News for 31 January 2012

All the news for Tuesday 31 January 2012

Gierts lifts Belgium to victory

By Michael Sherman

Johannesburg - Sofie Gierts scored a 17th-minute goal to lift Belgium to a 1-0 victory over Ireland in their Investec Tri-Nations Test match at the Randburg hockey stadium on Monday.

In a physical encounter between the two teams, it was Belgium that dominated throughout a game threatened by one of the typical Highveld storms which resulted in Sunday's match between South Africa and Belgium being called off.

Belgium's first serious attack was rewarded when they scored from a penalty corner in the 17th minute. Gierts fired home with a deflected shot into the net after a goalmouth scuffle to make it 1-0.

After taking the lead, the Belgians controlled the game and repelled a number of Irish attacks before the break.

Ireland came close to levelling matters two minutes into the second period.

From a penalty corner, Sinead McCarthy saw her lofted shot strike the crossbar. It would be the closest the women in green came to scoring.

South Africa take on Belgium in another Tri-Nations series match on Tuesday.

South African Taryn Bright may be fit for the match after recovering from a blow to her face on Saturday. Team management will make a decision just before the match starts.

Independent Online

Ireland 0 - 1 Belgium - Tri Nations in South Africa

Ireland took on Belgium in the Investec Tri-Nations Tournament currently taking place in South Africa. Ireland, sponsored by Electric Ireland, are using this tournament as part of their training as they continue to prepare for their FIH Olympic Qualifiers taking place in Belgium this March.

Ireland secured the first real chances of the half the first of which was just 4 minutes in but their penalty corner strike went wide of the mark just eight minutes later Ireland had a chance to take the lead with an Emma Smyth shot but the ball met the wrong side of the goal. Belgium gained momentum and forced Ireland's defence into action to keep the decks clear of an early break through but their persistence finally paid off in the 17th minute when Sofie Gierts pounced on Jill Boon's rebound to go 1-0 up. Ireland had chances to equalise both from open and set play but the hooter blew with the girls in green trailing by one goal.

Ireland came out all guns blazing in the second half securing a penalty corner within forty seconds, but Audrey O'Flynn's drag attempt was denied by the crossbar. Ireland dominated the early minutes of the second half even when they were reduced to ten as a result of Nicky Daly being shown yellow but they failed to convert their chances.

Belgium managed to find some rhythm towards the last quarter forcing an Irish defence, in particular Sinead McCarthy, to put in some fine tackles. The game continued with attacking play changing hands frequently and Ireland were put under more pressure than they would have liked conceding a penalty corner with just two minutes left on the clock but Emma Gray was on hand to clear the shot. Ireland immediately applied pressure but despite camping in the Belgian circle for the final two minutes the hooter sounded before Ireland could equalise.

Final Score Ireland 0-1 Belgium.

Ireland won't have much recovery time as they take on hosts South Africa tomorrow at 5pm Irish time.

Ireland Starting XI:

Emma Gray (GK); Nikki Symmons; Sinead McCarthy; Cliodhna Sargent; Audrey O'Flynn; Emma Smyth; Lizzie Colvin; Shirley McCay; Megan Frazer; Alex Speers (c); Nikki Evans.

Ireland (0)

Belgium (1) Sofie Gierts (op)

Irish Hockey Association media release

Converting chances is key for SA


JOHANNESBURG - The South African women’s hockey team will head into tonight’s Investec Triangular Series match against Ireland with one mission; to convert as many chances as possible.

This was the thought shared by coach Giles Bonnet after the match against Belgium on Sunday was abandoned in the second half as a result of heavy rains with his side leading 1-0.

“It was a pity that the game stopped. In the first 10 minutes of the second half we had 10 circle entries and it would have been interesting to see what would have happened,” said Bonnet.

Having ground out a 1-0 win against Ireland – ranked 14th in the world – on Saturday, Bonnet is eager to see his side put more pressure on the opposition by scoring goals, a key area if they are to succeed in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in New Delhi, India, next month.

“What we’re doing with the ball when we win it, the final pass, the angles we’re running, the decisions and choices we’re making that needs to improve.

If we can improve that we can get the goal-shots that we want,” said Bonnet.

“We need to really start converting those opportunities.

“If we can do that against these teams here without conceding defensively, I think we’ll be able to do it in India,” he added.

There is only one injury concern heading into tonight’s fixture at 7pm at the Randburg Hockey Stadium, with Taryn Bright’s participation for the world’s 12th-ranked team still in doubt.

Bright was on the receiving end of a horrific blow against Ireland on Saturday when a Pietie Coetzee drag flick ricocheted off the post into her  team-mate.

“It all depends on how she’s feeling,” said Bonnet when quizzed as to whether Bright featured in his plans for the rest of the series.

“If she is able to play then I see no reason for that. The medical people see no issue with her playing. I think she can play, the sooner she get’s in the better,” he added in reference to the fact that her presence was missed against Belgium.

Defensively, the South Africans have been equal to the challenge of both the Irish and Belgian strikers and although the opposition have been gifted chances to attack, Bonnet sees no need to panic at this stage.

“The first half (against Belgium) wasn’t a great half for us but again we didn’t give too much away,” said Bonnet.

“So if we’re looking back, I think that’s really positive.

Now and again we just make unforced errors. Defensively and on the break we are doing  well.”?

The Citizen

Malaysia go down again

By Jugjet Singh

AUSTRALIA beat Malaysia 5-2 in the second friendly match in Perth yesterday.

Malaysia, who lost the first match 3-1, faced the World No 1 side minus five regulars as the Australians were also trying out new blood.

"It was a much stronger Australian side as compared to the first match, and there was tremendous pressure in the first half," said Malaysia's team manager Stephen van Huizen.

"However, the players got used to it in the second half and played much better. It was an excellent work out against the best team in the world."

Australia's goals were scored by Matt Ghodes (2), Simon Orchard, Jamie Dwyer and Liam De Young while Malaysia scored through Razie Rahim who got both goals.

Yesterday's match was played using a yellow ball, and on Thursday when the teams square off for the third friendly, the match will be held on a blue turf -- the same as the London Olympics venue.

"Australia have 38 players in training and I believe they will field an even stronger side on the blue pitch, and it will be a perfect tune-up to our Dublin Olympics Qualifier," said van Huizen.

Malaysia will play South Korea, Ireland, Chile, Ukraine and Russia in the Dublin Qualifiers where only the gold medallist will advance to the Olympics.

