News for 04 July 2013

All the news for Thursday 4 July 2013


Closing the gate and unlocking the door key for SA hockey men

JONATHAN COOK


With 15 goals conceded and nine converted, the SA men’s hockey team will be looking to close the gate at one end and find more ways to unlock the door at the other end of the pitch when they take on Pool A winners Argentina in the quarter-finals of the World League tournament in Johor, Malaysia Thursday.

The match will be televised live on SuperSport 5 and HD2 from 8.45 am (SA time).

At the bottom of Pool B after the preliminary round of the event, world number 12 SA will draw some confidence from the fact that they have traditionally had very competitive games against world 10 Argentina.

SA deserved more than the 3-3 draw with world number four England in the opening game but cannot say the same for the 6-2 defeat by world number five Pakistan in the third and final match in Pool B on Tuesday. The 6-4 defeat by world number 13 Malaysia is a match that SA might have a case in saying they should have got more out of the game, but the upshot is that they have a chance to make Saturday’s semi-finals if they beat Argentina.

SA head coach Charlie Pereira said the Pakistan defeat was another disappointment.

“We started the game well, stuck to our plans, had three circle entries and a penalty corner early on,” said Pereira from the team hotel Wednesday morning.

“But with 11 minutes gone we try and run the ball out of the back, lose possession and even with numbers back we concede a silly goal. That knocks the wind out of our sails and the impact is that we lose the momentum we started the game with.

“Two penalty corners and at half-time Pakistan are 3-1 up. Second half, we pressed really well and created circle entries which we could not convert. We kept Pakistan out of our circle for a continuous period of about 15 minutes until we again tried and run the ball out of defence and conceded another soft goal. Did Pakistan create their goals? No, we were very generous in not making them work harder for their goals.”

The SA head coach said Argentina would be another stern challenge, “but having played them in Rio [a 4-2 defeat] we are more familiar with their style and if we can cut out the silly mistakes and play to our plan for longer parts of the game, we are in with a shout.”

SA captain Austin Smith reflected on too many unforced errors: “Poor defensive marking, we didn't take our chances, had enough to make a game of it. When we create counter-attacks we are far less effective than the opposition.”

The skipper said SA need to stick to the game plan for longer periods.

“Argentina, it’s going to be tough to beat this hugely experienced team. Two years ago we beat them for third place at the Champions Challenge so it can be done. We have everything to play for in this game so we are preparing as much as we can to try and get a positive result.”

SOUTH AFRICA

Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Gowan Jones (KZN Coastal Raiders); Austin Smith (capt, Western Province), Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues), Rhett Halkett (vice-capt, WP), Lance Louw (SG), Jethro Eustice (SG); Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KCR), Tim Drummond (KCR), Nick Gonsalves (SG), Taine Paton (KCR); Julian Hykes (SG), Craig Haley (WP), Pierre de Voux (WP), Miguel da Graca (SG), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP).

SA Hockey Association media release



Win the only option


Malaysia’s Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin (left) tries to get past England’s Henry Weir in the World League Semi-finals at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru on Tuesday. Bernama pic

THE consequence is as clear as daylight -- fail to beat Germany today and Malaysia can just about forget about playing in the World Cup for a third consecutive time.

Although Paul Revington's men will have another chance -- through the Asia Cup -- to qualify, they will have to battle the region's best for the one available slot.

With the likes of India, South Korea and possibly Pakistan all eyeing that one berth, the odds will be stacked against Malaysia.

Some will say Malaysia's chances are even tougher against Olympic champions Germany today but other than the 2-1 defeat to England -- the team's worst match of the tournament -- Revington's players have been in good form in the World League Semi-finals.

With the Germans not firing on all cylinders -- the World No 1 were held 1-1 by Argentina in their opening match and then needed a boost of opening own goals from South Korea and Japan to win 5-0 and 3-1 respectively.

Malaysia -- the England defeat aside -- have been in cavalier form and Germany coach Markus Weise has taken note of this.

"I have seen some great improvement in the Malaysian team under Revington and it will not be an easy match. There are many fast strikers in the Malaysian team, and they are especially dangerous in counter attacks. The penalty corner battery is also solid," said Weise.

And there is also the Taman Daya Stadium factor.

"Malaysia seem to play well in this stadium and this is something else we have to be wary of," said Weise.

