News for 18 May 2013

All the news for Saturday 18 May 2013

Korea beat Black Sticks Men 2-0 at Counties

Korea have broken the series deadlock in the third game of the six-test series at Pukekohe this afternoon.

“We are finding out a lot about our players during this series, we have a number of younger less experienced players and it is good to see exactly what level they are at ahead of World League 3 next month,” says head coach Colin Batch.

“We had a number of one-on-one chances today that we didn’t get an outcome from. Korea are very consistent and they stepped it up and we need to pick up our game and match that tomorrow,” says Batch.

George Muir played his first international test today and it was also a big match for Arun Panchia who was playing his 100th test.

The deadlock remained in the first half with both sides defending well with goal scoring opportunities from either side few and far between.  Stephen Jenness created two of the best chances, including a one-on-one with the goalkeeper, but he stumbled and the ball went wide.

In the second half, the field opened up and Korea scored in quick succession from Hyun Woo Nam and Hwang Tai in the 50th and 53rd minute.

Junior World Cup Squad members Kane Russell, Jared Panchia and Muir played their first game of the series today, after having the week off after National Under-21 Tournament.

Both teams will be back out on the Counties Manukau turf at 3pm tomorrow before they play the final two games at Papatoetoe next week.


Korea 2 (Hyun Woo Nam, Hwang Tai), New Zealand 0. HT: 0-0

NZ Players: Coughlan, Hayward, Couzins, Hilton, Staples, Smith, M Child, J Panchia, McGregor, Shaw, Manchester, Russell, Tarrant, A Panchia, McAleese, Jenness, Inglis, Muir.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks go down to Korea

By Michael Burgess

Black Sticks defender Andy Hayward. Photo / Dean Purcell

The Black Sticks have slumped to a 2-0 loss against Korea today in an entertaining affair in South Auckland.

After the first two matches of the six game series were draws, Korea's victory today was well deserved and the margin probably could have been greater.

The visitors spurned several other golden opportunities while New Zealand created precious few clear cut opportunities, though they finished the game strongly.

Defender Andy Hayward couldn't convert their only penalty corner opportunity late in the match and Stephen Jenness had two other half chances.

After a goal-less first half, Korea broke the game open with two goals in three minutes midway through the second half.

"It was a disappointing display," said Black Sticks coach Colin Batch. "We probably didn't reach the levels that we had in the second test and we want to see improvement from game to game. We played well in the last period but unfortunately they were 2-0 at that stage."

The pacy Koreans took the initiative from the outset, controlling the midfield and dominating territory.

They forced an early penalty corner, well saved by Devon Manchester and the Kiwi custodian produced another fine stop to deny a slashing backhand shot by the impressive Hyun Hye Sung.

The hosts had to defuse another penalty chance late in the first half, and Manchester made another point blank save. It was an evenly contested game and not exactly one way traffic, but the Kiwis struggled to made decent inroads in the Korean half.

Their best first half chance came halfway through the first spell, as a Stephen Jenness deflection of a long range Blair Hilton shot whistled just over the crossbar.

The visitors upped the ante in the second half and took a deserved lead in the 50th minute, with Nam Hyun Woo cleanly converting his second penalty corner opportunity. Moments earlier Jenness blew a good chance, dribbling the ball onto his foot when in the clear towards goal.

Korea doubled their advantage in the 53rd minute, with live wire striker Hwang Tai nipping in at the near post. It should have been three soon afterwards, but Tai missed from point blank range.

New Zealand: 0
Korea: 2 (Nam Hyun Woo, Hwang Tai)
Halftime: 0-0

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks outplayed by Korea

WORKING HARD: George Muir in action for the Black Sticks. Photosport

The men's Black Sticks have lost 2-0 to Korea in Pukekohe.

Korea were the more dominant side throughout the 70 minutes and found the net twice in the second half, Hyun Woo Nam and Hwang Tai with the goals in the 50th and 53rd minute respectively.