On their tour Down Under, the national side will play four friendly matches against Australia and two against the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, SMK Datuk Taha beat Yayasan Pahang 1-0 in a Division Two, Group B match with the goal coming off Badrul Hisyam in the 33rd minute. Their earlier encounter in Kuantan last week was washed out by rain.

New Straits Times

Malaysia continue losing run Down Under

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s two out of two as Malaysia lost their second hockey friendly 5-2 to Australia in Perth.

The Kookaburras, who won 3-1 on Sunday, took a 2-0 lead through Matt Gohdes and Simon Orchard yesterday.

Although Malaysia reduced the deficit with a penalty corner goal by defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, the world and Olympic champions stormed back to score another three goals through Jamie Dywer, Gohdes and Liam De Young to make it 5-1.

Razie then added a second goal for Malaysia with another penalty corner flick.

Malaysian team manager Stephen van Huizen the Australians fielded a stronger side this time.

“There was tremendous pressure in the first-half. It was an excellent workout against the best team in the world,” he said.

“Australia have 38 players in training and I believe they will field an even stronger team on the blue pitch in Perth, which is similar to turf to be used in the Dublin Olympics qualifier in March.”

Malaysia are using the five-match tour Down Under to prepare for the qualifier, which will also see Chile, Ukraine, Russia, South Kore and hosts Ireland fighting for a spot in the London Olympics.

The Star of Malaysia

Frail defence

A defensive minded Malaysia were beaten 5-2 by Australia at the Perth Hockey Stadium in their second friendly match this evening.

Malaysia opted to have all their players in their own 25 for a large part of the match.

Perhaps the strategy adopted was to counter the strong Aussie side fielded by coach Ric Charlesworth.

Australia had the likes of three times FIH player of the year Jaime Dywer, Matt Ghodes, Christopher Cirello and Kieren Govers.

The team fielded was from a list of 28 Olympic hopefuls from their squad but they failed to get the better of a Malaysian side that opted for "parking the bus" in front of goal tactics.

Australia went ahead in the very first minute through Ghodes.

Although the Aussies were awarded penalty corners in the 17, 19 and 20th minutes, the combined efforts of Baljit Singh and Mohd Madzli Ikmar kept the score intact.

But that did not prevent the Australians for doubling their advantage via Simon Orchard.

Off Malaysia's first foray into the opponents semi circle they were awarded a penalty corner in the 23rd minute.

The attempt by Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim sailed into goal, deflected off a defenders stick.

Australia had another penalty corner but Baljit denied them a clear shot at goal and the halftime score stood at 2-1 in favour of Australia.

Dwyer made it 3-1 in the 44th minute before Ghodes scored his second and Australia's fourth in the 50th minute.

Liam de Young made it 5-1 in the 53rd minute but Malaysia reduced the deficit when Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Jalil pounced on a penalty corner rebound in the 55th minute to reduce the deficit to 5-2.

Note: while other media may credit Razie for both goals, the lack of co-operation from team officials in Perth has made my task impossible as I have relied on information from hockey friends who watched the match and kept me abreast via SMS.

Malaysian Hockey blogspot

Hero MotoCorp & FIH come together to announce the "Hero FIH Road to London" - Olympic Qualifiers, India leg

Men and women's teams to battle it out to qualify for two berths at the London 2012 Olympic Games

New Delhi: In keeping with its commitment towards promoting India’s national sport – Hockey, Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (HMCL) – the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer - today announced its coming on board as the Title Sponsor of the men’s and women’s hockey qualifying events for London Olympics 2012.

HMCL (formerly known as Hero Honda Motors Ltd) is amongst the largest corporate promoters of sports in India.

The event titled as ‘Hero FIH Road to London’ will be played at Dhyan Chand Hockey National Stadium in New Delhi from the 18th – 26th of February 2012. The event will feature six teams from both men’s and women’s category competing against each other in a round robin format for two Olympic berths out of the six berths available (1 of 3 men’s and 1 of 3 women’s) in the 2012 London Olympics. The ‘Hero FIH Road to London’ is the first of the three leg Olympic qualifying events for the London Olympic Games scheduled for July this year. Following the round robin league, the teams ranked first and second will play and the winner will qualify for the London 2012 Olympic Games, while the remaining four teams will play placement games for FIH World Ranking points.

Commenting on the partnership, Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., said “Hockey, being the national sport of the country, holds a special place in our hearts and we are pleased to partner with FIH in presenting the “Hero FIH Road to London” Olympic Hockey Qualifiers. We have always believed in nurturing and supporting various sporting disciplines including cricket, golf, shooting and hockey. I am sure there are millions of hockey fans across the country who wants to see a revival of the glorious hockey days of yore, and we, therefore, consider it an absolute privilege to be playing our small role in reigniting the passion and popularity of hockey in the country.”

The tournament holds great importance for the Indian men’s and women’s hockey team as this will be their only window to qualify for the 2012 London Olympic Games. The Indian men’s hockey team enters the tournament as favourites while they are also the highest ranked team amongst the six nations competing in the event. The Indian men’s team is ranked 10th while the women’s team is ranked 13th in the world rankings.

Speaking on the partnership, Mr. Leandro Negre, President of FIH, said, “I am delighted to see Hero MotoCorp come on board as the title sponsor of the Olympic qualifiers. It’s a crucial chance for India to qualify for London and I'm sure the Indian team and hockey fans everywhere also welcome their support. Hero are ideal partners for hockey and FIH in that they really help us promote the event and hockey in India. Their promotion for the FIH Hockey World Cup in 2010 was fundamental in leading to a renaissance of hockey enthusiasm in India and we hope that the Hero FIH Road to London will build on that.”

The India leg of the Hero FIH Road to London Olympic qualifiers will feature the men’s national field hockey teams from India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Canada and France. The Indian National women’s hockey team will play against South Africa, Canada, Italy, Poland and Ukraine.

The tournament will be aired on Ten Sports and will be viewed by hockey fans LIVE in India and across 80 countries globally.

In 2010, Hero MotoCorp started its partnership with FIH, by bringing the coveted men’s hockey world cup event to India, titled “Hero Honda FIH Men’s Hockey World Cup 2010”. The company executed an inspiring multi media campaign, “Phir Dil Do Hockey Ko” featuring young achievers such as Hero brand ambassadors – cricketer Virender Sehwag, Olympic silver medallist shooter Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore and popular Hindi movie actor Priyanka Chopra. Further aligning with the company’s objective of long-term promotion of the game at the grassroots level, Hero MotoCorp also organized pan-India inter-school Hockey tournaments.

