News for 26 March 2010

All the news for Friday 26 March 2010

Canada defeats Mexico in exhibition Match

With the California sun still beaming hard at 4:00pm, team Canada was geared up for their second and final test match against Mexico. The start of the game saw Canada control the ball and start to attack.

Only four minutes into the game and a scramble in front of the Mexican goal lead to Canada's first penalty corner of the match. Stephanie Jameson stepped up well to strike the ball stick side of the goalie and the ball hit a defender and deflected into the mesh. Following the goal, Canada seemed to set back a little bit allowing their basics and the turf to get the better of them. Clear possession throughout the first half was only seen in spurts but in the 27th minute, a speedy Robyn Pendleton was fed a great pass at the top of the circle where she was able to traverse right and hammer it home just inside the far post.

Up 2-0 but still unsatisfied with the execution of the team strategy, Canada was eager to regroup for the second half.

With a few more penalty corner attempts, including a drag flick to the right side by Diana Roemer that was saved, Canada was looking to increase their possession and patience on attack. The lone goal of the second half was generated in the last 5 minutes of the game first when Diana Roemer delivered a ball to Stephanie Nesbitt leading back.

Nesbitt was able to deflect it wide to an overlapping Abigail Raye.

With the forwards doing a good job of creating space, Raye was able to take the line directly to net and hit the ball just over a sliding out Mexican goalie.

The team, not entirely happy with their performance, look to recover and regroup with ice baths and team meetings in order to gear up for the start of the tournament on Friday. Canada will face up against Belgium and will be looking to win their first 3 points of the World Cup Qualifier, here in Chula Vista, California.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Early goals cost Hockeyroos

Two early goals to Argentina ensured they remained undefeated against the Hockeyroos during their four test series, winning the second game 2-1 in Townsville tonight.

In what was a disastrous opening for the Hockeyroos Argentina struck early, continuing their momentum from Wednesday night's victory and scoring at the eight minute mark via a penalty corner.

Before Australia even had a chance to catch their breath Argentina were at it again, with Maria Barrionuevo scoring her second goal only a minute later to set up a commanding lead.

After Argentina dominated early both on the scoreboard and on the pitch the Hockeyroos began to rally late in the half, trying desperately to get themselves back in the game.

The were given an opportunity when captain Madonna Blyth forced a penalty corner with nine minutes remaining in the half, however the attempt was denied and the Hockeyroos remained goalless.

Scoring opportunities were few and far between for the Hockeyroos, however their improved field play saw them take to the second half with more confidence.

This trend continued, with the team performing much better in the second half, particularly Sarah O’Connor who was once again very solid in defence.

As their momentum continued the Hockeyroos were given their best chance yet to score when Casey Eastham found herself unchecked in the circle, however her shot on goal was marginally wide.

The Hockeyroos continued to threaten the goals as the half continued, however the tight Argentina defence suffocated the Hockeyroos forwards, giving them little time and space.

Eventually the Hockeyroos were rewarded for their hard work when Nicole Arrold converted a penalty corner with six minutes remaining, giving the Hockeyroos some chance of staging a comeback.

However the Argentinean defence held firm, with Hockeyroos coach Frank Murray left lamenting the early goals conceded.

”I was happy with the second half where I felt we got on top but disappointed to concede two soft goals so early in the match,” said Murray.

The next match will be played in Townsville on Saturday 27 March at 4.00pm.

Argentina 2 Hockeyroos 1 (2-0 half time)
Goals – Arg – Barrionuevo 8m PC/ 9m PC, Aus Arrold 64m PC

Hockey Australia media release

Hockey Cup, Trophy & Vase Semi Final Previews

Women’s Cup, Trophy & Vase, Men’s Trophy & Vase all reach last four

Four teams from the England Hockey League (EHL) Premier Division will battle it out on Sunday for a place in the final of the Women’s Cup as the competition reaches the semi final stage.

And it is a bumper weekend of hockey across the country with Sunday also seeing the semi finals of the Men’s and Women’s Trophy and Vase competitions.

Women’s Cup

In the Women’s Cup, 2008 Champions Leicester go into their game against University of Birmingham unbeaten so far this season and sitting pretty at the top of the Women’s Premier Division.  Leicester reached the last four with a 6-2 victory over Surbiton whilst the students overcame a tricky trip to local rivals Sutton Coldfield to win 6-3. This is the second season in succession that University of Birmingham have reached the semi finals and they will be out to cause an upset and reach the Women’s Cup final for the first time in their history. The sides have already met twice this season with Leicester coming out winners on both occasions; 3-2 in Birmingham and 3-0 in Leicester.

The other semi final comes from Sonning Lane as 2009 Cup finalists Reading host Trojans.  Reading eased their way into the semi finals with a 6-0 victory at Sunderland, whilst Trojans received a walkover against Dereham.  With Reading sitting second in the EHL Premier Division and Trojans already relegated at the bottom, the form guide suggests that this should be a straight forward run to the final for Reading but anything can happen in the Cup and Trojans will be out to defy the odds.

Women’s Trophy

In the Women’s Trophy, Teddington will be hoping to follow the footsteps of their Over 35’s team as they look for a place in the final with victory over Cornish side Falmouth.  Teddington reached this stage with a comfortable 8-2 victory at City of Oxford and they will be looking to reach the final for the second time in three years.  For Falmouth, this is the second year in succession they have reached the Women’s Trophy semi finals and they will want to put last season’s defeat to Broxbourne behind them as they hunt for a place in the final.

