News for 29 March 2010

All the news for Monday 29 March 2010

Hockeyroos finsih series with a win

The Hockeyroos have ended their four test series against Argentina on a positive note, winning the last game 2-1 in Townsville on Sunday.

Australia got off to a good start and had the first chance to score when teenager Georgia Nanscawen got a shot away at the nine minute mark, only for it to hit the cross bar.

Argentina made them pay only minutes later when Sofia Maccari opened the scoring at the 13 minute mark to hand the visitors a 1-0 lead.

The Hockeyroos scored the equaliser from a penalty corner in the 39th minute with captain Madonna Blyth getting the ball into the back of the goal to leave the score at 1-1.

With only seven minutes remaining the Hockeyroos pushed hard for the winning goal, and found it when Kate Hollywood slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to hand their home team the lead.

Hockeyroos coach Frank Murray was pleased that his team was finally capitalising on opportunities.

"The problem is that it's a tough hard competition between these two teams; there's virtually nothing between us and you have to take your opportunities," said Murray.

Murray believed his team learnt a valuable lesson from the series and one that they could take to the World Cup Qualifier which will be held in Chile from April 24.

"Out of it I think our players have started to realise just how hard it is to play at this level against the number one and two teams in the world so hopefully they can take that away and take that to Chile."

Hockeyroos 2 Argentina 1

Goals - Arg Maccari 13m FG, Aus Blyth 39m PC, Hollywood 63m FG

Hockey Australia media release

Hockeyroos improve but draw with Argentina

Hockeyroos 0 Argentina 0 (0-0 half time)

Argentina gave the Hockeyroos no chance of levelling the four test series in Townsville, holding the home team to a nil all draw in game 3 on Saturday 27 March.

As had occurred right throughout the series, both defensive units held firm, restricting many genuine shots on goal from either team.

The Hockeyroos started the better of the two teams and were given the first real chance of the game when Emily Hurtz got a shot away at the 15 minute mark, with the ball marginally wide of the goal.

After a goalless first half Argentina looked likely to break the deadlock at the 46 minute mark when Carla Dupuy had a shot on goal, however Hockeyroos goalkeeper Rachael Lynch was up to the task and made a great save.

After the match Hockeyroos coach Frank Murray said that although he was disappointed his team did not make the most of their opportunities near goal, he was pleased with his teams improved defence. “We made a huge number of opportunities today and still we’re not converting. We’ve got some young ones in the group but we do need to convert at this level if we want to win.

“I thought defensively we were better today. I thought our goal keeper played very well. That gives you a chance against the top sides. That’s what you need to do but you have to convert your opportunities,” said Murray.

Hockey Australia media release

Hockeyroos take time out for future stars

Although the Hockeyroos had a busy schedule during their recent four test series against Argentina, the team took some time out to visit some future stars.

In conjunction to the series, Hockey Queensland hosted a Indigenous Talent Identification and Development Camp.

Hockeyroos Madonna Blyth, Stacia Joseph and Casey Eastham visited the camp attendees on Friday 26th March to discuss their careers to date and provide any advice on what it takes to make in into the national team.

Hockey Australia media release

Hampstead and Westminster see hockey play-offs fade as Reading earn draw

By Emily Benammar

Hampstead and Westminster saw their chance of a place in the championship play-offs snatched away after Felix Froeschle equalised for Reading four minutes before time in a 2-2 draw.

Goals from from David Eakins and Will Naylor had kept the home side ahead for the majority of the match but Reading proved that even without penalty-corner specialist Richard Mantell they can still convert set pieces when it matters with Christopher Cargo scoring before Froeschle levelled things out.

Paying tribute to his side's fighting spirit, Reading coach Ben Barnes said: "It was frustrating but we kept ourselves in it. It's one thing we've been consistent with this season - we've stayed in games where we haven't played well and ground out a result. Getting the point today is a testament to our season and shows why we're at the top."