Commune Sports & Entertainment is the commercial representative of FIH in India.

Information regarding the match schedule for the tournament can be found on, the official website of the International Hockey Federation.

FIH Media release

Hero MotoCorp named title sponsor of hockey Olympic qualifiers

NEW DELHI: Indian two-wheeler giant, Hero MotoCorp Limited (HMCL) was on Monday named as the title sponsor for the men's and women's hockey London Olympic Qualification Tournament, the first of which will be held from February 18-26.

The qualifiers, titled as 'Hero FIH Road to London', will be played at Major Dhyanchand Hockey National Stadium.

The event will feature six teams from both men's and women's category competing against each other in a round-robin format for two Olympic berths out of the six available (1 of 3 men's and 1 of 3 women's) in this year's Olympics.

The 'Hero FIH Road to London' is the first of the three-leg qualifying events for the Games scheduled for July.

Following the round-robin league, the teams ranked first and second will play and the winner will book a ticket to London, while the remaining four teams will play placement games for FIH World Ranking points.

Commenting on the partnership, Pawan Munjal, managing director and chief executive officer, Hero MotoCorp, said, "Hockey, being the national sport of the country, holds a special place in our hearts and we are pleased to partner with FIH in presenting the Hero FIH Road to London.

"We have always believed in nurturing and supporting various sporting disciplines including cricket, golf, shooting and hockey."

The tournament holds great importance for the Indian men's and women's hockey teams as this will be their only window to qualify for the London Olympics.

The Indian men's team enters the tournament as favourites being the highest ranked side amongst the six nations competing in the event.

The men's team is ranked 10th while the women's team is ranked 13th in the world rankings.

"I am delighted to see Hero MotoCorp come on board as the title sponsor of the Olympic qualifiers. It's a crucial chance for India to qualify for London and I'am sure the Indian team and hockey fans everywhere also welcome their support," International Hockey Federation president, Leandro Negre said.

The India leg of the Hero FIH Road to London Olympic qualifiers will feature hosts India, Italy, Poland, Singapore, Canada and France in the men's section while South Africa, Canada, Italy, Poland and Ukraine besides the home team will feature in the women's competition.

The tournament will be aired live on Ten Sports and will be viewed by fans across 80 countries globally.

In 2010, Hero MotoCorp started its partnership with FIH, by bringing the coveted men's hockey World Cup to India.

The Times of India

Irish Hockey Association announce ELECTRIC IRELAND as title sponsor of only direct Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Ireland

Electric Ireland were today unveiled as the title sponsor of the FIH Olympic Qualifying Tournament. The Olympic countdown continues for the Men's Irish hockey team as they prepare for the Electric Ireland FIH Road to London tournament, the only direct Olympic Qualifying tournament taking place in Ireland across any discipline and brings six nations together to battle it out for one spot in the London 2012 Olympics.

Electric Ireland have been long term supporters of Irish Hockey through their sponsorship of the national women's hockey team. Sponsorship of this Olympics Qualification Tournament in UCD in March fits with Electric Ireland's sponsorship of Team Ireland for the London Olympics.

Chief Executive of the Irish Hockey Association Angus Kirkland was thrilled to be working with Electric Ireland once again Electric Ireland have been superb sponsors of Hockey over the last number of years. The fact that they are now extending their involvement with Hockey and their recent sponsorship of Team Ireland for the Olympics is testament to their commitment to sport. We are looking forward to staging this prestigious event with Electric Ireland at our side and both our National sides, are working hard towards their goal of qualifying for the London Games and to be a part of Team Ireland this summer.

Brid Horan, Executive Director, Electric Ireland said, Electric Ireland is delighted to sponsor this important tournament given it is the only direct Olympic qualifying tournament taking place in Ireland. We feel it is a good addition to our sponsorship of Team Ireland for the London Olympics and this event will certainly add to the growing excitement around the Olympics. We wish all the players the best in the tournament and obviously we are fully behind our Irish team."

Participating Teams:

Match Schedule
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

Tuesday 13 March 2012

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

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

Saturday 17 March 2012
10:00 Korea v Russia
12.30 Chile v Ukraine
15:00 Ireland v Malaysia

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

Surprises galore in Indian team

Principal Correspondent

Some experienced players were left out while a few well-known names were put on standby, as the Indian hockey team for the Olympic qualifier was named here on Monday.

The squad, announced by Hockey India, reflected chief coach Michael Nobbs' stress on fitness and performance. The performance in the Champions Challenge and Test series against South Africa were factored in while selecting the side.

Prominent players like Rajpal Singh, Vikram Pillay and Bharat Chikara did not make the squad of 22 players while experienced midfielders Arjun Halappa and V.S. Vinaya were included only in the list of standbys.

Seasoned goalkeeper Bharat Chetri will lead the side in the six-nation qualifying event and skilful centre-half Sardar Singh will be his deputy.

The selection of three penalty corner experts as defenders spoke about India's aggressive intentions. There is a possibility that Ignace Tirkey would play the dual role of defender and midfielder.

The squad: Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (capt.) and P.R. Sreejesh. Defenders: Sandeep Singh, V.R. Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh. Midfielders: Sardar Singh (vice-capt.), Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Ignace Tirkey and Kothajit Singh. Forwards: S.V. Sunil, Sarvanjit Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurwinder Singh Chandi, Tushar Khandekar, Danish Mujtaba, Yuvraj Walmiki and S.K. Uthappa. Standbys: Manjeet Kullu (defender), V.S. Vinaya (midfielder), Arjun Halappa (midfielder) and Chinglensana Singh (forward).

The Hindu

Former skipper Rajpal ignored for Olympic qualifiers

NEW DELHI: Striker Rajpal Singh was ignored while veteran Arjun Halappa was picked as a standby as Hockey India on Monday announced a 18-member team under the captaincy of goalkeeper Bharat Chetri for the men's Olympic qualifiers to be held from February 18.

The team, which will face Canada, France, Italy, Poland and Singapore for a place in the London Olympics, was picked based on the performance of the core group of probables during the recent India versus South Africa series, HI said in a statement.

Rajpal's omission did not come as a surprise since the coach, Michael Nobbs, had suggested during the South Africa series that the striker was unlikely to get a place in the qualifiers as he was not in his best physical condition. Rajpal, was however, part of the 32-member probables list that HI had named after that series. Senior-most probable, Vikram Pillay also failed to find a place in the team.