On his part, Revington has a plan and it will be modeled after the Azlan Shah Cup final in March.

Then, Malaysia and Australia were tied 2-2 after a solid performance by the national team but a goal by the former Olympic champions four seconds from the final hooter denied them the title.

In the group stage, Malaysia held Australia 1-1.

"We have had a good build-up towards this tournament, especially the Azlan Shah Cup where we drew 1-1 and then only lost by one goal to Australia.

"I have a fighting side, and I believe they will not disappoint me," said Revington.

Malaysia scored 11 goals in their three matches, but the minus point is that they have been guilty of giving away too many penalty corners which led to 10 goals being conceded.

They can't afford to be so generous today, not if they want one of the three World Cup berths that are at stake and if they fail, the players must surely know that the sport faces a bleak future.

New Straits Times



It ain’t over yet, boys

By S. RAMAGURU



Foiled: Malaysia’s Faizal Saari gets the ball past England’s Richard Smith during their World Hockey League match in Johor Baru on Tuesday. — ABDUL RAHMAN EMBONG / The Star

JOHOR BARU: They were the team everyone wanted to avoid. But, as luck would have it, Malaysia are the ones set to face Olympic champions and world No. 1 Germany in today’s quarter-finals.

Malaysia can only blame themselves for their predicament. They could have avoided the Germans.

Malaysia, after two good matches, failed to shine in the third game and paid the price by finishing third in Group B after losing 2-1 to England.

Tonight’s match is all the more important as a win will see Malaysia keeping their World Cup dreams alive.

Only the top three teams from this tournament will qualify automatically for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Holland.

National coach Paul Revington has adopted a positive attitude, saying they will take on the champions without any fear.

“There’s no doubt that Germany are a good team and any one of the four teams from our group could have faced them,” said Revington.

“But now that we know who our opponents are, we’ll just have to come up with a strategy to deal with them. We can play good hockey as seen in this tournament. There is no use dwelling on what could have happened in the third game now.”

The Germans too are not taking Malaysia for granted.

Their coach, Markus Weise, said that Malaysia have a few things going for them.

“They have good penalty corner batteries. They are playing at home. They have fan support. And, they are also very familiar with the conditions here,” he said.

“So I do not think for one moment that this is going to be an easy game.”

The Germans may have failed to impress in their three group matches but they do have players with tactical awareness to win the quarter-final tie.

Well, they do have the credentials. Remember 2008? That year, they lost out in the European championships and had to go to the qualifiers in Kakamigahara in Japan to earn the right to feature in the Beijing Olympics. Malaysia were there too.

The Germans won the qualifiers and, five months, later took the gold medal in Beijing.

That’s how resilient they are. You can never count the Germans out.

But Revington has done well with the team, who are now playing with far greater confidence and maturity.

The Malaysians are not afraid to take the fight to their opponents and are scoring freely.

In Mohd Razie Rahim and Faizal Saari, the Malaysians have two in-form penalty corner scorers. Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin is also getting into the goal-scoring act but, more importantly, Malaysia now have numbers going forward.

Malaysia’a Achilles’ heel is the backline.

Razie Azlan Misron, Faiz Hemi Jali and Mohd Shukri Mutalib are good but still raw. Baljit Singh, when he comes on, has also slowed down.

The defence has to be spot-on or the Germans will punish them.

The Olympic champions are very clinical in their moves and very quick in getting the ball into their opponents’ half.

The Malaysian team will also have to make sure they defend in numbers.

Goalkeeper S. Kumar also needs to be sharper as his performance has been a little erratic of late.

The Malaysian have nothing to lose. Attack is their only option.

So, Revington must send his men into battle by telling them to go on a flat-out attack.

It’s tough, but it’s winnable.

The Star of Malaysia



Pakistan to show no mercy as they seek early World Cup spot

JOHOR BARU: Pakistan and South Korea are two of the strongest Asian teams capable of challenging the top sides in the world.

But today, only one of them will go forward in their bid to qualify for the 2014 World Cup. The other will have to wait for the Asia Cup to seek an automatic berth.

World No. 5 Pakistan have warned world No. 8 South Korea not to expect mercy when they clash in today’s quarter-final.

Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool is banking on his forwards to see them get past the Koreans.

“I place a great deal on my forward line. When they hit form, we are good overall,” he said.

“That’s what happened in the match against Malaysia in the second-half and against South Africa.”