Barnes also praised the younger members of his squad who have had to step up their performances this season with so many players being absent on international duty.

Reading are fortunate to have a large squad but Barnes insists that ensuring these players were involved from the start of the season was key to ensuring consistency.

"The group have trained hard and got through that spell really well where as other teams haven't been as lucky," he said.

"We have a bit more depth than other teams but its also how you apply that. Even when we did have our England players those squad members who may have been on the periphery were getting pitch time and added value to the group so that when the internationals did go they didn't have to play catch up."

Meanwhile, a brace from Tina Cullen helped Leicester become the first women's club since 1998 to remain unbeaten all season after beating Canterbury 2-1.

The Telegraph

T&T hockey quartet lifts English hockey title

Nigel Simon

Mickel Pierre…was on target for Canterbury in the loss.

National forward Mickel Pierre was among the goals for Canterbury in a 5-3 loss to Holcombe 5-3 in their final match English Hockey League Conference East season. However, Pierre along with fellow T&T internationals, Kwandwane Browne, Matthew Tang Nian and Evan-Pieres Farrell still celebrated the league title win at the end of the 70-minute contest as rivals Old Loughtonians were held to a 2-2 draw by Oxted.

As a result, Canterbury ended its 18-match scehdule with 46 points, one ahead of Old Loughtonians and will now contest a four-team round-robin series to determine the two clubs to be promoted to the Premier Division. The 32-year-old Browne also missed out on winning the most goals award as he ended the season with 21, two shy of Holcombe’s David Matthews, who scored twice in yesterday’s win. Indian Gymkhana, the team of T&T’s Terrance Baptiste was hammered 6-1 by Southgate to finish bottom of the ten-team standings with eight points.

In Conference West, another T&T international Alan Henderson and his Guildford team-mates, slammed Plymouth Marjon 8-2 to finish second on the the standings with 27 points, the same as Farehem who has and inferior goal-difference while champions Team Bath Buccaneers ended with 46 points. The three Conference winners Deeside Rambles (North) Canterbury (East) and Bath Buccaneers (West) now tangle with ninth placed Premier Division finishers, Brookland MU for two places in the Premier Division up for grabs.

The last placed team in the Premier Division, University of Exeter has automatically been relegated. At the other end of the Conference tables, Gymkhana joins the other tenth placed clubs in a playoff to determine who stays up and who is relegated. The top team in this playoff stays up in their Conference and the other two clubs are demoted to their respective regional leagues while the five regional league winners will be promoted.

The Trinidad Guardian

Selectors to finalise team for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup after China friendlies

KUANTAN: Malaysian will play two friendly matches against China in their run-up to the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, which will be held in Ipoh from May 6-16.

National team manager George Koshy said that China, who will feature in the tournament, had requested to play four matches.

“However, we have agreed to play against them twice because the national team will be involved in seven matches in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament.

“We will also use the friendly matches to finalise our squad for the tournament,” said George.

There are 25 players in the training camp and two of them are nursing injuries – midfielders Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Kelvinder Singh.

George added that national coaches Tai Beng Hai and Stephen van Huizen were here for the Razak Cup tournament to identify new players for call-up to the national training squad.

“We need a squad of 30 players to prepare for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games in October and also the Asian Games in November,” he said.

“Our mission is at the Asian Games as the winners will qualify automatically for the 2012 London Olympics.”

With the postponement of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy, which was scheduled for next month in Ipoh, the national team’s first assignment for the year is the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament.

George added that the national players would report for training for the tournament on April 7.

Malaysia will open their campaign against Pakistan on May 6. Their other matches are against South Korea (May 7), world champions Australia (May 9), Egypt (May 10), India (May 12) and China (May 13).

The top two teams after the round-robin matches will feature in the final on May 16.

May 6: S. Korea vs Egypt (4.05pm); China vs India (6.05pm); Pakistan vs Malaysia (8.05pm).

