News for 26 June 2010

All the news for Saturday 26 June 2010

Indian eves eke out a 3-3 draw against Germany

NEW DELHI: The Indian women's hockey team pumped in three goals in the second half to hold world number four and hosts Germany to a 3-3 draw in the opening match of a four-nation tournament in Essen.

India took break with a 0-2 deficit but made a remarkable recovery as Rosalin Ralte, Rani Rampal and skipper Surinder Kaur found the net to eke out a draw on Friday.

The hosts took the lead from a penalty corner conversion by Tina Bachmann in the 12th minute and veteran Natascha Keller made it 2-0 in the 24th minute.

However, the Indian players refused to throw in the towel and Ralte reduced the margin in the 38th minute with a fierce shot.

The goal, as early as in the third minute of the second session, spurred the Indians on but Lydia Hasse made it 3-1 for Germany in the 51st minute.

India kept fighting and were successful in finding the second goal when Rani converted the only penalty corner the team got in the 63rd minute.

As the game approached its end, India intensified attacks on the rival goal and skipper Surinder Kaur successfully found the equaliser.

India will next play world number five Australia, who blanked Ireland 4-0 in their opening match.

The Times of India

Ireland 0 - 4 Australia (Women) 4 Nations Germany

Ireland lost their opening 4 Nations Invitational against Australia tonight with a 4-0 defeat in Essen, Germany on a beautiful balmy evening.  This match saw Nikki Evans secure her first cap while Captain Eimear Cregan earned her 166th cap putting her on a par with the highest capped Irish hockey player ever Rachel Kohler, a record she looks set to over take tomorrow.

While the scoreline was similar to when Ireland last played Australia six weeks ago in Chile it was a much improved Irish Performance.

Ireland started looking strong and well prepared playing some great hockey in their first half. Ireland's defence settled in well calling on Mary Goode early on to make an excellent save on the 5th minute and both Cleland and Sargent marshalled well at the back. Ireland forced the first corner of the match in the 25th minute but the on target shot was too high and resulted in a free out.

Australia wasting no time on the free out won a penalty corner within 12 seconds and they made no mistake to take the initiative with 1-0 lead in the 25th minute. And just four minutes later Ireland after all their excellent play had a lapse in concentration allowing Australia put a simple goal away to double their lead before half time.

Ireland had a number of chances in the first half to get a goal or two back when Small put her shot wide and Captain Cregan just touching a great chance beyond the side post.

Ireland started the second half well but Australia stepped up a gear forcing Ireland to concede three penalty corners the third of which resulted in a world class drag flick to the top left corner to make it 3-0.

Ireland's best chance of the game came immediately after when Emma Smyth put through a beautiful pass for club mate Nikki Evans who had a one on one with the keeper but the experienced keeper closed the angle dashing any hopes of an Irish goal.

Ireland began to feel the pressure in the dying minutes conceding two more penalty corners and the final and fourth goal with just minutes left.

Commenting after the match Coach Gene Muller said It was a more open match than in Chile and we performed much better technically. We created good scoring chances but we were sloppy with crucial turnovers which cost us in both circles. Emma Gray / Lisa Jacob (Minor injury)

Ireland 4 Nations Squad, Essen, Germany 25th - 27th June Emma Clarke (Leicester; 67 caps); Bridget Cleland (Ballymoney; 144); Lizzie Colvin (Loreto; 31); Eimear Cregan (Catholic Institute; 165); Nicci Daly (Loreto; 2); Nicola Evans (Railway Union; 0); Mary Goode (Bray; 67); Michelle Harvey (Pegasus; 32); Shirley McCay (Dragons; 85); Audrey O'Flynn (UCC; 8); Julia O'Halloran (UCC; 48); Cliodhna Sargent (Cork Harlequins; 59); Niamh Small (Loreto; 27); Emma Smyth (Railway Union; 26); Alex Speers (Dragons; 72); Nikki Symmons (Loreto; 136) Not Used: Lisa Jacob (UCD; 67)(recovering from minor injury at training); Emma Gray (Hermes; 12);

Match Schedule: Local Time
26th Ireland v Germany 17.00
27th Ireland v India 12.00

Irish Hockey Association media release

Ireland win opening Celtic Cup encounter

Ireland opened their Celtic Cup campaign today with a 3-1 win over fellow Celts, Scotland.

