News for 10 May 2013

All the news for Friday 10 May 2013


Belgium and Canada only teams with 3 wins in Saint-Germain

2013 Hockey World League Round 2, Saint-Germain – Men – Day 3

Yan Huckendubler



World League Round 2, Saint-Germain - France vs. Belgium (Photo: marineandrieux)

Canada struggled to beat Portugal (1-4) but maintained their unblemished record of 3 wins ahead of their decisive encounters against Belgium and Canada. Scotland won a dramatic shoot-out against Poland, after the two teams ended regulation time tied 3-3. Belgium narrowly got the better over France (2-3) in a hotly contested match, the first direct match between the top contenders for the final qualification. 

After 3 days, Belgium and Canada top the standings with 9 points for their 3 wins, France is just behind with 6 points, Scotland with 2 points is ahead of Poland thanks to their shoot-out win of the afternoon, and Portugal is still chasing their first point, although they scored their first goal today against Canada.

Portugal vs. Canada: 1-4 (half-time: 0-3)

Day 3 of the Hockey World League Round 2 in Saint-Germain started under timid sun and cool temperature, a perfect weather to play hockey. Canada immediately pushed forward; they had a couple attempts on goal in the first minute of play and scored on their first penalty-corner a few minutes later, Scott Tupper slotting in goal a low flick that eluded the stick of the Portuguese defender on the post. Matt Guest scored shortly after to establish a 2-goal cushion.

Pedro Santos was kept busy in the Portuguese goal, with a lot of traffic in the circle in front of him, but he stood tall to thwart a few Canadian attempts from close range. Canada were totally controlling play and circulating the ball well around the Portuguese defense but, just like France against the same team on Tuesday, failed to capitalize on their domination. They had to wait until the last minute of the period to increase their tally, again by Scott Tupper on penalty-corner, for a 3-0 lead going into the break.

Portugal had a good chance at the very beginning of second period, well saved by Antoni Kindler who had just replaced David Carter in the Canadian goal. Canada continued along the same pattern as in first period, dominating play but consistently committing unforced errors when approaching the Portuguese circle. Portugal were more realistic, taking advantage of a rare incursion in Canadian territory to force a penalty-corner, scored in style by Ricardo Fernandes!

Lifted by their first goal of the competition, the Portuguese players kept pushing and had another chance on a penalty-corner soon after, but it was shot wide. Canada scored a 4th goal literally in the last second of play by Keegan Pereira. They seemed satisfied to control play and pocket the 3 points of the win with the meagre 4-1 score, but they will not be happy by the high number of unforced errors committed in this match. 

For more information and pictures of POR vs. CAN, click here.

Poland vs. Scotland: 3-3 (half-time: 1-2 - shoot-outs: 3-4)

Second match of Day 3 started at high speed and Scotland, buoyed by the wonderful bagpipe version of “Flower of Scotland”, were on the score sheet within one minute of play by Alan Forsyth! They nearly doubled their tally soon after by Nicholas Parkes, but his reverse stick shot flew just high of goal.

Poland seemed to struggle to settle down and the Scots continued their relentless efforts, forcing Lukasz Domachowski in the Polish goal to stand tall on two shots from close range in quick succession. Once again, it was Dariusz Rachwalski who shook up the Polish troops; after anchoring the defense when it was under pressure, he forced a penalty-corner at the other end after a long run on the right, and Michal Nowakowski slotted a powerful shot under the crossbar to tie the score.

Play became more balanced, flowing quickly back and forth, but no more goals were scored… until the final second of the period, when Scotland capitalized on a penalty-corner with a low shot by Wei Adams, for a narrow, but deserved, lead going into the break (2-1).

Poland started second period determined to come back level promptly, and did just that: after a free hit played quickly, Dariusz Rachwalski left no chance to James Cachia in the Scottish goal with a quick reverse stick shot. With teams back on par, Poland progressively took a slight control of play, creating more dangerous chances than their opponents. They were rewarded in the 57th minute when Krystian Makowski found the ball in a dense scramble in the circle and managed to push it in goal.

But Scotland were not done yet: they forced two penalty-corners, then a penalty-stroke, and Niall Stott did not miss the opportunity to level the score once again at 3-3. Both teams threw caution to the wind in the final minutes of play to try and break the deadlock, but to no avail, and the crowd was treated to a series a shoot-outs for the first time in this competition.