May 7: Australia vs Egypt (4.05pm); Pakistan vs India (6.05pm); S. Korea vs Malaysia (8.05pm).

May 8: Rest day

May 9: S. Korea vs India (4.05pm); Pakistan vs China (6.05pm); Australia vs Malaysia (8.05pm).

May 10: S. Korea vs China (4.05pm); Australia vs India (6.05pm); Malaysia vs Egypt (8.05pm).

May 11: Rest day.

May 12: Australia vs Pakistan (4.05pm); China vs Egypt (6.05pm); India vs Malaysia (8.05pm).

May 13: Pakistan vs Egypt (4.05pm); Australia vs S. Korea (6.05pm); China vs Malaysia (8.05pm).

May 14: Rest day.

May 15: Australia vs China (4.05pm); S. Korea vs Pakistan (6.05pm); India vs Egypt (8.05pm).

May 16: Fifth-place playoff (3.35pm); third-place playoff (6.05pm); Final (8.35pm).

The Star of Malaysia

Already thinking of final

By Jugjet Singh

DIVISION One leaders Perak want to improve on last season's fifth placing as coach Manjit Singh believes they are better prepared for the 48th Razak Cup in Kuantan.

And with nine points after three matches, Perak are the team to beat for the title this year.

"I am looking at another six points which should take us into the final, and then take it from there. My team are better prepared this season, and should be able to achieve their target before the last match," said Manjit.

Perak play Armed Forces tomorrow, and then Penang on Wednesday. Six points from the two matches should see them through to the final, with one match against Kuala Lumpur, on Friday, in hand.

"Most of the teams are well prepared this year, so we must win the next two matches to ease the pressure when we play our last match against Kuala Lumpur," added the coach.

Manjit left Kuantan for KL yesterday because the national under-16 team were checking into camp, and he is one of their coaches.

"I will travel up and down, training the under-16 squad and also the Perak players, but if my team play in the final, I will not be available as I have to be with the under-16 players in KL," Manjit disclosed.

The seasoned coach believes the Malaysian Hockey Federation did the right thing when it decided each team must have four under-21 players, and two must be on the pitch at any given time.

"My young players are from the Project 2013 squad and all four have been carrying their weight well so far," he said.

"In fact against Johor, I had all four players on the pitch for long periods, and they delivered. But some of the teams are struggling because their young players are slow to adapt.

"However, this rule should be maintained in the Razak Cup as it will expose a big number of young players."

Kuala Lumpur are one spot behind Perak after dropping points in the 1-1 draw against Johor but they have the depth to pull through in their remaining matches.

Today -- Division One -- Armed Forces v Malacca (3pm), Penang v Johor (5pm), Negri v Kuala Lumpur (7pm).

Division Two: Police v Kedah (3pm), Sabah v Singapore (5pm). All matches at Pitch I and II of Kuantan Stadium.

New Straits Times

Roslan hopes to help home state Perak win title


Experienced: Goalkeeper Roslan has let in only one goal after three matches.

KUANTAN: Goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin quit the national team in 2006 but he’s still playing some good hockey.

The 32-year-old Sungkai-born player made a number of good saves for Perak in the first three Division One matches of the ongoing Razak Cup tournament. Perak have conceded only one goal and they top the standings with three wins – beating Negri Sembilan (3-1), Johor (2-0) and defending champions Malacca (2-0).

Perak have three more matches in the round-robin competition – against Armed Forces tomorrow, Penang on Wednesday and Kuala Lumpur on Friday. The top two teams play in the final.

Roslan, who has 137 international caps to his credit, collected Razak Cup winners’ medals when he played for KL.

“But I have not won the title with my home state, Perak, since playing for them for the last three years,” he said.

“This year, we have a solid team and based on our performance in the first three matches, I believe we have a good chance to qualify for the final.”

Perak need to win the next two matches against Forces and Penang to secure a place in the final.