One team that already knows its place in the final is secure is Kendal after the Lancashire side received a walkover against Lewes.

Women’s Vase

In the Women’s Vase, holders East Grinstead travel north to take on Vikings from the Isle of Man, who reached this stage with a 4-1 victory over Oldham.  East Grinstead struck nine past Clitheroe in the quarter finals to remain on course to be the first team to retain the Women’s Vase.  Worthing host Oxted in the other semi final with both teams having scored six goals against their quarter final opposition to reach this stage.  Both sides are enjoying good seasons in the respective leagues with Worthing currently third in the Sussex Premier Division, whilst Oxted have finished top of Surrey Division One.

Men’s Trophy

In the semi finals of the Men’s Trophy, Gloucester City travel to Sussex to take on Eastbourne whilst University of Leeds travel down the M1 to take on London Wayfarers.  Gloucester City came from behind in the last round to clinch their place in the last four whilst Eastbourne’s route was a little more comfortable, winning 5-1 against Alderley Edge.

The University of Leeds have enjoyed a great season so far and are currently unbeaten in their league.  Like Gloucester City, London Wayfarers also had a close match in the last round but eventually came through 3-2 winners on golden goal to reach the last four.

Men’s Vase

The Men’s Vase sees the free scoring Plashet host Hamble, with South Cheshire making the short trip down the M6 to take on Tamworth.  Plashet, who have already been promoted this season have scored an amazing 150 goals in their league campaign.  They had to work hard in the last round though before overcoming Streetly. Hamble themselves are enjoying a good season and are Second in Hampshire Division One. They reached the last four with a 2-1 victory over league rivals Haslemere.

Tamworth and South Cheshire are having inconsistent seasons as they both currently sit fourth in their respective leagues.  Their routes into this stage were slightly different with Tamworth just getting through on golden goal and South Cheshire winning 5-0 away at Shefford and Sandy.

Women’s Cup Semi Finals, ties to be played Sunday 28 March

Leicester v University of Birmingham (12:30, Leicester Grammar School)
Reading v Trojans (14:00, Sonning Lane)

Women’s Trophy Semi Finals, ties to be played Sunday 28 March

Kendal v Lewes (walkover to Kendal)
Teddington v Falmouth (11:00, St Marys University)

Women’s Vase Semi Finals, ties to be played Sunday 28 March

Vikings v East Grinstead (13:00, Leeds Adel Carnegie HC)
Worthing v Oxted (13:00, St Andrews Boys School)

Men’s Trophy Semi Finals, ties to be played Sunday 28 March

Eastbourne v Gloucester City (13:00, Saffrons Sports Ground)
London Wayfarers v University of Leeds (12:00, Battersea Park AWP)

Men’s Vase Semi Finals, ties to be played Sunday 28 March

Plashet v Hamble (13:45, Robert Clack Leisure Centre)
Tamworth v South Cheshire (13:00, Woodhouse High School)

England Hockey Board Media release

Former Olympic Goalkeeper Simon Mason Elected Hockey President

Triple Olympian Simon Mason wins EHB Presidential election

Simon Mason, the former England and Great Britain Olympic hockey goalkeeper, was elected as President of the England Hockey Board (EHB) at its Annual General Meeting on Tuesday evening.

Mason, who played in goal nearly 200 times at international level, has served as the National Governing Body’s Vice President since 2006 and took on the role of acting-President following Martin Gotheridge’s election as President of the European Hockey Federation in July 2009.

After being elected, the 36 year old said, “I am delighted to win the election given the quality of the other three candidates.  Campaigning has given me the opportunity to contact a huge number of hockey people directly and I look forward to staying in touch with those people and others, to listen to their concerns and help inform them of all the positive things that are happening within hockey in England.”

Sally Munday, Chief Executive of the England Hockey Board said, “I think it is a very positive reflection on hockey that we had four strong candidates standing for election to the President’s position.  Over the past few years Simon has been a pro-active Vice President and I look forward to working with him in his new role as President.”

Mason still plays hockey for Guildford in the England Hockey League Conference West and is Managing Director and co-owner of successful sports equipment company Mercian Sports Company.  In July 2009 he was awarded an honorary degree by the University of Leeds, the university from which he graduated in 1994 with a degree in economics.

During his extraordinary playing career, Mason played for England 120 times and a further 74 times for Great Britain, including appearances at three consecutive Olympic Games in Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004).  He played for England at two Commonwealth Games, three World Cups and three European Cups during a career that saw him rise to a lofty position as the country's top goalkeeper and become widely recognised as one of the best in the world.

Mason retired from playing international hockey in 2005 but still maintains his involvement with the Olympic movement, sitting on the Athlete Committee for the London 2012 Olympics.

Looking towards the future, Mason concluded, “We have a fantastic sport that is entering a really important phase with London 2012 on the horizon.  I am thoroughly looking forward to representing hockey at all levels during my time as President."

Mason will serve as EHB President for the next three years.

England Hockey Board Media release

KL hammer Penang 6-1

By Jugjet Singh

PERAK beat Johor 2-0 in Division One of the 48th Razak Cup and are now among the early contenders to play in the final, with Kuala Lumpur likely to be their main hurdle.

