News for 03 February 2013

All the news for Sunday 3 February 2013


Investec SA women's hockey team beat England 3-1

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town

England and the Investec South African women’s hockey team were level-pegging 1-1 at half-time in the international at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Saturday before SA scored twice in the second half for a 3-1 victory.

England’s Joe Leigh opened the scoring in the first minute and Bernie Coston equalised in the 29th before Tarryn Bright put SA in front in the 44th minute and Lilian du Plessis made it 3-1 a minute from the final whistle.

This is the final outing before the Investec Challenge kicks off on Monday.

The English started like a house on fire and Sarah Haycroft initiated an attack from between her 23-metre line and halfway, relayed the ball to captain on the day Susie Gilbert, who in turn fed Beckie Herbert, and Herbert’s powerful, early cross from the right found Jo Leigh for the forward to connect first time past brilliant SA goalkeeper Sanani Mangisa (1-0).

SA pressed hard immediately and in the process won four penalty corners during a sustained period.

SA rested world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee (258 goals in 258 Test matches) and brought back the 302-times capped Marsha Marescia, who is co-captain with Lenise Marais for the Investec Challenge.

Parity came in the 29th minute when Shelley Russell hit a superb through-ball to Bernie Coston, who made ground in going on to score a fine goal (1-1).

England won their first PC two minutes from half-time but a logging Mangisa saved comfortably.

Play swung to and fro in a busy second half and in the 44th minute it was Tarryn Bright who put SA ahead with a neat backhand shot (2-1). Sulette Damons hit the post and Mangisa made some fine interventions before Lilian du Plessis’ goal in the last minute left SA 3-1 winners.

SA Hockey Association media release



The Netherlands put past Australia’s Hockeyroos

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town


World number one and London 2012 Olympic Games gold medalists, The Netherlands defeated world number six, the Hockeyroos 6-1 after leading 4-1 at half-time at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town, South Africa Saturday.

The final practice match was a precursor to the opening match of the Investec Challenge starting on Monday in Cape Town.

In a match that saw both teams play some highly skilled hockey, The Netherlands scored in the first half through Carlien Dirkse van den Heuvel, Kelly Jonker, Roos Drost and captain Maartje Paumen, while the Hockeyroos broke the deadlock through London Olympic Games reserve, Emily Hurtz.

The Netherlands scored twice in the second half through Laurien Leurink and Ellen Hoog.

Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens said after the 6-1 loss, “our inexperienced team found it difficult against the more experienced Dutch team”

“With only eight of our Olympic sixteen, we knew it would be a challenge and we learnt a lot from this match.”

“Our second half was full of merit and we were able to create 4 PC’s and numerous goal shots.”

The Hockeyroos will hoping for a more competitive outing on Monday against the world number 1 team in game 1 of the Investec Challenge.

Adam Commens believes “there is still much to do and our new players are growing all the time.

“We are now prepared for our official matches in the Investec Challenge and are looking forward to some improved performances.”

SA Hockey Association media release



Investec South African women’s hockey team named for Investec Challenge

The South African Hockey Association has released the names of the players who will represent the Investec South African women’s hockey team at the Investec Challenge, which takes place at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town from February 4 to February 10.

The other teams in the Investec Challenge are world number one and London 2012 Olympic Games gold medallists Holland, world number four and London 2012 Olympic Games bronze medallists England (as Great Britain), and world number six Australia.

The final round of unofficial internationals that form part of the warm-up for the teams, take place at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town Saturday with the Investec South African women’s hockey team tackling England at 4 pm and Holland meeting Australia at 6 pm.

The Investec Challenge officially kicks off on Monday at Hartleyvale Stadium in Cape Town when Holland face Australia at 6 pm before South Africa meet England at 8 pm.

Investec SA team: Sanani Mangisa, Lisa Deetlefs, Pietie Coetzee, Marsha Marescia (co-captain),  Bernie Coston (all Southern Gauteng); Shelley Russell, Jade Mayne, Quanita Bobbs, Tarryn Bright (all Western Province); Marcelle Keet (Amathole/Border); Lilian du Plessis, Phume Mbande, Dirkie Chamberlain, Nicolene Terblanche (all Northern Blues); Lenise Marais (co-captain), Kelly Madsen (both KZN Coastal Raiders); Sulette Damons, Celia Evans (both North West).