“I hope to continue playing well in the tournament to help Perak win the Razak Cup title, which we last won in 1991,” said Roslan, who made his international debut in a four-nation tournament in South Korea in 1998.

He rose to fame in the 1998 KL Commonwealth Games and helped Malaysia bag the silver medal.

Roslan was also a member of the Malaysian team who bagged the bronze medal in the 2002 Busan Asian Games.

He also featured in 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2002 World Cup Finals in Kuala Lumpur.

He said that with his vast experience playing for country for eight years, his mission is to become the national goalkeepers’ coach.

“I am currently coaching the Sri Serdang Secondary School in Selangor and also feature for KLHC (Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club) in the MHL (Malaysia Hockey League),” said Roslan, who last donned national colours in the 2006 Doha Asian Games.

“I believe I can play well for another few years before I concentrate on a career in coaching.”

Meanwhile, KL, who have seven points from three matches, need a win over Negri Sembilan today to take a step closer to reaching the final. KL’s last two matches are against Forces on Wednesday and Perak on Friday.

The Star of Malaysia

Malvern blank Paragon 3-0

Kern De Freitas

Malvern’s men got three unanswered second half goals against Paragon on Saturday to secure a 3-0 victory in the Championship Division of the Trinidad and Tobago Hockey Board League.

At the National Hockey Centre in Tacarigua, it took Malvern goals from Jonathon Warren, Joshua De Four and Kyle Cowie to salvage full points for the men in white and maroon, after a listless first half showing.

Although Malvern had the better of the first half, Paragon did more than just keep them at bay. But Paragon seemed to favour the right side of the turf and were unable to finish the few chances they created.

Malvern had the best two opportrunities to go ahead before the interval, but Anthony Marcano could not reach De Four’s cross from the right, while De Four himself was denied by the legs of Jesse Thomas in the Paragon goal.

Paragon tried to get the early jump on their opponents in the second half, but Malvern soon got into their stride and in the 46th minute, 11 minutes after the restart, Warren, recovering from a blow to the hand, flicked home Darryl Hume’s follow-up shot.

Only three minutes later Malvern boosted their advantage, this time De Four receiving the feed from Arielle Bowen and finding the mark. And Malvern wrapped up the scoring in the shutout win when Cowie tapped home from close range.

With just a few minutes to go, Paragon wasted a penalty corner, one of three such opportunities in the half. Their skipper Kiel Murray, too, twice had chances for a consolation before time expired, beating Malvern goalie Kelvin Hume, but not the far post, then hitting the post just before the final whistle.

Before Petrotrin and Malvern had their battle, Ventures pipped Police in the Trinity Women’s Division. Goals from Karissa Wyke (15th) in the field and Nataki Aki-Bua (46th) off a penalty corner, on either side of half-time, ensured Ventures won.

And in Tobago on Saturday, Maritime Harvard Checkers pipped Paradise’s Championship women 2-1 on goals from Patrice Padmore and Shanice Cato, and Petrotrin’s Championship men turned back Paradise 3-1.

The Trinidad & Tobago Express

Need to start afresh

Gurbux Singh

It is when everything is in ruins that you can start building anew. Indian hockey is luckier; it hasn’t really hit rock bottom, yet. We did do reasonably well in the World Cup and, what’s more, discovered love at home in the process. That is not two feathers in the hat though. Just something to build on; an eighth finish and a fan base.

To begin with a stern word, our performance itself in the 12-nation meet was pathetic, but there were others who fared worse and made us look better. Pakistan are four-time champions of the world. Yet look where they finished and what subsequently happened to their team.

India do not need such drastic measures as an entire squad resigning because, well, the finish was respectable when considered realistically. But we do have a lot of work at hand in terms of team composition.

Pakistan, very memorably issued call-ups to battle-scarred veterans for this world meet. India were better placed with a ready group that has been working together quite some time now. But how well-served is Indian hockey by this team. All evidence suggests that this lot is far from the cutting edge.

