News for 27 June 2013

All the news for Thursday 27 June 2013

SA Hockey Men beat Japan in World League Warm-up


The South Africa men’s hockey team won their World League Semi-Final event practice game against Japan 4-1 in Johor, Malaysia Wednesday night after leading 1-0 at half time.

The match consisted of two 30-minute halves and SA scored in the first half through a penalty corner converted by team captain Austin Smith.

“We were a little rusty, having played our last game on June 11, some two weeks ago, and having only arrived in Johor on Tuesday,” said SA head coach Charlie Pereira Thursday.

“It took us 30 minutes to get going and my plea at the break was to control the game and be patient. We needed to execute better in the final third, as turnover ball was hurting us, with Japan counter-attacking and forcing us to chase a long way.”

Pereira said the second half was much better as SA dominated possession and field position and netted two cracking field goals through Clinton Panther and Lloyd Norris-Jones before Smith sealed the game with another penalty corner.

“[Midfielder] Wade Paton suffered a freakish injury and was forced to withdraw from the game,” said Pereira.

“With [striker] Julian Hykes also missing due to a chest infection, we had to reshuffle the starting line-up and share the workload amongst 14 [field] players rather than 16. That makes our performance in the second half even more special and allowed the players to get valuable match practice.”

World number 12 South Africa’s opening game in Pool B is against world number four England at 3 pm (SA time) on Saturday and will be live on SuperSport 7.

SA Hockey Association media release

Investec South Africa hockey women meet Argentina in quarter-finals


Investec South Africa trio Izelle Lategan, Tanya Britz and Marsha Cox. Photo: STANISLAS BROCHIER

There is nothing quite like the curve ball that has a team contemplating their quarter-final opponents only to be told a few hours later that the opponent has changed, as well as the start time of the match.

That was the case with the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team in London Tuesday night. A heartening performance, despite being edged 1-0 by world number six Australia in their final Investec World League Pool B match, had set up what the form book suggested was a 6.30 pm (SA time) quarter-final on Thursday against Pool A runners-up and world number seven China.

However, world number 15 Spain had other ideas and their spirited 1-1 draw with world number four England meant they edged ahead of SA on the log and the Spaniards now take up the challenge of meeting China, while the South Africans will be facing world number two, reigning 2010 World Cup champions and London 2012 Olympic Games silver medallists Argentina in the quarter-finals five hours earlier.

The tight-knit SA line-up, who have a remarkable team spirit, will meet Argentina’s Las Leonas (The Lionesses) in the first quarter-final at 1.30 pm Thursday (live on SuperSport 1) and will be competing against seven-time World Player of the Year Luciana Aymar, or La Maga (The Magician) as she is known by some, as well as the considerable skill of defender and drag-flick expert Noel Barrionuevo, Carla Rebecchi and others.

South Africa have their own stars, such as the outstanding Shelley Russell, Marsha Cox and company, not to mention world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee among others, but it is in their collective spirit and cohesion that SA may have the edge.

However, South Africa’s early advantages against England (lost 4-1) and Spain (drew 2-2) did not turn into goals and it is perhaps a greater self-belief in the strike zone that might make the difference.

Argentina have not really clicked either, playing well in patches in the 1-0, 3-2 and 4-0 defeats of world number 10 the USA, China and world 17 Italy , so both sides will have a point to prove.

The lure of a place in Saturday’s semi-finals and 2014 World Cup qualification is also enough to suggest that motivation will not be a problem for either coaching staff.

What is certain is that superstar personas will count for nothing Thursday. Each player has the opportunity to be a match-winner on the day and the team that finds the requisite cohesion will outmatch their opponents.

This quarter-final represents a blank sheet of paper and it is up to each team and each player to decide what will be written on the page of history. Destiny will most certainly be in the hands of the brave.