The team, which has PR Sreejesh as the second goalkeeper, features three defenders, five mid-fielders including vice-captain Sardar Singh and eight strikers - an indication that the team will count on their strike force to win matches.

The recent experiments with the team's combination must have given Nobbs enough confidence to go to the all-important tournament with just three defenders as medio Igance Tirkey could be fielded in the deep defence, if needed - something which he did in the South Africa series.

The SA series gave forward Gurvinder Singh Chandi the opportunity to serve his five-match ban and his eligibility to play came as a boost for the Indians. Chandi was banned for five games for his role during an ill-tempered match against Pakistan in Australia in October.

India will open their campaign in the qualifiers against Singapore on February 18 followed by Italy (Feb 19), France (Feb 21), Canada (Feb 22) and Poland (Feb 24). All India matches will be played at 8 pm at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium.


Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (captain), PR Sreejesh;
Defenders: Sandeep Singh, VR Raghunath, Rupinderpal Singh;
Midfielders: Sardar Singh (vice-captain), Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Ignace Tirkey, Kothajit Singh
Forwards: SV Sunil, Sarvanjit Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Tushar Khandker, Danish Mujtaba, Yuvraj Walmiki, SK Uthappa.
Standbys: Manjeet Kullu (defender), VS Vinaya (midfielder), Arjun Halappa (midfielder), Chinglensana Singh (forward)

The Times of India

Rajpal axed, Halappa on standby in 18-men Indian hockey team

NEW DELHI: Former captain Rajpal Singh got the axe as Hockey India on Monday announced a 18-member Indian team that will play in the London Olympic qualifiers to be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from February 18 to 26.

Veteran midfielders Vikram Pillay and Arjun Halappa also failed to find a place in the team - to be led by goalkeeper Bharat Chetri - for the tournament to be participated by Canada, France, Italy, Poland and Singapore, besides India.

Halappa, however, has been kept as standby along with Manjeet Kullu (Defender), VS Vinaya (Midfielder) and Chinglensana Singh (Forward).

Striker Rajpal was retained in the 32-member probables which was cut down from the 45 earlier this month but the veteran could not manage a berth in the final 18.

Newcomers Kothajit Singh and S K Uthappa, who made impressive debuts in the five-Test series against South Africa, were retained, while veteran Ignace Tirkey also managed to secure a place in the team.

Senior players Tushar Khandker and Shivendra Singh will lead the forward line, which will also include SV Sunil Sarvanjit Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Danish Mujtaba and the talented Yuvraj Walmiki.

Sandeep Singh, VR Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh will man the defence, while Sardar Singh (Vice Captain), Manpreet Singh and Birendra Lakra will be the other midfielders in the team. PR Sreejesh will be the other goalkeeper.

The Indian team was selected on the basis of performances of the core group probables during the India-South Africa Test series by Hockey India Selectors, Col Balbir Singh, BP Govinda and Syed Ali alongwith government observers Harbinder Singh and Dilip Tirkey.

The Indian team:

Goalkeepers - Bharat Chetri (Captain), PR Sreejesh. Defenders - Sandeep Singh, VR Raghunath, Rupinderpal Singh.

Midfielders - Sardar Singh (Vice- Captain), Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Ignace Tirkey, Kothajit Singh.

Forwards - S V Sunil, Sarvanjit Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Tushar Khandker, Danish Mujtaba, Yuvraj Walmiki, S K Uthappa.

Standbys - Manjeet Kullu (Defender), VS Vinaya (Midfielder), Arjun Halappa (Midfielder), Chinglensana Singh (Forward).

The Times of India

Rajpal left out of squad

Former captain Rajpal Singh was dropped from India's squad for the hockey Olympic qualifier to be played at the Major Dhyan Chand National stadium here from February 18-26.

The selectors picked a final side of 18 on the basis of performances of the core group probables during the recently concluded India-South Africa Test Series.

Rajpal, along with forward Bharat Chikara, was retained in the 32-member probables, but both failed to make the final cut.

Rajpal had an appendix operation in October last year and was advised six weeks rest. He, though, insisted he was fit but was not given a chance to prove his fitness as promised by coach Michael Nobbs.

“Nobbs had told me that I will undergo fitness trials before the selection but that never happened. If my fitness is gauged by making me play in just one match (against South Africa), then that is not right. At least, I should be told where am I lacking on the fitness scale, so that I can work accordingly,” Rajpal told Deccan Herald.

“I am training with the team, which means I can play with the team. I was given no fitness schedule to work on during the last one month I have been here.”

Nobbs in fact had hinted during the national camp here that it will be difficult for Rajpal to find a place in the squad in terms of form and fitness and replace SV Sunil who has played well.

Youngsters SK Uthappa and Kothajit Singh, who made impressive debuts in the series against South Africa, have been included.

Another former captain Arjun Halappa has been kept as standby. Gurbaj Singh, who was injured too, has been left out.

Goalkeeper Bharat Chetri has been named the captain and reliable midfielder Sardar Singh vice-captain. Meanwhile, Hero MotoCorp Ltd. (HMCL) on Monday announced itself as the title sponsor of the men’s and women’s hockey qualifiers. The event is titled ‘Hero FIH Road to London.'

Squad: Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (capt), P R Sreejesh; Defenders: Sandeep Singh, V R Raghunath, Rupinderpal Singh; Midfielders: Sardar Singh (vice-capt), Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Ignace Tirkey, Kothajit Singh; Forwards: S V Sunil, Sarvanjit Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Tushar Khandker, Danish Mujtaba, Yuvraj Walmiki, S K Uthappa; Standbys: Manjeet Kullu (Defender), V.S Vinaya (Midfielder), Arjun Halappa (Midfielder) Chinglensana Singh (Forward).

Deccan Herald

Old hands wave goodbye

Uthra G Chaturvedi

Minutes after being named as a stand-by for the upcoming hockey Olympic qualifiers, veteran mid-fielder Arjun Halappa distanced himself from the national team. As he left for his home, Halappa was more hurt than disappointed.

“I am yet to talk to my family. I will go back and then officially announce my retirement from international hockey in a few days. I don’t have anything to prove to anyone and I think it is better to go on my own before I am dumped,” Halappa told The Indian Express.