Scotland had the possibility to win in the first series of 5 shoot-outs, but Poland forced the contest into sudden-death fort a dramatic final, when Scotland finally prevailed, earning the 2 points of the “win-draw”.

For more information and pictures of POL vs. SCO, click here.

France vs Belgium: 2-3 (half-time: 1-1)

A large crowd was on-hand for the much anticipated match between host France and top-ranked team Belgium. After a vibrant rendition of La Marseillaise by the home crowd, Belgium promptly forced a penalty-corner, but Tom Boon’s powerful high flick was superbly countered by a flying save by Martin Zylbermann in the French goal.

Belgium were equally unsuccessful on their next two penalty-corner attempts and play became more balanced. France were taking advantage of all their chances to push forward and challenge the Belgian defense, and they were rewarded by a superb goal by Arnaud Becuwe in a narrow angle from the right of the circle, after a swift rush by Matthieu Durchon. They maintained their momentum, pushing Belgium on their heels, and narrowly missed the opportunity to increase their lead on a fancy penalty-corner option.

Belgium reacted strongly, well decided to close the gap before the break and they manage to do it in the final minute of the period with an unstoppable penalty-corner by Tom Boon, his 10th goal of the competition.

Belgium immediately pushed up the pace in 2nd period and created a hot sequence in the French circle, but the first serious attempt on goal was at the other end by Matthieu Durchon, once again surging through the defense for a quick shot barely handled by Vincent Van Asch in the Belgian goal.

The match was played at a thundering pace, much to the pleasure of the enthusiastic crowd. Les Bleus were working hard and Arnaud Becuwe had a chance in a crowded circle, but his shot was just wide. Belgium, playing with the poise of experience, weathered the storm in defense but could not break the deadlock in attack, despite a few chances on penalty-corner.

With 15 minutes to go, tension got up a few notches, on the pitch and in the stands. Despite hot contestation from the French players (and the crowd), Belgium earned another penalty-corner on a blunder by the French defense and Florent Van Aubel deflected the ball in front of the keeper to give his team a narrow 1-goal lead.

They got some more breathing room in the 66th minute on another penalty-corner, this time by Loïck Luypaert collecting the rebound to slide the ball under the keeper. The French fans got wild when Viktor Lockwood received the ball after a broken penalty-corner and managed to place it just inside the post. But it was too little too late and, despite pulling their goal-keeper in the final minute of play, France could not equalize and Belgium earned their 3rd win of the competition, this time against a direct contender for the final qualification.

France might be disappointed by the narrow loss, but they will surely take solace in their strong performance, nearly on par with a team ranked much higher than them.

For more information and pictures of FRA vs. BEL, click here.

Schedule for Saturday May 11:
13h00: Poland vs. Portugal
15h30: Canada vs. Belgium
18h00: Scotland vs. France

FIH site



Scotland get points on the board with Poland win

Scotland recorded their first win of the FIH World League Round 2 competition with a 4-3 win on running penalties against Poland.

The two sides played out an entertaining 3-3 draw inside regulation time with goals for Scotland coming from Alan Forsyth, Wei Adams and Niall Stott, while Michal Nowakowski, Dariusz Rachwalski and Krystian Makowski were the goalscorers for Poland.

The Scots now sit in fourth place with France and Portugal to play in the weekend’s fixtures on Saturday and Sunday.

Scotland got off to a fine start inside the first 90 seconds of the match when striker Alan Forsyth opened the scoring to give his side a 1-0 lead.

Poland’s Michal Nowakowski grabbed an equaliser from a penalty corner in the 20th minute to make it 1-1.

However, the Scots made sure that they went into the interval in front after Wei Adams scored from a penalty corner right on the half-time hooter to make it 2-1 in the 35th minute.

Shortly after half-time, Dariusz Rachwalski restored parity to the contest in the 40th minute to make it 2-2, and Poland went ahead for the first time in the match as Krystian Makowski scored in the 57th minute.

With six minutes left on the clock, Scotland took the match to penalties when Niall Stott stepped up to crack home a penalty stroke to level the scores at 3-3 in the 64th minute.