(All SA times, all to be televised live on SuperSport 1)
1.30 pm: Argentina vs Investec South Africa
4 pm: Australia vs USA
6.30 pm: China vs Spain
9 pm: England vs Italy

Pool A: Argentina (goal difference +6), pts 9; China (GD +1), pts 6; Italy (GD -4), pts 3; USA (GD -3), pts 0.
Pool B: Australia (goal difference +6), points 7; England (GD +3), pts 5; Spain GD -5, pts 2; South Africa (GD -4), pts 1.

Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng), Phume Mbande (Northern Blues), Lenise Marais (KZN Coastal Raiders), Marcelle Keet (Border), Nicolene Terblanche (NB), Illse Davids (Western Province), Shelley Russell (WP), Tarryn Bright (WP), Pietie Coetzee (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Sulette Damons (North West), Dirkie Chamberlain (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Tanya Britz (Free State), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KCR), Marsha Marescia (SG).

SA Hockey Association media release

Hockeyroos in confident mood after successful opening stage

James Stock previews the Hockeyroos' quarter-final against the USA...

The Hockeyroos set up tonight’s live televised quarter-final clash with USA after topping Pool B and remaining undefeated in the Investec Hockey World League in London. Just a week after the Kookaburras secured their spot at the 2014 World Cup, the Hockeyroos stand just two victories from doing the same.

After a convincing 5-0 defeat of Spain in the opening game, the Hockeyroos put in a strong performance against hosts England to earn a point in a 1-1 draw. Their last game against South Africa saw them confidently secure a 1-0 win to take them to seven points, two points clear of England. Coach Adam Commens is pleased with progress, stating “we’re quite confident. We’ve performed well in the matches so far and have deserved the points that we’ve earned to be in the position that we are. We’re confident against any opposition we come up against.”

Thursday’s opposition had a significantly less convincing opening to the tournament. The USA, who appointed a new coach at the turn of the year, finished bottom of Pool A after failing to score a point. Their opening three games yielded 1-0, 2-1 and 2-1 defeats to Argentina, Italy and China respectively. However, owing to the tournament format, they still retain the opportunity to progress through to the semi-finals and a World Cup berth – at the Hockeyroos’ expense.

There an extensive history between these two sides on the hockey pitch, weighted heavily in the Hockeyroos’ favour. In 66 clashes, the Hockeyroos have been victorious on 42 occasions, only tasting defeated 10 times. The Aussie girls have found the net 162 times against their American opponents, conceding 63 goals in that time.

Commens is in an optimistic mood ahead of the contest, adding, “The USA is a team we know pretty well and we’ve played quite a lot of games against them in the last eighteen months. They’ve got a few new faces here but we’re confident in our quality against them. In our last five games we’ve scored 19 against them and only conceded once. We’re pretty confident and we know what is required to beat them. I’m sure when we come up against them we’ll bring our A game.”

Undoubtedly, the tenth ranked team in the world will not be a pushover. Their new coach Craig Parnham brings a fresh approach and a good reputation from his time in the England and GB set-up. Double Olympian Rachel Dawson, who has over 200 international caps to her name, is a very experienced name in the side, and a number of fresh faces will be keen to make their mark on international hockey.

With the opening gambits now out of the way, the competition will undoubtedly take a step forward, with the opening encounters counting for nothing in the winner-takes-all quarter-finals. The Hockeyroos have performed well up to this stage and will be looking to carry that form through into the next round as they look to take another step towards a top three spot and World Cup qualification.

Hockey Australia media release

U.S. faces Australia in Quarterfinal of World League Semi-Final

Team USA will face the No. 1 team in Pool B on Thursday in the quarterfinal match in London

LONDON, England – June 25, 2013 – The U.S. Women’s National Field Hockey Team concluded pool play at the World League Semi-Final event in London with a 2-1 loss to No. 7 China. Although the U.S. did not pick up any points in their pool, the slate is wiped clean this evening and it’s anyone’s tournament for the taking come Thursday in the quarterfinals.

“China is a very strong team,” said U.S. head coach Craig Parnham. “I think we contested well for large periods of the game. We created quite a number of chances, particularly in the second half and it is frustrating for the team to not be able to convert one or more of those opportunities.”