The opening quarter of the match was dominated by midfield exchanges with few circle penetration or goal scoring opportunities. Ireland grew in confidence thereafter and in the 19th minute took a 1-0 lead when a reverse stick pass from Alan Sothern was deflected into the net by Chris Cargo over the top of the advancing goal keeper.

Ireland continued to pressurise the Scottish defence and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 25th minute, however it was fantastically saved by Scotland and GB keeper Alistair McGregor. Ireland doubled their lead in the 31st minute when Conor Harte put his drag flick high right deflecting on the way in off a Scottish defenders stick.

Half time Ireland 2 - 0 Scotland

Ireland upped the pace in the second half but Scotland scored against the run of play to pull one back with a solo run from Kenny Bane who slipped past two defenders at the top of the circle and shot hard past the outstretched keeper Iain Walker. Ireland went on the ascendancy for the remainder of the game with some fantastic attacking moves and two touch hockey which they were duly rewarded for in the 64th minute with another penalty corner which was slipped left to Timmy Cockram who drag flicked high left into the roof of the net.

Ireland play again tomorrow at 15.00 (French Time) against Wales

Ireland Celtic Cup Squad 25th - 27th June, Le Touquet, France

Starting XI: Iain Walker (YMCA; 20) GK; Ronan Gormley (Pembroke W; 97) Captain; John Jackson (Mossley; 42); Conor Harte (Pembroke W; 40); Paul Gleghorne (Loughborough; 11); Geoff McCabe (Dragons; 62); David Ames (Cookstown; 14); Andy McConnell (Pembroke W; 13); Eugene Magee (Dragons; 103); Timmy Cockram (Lisnagarvey; 95); Mitch Darling (Leuven; 41);

Reserves: Joe Brennan (Glenanne; 33) Alan Giles (Pembroke W; 7) Alan Sothern (Pembroke W; 37);); Phelie Maguire (Leuven; 77) Chris Cargo (Reading; 5)

Not Used: Peter Caruth (Annadale; 16) David Fitzgerald (Monkstown; 0) GK;

Match Schedule: Local Time

26th Ireland v Wales 15.00

27th Ireland v France 14.00

Ireland 3 (2) Chris Cargo 19th m ; Conor Harte 31th; Timmy Cockram 64th minute

Scotland 1 (0) Kenny Bane 41st m

Irish Hockey Association media release

Ireland selects YOG Team

The cream of Ireland’s under 17s girls hockey players have been selected to participate at the first Youth Olympic Games (YOG) which are being held in Singapore in August.

Selected are: Rebecca Barry (Laurel Hill, Catholic Institute); Chloe Brown (Nendrum College, North Down); Lucy Camlin GK (Ballyclare HS; Pegasus); Amy Cooke (Ballyclare HS; Lisnagarvey); Leah Ewart, (Royal School Armagh; Armagh); Gemma Fraser (Omagh HS; Omagh); Dora Gorman, (Taylors, Greenfields); Jenna Holmes GK, (Carrickfergus; Randalstown); Lisa McCarthy, (Mount Anville, Railway Union); Kerri McDonald, (Banbridge Academy; Dromore); Antonia McGrath, (Ursuline Convent, Cork Harlequins); Lucy McKee, (Banbridge Academy; Armagh); Katie Mullin, (Dalraida, Ballymoney); Roisin Upton, (Crescent College Comprehensive, Catholic Institute).

A further two players will be selected in the coming days. The Irish management team will be: David Passmore, Una McCarthy and Richie Malone of Irish Hockey.

