News for 15 February 2013

All the news for Friday 15 February 2013


Cash-strapped SA hockey men getting ready for Rio

JONATHAN COOK



SA head coach Charlie Pereira. Photo: TERRY FEBRUARY

A lack of finance remains the most pressing concern of the South Africa men’s hockey team, as it hampers their efforts to compete on a level playing field with rivals who are able to fund plenty of centralised training sessions and Test matches every year, but it will never be used as an excuse.

Charlie Pereira, who was appointed head coach for the upcoming World League Round 2 event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from February 27 to March 5, has been hard at work in getting his diaspora to put in as much quality time as possible in cities throughout SA as well as overseas.

“I was with the Gauteng guys at training in Johannesburg last [Wednesday] night,” said the KZN Inland-based Pereira Thursday. “The players from Pretoria and Jo’burg had a good session with Ned [SA trainer Craig Fulton] so yes it is difficult, not ideal, not having all the players from Rio together, but we are not going to whine about it.”

The 18-man team for Rio are roughly spread between Potchefstroom, Johannesburg, Pretoria, Durban, Cape Town, The Netherlands and Belgium.

“Given what we have, the circumstances, we are on track,” said Pereira. “Rob [SA physical conditioning coach Rob van Ginkel] has each player on a physical conditioning programme so we will be fit in Rio, but it is game time on the pitch that is so critical and we have two practice matches when we arrive in Rio, but it is never enough.”

The sprinkling of SA players plying their trade in Europe will have the benefit of tough club matches under their belts and should arrive in Rio battle-hardened and ready for action.

“All round I am pretty happy, and it is good to know that the 18 picked for Rio are all injury free at this stage,” Pereira added.

SA will tackle Brazil, tournament favourites Argentina, Trinidad and Tobago, Chile and the USA in Rio.

The top two teams will qualify for the World League semi-finals in June/July.

SOUTH AFRICA MEN’S HOCKEY TEAM FOR RIO
Miguel da Graca, Clint Panther, Ricky West, Oliver Whiteley, Rassie Pieterse (all Southern Gauteng); Lloyd Norris-Jones, Craig Haley, Ashlin Freddy, Austin Smith, Pierre de Voux (all Western Province); Taine Paton, Tim Drummond, Gowan Jones (all KZN Coastal Raiders); Jethro Eustice (KZN Inland); Jonty Robinson, Rhett Halkett (capt), Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues); Julian Hykes (North West).

Management - Head Coach: Charlie Pereira. Trainers: Pierre le Roux and Craig Fulton. Physical Conditioning Coach: Rob van Ginkel. Video Analyst: Mo Malebye.

SA Hockey Association media release



High goal for hockey

Zanzeer Singh



Camellia Bentley Tikoisuva, left, Tessa Harman and Susana Mudunalagi at Nadi Airport. Photo: JAI PRASAD

THE Hector Smith Senior coached Fiji men's team has set high goals for the 2012/2014 International Hockey Federation World League Round Two which starts in India on February 18.

This is despite the national team entering the ten-day tournament with the lowest world ranking.

Fiji has a world ranking of 70 and will face daunting tasks against countries including India ranked 11th, Ireland ranked 15th, China ranked 18th, Oman ranked 36th and Bangladesh ranked 40th in the world.

Smith Sr said they were not going to India just to make up the numbers.

He said their aim was to finish in the top two to qualify for the next round.

Smith Sr said losing was not an option for Fiji.

"We would not be going if we were not ready," Smith Sr said.

"It will be 70 minutes game and we are ready to face any team. We have game footage of the recent Champions Trophy that was held in Australia. So we have looked at some of our oppositions.

"We have our own style of hockey. From day one we have said that it will be a mammoth task. But on the day we will try and put our right foot forward. We will play to the best of our ability.

"It is not in our mind to lose. We are not going there just to be part of the competition. We will compete and losing is never an option.

