News for 24 March 2013

All the news for Sunday 24 March 2013

Surbiton shock Canterbury in Premier Division

THE four teams who will contest the end of season play-offs for the Investec Women’s Hockey League Championship are now known – but exactly who will play who is yet to be decided after three of the Premier Division matches were postponed.

Canterbury, Leicester, Reading and Surbiton lie first, second, third and fourth in the table, but with both Leicester and Reading having their home games postponed because of the heavy snow on Saturday, exactly who plays who in the play-offs is not yet certain.

Leaders Canterbury suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Surbiton which clinched the Surrey side fourth spot. Vicky Bryant and Hannah Coulson gave Surbiton a two-nil lead after just ten minutes, and although Canterbury clawed back a second half goal through Eliza Brett, it was not enough.

As well as guaranteeing Surbiton’s place in the play-offs, that result means that Canterbury can still be overtaken by Leicester if they win their outstanding match against bottom of the league Slough.

Bowdon Hightown drew 2-2 against visitors Clifton in the day’s only other Premier Division clash, leaving Bowdon fifth in the table.

Harleston Magpies clinched the Investec Conference East title in dramatic fashion, drawing with runners-up Sevenoaks. Angie Wheelhouse gave the Magpies the lead, and Cathy Gilliat-Smith levelled for Sevenoaks.

In the Investec Conference West Taunton Vale are relegated after losing 2-1 at Barnes Hounslow Ealing, while Stains will go into the relegation play-offs having drawn 2-2 with Bristol Firebrands.

And in the only match to go ahead in the Investec Conference North, Brooklands Poynton ran out 2-1 winners over visitors Ben Rhydding.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (March 23 2013):

Investec Premier Division:
Bowdon 2, Clifton 2; Surbiton 2, Canterbury 0.

Investec Conference East: Harleston Magpies 1, Sevenoaks 1.

Investec Conference North: Brooklands Poynton 2, Ben Rhydding 1.

Investec Conference West: Barnes 2, Taunton Vale 1; Gloucester City 1, Trojans 0; Staines 2, Bristol Firebrands 2; Swansea City 1, Isca 1.

England Hockey Board Media release

Watsonians relegated after defeat by AAM Gordonians

Watsonians’ relegation from Men’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1 was confirmed today following a 5-3 defeat at the hands of a resurgent AAM Gordonians.

The Aberdonians now sit a healthy six points clear of rivals Hillhead, who currently occupy the Division 1/2 play-off spot, and Craig Harper’s side only need a point against Western Wildcats tomorrow to confirm their league status for next season.

The remaining Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1 fixtures were postponed, meaning that the destination of the league title will not be decided tomorrow.

Only Alpha Data Carnegie’s home tie against Stepps survived the weather in Men’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 2, and a 5-4 win for the away side has propelled them up to seventh in the table.

Crucially, Stepps are now five points away from the relegation zone. The Fifers, on the other hand, face a relegation battle in the end of the season run-in.

In Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 3, Erskine Stewart’s Melville moved four points clear at top of the table after an excellent 5-0 defeat of Giffnock in the only match to go ahead in the division today.

Congratulations to Inverleith II, who confirmed themselves as Men’s Regional League Central 1 champions with a 4-1 win over PSL Team Sport Clydesdale today.

AAM Gordonians II continued to celebrate winning the Men’s Regional League North Division recently with a 7-0 win over Granite City Wanderers III today. They now sit on fourteen wins and a 100% win record.

Grove Menzieshill are on the verge of retaining the Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 1 title after a convincing 5-0 away win to CALA Edinburgh at Meggetland.

The Dundonians have now recorded ten wins from ten matches in the league and will be confident of making it a perfect record with only three matches left.

The entire fixture card in Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 2 was decimated by the weather.

AAM Merlins Gordonians will have to keep the champagne on ice as their game against Strathclyde University in Women’s Aberdeen Asset Management National League Division 3 was postponed.