"We are finding out a lot about our players during this series, we have a number of younger less experienced players and it is good to see exactly what level they are at," said Black Sticks head coach Colin Batch.

"We had a number of one-on-one chances today that we didn't get an outcome from and we need to look at that. Korea have been very consistent and they stepped it up today, so we need to pick up our game and match that tomorrow."

The teams play again tomorrow at 3pm in match four of the six-test series.


Repeat matches help NZ hone edge

By David Leggat

New Zealand Black Sticks goalkeeper Devon Manchester tries to stop a shot from Korea's Nam Yong Lee. Photo / Brett Phibbs

By the time New Zealand finish their six-match series against Korea, the two teams will most likely be on first- name terms, know each other's shoe size and have friended them on Facebook.

An extended rubber such as this leaves little room for surprise and brings plenty of familiarity.

Unlike tournament play, when several teams are encountered - and so different players, structures and philosophies have to be factored into preparation - New Zealand are confident they know what to expect from the Koreans in the remaining four matches of the series.

The first two at Rangitoto College were drawn 1-1, showing there's little between the teams.

New Zealand hope to work fresh strategies during the series, which resumes with a double header at the weekend at Pukekohe.

The Koreans, two places behind New Zealand at No8 in the world, play a fast-breaking game and are happy on the counter attack.

New Zealand have shown a welcome resolve when scrambling in defence, they work the flanks well, can be patient and can string together phases of passing.

They also have strikers such as Hugo Inglis and Stephen Jenness to cause problems for the opposing defence.

The squad for the World League 3 tournament in Rotterdam from June 13 to 23 - effectively the semifinal for the final in Delhi next January - will be named after the Korean series.

The New Zealand squad contains 11 players with fewer than 20 international caps. In hockey terms, they're still developing.

That's balanced by the likes of captain Dean Couzins, with 276 caps, striker Phil Burrows, on 292, and defender Shea McAleese on 175. There are pros and cons to a lengthy series against a single opponent, but with Rotterdam in mind, Couzins is clear on one advantage from it.

"In an ideal world you get more out of tournament situations. That's where the big things happen, like Olympics and World Cups," Auckland defender Couzins said. "But the beauty of this is it allows you to focus more on yourself. You know what you're going to get [from the opponent]. As long as you keep growing your game you can get a lot out of it."

Penalty corner exponent Andy Hayward shares Couzins view.

"You don't want them holding back," he said. "All our briefings are about us, rather than having to worry about changing teams [opponents] all the time. Come Rotterdam it will be more about the other teams."

What happens next

• New Zealand and Korea meet today and tomorrow - both games at 3pm at Rosa Birch Park in Pukekohe - before wrapping up the six-game series at Papatoetoe Sports Centre next Tuesday and Wednesday, both starting at 7pm.

• The 18-man New Zealand squad for the World League 3 tournament in Rotterdam next month will be chosen from the group of 23 by the end of this month.

The New Zealand Herald

Green Machine beat Olympic Champions Germany

Andrew Meredith's Irish Men's team have beaten reigning Olympic Champions Germany 3-2 in Heilbronn this afternoon in an International test match in front of almost 3,000 spectators. Ireland took the lead in the 4th minute when Pembroke Wanderers man Alan Sothern found the net.

Phelie Maguire extended the lead for the Green Machine in the 55th minute before Germany reduced the deficit through Rurher in the 58th minute. It didn't take long for Ireland to respond though and within a minute of the German goal, UCD's Shane O'Donohue struck to regain the two goal advantage.

A German comeback seemed on in the closing minutes as Fuchs reduced the score yet again but the Green Machine had enough left in the tank to hold on for a welcome and marvellous victory.