"We are not treating this tournament as an exposure for the players. We are going to compete to try and qualify for the third round.

"The first and foremost thing is we want to finish in the top two. The message to the fans is that this team carries the hope of the nation. We are flying the Fiji flag.

"Hockey is a minor sport in Fiji but we are competing in a world series. It is not an ordinary local competition. The other countries have had to qualify for the competition like us.

"The players have done the physical side preparing at home. Now we have to put that into practise on the field in India."

Fiji will face the host in the opening round in New Delhi.

The Fiji Times



Poonam out of World Hockey League

The Indian women’s hockey team was dealt a blow even before starting its campaign in the Hockey World League (round 2) here from February 18.

Experienced forward Poonam Rani, who suffered a hairline fracture on her toe during training a couple of days ago, has been ruled out of the competition.

Even though there were chances of her recovering in time, the team management decided not to risk aggravating the injury and advised her rest.

India, however, remains a favourite in the six-team competition which will see the top two teams advancing to the semifinals of the World League.

The semifinals would also be the qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup.

India will face stiff competition from World No. 9 Japan, the highest-ranked team in the fray. But, the Japan squad has changed quite a bit since the London Olympics.

The Hindu



Tickets released for Hockey World League Round 2

NEW DELHI: Tickets for the Hero Hockey World League Round 2 2013, were released on Thursday and will be available at the ticket counter of Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium.

Tickets are also available at www.ticketgenie.in website, which is the official online ticketing partner of the Hockey World League Round 2, to be held from February 18 to 24.

Tickets are also accessible at 20 outlets of Mobile Stores across the capital.

12 teams will participate in this qualifying league for the FIH World Cup 2014 and the seven-day event will feature 30 matches, to be played at MDC National Stadium.

Daily complimentary tickets are available for former hockey Olympians and international players to witness the league.

Narinder Batra, secretary general, Hockey India said, "Delhi will see another international event. This time 12 teams from different countries will play 30 highly-contested matches here to qualify for the next round of the FIH Hockey World League. We kept the ticket prices low for the convenience of students as hockey is very popular among youngsters."

The Times of India



Ranchi Rhinos' win puts onus on hockey body

By K A Gupta


GUMLA: The inaugural edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) concluded recently in Ranchi with Ranchi Rhinos lifting the championship trophy sending a wave of exhilaration among the players as well as the people of the state. The hosting of the historic tournament on the land, which has in the past produced players who represented the country in the Olympics and World Cup, has brought two things to the fore.

First and foremost, the HIL created a conducive environment for the game and succeeded in associating more people with hockey, felt Savitri Purty, former Indian women hockey team captain and general secretary of Jharkhand State Hockey Association.

"The HIL created an ambience that helped draw more people towards hockey," said Purty who had led the Indian hockey team in four nations international in Singapore in 1987.

She, however, added, "What was missing was the absence of more state players in Ranchi Rhinos. Else, the enthusiasm would have been double, especially for the budding talents of the soil."

She strongly pleaded for the setting up of a hockey academy in the state on the lines of such academies in Punjab and Bhopal.

"An academy to promote the budding talent is the need of the hour. Coaches from outside too are required if the latent talents from the hockey belts of Khunti, Simdega, Gumla and Latehar districts are to be groomed following international standards," she said.

She lamented the lack of water for maintenance of the astro turfs in districts like Gumla. "What is needed is a coach of repute who will train the local talents on regular basis," said Fr PP Van Nuffel, an elderly Belgian Jesus priest and former principal of St Ignatius High School Gumla. Nuffel's efforts produced several promising players for the state as well as the country in the past.

Purty advocated for more state-level tournaments to be organized here to mould the local players. "I think more tournaments should be held here on a regular basis and attended by our international players. I have requested Olympian Baljit Singh Saini (who assisted Ranchi Rhinos head coach South African Gregg Clark) to guide our boys and girls in summer camps too."