Investec Challenge fixtures
Mon, 4 Feb 6 pm: Holland vs Australia
Mon, 4 Feb 8 pm: South Africa vs England
Tues, 5 Feb 6 pm: Holland vs England
Tues, 5 Feb 8 pm: South Africa vs Australia
Thurs, 7 Feb 6 pm: England vs Australia
Thurs, 7 Feb 8 pm: South Africa v s Holland
Sat, 9 Feb 2:30 pm: Semi-Final 1
Sat, 9 Feb 5 pm: Semi-Final 2
Sun, 10 Feb 11:30 am: Bronze Medal Match
Sun, 10 Feb 2 pm: Gold Medal Match

SA Hockey Association media release



South Africa men’s hockey team named for Rio

The names of the 18 players selected to represent South Africa for the World League Round 2 men’s hockey tournament scheduled for Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from February 27 to March 5 was released by the SA Hockey Association at the conclusion of the national training camp in Cape Town Saturday.

The SA team will be captained by Rhett Halkett and will tackle Brazil, tournament favourites Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and the USA.

The top two teams at the conclusion of the Rio round-robin tournament will qualify for the World League men’s semi-finals, which will take place in Rotterdam, Holland from June 13 to 23, and in Johor Bahru, Malaysia from June 29-July 7.

Depending on where they are placed in the world rankings at the conclusion of the World League round two tournaments will determine which city the top two teams in Rio will be flying to for those semi-final events.

A South Africa “A” side was also announced, which will form part of the greater SA squad.

SOUTH AFRICA MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM FOR RIO

Miguel da Graca, Pierre de Voux, Tim Drummond, Jethro Eustice, Ashlin Freddy, Matt Guise-Brown, Craig Haley, Rhett Halkett (capt), Julian Hykes, Gowan Jones, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Taine Paton, Clint Panther, Rassie Pieterse, Jonty Robinson, Austin Smith, Ricky West, Oliver Whitely.

Non-travelling reserves for Rio: Dylan Coombs, Taylor Dart, Brandon Panther, Michael Smith, Dylan Swanepoel, Clive Terwin.

South Africa “A” side (which will make up the greater squad): Dylan Coombs, Taylor Dart, Matt Fairweather, Geowynne Gamiet, Grant Glutz, Gareth Heynes, Jody Hosking, Robin Jones, Jacques le Roux, Mohamed Mea, Owen Mvimbi, Brandon Panther, Keegan Robinson, Daniel Sibbald, Nic Spooner, Michael Smith, Dylan Swanepoel, Clive Terwin.

Non travelling South Africa “A” reserves: Daniel Bell, Brynn Cleak, Nic Gonsalves, Ignatius Malgraff, Andrew Manson, Chris Rembe, Grant Robertson, Greg Last.

SA Hockey Association media release



Magicians no match for Uttar Pradesh Wizards

s2h team


Mumbai Magicians proved to be no match for Wizards, as they beat easily at a 2-0 today in Lucknow. Haryana lad Pardeep Mor and local star Siddharth Shankar struck for the home team for the struggling but pleasing victory.

Wizards now have 22 points, 8 more than the bottom placed Magicians. In a sedate match, everything changed in the ninth minute when the hosts stunned the visitors. Under a little bit of pressure from a Wizards, defender Glenn Simpson made a poor clearance, which was collected by Pardeep Mor at the top of the Magicians’ circle.

Mor took a couple of steps towards the ball, and smashed it in the top right corner, giving goalie Sreejesh no chance.

This was Mor’s first goal of the tournament.

Magicians’ first real opportunity came in the second minute of the second quarter when Swarnjit Singh couldn’t hit the target with a reverse hit, with the goalie on the ground.

Wizards responded immediately, with first hitting right post, and then earning back to back penalty corners. The first was hit the Magicians’ rusher’s leg, second one was deflected out by Sandip Singh.

Magicians then got another chance to equalise, in the 32nd minute, when a superb solo move by Faisal Sarri ended up in the visitors earning a penalty corner. However, Aiyappa was unable to stop the push, and the ball was taken out to safety by Wizards. Wizards managed to keep their defence tight for most part of the third quarter too, despite Chinglensana coming close on a couple of occasions. Wizards got the best opportunity of the third quarter, earning a penalty corner in the 38th minute. With Raghunath unable to score off the first two, Wizards went for Doerner to take the drag flick this time. His low shot was well saved by Sreejesh, and Wizards failed to capitalise on the rebound.