The Silver State, who had beaten Negri Sembilan 3-1 in their opening encounter on Thursday, had control of the match but muffed many chances which could have taken their tally higher.

In the end, penalty corner goals from Hairul Nizam (48th) and Sabri Mohamed (55th) gave them the full points.

“We had the match in control, but muffed many chances but still, I am happy with the three points which keeps us afloat in this tournament,” said Perak coach Manjit Singh.

Manjit felt that the next match on Saturday against Malac ca could decide if his men will go the distance.

“We have a day’s rest after which we will play Malacca who have assembled a good team this year.

“And if we play like the first two matches, I am confident we will be in the running to play in the final,” said Manjit Singh.

Negri Sembilan and Malacca, however, played to a goal- less draw yesterday, indicating that Perak have a good chance to achieving their dream against Malacca today.

RESULTS -- Division One: Johor 0 Perak 2, Malacca 0 Negri Sembilan 0, Kuala Lumpur 6 Penang 1.
Division Two: Singapore 4 Police 1, Kedah 1 Kelantan 3.

TODAY: Division Two: Selangor v Perlis (3pm), Sabah v Kelantan (5pm), Singapore v Kedah (7pm).

TOMORROW: Division One -- Kuala Lumpur v Johor (3pm), Armed Forces v Penang (5pm), Malacca v Perak (7pm).
Division Two: Terengganu v Pahang (3pm), Selangor v Brunei (5pm).


P W D L F A Pts

K LUMPUR 2 2 0 0 8 1 6
PERAK 2 2 0 0 5 1 6
JOHOR 2 1 0 1 3 4 3
N SEMBILAN 2 0 1 1 2 3 1
MALACCA 2 0 1 1 0 2 1
PENANG 1 0 0 1 1 6 0
FORCES 1 0 0 1 2 3 0



P W D L F A Pts

SINGAPORE 1 1 0 0 4 1 3
KELANTAN 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
KEDAH 1 0 0 1 1 3 0
POLICE 1 0 0 1 1 4 0
SABAH 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


P W D L F A Pts
PAHANG 1 1 0 0 9 0 3
BRUNEI 1 0 0 1 0 9 0
SELANGOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PERLIS 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
TERENGGANU 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

New Straits Times

Perak survive bruising match, KL blast six past Penang


KUANTAN: Perak continued their impressive run in Division One of the Razak Cup hockey tournament, beating Johor 2-0 in a tense match played in blistering heat at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium here yesterday.

It was Perak’s second consecutive win after a 3-1 victory over Negri Sembilan in their opening match on Wednesday.

Johor, who defeated Armed Forces 3-2 in the first match, earned two penalty corners in the first half but failed to convert them.

Perak, who last won the tournament in 1991, took control of the match and scored two penalty corner goals in a space of seven minutes in the second half.

Former international Hairul Nizam Abdul Rani scored with a high flick in the 48th minute. And then Project 2013 squad player Mohd Sabri Mohamed made the conversion in similar fashion.

The match was marred by a few scuffles among the players. In the 64th minute, Johor’s Robert Alcan-tara and Perak’s Mohd Shukri Mutalib were flashed the yellow cards.

Johor team manager Sarjit Singh said that the heat took its toll on the players.

“We played our match against Armed Forces at 8.30pm on Wednesday and next day we had to play our match against Perak at 3pm,” said the former international.

“This is unfair because it is provided in international rules that each team should have at least a 22-hour rest before they play their next match. We had less than 18 hours.”

Perak team manager M. Selva-kumaran agreed that the afternoon heat affected the team’s performance.

“The match could be played at night as they are floodlights in the stadium. We won against Johor because we were much fitter than our opponents. We now have a one-day break before we take on Malacca on Saturday,” he said.

Kuala Lumpur also chalked up their second win, beating Penang 6-1.

KL, who beat defending champions Malacca 2-0 in the first match, scored their goals through Mohd Amin Rahim (20th), M. Kaliswaran (41st), Tajol Rosli (49th), Engku Abdul Malek Engku Mohamed (56th), Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim (60th) and Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor (69th).

Penang got their goal through Izwan Firdaus Tajuddin in the 58th minute.

The Star of Malaysia

Cash-strapped Malacca a no show at next month’s MJHL

KUANTAN: Malacca are the hosts of Sukma (Malaysia Games) in June but surprisingly they do not have a team for the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL), which begins next month.

Last year, Malacca were represented by their state sports council’s side in the Under-19 league and they finished overall third in Division One.

The Malacca Hockey Association (MHA) deputy president, Nur Azmi Ahmad, said that he was disappointed with their state education department for not putting up a team for the MJHL.

“Malacca have many school players and we also have a number of teachers with the Level 3 coaching certificate,” he said.

“But because there is no Sukan Teras programme this year due to financial constraints, the state decided not to participate in the MJHL.”

Nur Azmi, who is also the deputy president of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), added that since Malacca would be hosting Sukma, the state education department with the help of state sports council should have taken the initiative to field a team in the MJHL.

“The players need all the exposure they can get in the MJHL to put up a strong challenge in Sukma,” he said.

“Even Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who is also the Education Minister, want all states to give priority to sports.”

