News for 12 January 2012

All the news for Thursday 12 January 2012


Malaysia make losing start in hockey series against China

By S. RAMAGURU



Grounded: Malaysia’s Faisal Saari (bottom) goes sprawling to flick the ball away from China’s Au Waibo during their friendly yesterday. China won 2-1. – AZHAR MAHFOF / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia made a disastrous start to the five-match hockey series with China after going down 1-2 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil here yesterday.

China went ahead as early as the third minute through a penalty corner attempt by Song Yi. The visitors then capitalised on a defensive error to take a 2-0 lead in the 25th minute through Sun Long.

Mohamad Amin Rahim pulled a goal back for Malaysia five minutes later.

The second half saw China putting up the shutters in defence and although the Malaysians enjoyed more possession, they scould not find the equaliser.

The five-match series is the start of the national hockey team’s final tune-up for the Olympic qualifiers.

But their performance yesterday was far from a polished show expected of a team aiming to qualify for the Olympics.

Stand-in manager Stephen van Huizen said that China’s two first half goals put the pressure on the Malaysians.

“We were left chasing a two–goal deficit and the pressure got to the players, who could not play their usual game,” said Stephen.

“Malaysia had eight penalty corners but we could only make one count. We need to buck up for the second match today and changes will be made as we need to try out other players in the squad.”

China are also preparing for the Olympic qualifiers but they will be playing in Japan in April. Malaysia will play in a different qualifying group in Dublin in March.

The Star of Malaysia



China look ahead



Though their qualifiers are some three months away, the Chinese hockey team looked much sharper in the first of their five friendlies against the Malaysian side at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil this evening.

China scored two goals in the first half through skipper Song Yi in the 3rd minute and doubled their advantage through Sun Zhuhai in the 25th minute.

Mohd Amin Rahim converted a penalty corner in the 30th minute to reduce the deficit. And though they had chances towards the closing stages of the match to draw level, poor finishing let them down.

The lethargic performances of the Malaysian players was understandable given that they are undergoing grueling training sessions of late. However it was their lack of interest in the match that stood out like a sore thumb.

For the Chinese, the six matches in Kuala Lumpur will give them the much needed match practice after having being the first team in seven years to undertake a tour of Pakistan.

Though they lost all the 4 matches against Pakistan, they obviously have worked on newer tactics, the running out for penalty corners as an example. For China opted for two first runners and that somewht took the sting out of the normal potent Malaysian penalty corner battery.

"We will take a break for the Chinese New Year and resume training after that. We do not have a large pool of players and these 20 that we brought here are all that we have," said China team manager Yang Liu.

"It is a good result, to win against Malaysia is not easy. But then again I noticed that the Malaysian team have several new faces after the AHF Champions Trophy in Ordos last September.

"We are hoping to be more consistent in our performances and as preparation for the Olympic Qualifier in Japan next April, we intend to invite some teams to China to play matches.

"We lack quality matches and are fortunate that Malaysia agreed to these matches."

Malaysian Hockey blogspot



Promotion on the agenda

Billy McPherson takes his Scotland squad to the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Championships in Lignano with high hopes of promotion to Europe`s elite top eight in two years time.

The Scots will face Sweden, Ukraine and hosts Italy in the pool competition and will require to come in the top two to qualify for the subsequent promotion group.  McPherson`s charges will then be up against the top sides from the other pool comprising of Denmark, Poland, Slovakia and Belarus.

The Scotland coach is aware of the tough nature of the assignment in Lignano, but has been well satisfied with the progress of the squad in the build-up programme.

"This is the first time I remember having three consecutive tournaments, the Grove Menzieshill event, the Richard Docherty Cup and finally the Europeans.  We learned a lot from these games and there is still a bit of works still to do on formations and tactics," said McPherson.

The Scots, under the guise of the Caledonian Cougars, won the Menzieshill event with a 5-3 victory over club champions Inverleith.  Last weekend at the Richard Docherty Cup, this time under the name of Highland Jaguars, the Scotland squad topped their pool with wins over Wales and Dutch invitation side HC RGD, then saw off Inverleith 9-3 in the semi-final.   Although the Scots lost the final 6-5 to crack German outfit Grossflottbecker, they took the side from Hamburg right to the wire, and this will give McPherson considerable confidence.