Elsewhere, Dundee University strengthened their grip on second spot with a narrow 1-0 success away to Stirling Wanderers. Aberdeen University’s promotion aspirations took a large knock following two points dropped in a 1-1 draw against local rivals Aberdeen Ladies.

Ayr Ladies recorded their first win of the season with a 3-1 victory against Stirling University.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Irish Senior Cup Finals Decided

Following an exciting day of action which saw three of today's four semi-finals go to extra time at the National Hockey Stadium in UCD, Dublin the four finalists for the Men's and Electric Ireland Irish Senior Cup have been determined.

A large crowd enjoyed four action packed games that saw Monkstown & Pembroke Wanderers reach tomorrows final on the Men's Side with UCD and Railway Union qualifying for the Electric Ireland Irish Senior Cup Women's Final.

Both games will take place tomorrow at UCD with the Men's Final tipping off at 13:15 with the Women's Final at 15:30. The two games will be also streamed live on


Men's Irish Senior Cup Semi Finals

Monkstown 4-3 Three Rock Rovers (Goals: Monkstown: Ewington 3, Watkins)  Three Rock Rovers: Maguire, Bourke, Hosking) Monkstown win on silver goal in extra time

Banbridge 2-2 Pembroke Wanders (Goals: Banbridge: Magowen, McCandless  Pembroke: Sothern, Elliot) Pembroke win 5-4 on penalty strokes

Electric Ireland Women's Irish Senior Cup Semi Final

Ards 1-5 Railway Union (Goals: Ards: Brown Railway Union: Delaney, Joyce, McKenna, Lucey, McDonnell)

UCD 1-1 Ballymoney (Goals: UCD: Evans Ballymoney: Sneedon) UCD win 3-1 on penalty strokes

Irish Hockey Association media release

Corinthian see off UCC in IHL Wildcard

Corinthians qualified for the 2014 Irish Hockey League with a dramatic late 2-1 win vs UCC in Garryduff this afternoon.

Karl Smith gave Corinthian a 1-0 half time lead with a goal in the 6th minute of the game but UCC levelled the game up 5 minutes into the second half when Fionn O'Leary found the net.

Corinthian had to wait until 15 seconds from time to seal their place in the 2014 Irish Hockey League when Matthew Fairweather struck a penalty corner home to take the game and with it a coveted place in next year's competition.

Congratulations to Corinthian on the win and commiserations to UCC who contributed hugely to a fierecely fought battle today.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Tigers shock East Coast giants

Maybank delivered the first shock of the TNBMHL Premier Division when they upstaged Terengganu HT 2-1 at the national Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil this evening.

It was a good performance from Maybank who in the past take time to settle down. Their strong performance and result will no doubt raise eyebrows amongst the other teams as they played asolid defensive game when required and were deadly when presented opportunities.

As for Terengganu, they had five penalty corners, but could not convert any and this will prove a problem to them if left unchecked in the coming matches.

"It is always good to start with a win and the fact that we have players from our team last year that enabled us to settle into the match faster. But this is just the begining and we must focus on our next match against Sapura tomorrow and try take the three points as well," said Maybank coach Wallace Tan.

The Tigers fielded four Pakistanis in the line up - Muhammad Irfan, Shakeel Abbasi, Muhammad Waqas and Shafqat Rasool in addition to their new local signing Jiwa Mohan.

As for Terengganu HT, they looked a more settled side compared to the opening match against Tenaga Nasional Berhad on Friday that ended in a 4-4 draw.

Maybank were the early aggressors and forced a penalty corner in the 11th minute but Terengganu keeper Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri was equal to the task as he palmed out Mohd Zulhairi Hashim.

But Maybank were not to be denied and capitalised on a case of over dribbling by Terengganu skipper Mohd Shahrun Nabil. Shakeel dodged past two defenders and unleashed a reverse stick hit that had Hazrul beaten all the way for the Tigers to lead 1-0 in the 27th minute.

Terengganu upped the ante with Ismail Abu making inroads, ably supported by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin. And they were duly rewarded as Sufi Ismat M. Rohul Amin equalised in the 33rd minute.