One-student one-sport vision, which was introduced by Sports Minister recently, is to have a big pool of athletes in every sport.

“If the state education department could not fork out the money, we (the Malacca HA) could have help them to look for sponsors,” said Nur Azmi.

“Malacca have a reputation of producing talented players for the national team, among them defender K. Embaraj and forwards Mirnawan Nawawi and Chua Boon Huat. It is very disappointing that we don’t have a team in the MJHL this time.

“Our neighbours, Negri Sembilan, have two school teams – Datuk Taha of Gemencheh and Tunku Besar of Tampin. I admire these two schools for having good development programmes for the sport.”

A total of 19 teams, nine in Division One and 10 in Division Two, will feature in MJHL beginning on April 9.

The Star of Malaysia

The Oltmans saga

Sometime in February, the National Sports Council Director General Dato Zolkples Embong went on record to say that Malaysian hockey will secure the services of former Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans in May, in time for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

However the Malaysian Hockey Federation opted to keep quiet and the Deputy President Nur Azmi Ahmad started re-writing the script as he told the media that MHF were still in discussions with Oltmans and some other foreign coaches, so in a way he denied the statement made by Zolkples, stopping short of calling the NSC DG a liar.

Moving forward to March, and Nur Azmi was part of the delegation that went to New Delhi for the World Cup to discuss terms with Oltmans. And upon his return Azmi went on record to say that Oltmans will, if the terms are agreed upon, will report for duty on June 1.

Effectively Oltmans, it is learnt, will be in Ipoh during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, expenses paid for by MHF, to witness the tournament and asses the Malaysian team. So there you have it, the script as written by the MHF Deputy President.

Now lets look at things in a different perspective. Oltmans will have barely five months to whip our team into potential gold medalists for the 2010 Asian Games which will assure us of a place in the 2012 London Olympics. Failing which Malaysia would have to go through the qualifiers which most likely will be held in the first quarter of 2012.

Meaning at a rate of RM50,000 per month, Malaysia will have to fork out something in the region of RM1.1 million in terms of salary, minus other perks to have in place a coach who will take us to a qualifier, something others have done in the past.

Another perspective is what will MHF do if the current coaches, Stephen van Huizen and Tai Beng Hai take Malaysia to the champions spot in the Azlan Shah Cup, something Malaysia has failed to do, be it with local or foreign coaches. What will MHF do then? Still get Olmans on board or this time decide that Malaysians are better suited for the job?

The entire planning is in shambles as the national team last played an international match at Invercargill in November last year. That is almost six months without any international match for a team that aspires to win gold in China later this year.

It is not impossible though as Malaysian players can raise their game as evident by the 2002 Busan Asian Games team that went on to win the bronze medal despite many players calling it quits after the 2002 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur.

So the million dollar question, since that is what we could end up coughing should we fail to make it to London, will most likely be answered at the MHF Council Meeting scheduled to be held at 2.00pm on April 3 in Kuala Lumpur.

And after which hopefully the MHF Deputy President will stop his 18 month drama of getting a foreign coach, something he messed up in the first place in Bangkok in December 2008.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot

Best coach to be hired: PHF chief

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) chief Qasim Zia is hopeful that he will be able to hire a foreign coach for the national team ahead of this May’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.“We have decided to have a foreign coach and the government has assured us that it will provide appropriate funds for it,” said the former Olympian, who is under fire for Pakistan’s 12th position in the World Cup.“We’ve also been told by the Senate’s sports committee to have the best coach in the world and we intend to follow that advice,” he added.

“PHF is making all out efforts to rope in a foreign coach, who is good enough to put the Pakistan team on the right track after a disastrous World Cup campaign in New Delhi earlier this month.” Paktribune quoted Zia as saying.

Qasim refrained from naming his favorite for the job but confirmed that the PHF is talking to top coaches like Germany’s Paul Lissek.

Lissek, who masterminded Germanys rise as one of the most successful hockey teams in the world, was initially reluctant but later conveyed his willingness to take over as Pakistans head coach, sources said.

“We are talking to him and a few others in Australia as well,” he said.

“We will certainly hire the best man for the job.”

Pakistans hockey team have been going through a really bad time, and the PHF had sacked the entire team management after the World Cup disaster.

Associated Press of Pakistan

Lissek in line to take over as Pakistan’s new hockey coach

By By Khalid Hussain

KARACHI: Pakistan had almost roped in Paul Lissek to mastermind their hockey team’s turnaround after the World Cup debacle but the multiple bomb blasts in Lahore on March 12 forced the famed German coach to have second thoughts about taking up an assignment in what is a strife-hit country.

Sources told ‘The News’ on Wednesday that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had sounded out Lissek during the World Cup held in New Delhi from Feb 28-March 13. According to details, PHF secretary Asif Bajwa met with Lissek on the sidelines of the World Cup, where Pakistan slumped to a catastrophic last-place finish.

Bajwa offered Lissek to head Pakistan’s coaching staff and help the former world champions prepare for several major international events like the Asian Games this year in China and the 2012 Olympics in London.

Lissek, who masterminded Germany’s rise as one of the most successful hockey nations during a stint that lasted for almost a decade, was initially reluctant but later conveyed his willingness to take over as Pakistan’s head coach. This happened just a few days before the March 12 blasts in Lahore that made headlines around the world.