McPherson said:

"We have now built up a good balanced squad, there is a very good team spirit and excellent work ethic among the players."

At the back the side will rely on Allan Dick, the goalkeeper of the tournament last weekend in Edinburgh, and the combined skills of Andrew Thornton, Adam MacKenzie and Allan Law who has had a new lease of life since joining Grange at the start of this indoor season.

Up front the Scots have a natural indoor goalscorer in Grove Menzieshill`s Chris Wilson who can find the net both from open play and the penalty corner switch, and in the four games in Edinburgh last weekend Wilson notched a total of ten goals, including four against Inverleith.

But McPherson said:

"Wilson is certainly hitting the target at the moment, but so are others as the goals have also been spread around others, and we are always a threat from penalty corners."

The Scots open on Friday against Italy around mid-day, to be followed by Ukraine in the evening, and back to back wins would certainly put McPherson`s charges on the road to promotion.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Team USA continues preparations for London

Ashley Meunier


COLORADO SPRINGS, C.O. - The USA Women’s National Team continues their preparations for the 2012 London Olympic Games with an upcoming series against Australia at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA, January 14-18. Australia is currently ranked No. 7 in the world and is likely to be a pool play opponent for Team USA in London.

“I think the competition will be extremely valuable in our preparation to London given they are projected to be in our pool at the Olympic Games,” said Head Coach Lee Bodimeade. “They are currently No. 7 in the world and probably a little bitter about that. They will be looking to put on a really strong performance against us.”

With some of Team USA’s best players still rehabbing injuries, younger players on the squad will have the opportunity to step up, gain international experience and even push for selection to the Olympic Team roster.

Keli Smith-Puzo (Selinsgrove, Pa) will put on her No. 13 jersey for the first time since February 2011, when she announced she was three months pregnant with her second child. Smith returned to training just eight weeks after giving birth to her son, Ian, in preparations for her second and likely last Olympic Games. 

With the Olympic Games only 199 days away, 24 athletes are pushing hard to solidify a spot on the London roster and are looking to fulfill an Olympic dream.

Katie O’Donnell (Blue Bell, Pa) and Claire Laubach (Centreville, VA) were heartbroken when their names were left off of the 2008 Beijing Olympic roster. Four years later, O’Donnell and Laubach are hoping for a different outcome when the London Team is announced in June.

Eight 2008 Olympians, including, Smith, Kayla Bashore-Smedley (Shoemakersville, Pa), captain Lauren Crandall (Doylestown, Pa), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, NJ), Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg, Pa), Jesse Gey (Green Lane, Pa), Caroline Nichols (Virginia Beach, VA) and Amy Tran-Swensen (Grantville, Pa) will be looking to make a second Olympic appearance this summer.

College superstars including Katie and Julia Reinprecht (Perkasie, Pa), Michelle Cesan (Harding, NJ), Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa), Michelle Vittese (Woodbury, NJ) and Kathleen Sharkey (Moosic, Pa) put their books aside for the year and relocated to the west coast in pursuit of the Olympic dream.

Only 16 athletes will see their names on the Olympic Team roster. The next five months will be intensive training and tough competitions that will ultimately help Bodimeade determine the top 16 that will represent their country on the world’s largest stage.    

Following the conclusion of the Australia series, Team USA will continue to face top opponents in the upcoming months including New Zealand, Spain and Argentina.

All matches for the USA vs Australia series will played at 1:00pm PT. Match dates are as follows: January 14, January 15, January 17, January 18. Admittance is free and open to the public. The Olympic Training Center is located at 2800 Olympic Parkway, Chula Vista, CA. Follow games live on Twitter @USAFieldHockey. Full event details can be found on www.usafieldhockey.com

USFHA media release



Schedules Intensify for Irish Hockey Teams in build up to FIH Olympic Qualifying Tournaments


Both Ireland's National Hockey teams are entering busy periods as their preparations intensify building towards their respective FIH Olympic Qualifying Tournament, the men's in Dublin 10th - 18th March and the women's in Belgium 17th - 24th March.