David Passmore, who is Irish Hockey’s High Performance Director, commented: “This was an immensely difficult selection process that included trials and many hours of video reviews. This young group has a lot of potential and the Youth Olympic tournament represents a superb stage for them to develop and perform. It will be a challenging event requiring high fitness levels. In addition, the intensity of play along with the varying playing styles we will encounter will make it even more demanding. Irish Hockey is delighted and very grateful that this opportunity has been provided by the Olympic Council of Ireland”

All arrangements for Ireland’s participation at the YOG have now been completed and, in addition to girl’s hockey, Ireland will be represented in athletics, boxing, rowing, sailing, triathlon, tennis and modern pentathlon.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Who won between KZN Coastals and Southern Gauteng in U18 Boys' Hockey final?


THERE was really only one team in it, as KZN Coastals earned a 3-0 victory over Southern Gauteng in the South Africa U18 Boy's Hockey Interprovincial Tournament's title match at Maritzburg College's Pape's Astro Friday.

For dethroned kings of SA U18 hockey, KZN Inland, there was some relief, as the host province broke free of their losing sequence with a 2-0 win against Western Province B in the seventh place playoff.

Coastals' goals in the final came from a top-class David Bayne field effort in the first half before Richard Pentecost's pinpoint flick from a penalty corner slip left and Marco Lopes' pounce off the keeper's pads following a PC two minutes from time drilled the final nails in Southerns' coffin.

Coastals displayed superior ball speed and movement off the ball, and the blazing hot winter sun in Pietermaritzburg didn't appear to affect them at all, while Southerns were simply not up to the mark on the day.

Southern Gauteng's Matt Brown, Gerald Mpopo, Ross Gonsalves, Skhozi Mgobozi, Gareth Oliver and Lloyd Nicholson all had their moments, but it was not enough to make the necessary difference between winning and losing this final.

It was almost impossible to believe that Coastals had lost their first game 4-1 to Border, but their eventual success was a triumph of character over adversity.

However, although Coastals looked so good in winning the final and in the immediate matches leading up to it, only two of their players were selected for the national U18 team, which seemed strange given the outstanding performances of the unrecognised Pentecost and Josh Perry of Kearsney, Glenwood's Alex van der Merwe, Lopes of DHS, Westville's Jarryd Jones and Durban Varsity's Zamokuhle Ngubo.

National selectors Brendon Carolan, Robin van Ginkel, Malcolm Mopp and Craig Sieben obviously saw differently – and they are prevented from picking the team on merit because of the 50% non-white stipulation - but it was a poor return for comfortably the most outstanding side, superbly guided by coach Wade Paton.

There was absolutely no doubt, though, that they got it right with Durban Varsity's Mohamed Mea, the Coastals captain, and Glenwood's Sumanth Sunkari.

One of the finest efforts of the tournament was tiny Boland finishing fifth. Coach Neville Rothman, captain Marc Fourie and the rest of the guys can take a bow for what was a significant achievement.

Another notable performance was South Western Districts' promotion to the A Section at the expense of Mpumalanga. It is a feather in the cap of the team and their coach, former KZN Dolphins seam bowler and Maritzburg College first XV centre Dave Pryke at his alma mater.

Two umpire grades were awarded to the 19 participating umpires by umpires manger Doug Neilson and assistant umpires manager Scott Tarr, and they went to both officials who blew the whistle in the final, Cole Milton and Jethro Eustice.

The top five goalscorers in the A Section were Keenan Horn (WP, 8), Grant Glutz (KZN Inland, 7), and Broderick Burds (Southern Gauteng), Brynn Cleak (SG) plus Marc Fourie (Boland) who each netted five times.

The top two goalscorers in the B Section were Chad Conlon (SWD, 6) and Simphiwe Ngubane (KZN Inland, 5) with a host of players following with four goals.

No information at all was available from the Girls' U18 IPT in Potchefstroom.


A Section: (11/12) East Gauteng 1 Mpumalanga 0 (relegated); (9/10) South Free State 2 EP 1; (7/8) KZN Inland 2 WP B 0; (5/6) Boland 2 North Gauteng 0; (3/4) WP 1 Border 0; (final) KZN Coastal 3 South Gauteng 0.