Pakistan came back from three goals down to draw 4-4 against Malaysia and beat South Africa 6-2.

Abdul Haseem Khan is Pakistan’s top scorer with five field goals from three matches. The other forwards are Mohamed Waqas, Shafqat Rasool, Mohamed Zubair and Mohamed Rizhwan.

Pakistan also have a good penalty corner flicker in Mohamed Imran.

“Yes, we have an all-round team ... one that’s young. Imran has scored only twice so far but he is good enough for a few more. I’m confident that this team will improve,” said Akhtar.

“If the forwards continue to dominate matches, then we will win.”

South Korean coach Shin Seok-kyu admitted that Pakistan have moulded a good side comprising a young set of players.

But that doesn’t mean he’s going to throw in the towel.

“Yes, they have good players and are building for the future. They are slowly gaining in confidence and playing as a unit,” he said.

“But I know we can beat them. I believe that we have an edge against them and we will prove it. I know how to beat them.”

The Star of Malaysia



Andrea Thumshirn is an Indian asset, let us protect her

K. Arumugam




She is a German born travel related business women, but got obsessed with India, and chose to settle in a place that most Indians would find it difficult to locate – on the highway between two famous tourists spots of India, Jaipur in Rajasthan and Agra in Uttar Pradesh – to realize her life’s dream, dream of doing something different and that which will make others smile, especially the most neglected of Indians living in remote and neglected part of our motherland.

Her language is hockey through which she connected to the village she chose to settle, introduced about one hundred boys and girls of that village the sport, and then took interest in their social upliftment and for that started constructing a school with the help of volunteers, which includes some of them from her motherland.

Developing hockey in India is difficult task, or for that matter doing something for the society too. As most people content with their own career -- or spoiling others – there is a strong tendency not to contribute to the society at large. A social worker, as I do through my One Thousand Hockey Legs, am quite aware and has on hand experience, is always doubted for intentions and everyone feels and doubts there is something beyond 'that fellow's social work', ' 'We don't know his motives' such things.

Andrea must have faced all such things, and passed out quite admirably with her focus on the job. She trained her wards, gave them exposure in terms of competitions, kept all her activities open through social media and other tools; one can, if interested, trace her activities hourly basis!

In a short span of time, she is a known face in the fast diminishing Indian hockey community; for instance, was invited by the owners of Ranchi Rhinos to Ranchi to witness the final of the Hockey India League, and then as recently as last month, she was there in Pune for the National Championship final.

Her team was given direct entry for the prestigious Nehru Cup (Under-15) competition last year, and the Delhi based Hockey Citizen Group and her team signed an Memorandum last year to have an annual Dhamal series. Media too took her seriously, and have been write ups on her periodically.

Meanwhile, ever-trying Andrea thought of laying a synthetic turf in Garh Himmat Singh, and did indeed bring a second hand one, an activity that would have consumed 2-3 years for any Indian government agencies!

Then came the shocker.

Some mischief mongers, with the help of equally mischief mongering media, coloured her work with unimaginable and non-existing motives, and saw that the day the truck carrying turf from Mumbai turned out not a day of joy but something different.

According to her posting in her official facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bua-Sa-Hockey-Village-Indien/103517143021160?fref=ts), this is what had occurred:

“The night after the first truck load of astro turf reached, the ground was blocked with huge stones. I got a call in the morning from my girls, they said Andrea Police is on the ground, there is a problem, please you come... The Sarpanch and the police and around 200 citizens of Mandawar were there…. After the first shock, we decided to unload the second truck in our village and in the next night we got the rest of the astro turf our of Mandawar to our village. All that is written in the objection is pure nonsense, would the people have done their homework, they would know that this ground belongs to the government, will be guilt by the government and got sanctioned by the District Collector…. They do not even know that Hockey is the national sports!!!

So, as religion, politics, nationality, motive, and every sensitive things that go with a respect loving, social minded person like Andrea, is questioned though by a fraction of society -- but all mischievous and trigger-happy ones -- Andrea is certainly going through a difficult phase in her chosen volunteer life.

She is determined to go ahead, and its now duty of Indian civil society to ensure her work goes on undisturbed, and prove India offers level playing field to everyone.

What Andrea should now keep vigil is not the enemies who came out openly on the ground, they are at least open enough to express themselves, but the white colour ones who express sympathy and help but would never reflect those in action, about whom she must be familiar with by now.