Both teams will benefit from key match practise and warm weather training which has been built into their programme between now and March. Firstly looking at the men who head off head to Spain for an eight day training camp, next Monday, which will also encompass three matches against the Dutch (world no 3's), this will be quickly followed up by two matches against Great Britain in England, before Ireland return to Spain for a warm weather training camp which will be peppered with a series of matches against Spain and Belgium.

The Women, sponsored by Electric Ireland, will be equally busy their first port of call is a warm weather training camp in South Africa, which will also include a tri-nations tournament (Ireland; South Africa and Belgium) before they take a couple of days in camp form (25th - 27th February) to familiarise themselves with the pitch and set up in Beerschot, Belgium where they will play their Olympic Qualifying Tournament in March.

Commenting on the schedules High Performance Director Dave Passmore said "Given the uncertainty of when and where each team would compete for a place in London 2012 these programs provide quality training and match opportunities allowing for inclement weather conditions in Ireland. Each coach has carefully planned the programs to peak in time for their respective qualifying event and I am sure the whole of the hockey community wishes them the best for the preparation period"

Squads for the Olympic Qualifying Tournaments will be announced on February 29th, press will be sent full details nearer the time.

(all listed times and dates below are subject to change)

MENS International Schedule

All times are local times
Date Match Time Venue


16th - 25th January Warm Weather Training Camp Spain

January
20/01/2012 Ireland v Netherlands 15.00 Alicante
22/01/2012 Ireland v Netherlands 15.00 Alicante
24/01/2012 Ireland v Netherlands TBC Alicante

February
26-27/01/2012 Ireland v GB TBC Bisham

February
3rd - 14th Warm Weather

Training Camp
6/02/2012 Ireland v Spain TBC Valencia
8/02/2012 Ireland v Belgium TBC Valencia
09/02/2012 Ireland v Belgium TBC Valencia
11/02/2012 Ireland v Belgium TBC Valencia
13/02/2012 Ireland v Belgium TBC Valencia
14/02/2012 Ireland v Spain TBC Valencia

March 10th - 18th Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Dublin, UCD

Saturday 10 March 2012

12:00 Malaysia v Chile
14:30 Ireland v Russia
17:00 Korea v Ukraine

Sunday 11 March 2012
12.30 Malaysia v Russia
15:00 Ukraine v Ireland
17:30 Korea v Chile

Monday 12 March 2012 Rest day

Tuesday 13 March 2012
13.00 Ukraine v Malaysia
15:30 Russia v Chile
18.00 Ireland v Korea

Wednesday 14 March 2012 Rest Day

Thursday 15 March 2012
13:00 Russia v Ukraine
15:30 Malaysia v Korea
18:00 Chile v Ireland

Friday 16 March 2012 Rest Day

Saturday 17 March 2012

10:30 Korea v Russia
13.00 Chile v Ukraine
15:30 Ireland v Malaysia

Sunday 18 March 2012

11:30 5th in Pool v 6th in Pool
14:00 3rd in Pool v 4th in Pool
16:30 1st in Pool v 2nd in Pool

WOMENS International Schedule
All times are local times
Date Match Time Venue


January
22nd - 3rd February Warm Weather Training Camp


25/01/12 Ireland v SA 19.00 J'Burg
27/01/12 Ireland v Belgium 19.00 J'Burg

Tri - Nations
28/01/12 Ireland v SA 14.00 J'Burg
29/01/12 South Africa v Belgium J'Burg
30/01/12 Ireland v Belgium 19.00 J'Burg
31/01/12 Ireland v SA 19.00 J'Burg

01/02/12 South Africa v Belgium J'Burg

02/02/12 Ireland v Belgium 17.00 J'Burg

February
25th - 27th Training Camp, Beerschot, Belgium

March 17th - 25th March Olympic Qualifying Tournament, Belgium.


