Shehnaz Shaikh said Pakistan hockey was destroyed from year 2000 and Bajwa and company put it lowest ebb in our hockey history because of defencive approach.

“By copying European style we lost our attacking Asian touch and suffered the consequences which plunged us in deepest ditch of disaster,” he said.

Islahuddin Siddiqui said they had nothing against the players and would like to see them back in the national team on the basis of form, fitness and good track record.

As a mark of respect Ajraks were presented to Olympians and members of the club by fans.

Associated Press of Pakistan



PHF Executive Board to be reconstituted next week

By Our Sports Reporter


LAHORE: The number of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Executive Board members has been increased from 14 to 18. The revived Board will be constituted on March 23.

Qasim Zia, president PHF, will constitute the new Executive Board.

The first meeting of the Board will be held in the last week of this month, in which it will announce the new selection committee and team management while keeping in view the national team’s poor performance in the recently-concluded World Cup in New Delhi.

It is likely that only those Olympians, who have supported the current PHF hierarchy despite national team’s poor show in the World Cup, would be named in the Executive Board, selection committee and the team management.

After the team’s pathetic show in the World Cup, Qasim dissolved the entire selection committee headed by Hasan Sardar and the team management with Shahid Ali Khan (head coach) and Asif Bajwa (manager) being the prominent names.

However, Bajwa’s role as secretary PHF continues despite the Olympians seeking his removal by the government.

The only man was the PHF president against whom there is no demand of sacking him. However, Qasim has put his weight behind Bajwa and decided to retain him.

The board members:

President PHF Qasim Zia; Vice Presidents Nawab Lashkari Raisani, Saeed Khan, Wasay Jalil; lady Vice President Barrister Shahida Jamil; Secretary General Asif Bajwa; Associate Secretary Rana Mujahid Ali; Treasurer Khalid Rasool; Provincial Secretaries Rana Mujahid (Punjab), Syed Zahir Shah (NWFP), Rao Saleem (Sindh), Farooq Ahmed (Balochistan).

One representative from Women’s Wing, two representatives from departments and three experts/technocrats nominated by the president PHF.

Dawn



Kamran resigns as Junior hockey team coach

KARACHI: Ex-Olympian and Centre forward Kamran Ashraf Thursday resigned as the coach of Pakistan junior team against the policies of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). Speaking to reporters at Karachi Press Club, he said he was not happy with the polices of PHF and thus resigning. He also called upon PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa to resign after team’s worst-ever 12th spot performance in Hockey World Cup.

Associated Press of Pakistan



Pakistan may pull out of Azlan SHah

Pakistan’s hockey chiefs are mulling over the option of pulling out of a couple of international tournaments because of growing uncertainty hovering over the sport in the country following the Greenshirts’ last-place finish in the World Cup last week.

Asif Bajwa, the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary, told ‘The News’ that there is a possibility that the PHF might withdraw the national team from any upcoming international tournaments because of the prevailing situation in Pakistan hockey.

“Currently, we don’t have any team management, national selectors while our players have decided to retire because of what happened in the World Cup,” said Bajwa, who was sacked as the team manager and is now under pressure from various quarters to resign as PHF secretary as well because of his team’s catastrophic World Cup campaign.

“That is why it is a possibility that we might pull out of any international event in the near future,” he added.

However, Bajwa said that the final decision on it will be taken by the PHF think-tank that will be meeting within the next few days.

“I will be meeting with the PHF president (Qasim Zia) tomorrow (Wednesday) to discuss the situation,” he said. “Our think-tank will also be meeting soon after which we would decide about our future plans,” said Bajwa, a former Olympian.

Pakistan were almost certain to pull their team out of the inaugural Asian Champions Challenge which was supposed to take place in the Malaysian city of Ipoh next month. However, the tournament has been postponed because some of the competing teams including Asian champions Korea were reluctant to feature in it just weeks after the World Cup.

Pakistan’s next international assignment is the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup — also to be held in Ipoh — in May but there is a possibility that the PHF might opt to pull its team out of the event.

Bajwa said that the PHF’s executive board will be meeting soon to chalk out steps to help the national team bounce back after the World Cup debacle.