Ireland will face Germany again tomorrow, this time in Mannheim at 2pm Irish Time to round off the test series.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Ireland handed tough Pool at World League Semi-Finals

Andrew Meredith's Ireland Senior Men's Team have today been confirmed by the FIH as competing in Pool B of the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Finals in Rotterdam from 13th - 23rd June 2013.

Ireland will be joined in Pool B by Netherlands, New Zealand & India while Pool A will feature Australia, Spain, Belgium and a yet to be determined qualifier from the final World League 3 tournament in Russia.

Australia     Netherlands
Spain     New Zealand
Belgium     India
TBC     Ireland

Ireland's fixtures are as follows:

13th June 2013    India v Ireland (15:30 Local Time)
15th June 2013    New Zealand v Ireland (09:30 Local Time)
17th June 2013    Netherlands v Ireland (20:00 Local Time)

Quarter Finals, Semi Finals & Final line ups will be determined following Pool completion with games taking place on 19th, 21st, 23rd of June respectively.

The Ireland team are currently in Germany where they face the Olympic Champions today and tomorrow in two preparation games for the Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Finals

Irish Hockey Association media release

Ralph winner gets Clydesdale Western off and running

Milne Craig Clydesdale Western got off to a winning start in the EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge II with a 1-0 win over Austrian side SV Arminen in Prague today.

Scotland international Catriona Ralph was the match winner for the Glasgow side, scoring from the penalty spot in the 20th minute.

Tomorrow, they are up against ASKÖ Hockeyclub Wels of Austria in their second Pool A match at 11.00 CET.

Meanwhile, Grove Menzieshill were narrowly defeated by Irish outfit UCD LHC in the EuroHockey Club Champions Challenge I in Catania this afternoon. The Scottish champions lost 2-1 after being 1-0 up at half-time courtesy of a Louise Carroll penalty corner.

Their next Pool B match is against Belgians Royal Wellington THC at 15.00 CET.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

EHL Final Four - Ready to go!

The grand finale of the European club season takes place in The Netherlands this weekend, as HC Bloemendaal plays host to EHL Final Four. The event will not only feature the EHL Semi Finals, 3rd Place Play Off and Final, but also the Final of the women's EuroHockey Club Champions Cup (EHCCC).

The EHL Semi Finals take place today (18th May), with Rot-Weiss Koln of Germany and Belgium's KHC Dragons going head-to-head at 1200 (UTC/GMT +1). Rot-Weiss and Dragons have met on one previous occasion in EHL competition, with the Belgian outfit eliminating Christopher Zeller's men in Round 2 of the 2010-11 season.

Host club HC Bloemendaal take on fellow Dutch outfit Amsterdam H&BC in the second Semi Final, which starts at 14.30.  HC Bloemendaal legend Teun de Nooijer is aiming for one last moment of European glory before he hangs up his stick at the end of this season, but Amsterdam will be determined to ruin the party and seal their place in the EHL Final. It promises to be a truly fascinating game. 

Sunday will feature three key matches as the European club season reaches its climax. The first match of the day - EHL's Bronze medal match - takes place at 1015. That game is followed at 1245 by the Final of the EuroHockey Club Champions Cup, which sees HC‘s Hertogenbosch and Laren MHC meet in an all-Dutch encounter. The final of the Euro Hockey League takes place at 1515, with the winner getting the chance to lift one the most sought after piece of silverware in men's club hockey - the Alain Danet Trophy.

There are still a limited number of tickets available to purchase online, but we strongly suggest that you act fast and purchase in advance to guarantee your attendance. To purchase tickets, please click here.

For those of you who cannot attend this superb event, do not despair! As always, the EHL will be providing full coverage of the event, with live streaming and complete tournament information being available on and through our Smartphone App. The women's EHCCC Final will be streamed live on the Euro Hockey League You Tube Channel. The EHL social media coverage will also be extensive, allowing fans to interact through Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We hope you enjoy the coverage.