B Section: SWD 3 Bdr B 1; Inland B 8 Limpopo 0; SG B 5 North West 1; North Cape 2 North FS 1.

Classification: 1 SWD (promoted); 2 SG B; 3 Bdr B; 4 Inl B; 5 NC; 6 Lim; 7 NFS; 8 NW.

30-man SA U17 squad: Grant Glutz, Nicholas Berichon (both KZN Inland); Ross Hetem, Sumanth Sunkari, David Bayne, Richard Curtis (all KZN Coastals); Otto Bam, Dylan Swanepoel, Hendri Kroukamp (all SFS); Dylan Swanepoel (Boland); Robin Blampied, Bernard Greybe, Lungelo Mafuya, Louis Mbuyu, Michael Mulder, Michael Watson (all WP); Jason Briggs, Ross Gonsalves, Bradley Collins, Hayden Jennings, Emile Odendaal (all South Gauteng); Cerenzo Comerasamy, Brad Hensburg, Ignatius Malgraff (all Border); Chad Cairncross, Curtis and Dayne Samboer (all (EP); Andrew Fairweather, Taylor Corney, James Warsop (Northern Gauteng);

18-man SA U18 team: Grant Glutz, Andrew Manson, Rene de la Peyre (all KZN Inland); Mohamed Mea, Sumanth Sunkari (both KZN Coastal); Adrian Abrahams, Taylor Dart, Lloyd de Kock, Keenan Horne, Michael Watson (all WP); Brynn Cleak, Matt Brown, Broderick Burds (all Southern Gauteng); Tayla Corney, Kenny Mukhansi (both North Gauteng); Ignatius Malgraff (Border); Damien Kimfley (EP); Marc Fourie (Boland).

SA Hockey World

More hockey turfs means more new players - and that means higher standards


FRIDAY saw the conclusion of three national hockey tournaments that have taken place in Pietermaritzburg over the past fortnight.

The South Africa U16 and SA U18 Boys' Interprovincial hockey tournaments at Maritzburg College 's Pape's Astro and the AB Jackson Greenfields Turf, and the South African Country Districts' Interprovincial Women's Tournament at GHS's Greenfields Turf saw 52 teams playing in the Kwa Zulu Natal capital.

Around 1 000 hockey players, managers, coaches, umpires, national selectors and other officials from all over the country plus many more spectators gathered in PMB, bringing much-needed revenue to the city's coffers and again proving just how suited PMB is to hosting events of this nature.

As a very conservative estimate, bank on R200 per hockey player/official per day over a period of five to six days each and you have in the region of R1 million spent in the KZN capital by players and support staff management on food, travel, accommodation and so on over the past fortnight.

And then there has been – on my and others' observation – about half the hockey parents plus siblings watching. That's about 3 000 supporters spending, at an extremely conservative estimate, around R300 per day on food, travel and accommodation and you are looking at another cool R1 million in the city's coffers.

Two million bucks over the past 10 to 12 days is a nice cash injection into the PMB economy and makes sense of the money that can be made through attracting top hockey tournaments to the city.

And I haven't even mentioned the big SA U13 inter provincial B boys' and girls' hockey festival that was held over three or four days in PMB three weeks ago, and probably doubles the aforementioned income.

The reason I am bringing this up? Simple, really. Apart from the obvious benefits of getting as many players on synthetic turf pitches as possible, there is a monetary benefit that can pay for these hockey pitches over time. Sufficient, that is, to begin to cover the costs of relaying the surfaces come their sell-by date after eight to 10 years.

The perception that hockey is a rich person's sport has value – evidenced by the myriad double cabs, Mercs, Cadillacs and BMW's in the car parks at the three hockey venues over the past 10 to 12 days. In South Africa at least, it is an amateur sport, so players generally have to pay their own way – and with sticks retailing at over R2000 and more for some of the best – it's not cheap.

That said, I know of no needy hockey player who has ever been turned away due to financial constraints – hockey people always make a plan for the less fortunate. And it is this imperative – to take hockey to the masses so as to raise standards – that must drive municipalities in harness with hockey institutions to build more of these hockey turfs. There is no other way to learn the modern game of hockey.