Saturday 17 March 2012
11.00 Spain v Mexico
13.30 Ireland v France
16.00 Belgium v Russia

Sunday 18 March 2012
11.00 Spain v France
13.30 Ireland v Russia
16.00 Mexico v Belgium

Monday 19 March 2012 Rest day

Tuesday 20 March 2012
13.00 Mexico v Ireland
15.30 Russia v France
18.00 Belgium v Spain

Wednesday 21 March 2012 Rest Day

Thursday 22 March 2012
14.00 Russia v Mexico
16.30 Ireland v Spain
19.00 France v Belgium

Friday 23 March 2012
Rest Day

Saturday 24th March 2012
14.00 France v Mexico
16.30 Spain v Russia
19.00 Belgium v Ireland

Sunday 18 March 2012
11:00 5th in Pool v 6th in Pool
13.30 3rd in Pool v 4th in Pool
16:00 1st in Pool v 2nd in Pool

Irish Hockey Association media release



Schedule of Men and Women Test Series To Be Played in New Delhi

The Indian Men and Women hockey teams will play Test Match Series against South Africa and Azerbaijan respectively as a part of their preparation for the Hockey Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held in February 2012.

Indian Men team will play five match test series against South Africans from 16 to 22rd January 2012. The Schedule of matches is as under - 16 January 2012 - 1st Test Match at 1700hrs
17 January 2012 - 2nd Test Match at 1700hrs
18 January 2012 - 3rd Test Match at 1700hrs
20 January 2012 - 4th Test Match at 1700hrs
22 January 2012 - 5th Test Match at 1430hrs

The Indian Women team will also play a Four Match Series against Azerbaijan from 15 to 19th January 2012.

The Schedule of the Matches is as under- 15 January 2012 - 1st Test Match at 1500hrs
16 January 2012 - 2nd Test Match at 1500hrs
18 January 2012 - 3rd Test Match at 1500hrs
19 January 2012 - 4th Test Match at 1500hrs

All the matches will be played at MDC National Stadium in New Delhi.

Entry for spectators will be free.

Stick2Hockey.com



Our destiny is in our own hands: Nobbs

Uthra G Chaturvedi


Coming from the more agreeable climes of Bangalore, where they had been for a fortnight now, the Indian men’s hockey team were pleasantly surprised by the bright sunshine during their first proper practice session at the National Stadium on Monday morning. And as the 45 players — divided into two groups — went through their drills, the brightness was reflected in coach Michael Nobbs’s mood that oozed optimism with regard to his toughest assignment yet: the Olympic Qualifiers, where India will fight it out with Canada, France, Poland, Italy and the USA for a spot in London Olympics, from February 18-26.

“The pressure is always there when you turn out for your country but the Olympic Qualifiers are an adventure for all of us. At the end of the day, we are trying to get this bunch of kids — and they really are mostly kids — to the Olympics. I’m 90-95 per cent confident of qualifying for London, provided something doesn’t go awfully wrong and there are no bad umpiring decisions against us,” Nobbs said on Monday. Given that Nobbs himself had pegged India’s chances at 60 to 70 per cent right after the draw was announced — which in itself had been double of what he had admitted after taking charge in June — there has been, mathematically speaking, a 200 per cent jump in the coach’s belief in his team in a span of six months. Quite a leap of faith.

Nobbs’s optimism stems from the Indians’ natural tilt towards an attacking brand of hockey. At the same time, the things that make European teams superior — physical strength and technology — are now beginning to be taken seriously in India as well. “The bad thing is, Indian hockey got left behind in terms of development in sports sciences in the last three decades. Let’s be honest, India has not really achieved anything worthwhile since 1975, if we exclude the boycotted Moscow Games.

Fine tuning


“The good thing is, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. The rest of the world has already done the research, we only have to fine-tune it and adapt to Indian conditions. Almost all international teams still fear us; it is the talent of Indian players that makes them potent. We are a naturally attacking side; most other teams have starting doing so now. At the qualifiers too, it will be down to those one or two games that will make the difference. It is not an easy or hard group, we are looking forward to it. Our destiny is in our own hands,” he said.

The process of shaping that destiny will begin on January 15, when India take on South Africa in a five-match Test series as part of their preparations for the qualifiers. The recent Champions Challenge, however, saw the old Indian problem of letting in goals in the dying moments proving their nemesis yet again, but Nobbs prefers to address the issue differently. “It is more about discipline. Being down in numbers doesn’t help in close games. Having said that, even when we were down, we missed quite a few chances to score. So our attacking game is not a problem, it’s just a question of having that wee bit more control on emotions,” he said.