Jamie Cachia was the hero for the national side in the resulting penalty shoot-out, saving three Polish attempts, while Alan Forsyth and William Marshall scored twice as the penalties went to sudden death to give Derek Forsyth’s a 4-3 win.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Fab four seal series win for Kookaburras

Four goals in ten minutes earn Kookaburras dominant victory




A dominant Kookaburras performance was rewarded with four quickfire goals in ten second half minutes as Australia’s men emerged as 4-1 victors over Korea in the fourth and final test in Perth. The result also sealed a series win for the Kookaburras who won twice and drew twice.

Second half goals, all penalty corners, from Perth’s own Trent Mitton, Victorian Russell Ford, the returning Kieran Govers (NSW) and Queensland’s Rob Hammond capped a determined performance in a match that the Kookaburras bossed for long spells.

Kookaburras coach Ric Charlesworth said afterwards that he was pleased with how his side had used their set pieces and that there might have been more goals had earlier opportunities been converted. “Although it took us 55 minutes to score it was nice to score some corners and we did make a lot of chances, that final pass just needs some work,” he said. “It became a game of attrition but we wore them down in the end and I thought our defence also played well.”

Commenting on the series, which was previously identified as an opportunity for players to put themselves in the reckoning ahead of next week’s World League squad announcement, Charlesworth said, “They’ve been very tough games. Korea is a difficult team to play against; they’re quick and skilful and it hasn’t been easy. It has been a good standard to measure ourselves against.

“I’m pleased with the performances of our newer players. We’ve had ten of them playing across the past couple of months and this series.”

Such was their control of the opening 35 minutes it was hard to believe the scoreboard showed nil nil at the break following a first half in which Australia had ten efforts on goal. Trent Mitton and Jake Whetton both came close to breaking the deadlock but Mitton could only watch as his deflection looped up and over the goal from close range while Whetton’s powerful strike was well saved by the goalkeeper. Kieran Govers, who returned from playing in Europe just two days ago, also threatened before Matt Gohdes’ slapped shot across goal narrowly ran wide of the far post with the goalkeeper at full stretch.

Having offered little in the way of an attacking threat in the first half Korea showed more attacking impetus immediately after the restart and had Australian hearts in mouths as a ball flashed across goal flew narrowly wide of the back post forward. And Kiel Brown was also called upon to mop up at the back before the Kookaburras got the reward they deserved for their attacking efforts.

With quarter of an hour remaining, good work by Russell Ford in finding Trent Mitton created panic in the Korean circle with the umpire awarding Australia a penalty corner. From the set piece, Chris Bausor combined well with his WA compatriot Mitton and the latter finished clinically to give the Kookaburras the lead.

A minute later penalty corner injector Ford doubled Australia’s advantage as he blasted home after the Korean goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho could only push his save in Ford’s direction. The tide had well and truly turned before Govers’ inch perfect drag flick at another penalty corner made it 3-0, the ball reaching its target between the defender and the post.

And two minutes later Queenslander Rob Hammond showed his class as he deftly deflected the ball over the goalkeeper at yet another corner for 4-0, this time following Joel Carroll’s slapped pass.

With the final action of the match, Nam Hyun Woo bagged Korea’s consolation with an unstoppable drag flick that flew high into the top right corner to pull a goal back for the visitors.

The Kookaburras now turn their attention to June’s FIH World League Round 3 in Rotterdam with World Cup qualification at stake. The Kookaburras squad for the European tour, including the World League competition, will be announced on Tuesday 14 May.

AUSTRALIA (MEN) v KOREA SERIES

KOOKABURRAS 4 (0)

Trent Mitton 55 (PC)
Russell Ford 56 (PC)
Kieran Govers 63 (PC)
Rob Hammond 65 (PC)

KOREA 1 (0)
Nam Hyun Woo 70 (PC)

Kookaburras Squad v Korea, 9 May
(Listed alphabetically by surname)

Started

Chris Bausor (Perth, WA), Joel Carroll (Darwin, NT), Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT), Tim Deavin (Launceston, TAS), Matt Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD), Kieran Govers (NSW), Rob Hammond (Townsville, QLD), Trent Mitton (Perth, WA), Jacob Whetton (Brisbane, QLD), Jason Wilson (Kingscliff, QLD), Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA),