Currently there are around 80 such hockey turfs in SA with a replacement value of approximately R480 million that cater for the 112 000 schoolchildren who play hockey, plus the 8 000 or so club hockey players, yet the likes of Northern and Southern Cape, Limpopo, Eastern Gauteng and Mpumalanga have just one hockey turf between them.

This has to change if hockey is to become a game for all the people - and in turn raise the standards of the game in SA so we are better able to compete with the world's best.

Imagine if our pool of hockey talent came from 48 million people and not just six million?

SA Hockey World

US Women's National Championships

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The final matchups are set in both the Senior and Junior Women's National Championships after another action packed day came to an end Friday at the National Training Center in Virginia Beach.

The Women's National Championship Final will pit undefeated New Jersey (3-0-1) against undefeated Pennsylvania (2-0-2) Saturday at 6 p.m. The squads are no strangers to each other as they met in each team's first game of the week on Sunday and played to a 3-3 draw.

In today's action Pennsylvania shutout previously undefeated South, 2-0. Jamie Whitten scored off a penalty corner in the 10th minute and Jennifer Stone added an empty cage insurance goal in the 74th minute.

In the other semifinal, New Jersey gave up the first goal, but then scored three straight and held on for a 3-2 win against Mid-Atlantic.

The Junior Women's National Championship final is also set as both Pennsylvania and Mid-Atlantic won today and will face-off on Saturday at 4 p.m. In the first game of the day Bridget Settles scored twice for New Jersey, but Pennsylvania won 4-3 to remain unbeaten on the week (3-0-1).

In the other semifinal, Mid-Atlantic topped New England, 4-1.

The National Futures Championships wrapped up the U16 division today as well with Trenton taking home the crown. The U19's will be in action tomorrow starting at 7 a.m.

For match results and a link to more photos from the Women's National Championships, please click here.

USFHA media release

US National Futures Championships

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. -- The National Futures Championships kicked off Tuesday in Virginia Beach, Va. and young field hockey standouts from all over the country have settled at the National Training Center to compete over the next six days.

Despite a brief lightning delay in the early evening, 11 total games were played today in the U14 and U16 divisions. By weeks end 646 athletes will have competed in the 2010 National Futures Championships.

The U14 and U16 athletes will take center stage Tuesday and Wednesday, while the U19 competitors begin their games on Thursday.

The Futures Elite Program will select 150 players from this player pool and over 100 college coaches will be in attendance throughout the week.

[ED: An article about the umpires officiating the National Futures Championships, who have also come from all over the country, is available here.]

After resting on Tuesday, the Senior and Junior Women's National Championships will return to the pitch on Wednesday. Pennsylvania will take on North at 9 a.m. in WNC action, while the juniors will begin play at 4:30 p.m. with New England taking on Mid Atlantic.

Come back to throughout the week for updates on the games and players!

USFHA media release

Bangladesh Premier Div hockey

Sports Reporter

Mariner Youngs recorded a 3-2 win over Shadharan Bima KS in the Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium yesterday.

Taher Ali, Abdus Sabur and Ripon Kumar Mohanta scored one goal each for Mariner while Ashraful Islam Shishu and Prashanta Dey netted one apiece for the losing side.

In the day's other match, Bangladesh SC and Police AC played out a 1-1 draw. Sumon gave Bangladesh SC the lead in the 23rd minute while Rana Das levelled the in the 60th minute.

The Daily Star

Abahani rope in five Pakistanis

Sports Reporter

Bangladesh title contenders Abahani drafted in five hockey players from Pakistan including penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas, for the ongoing Green Delta Insurance Premier Division Hockey League.

All five of them trained yesterday afternoon at the Maulana Bhasani National Hockey Stadium and four out of them are expected to play their first match against Dhaka Mariner Youngs on June 28.

Joint secretary of Abahani hockey committee Shahidullah Dolon informed that they would register four players today and sign one before the match against rivals Mohammedan next month.