The East Coast side were off the blocks in a flash in the second half and forced a penalty corner in the 41st minute. But Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghaffar could not get enough force behind the ball to trouble Maybank keeper Hanafi Hassan.

Maybank took the lead in the 52nd minute but it was more a case of luck then ability. Shafqat burst through on the right and his hit was heading out at the far post when Waqas stretched his stick and diverted the ball into goal.

Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin was yellow carded in the 66th minute and Terengganu was forced to chase the match with 10 players. Though they had two penalty corners in the 68th and 70th minute, they just could not find an equaliser.

"Our recovery is poor and after the tough match against TNB last night, the players felt a bit heavy. In addition we must learn not to be hasty and keep our composure when we are down," said Terengganu HT coach Nik Rozemi Nik Mohamed.

Official TNBMHL site

KLHC targeting fifth double

By Ajitpal Singh

KL HOCKEY Club (KLHC) are aiming for a fifth Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) double as coach Dhaarma Raj Abdullah believes his side, led by six foreigners, can go unbeaten this season.

Following an impressive 5-0 thrashing of Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) on Friday, KLHC are confident of winning today's Charity Shield-cum-league match against a disorganised Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

KLHC have signed five foreigners -- Pakistan's Muhammad Imram, Wassem Ahmad, Fareed Ahmed, Muhamad Umar Bhutta, Akhtar Ali and Australian Timothy James Deavin -- following the departure of several reputed players.

Despite the lack of training time as most of them represented their teams in the Azlan Shah Cup, KLHC have gelled well as shown by their win over UniKL.

"Our foreign signings showed mobility and adjusted to my strategies. It shows they are quality players but anyway, I expected them to adapt quickly so it was not a surprise," said Dhaarma in Bukit Jalil on Friday.

TNB, coached by former international Nor Azlan Bakar, failed to take advantage of an early 2-0 lead as newcomers Terengganu bounced back to force an unexpected 4-4 draw on Friday.

"I am happy that TNB slipped as it gives us a slight advantage. However, it does not mean we can take them lightly on Sunday. They have experienced players and probably it was not their day against Terengganu."

KLHC did the double in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Nor Azlan, meanwhile, said his players have not quite adjusted to play as some of his regulars were involved in the Azlan Shah Cup.

"We need to improve defensively and hopefully, will not concede goals on Sunday (today). Yes, the draw against Terengganu was unexpected but we must forget about it and build our confidence ahead of the Charity Shield," said Nor Azlan

Meanwhile, Ipoh City Council-MBI have submitted a protest following their 4-2 defeat to Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) on Friday.

The protest, submitted by team manager Hakimi Abdul Hamid, claimed that UiTM had 12 players on the pitch until the 63rd minute of the match.

The MHL technical committee will deliberate on it today.

RESULT -- Maybank 2 Terengganu 1.

TODAY -- Premier Division: Nur Insafi Warriors v UniKL (USM Stadium; 6pm), Sapura v Maybank (6pm), TNB v KLHC (8pm).

Division One: TNB Thunderbolts v Uniten (6pm), UiTM v SSTMI (8pm), Ipoh-MBI v Sunday 2030 KL (Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium; 6pm).

(Matches at National Hockey Stadium pitches unless stated otherwise)

New Straits Times

Maybank begin MHL campaign by edging Terengganu


Duel of sticks: Maybank’s Shafqat Rasool (right) tussling for the ball with Terengganu’s Mohd Shahrun Nabil Abdullah during their Malaysian Hockey League match yesterday.

KUALA LUMPUR: Maybank had a dream start in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) after edging debutants Terengganu 2-1 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.

The Tigers went ahead through Pakistani Shakeel Abassi’s field goal in the 27th minute before Terengganu equalised through M. Sufi Ismat M. Rohul Amin’s field attempt eight minutes later.

Muhammad Waqas then turned hero for Maybank by grabbing the winner in the 52nd minute.

Maybank coach Wallace Tan said that his side needed to work harder when they face Sapura in their second match today.

“It’s always good to start the league with a win ... I’m happy with my boys’ performance against Terengganu,” he said.