“Lissek started having second thoughts about working in Pakistan after what happened in Lahore,” said the source. “He knew that Lahore is the headquarters of Pakistan hockey and as national coach he will have to stay there a lot,” stressed the source.

However, the source added that Lissek is still mulling over the option and is expected to tell the PHF about his decision on the offer within the next few days.

“Lissek is still very much the favourite to take over as Pakistan’s coach,” said the source. “He has always been keen to be a part of Pakistan hockey and now that he is not attached to any team on a long-term basis, Lissek is seriously considering the PHF offer. He would have said yes after the World Cup but is now having second thoughts because of the security concerns.”

Pakistan have had foreign sports coaches in the past though Geoff Lawson, the former Pakistan coach, was the last one to come and work here. His tenure ended acrimoniously in 2008 when the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) sacked him.

Apart from Lissek, the PHF is also targeting an Australian coach but according to sources he is not as high-profile as the legendary German. Australia’s two most high-profile coaches — Ric Charlesworth and Terry Walsh — are already associated with Australia and USA respectively.

The PHF top brass is interested in Lissek because he is supposed to be the best coach around when it comes to improving a team’s defence. Even Charlesworth was compelled to hire Lissek as his consultant ahead of the World Cup and according to experts his move paid off when the Aussies tamed Germany in the final to regain the world title in the Indian capital earlier this month.

Lissek, known as the ‘mathematician’ in world hockey circles, helped the Aussies unlock the defensive Germans, who had denied them the title in the previous two editions of the World Cup.

He served as Malaysia’s head coach for several years and almost signed a contract to work with India a couple of years back.

Pakistan have to hire a coach as soon as possible as they are without a team management and will need one when the Greenshirts feature in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh (Malaysia) from May 6-16. The PHF sacked the entire team management after the World Cup disaster.

The News International

German Lissek favourite to be Pakistan hockey coach

KARACHI: Renowned German coach Paul Lissek has emerged as the favourite to take over as Pakistan's hockey coach after the team's World Cup debacle this month.

The News reported on Thursday that after its last-place finish in the New Delhi World Cup, Pakistan had decided to rope in a foreign coach.

It said the Pakistan Hockey federation (PHF) had almost roped in Lissek but the serial bombings in Lahore March 12 forced the German to have second thoughts.

PHF secretary Asif Bajwa met Lissek on the sidelines of the World Cup and urged him to help Pakistan prepare for the 2010 Asian Games in China and the 2012 Olympics in London.

Lissek, who masterminded Germany's meteoric rise in world hockey during a stint that lasted almost a decade, was first reluctant but later conveyed his willingness to take over as Pakistan's head coach. This happened just a few days before the March 12 blasts in Lahore.

The report added that Lissek was still mulling over the option and is expected to tell the PHF about his decision in the next few days.

"Lissek is still very much the favourite to take over as Pakistan's coach," said the report quoting sources. "He has always been keen to be a part of Pakistan hockey and now that he is not attached to any team on a long-term basis, Lissek is seriously considering the PHF offer.

"He would have said 'yes' after the World Cup but is having second thoughts because of security concerns."

The PHF is also targeting an Australian coach but, according to sources, he is not as high profile as the German. Australia's two most high-profile coaches - Ric Charlesworth and Terry Walsh - are already associated with Australia and the US.

Pakistan have to hire a coach as soon as possible as they are without a team management and will need one before the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh (Malaysia) May 6-16.

The PHF sacked the entire team management after the World Cup disaster.

Meanwhile, PHF president Qasim Zia is hopeful that he will be able to hire a foreign coach ahead of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.

"We have decided to have a foreign coach and the government has assured us that it will provide appropriate funds," said Zia, a former Olympian who is under fire for Pakistan's 12th position in the World Cup.

The Times of India

Foreign coach better for juniors: Hanif Khan

By Mohammad Yaqoob

LAHORE: Olympian Hanif Khan has suggested to the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) not to hire a foreign coach for the national side but for the juniors if they want to raise a strong team till the 2012 Olympics.

“It will be useless to hire a foreign coach for seniors of the likes of Sohail Abbas, Rehan Butt, Wasim Ahmad, etc., as bringing improvement to their game at this stage will be a challenge for any coach,” Hanif told Dawn here on Wednesday after a meeting with the PHF President Qasim Zia.

“A foreign coach can hone the skills of our youngsters after picking them at the under-23, under-18 age levels in order to groom them as back-up for the national side till the Olympics. I believe Pakistan can finish the Olympics at least among the top four with this strategy,” Hanif said.

The Olympian said that the current PHF hierarchy had taken correct measures by working on the U-18 and U-23 teams and had the previous office-bearers taken such steps during their time there would have been a good number of back-up players for the national team today.

To a question, Hanif said the seniors could only be used till the 2010 Asian Games as there were hardly any tough competitions such as the Olympics and the World Cup coming after that.

“See the matches of the [recently-concluded] World Cup and you will find that seniors remaining on the field for more time as compared to youngsters,” Hanif said.

A better planning for the World Cup could have achieved better results.

“I think the coach [Shahid Ali Khan] misjudged the potential of the senior players and wrongly depended more on them. The seniors should have been used in patches, as our youngsters have the potential to deliver,” he said.