Euro Hockey League media release

KLHC out to match Tenaga's record

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) will be gunning to equal Tenaga Nasional's 12 titles when they face off in the TNB Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

And in the President's Cup final, the battle will be between UiTM and TNB Thunderbolts.

Today, the third-fourth placing matches of the TNB Cup and President's Cup will be held at Bukit Jalil.

Tenaga have seven Overall and five League titles, while KLHC have three Overall and eight League titles.

Tenaga player Faizal Saari will also be out to create history of his own, to become the MHL top-scorer for the third consecutive year.

In the 2011-12 season, Faizal top-scored with 19 goals, while in the 2012 season, he had a tally of 20.

Going into the final tomorrow, the national player is tied on 17 goals with Sapura's Pakistan import Khasif Ali.

"Being named as the top-scorer in the last two seasons did not mean anything as my team lost the TNB Cup both times to KLHC.

"I'm in the running again to become the top-scorer, and this time, I want to do it by winning the title as well," said Faizal.

KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj knows the heartbreak which comes with defeat, as he has seen his team lose seven times in MHL finals.

"I have been coaching KLHC for 14 years now, and even though we have won 11 titles, I have also the misfortune to have lost in seven other finals.

"So I know how it feels to be a champion as well as ending up at the losing end," said Dharmaraj.

When six of Dharmaraj's stalwarts left to join Terengganu HC this season, many had written off the club, but they went on to win the League title with only one blemish -- a 3-3 draw against Tenaga Nasional.

"We were involved in a scramble to recruit foreign players when six left us for better offers, and fortunately, we managed to hire a good crop of Pakistan and also an Australian player.

"I have no hard feelings for the six who left us, as the offer was much better than what we could give. Now, the foreign as well as my local players have a very good understanding, and we will be gunning to equal Tenaga's record on Sunday," said Dharmaraj.

Entrance is free, and 2,000 lucky draw tickets for two Modenas motorbikes are expected to be given away at the entrance.

TODAY (Third-Fourth): President's Cup -- Ipoh City Council v Sunday 2030 (6pm); TNB Cup -- Maybank v Sapura (8pm).

TOMORROW (Finals): President's Cup -- UiTM v TNB Thunderbolts (6pm); TNB Cup -- Kuala Lumpur HC v Tenaga Nasional (8pm).

Note: All matches at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

New Straits Times

KLHC don’t want final to go into extra-time or shootout

KUALA LUMPUR: Defending champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) intend to get the job done in regulation time when they take on Tenaga Nasional for Premier Division overall title at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil tomorrow.

KLHC believe Tenaga will have the upperhand if the match were to go into extra-time or, worse still, a penalty shootout.

Team manager George Koshy admitted that the KLHC players had not practised taking penalties in training.

KLHC’s 4-1 penalty shootout loss to Tenaga (after both teams were tied 3-3 in regulation time) in the Charity Shield is fresh in their minds and it is for that reason that they want to get the job done as soon as possible.

“We didn’t practice taking penalties. I think there is no need for it ... not when we can finish off the match in regulation time – that’s our objective,” said George.

“But that doesn’t mean we are underestimating Tenaga. They are a top team with excellent players. You cannot deny that they have the ability to win the final. Their semi-final win over Maybank should be a good lesson.

“The final is a one-off game and you have to be ready from the word go. You are not likely to see an open game at the start. Each team will just have to make full use of their chances to win.”

There will be no shortage of goal scorers on both sides either.

KLHC are well ahead of the rest in terms of goals scored and conceded.

They have scored 65 goals from 14 matches while Tenaga have scored 53 goals from 16 matches. This is because KLHC had a bye in the quarter-finals.

KLHC have 13 players on the scoresheet while Tenaga have 14.

So, there is very little which separates them when it comes to scoring goals.

Both teams also have top penalty corner drag flickers – Tenaga have Faizal Saari and Mohd Amin Rahim while KLCH can count on Mohd Radzie Rahim and Mohd Imran.