Pakistan, record four-time champions, stumbled to a disastrous 12th position in the World Cup following defeats against old rivals India, England, Australia and minnows South Africa and Canada.

The national team’s embarrassingly poor showing in Delhi has thrown Pakistan hockey into a major turmoil during a year when they are to launch a campaign to regain the Asian Games crown in China this November.

Pakistan are also supposed to feature in the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.

“We are passing through a tough phase but hopefully Pakistan hockey will bounce back,” said Bajwa.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



New penalty corner rule to be introduced at Razak Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: A new rule could be implemented in the Razak Cup hockey tournament in Kuantan from March 24-April 4.

The rule allows umpires to penalise a defender who makes the run out before the ball is played in penalty corners. Under the previous rule, an errant defender received a warning and if the offence was repeated he would get a yellow card.

At the recent World Cup Finals in New Delhi, the player was sent out to the half line, leaving four players to defend a penalty corner.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary, Hashim Mohamed Yusof, said that they wanted to keep abreast with the latest rule.

“We will look into implementing it at the Razak Cup. We will discuss this with the umpires and also the teams managers at the meeting on the eve of the tournament,” he said.

“We want the teams to understand the rule properly and allow them to seek clarification before we make a final decision.”

The MHF umpires board chairman, Amarjit Singh, officiated at the World Cup and Hashim said that they would get him to explain the rule.

“Other than this rule, the penalty to sit out for two minutes for a green card will be enforced. Our players will have to get used to play under these new rules,” he said.

Yesterday, the MHF released the draw for Division Two of the Razak Cup. Singapore are in Group A with Kedah, Kelantan, Police and Sabah. Group B comprises Selangor, Brunei, Pahang, Perlis and Terengganu.

The teams in Division One are defending champions Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Perak, Penang, Armed Forces and Negri Sembilan.

The Star of Malaysia



Olak call it a day

Jugjet Singh


OLD La Sallians Association of Klang (OLAK), a permanent fixture in the Junior Hockey League since 1995, have been bundled out after 15 years due to financial constraints.

The team have a colourful history, and their manager Joseph de Silva has seen them through thick and thin, but their coffers have finally dried up.

"It is a sad day for our club. We have never missed a single JHL season since its debut in 1995," said De Silva.

"We did face many problems over the years but our sponsors kept us afloat.

"However, the cost of fielding a team in the JHL keeps getting higher and higher, and the club can no longer carry the burden, financially."

Olak were the League champions in 1997, and the following year, won the double.

The feat was repeated in 1999 while their last Overall title came in 2000.

Some of the national players the club nurtured like Madzli Ikmar and Amain Rahim, the best penalty corner flicker in the country today, are still on active duty.

Madzli wore the skipper's armband for the New Zealand World Cup Qualifiers last November.

Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has received 16 entries for the JHL which will start on April 9.

Last year 23 teams competed with 13 in Division One and 10 in Division Two.

UniKL, Sabah Hockey Association, SMK Teknik Klang and SMK Pengkalan Permatang of Selangor will be making their debuts.

The other confirmed teams are double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), BJSS Juniors, Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS), BPSS Juniors, Anderson, Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ), Matri Perlis, SMK Datuk Taha, Kuantan Sports Council, Johor Sports Council, Tunku Besar School and Ipoh City Council.

MHF expects more teams to register before entries close today.

New Straits Times



Women’s hockey gets Dutch consultant

Nigel Simon


Dutchman Roy Bax has been appointed consultant to the T&T Hockey Board national women’s team. This was confirmed by Annette Knott, secretary of the T&THB and vice-president of the T&T Olympic Committee (T&TOC). Knott, who recently returned from India where she attended a Chef de Mission meeting for the Commonwealth Games which takes place in October, said Bax is expected to arrive in T&T on Monday. “Bax will spend four days during which time he will have some meetings with the local board and coaches and assess the state of the women’s game.”

Bax is the third Dutchman to join the technical staff of the T&THB for local teams following the appointments of technical director Rob Haantjes and men’s consultant Eric Verboom. Verboom, who has worked with Haantjes with the national men’s team in the past, is due to return to T&T on March 29 and will remain until April 6, while Haantjes is due back here at the end of April until early May. Bax, is former trainer/coach of a few top men’s Dutch clubs including TMHC, Den Bosch, Tegenbosch, and Eindhoven. He also was at the helm of the HCE women’s team.