“With better planning the same team could have finished among the top five or four teams of the World Cup instead of taking the bottom 12th spot,” he pointed out.

He said at least seven senior players, who played in the World Cup were not fit enough for such a mega event.

Hanif said that this was not the time to criticize the PHF but all the Olympians should have come forward to help the federation with their expertise.

“I wonder about all those former Olympians coming out on the roads with guns blazing just to remove only one man [Asif Bajwa from the post of PHF secretary],” he said.

“They should have instead met with the PHF president with an open heart after the debacle to table their suggestions along with any demands of removing any person since all of us are after all part of the hockey family,” he said.

Hanif was of the view that in fact the ouster of nine Olympians with one stroke from the team which won the last Olympics title for the country in 1984 was the turning point that started off the bad time in Pakistan hockey. The void created by losing so many talented players could never be filled and we are struggling to regain our lost glory to this day.

“Two years later [1986], Pakistan played the World Cup and took the then poorest spot of the 11th position,” he said.

“It was the country’s luck that it got some outstanding players during this long bad patch. They brought home the World Cup and Champions Trophy in 1994,” he said.

Asked why Pakistan could not raise a formidable team after committing the blunder of dropping nine players as the European teams have been turning their new lot in reckoning force in two or three years, Hanif said: “We carry more power in destroying things but less in building up something positive.”

Hanif, who during his meeting with Qasim Zia provided him with various suggestions, said he was ready to serve national hockey and equally willing to work with the PHF if they ask him for it.

Hanif has been tipped for a key post in the PHF, which will be announced soon after the formation of the new Executive Board.


PM authorises sports minister to decide hockey crisis

By Khurram Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has authorised the federal sports minister to take any decision to solve the crisis being faced by country’s national game – hockey – following the World Cup debacle in India. “The Prime Minister has given me full powers to decide the hockey crisis, I am meeting all stake holders and will then decide what to do,” sports minister Mir Ijaz Hussain Jakhrani told Daily Times on Thursday.

He said the demand of former Olympians to replace Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary Mohammad Asif Bajwa would be decided on merit. “I discussed the hockey issues with the Prime Minister in detail and he gave me free hand to make any decision about the changes in the national hockey federation.” He said his meeting with the national team players and PHF president Qasim Zia was fruitful. “I also met former Olympians in Karachi last week and listened to their demands about changing the PHF secretary. I will meet Asif Bajwa and Qasim once again to take a decision regarding their demand,” he said.

Jakhrani said the Prime Minister was much concerned about the present state of hockey and advised me to take any decision after taking all stake holders into confidence. “We can’t take any decision in haste. We have to give a deep thought to every aspect. This is not a matter of individuals desires but of prime national importance,” the minister added.

The Daily Times

The eleventh hour struggle of Pakistan hockey

By Anwar Zuberi

WITH the shameful debacle in the recently-concluded Hockey World Cup in New Delhi, the clock has turned back after quarter-of-a-century to the time when the then champions Pakistan not only surrendered two back-to-back titles — Asian Games at Seoul and sixth hockey World Cup at London — in 1986 but hit a new low 11th at Willesden.

People have a short memory so let us recall the scenario of the two events which pretty much changed the complexion of the game in Asia. South Korea beat Pakistan 2-1 in the final to win their maiden Asian Games hockey gold medal that brought to an end 16-year domination of the green-shirts in the region.

Pakistan was also shocked 1-2 by Malaysia in the last match of the league to finish second in the group which set an Indo-Pak semi-final of the Asian Games for the first time with the latter winning 3-1.

Pakistan hockey team had undergone a 34-day extensive European tour and participated in a four-nation tournament in Moscow before the two assignments.

Olympic right winger Kaleemullah who was out of the competitive hockey for almost six months because of fitness problem, was recalled to lead the team on European tour, Asian Games and the World Cup which sparked intrigues in the team.

Prolific spearhead Hasan Sardar who was made Kaleem’s deputy on the European tour was dropped from the Seoul squad and replaced by Iftikhar. However, Hasan together with left winger Perwaiz Iqbal were invited to London to join the World Cup team at the expense of reserve forward Ziauddin and outside left Waseem Feroze.

Further humiliation was in store as Pakistan lost all games except against New Zealand (5-3) in their group and ended up with an embarrassing 11th position on Oct 17, 1986 after barely beating arch rivals India 3-2 in extra time at the classification match.

Incidentally, it was the first World Cup ever that was staged on the artificial turf.

Kalim who called it a day on return from London had attributed lack of discipline, jealousy and intrigue as causes for the defeat.

Veteran Olympian Anwar Ahmed Khan was made scapegoat as he was given the team after former Pakistan captain Khalid Mahmood resigned on return from the European tour on personal grounds.

The latter, who led Pakistan to victory in the inaugural World Cup at Barcelona in 1971, was intelligent to have sensed that the team was not in true elements and passed on the buck to the former.

Anwar was sixth coach in turn appointed by the PHF in six months. Manzoorul Hasan was named coach in Dec 1985 followed by Col (retd) Zafri, Saeed Anwar, Khalid Mahmood and Asad Malik (acting coach).

Brig (retd) M. Ashraf Chaudhri, General Manager Sports PIA, managed the team on the three trips.