“We should have made better use of our chances .. it’s something we need to improve on against Sapura.”

Terengganu coach Nik Rozemi Nik Mohd also rued his side’s missed chances.

The east coast side had five penalty corners – two more than Maybank – but still ended up losers.

“Our players were too hasty when they had chances to score ... if they had remained calm, we could have at least drawn the match,” he said.

Meanwhile, Division One side Ipoh City Council (MBI) have lodged a formal protest to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) following their 4-2 loss to UiTM at the Azlan Shah Stadium on Friday.

MBI filed a protest after finding out that their opponents had 12 players on the pitch before it was noticed by the match officials in the 63rd minute.

MHC competitions executive Hashim Mohd Yusof said they would meet today to discuss the issue.

The Star of Malaysia

Defending champs KL fire warning shot to rivals


KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions KL fired a warning shot to rivals with a 5-1 demolition of Perlis in their Group A opening match in the MHC-MILO-NSC U-16 hockey championships at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

The match started off slow as both sides struggled to take control of the game. However, KL who are bolstered by five returning players from last year’s winning side -- Mohammad Shahfirul Aqmal, Ameer Mohammad, Firdaus Mohd Anoul, Mohammad Khairulamirin Abdul Jalil and Noor Afiq Noor Adzli -- managed to turned on the power in the second half as KL took a 1-0 lead through captain Mohammad Zulhazwan Hashim’s penatly corner in the 46th minute.

Shahfirul’s field goal eight minutes later swung the match firmly in KL’s favour. Perlis got a lucky break when KL gifted them a lifeline through an own goal in the 61st minute.

However, the Northerners could not capitalise on it as KL ran riot in the final minutes of the game, smashing home three goals courtesy of Zulhazwan (67th), Wan Haziq Hisyamuddin (68th) and Firdaus scoring a penalty in the final minute to complete the rout.

Results & fixtures


Group A: KL 5 Perlis 1, Terengganu 2 Sabah 1.

Group B: Penang 0 Pahang 1, Malacca 2 Perak 0, Johor 3 Kelantan 2.


Group A: Perlis vs Terengganu, N. Sembilan, Selangor vs Sabah.


Group A: Kedah 2 Perak 5, Pahang 0 N. Sembilan 0.

Group B: Penang 4 Kelantan 1, KL 1 Terengganu 0.


Group A: Selangor vs Perak, Kedah vs N. Sembilan.

Group B: Johor vs Kelantan, Penang vs Terengganu.

The Star of Malaysia

EHCCC: A closer look – Laren & Leicester

EuroHockey Club Champions Cup takes place in Hamburg next week

Larensche MHC (Photo: European Hockey Federation)

Ahead of next weekend’s EuroHockey Club Champions Cup competition in Hamburg (GER), the European Hockey Federation has been conducting a series of interviews as part of their promotion of their tournament. The first batch focuses on two of the strongest teams in the competition: Dutch giants Larensche MHC and Leicester HC of England.  The two teams face each other in the opening match of the EHCCC, Europe’s elite club competition for women. 

Larensche Mixed Hockey Club

Larensche Mixed Hockey Club was founded in 1923, and it is now home to more than 1,400 members. The majority of these members most of part of the club’s youth system. The women’s first team is consistently playing in the top half of the Dutch National League, and many of its players are also part of the National Dutch team.

Larensche MHC is the current champion of the EHCCC, and the team has been in the finals of the Dutch Championships seven times out of nine since 1993.

Their coach, Yolande Adriaansens, took some time to answer some of our questions.

European Hockey Federation: What has your journey been like to the EHCCC? What do you expect to achieve at this tournament?
Yolande Adriaansens:
It’s been training, training and more training! Winning the EHCCC was great last year and it was definitely our proudest moment. We hope to win it this year as well!

EHF: How does your team keep motivated? What are your favourite team-building activities?
We organize lots of fun practices, like dress-up practice for example. We also love to have fun and win! Our supporters are very important in keeping us motivated, we love it when they scream and shout!