The hosts delivered a decisive blow to the Magicians in the 58th minute. A poor clearance that went to David Alegre was well saved by Sreejesh. However, that ws followed by another bad clearance that went straight to Siddharth Shankar, who smashed it low to the left of Sreejesh to put the hosts 2-0 ahead.

Magicians wasted another penalty corner, in the 62nd minute, when Sandip Singh’s drag flick was well saved by the Wizards’ goalie Bazeley. Their next PC was taken Joel Carroll, but the result was no different.

UP Wizards captain VR Raghunath said that their strategy for this match worked well. “We had certain plans to play this game and strategy was good to pay, our goalkeeper also played good we had set some techniques to play this game which work so now hoping to play good game," Raghunath said at the post-match press conference.

Coach Roelant Oltmans said that their team is improving match by match. “After losing last match 4-0, we are working on each and every player’s game and setup plans to play. We are making strategies and talking to each and every player individually to improve our game. Our forward area was good in this match and hoping to continue playing good games like this," Oltmans stated.

Dabur Mumbai Magicians coach Richard Charlesworth said that the team is improving slowly. “We got new set of players and it’s taking time to develop chemistry among the players. From last games, we have improved a lot and trying to better now, hoping to play good games in next matches,” Charlesworth added.

Stick2Hockey.com



UP Wizards beat Mumbai Magicians 2-0

By Asheem Mukerji


LUCKNOW: Roelant Oltmans heaved a huge sigh of relief as his team UP Wizards bounced back from four consecutive defeats to tame Mumbai Magicians in the Hero Hockey India League here on Saturday.

After a cat-and-mouse game, the two-goal win at the Dhyanchand stadium meant that the Wizards can breathe a little easy with 22 points after nine matches. They are now eight points clear of the Magicians, who bring up the rear with 14 points from 10 games in the five-team league.

The Wizards now play Delhi Waveriders in their final home match on Sunday.

The win was also a sweet revenge for the hosts who were blown away 0-4 by the Magicians in Mumbai five days ago.

The game started on a fast pace, and after some initial probes by both the sides the home team drew first blood in the ninth minute. Pardeep Mor latched on to a faulty clearance to send the ball crashing into the net much to the joy of the crowd side.

After goalless second and third quarters, the Wizards sealed the match when local lad Siddharth Shankar beat Mumbai goalkeeper P Sreejesh with a carpet drive from top of the circle. A poor clearance set up the goal as Alegre took the first shot and Shankar slotted home the rebound.

The Times of India



Ranchi Rhinos held to a 1-1 draw by Punjab Warriors

RANCHI: Jaypee Punjab Warriors and Ranchi Rhinos played out a 1-1 draw at Birsa Munda Astroturf Hockey Stadium in Ranchi in the Hockey India League on Saturday.

After Malak Singh put the visitors ahead, Mandeep Singh scored a superb diving goal to bring the hosts back in the game.

Warriors had goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann to keep them in the game, with the Dutchman making at least 10 saves in the match.

Punjab Warriors started the match well, and entered the Rhinos' scoring area twice in the first five minutes. Rhinos responded by making their own move, but neither of the goalkeeper was really tested.

Warriors earned their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, when SV Sunil was checked by Kothajit. The first drag flick hit the rusher's leg, resulting in another penalty corner. The second one, struck by Christopher Cirielo, was brilliantly saved by Cortes.

Malak Singh eventually put the visitors ahead in the 14th minute. Robert Hammond made a hard long pass, and Malak was in the right place to just deflect the ball past Cortes.

Warriors played much more defensively in the second quarter and Rhinos took full advantage. They entered the Warriors circle regularly, and most part of the quarter was played in Warriors half. The equaliser just looked like a matter of time, and eventually arrived in the 33rd minute.

A good counter was started by Birendra Lakra, who gave the ball to Nick Wilson. Wilson did the spade work, attracted a number of defenders and passed the ball right in front of the goal where Mandeep Singh made a diving connection to beat Jaap Stockmann and bring the hosts right back in the game.