Germany, in that context, is one team we can learn from because, obviously, it’s age I am talking about. Since the last World Cup, the Germans have concentrated on a young bunch of amateurs/players and have modelled their game on the strengths of such a squad. Clearly, their method has paid great dividends.

So, Indian hockey needs to start from scratch. Youngsters are almost conspicuous by their absence in the Indian squad. What we need to do is get rid of the dead wood and then gather a group of talented youngsters from what is available to us and give them exposure at the highest level. Side by side, of course, developing skill and nurturing talent would have to go on.

This is not the end of the year — there is the Commonwealth Games in October to be followed by the Asian Games in China. But our primary focus should not be on these events. The vision should be to four years in the future. The objective should be to take really big strides.

I will give Jose Brasa the benefit of the doubt for India’s performance at this World Cup.

He had just joined and the going has not been easy with all the fuss about elections and players’ demands giving him very little time to talk about the game.

The Telegraph, India

‘No place for PHF secretary in Executive Board’

By Shazia Hasan

KARACHI: While registering their displeasure over Asif Bajwa’s inclusion in the Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) newly-formed Executive Board, the stalwarts of hockey in Pakistan have spoken of their expectations from the panel.

Speaking to Dawn a day after PHF President Qasim Zia announced the 18-member Executive Board, a few Olympians pointed out how a board should be formed and run in their opinion.

“The technocrats in the board should be given equal powers like any other elected board member,” said one former national team captain.

“Also the extent, for which the board is formed, be it one year, two or three years, should be decided at the time of formation. Dissolving the board at the drop of a hat or whenever you want to eliminate the critical voices within it should not be allowed,” he added.

The PHF Executive Board had suddenly been dissolved the day the former Olympians came together to hold a well-attended press conference to talk about their grievances with the workings of the federation at the Karachi Press Club (KPC) on March 18.

Sources say that the move was made to avoid further embarrassment when it was feared that two members, namely, Islahuddin Siddiqui and Shahbaz Ahmed Senior, may tender their resignations from the board on the day.

Another former hockey great added: “Also any issue, big or small, must be discussed by the complete board as the board should be the ultimate authority to decide all issues. Forming sub-boards to decide any matter, while taking it to be of little significance is not on.”

And joining the chorus demanding the sacking of PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa, yet another yesteryear hero declared: “There is no place for the federation’s secretary within the Executive Board.”

He continued: “The position of PHF secretary is honorary. He should be going about his job like any other office secretary instead of poking his nose into everybody’s business. The secretary also has no place in the selection committee or any other committee that the federation or board may form.

“We expect this of the Executive Board for it to function in a fair, impartial and transparent way. The inclusion of PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa in the Board is not right. We are not getting personal here. We are just talking of what’s right and what’s not,” he concluded.

The PHF Executive Board will hold its first meeting in Lahore on Monday.


Campaign for removal of PHF secretary

Ex-Olympians fail to give any plan for uplift of hockey

By Khurram Shahzad

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan Olympians were in the federal capital on Saturday with their ‘campaign to dislodge’ Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) general secretary Mohammad Asif Bawja. It was a smear campaign, with ulterior motives, to malign the PHF secretary. The former Olympians only flayed Asif Bajwa and did not provide any plan to improve the national sport of the country. Although their criticism was on the strategy and performance of the national squad during the World Cup, where the green shirts finished poor 12th, but crux of their speeches was removal of Asif Bajwa. It was ironic that no one was able to prove his allegations against Asif Bajwa for ‘ruining the administrative affairs of the national federation.’ Everybody was insisting that Asif Bajwa should be removed for being responsible for the team’s failure, which many experts termed was not a primary responsibility of any secretary.