Favourite Team Songs

Diamond – Rihanna

Scream and Shout – and Britney Spears

Leicester Ladies HC

Leicester HC is one of the oldest and most successful women’s hockey clubs in England. Established in 1894, they now have several domestic titles to their name, including seven outdoor titles and two indoor.  Their manager, Sue Holwell, answered some of our questions.

European Hockey Federation:  What’s your journey been like to the EHCCC? What are your expectations for this tournament?
Sue Holwell:
We’ve had a successful few seasons, but the European Gold has remained elusive! Our proudest moment during our domestic season was winning the national championship on a penalty shoot-out last year. It was a nerve-wracking end to the season, but we were proud to have won given the difficult season we had, with the Olympics and player availability an issue.

EHF: What are your expectations for this tournament?
We hope to continue to develop as a team and play some exciting hockey. We’ll take it one game at a time and look to improve with each performance.

EHF: How do you keep motivated? What do you do to foster team spirit?
We are all very self-motivated players, and of course we all enjoy winning! However, Sarah Cockayne is a real inspiration to all of us. Her sense of humour and team spirit is exceptional. We enjoy an occasional night out together as well, as we always enjoy eating a good Pukka Pie after our home games. They are one of our loyal sponsors and we really value their support.

EHF: What role does your Hockey family play in your success?
We owe a huge amount of our success to our supporters. Our friends and family have always been so supportive and we cannot thank them enough. Through good times and bad, they’ve always been there. A huge amount of work also goes in at club level by the volunteers back home, who work to get us to these tournaments. A huge thank you to all of them!

EHF: Tell us about your team, what makes you different? What is your training playlist like?
We have an eclectic taste in music in our team, but Vanessa Hawkins’s love of Justin Bieber is probably the best!  We count amongst our ranks a variety of interesting people: a couple of Olympians, a top skier, a Nike model, a knitting pro, and a Doctor.

More interviews like this will be available over the coming days on, the official website of the European Hockey Federation. To find out more information about the tournament, please click here.

European Hockey Federation media release

New Euro Hockey League website goes LIVE relaunches, while EHL App is on the horizon

The Euro Hockey League has announced that it has redeveloped and re-launched EHLHOCKEY.TV, the official website of Europe’s elite club competition for men. The new website was launched on Friday 22nd March 2013, exactly one week before the start of EHL’s showpiece KO16 Amsterdam event.

EHLHOCKEY.TV has moved away from its Flash-based predecessor to a new Apple and tablet-friendly format, which will enable even more fans to enjoy the action from the world’s finest club hockey competition. 

As well as allowing greater access, the upgraded website is designed to provide better than ever coverage of the competition. As usual, fans will have free access to the EHL Live Stream, but rather than linking away to a different website you will be able to watch matches in an all-new Live section on EHLHOCKEY.TV. The EHL Live Stream will be of the highest quality and will show every single match from KO16 Amsterdam, with Video On Demand also being available.

The website is still very much in its infancy and there is plenty of work ahead, including the redevelopment of their video archive and historical results sections. Also, the arrival of the greatly anticipated EHL App is just on the horizon, and hopefully will be released in time for next weekend's KO16 tournament in Amstelveen's Wagener Stadium.

To see the new Euro hockey League website, please visit .

Euro Hockey League media release

Azlan Shah Cup: All about Killer instinct

K. Arumugam

‘Killer instinct’ is the frequently used phrase in sports to adore winning teams, recapture stunning moments and qualify sports climaxes. Killer instinct is that inherent attribute which drives sports to its elixir levels, pulls crowd, craves eye balls out of spectators.

Yet the Killer instinct defies proper definition.

When seemingly a winning team loses out, say a score of 5-0 becomes 5-5 or 5-6, the question arises is, doesn’t the losing team have killer instinct after establishing a good, almost unsurpassable lead? What is it that decided the outcome? Is inability to protect winning position anti-thesis of what Killer instinct stands for?

These questions prompt this article, written after critical study of matches, the way the fate of (result) matches were decided in the recent Azlan Shah Cup.