Abahani jointly lead the points table along with Mohammedan with full 12 points from four matches.

The Daily Star

Indian Hockey team upbeat ahead of Euro tour

Joe Williams

Pune: A proper blend of young and experienced players will come to the fore as the Indian hockey team braces itself to challenge some of the top European nations in their month-long tour beginning July 2.

The 22-member team left the Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Balewadi here on Friday for the Four Nations Hamburg Masters where they are set to take on The Netherlands, Germany and Japan.

That tournament will be followed by a Test series each in Belgium, France and The Netherlands. “It will be a good experience for the youngsters and some good practice for the seniors before they take the field for some serious encounters in the two big tournaments (CWG and Asian Games) ahead,” India hockey coach Harendra Singh told DNA.

“The last European tour proved beneficial for the team and we are hoping for the same. With Sandeep Singh back in team and youngsters like Amir Khan making the squad, there is a good mixture of players and it should be exciting,” said skipper Rajpal Singh. “We are here to do our duty for the nation,” said comeback man Sandeep Singh.


SAI shunts out 9 players from women’s hockey team

At a time when the state is not doing particularly well in hockey, the news of nine women players being shunted out by the Sports Authority of India (SAI), Gujarat chapter, has come as a shock. The issue is rooted in an argument between the said players and their coach over participation in a national and state-level championship. The nine girls — all from the tribal regions of Chhota Udepur, Valsad and Kutch and aged between 17 and 19 — were left with no option but to return to their villages after they were asked to leave the SAI hostel in Gandhinagar. Interestingly, the women’s hockey team is now left with only two players. It all began when the girls requested their coach to participate in two back to back tournaments — a state-level night hockey tournament held in Vadodara and a national tournament in Nasik. “We had initially said that we want to participate in both the tournaments; and despite the back to back schedule, we knew we could manage it. But the coach refused it outright and even rebuked us. We went to her to apologise and agreed that we would play only in the Nasik tournament. Who would not want to participate in a national championship?” said Champa Rathwa, a player from Chhota Udepur.

“But then she said that she had already cancelled our registration and would not take us in the team. Since we could not go to Nasik, we didn’t want to lose out on the Vadodara tournament. We participated as we had prior written permission,” added Champa.

The girls had won the tournament, beating six other teams from the state. “The Vadodara tournament was held from May 31 to June 4, while the Nasik tournament was to start on June 4; the girls were required to report on June 3. But the team went to Vadodara without a coach or permission. They were removed on the grounds of indiscipline. We now have two girls in the hockey team,” said M N Thakor, a SAI coach.

SAI hostel and the girls’ coach, Ila Rani Sharma, said it is an annual process to shunt out players on the basis of poor performance and hostel attendance. “These girls had poor hostel attendance, which shows they have no interest in the sport. It was I who selected them from tribal villages, brought them here, and taught them to play. They are just complicating the issue. They are not the only ones to be marched out: 11 players from various sporting disciplines have also been asked to go,” she added.

The move has even jeopardised the education of these girls. Parita Dodhi, another player from Valsad, said: “As players, why would we refuse to play in national level tournaments? Ours is the best women team in Gujarat and no one can beat us at the state level competitions. But we are not taken out to play in national games regularly. Instead, our coach insults us saying we should not consider ourselves as international players. We have rented a small room in Gandhinagar and asked our families for monetary help so that we can at least complete college.”

A senior sports official said on condition of anonymity: “We have come to know about the issue but cannot do anything about it as it is a SAI issue. Girls having potential of being good players have fallen victims to ego within the system.”

SAI director Shyam Sundar could not be contacted despite several attempts.

Indian Express

Hockey Australia to set up academy Lavasa

MUMBAI: Hockey Australia signed a Statement of Intent to help develop a new academy at the hill resort of Lavasa near Pune.

As part of the agreement, Hockey Australia will provide consultancy services in all aspects of the development of the academy, including assisting in the design of the academy, the introduction of world class coaches to run it and providing intellectual property of various Hockey Australia programmes, a media release said.