Having made his international debut in 2001 at the Prime Minister’s Gold Cup in Dhaka, Halappa has been the fulcrum of the Indian team ever since. Even in the recent five-match series against South Africa, used as selection trials for the squad, the 31-year-old stood out with his playmaking and was largely responsible for India’s fluent attack.

The selection committee, though, seems to have decided otherwise. “If the federation thinks youth is the way forward, fine. But if performance is the criteria, then I don’t wish to say anything, my game was there for everyone to see. If they had dropped me saying someone else was better, it would still have been fine, at least they would have been honest. But after 11 years of international hockey, I don’t think I deserve to be on stand-by list. Either I am good enough for the team or I am not. I am not a newcomer anymore to await a chance at someone else’s expense,” he added.

Halappa is one of only three active members from the 2004 Olympics squad, and he doesn’t see himself playing another Games. “Retiring when you can still play is not common in hockey but I don’t want to be yet another player who refuses to admit they have been ignored for good. I didn’t have a godfather ever and I am happy for whatever the game has given me on merit.”

Another former captain, Rajpal Singh, who has been dropped from the squad, said fitness has been cited as a reason but no fitness test was ever conducted. “But I will still try and come back. I don’t give up,” he said. Midfielder VS Vinaya will also return home and is likely to quit international hockey in a few days.

Squad: (goalkeepers) Bharat Chhetri (captain), PR Sreejesh; (defenders) Sandeep Singh, VR Raghunath, Rupinderpal Singh; (mid-fielders) Sardar Singh (v-c), Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Ignace Tirkey, Kothajit Singh; (forwards) S V Sunil, Sarvanjit Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Tushar Khandker, Danish Mujtaba, Yuvraj Walmiki, S K Uthappa

Stand-bys: Manjeet Kullu (defender), VS Vinaya (midfielder), Arjun Halappa (midfielder), Chinglensana Singh (forward).

Indian Express

Have been declared unfit without fitness test: Rajpal Singh

NEW DELHI: Former captain Rajpal Singh has questioned Hockey India's decision to rule him "unfit" for the Olympic qualifiers without even conducting his fitness test.

The qualifiers will be held at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium from February 18 to 26. The notable omissions from the 18-member squad were Rajpal and Gurbaj Singh.

On the other hand, Rajpal has asked that on what parameters was his fitness judged.

"There was not a single fitness test done. The coach ( Michael Nobbs) told me that a fitness test would be conducted on January 21 but nothing happened. And as far as my fitness is concerned, would be able to train with the team if I was unfit in the first place?" Rajpal questioned, reminding that he has played a Test match in the recently-concluded series against South Africa.

What made Rajpal more angry was that he wasn't officially intimated about his omission.

"Having served India for so many years, I deserve a bit more respect from the officials. Didn't they have the courtesy to inform me that I have been dropped. Till now, I have not been officially intimated about my exclusion," he fumed.

HI selector Col. Balbir Singh confirmed that Rajpal and Gurbaj have been overlooked due to "fitness reasons."

"Team trainer David John told us that they (Rajpal and Gurbaj) are not fully fit. They are experienced players and can always come back when they are hundred percent fit," the selector said.

Rajpal had an appendicitis operation in October last year. What has irked him more was that on his comeback trail, no special rehab programme was arranged by the support staff.

"Normally, when a player makes a comeback, there is a special recuperation programme for that particular player. In my case, nothing of that sort has been arranged," he lamented.

However he is hopeful that he will soon be making a comeback.

"My job is to play for the country and I will keep doing that. I want to play for India and will always be available for selection," the veteran midfielder said.

He also expressed confidence that this team will qualify for the quadrennial extravaganza in London, later this year.

"India is playing well and I am confident that we will qualify for Olympics. My dream is also to represent India in Olympics and win a medal like any other player. I will wait for my turn," said Rajpal.

The Times of India

Axed Rajpal cries foul

By Tushar Bhatt

Former skippers Rajpal Singh and Arjun Halappa were on Monday excluded from the 18-member squad for next month’s Olympic qualifiers.

Goalkeeper Bharat Chetri will lead the side for the six-nation event in New Delhi from February 18 to 26. The winner of this tournament will qualify for the London Olympics in July.

Rajpal cried foul, saying his exclusion was not justified. “The trainer’s report says that I was away for 12 weeks. That’s not true. I underwent an operation for appendicitis on October 29 and was out for six weeks. After that, I started training and joined the national camp on January 8,” Rajpal told DNA.

Selector Balbir Singh said Halappa does not fit into Nobbs’s scheme of things. “The focus is on fit players who can play attacking hockey,” he said. The selector added that Rajpal had been deemed unfit by physio David John. “We had to go by the physio’s word,” Balbir added.

This paper has reliably learnt that Rajpal had gotten into an argument with the phsyio during India’s tour of Australia in October last year. When asked if the altercation resulted in his exclusion, Singh said, “These people are good at employing the divide and rule strategy. But they shouldn’t get personal when it comes to building a team.”

Singh also denied that he was excluded after failing a fitness test. “There was no fitness test conducted for me. I was once told by Nobbs that there will be a test for me, but there was nothing,” Singh said. India will take on Canada, France, Italy, Poland and Singapore.

Squad: Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (C), PR Sreejesh; Defenders: Sandeep Singh, VR Raghunath, Rupinderpal Singh; Midfielders: Sardara Singh (VC), Manpreet Singh, Birendra Lakra, Ignace Tirkey, Kothajit Singh; Forwards: SV Sunil, Sarvanjit Singh, Shivendra Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Tushar Khandker, Danish Mujtaba, Yuvraj Walmiki, SK Uthappa; Standbys: Manjeet Kullu, VS Vinaya, Arjun Halappa, Chinglensana Singh


Halappa latest victim of hockey politics?

Coach Nobbs told selectors not to pick ‘unfit’ midfielder

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

"The easiest thing these days is to earn India colours," a senior member of the national hockey team had remarked a few days back. "All one has to do is to forget about talent."

It seems a clear reflection on the state of affairs in Indian hockey these days.

On Monday, senior member Arjun Halappa was unceremoniously dropped for the upcoming Olympic qualifiers at home.

Also out from among the seniors were striker Rajpal Singh and medio Gurbaj Singh.

So what led to Halappa’s exclusion for the all-important qualifiers?

When contacted, two selectors revealed that chief coach Michael Nobbs had ruled out Halappa during the final selection meeting in New Delhi, saying the midfielder was carrying an injury.

"Any questions about Arjun being dropped should be addressed to Nobbs. We had no choice but to keep him as a standby," said a selector, preferring anonymity. "If Arjun is fit, he should be there in the final squad."