Rhinos could have taken the lead in the third quarter, when Ashley Jackson and Nick Wilson combined well. Nick had a clear strike on goal, which was once again beautifully saved by Stockmann in the 40th minute.

Rhinos again missed a chance of going ahead in the 52nd minute when Lakra's clever pass went to Stanley. Stanley tried to guide the ball past Stockmann, but ended up hitting it just wide.

Warriors almost took the lead in the last few seconds of the third quarter when Jamie Dwyer's cross was deflected by Malak Singh, before Cortes made a fabulous diving goal-line save.

Both teams made some good moves in the last 10 minutes. Mauris Fuertse had a chance to score for Rhinos, but his low and powerful reverse hit was kicked out by an ever alert Stockmann.

Stockmann made two more brilliant saves in the last two minutes to ensure Warriors got two points from the game.

The Times of India



Punjab, Ranchi play out a draw

Punjab Warriors and Ranchi Rhinos played out a 1-1 draw at Birsa Munda Astroturf Hockey Stadium during the Hockey India League match in Ranchi on Saturday. After Malak Singh put the visitors ahead, Mandeep Singh scored a superb diving goal to bring the hosts back in the game.

Warriors had goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann to keep them in the game, with the Dutchman making at least 10 saves in the match. He was declared Man-of-the-Match for his effort. Warriors started the match well, and entered the Rhinos’ D twice in the first five minutes. Rhinos responded by making their own move, but neither of the goalkeeper was really tested. Warriors earned their first penalty corner in the 10th minute, when SV Sunil was checked by Kothajit. The first drag flick hit the rusher’s leg, resulting in another penalty corner. The second one, struck by Christopher Cirielo, was brilliantly saved by Cortes.

Malak Singh eventually put the visitors ahead in the 14th minute. Robert Hammond made a hard long pass, and Malak Singh was in the right place to just deflect the ball past Cortes.

Rhinos entered the Warriors circle regularly, and most part of the quarter was played in Warriors half. The equaliser just looked like a matter of time, and eventually arrived in the 33rd minute. A good counter was started by Birendra Lakra, who gave the ball to Nick Wilson. Wilson did the spade work, attracted defenders and passed the ball right in front of the goal, where Mandeep Singh made a diving connection to beat Jaap Stockmann.

The Tribune



Monarchs and Perthshire claim Scottish indoor titles

FMGM Monarchs and Perthshire celebrate title successes, while the battle for the Division 2 crown will go down to the last day.

National Indoor League Division 2


The battle for the Division 2 title between Hillhead and Grove Menzieshill II will go right down the wire next weekend, with only two points separating the sides and the prospect of a title showdown on the cards.

The league leaders recorded a narrow win over Alpha Data Carnegie (5-4) as well as defeating CALA Edinburgh (6-3). Meanwhile, the Taysiders notched up wins over AAM Gordonians (6-2) and Inverleith II (8-3).

Despite their loss to Grove Menzieshill II, AAM Gordonians look favourites to take the second promotion spot after crucial wins over rivals Falkirk GHG (6-4) and Stepps (8-4).

At the foot of the division, Alpha Data Carnegie have created a four point gap on CALA Edinburgh and Inverleith II following an important victory over Falkirk GHG (3-2).

As well as the aforementioned loss to Hillhead, CALA Edinburgh were narrowly edged out by Stepps (3-4) meaning they now sit second from bottom. Stepps also made a move up the table after beating Alpha Data Carnegie (5-2) to notch up two wins during the session.  Inverleith II remain in last place after a second defeat at the hands of Falkirk GHG (4-6).

National Indoor League Division 3

FMGM Monarchs will be celebrating tonight after winning the Division 3 title today, recording back to back promotions in the process.

The crucial match of the day was the Taysiders’ match against McWhinney Uddingston and they ran out 4-2 winners to maintain their position at the top of the league.

As is stands, McWhinney Uddingston sit in the second promotion spot after beating Olympic Garscadden (4-2). Quasar’s defeat by Watsonians (2-1) ended their prospects of reaching Division 2.

Granite City Wanderers and Dundee Wanderers drop out of the league after finishing last and second bottom respectively. Wanderers lost to Quasar (4-2) in their first match, effectively consigning them to relegation after nearest rivals Kelburne II managed to draw with Watsonians (4-4). The two sides played out a 3-3 draw, meaning the Paisley side finished four points ahead of their Dundee rivals.