The Times of India



Jamie Dwyer: As a team we were inconsistent

Sunil Taneja


‘Fetus’ by his Aussie team-mates, Jamie Dwyer who has won every tournament at the highest level, left India after finishing fourth with his HHIL side, Jaypee Punjab Warriors. But Jamie, who is being managed by the former Australian cricketer Stuart McGill, enjoyed the month-long tournament in India. In an exclusive chat www.stick2hockey.com, man of a few words but many goals, Jamie throws some light into his perspective of HHIL.

S2h: Playing in India is not a new thing for you. How was HHIL experience different from the previous ones?
Jamie Dwyer:
It was a great experience. I had lots of fun on and off the field. Unfortunately we didn't come in the top 3 but I still enjoyed myself. This experience was a little different to the rest because we got to mingle with players from different countries

S2h: Hockey has hardly seen such type of money at club level. How confident are you that the money factor would attract more talent in the game?
JD
I'm sure that the money coming into the sport will attract younger players to our game. It’s great to see that sport on TV and to see people enjoying a good game of hockey

S2h: : How different in HHIL from the Australian league?
JD:
: It’s different because the AHL has only Australian players in it and the HHIL is like you are on the world stage.

S2h: What more can be done to improve the HHIL?
JD:
One more team would be good next year and maybe 8 teams the year after. Also, I would like them to try having another 2 umpires, just to umpire in the circle.

S2h: : Many Australian players participated in the HHIL, but many of them could not perform according to their reputation. What is the reason according to you?
JD:
Depends which players you are talking about. It will be interesting to see how the top Australian team goes against India next time we play.

S2h: : How would you rate your own and Jaypee Punjab Warriors form in the HHIL?
JD:
I always want to play better. I thought I played well some games and not so well other games. As a team we were inconsistent and we rotated more than any other team. There are a few things I learnt this year that I will be better prepared for next year.

Stick2Hockey.com



Striker Faizal fails to sound the board in 12 HIL matches

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: Forward Faizal Saari went to India last month with high hopes of making an impact for the Mumbai Magicians in the Hockey India League (HIL).

But the Tenaga Nasional player, who was the top scorer in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) last year with 18 goals, endured a miserable outing in the HIL – firing blanks in all 12 matches.

And that’s despite being paid a whopping US$$26,000 (RM78,000) to play in the league! The 22-year-old Faizal, who has 97 international caps to his credit, was clearly annoyed with his poor showing.

“It was a very competitive league as it featured players from all over the world ... so, it was a challenge for me to score,” said Faizal.

“I also had communication problems as the players spoke Hindi to me! I’m frustrated with myself for letting the club and my team-mates down.”

Faizal, however, claimed that Australian national coach Ric Charlesworth, who was in charge of the Mumbai Magicians, was pleased with his performance.

“He praised me for my dribbling skills and told me to be much sharper in the semi-circle,” said Faizal, who felt that it was a good experience playing in the HIL as “I learned some new tactics and skills”.

“It has made me wiser and I know that I need to train harder to become a better player.

“I hope to bounce back and overcome this setback by giving my best in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh next month (from March 9-17),” added Faizal, who returned from India last Sunday and will rejoin the national team’s training on Monday.

For the record, Mumbai Magicians finished last in the five-team league.

Besides Faizal, national goalkeeper S. Kumar also featured in the HIL. The Tampin-born keeper played for Uttar Pradesh Wizards, who finished third.

The Ranchi Rhinos were crowned champions and Delhi Waveriders the runners-up. Jaypee Punjab Warriors finished fourth.

The Star of Malaysia



Arul wants scalps of Asian rivals

By Jugjet Singh



Malaysia’s Jali Faiz (left) vies with Ireland’s Shane O’ Donoghue during their third friendly match at the National Hockey Stadium, Pitch 1 on Wednesday. Malaysia won 3-1. Pic by Hasriyasyah Sabudin

THE Azlan Shah Cup dream could turn out to be a nightmare yet again for Malaysia as the hosts move into high gear for the invitational tournament which will be held in Ipoh on March 9-17.