Interestingly, exercise physiologist David John of Australia, team doctor B.K. Nayak and physiotherapist Shrikant Iyengar gave the all-clear to Halappa.

"Arjun is fit and ready to play. He attended a full training session even this morning," John told The Asian Age.

Rajpal, who recovered from appendicitis surgery and joined the national camp early this month, challenged the team management to "test his fitness levels" and said he failed to understand his exclusion from the team".

"I have three questions," said Rajpal when contacted. "If I am unfit, what am I doing in the national camp? Two, if the coaches and the physical trainers think I am unfit, why don’t they have any rehabilitation programme for me? Finally, if I have attended all training sessions till date and also played against South Africa, why is it that I did not need treatment even once."

Rajpal even claimed that Nobbs had asked him to undergo a final fitness test a few days back, but it never happened. "All I know is that they have announced the team now, and I do not figure in it," he said.

Insiders reveal that the bone of contention is the Indian Hockey Federation-backed World Series Hockey. Ruling body Hockey India has decided to slowly sideline the players, who had refused to agree in writing against playing the WSH, during the Champions Challenge tournament in Johannesburg in December 2011.

Arjun, along with midfielder Gurbaj, was among a few senior players, who had not budged despite threats from HI.

"Gurbaj was the first to go, and now it is Arjun. How else does one explain the exclusion of a player of his caliber from the qualifiers team?" said a team source.

Halappa refused comment, but is set to leave the national camp here on Tuesday morning.

The Asian Age

Eleven more players sign up for WSH

MUMBAI: Current Canada captain Ken Pereira is among 11 players to sign up for the USD 2 million World Series Hockey that will be held from February 29 to April 2 in eight Indian cities.

The others to sign up lately for the league, a joint initiative of Nimbus Sport and Indian Hockey Federation, are Clive Terwin, Geowynne Kyle Gamiet, Lungile Tsolekile and Shanyl Balwanth from South Africa and Adam Froese, Antoni Kindler, Iain Smythe, Mark Pearson, Richard Hildred and Sukhwinder Singh Gabbar from Canada.

The line up from the African and North American regions includes the current Canadian captain and a set of players who have played close to 800 international matches amongst them, a release from WSH said today.

"World Series Hockey is a huge platform to raise the profile of our sport globally. With the diverse mix of international players in the fray, this is a tournament that is truly global. India is a great place to play, the fans are really passionate about the sport. I have some good memories from playing in the WC and CWG in 2010," said Pereira.

Tsolekile, a forward and one of the four South Africans to sign up for WSH, said, "It's a great opportunity to be able to play in a tournament of the stature of WSH."

"For all of my South African counterparts, it is going to be a fantastic learning experience playing with a host of international stars on the same team. World Series Hockey will see a face-off between the best players from around the world and I am proud to be a part of this esteemed event," he added.

The WSH would involve 200 leading players -- Indian and international -- who will showcase their talent in 59 matches. The eight venues for the inaugural edition of the league are Bengaluru, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Jalandhar, Mumbai and Pune.

The Times of India

MBPJ give up hope on a top-three finish in the MJHL


KUALA LUMPUR: Former champions Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) have, after just halfway through the season, given up hope on a top-three finish in Division One of the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

The PJ team, winners of the overall title in 2006, have only three points from one win and three defeats.

They lost 2-1 to reigning league champions Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), 4-3 to former double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School and 6-1 to defending overall champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt.

Their only win came against Tunku Besar School (7-0).

MBPJ, who have four matches left to play in the league, are sixth in the nine-team standings.

SSTMI-Thunderbolt lead the standing with maximum points from four matches. UniKL are second with nine points from three matches.

MBPJ skipper T. Ganeisha said “there is no way we can achieve the top-three target judging by the way we are struggling in the league”.

“We lost three matches against stronger teams and the best we can hope for now is six placing to qualify for the quarter-finals,” said the Project 2013 squad trainee.

The top six teams from Division One and top two from Division Two will qualify for knockout stage.

Defender Ganeisha, who has scored five penalty corners in all their four matches, blamed poor defending for their three losses.

“We have scored 12 goals but let in the same number due to mistakes made our inexperienced young defenders,” said the Negri Sembilan player, who was the top scorer in Division Two of the Razak Cup tournament in Malacca last year.

“We have to start winning matches this weekend if we are to avoid missing out on the knockout stage.”

MBPJ’s remaining matches are against MBI-Anderson and SSTMI on Friday and Saturday. Their other matches are against MSSPP-USM (Feb 11) and BJSS Junior (Feb 17).

Ganeisha, who featured for Malaysia in the SEA Cup tournament in Myanmar last December, said they would need to win at least three of their four remaining matches to book a place in the knockout stage.

MBPJ failed to qualify for the knockout stage last year after finishing eighth in the 10-team Division One.



Group B: Datuk Taha 1 MSP-Yayasan Pahang 0.

The Star of Malaysia

Aleem’s double strike helps WAPDA record third win

Staff Report

KARACHI: Full-back Aleem Bilal struck two penalty corner goals as WAPDA defeated Pakistan Navy 3-1 on the fifth day of the 59th National Hockey Championship at Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium here on Monday. After the goalless first session, all four goals of the match came in the second period. Aleem blasted two back-to-back goals in 42nd and 55th minutes. Veteran Olympian Rehan Butt scored the third goal in 39th minute. Falak Zaman netted his team’s solitary goal in 58th minute. WAPDA mustered seven short corners but could convert only two. WAPDA have now ten points from four games.

Former national champions Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) were held to 2-2 draw by Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) in a match marred by hot tempers. Shahzad Aslam was sent off with yellow card by umpire Kamran Hussain for dangerous play. Match also saw scuffle broke out between PIA captain Muhammad Zubair and Shahzad Aslam. Zubair slammed both goals for PIA in 13 and 41st minutes. Olympian Abbas Haider and Shabbir Ahmed netted one goal each for SSGC. Right-in Adeel Hussain performed a brilliant hat-trick as Habib Bank Limited (HBL) beat Pakistan Air Force (PAF) Academy 4-2. Aqeel Ahmed netted the fourth goal in 20th minute. Mudassar Ali and Muhammad Ali Bhatti scored goals in 65th and 68th minutes for the losers

Matches for today:

Navy vs Port Qasim Authority
Army vs PAF

The Daily Times

We had enough time to prepare for Olympics: Heuvel

Heuvel dispelled the impression that there was little time to prepare the Pakistan team for the Olympics. -File photo

KARACHI: Pakistan’s Dutch coach Michel van den Heuvel hopes his side sees more international action in the lead up to the all-important 2012 London Olympics.