Qualification and quantification of Killer Instinct is a difficult task, but some a critical look at the way the winning teams organized themselves in crucial moments, mostly dying moments, in Ipoh shed adequate lights on the elusive subject.

The title clash between the hosts and Australia, that went in favour of latter 3-2, certainly ignites one’s approach to the game. Tireless Trent Mitton, struck a grounder trapping a freehit from midfield (Rob Hammond) in a melee just 4, 5 seconds left for the game to stretch into the extra time a fate the Malaysians worked for and wanted to.

Young Australian team put its best foot forward, and tried its level best – in the last five minutes, it attacked more than the sum of its previous 65 minutes – to avoid what the hosts thought is their take away, and saw to it the issues of result is settled within full play time.

Its not that Australia alone did that, that too, only once. This writer did not form opinion based one stray result however strange and strong it is. Australia did the same heroism in some more matches too. Its not that this was only Australia’s preserve, other teams too matched.

The over all picture is here, in numbers.

Fate of 7 out of 18 Azlan Shah 2013matches were decided in the last 10 minutes of play.

In 4 matches the winning goal or the decisive goal -- that nullified the lead taking the match to interesting draw -- was struck between 56th and 59th minute.

That is, 11 out of 18 matches were played down to wire.

The remaining 7 matches were one-sided or the other side did not score at all, or the winning margin was 2 or more.

Further if one looks at which team made it happen the credit goes to Australia and Malaysia.

For example, Australia thrashed Pakistan 6-0, the losing team did not score, and the winning could protect its lead all through. It’s a good match, wishes for the winner, but this match comes under 7 matches indicated above, and does not offer scope for Killer Instinct.

Killer instinct is constant attitude of not giving up, just not mentally but also match application of press on the turf, believing in themselves till the last second. It comes out of hard training, and the ability of the teams to change gear and keep the fitness as best as possible till the last moment.

As Trent Mitton’s goal in the final, Faizal Saari’s 70th minute equalizer in the pool clash against Australia (1- 1), Deavin Trimothy’s equalizer in the 70th min (3-3) against Korea (3-3), the hosts’ decisive goal against India (2-2) are not just events, or numbers but combined result of training and its application on demand. Better not to bury these facts into umpiring hassles, which are any case part of hockey game.

Nowadays, all the 18 players are allowed to play much against 16 till recently. It offers more scope for fitness and rotation of legs in the last spell.

Well prepared teams, both in mental and physical terms, and through constant, specific strategic training, have come out with clear showcasing of killer instincts in crucial contests. They walked away with laurels.

Malaysia and Australia proved it so in Ipoh recently. Every team needs to adopt to ‘never relax’, and ‘Game is meant for 70.00 mins Strategy, and train accordingly.

Hockey fans will be beneficiaries.

Hockey player Irfan likely to face the axe

Mohammad Yaqoob

Mohammad Irfan. -Photo by Sara Faruqi/

LAHORE: Defender Mohammad Irfan is likely to be ousted from the national hockey team for his irresponsible play in the recently concluded Azlan Shah Cup, in which Pakistan finished at the bottom.

Sources told Dawn that head coach Akhtar Rasool in his report on the performance of the national team had expressed his surprise over the irresponsible play by Irfan during the tournament, including scoring an own goal in the match against South Korea, which ended in 2-2 draw.

Irfan, whose performance was also not satisfactory at the London Olympics, had also faced a disciplinary action when the head coach had suspended him for six months for not reporting back at the camp well on time after attending a wedding ceremony in the month of November.

The camp was set up for the Champions Trophy preparations, which was held in Australia in December last year. But later, PHF president Qasim Zia reduced the suspension period from six months to just one month, enabling the defender to participate in the Asian Champions Trophy which was held in the last week of December in Doha, Qatar.

Meanwhile, the absence of two senior players Rashid Mahmood and Rizwan Senior from the training camp of Azlan Shah Cup, is still a mystery.