For back in the fray are World No 2 Australia, who skipped last year's edition, and defending champions New Zealand who grabbed the title by edging Argentina 1-0.

Malaysia have never won the Azlan Shah Cup in 21 attempts, and the 22nd edition is expected to be no different.

But the title would not matter if Malaysia beat Asian stalwarts Pakistan, India and South Korea, as they will be meeting the trio again in the Asia Cup in Ipoh on Aug 24-Sept 1.

"The team have been moving nicely since we played in the Champions Challenge I in Argentina, and the three wins against Ireland were a big boost ahead of the Azlan Shah Cup.

"However, we need a few more training sessions as well as matches before we name the final squad for the Azlan Shah Cup," said assistant coach Arul Selvaraj.

Malaysia, despite the absence of No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar, striker Faizal Saari and defender Baljit Singh, beat Ireland 4-2, 3-0 and 3-1 in the recent tests.

"We know the score, we need to get results against the three Asian teams as we will be playing them again in the Asia Cup for the single ticket to the World Cup," said Arul.

New Straits Times



Winner takes all




The semi finals of Division Two of the MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League is not just another 70 minutes of hockey. But at stake is a place is the final, one that will assure the teams of making the knock-out stage for the coveted MILO Cup.

It does not just stop there for the champions will receive RM12,000, losing finalist RM8,500 with the team finishing third taking home RM7,000 and the fourth spot earning RM6,000. However it is making the final that the four teams will be out to achieve in the one match play-off that will see two teams joining the six teams from Division One in the MILO Cup.

PHK-MSS Kelantan will take on Politeknik KPT in one semi final while the other will see KL sports School square off against Anderson Juniors.

Based on the preliminary round performances, PHK-MSS Kelantan and KL Sports School should be the odds on favourites to make Sunday's final and in the process book a spot in the knock-out competition, the draw which will be conducted on Monday.

PHK-MSS Kelantan were unbeaten in Group A of Division Two, scoring 38 goals and conceding 10, and won all the 8 matches they played with relative ease, no mean feat considering Kelantan does not have an artificial pitch. Their opponents Politeknik KPT are no pushovers as they only lost one match in Group B, a narrow 2-1 defeat to eventual table toppers KLSS.

The second semis will see players from two project schools up against each other and should be a close tie, with KLSS holding the edge. Backed by a strong support from fans, KLSS have been playing well as a unit and have showed consistency throughout the league.

It will take a huge effort from the Perak team to upstage them and although Anderson have in the past produced strong sides capable of winning titles, this is probably beyond them as KLSS are a class above.

Still the teams from Division Two have showed that they have narrowed the gap and based on their performance this season, all of these four teams should be promoted to Division One.

Fixtures:

Friday, February 15, 2013


1700H - PHK-MSS Kelantan v Politeknik KPT - NHS 1
1700H - KL Sports School v Anderson Juniors - NHS 2

Unofficial MJHL site

 



Champs move into Milo Cup knock-out..

THE Division Two semi-finals of of the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League is expected to be explosive affairs as the winners will move into the knock-out stage of the Milo Cup.

The one-match playoff semi-final winners will join six teams from Division One for the knock-out challenge, making the final on Sunday a money making adventure.

This is because the champions will receive RM12,000, silver medallists RM8,500, while the third spot has a tag of RM7,000 and the fourth spot RM6,000.

Group A champions Kelantan will square off against Politeknik KPT in one semi final while the other will see Group B champions KL Sports School battling against Anderson Juniors.

And on paper, Kelantan and KL Sports School have a slight advantage over their opponents as both teams ended undefeated after eight matches in their respective groups.

Kelantan also hold the distinction of scoring 38 goals and conceding only 10, and won all their matches with relative ease, considering Kelantan does not even have an artificial pitch.