The PHF came under heavy fire after Pakistan lost two titles in a span of three weeks and led to formation of a probe committee followed by supervisory committee by the ministry of sports. The supervisory committee was formed to implement the decisions of the probe committee. Some members of the two committees were common.

The probe committee headed by Mian Riazuddin Ahmed comprised Senator Lt. Gen (retd) Saeed Qadir, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Dr. Ghulam Rasool Chaudhry, Khwaja Zakauddin, Munawwar-uz-Zaman and Brig (retd) Abdul Hamid (convener).

The committee was assigned to investigate into causes of debacle besides recommending ways and means to eradicate weaknesses which could help in defending the Olympic title in Seoul two years later.

After taking into consideration the report of the probe committee, the Federal Sports Minister, Ghulam Mohammad Ahmed Khan Maneka, appointed an eight-member supervisory committee to plan, organise and work out all the details of the recommendations of the probe committee and implement in true spirit.

The formation of supervisory committee was a temporary arrangement with a mandate to hold fresh PHF polls.

Headed by the federal minister himself, the committee includes Air Marshal Wiqar Azim (PHF president), Senator Lt. Gen (retd) Saeed Qadir, Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, Dr. Ghulam Rasool Chaudhry, S. A. Mustafa, Jahanzeb Khan and Munawwar-uz-Zaman.

The report of the probe committee envisaged that the PHF has failed to deliver the goods and there’s a need to set up a top body called the “Supervisory Committee for Hockey” under the chairmanship of the Minister for Sports to oversee the PHF’s efforts to meet the future challenge of next Olympics.

It stated: The post of the honorary secretary of PHF should be filled by a full-time paid officer who should be appointed by the president of the PHF.

For this purpose, the constitution of the PHF will have to be amended so that the secretary is not elected by General Council. It said the functions of PHF should be divided into two departments — technical dealing with selection, training and management of the national team and the other development dealing with popularisation and promotion of the game within the country.

All selections should be made by the selection committee and the president or secretary should not participate in the selection proceedings.

The coach of the national team should be appointed and associated with the selection and training of the team immediately. Coaches should be adequately paid.

The constitution of the PHF should be amended on the following lines.

The secretary is nominated by the president PHF and no person should be a member of the Council for more than two consecutive terms of four-year each.

Air Marshal Mohammad Azim Daudpota succeeded Air Marshal Wiqar Azim while Brig M. H. Atif was reelected secretary when the fresh elections of the PHF took place on Jan 10, 1987.

MNA Zafarullah Khan Jamali was named new chairman of the five-member selection committee which included Abdul Waheed Khan, Munawwar-uz-Zaman, Akhtar Rasool and Manzoorul Hasan. Khawaja Zakauddin was appointed first paid coach for four years.

Atif brushed aside allegations that he alone was responsible for the debacle. When Pakistan won the Bombay World Cup and Los Angeles Olympics no credit was given to him although he was responsible for entire training, he was quoted as saying. Finally, he resigned as the PHF secretary on May 15, 1989 after serving on the post for 11 years.

Pakistan hockey had ruled the world for an unprecedented six years 1978 to 1984 during the Nur Khan and Atif era.

It is irony that the government was only trying to pacify the issue and has not taken any practical step as former stalwarts and the PHF-backed players are at loggerheads since the World Cup ended in Delhi on March 13.

The veterans are demanding ouster of the PHF secretary Asif Bajwa forthwith though he has already been removed from the post of manager by the PHF chief Qasim Zia while dissolving the team management and selection committee.

People connected with the game alleged that he (Bajwa) has come from the backdoor and was trying to fit in the large-size boots of the late Brig Atif.

It is high time that the government should save the game from further destruction by holding an enquiry and showing the door to those who have damaged the country’s pride.


My recent visit to India during World Cup (II)

By Zakir Hussain Syed

New Delhi is a huge city and it is likely to take over Mumbai soon as one of the top cities of India. Fortunately, there is no Bal Thackeray to pollute the atmosphere and thus the city is totally free of prejudices. More importantly, our culture, language and food habits being similar, it is very easy to interact. New Delhi will soon have one of the largest airports in the world. They already have a very efficient metro system which will soon extend to the airport. Massive infrastructure development is taking place within the city for the forthcoming Commonwealth Games. However Delhi, despite introduction of CNG buses, is polluted. When you return to the hotel in the afternoon, collar and cuffs of your spotlessly clean shirt are black. Traffic on the roads is as chaotic as Lahore and car drivers literally seem to be sitting on their horns all the time. However, what I found most refreshing was that people in coffee shops, restaurants and markets never discussed politics. The shops closed at the prescribed hour and for them a closed day was a closed day. They also have their Wattoos too in the guise of people like Sharad Pawar, the next ICC president. There was a big scandal about sugar being exported at a price of Rs 13.50 while simultaneously, sugar was being imported at a price of Rs 30 plus per kg with both consignments lying in the dock at the same time. The session of parliament was on but unlike our parliament, it was nice to see it packed with members taking active interest in proceedings, the bill pertaining to women liberation.