The three-time Olympic gold-medalists reached their lowest ebb in the past two years, and a lack of competition against top sides has been one of the major reasons for this decline.

“Pakistan needs more international exposure for a better show in Olympics. The team should, ideally, play at least 20-25 international matches ahead of the Games in London,” Heuvel told reporters at the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport on Monday upon his arrival from Amsterdam.

He expressed optimism about his team’s chances in England and was confident that the ‘Greenshirts’ would put on a better show than the eight-nation Champions Trophy in New Zealand where they finished 7th.

Heuvel dispelled the impression that there was little time to prepare Pakistan team for the Olympics.

“We got enough time to prepare,” he said.

There are still six months to go for the Olympics which is scheduled to be held from July 27 to August 12.

While in Karachi, the coach will be observing players in the ongoing national championship and said, “There is no debate about seniors and juniors. We select only fit players for the Olympics.”

He will also be conducting a coaching clinic from February 6-11, for which the Pakistan Hockey Federation has selected coaches from across the country.


Keller aiming for London 2012 swansong

Argentina FIH Champions Trophy Interview – Natascha Keller (GER)

Argentina FIH Champions Trophy – Day 2 – Germany v Argentina (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

In recent weeks, Germany’s talismanic striker Natascha Keller has reached the remarkable milestone of playing more than 400* international matches, becoming the first ever woman to achieve such a feat.  Closest to Keller’s achievement are England’s Karen Brown (355 caps) and fellow German Nadine Ernsting-Krienke (343 caps), while Australian Nikki Hudson played 303 times for the Hockeyroos. On the men’s side Dutch Teun de Nooijer has played most caps, and is currently on a staggering 445.

Natascha Keller – who at 34 is still one of the world’s most feared goal-scorers – talks to FIH.CH about her remarkable career and her desire to finish on a high at the London 2012 Olympic Games.

FIH.CH: Hi Natascha, many thanks for talking to us. So, did you ever think that one day you would have played more than 400 international matches for Germany?
Natascha Keller: “No!  When I played my first international match in October 1994 (against The Netherlands) I never thought that I would still be playing at the age of 34. It is amazing that I have the chance to participate in my fifth Olympic Games after taking part in Atlanta 1996, Sydney 2000, Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008.”

FIH.CH: How can you motivate yourself to keep it going?
NK: “Honestly, there have been certain stages which I thought could be the end of my career. However, it is simply so much fun as I always find a new target to aim for, such as the World Cup in Rosario or the Olympic Games in London. There has always been something tempting to keep me going. I hope this mood will continue for the next few months to make London the final stage of my career. Really, after London I think that will be enough!”

FIH.CH: So, will you retire completely after the London 2012 Olympics or is there a chance that you still play club hockey?
NK: “I haven’t really thought about it. I have decided that I won’t play internationally anymore after the Olympics, but I think it is likely that I’ll still play club hockey in Germany. It’s good for my motivation to know that I’m going to retire from international hockey after the Olympics. I can focus on this knowing that everything is going to be much more relaxed afterwards. I’m looking forward to it!”

FIH.CH: What is your goal for the London Olympics?
NK: “My personal goal is to help the team and to play well in our games. After the tournament I want to be able to say I stopped at the best time. I hope that my team is developing well enough so we are able to compete with the top teams. Winning a medal would be outstanding.”

FIH.CH: What was the best game in your impressive career?
NK: “Winning the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics was the best thing I have experienced in my career. I also like to play in front of big crowds, as we see here in Argentina. Their passion for hockey is just sensational.”

Factfile: Natascha Keller
- Natascha – known as “Taschi” - made her international debut in October 1994 and was named Player of the Year by the FIH in 1999. She has also been shortlisted for the award on numerous occasions.
- Born in Berlin, she plays domestically for Berliner Hockey Club.
- Natascha became the fourth member of the Keller Dynasty to win a hockey medal in Olympic competition when Germany took the Gold medal at the 2004 Games in Athens.
- The family's list of accolades stretches back to her grandfather Erwin, who won Silver at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin.
- Her father Carsten won Olympic Gold at Munich 1972, her brother Andreas won Silver both in Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988 before winning Gold at Barcelona 1992.
- The most recent addition to the Keller Olympic medal haul came at Beijing 2008, when Natascha's younger brother Florian helped Germany’s men claim the Gold medal.
Statistics provided by infostrada sports.

* (combined internationals. Keller has also played 36 times for Germany indoors)

FIH site

Schedule has Danny Kerry hot and bothered

By Graham Wilson

Leicester’s Crista Cullen converted two penalty corners

DANNY KERRY has hit out at Champions Trophy organisers for allowing teams to play in 40 degree heat.

“I’m disgusted that we’re being asked to play in such high temperatures. It’s dangerous and wrong,” said Kerry after his Great Britain women’s team had fought back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Olympic champions Holland in Rosario, Argentina.

Performance director David Faulkner added: “It would be better to play matches in the morning, when it’s cooler. It was in excess of 35 degrees on the pitch.

“We’ll be discussing the scheduling with the International Hockey Federation this week and will also look to discuss the format of the tournament.”

The FIH had promised to protect players after the Commonwealth Games in India when GB striker Alex Danson collapsed from exhaustion.

Leicester’s Crista Cullen converted two penalty corners to share the points after Dutch goals from Naomi van As and Kim Lammers. But GB will rue missing two penalty strokes, one from captain Kate Walsh and the other by Cullen.

“To get back to 2-2 against the Olympic champions was something special,” said Cullen.

Britain top their group after beating Japan 3-0 in their first clash but play their final pool match against Olympic silver medallists China today, in the same oppressive heat with stormy weather also forecast.

There is no time to rest for GB striker Ashley Jackson and his host of East Grinstead internationals, who won the Maxifuel Super Sixes for the fourth successive time at the Wembley Arena on Sunday by beating Beeston 8-5.

The British men’s squad fly out to South Africa today for a boot camp and a series of games.

Daily Express

Competitor or Spectator?

Scott Sandison's return to hockey

It's 6 months out until the opening ceremonies but it's less than 1 month before I know if I'll be going to the Olympics to watch or play.