Meanwhile, it is apt to say that the likes of Andreas and Andreu Enriches -- the young Spaniard runs a hockey institution in Anantpur in Andhra Pradeh-- are Indian assets, whose hearts brim with humanity for others whom they hardly know, whose lives they want to transform from ignorance and disinterested to enlightened and motivated, and for that they volunteer to spend their valuable youth, and thus face difficulties as Andrea is right now.

In a country where social service is a taboo, a social worker is an object of ridicule, and the public at large conveniently believes ‘a poor is poor because God destined him to be so’, those who wishes to change the fortunes of kids though sports and education – which incidentally are ideological moorings of Andrea and Andreu – are real assets of India. Its time India should stand behind its asset called Andrea.

Stick2Hockey.com



USA Field Hockey names 2013-14 U.S. Junior Women's National Squads

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey has named the 2013-14 U.S. Junior Women’s National Squads. The selected players are eligible for competitive opportunities with Team USA for the remainder of 2013 and early 2014.

From the National Futures Championship, Futures Elite Championship and U-21 Women’s National Championship, the top 108 under-17, under-19 and under-21 athletes in the country were selected to attend Junior National Camp at the National Training Center in Virginia Beach, Va, June 26-28. Over the three-day training camp, athletes showcased their best skills in front of National Team selectors to earn a spot on the U.S. Women’s Junior National Squad.

Every spring, typically over the Easter holiday, the under-17 and under-19 squads tour internationally. This year, members of the under-21 squad will represent Team USA at the Junior World Cup in Monchengladbach, Germany, July 27-August 4.  Held every four years, the Junior World Cup represents the top international event for elite field hockey athletes under the age of 21. Last week head coach Steve Jennings announced the 18-players that will participate in the World Cup event. To read the full release, click here.

Click here to view the athletes named to the 2013-14 U.S. Junior Women’s National Squads. 

USFHA media release



Scotland U16 squads in action against Ireland and Wales

Scotland’s U16 Boys and Girls will travel to Wrexham, Wales for a Three Nations round-robin tournament against Wales and Ireland on 5-6 July.

Looking forward to the trip, Scotland U16 Girls Head Coach Bill Robson said, “This is the tournament we have been working towards throughout the year and the opposition will be tough but we can definitely do well in Wrexham.

“Although the trip to play England, Holland and Germany at Easter would seem to be more prestigious, it came at the very beginning of our annual cycle. We were punching above our weight and the exercise was almost entirely one of defence.

“The girls equipped themselves admirably against arguably the best U16 teams in the world, so we are looking to take this opportunity to show where we are and what we have learned since then.

“As ever the objective is one of player development, preparing the girls for the U18s, U21s, and seniors, where progress is key. However we will take this tournament seriously and will go there to try to win. The progress of the team over the year has been commendable and the girls have all worked exceptionally hard on their fitness and skills. Tournament play is another, very important part of their development.”

Scotland U16 Boys: James Carrie (Edinburgh Academy & CALA Edinburgh), Rhys Connah (Strathallan & Dundee Wanderers), Dean Baber (Glasgow School of Sport & Clydesdale), Stephen Frame (Hillhead), Charlie Fuller (Milburn Academy & Highland HC), Kyle Gladwin (Telford & Wrekin), Fabian Goldie (Glasgow School of Sport & Kelburne), Ruairidh Grossart (Fettes College & Grange), Rob Harwood (Douglas Academy & Western Wildcats), Alan Johnstone (Larkhall Academy & Uddingston), Callum MacKenzie (Telford & Wrekin), Aiden McQuade (St Columba’s School & Dunfermline Carnegie), Alex Morrison (Aberdeen Grammar School & Aberdeen Grammar School FP), James Nairn (Hutchesons’ Grammar & Clydesdale), Guy Rowson (George Heriot’s & CALA Edinburgh), Elliot Sandison (Blairegowrie High School & Dundee Wanderers), Fergus Skinner (Glenalmond College), Joe Waterston Loretto School & Inverleith).