Their opponents Politeknik KPT are no pushovers as well as they only lost one match in Group B, a narrow 2-1 defeat to eventual table toppers KLSS.

The second semis will see players from two project schools up against each other.

TODAY: Semi-finals: Kelantan v Politeknik KPT (5pm, Pitch I), KL Sports School v Anderson Juniors 5pm, Pitch II).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey



Politeknik-KPT prefer underdogs tag against Kelantan

KUALA LUMPUR: With two key players out, Politeknik-KPT have played down their chances against MSS Kelantan in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League Division Two semi-finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

Defender Mohd Syafiq Shukor is down with fever while Mohd Azwan is still recovering from an eye injury he suffered in the match against Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Juniors last week.

Politeknik KPT team manager Amir Awang said that with the two key players ruled out, “we will start as underdogs against Kelantan, who won all their eight Group A matches”.

“They have a solid team with prolific forwardline who have scored a whopping 38 goals in eight matches. So it’s going to be huge challenge for us to get the better of them,” said Amir.

The Johor-based Politeknik KPT made their league debut in 2011 and this will be the first semi-finals.

They finished as runners-up in Group B with eight wins and one defeat.

Amir, however, is hoping that his players will rise to occasion and turn the tables on Kelantan.

But that’ll be easier said than done as the Kelantan players are all fired up to make the final.

“We played well to win all our group matches ... our mission now is to qualify for the knockout stage and mover further,” said Kelantan manager Wan Nur Zuhari.

“If we qualify for the final, we’ll also gain promotion to Division One next year.”

The other semi-final is between Group B champions KL Sports School against Group A runners-up Anderson Juniors.

KL Sports School, who also won all their eight group matches, will start out as the favourites against the Ipoh school.

The Division Two teams who qualify for the final will feature in the quarter-finals and be promoted to Division One.

The Division Two final will be played in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.

The Division Two champions will receive RM12,000, the losing finalists RM8,500, the third team RM7,000 and the fourth RM6,000.

The Star of Malaysia



Blue turf: Better late than never?

By Fawad Hussain



National hockey players have voiced out their disappointment with the Pakistan Hockey Federation for installing the blue turf too late. PHOTO: ONLINE


KARACHI: After a prolonged wait, the greenshirts finally got the blue-turf at the National Stadium in Lahore. However, the development of the turf has not been welcomed by the national team players, who are questioning the efficacy and timing of the new surface.

The Pakistan hockey team’s probables are currently undergoing a training camp for next month’s Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia, in their first activity on the new surface.

The government of Punjab sanctioned the grant for the new turf, which was expected to be laid at the end of 2011, prior to the 2012 London Olympics — the purpose of the initiative in the first place.

Unfortunately, the project was repeatedly delayed due to several issues such as the dispute with contractors, which deprived players from training on the new turf before a mega competition.

National players have voiced out their discontent regarding the timing of the installation of the blue turf.

“We didn’t get it when we were in dire need of the new turf,” a senior player told The Express Tribune. “The blue turf was vital before the Olympics and now it is not that useful because world-class venues have maintained the standard green turf.

“We feel that laying the blue turf – which is not a common surface at the international stage – at our main stadium is not a smart move.”

Players fear injury due to uneven surface 

Another senior player said despite the delay, the blue-turf was not in good shape.

“Its surface is uneven,” said the player. “It can result in injury to any player anytime.”

He said the team management was planning to shift the training camp but they later decided to stick to the venue.

Meanwhile, the Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) Secretary Asif Bajwa appeared content with the laying of the new turf, terming it a positive development.

“The blue turf has not become obsolete after the Olympics,” Bajwa told The Express Tribune.

“Many venues have the blue turf, for instance the Azlan Shah Cup (in Ipoh, Malaysia) will be played on the same surface. It’s an addition in hockey and it’s good we finally have it in our country.”

The Express Tribune