“If there’s any team we would like to avoid in the final, it would have been Tenaga. They have a well-balanced team and the young players in the forward line give them greater mobility,” said George.

The Star of Malaysia

Tiny Faiz set to help KLHC keep overall title


Small yet deadly: Faiz Helmi Jali is a member of the Project 2013 squad who won the Sultan of Johor Cup (2011) and the Junior Asia Cup (2012).

KUALA LUMPUR: In sports, size really doesn’t matter. Just look at pint-sized Faiz Helmi Jali, who will be lining up for this third Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) overall final with Tenaga Nasional tomorrow.

The 165cm tall (5’ 4”) defender and his team-mates will be seeking to dethrone Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) of their Premier League overall title at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Faiz said that his size has never been a problem.

The 21-year-old joined Tenaga in 2011 after playing for a year with Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL).

Tenaga qualified for the overall final in 2011 and 2012 – only to lose to KLHC on both occasions.

“So, there’s every reason for us to go out there and get the better of KLHC. We don’t want to lose to them for a third time,” said Faiz yesterday.

“Frankly, we are up against a very strong team. Their foreign players are really good and have been the mainstay of the team this year.

“But I believe we have the ability to play well and match them if we get our act right.”

Faiz has certainly established himself as a reliable defender in the last three years, not just at club level but also for the national team.

The Batu Pahat-born player is also a member of the Project 2013 squad who won the Sultan of Johor Cup (2011) and the Junior Asia Cup (2012).

He was called up to the senior team last year and has been part of coach Paul Revington’s team since the South African took over.

Faiz has played in the Champions Challenge I in Argentina, the Doha Asian Champions Trophy and the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup this year.

“Yes, it’s all coming together for me at the national level but I still have a lot of hard work ahead of me. I want to establish myself as a regular in the team,” he said.

But, for now, his focus is on tomorrow’s final.

“Yes, I’m more concerned about the final now. We must keep our focus and play our normal game. We have to ensure that mistakes are kept to a minimum,” said the Universiti Malaya sports management student.

Faiz is also hoping to be on target against KLHC tomorrow.

“I failed to score any in the league. But since the knockout stage started, I’ve scored four goals. It will be great if I can score in the final as well. But if I dont, it won’t be for the lack of trying,” he said.

One thing is for sure, Tenaga can surely depend on the pint-sized Faiz to bear the burden in the final.

The Star of Malaysia

Money and pride at stake as Sapura and Maybank fight for third

KUALA LUMPUR: The third placing match in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) may be a glamorous tie but the clash between Maybank and Sapura will still be an exciting affair.

There is pride at stake ... and a RM10,000 difference in prize money, with the third-placed team getting RM40,000.

Maybank have already pocketed RM50,000 for their runners-up spot in the league.

Then, there’s the top scorer award. Sapura’s Kashif AIi and Tenaga Nasional’s Faizal Saari are tied with 17 goals each.

This award is worth RM2,000. This is the first time that such a big amount is being offered to the top scorer.

Faizal won the award twice in a row in 2011 and 2012.

This year, the third placing matches are being held a day before the final so that their supporters can turn up in full force to cheer their team on.

The Division One third placing match – between MBI and Sunday 2030 – will be played before the Maybank-Sapura tie.

The Star of Malaysia

Parkites down Carib 6-1 in Trinity Division

Gary Chin scored a hat-trick to lead Queen’s Park to a 6-1 whipping of Carib for their fifth win from as many matches in the T&T Hockey Board Men's Trinity Division at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Thursday night. The trio of Cade Lue Sue, Jerazeno Bell and Andre Attale added the others for the Parkites while Jael St Louis got Carib’s consolation item.

With the win, Queen’s Park moved to 15 points from its five matches, the same as Malvern, which eked out a 1-0 over previously unbeaten Notre Dame via an 18th-minute goal from Kyle Cowie.