Used Sub
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD), Kiel Brown (Toowoomba, QLD), Matthew Butturini (Murwillumbah, NSW), Russell Ford (Eltham, VIC), Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA), Glenn Simpson (Melbourne, VIC), Glenn Turner (Goulburn, NSW),

Did Not Play
George Bazeley (Melbourne, VIC), Nick Budgeon (Launceston, TAS), Tristan Clemons (Bunbury, WA), Liam De Young (Brisbane, QLD), Jamie Dwyer (Rockhampton, QLD), Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS), Josh Miller (Goulburn, NSW), Dan Mirecki (Melbourne, VIC), Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC), Tom Wickham (Adelaide, SA), Matthew Willis (Tamworth, NSW)

Hockey Australia media release



Big weekend approaches for RW Köln



GERMANY: Last weekend, EHL Final Four qualifiers Rot-Weiss Köln kept alive their hopes of reaching the Hockeyliga play-offs with a convincing 7-1 home victory over Berliner HC. The triumph means that Köln remain fourth in the league, ahead of fifth placed UHC Hamburg on goal difference with a game in hand.

The impressive result against the 2012-13 EHL Quarter Finalists – in which Marco Miltkau scored a hat-trick – was the perfect remedy to a recent poor run of form which saw the team claim only one point from their previous three matches.

The improvement could not have come at a better time for Rot-Weiss, a team that is now busily preparing for ten days which could define their season.

This weekend, Köln face two incredibly tough away fixtures in the Hockeyliga, travelling to league leaders Harvestehude on Saturday before going head to head with triple Euro Hockey League champions UHC Hamburg on Sunday. Two Rot-Weiss victories would be a huge step towards claiming a place in the finals and give them added confidence ahead of next weekend’s Euro Hockey League Semi Final clash with KHC Dragons. However, two defeats could prove to be a huge blow both to Köln’s title ambitions and their chances of competing in next season’s EHL. It promises to be a fascinating weekend of action. 

“These are two tough games, but we like those challenges”, said Rot-Weiss Köln coach Stefan Kerma to Hockeyliga.de. “Both teams are well on it, but we are experienced enough to assess our situation and we will be well prepared.”

A full list of results from last weekend’s Hockeyliga competition can be found below.

Rot-Weiss Köln face KHC Dragons of Belgium in the Semi Finals of the Euro Hockey League. The two teams go head-to-head at Bloemendaal on Saturday 18th May, with the winner facing either HC Bloemendaal (NED) or Amsterdam H&BC (NED) in the tournament Final, which takes place on Sunday 19th May. Tickets for the event can be purchased in the Tickets section of www.ehlhockey.tv, the official website of the Euro Hockey League.

Hockeyliga - Latest Results

03 May 2013

Crefelder HTC - Uhlenhorst Mülheim 2:4 (1:2)

04 May 2013
Club an der Alster - Nürnberger HTC 3:4 (0:2)
Harvestehuder THC - Mannheimer HC 2:1 (2:0)
Rot-Weiss Köln - Berliner HC 7:1 (3:1)
SC Frankfurt 1880 - UHC Hamburg 0:6 (0:3)
Düsseldorfer HC - Gladbacher HTC 2:3 (1:1)

05 May 2013
SC Frankfurt 1880 - Berliner HC 2:3 (1:1)
Club an der Alster - Mannheimer HC 2:4 (1:3)
Gladbacher HTC - Uhlenhorst Mülheim 2:5 (1:2)
Crefelder HTC - Düsseldorfer HC 1:2 (0:1)
Harvestehuder THC - Nürnberger HTC 3:3 (3:1)

Tables (Top Five)

Team – Pl – W – D – L – GF:GA – GD - Pts
1.Harvestehuder THC – 20 – 13 – 5 – 2 - 72:37 – 35 – 44
2.Uhlenhorst Mülheim – 20 – 13 – 3 – 4 – 70:43 – 27 – 42
3.Mannheimer HC – 20 – 12 – 3 – 5 – 59:39 – 20 – 39
4.Rot-Weiss Köln – 18 – 10 – 4 – 4 – 64:35 – 29 – 34
5.UHC Hamburg – 19 – 11 – 1 – 7 – 61:44 – 17 – 34