Granite City Wanderers were unfortunately unable to make the session today.

National Indoor League Midland & North

Perthshire are the champions of Midland & North Division after a 7-6 win over closest challengers Aberdeen GSFP. They wrapped up the title in style with a comprehensive win over Stirling Wanderers (10-3), which also meant Perthshire finished the season unbeaten.

Aberdeen GSFP comfortably claimed second place after successes against Granite City Wanderers II (12-0) and Harris Academy FP II (7-4).

The only other movement in the league was Harris Academy FP II trading places with Granite City Wanderers II after a win over Stirling Wanderers (4-3).

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Heavy price for 3 points


Petaling Jaya Municipal Council are wihin a point of winning the MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League title after they edged Malacca High School 2-1 at the Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium.

But they paid a heavy price for the win as a player saw red and another was shown two yellow cards, thus ruling both out of the crucial match against defending champions Tengku Mahkota Sports School tomorrow at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

And in another Division One match, Bukit Jalil Sports School edged USM-MSSSPP 5-4 to keep their faint hopes alive of amking the top six and earn a place in the knockout stages.

Asraf Zulzali was flashed the red after he collided with MHC goalkeeper, while skipper Shahiram Zali was flashed the yellow twice and both will sit out of the crucial match against Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI).

“It was an unfortunate win as we lost two key players ahead of a crucial match against SSTMI tomorrow (today).

“All we need from the SSTMI match is a draw to lift out maiden League title but now it has become an uphill task. However, we are not going to throw in the towel, and I believe my players will play their best match of the season to lay their hands on the title,” said PJCC manager Zanal Abidin.

For the record, PJCC have only one overall title which they won in 2006. Amir Farhan gave MHS the lead in the 8th minute and led at halftime.

But PJCC came back into the picture with a penalty corner goal from Shahiram in the 55th minute, while the winner was delivered by Nazirul Mudin in the 61st minute also via a penalty corner attempt.

RESULTS:

Bukit Jalil SS 5 USM 4

Malacca High School 1 Petaling Jaya CC 2.

Division Two:

Group A:

Kedah HA Juniors 3 1Mas Penang 0, Perlis 4 STAR Ipoh 0.

Group B:

Datuk Taha 1 Politeknik KPT 3,  Tunas Muda Pahang  1 Kuala Lumpur SS 4.

TODAY:

Division One:  Tengku Mahkota SS v Petaling Jaya CC (Bukit Jalil, 5pm).

Division Two:

Group A -- Nur Insafi v Kelantan HA (Sungai Petani, 5pm), Perlis v 1Mas Penang (Alor Star, 5pm).

Group B: Tunas Muda Pahang v Bukit Jalil SS Juniors (Kuantan, 5pm), Padang Midin v Johor HA (Terengganu, 5pm), Olak PKT v Politeknik KPT (National Stadium, 5pm).

Unofficial MJHL site

 



Win comes with heavy price   

TITLE RACE: PJCC's duo to miss crucial clash against SSTMI

By Jugjet Singh


PETALING Jaya City Council (PJCC) received a double blow in their Division One win against Malacca High School (MHS) when one player was flashed the red while their skipper was slapped with a double yellow.Though PJCC beat MHC 2-1 and are just a draw away from lifting the NSC-Milo-MHC Junior Hockey League league title, it suddenly has become a mountain to climb.

Asraf Zulzali was flashed the red after he collided with MHS goalkeeper, while skipper Shahiram Zali was flashed the yellow twice and both will sit out of the crucial match against Tengku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI).

"It was an unfortunate win as we lost two key players ahead of a crucial match against SSTMI tomorrow (today).

"All we need from the SSTMI match is a draw to lift our maiden League title but now it has become an uphill task.

"However, we are not going to throw in the towel and I believe my players will play their best match of the season to lay their hands on the title," said PJCC manager Zanal Abidin.

For the record, PJCC have only one overall title which they won in 2006.

MHS shocked the title pretenders with an early goal when Amir Farhan scored in the eighth minute.

But PJCC came back into the picture with a penalty corner goal from Shahiram in the 55th minute, while the winner was delivered by Nazirul Mudin in the 61st minute also via a penalty corner attempt.

RESULTS -- Division One: Bukit Jalil SS 5 USM 4, Malacca High School 1 Petaling Jaya CC 2.