No action has so far been taken against the two for preferring league hockey in Holland over representing the country in the Azlan Shah Cup. The two senior players left for Holland after informing the PHF, not their head coach, though the PHF had asked them to inform the head coach before leaving.

The problems for the national team further compounded as two other seniors Waseem Ahmad and Shakeel Abbasi were not fully fit and the coach gave them rest from the Azlan Shah Cup.

Some youngsters were included in the team in place of these four senior players who could not handle the pressure of high profile tournaments like the Azlan Shah Cup.


Qasim should resign to save hockey from further decline, says Shahnaz

By Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team former manager and coach Shahnaz Shaikh has said Pakistan hockey team is declining fast with each passing day due to poor policies of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF).

In an exclusive interview with The Nation on Saturday, Shahnaz said: “PHF president Qasim Zia is a democratic person and my humble request to him is that he should now have mercy on hockey and immediately announce elections schedule of Tehsil, District, provincial and national level hockey associations so that fresh and professional persons must come forward and work for the betterment of hockey and strive hard to regain the past glory which once Pakistan had.”

He said the current PHF management had completed their four-year tenure, although they had held elections in 2010 but those elections were challenged in the court. “If elections held under the impartial election commissioner, then honest and dedicated leadership would emerge and if not early, Pakistan hockey team would achieve the same old heights in next four or five years,” he added.

The former coach said the green shirts finished eighth in the Beijing Olympics, sixth in Commonwealth Games in 2010, got 12th last position in as many teams in the 2010 World Cup, eighth out of eighth in 2011 Champions Trophy, seventh out of seventh in the 2012 Azlan Shah Hockey and sixth out of sixth in the 2013 Azlan Shah Hockey, with only winning two events during that duration 2010 Asian Games and 2011 Asian Champions Trophy and both these events were of regional level.  “I am very upset with Pakistan hockey team’s dismal performance in the recently concluded Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. It is all because of poor policies of the PHF as they are completely unaware of the latest techniques used in the modern day hockey,” he added.

He said the current bunch of players did not have the same kind of passion which the past players had and the current format also did not suit them. “Out players must play with more aggression and with short passes, just like Malaysian hockey team has been doing. They have changed their style and in last two years, they have been succeeding in qualifying finals of the Asian Games and Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. So due to change in their techniques and style, they got better and desired results,” Shahnaz concluded.

The Nation

Hockey trouble

India’s decision to call off its much-awaited hockey series against Pakistan aptly underlines the fragility of bilateral sporting ties between the two nations. It’s a pity that whenever relations between Pakistan and India deteriorate, one of the first casualties is sport. Till late last year, it seemed that Pakistan and India were moving closer to reviving sporting ties on a long-term basis when cricket teams from the two countries featured in a limited-overs series that enthralled millions of fans across the globe. Hockey buffs on both sides of the border were looking forward to a similar exchange in April-May this year following successful negotiations between the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and Hockey India (HI). It was decided by the two bodies that Pakistan will play five matches in India from April 5-15. India was then supposed to visit Pakistan from April 23-May 2 for a five-match series. The plan initially had the blessings of both the governments.

However, Indo-Pak relations, which had been on the downslide since the January skirmishes along the border, further deteriorated in the aftermath of the hanging of Afzal Guru in Delhi. Pakistan’s decision to denounce Guru’s hanging angered the Indian government and the peace process between the two neighbours has since suffered fatal blows. One of them is the cancellation of the Indo-Pak hockey series. Unlike cricket where both countries can survive a freeze in bilateral relations, hockey cannot afford such setbacks. Together, Pakistan and India have won 11 Olympic hockey titles. But during the last few decades, hockey’s graph has dipped both in Pakistan and India due to one reason or the other. Many experts believe that if the two former Asian giants join hands, the sport can revive its lost glory in the region. Hockey players and officials on both sides agree. Unfortunately, politicians are always willing to play spoilsport. They should know that mixing politics with sport is a bad idea. In fact, many nations across the globe have, over the years, learned to use sport as an effective tool to overcome problems. It’s time that decision-makers, both in Pakistan and India, do that too.

The News International