This weekend’s fixtures

11 May 2013

Düsseldorfer HC - Berliner HC
UHC Hamburg - Uhlenhorst Mülheim
Harvestehuder THC - Rot-Weiss Köln
Nürnberger HTC - Gladbacher HTC
SC Frankfurt 1880 - Club an der Alster
Mannheimer HC - Crefelder HTC

12 May 2013
UHC Hamburg - Rot-Weiss Köln
Berliner HC - SC Frankfurt 1880

Euro Hockey League media release



Sothern confirmed as IHL Top Scorer



Pembroke Wanderers & Ireland forward Alan Sothern has been confirmed as the Irish Hockey League Men's Top Scorer having had the match sheets from all IHL games officially verified and Sothern's total of 11 goals confirmed

On Sunday afternoon at the IHL Final it had looked like Stephen Dowds of Banbridge had initially secured the top scorer award with 9 goals.

Both Dowds and Sothern are currently in Training Camp with the Ireland Men's Team and a ceremonial handing over of the top goalscorer award will take place during the week.

Everyone at Irish Hockey would like to congratulate Alan on his goal scoring achievements in the IHL and look forward to seeing him & Stephen back amongst the goals shortly, this time in a green shirt.

Irish Hockey Association media release



Karnataka lets slip the advantage again

Ashwin Achal



Punjab's Ranjit Singh scores off a reverse flick against Mumbai in the Rangaswamy Cup on Thursday. Photo: G.P. Sampath Kumar

Karnataka squandered a two-goal advantage and slipped to a draw for the second consecutive match in the 64th senior National hockey championship, for the Rangaswamy Cup, here.

The host, which surrendered a 2-0 lead against Mumbai in its opening match, failed to hold on to a 3-1 advantage against Uttar Pradesh at the KSHA Stadium on Thursday.

Yirkal makes amends

Karnataka took the lead in the 17th minute off a penalty corner. Bijju Yirkal, who failed to trap the push, made amends by slamming home after the ball was passed back to him.

Six minutes later, Imran Khan restored parity with a stunning reverse-flick from just inside the ‘D’. A goalmouth scramble gave Karnataka a 2-1 lead and the scoreline quickly changed to 3-1 after captain Deepak Bejiwad neatly converted a penalty stroke.

Sixteen minutes from the hooter, Uttar Pradesh’s best player — Diwakar Ram — sparked hopes of a comeback by clinically executing a penalty corner. Four minutes later, a botched penalty corner attempt resulted in Imran Khan sending the ball across goal with a powerful reverse-flick. Diwakar timed his slide well to score the equaliser and it was a feeling of deja vu for the Karnataka team.

Punjab beats Mumbai

Earlier, Punjab held off a stubborn Mumbai team to post a 3-1 victory in its first match of the championship.

After Punjab took a two-goal lead, Jayanta Meitei pulled one back for Mumbai.

Late in the match, Mumbai was awarded three successive penalty corners, but fumbled all three attempts.

This proved costly, as Ranjit Singh sealed the win for Punjab with just a minute to go for the hooter.

The results:

Punjab 3 (Ranjit Singh 2, Gurjeet Singh) bt Mumbai 1 (Jayanta Meitei).

Karnataka 3 (Bijju Yirkal 2, Deepak Bejiwad) drew with Uttar Pradesh 3 (Diwakar Ram 2, Imran Khan).

The Hindu



UP force draw as Karnataka fumble in National Hockey Championship

Sunil Subbaiah


BANGALORE: Karnataka's wait for a win continued as they settled for a second straight draw, this time a 3-3 verdict against Uttar Pradesh at the National Hockey championship on Thursday.

After launching their campaign with a 2-2 draw against Mumbai on Wednesday, Karnataka appeared the better side, leading the contest 3-1 at the halfway mark. However, their complacency towards the end allowed their opponents to draw level.

Uttar Pradesh rode on their skipper and former India international Diwakar Ram's two brilliant dragflicks in the 54th and 58th minutes to level the tie and walk away with a point.

Uttar Pradesh's Imran Khan made the most of Ram's pass to net the equaliser in the 23rd minute after Bijju Yirkal put Karnataka ahead following a 17th-minute penalty corner.