Shahbaz Ahmed Senior said he joined the ‘save hockey campaign’ because he only wanted respect for senior Olympians. He criticised Asif Bawja for humiliating senior players by calling them ‘old wagons and tyres.’ Former captain Islahuddin Siddiqui, the most senior player and leader of this group, alleged that Asif Bajwa was ultimate responsible for the team’s failure and he should be replaced. However, he too failed to give any plan or strategy when asked what they would do after Asif Bajwa’s removal. During this funny ‘campaign’ around 20 speakers made speeches and expressed their grudges against only one man: Asif Bajwa. A handful of ‘children’ had also been ‘arranged’ to ‘demonstrate’ a protest against the PHF. When Islahuddin and Shahnaz Sheikh were asked why the national team could not click when they were coaches and selectors in the federation, they simply got away with saying that: “we were not provided with sufficient time.” To a question why they don’t play a constructive role for the uplift of hockey, they said they could not work with a junior player like Asif Bajwa. Former Olympian Shahnaz, however, asserted that he had sent many written plans and reports to the federation but they were never implemented. Khizer Bajwa, a national umpire, raised some serious financial allegations against Asif Bajwa. But when he was asked to provide documentary proof against such serious allegations, he had no answer. Khizer was informed that he could face legal action for making allegations without any solid proof. However, senior members of this group later requested reporters to ignore these ‘remarks’ of Khizer.

Ayaz Mehmood, who time and again said he was not comfortable working with Asif Bajwa, stated his departmental reasons for not joining the present federation in the beginning. “Yes, I was offered to take over as national team’s manager but I refused because my department was not willing to post me in Pakistan on the same position on which I was serving in Moscow and it was a professional loss for me. The other reason is that I am not personally comfortable with dictatorial attitude of Asif Bajwa,” he said and then quickly added this was the reason why they were demanding removal of Asif Bawja. Overall, the show of the former Olympians was a total failure and it was not about to save hockey but to ventilate their personal grievances against Asif Bawja.

The Daily Times

Coach calls for rehabilitation of Ashanti Regional Hockey pitch

Kumasi, Ghana - The Ashanti Regional Hockey Coach, Osbert Bentum has appealed to the corporate bodies and other stakeholders to support the National Sports Council to fence and develop the regional hockey pitch at the Baba Yara Sports Stadium in Kumasi.

Coach Bentum said the pitch which has over the years' served as the only one that caters for the northern sector of the country has now been turned into a football park by the youth of the area. The Regional hockey coach who made the appeal through the GNA Sports in Kumasi at the weekend, noted that the neglect of the pitch was hampering the development of the game in the Region and its surrounding areas. "The only solution to protect it is to fence it and allow for the use of hockey play", the coach added.

Coach Bentum said the condition of the pitch incurs huge expenditure by some hockey enthusiasts to level and roll the pitch for competitions. He said another area of concern is how to get the youth from using the field for only football instead of its original use and added that it is has now become a burden because no amount of threats or warnings has been able to compel them from using the pitch for other purposes. 28 March 10


First ever Hong Kong Hockey 6's gets under way this Easter weekend.

The Hong Kong Football Club will host the first ever American Express HKFC Hockey 6's this Easter (2-3 April).

In a departure from its traditional mixed 9-a-side style, a new 6-a-side format of field hockey has been adopted.  Teams will play with only 5 field players and a goal keeper and matches will be played on a half sized pitch, with boards down each of the sidelines, resulting in a fast paced, exciting hockey.

Twenty four teams, including several from overseas will contest the major prizes in this first American Express HKFC Hockey 6's.  Amongst the favorites for the men's event are Hong Kong's ASI-Samurai who feature Olympic Gold medalist (Holland) Jaap Buma, playing alongside Hong Kong's own Ashgar Ali "100 test" veteran, supported by former England, French and New Zealand junior internationals, Tom Moore, Douglas Corbel and Brad Munt. The ladies draw features Ting Bell, a former World Player of the Year Nominee, from New Zealand.

It is hoped that next year's tournament will attract up to 50 teams, with many quality teams coming from overseas to experience this unique tournament in one of the world's most exciting cities.

The finals will take place at HKFC on Saturday afternoon.