As for long camps that have come under criticism from several quarters, Nobbs said it wasn’t just about the time span. “It is not a question of long camps but structured camps with matches in between to test your planning and preparation. Take Australia for example, their camp started on December 14 and will go on till the Olympics.”

The Indian women’s team, meanwhile, will take on Azerbaijan in four Tests from January 15-19.

Indian Express



Quest for Porritt Park replacement gets urgent

KEVIN TUTTY


Canterbury Hockey has received an insurance payout for its irreparably damaged artificial surface fields at Porritt Park in Christchurch, but is no closer to finding a replacement venue.

The surfaces are administered by the Canterbury Artificial Surfaces Trust (Cast). Chairman Selwyn Maister said yesterday the trust had been paid the indemnity value, but has been promised the full payment for which the surfaces were covered.

The money would be set aside to provide two top-class surfaces when a suitable venue is found in conjunction with the city council, he said.

The condition of the ground at Porritt Park is not suitable for rebuilding.

Maister said the trust and Canterbury Hockey need to find another venue and that was a vexing question for the sport at the moment.

"Fifteen months have passed now, but we have had our focus largely on getting another turf at Nunweek Park [which opened last year] and now getting another turf there and a fourth one rapidly.

"But we don't have a facility where we can play anything other than club hockey," Maister said.

"Hockey is not part of the proposed sports hub on the old bus station site [on the corner of Moorhouse and Memorial avenues]. But we have kept a relationship with the Addington proposal and we've got a spot there if that comes to fruition."

Meanwhile, Canterbury Hockey is unable to host any tournaments of significance until it has a new venue with water-based surfaces which are required for international and national tournaments.

Last year the Canterbury national league teams played all their games away from home and that will continue until the sport has the new venue. Hockey people will be denied the chance to see the national teams who are playing some of the best hockey produced by the teams for many years.

"If you look at the various tiers New Zealand Hockey has we can hold a B tournament at secondary school level, although Canterbury has been given an exemption from Hockey New Zealand to hold the Hatch Cup tournament this year.

"In our current situation we don't meet the criteria for surfaces even for Hatch Cup. ... Unless we get a replacement for Porritt soon we're going to be right out for the foreseeable future.

"Hockey won't advance because our young people won't see international matches, we won't have training squads down here ... we'll continue to be a backwater because no-one will come here."

Maister said before the previous chief executive of Canterbury Hockey, Tim Shannahan left last year, he had spoken about applying for a Junior World Cup in 2017.

"We need to have a plan to get a facility built, but we are a long way from knowing where that will be let alone putting in a bid for something like that. But the council have issues everywhere they look and we're not the only sport with problems."

Stuff



Pakistan needs return of international hockey: Bhandara

Staff Report


LAHORE: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) marketing committee member Mian Pervez Bhandara said on Wednesday that Pakistan needed return of international hockey and the recent visit of the Chinese team had dispelled impression of poor security for foreign teams. “We had a very successful visit of the Chinese team who played matches at different centres of the country and top security was provided to the foreign team which helped in a conducting the event in a smooth manner,” he added.

He hoped that with visit of the Chinese team, other foreign teams would also consider visiting Pakistan in near future as there was no security issue for visiting teams. “The visit of the Chinese team has proved that Pakistan is a safe country for staging elite sports events,” he maintained. Bhandara said the PHF was striving hard to persuade foreign teams to visit of Pakistan and it was imperative for the cause of hockey in Pakistan that international teams visit Pakistan regularly the way they used to do in the past. “The present regime of the PHF is lobbying hard for resumption of international hockey in Pakistan and we hope that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) will continue supporting Pakistan’s cause in this regard,” he added.

The Daily Times



Qasim Zia asks ex-Olympians to apologise or face court battle

Shazia Hasan



I think the matter can only be decided in the court of law: Qasim Zia.—File photo

KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation President Qasim Zia, showing his disgust at constantly being blamed for assisting in human trafficking under the PHF umbrella, demanded an unconditional apology from the 13 Olympians for accusing him and Secretary Asif Bajwa of such wrongdoing or else prepare for a tough court battle.