Paige Selenski (Shavertown, Pa.) scored the first goal of the match in the 11th minute. Melissa Gonzalez (Mohegan Lake, N.Y.) carried the ball down the sideline and drove it into the circle for Selenski to make the deflection into the net. Three minutes later, China rallied back with a field goal by Hongxia Li, equalizing the score, 1-1.

The U.S. defended extremely well, particularly in the second half, shutting down China during six penalty corners. Unfortunately, China’s Mengyu Wang scored the game-winner on their seventh corner opportunity in the 61st minute of the match. Team USA fought hard for the draw and had numerous chances in the latter part of the second half.

“China had a lot of chances but the defenders in front of me made my job easier,” said U.S. goalkeeper Jackie Kintzer. “It was a great defensive effort today. Unfortunately we didn’t come away with the win.”

Despite three losses, Parnham says the team is in good spirits and will certainly be up for their next challenge – Australia in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

“Coming into this tournament we knew the quarterfinal was the game we needed to focus on,” said Parnham. “Yes, we would have liked to pick up some points in pool play but for the last couple of days it has been clear we were going to be playing Australia or England in the quarterfinal. Whoever we play, we will be ready and we are certainly looking forward the match-up.”

The top four teams in the quarterfinal will advance to the semi-final on Saturday, June 29th. The top two teams from the semi-final will advance to the final on Sunday, June 30th, while the remaining teams will play for a third through eighth place finish. The World League Semi-Final serves as a qualifying tournament for the 2014 World Cup to be held in The Hague, Netherlands with the top three teams automatically advancing from London.

USFHA media release

Jason Lee gets quarter-final wish

By Mike Haymonds

JASON LEE has the quarter-final rivals he wanted at the Investec World League at Chiswick.

The England head coach said: "We wanted to avoid Argentina. That was the ultimate aim from the pool stage."

England will today play Italy, the lowest-ranked team, after finishing second in their pool behind Australia.

Despite their ranking Italy have exceeded expectations, losing 4-0 to world number two Argentina and 2-1 to China but beating USA 2-1.

By contrast, England's results have been disappointing. After a comfortable 4-1 win over South Africa they drew 1-1 with both Australia and Spain.

Lee said: "Our performance dipped against Spain on Tuesday. We lacked the previous intensity, probably because there was not so much riding on the game.

"We will not underestimate Italy as some teams have done.

"We must approach the game with the right mindset, individually and collectively."

England have injury worries over Laura Unsworth (foot), Giselle Ansley (knee) and Sophie Bray (thumb).

Daily Express

A blast from the past

Roslan Jamaluddin

There are only two players in the Malaysian squad that have been successful in steering Malaysia past a qualifier, be it for the World Cup or the Olympics since 2000.

And the duo, goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin and striker Chua Boon Huat aim to utilise their experience in guiding their teammates negotiate their way past a host of top teams in the World Hockey League Semis in Johor Baru that commences this Saturday.

Roslan and Chua played in the Osaka Olympic Qualifiers in 2000 where Malaysia made it on merit to the 2000 Sydney Olympics. After that Malaysia played in the 2002 World Cup as hosts and have never made it past the qualifiers to the two top events.

Roslan was left out of the national team after the 2006 Doha Asian Games and made a return in 2010 when coach Stephen van Huizen recalled him for the 2010 Commonwealth Games ( New Delhi) and Asian Games ( Guangzhou).

And he has never looked back since then.

"Playing and getting through a qualifier gives a player a sense of satisfaction. The feeling is totally different and it is that I am sharing with the rest of the team," said Roslan who competes against S. Kumar for the goalkeeping job in matches.

"It is a sense of accomplishment, the feeling is totally different when you make it to a big event like the World Cup or Olympics.

"We have a fairly decent chance here and we hope to make the most of it as we are playing at home."

His views was echoed by Chua, who also like Roslan was in the wilderness from 2009 unitl recalled by coach Paul Revington when the South African took over the reins of the national team.

"I can still remember the day and it was a fantastic feeling. And I aim to do my best here in Johor Baru to relive that feeling," said Chua.