Malvern is second due to an inferior goal difference to the Parkites, while the Dames slipped to third with 12 points from five matches followed by Paragon and Paradise, both with ten from four and five matches, respectively.

In the Trinity Women’s title race, Notre Dame leads with 12 points from six matches, two ahead of Defence Force, Magnolias and Checkers.

TTHB Results

Trinity Men

Malvern 1 (Kyle Cowie 18th) vs Notre Dame 0

Trinity Men

QPCC 6 (Gary Chin 3, Cade Lue Sue, Jerazeno Bell, Andre Atalle) vs Carib 1 (Jael St Louis)

The Trinidad Guardian

Leaders Strathmore out to upset Vikings in Kenya Hockey Union women National League


Players in a recent Vaisakhi contest. [PHOTO: MARTIN MUKANGU]

Energised Strathmore University returns to the pitch this afternoon at City Park stadium in Nairobi looking for maximum points against Vikings to maintain their grip on the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) women National League.

The students shocked their counterparts from Mount Kenya University with a 21-0 mauling last week to stamp authority in the nine team league expected to be cutthroat this season.

“We are hopeful we will maintain this lead for as long as we can, we are going for one match at a time,” Strathmore player Mirriam Oundo told FeverPitch.

Oundo announced her return this season boldly with six goals as she led her side to demolish MKU last week.

MKU will take on Sliders tomorrow at noon at the same venue.

Sliders will rely heavily on the services of June Kangongo who has proved her usefulness from the three tournaments she has taken part in this year.

Just like the women national league there will be only two men national league matches this weekend with Technical University of Kenya (Tuk) taking on the University of Nairobi as Thika Rovers battle Mount Kenya University. Tuk and Nairobi university will be looking for their first wins after drawing 1-1 last weekend.

A titan battle between former champions Kenya Police and the Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCA-U) is eminent today.

Kenya Police have an upper hand in the match owing to their success in the three offseason tournaments.

Police currently is the best team with effective forward led by marksman Moses Cheplaiti who has won many accolades as top scorer and MVP in the recent past.

Other men Premier League contest pits Karate Axiom against new comers Park road and Greensharks against current champions Nairobi Simba.

The Standard Online

Nairobi Schools Hockey Semis Promises Thrills

By Dun Okinyo

Moi Girls face former Pangani Girls in the first semi-final of this year's Nairobi Secondary Schools hockey Championship. Other semi-final will pit high-riding Mt. Laverna against surprise package Buruburu Girls.

Moi Girls coach Amai Olubai said they have done enough in their training this week and are already looking beyond the semi-final. "I have a youthful team comprising of Form 2 and 3 students who are very focused," he said.

He, however, said the fact that they are the defending champions, puts them a bit under pressure. Olubai will bank on her lethal attacker Virginia Wanyee, who has hit the board 8 times in 8 matches to beat Pangani.

On their hand, Pangani hopes their two twin forwards Merryl Adhiambo and Eleanor Kimaiyo will see them though. The two players have between them posted 19 of the 29 goals scored in the preliminary.

Moi Girls garnered 24 points from 8 matches to top pool 'A' while Pangani were second in Pool 'B' with 17 points. Laverna top Pool 'B' with 22 while Buruburu are second in Pool 'A' with 12 points.

The Star, Kenya

Ghanain Hockey league starts today


Eight out of 23 teams push off the Dwadefo Adanfo Greater Accra Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium today as CEPS brace up to redeem their image after losing last week’s gala trophy to Exchequers.

CEPS face former champions, Trustees of SSNIT, who, after having a blistering start in the gala, also fizzled out and need to win today’s match to bring back their confidence.

Trustees have kept their youthful team intact just as the old guards from CEPS, including the Moses brothers and the captain, Ebenezer Frimpong.

But the more robust CEPS side will have to devise a sophisticated way to outwit the highly crafty Trustees players who have the current Africa best youth player, Johnny Botsio, and Earnest Opoku in their fold.