"I think this matter can only be decided in the court of law," said a visibly annoyed Qasim Zia at a packed press conference called at the Hockey Club of Pakistan (HCP) here on Wednesday.

"We are here to promote hockey and not to answer such absurd notions. But now there is this tag of human trafficking attached to us that has to be cleared in order to clean our record," he announced.

The 13 former Olympians namely Shahnaz Sheikh, Khalid Mahmood, Saleem Sherwani, Islahuddin, Ayaz Mahmood, Samiullah, Saleem Nazim, Qamar Ibrahim, Qamar Zia, Saeed Khan, Mohammad Ayaz, Tahir Zaman and Naveed Alam had written a letter to PHF patron Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani last month in which they had mentioned the factors hurting the national game which included the charge of smuggling people in the garb of hockey players to foreign countries.

"It is okay to criticize the federation about the team"s performance, but it is something else if you accuse them of illegal activities. We will not tolerate this," Qasim Zia stressed.

When informed that the 13 Olympians had only mentioned what had already been debated in the Senate and National Assemblyand this row was only an attempt to shift the focus of the team"s poor show in the Champions Trophy, PHF Secretary Asif Bajwa said: "The team finished seventh in the Champions Trophy this time, but please ask these ex-Olympians how the team fared in the previous editions when they were in the saddle as team coaches, managers, selectors, etc.On the subject of Champions T r o p h y , Qasim Zia also clarified that he neversaid he was satisfied with the team"s performance in the event.

"You can take out that clip, too, if you like. I had said that I was satisfied with the way the Green Shirts created chances to score against big teams. But it was a shame that they couldn"t score due to poor finishing," he lamented.

About the team"s preparation fortheir next big event, the London Olympics, the PHF President said: "We have a comprehensive plan where we are talking with another country about a possible tournament with them in March or April, details of which I cannot give right away. Then there is the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in May, too.

"You have to understand," he continued, "the PHF had the AsianGames as its first target, which was a c h ie v e d when our team was said to be noteven good enough to win a tea cup returned with the gold medal.

"This time our target is to reach the podium at the Olympics.

Realistically speaking, I expect the boys to at least reach the semifinals in London. Later, we have our eyes set on the 2014 World Cup, too, said Qasim. "But first things first, we are all set for a legal battlewith the 13 Olympians to clear our name," he said.

Asked what will they get out of the court battle and if this was a power struggle between them and the big names of hockey in Pakistan, Qasim Zia said: "None of the 13 are even part of the PHF Congress, so the question of a power struggle with them doesn"t even arise here. Still if they want to be a part of the federation, they should come through a process after running for elections in their regions," he suggested.

Meanwhile, one of the 13 Olympians facing the defamation law suit, former national team coach Olympian Naveed Alam said that the PHF was welcome to take the matter to court as they have no intention of apologising to them.

Reacting to all that the PHF President had said, Naveed was of the opinion that Qasim Zia was protecting "wrongdoers" by issuing such statements.

"He is unnecessarily protecting these people involved in all kinds of weird activities," he said. "As for us, we have all owned up to writing that letter to the prime minister of Pakistan.

"The PHF elections have been challenged in the Lahore High Court and these people who are so happy to be a part of thefederation"s Congress are all there illegally. With that matter not even settled as yet, Qasim Zia is now all set to contest the POA elections, and with the Olympics just five months away," he pointed out.

"There are so many complains and cases against the PHF in court already, so this case that they are threatening us with will be in addition to those and we will fight this one out on the basis of the other cases. So yes, let the matter go to court now. And let the court decide who should apologise to whom," he retorted.

Dawn



Zia asks former Olympians to prove allegations or face music




KARACHI: President, Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Qasim Zia has said that those who blamed the federation should prove these or extend apology, Geo News reported.

Addressing a press conference here, Qasim Zia said former Olympians have leveled serious allegations, adding that they should take their words back or apologize otherwise federation will sue them in the court of law.

'Former players have defamed the name of the country by leveling allegations,' the PHF President said and added that players are not above the country and the game.

On the occasion, PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said Rs520 million has been allocated for betterment of Hockey Club of Pakistan, Karachi.

The News International