Bijju, who was in sizzling form, returned to help Karnataka regain the lead in the 32nd minute when he scooped the ball following a goalmouth scramble.

Karnataka increased their lead in the 46th minute when skipper Deepak Bijawad converted a penalty stroke. But Diwakar turned the tide for UP with two quick goals. In the dying moments, Karnataka missed a fine opportunity to get the winner when Kusha failed to connect home Bijju's cross.

Earlier, former champions Punjab defeated defending champions Mumbai 3-1.

Result: Karnataka: 3 (Bijju Yirkal 17, 32; Deepak Bijawad 46) drew UP: 3 (Imran Khan 23; Diwakar Ram 54, 58); Punjab: 3 (Ranjit Singh 4, 69; Gurjeet Singh 24) bt Mumbai: 1 (Jayanta Meiti 36).

The Times of India



KLHC wary of Sapura threat



KL Hockey Club have no intentions of falling into a lull of complacency as Sapura continues to play mind games prior to the first leg semi final that will be played on Friday.

Rather the defending champions are just taking it one step at a time and would rather be cautious in their approach although all associated with hockey have installed KLHC as the overwhelming favourites.

"There are two matches to be won before we can even think of defending our title as getting past Sapura is by no means a walk in the park as they have an all round side that can upset us," said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.

"Sapura are an all round side and they gave us a tough time during the league matches. Thus I respect them but do not fear them as we too have players that can rise to the occasion.

"It will be a tough first leg as both teams will be looking for a win, hence a psychological boost for the second leg. But then again matches are won over 140 minutes, maybe more.

"We have been working on a game plan against Sapura since Tuesday and I expect them to try to contain our midfield and also restrict our forwards by packing the defence."

KLHC have a distinction of scoring the most number of goals in the MHL but what is more awesome is the fact that they have nine different players on the scorers list. And that is what makes them stand out from the rest.

Players like Australia's Tim Deavin has been the key figure in their quest to defend the double and and another key player that has risen to the challenge is Mohd Razie Rahim.

And with the likes of Akhtar Ali and Muhammad Umar Bhutta so deadly in the semi circle, Sapura has a tough task ahead of them despite having the likes of Tai Beng Hai and Stephen van Huizen planning their tactics.



Beng Hai admitted that they have a mountain to climb in order to overcome KLHC for a place in the final, but made it clear that it will not be a stroll for them.

"Their strength on the bench is what makes them awesome for it hardly affects their momentum when substitutions are made. And they have several players that can be game winners as they are skillful and can do much damage if given the space and time," said Beng Hai the former national coach.

"It will be decided over two legs hence its important to plan the match carefully. There is no doubt that KLHC are a far better team and rightfully are favourites to make the final.

"I need total focus from my players and they must not give away much space when defending for we could pay a heavy price for it."

The two teams met in the preliminary rounds and both matches ended up with 3-2 scorelines in favour of KLHC.

Official MHL site



Amin: Tenaga must play as a unit to overcome Tigers

KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional’s Mohamed Amin Rahim and Mohamed Madzli Ikmar are the most experienced defenders in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

But their combined efforts may not be enough to stop Maybank’s foreign brigade if there is no unity in their defensive play.

Tenaga meet Maybank in the first-leg semi-final at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.

Amin, who is also the skipper of the team for the first time, said that their defensive record in the early stages of the MHL has been dismal but it had improved with each match.

“But in a team game you must be able to depend on your mates and also complement their efforts.

“That is the only way we can be sure of having a strong team. Maybank are a strong team made more potent by their Pakistan connections.

“So unless we play as a unit the chances are that we will struggle,” said Amin yesterday.

Tenaga have scored 45 goals in the preliminary rounds and the two quarter-final matches and have conceded 30 goals.

“So the record is not that good. We must do better and I believe that we are doing better now than during the start of the MHL,” he added.

Amin, 33, has been playing in the MHL since 1999 when he joined the Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN).

He won three overall title with them until 2001 and then moved over to Ernst and Young (now KLHC) in 2003.

He was with the team until 2006 and landed the league title that year. He then joined Tenaga Nasional and has won the overall title with them in 2007 and 2009.

Amin is among the few players in the MHL who has won titles with different teams.

“Teams have different set-ups and in their own way can be champions. Since I joined Tenaga, they have missed the league title but have been more successful in the knockout stage. Thus, I am hoping that we can be just as successful this year.