Division Two: Group A: Kedah HA Juniors 3 1Mas Penang 0, Perlis 4 STAR Ipoh 0.

Group B: Datuk Taha 1 Politeknik KPT 3, Tunas Muda Pahang 1 Kuala Lumpur SS 4.

TODAY -- Division One: Tengku Mahkota SS v Petaling Jaya CC (Bukit Jalil, 5pm).

Division Two: Group A -- Nur Insafi v Kelantan HA (Sungai Petani, 5pm), Perlis v 1Mas Penang (Alor Star, 5pm).

Group B: Tunas Muda Pahang v Bukit Jalil SS Juniors (Kuantan, 5pm), Padang Midin v Johor HA (Terengganu, 5pm), Olak PKT v Politeknik KPT (National Stadium, 5pm).

New Straits Times



MBPJ’s for the taking

By S. RAMAGURU



Out of my way: MBPJ’s Abdul Halim Jalil (centre) vying for the ball with Malacca High School players during their MHFMilo- NSC Junior Hockey League match at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium in Malacca Saturday. — A. MALEX YAHAYA / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) are just one point away from lifting their maiden MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League title after beating Malacca High School 2-1 in their penultimate match at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium.

The victory, however, came at a high price as two of their more experienced players – skipper Mohd Shahiram and midfielder Mohd Asraf Zulzali — will be suspended for the match against defending champions SSTMI-Thunderbolt today.

Three teams are in the running for the title. MBPJ lead the standings with 18 points after six matches, followed by Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) on 15. Thunderbolt are third with 12 points but with a game in hand.

So, Thunderbolt must beat MBPJ to keep their title hopes alive.

Should Thunderbolt win, then their Feb 7 match against UniKL could well be the title decider.

But all that would be of academic interest if MBPJ can get a draw against Thunderbolt today.

Against Malacca High School yesterday, MBPJ had to come back from a goal down for victory.

Malacca took the lead in the eighth minute with an Amir Farhan Kamaruddin penalty corner goal.

Mohd Shairam Zali equalised for MBPJ in the 55th minute before Nazirul Mubin whipped in the winner in the 61st.

MBPJ assistant team manager Zainal Abidin Ismail expects a tough match against Thunderbolt, especially with the absence of their two key players.

“We have two players suspended for the next match. There is no doubt that this is a title decider for us. It’s going to be very tough considering they are two of our more experienced players,” he said.

“But the players are determined to win the match against the reigning champions. We are so close to the title ... we won’t let it go without a fight.”

In another match, Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) ended their campaign with a first league win after edging MSS Penang-USM 5-4 at the Education Ministry Turf.

But it may still not be enough to prevent the former champions from being relegated.

BJSS are in sixth spot with four points after seven matches – the same as seventh-placed SSTMI Juniors, who have two matches to play.

The Star of Malaysia



AHF name eight teams for Asia Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: Eight teams will square off for the right to earn a spot in the 2014 World Cup when Malaysia hosts the Asia Cup in Ipoh from Aug 24-Sept 1.

The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) yesterday named the eight teams vying for the lone spot as the Asian continental champions.

Besides Malaysia, the other teams are 2010 Asian Games gold medallists Pakistan, South Korea, India, China, Japan, Bangladesh and Oman.

However, Malaysia, South Korea, Pakistan and India have a chance to clinch their World Cup ticket via the World League semi-finals.

Malaysia, South Korea and Pakistan are in the same group in the World League semi-finals. If all three finish in the top four of the tournament in Johor in June, then they will secure an automatic berth without having to worry about the Asia Cup.

India play in Round Two of the World League and are expected to make the cut for the semi-finals. There is a major likelihood that they will play in the semi-finals to be hosted by Holland in June.

AHF secretary general Tan Sri P. Alagendra said that the format and groupings would be decided later.

“The two groups of four teams each will play in the Asia Cup and the groupings will be released after March, when all eight teams have confirmed their entries,” he said after chairing the 62nd meeting of the AHF Council.

The Star of Malaysia



Pakistan may not release players

There is a strong possibility that Pakistani national players will not be allowed to play in the forthcoming Malaysian Hockey League.