With goalkeepers having a longer "shelf live" then outfield players, Rosaln who 35 years old has no intentions of giving up.

"Should we fail in Johor Baru, there is the Asia Cup to try secure a place in next years World Cup," added Roslan.

"I intend to play as long as the nation needs my services. So the younger keepers will have to fight their way to replace me as I intend to keep my spot in the national squad."

Official WHL R3, Johor Baru site


Chua Boon Huat still puts team above personal glory


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian forward Chua Boon Huat holds the distinction of being the most capped player among the 144 players from the eight teams who will feature in the World League semi-finals, which begins in Johor Baru on Saturday.

The 33-year-old is the longest serving player in the national team, having represented the national team since the 1998 KL Commonwealth Games and has accumulated 331 caps.

Though proud of his achievement, Boon Huat is more concerned about what he can bring to the team than personal glory.

His main target, he said, was to help Malaysia qualify for next year’s World Cup in The Hague, Holland.

“We’re playing well under coach Paul (Revington) and we promise all our fans that we will give our best in Johor Baru. We hope that with the home ground advantage and the strong support of the fans, we can be third time lucky and qualify for the World Cup,” said Boon Huat, who was recalled to the national team by the South African coach after a three-year hiatus.

Some have questioned Revington’s wisdom in recalling Boon Huat.

And the player intends to show those who think he’s past his prime that he can still do the job despite his age. “I have the experience and skill to play in any position .. be it defence, midfield or as a striker,” said Boon Huat.

“We also have other experienced forwards who will surely rise to the occasion to help Malaysia qualify for next year’s World Cup.”

The other forwards in the national team are Tengku Ahmad Tajudin, Faizal Saari, Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin and Mohd Firhan Ashaari.

Malaysia lost 5-2 to Argentina in a friendly on Tuesday. Both the Malaysian goals came from defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim’s penalty corner flicks.

Malaysia played another friendly against Germany yesterday before opening their Group B campaign against Pakistan on Saturday.

Their other group matches are against South Africa on Sunday and England on June 2.

The teams in Group A are Germany, South Korea, Argentina and Japan.

All the eight teams will feature in the quarter-finals on June 4. The semi-finals are on June 6 and the final is on June 7.

Only the top three teams will qualify for the World Cup.

Boon Huat said that the most important match of the tournament would be the quarter-finals.

“We have to win our quarter-final match if we are to keep our hopes alive for the World Cup,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia

As a team, we lack consistency, says dejected Sardar

NEW DELHI: A livid national hockey captain Sardar Singh on Wednesday said that Indian players need to work on their consitency sooner if they harbour any desire to be a potent force in the world circuit again.

India lost out on a golden chance to qualify for the next year's World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands by finishing a lowly sixth in the just-concluded eight-nation World League Round 3.

"We didn't start well in any of the matches. We played well for 5 minutes and then allowed the opposition to dominate us for the next 10 minutes. We were inconsistent throughout the tournament. We didn't play total hockey for the entire 70 minutes in any of the matches," a fuming Sardar told PTI in an interview today.

The skipper was also upset with sudden dip in form of the drag-flick specialists.

"With Sandeep Singh, Rupinderpal Singh and V R Raghunath in the side, we were rated as one of the strongest outfits when it comes to conversion of drag-flicks but we failed to covert chances in Rotterdam. In every match, we got 5-6 penalty corners but failed to utilise them," he sounded upset.

"The entire team is very upset with the performance because were were in high spirits going into the tournament. We all were confident of a good result,"

"But we had a terrible start to the tournament. We needed to win the first game against Ireland but we surprisingly couldn't although we were favourites coming into the match. It severely hurt us," he said.

The skipper said India played total hockey in patches throughout the tournament and it didn't help their cause.

Sardar said India faltered in all departments of the game in Rotterdam and it's high time every player realise his own mistakes and work on them if they desire to be a potent force in world hockey again.

"In World League surprsingly, there was a lack of co-ordination among the players. We committed small mistakes in every match and allowed out opponents to score soft goals," he said.