“But first we must get past the improving Maybank. They are quick and have always troubled us.

“But I am confident we can beat them if we follow the instruction and play our game. Of course we cannot afford to miss sitters,” he said.

Amin partners Madzli, Mohamed Sallehin Ghani and Mohamed Izzat Hakimi in defence. In goal Tenaga have the vastly experienced S. Kumar.

“Our back line is the most experienced. There are younger players in the midfield and forward lines. Still we have a well balanced team.

“Our overall understanding has also improved from each match. I want to lead the team to win in both legs of the semi-finals.

“The first leg is crucial in that a good win will put us a commanding position for the second leg.

“The important thing is to make sure we don’t lose the match. This game will go all the way to the second game. It will be tough,” he added.

The Star of Malaysia



Azreen hoping to get national recall after fine performances

By S. RAMAGURU



Good days: Azreen Rizal (right) last played for Malaysia in a five-match Test series against China last year.

KUALA LUMPUR: Sapura’s Azreen Rizal Nasir is hoping to get a recall to the national hockey squad following a string of good performances in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

Azreen played in the Guangzhou Asian Games silver medal winning team in 2010. He was a member of the 2010 Sultan Azlan Shah Cup squad and also went on a few tours with the national team.

A knee injury in 2011 sidelined him for almost a year and he was not chosen by new national coach Paul Revington when he recovered as he was not in action.

But the 24-year-old midfielder is hoping that the new coach had managed to watch him playing in the MHL.

“I am keeping my fingers crossed but not too hopeful as the national team have some very good players. Still I will give my best to the club and see where that takes me,” he said.

Revington had said before the MHL started that he will use the performance in the league to pick his new training squad. Azreen, like the other players in the squad, has a chance to make the team.

For Azreen this year has seen an improvement in his status. He has been picked to skipper the team and will lead them in the two-leg semi-finals against Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) this weekend.

“Yes, it was a pleasant surprise to be named skipper of the team. I want to see them do well and that means I have to lead by example. We have some very talented players in the team and there is no reason to think we cannot win,” he said yesterday.

But Azreen said that realistically KLHC will be the favourites as man-to-man they have a better side.

“They have a full national side and even the Pakistan players they have brought in are national stars. Their strength is their ability to play as a team.

“We will try our best. The game plan will also be crucial. We must consider both legs and not just on one. A heavy defeat in the first leg will be disastrous. It is going to be tough. We lost by similar 3-2 margins to them in the preliminaries but the knockout stage is a different ball game,” he said.

Azreen plays as a central midfielder with Pakistan’s Yasir Islam and India’s Raja Veerachamy as his partners.

Azreen was a member of the 2009 national juniors. He missed out playing in the Junior World Cup that year due to a leg injury.

The same year he joined Sapura for the MHL and has been a member of the team since then. Being made skipper is testament of his ability and commitment to the club.

But the UPM student is not having any high hopes.

“There is still time for me to prove myself and I will work hard to do so. I will be happy if there is place in the team. I will not be disappointed if I’m not chosen.

“For now the focus is on the semi-finals against KLHC. The players need to stay positive and also have the confidence to play them. We have nothing to lose,’ he said.

Sapura go into the match with Pakistani Khasif Ali as the tournament’s top scorer with 17 goals. For the record Sapura have won the overall title twice in 2005 and 2006. They were also league champions in 2004 and 2005.

The Star of Malaysia



Hockey World Cup 2018 bidding workshop held in Lausanne

On November 8, the host of hockey’s top event will be announced


The FIH held a successful Hockey World Cup 2018 workshop for the five countries that have expressed an interest in formally bidding for the right to host hockey’s biggest competitions. The aim of the workshop was to introduce the five nations, Australia, England, India, Malaysia and New Zealand, to the bidding process that lies ahead in the next six months. The final decision on who will host the 2018 Hockey World Cups will be made at the Executive Board meeting on November 8, 2013.

The five delegations heard from an expert on the bidding process from the IOC and from FIH Staff members on topics ranging from competitions, marketing, broadcast and sports presentation. The aim of the workshop was to give all the interested countries a chance to obtain as much information as possible involving all areas of event hosting to help them put together the strongest possible bids.