Speaking at the sidelines of the Asian Hockey Federation Council meeting in Kuala Lumpur, Pakistan Hockey Federation Secretary Asif Bajwa said that they had to study the situation carefully in wake of several incidents in the past.

There were several Pakistan players that played in the MHL last season, notably Shakeel Abbasi, Waseem Ahmad and Muhammad Imran.

"We are rather concerned as the players form drops drastically when they return from playing in the MHL," revealed Asif.

"And as such we need to discuss matters first with the MHC before granting any approval.

"Our concern is the form of our players and also if the MHL is run professionally."

Another concern of Pakistan is that their forthcoming series against India that will be played over March and April.

Thus Pakistan is rather apprehensive about sending its top players to Malaysia.

"We will host India somewhere in late March and they will play hosts in April, said Asif.

"Hence we will not grant the approval for the players to play in Malaysia as the matches against India have a great significance."

A total of 11 teams have confirmed participation in the MHL that will commence from March 12 till May 12.

It is believed that Maybank are in negotiations to secure five players to beef up their squad.

Another team that utilizes players from the sub continent is Nur Insafi and Sapura.

MHL Site



Dar Academy Boys Help the Police Team Back into the Main Stream of Pakistan Hockey

By Ijaz Chaudhry


The Police hockey team has been quite a force on the national hockey circuit of Pakistan since country’s early days.  A number of police players won selection in the national team and also contributed in Pakistan’s glorious victories.  Some of them such as Muneer Dar, Zakauddin, Aziz Malik and Latifur Rahman achieved immortal status in country’s hockey folklore.

The police team has the honour of twice winning the national championships.   Interestingly the two police victories preceded Pakistan’s first and last global successes. In 1960, Police won the nationals, and after a few months Pakistan won their first Olympic gold medal at Rome. Likewise, when Pakistan had their last universal glory, lifting the 1994 World Cup, the preceding national championships in late 1993 were also won by the Police. In both these victorious sides of Pakistan, policemen figured prominently. The Olympic champions of 1960 had three policemen in their ranks: Munir Dar, Zakauddin and Ronnie Gardener. While the World Champions of 1994 were served by Shahbaz Jr, Danish Kaleem, Irfan Mahmood and Shafqat Malik. Worth mentioning that in the latter instance, the police representation was more than any other domestic side in the victorious national team.

But in recent times, the police hockey team has been handicapped due to the ban on new recruitment on sports basis. As age caught up with the old stalwarts, their performance on the national circuit gradually deteriorated. A couple of years back, the police team got relegated from the national championships and had been playing the second tier national tray championships.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Sohail Khan, who presently heads the police sports department, was very much perturbed by this state of the affairs. He assigned Deputy Superintendent Qasim Khan, a former international and presently in charge of the police hockey team , and Masoodur Rahman, the coach of the police team the target to get the police team back to the main round of the national champions.

The police hockey officials realised the need of young legs. They sought the help of country’s premier hockey factory, the Dar Hockey Academy,which has been churning out quality players for last few years. The academy is ever ready to fulfill the needs of any outfit requiring hockey talent- from grass roots to the national team.  Last year, two academy boys, Khalid Bhatti and Salman Hussain debuted for Pakistan’s national side.         

Dar hockey academy’s president, Olympic gold medallist, Taqueer Dar has a special regard for the police hockey team. His father, the legendary Munir Dar, played for, captained and coached the police team. Moreover, late Munir Dar who served the police department for more than 30 years, retiring in the rank of the Deputy Inspector General, headed the police sports department for many years. And the policemen distinguished themselves in a number of international sports events during that period.    

Dar Academy’s six youngsters, Bilal Mahmood, Awais, Aamer Ali, Abid Bhatti, Sultan Ashraf and Aamer Yaqoob appeared for the police team in the national tray championships of 2012. The boys made all the difference. The police team went through the league stage unbeaten, winning five and drawing one match. In the final, they defeated   the formidable PTV side thus securing place in the national championships.

The police high-ups were really delighted with this performance and the team members were duly rewarded. First, the Senior Superintendent announced cash prizes for all the members.  Then the big boss, Additional Inspector General Aslam Tareen hosted a function to honour the team. The players were given certificates as well as cash awards.

The crop of talented youngsters is always ripe at the Dar Hockey Academy – any team can reap the benefit.

www.darhockeyacademy.com

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit http://www.sportscorrespondent.info/