Scotland U16 Girls: Amy Costello (Mary Erskine School & CALA Edinburgh), Bella Fiskin (St. George’s School & CALA Edinburgh), Connie Lathe (George Heriot’s & CALA Edinburgh), Lorna Cruickshank George Heriot’s & Grange), McKenzie Bell (George Heriot’s & Grange), Charlotte Watson (St. John’s & Dundee Wanderers), Morven Duff (Aberdeen Grammar School & Granite City Wanderers), Lucy Inglis (Earlston & Borders Fjordhus Reivers), Morven Cawthorn Selkirk High School & Borders Fjordhus Reivers), Chloe Hardie (St. Columba’s School & Greenock), Ellie Halliday (St. Columba’s School & Kelburne), Verity Macdonald (Wellington School & Ayr), Flora Walker (Hutchesons’ Grammar & Clydesdale Western), Lara Tomkins (Hutchesons’ Grammar & Clydesdale Western), Carla McNiven (Jordanhill School & Hillhead), Erin Gilchrist (High School of Glasgow & Western Wildcats), Susan al-Haddad (Glasgow Academy & GHK), Tess Hannah (Millfield School).

Match Schedule:

5th July 17.00 Scotland v Wales (B)
5th July 19.00 Scotland v Wales (G)
6th July 12.30 Scotland v Ireland (B)
6th July 14.30 Scotland v Ireland (G)

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Bright Future for Field Hockey in Ontario With 3 New Pitches

Next two top PAHF tournaments will take place in Brampton and Toronto

by Micah Teixeira


With the 2013 Men’s Pan American Cup looming ahead at the recently completed turf in Brampton, field hockey is certainly on the rise in Ontario. Yet it’s easy to overlook the huge struggle it has been over the past decade to keep the sport we love alive and kicking.

Growing up playing field hockey in Ontario, things seemed quite grand. There were multiple tournaments to be played, many practices of all levels to attend, and national team players who were locals to look up too. But that was back in the grass days, and as multiple turf pitches sprung up on the West Coast of Canada, the Toronto area struggled to even maintain the few there were.

Ontario fell years behind the thriving field hockey population of Vancouver and the rest of British Columbia. Without proper facilities, interest waned, tournaments faded to memory, and the number of locals representing our country dwindled. A proper water-based artificial turf field was needed and it was known. But it never came…

There were the devoted few who stuck it out, just a few small groups here and there who were determined to keep playing. And an even smaller number still who were unwavering in their resolve to bring field hockey back to how it once was in Ontario. It wasn’t an easy fight, or a fair one at that. The huge amount of money needed to construct just a single turf wasn’t available like it was in British Columbia, which had a number of turfs in just a matter of years. It would be years and multiple failed efforts before, finally, there was a glimmer of hope.

More than a decade later, a small group of advocates convinced the City of Brampton to consider an international grade water-based turf at the Cassie Campbell Community Centre. These advocates rallied the entire community from the local clubs to Field Hockey Canada to support the final push for a turf. It worked! With the backing of the City of Brampton, the water-based turf was approved, and there were smiles abound. It was a long hard struggle, but like all good things, it was worth it!

Trials and tribulations though, like to come in droves. And how they’ve come… The two turfs scheduled for construction in the heart of Toronto to be the field hockey site of the 2015 Pan American Games have not been without their own drama. A push was made to classify the currently rarely used site of the upcoming turfs as a heritage site so that they could not be constructed. A petition was circulated to support their claim, and it was taken to the city council… They however underestimated the passion of the field hockey community in Ontario, and the backlash was swift! In just a couple of days, a petition supporting the construction of the turfs garnered nearly half the number of votes than the petition against it in more than 6 months. Support again poured in from all quarters, and the turf construction was comfortably voted in.

It seems almost a dream to think there will soon be 3 international sanctioned water-based pitches in use in Ontario. The two biggest tournaments in the Pan American region will be taking place in Brampton and Toronto, and they will only serve to increase the exposure of the already growing popularity of field hockey in Ontario.

It has been only a few months that the turf has been in use in Brampton, yet things seem to be better already. The tournaments that were a staple of Ontario summer weekends are back, the practices in multitude, and locals seemingly on their way to representing our proud country once again. And with the breaking ground of the new turfs to be constructed at the University of Toronto only weeks away, new peaks are just a matter of time.

To move forward however, we must not forget the past. And the people who fought through all those years when things were at their worst. When their smiling faces are amongst the many cheering for our country at the fast approaching Pan American Cup, it’ll all have been worth it.

This article was originally published by Micah Teixeira in PAHF.

Field Hockey Canada media release