February 26 is the big date for the Canadian hockey team. It's the final of our Olympic qualifier. And it's sprinting towards me.

With less than 2 weeks left before I fly out to India you'd think the training would be kicking into full gear. Well the fact of the matter is I've been training at top speed for a couple months now, and with the added restriction of work it's been hard to get the balance exactly right.

It had all been going so well. Energy levels really high, motivated to train everyday, and physical gains clearly visible with improvements happening at every session. The last two weeks, however, have seen things get difficult. Trying to fit everything in, to what was already a very filled schedule, has made me tired, and the gains have plateaued into a few average training sessions.

I've been labeled the most boring man alive over the last month. A moniker that I've accepted with a willingness, as it's been my decision to give up the majority of my down time. It's an easy sacrifice to make for a couple months. Especially with a ticket to the biggest sporting event in 2012 on the line.

The real question, the one that I get asked about 5 times a day, is are you going to qualify? This is where I step up and deliver some Shakespearian sonnet on self-belief and determination, a gold medal to the nation with the purest hearts.

Sorry, but you're not even getting a subpar haiku. The fact is every player heading to India to compete in this qualifier is dreaming the same thing. We all have an opportunity to qualify for the Olympics. That in itself is enough to get me excited about heading off in 2 weeks. Knowing that there are 18 guys from 6 different nations going to sleep tonight dreaming about qualifying for the Olympics. There's only one spot up for grabs, and as amazing as it will be for that 1 nation, there will be many more shattered dreams.

But no one wants to hear about that side of things. Everyone wants to live in the dream of success no matter what the chances. And yes I can hear you screaming, what are the chances? Will Canada go to the Olympics?

We're ranked second in the tournament. A few spots down from India in the overall world rankings, but we're also coming off a string of poor results where we lost to one of the other countries in the tournament. I can go around in circles for ages talking about home field advantage, rankings, tactical systems, players to watch out for, etc etc but it doesn't mean all that much.

Here are the facts:


  • There will be 6 games played by all teams at this tournament
  • The team that wins goes to the Olympics
  • No one knows who that team will be, including me
  • And that is the main reason why we all will be dreaming tonight

So you'll have to check back to see how we're getting on, and hopefully you can get caught up in some of the excitement that I'm feeling.

Scott Sandison blog

Ann Doggett joins FHC Board of Directors

Former Field Hockey Ontario President excited to develop coaching education program

Field Hockey Canada is pleased to announce Ann Doggett as the newest member of the Board of Directors.  She has been involved in the field hockey community since 1974 as an athlete, coach and leader.   Ann first became involved with FHC as a member of the Long Term Athlete Development Committee and Coach Education Committee.  For 5 years, Ann served as the Field Hockey Ontario President ending November 2011.  

“We are extremely pleased to have Ann join the Board,” says Mary Cicinelli, FHC President.  “She brings a breadth of experience and expertise in specific areas that are essential for our development and success – particularly in the areas of athlete, coach and club development.”

She is currently a Master Learning Facilitator for Community Coach and Introduction to Competition, and a Learning Facilitator for Fundamental Movement Skills and Intro to Competition Multi-Sport.

“I am very excited to be a part of the FHC Board,” says Ann.  “I hope to see an increase in the number of clubs and players over the next five years – and a stronger coaching education program.” 

Field Hockey Canada media release

Derek Forsyth appointed head coach of Scotland Senior Men

Derek Forsyth

Scottish Hockey is delighted to confirm that Derek Forsyth has been appointed as the head coach of Scotland Senior Men.

He steps up from his position as head coach of the U21 Men's side to take charge of the senior squad following Russell Garcia's decision to step down from the position last year.

Looking forward to the challenges ahead, Forsyth said:

"I want to reinforce the winning mentality of the squad. I have been fortunate to have been an integral part of the set-up as assistant coach for a number of years and will use this experience to take the team forward towards an important period for the senior men."

"The squad has a good blend of youth and experienced players, who have a strong work ethic and developed a greater understanding of what is required to succeed.  Many of the players have enjoyed success at club or junior international level and are hungry for further achievement. This gives me a sound basis for taking things forward and ultimately striving to compete with the best."

Robert Heatly, Scottish Hockey Chief Executive, said:

"Derek's promotion to the head coach role is significant as we are making an investment in the appointment of one of the most successful coaches from Scotland. This should be seen as part of Scottish Hockey's commitment to the continuing development of high performance coaches in this country."

Having assisted former head coach Russell Garcia during Scotland's European and FIH competition campaigns last summer, Forsyth has familiar knowledge of this group of players, many of whom he has also worked with during his [previous role as coach of Scottish club champions Glynhill Hotel Kelburne.

Callum McLeod, Scottish Hockey's Performance Manager, said:

"I'm delighted Derek has taken up the post of the Senior Men's Head Coach.  He is Scotland's most experienced and successful coach having led Kelburne to ten National League titles and five Scottish Cups, and most recently with the Scotland U21 Men who achieved promotion at the EuroHockey Junior Nations Championship II last summer. He was a natural choice."

"He has proven consistently that he is a winner, with his drive and determination transferring to the players' performances on the pitch.  As assistant coach to the Senior Men for a number of years he will be able to implement his own ideas very quickly."

The FIH World League I will be Forsyth's first foray into international competition in his new role this season, before the Scots look forward to two important years of top level hockey in 2013 and 2014, as McLeod was keen to highlight:

"The primary target is to achieve promotion to the EuroHockey Nations Championship when we compete in the second division next summer. They have not achieved promotion since Leipzig in 2005 but this is vital for our progression at international level. A successful European campaign would also establish an excellent foundation for building towards an exciting Commonwealth Games in Glasgow where we aim to be competitive with the top nations."

Recruitment for the Scotland U21 Men's vacancy will commence shortly.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Vacancy for Scotland U21 Men Head Coach

Scottish Hockey, the national governing body for hockey in Scotland, with support from sportscotland, is recruiting for an U21 men's head coach.

At this time we are looking for a performance coach capable of meeting the challenges of the post to note their interest in the position.

The individual must demonstrate an understanding of world class hockey and the requirements for player development to succeed at international level.

Download Scotland U21 Men Head Coach Job Advert
Download Scotland U21 Men Head Coach Job Description
Download Scotland U21 Men Head Coach Person Specification

Closing date for expressions of interest is Monday 13th February 2012.

Performance coaches should note their interest by e-mailing their CV along with salary expectations to This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Scottish Hockey Union media release