The Dutchman will be assisted by Anthony “Bumper” Marcano and David Francois in preparing a programme ahead of the CAC Games in Puerto Rico in July, followed by the Pan American Indoor Champions, from August 11 to 15 in Venezuela and the Commonwealth Games in India, from October 3 to 14. The other local coaches who are part of the local TTHB’s technical team include Nicholas Govia, Natalie Nieves, Bruce Tang Nian and Glen “Fido” Francis.

The Trinidad Guardian



The Wright Connection

By Cecilia-Carter Smith


It's been called an urban myth - 'six degrees of separation' - the idea that 'anyone on the planet can be connected in just a few steps of association.'

Never has that myth/theory been truer than in the world of sport.

In ferreting out information about members of the Canadian men's national field hockey team I discovered that I had a connection with the celebrated Wright brothers - Anthony and Philip.

Exactly 40 years ago I boarded an aircraft destined for Edinburgh Scotland for the 1970 Commonwealth Games as a member of the Canadian athletics team.

Aboard the plane was a rising young star - Thelma Fynn. A young woman from British Columbia whom we called 'The Flying Fynn.' Only 18 years old, the fearless Fynn battled for bronze in the 1500 metres and repeated a similar podium performance at the 1974 Games in Christchurch New Zealand as Thelma Fynn-Wright.

In between Commonweath Games, the world ranked distance runner slowed down just long enough to be courted and caught by national field hockey player, and UBC graduate, Lee Wright. Clearly, the national team player deftly stick-handled his way into the life of one of Canada's most celebrated distance runners. Call Lee's nifty moves a gold medal performance by the two-time Olympian (1964 & 1976).

Thelma too, was a two-time Olympian wearing the Canadian strip in Munich (1972) and Montreal (1976). The Flying Fynn added another trinket to her treasure trove capturing silver in the 1500 metres at the 1975 Pan Am Games in Mexico City, Mexico. And in 1993 the decorated Canadian and world distance runner was inducted into the UBC Hall of Fame.

It's hardly a surprise then that Anthony and Philip are such genetically gifted young men. Stars on the pitch and scholars in the classroom, too.

Beijing Olympian, Anthony was a Rhodes Scholar candidate and is presently preparing for admission to UBC Medical School, while Philip was the recipient of the Headmaster's Leadership Award and Premier's Athletic Award upon graduation from Vancouver's St. George's School. The younger of the two siblings is presently completing his degree at UBC in the prestigious Sauder School of Business.

"I feel privileged to be part of such an athletically gifted family," said the 23 year old.

"My parents and grandfather (Harold Wright - 1932 Olympian - athletics) have been great role models for me and my siblings: Lindsay (28), a UBC grad and presently completing a second degree at British Columbia Institute of Technology (BCIT) in Interior Design, Anthony (25), 2008 Olympian, UBC Academic All-Canadian, and Gillian (21) - the baby of the family -  is attending UVic majoring in education - and like her mother is a very gifted runner, as well as a member of the varsity field hockey team."

Phil commented on his World Cup experience,  "My experience here at the World Cup has been tremendous. Being able to play in such an arena (16 000 plus-seated stadium) has always been a dream of mine. And to play here with my teammates against the best players in the world will be one the highlights of my career.

"And in terms of my (personal) World Cup, I will always remember scoring in my first game against New Zealand. That will definitely remain a highlight for me."

And the team's leading scorer (3 goals) at the World Cup added, ''We have learned a lot here (in Delhi) and if nothing else, our results will motivate us to train that much harder in preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games (Delhi, India), 2011 Pan Am Games (Guadalajara, Mexico), and the 2012 Olympic Games (London, England).''

And in wrapping up this piece I suddenly realized that the newly appointed headmaster at Vancouver's St. George's School is Dr. Tom Matthews, the former headmaster of Hillfield Strathallan College in Hamilton Ontario where I served as teacher-coach, athletic director, dean of women, and head of junior school for 17 years.

Call it 'six degrees of separation.'

Connected.

Field Hockey Canada media release