The CEPS-Trustees game is only one of four clashes, including a women’s game between a revamped Police team and CEPS Ladies, while Reformers lock horns with Extinguishers of the Ghana Fire Service.

Defending seniors’ champions, SAPHOLDA, clash with Citizens in the last match of the day under floodlight to set the tone for tomorrow’s matches.

Gala champions Exchequers have a huge task to replicate the fine form they exhibited last weekend as they engage Golden Sticks in one of the big matches for tomorrow.

Also on the bill for tomorrow are Police versus Reformers and Multistix against NDK Financiers.


Lautoka hockey starts season with six-a-side competition

Arin Kumar

THE Lautoka Hockey Association (LHA) in Fiji will host a 6-a-side competition today to get its season in progress.

LHA secretary Martin Coffin said they needed a good competition to provide players with a good platform to start the season.

"The 6-a-side is what we have chosen and we are expecting a competition day tomorrow (today)," he said. Only five men's teams will be competing in the tournament at Nadovu Park and Coffin is confident the ladies teams will join later in the season. "We had women's teams last year and hope they join us later in the season to add flavour to the competition." He added the newest team in the competition was Rockefeller's of Ba.

Today's games: 1.30pm Falcons Super-Falcons Rage, 1.45 Rockefeller's-Mates, 2pm B/Star-Falcons Rage, 2.15 Rockefeller's-Falcons Super, 3pm Mates-B/Star, 3.15 Rockefeller's-Falcons Rage, 3.30 Mates-Falcons Super, 3.45 Rockefeller's-B/Star, 4pm Falcons Rage-Mates, 4.15 B/Star-Falcons Super, 4.30 Presentations.

The Fiji Times

Hockey may lose ground to metro

The hockey field at Maharaja's College in Kochi. Photo: H. Vibhu

Land acquisition for the Kochi Metro Rail project is likely to cost the already neglected national game of hockey its sole facility in the district.

District hockey administrators and former players are shocked at the anticipated loss of the field at Maharaja’s College, the only full length hockey field in the district.

About 13.5 cents towards the southern end of the Maharaja’s College ground will be acquired for the Kochi Metro. A metro rail station is likely to come up on the acquired site on M.G. Road.

Signature campaign

Hockey Ernakulam on Friday launched a signature campaign to draw attention to how the loss of the field would affect the future of the game in the district. Former Judge of the Supreme Court V.R. Krishna Iyer launched the campaign at his residence.

The signatures collected will be handed over to the District Collector who will hold a discussion with the hockey fraternity on Saturday.

Anil Thomas Koshy, secretary, Ernakulam Hockey, said the acquisition of land would take away almost half the hockey field. “To compensate the loss of land and thereby the field, it should be shifted towards the western end of the ground near the college hostel,” he said.

Hockey India has also suggested that an artificial hockey turf of international standards be set up, using the more than Rs.7 crore that the college would get as compensation for the land given up. Such a turf could be set up at a cost of about Rs.3 crore, in which case it would be the State’s first such facility.

Sunil D. Emmatty, former captain of Kerala hockey team, said the loss of the field would deprive the district of the only facility fit to organise tournaments. At present, the field is being extensively used by the team of Maharaja’s College and for conducting summer hockey camps.

He said Hockey India — whose president Mariamma Koshy is one of the signatories — had pledged all support, including financial assistance, to set up the hockey turf. But the ideal situation would be to lay the turf using the proceeds from the compensation, as it would help keep the field an exclusive asset of the college. The fund for maintenance could be raised by renting out the space beneath the gallery and through supplementary facilities such as health clubs and dormitories, Mr. Emmatty said.

P.T. Sellen, head of the Physical Education Department, said the college was not in favour of losing the field. “The college has produced national players like Dinesh Naik in the past. The present State team also has two to three players from the college,” he said.

The Hindu