Hockey Australia's chief executive Mark Anderson said the involvement of HA in the development of the hockey academy in Lavasa demonstrated Australia's standing as a world leader in hockey.

"Hockey Australia has long been recognised as an innovator and leader on the hockey pitch with the success of our national teams," said Anderson.

"We look forward to forging a long-term relationship with Lavasa to assist in developing hockey as a vibrant and growing sport within India and Australian communities," he added.

Planned for a permanent population of around 3 lakh residents and a tourist inflow estimated at 20 lakh per annum, Lavasa has already tied up with golfing great Sir Nick Faldo to launch a golf academy and a golf course and with Manchester City Football Club to start a world class football academy.

These projects are scheduled to be completed by 2012, the release added.

The Times of India

Hockey coach Heuvel wants green shirts to fly high again

By Mirza Iqbal Baig

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey’s newly appointed Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel has said that he knows Pakistan’s glorious past and his mission is to make the green shirts fly high again. “As a young boy I watched Pakistan play, and they were not normal players because they use to fly and my goal is to make this beautiful green team fly again,” Heuvel told reporters at Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium here on Friday. Also present on the occasion were chief selector Hanif Khan and team manager Manzoor Junior.

Heuvel said he had no worries about the country’s security situation and urged fans to be patient as the team rebuilds after a disastrous World Cup. Dutchman Van den Heuvel, 46, guided the Netherlands to a bronze medal finish in the 12-nation World Cup held in February-March in India, where Pakistan finished bottom – their worst-ever performance at international level. The Delhi flop was the culmination of a continuous slide for Pakistan, winners of three Olympic and four world titles. “What I witnessed during the World Cup in New Delhi, Pakistan looked over-trained and exhausted. I want to help the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) in making Pakistan a strong team,” he maintained.

Heuvel, hired last week until the London Olympics in 2012, set about his task without any fears. “When they called me to become Pakistan coach, I wanted to have a feel and when I came, initially it felt like a jail in Lahore, but gradually it eased and now I am here in Karachi and see no security problems,” Heuvel added. Pakistan’s last major title came in the World Cup in Australia in 1994, but Heuvel urged the normally impatient Pakistan fans to wait for the revival. “The fans must understand it’s not an easy way to the top, Pakistan is not the only country striving to go back to the top and a revival is not done in three months,” he said. “Its a continued process, we will have victories and losses, as a normal process but the focus will not only be on winning, the main focus will be to learn to grow as a team.”

The new coach’s first task will be a tour of Europe, where Pakistan play four matches against Spain and two against his former team, the Netherlands. Pakistan then will feature in October’s Commonwealth Games in New Delhi before taking part in the Asian Games in China a month later. “Asian Games is a tough tournament with South Korea and India, who both are progressing well. India are shaping well with a Spanish coach, so we have to show a gradual improvement,” said the new coach. Commenting on his plan, he said he had to bring in tactics, technique and mental fitness. “I need to spend a lot of time and understand to live like a Pakistani, but world hockey is not played only in Pakistan so we will go whenever we have to and travel,” he said. Chief selector Hanif said they would be working closely with the new coach in the selection matters as he would be spending most of the time with players. Manager Manzoor said this was his first attachment with the national team and he would try to play his role to the best of his ability.

The Daily Times

Dutch coach aims for Pakistan hockey revival

KARACHI: Pakistan's new hockey coach Michel van den Heuvel on Friday said he had no worries about the country's security situation and urged fans to be patient as the team rebuilds after a disastrous World Cup.

Dutchman Van den Heuvel, 46, guided the Netherlands to a bronze medal finish in the 12-nation World Cup held in February-March in India, where Pakistan finished bottom —their worst-ever performance at international level.

The Delhi flop was the culmination of a continuous slide for Pakistan, winners of three Olympic and four world titles.

Pakistan has been a no-go area for foreign teams because of the ongoing battle between the army and a Taliban insurgency.