When I accompanied Amarjeet Singh for morning walks, I met a large number of people whose parents had migrated from Pakistan. One belonged to Lala Daulat Ram family of Raja Bazar and though he was only ten when he went from Pakistan, his description of Raja Bazar was vivid. I told him that Raja Bazar was exactly the same as he had left. So was another gentleman from Narowal who knew by heart fables of Narowal then taught in schools. My childhood friend Charanjeet Toor who used to sit next to me under the village banyan tree came to see me all the way from Chandigarh along with his charming wife. How he was able to trace me after a gap of 56 years is a real filmy story but more about it sometimes later. Why I have deliberately mentioned the emotions of people is because there is still a generation in India which can identify itself with us and thus there are far greater chances of a peaceful co existence between Pakistan and India. Once they are gone, this vital factor will disappear. Already, there are a large number of Indian TV channels and newspapers regularly breathing venom against Pakistan and surely the younger generation is bound to be affected by this fiery baptism. Why do we need this confrontation because in the final analysis it will harm both countries. I sincerely hope that leaders in both Pakistan and India realise the futility of this needless venom. On the lighter side we all came back with a fond memory of this visit. The last unforgettable scene was all 125 kgs of Akhtar Rasool having been driven to the Hotel by a cycle rickshaw driver and then collapsing after offloading Akhtar Rasool. It took the poor hotel staff nearly twenty minutes to revive him. Why did Akhtar Rasool have to be so cruel!


(Zakir Hussain Syed is Pakistan’s internationally renowned sports administrator, sports broadcaster and sports analyst)

The Daily Times

Legerton tricks Paragon hockey men

Nigel Simon

Wayne Legerton... scored a hat-trick

National forward, Wayne Legerton helped himself to a hat-trick in leading United Petrotrin to a 6-3 win over Paragon in a highscoring T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship Division at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua on Sunday. In fact all Petrotrin’s goals came off the sticks of national players to put the club in second spot on the table with 12 points, three adrift of unbeaten leaders Queen’s Park while Defence Force is third with ten points.

Dwain Quan Chan opened the scoring for the “Oilmen” in the 13th minute but Cogie Butlet got Paragon level, seven minutes before the half. Two minutes into the second-half, Legerton, who leaves for Germany next month restored Petrotrin’s lead at 2-1 while Quan Chan fired in his second of the match, a minute later for a 3-1 lead.

Paragon then hit back through Kern Lee in the 45th minute to trail 3-2 but Legerton eased the nerves of his team-mates with his second in the 57th for a 4-2 scoreline.

Kiel Murray scored from field goal play in the 62nd minute as Paragon once again climbed to within a goal of the Oilmen. But it was as close as they would get as Atiba Whittington (66th) and Legerton, two minutes to complete his hat-trick scored to seal the important win for their club. In Men’s Trinity Division play, Notre Dame blanked Carib 2-0 while Jameel Beharry’s 64th goal earned Defence Force a tense 4-3 win over Shape.

The Trinidad Guardian

Hockey legend Claudius turns 83, confesses to be Sachin fan

KOLKATA: Legendary hockey player Leslie Claudius on Thursday turned 83 in a quite manner away from home at his relative's place in Perth, Australia but he could not escape from Indian Premier League buzz and thoughts on Sachin Tendulkar.

Talking over phone on this occasion, the former India captain, whose name is etched in history along with Udham Singh for having won the maximum number of Olympic medals (three gold, one silver) in hockey, rued that nobody remembers him anymore in India forget about his birthdays.

"It's a biggest surprise to have been remembered on my birthday. Nobody remembers about us anymore, so there is hardly any celebration," Claudius said, pleasantly surprised at the call.

But switched to a conversation on cricket, Claudius turned out to a huge Sachin Tendulkar fan.

"No doubt, God is great but Sachin Tendulkar supercedes God when he plays. By doing impossible things, like notching 200 not out (in ODI) at his age is just unimaginable," he said.

Asked to compare Tendulkar with Sir Don Bradman, Claudius said, "Sachin will be the greatest player ever no doubt. He is playing so fluent at this age. He has such an array of strokes. He is a freak. With age, he is getting better.

"The greatest quality in him (Sachin) is that he is so humble, a thorough gentleman. Youngsters should learn this from him. When you do something with dedication and perseverance, even if you do not reach great heights you will end up being satisfied," Claudius said.

The octogenarian hockey legend rued that after India's 1983 cricket World Cup victory, hockey declined in India. He, however, was all praise of the IPL concept.

"With the rise of cricket after the 1983 World Cup success, hockey is the least favoured sport. But IPL is huge success. It's fast and nice. We get to see a mixture of players from all parts of the world and it's played in the right spirit. The atmosphere is terrific," he said.

Recollecting the highs and lows in his glorious hockey career spanning from 1948 to 1965, Claudius said losing to Pakistan in the final of the 1960 Rome Olympics that denied him a record four successive gold would be the biggest disappointment in his illustrious career.

"We were going through an amazing run but only to go down to Pakistan. It's a very sad thing," he said.

"But I have no regrets in life. When I first played for India in 1948, it was a great moment that I will continue to cherish. It was a glorious era when in India's sporting history. I am really proud to be a part of it."

Claudius said he is yet to recover from the shock of his son Robert's accidental death in 1978 that had brought an end to a budding hockey player.

"He was a bright prospect, he was even better than me. It was few days after returning from 1978 World Cup in Mexico he left us. He had gone with his friend in a scooter when he died after a truck collision. He was 20, I'm yet to recover from it," Claudius said.

The Times of India