"We were also very poor in trapping the ball. The defence as usual was weak and gave easy shooting chances to out opponents. I hope every player will realise their mistakes and give extra effort to work on those areas," Sardar added.

The Indian captain, however, said there was no reason why India can't qualify for the World Cup by winning the Asia Cup.

"We have a month's time to iron out our flaws before Asia Cup. What we need to do is to spend extra time on the field and analyse our mistakes," he said.

"Undoubtedly, the pressure will be more but we have the team to win the Asia Cup. There will be pressure but every player needs to out their hands up and be counted," Sardar said.

Sardar also called for the need to appoint a full-time sports psychologists with the team to work make the players mentally tough.

"I always stressed one needs to have a big heart to play hockey. No matter whoever is your opposition, you need to have self-belief. You need to be mentally stronger. So I feel we need a psychologist.

"(Hockey India technical advisor) Roelant Oltmans have also asked for a psychologist," he said.

The Times of India

Sardar Singh confident of making it to World Cup

Arnab Lall Seal

KOLKATA: India's hopes of securing a direct spot to the 2014 World Cup, in Hague, were dashed after they finished sixth in the just-concluded Hockey World League Round III in Rotterdam. However, skipper Sardar Singh is confident that India will perform better in the Asia Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia, from August 24 and make it to the 12-nation tournament.

"We could have secured a spot in the World Cup had we finished fifth (in Rotterdam), but we were not up to the mark against the other teams. We now have to win the Asia Cup to qualify. We have a break of around three weeks and will then start training again," said Sardar.

India are placed in Group B along with Oman, Bangladesh and Korea. The other four teams to take part in the tournament are Pakistan, Malaysia, Japan and Chinese Taipei.

Korea, who are ranked eighth in the world, are India's toughest opponent in the group but Sardar does not want to see them as a threat. "All the teams are equal and there is no favourite in a tournament like this," he said.

Speaking on India's disastrous performance in World Hockey League, Sardar said the entire team failed to perform. "We were not consistent throughout the 70 minutes. We couldn't convert the penalty corners. We also failed to execute the backhand flicks. As far as our defence is concerned, our man-to-man marking was not good inside the D," he said.

The Times of India

Hockey India inducts CRPF as associate member

NEW DELHI: Hockey India on Wednesday inducted Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) as an associate member and it can take part in all the national championships in future.

Hockey India now has 13 associate members with 29 affiliated members and two state Olympic association members.

CRPF hockey team has participated in the All India Police Games and some major Indian tournaments like Nehru Cup Hockey tournament, Surjit Singh Memorial Hockey tournament and Beighton Cup.

"The police services have contributed immensely in the development and promotion of Indian hockey. With CRPF becoming an associate member, it will provide hockey players with job opportunities and showcase their talent through CRPF. I welcome CRPF for their entry into Hockey India," Narinder Batra, secretary general, Hockey India said.

Vivek Dube (IPS), (ADG, Training) is the president and Khajan Singh Tokas (DIG) is the secretary general of CRPF.

The Times of India

Olympic pitch opens at Sheffield Hockey Club

The Olympic pitch was relaid in Sheffield

The hockey pitch used during the 2012 Olympics has been moved and installed at a club in Sheffield.

The distinctive blue and pink turf has been relaid at Abbeydale Sports Club, home of Sheffield Hockey Club, at a cost of £130,000.

The pitch was donated free by Locog, the games' organising committee.

Lord Coe previously said: "This is an example of the legacy of London 2012. It will give the club a piece of Olympic history."

Recycled hanging baskets

The pitch is to be used by players of all ages and abilities and will host the 2013 School Games in September.

Much of the work to relay the pitch was done during May and June and the first match on the new surface was played on Tuesday.

Most of the old pitch in Sheffield has been recycled into hanging baskets but part was used to create pitches in Bulgaria and Ireland, the hockey club said.

More than 40 organisations made a bid for the pitch.

It was removed from the Olympic Park in November 2012 and has been in storage until laid in Sheffield.

BBC Sport