“This is the first time that the FIH has moved ahead with a formal bid process for our biggest property,” said FIH CEO Kelly Fairweather. “This workshop underlines the aim that this process should be a two-way dialogue and partnership between the FIH and the bid nations and should be completely transparent for all the parties.”

The delegations will now return back to their countries to complete their initial bid questionnaires. The deadline for the countries to submit their bids for a Men’s and/or Women’s event is 31st August 2013.  The FIH plans to conduct a site visit to each of the bidding nations in September and October. All of the factors will ultimately be reviewed by the Event Evaluation Panel, which will in turn make its recommendation to the Executive Board in November.

In addition to the announcement of the host of the 2018 Hockey World Cups on November 8, all other hosts for top-level FIH events from the 2015-2018 cycle will also be announced at that time.

FIH site



IHF lodges protest with IOC over Batra, Anand's presence

NEW DELHI: The Indian Hockey Federation on Thursday lodged a strong protest with the IOC for including Hockey India general secretary Narinder Batra and Jharkhand Olympic Association chief RK Anand in the IOA delegation for the May 15 meeting at Lausanne.

The Secretary General of the IHF, Ashok Mathur shot off a letter to the International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge, complaining that Batra represents a body that stands de-recognised by the Government of India and have only provisional affiliation with the Indian Olympic Association.

He said it was not appropriate on the part of the IOC to allow Batra and Anand to represent the IOA delegation.

"That he (Batra) is one of the representatives of the National Sports Federation had met IOC representative at Lausanne recently along with R K Anand without any authorisation, they were in fact representing Abhay Chautala and tainted Lalit Bhanot and not the NSF of India and no meeting of the NSF's was called," Mathur wrote in the letter.

"It is learnt that the IOC has in fact permitted them to accompany the official delegation as representatives of the IOA," he added.

Mathur further alleged that "Batra played an active role in the illegal election of the IOA and was also instrumental in diluting the constitution of the IOA after the same was vetted by the IOC".

"Batra is a prodigy of Suresh Kalmadi and Bhanot and he created a parallel body - Hockey India - with their patronage. Batra is the root cause of the current hockey dispute in the country. Such culprits creating parallel NSFs by violating Olympic Charter have no right to be associated with the sport at any cost," the letter said.

"The permission to represent the IOA delegation, led by Batra or Anand at IOC, is not appropriate in view of the authorisation given to prof VK Malhotra as (IOA) acting president and Randhir Singh as IOC member. It is believed that Malhotra and Randhir Singh had not authorised Batra and Anand to visit IOC," it added.

The Times of India



Meeting unlikely to resolve IOA ban

The upcoming meeting between representatives of the sports ministry and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) on one side and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on the other, on May 15, is unlikely to resolve the issue of the National Olympic Committee (NOC) re-joining the Olympic movement anytime soon.

With IOA acting president, VK Malhotra, and India's IOC member, Randhir Singh, considered to be key officials, deciding to pull out of the crucial meeting scheduled in Lausanne, it might not yield any result. An IOA official said the meeting would be a preliminary discussion on India's suspension by the IOC. "To get back into the Olympic movement would take time."

The issue of the country's two heavyweight sports administrators withdrawing would reflect poorly when the officials meet on May 15. On Thursday, after the IOC decided to include Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra and Jharkhand Olympic Association president, RK Anand, in the delegation, Malhotra, in particular, reacted sharply.  "I withdraw my name from the delegation," the veteran sports administrator said in a statement.

Malhotra angry

In a communication to IOC chief, Jacques Rogge, Malhotra said, "Since the IOC has included names recommended by the suspended IOA (Chautala group) in the delegation, it indicates the IOC is not sticking to its earlier stand of 'not communicating' with officials of the suspended IOA. I also withdraw the list of delegation named by me," Malhotra said in his letter to IOC chief.

Besides Malhotra, the IOA delegation had Tarlochan Singh, S Reghunathan and N Ramachandran as its other members. While announcing the delegation on May 3, the names of Batra and Anand were not included.  Batra, it is learnt, played a key role in convincing the IOC official to clear two more names for the meeting. Batra in fact has already reached Lausanne.

The ministry, however, will not pull out of the meeting.

Hindustan Times