The country's chances of bringing international teams back suffered a terrible blow when the Sri Lankan cricket team bus was attacked in Lahore in March last year, injuring seven players besides killing eight people.

Van den Heuvel, hired last week until the London Olympics in 2012, set about his task without any fears.

“When they called me (to become Pakistan coach), I wanted to have a feel and when I came, initially it felt like a jail in Lahore, but gradually it eased and now I am here in Karachi and see no security problems,” Van den Heuvel told a press conference.

Pakistan's last major title came in the World Cup in Australia in 1994, but Van den Heuvel urged the normally impatient Pakistan fans to wait for the revival.

“The fans must understand it's not an easy way to the top, Pakistan is not the only country striving to go back to the top and a revival is not done in three months,” he said.

“Its a continued process, we will have victories and losses, as a normal process but the focus will not only be on winning, the main focus will be to learn to grow as a team,” said Van den Heuvel.

“I saw the Pakistan team in Qatar (in February) where the Netherlands played in two games with them and they were impressive. In India, I watched them play against India and Pakistani players looked exhausted and over-trained.”

The new coach's first task will be a tour of Europe, where Pakistan play four matches against Spain and two against his former team, the Netherlands.

Pakistan then will feature in October's Commonwealth Games in New Delhi before taking part in the Asian Games in China a month later.

“Asian Games is a tough tournament with South Korea and India, who both are progressing well. India is shaping well with a Spanish coach, so we have to show a gradual improvement,” said the new coach.

“As a young boy I watched Pakistan play, and they were not normal players because they use to fly and now my aim is to make this beautiful green team fly again and achieve better results in the 2012 Olympics.”


Junior hockey team to play seniors after Euro tour call-off

By Shazia Hasan

KARACHI: Following the calling off of the Pakistan junior hockey team’s tour of Europe, the players will now be flying down to Karachi to play a series against the seniors and Pakistan Whites teams.

Speaking to Dawn on Thursday, Khawaja Junaid, the team’s chief coach, though a little disappointed over the cancellation of the Holland and Belgium tour, said they have come up with alternate plans to help the boys prepare for the Youth Olympics to be held in Singapore in mid August.

“We will now be heading towards Karachi where the boys will be playing matches against the senior and Pakistan Whites teams during the same period that we were to tour Europe,” he informed. “Both these teams are superior to us and I am sure that the boys will benefit from the experience,” he added.

“We usually stop playing a month prior to a big assignment as that is the time for us to work on our shortcomings noticed during a preparatory tour, which we will be doing now as well after playing against the other two national outfits,” he explained.

The junior team, which was training in Islamabad since June 8 was to leave for Europe a day earlier (June 23) but could not due to the delay caused in the issuing of passports to the players.

According to the coach, who recently resumed charge of the junior outfit after a brief stint with the senior side during last month’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia: “The boys hail from all kinds of remote areas of the country. Most have never traveled before. Leave alone the passports; some don’t even have their ‘B’ forms with them. So we had to start from scratch to get their papers in order to get them the passports. The visa process, even though the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) had broken many barriers on the diplomatic front after the senior team’s experience with applying for Schengen visas before the World Cup qualifiers in France, giving us the facility to apply just 10 days ahead of travel, took extra time due to the passport problem,” he said.

Once the hassle of ‘B’ forms was solved by the PHF, the real ages of the boys, too, were found out creating a new headache for the federation as some among them turned out to be too young and some over-age.


150 teams for Ipoh tournament


ABOUT 150 teams have signed up for the Perak-Milo-MBI-MSN Hockey Sixes and Sevens in Ipoh on July 10-11.

To date 38 teams have confirmed their entries including four from Taiwan -- Lu Ju Elemantary School (two teams), Chien Kuo Elementary School and Ching Shui Junior High School.

The tournament is organised by Ipoh City Hockey Association with the support of Nestle, Perak State Sports Council and Ipoh City Council in conjunction with Ipoh City Day.

The tournament is for boys and girls under-12, 15 and 18.

For details, contact Jaswant Singh at 012-5656 647 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Entries close on Wednesday.

New Straits Times