News for 10 July 2013

All the news for Wednesday 10 July 2013


Malaysia whip Poland in opener

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team got off to a great start in the World University Games when they hammered Poland 7-1 in a Group A match in Kazan on Monday.

Forward Dangerous Lee scored a brace while Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Mohd Hafiz Zainol, Mohd Azzami Adabi and Harvinder Singh added one each.

Michal Kasprzyk replied for Poland.

Malaysia next play against hosts Russia today.  Russia defeated Italy 3-0 in their opening match.

The Malaysian team are powered by three national players who featured in the World League semi-finals, which ended in Johor Baru on Sunday.

The trio are defender and penalty corner specialist Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, midfielder Mohd Sukri Abdul Mutalib and forward Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil.

Malaysia’s other matches are against Italy tomorrow and South Africa on Sunday.

South Africa lead the standings with four points from a win (beat Poland 4-2) and a draw (4-4 with Italy).

Group B comprises Germany, South Korea, France, Japan and Ukraine.

The Star of Malaysia



MHC want coach Revington to stay on but he has yet to make a decision​

By S. RAMAGURU



Germany’s Moritz Fuerste (centre) try to across Argentina’s Juan Martin Lopez (left) and Juan Eduardo Garreta during their World Hockey League semi-final match at the Stadium Taman Daya in Johor Baru. — LIM CHENG KIAT / The Star

JOHOR BARU: One major tournament, the World Hockey League semi-final, is over. Another one – the Asia Cup to be held in Ipoh – is less than six weeks away.

Now the question is whether Paul Revington will stay on as the Malaysian coach or quit as he had planned last month.

With the Asia Cup so near, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) definitely want Revington to stay on.

“Yes, we want him to stay on and coach the team. But the final decision has to come from him. We have indicated that we want him to stay,” said MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah after Malaysia finished fifth in the FIH World Hockey League semi-final in Johor Baru on Sunday.

Tengku Abdullah said the team must not take it for granted that the fifth placing would get them to the 2014 World Cup Finals in Holland.

“We are considered one of the early reserves and that is it. We must now concentrate our attention on the Asia Cup as only winning it will secure us an automatic berth. So the team must do well in Ipoh,” he added.

Tengku Abdullah, however, was far from pleased with the team’s performance in Johor Baru, describing it as a roller-coaster ride and called for a more consistent performance.

Out of six matches, Malaysia won three, drew one and lost two.

The highlight was their wins over South Africa (6-4) and Pakistan (3-1). The fifth-place win over Japan was through a penalty shootout.

The biggest letdown was the 6-0 humiliation by Germany and put in perspective the gap in standard between Malaysia and the top ranked team in the world.

Revington said that he would take a few days off to decide on his next step.

“This is clearly not the time to make any decision. I don’t want to make a rash decision.

“There is no doubt that the Ipoh meet is very important for us. We have just completed a very tough tournament and all of us (including me) need some time to think things over,” added Revington.

The South African said the team had done well in Johor Baru in terms of performance.

“But there are still certain areas where we need to work more on. We know our weaknesses and will work on it. It is not like we can fix everything overnight. The team is clearly moving forward,” added Revington.

The team have been given time off before they regroup to prepare for the Asia Cup from Aug 24-Sept 1. It will involve Malaysia, Pakistan, South Korea, India, Bangladesh, Taiwan, Oman and Japan.

Three players, however, have been given permission to play for Malaysia at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia. Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Mohamed Shukri Mutalib and Mohamed Razie Rahim will join the team in Kazan tomorrow.

The Star of Malaysia



Please stay on, Paul

By AFTAR SINGH



Hard at work: National coach Paul Revington (centre) training the national players at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on June 19, 2013.

KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey players want Paul Revington to continue coaching the team for the Asia Cup in Ipoh from Aug 24-Sept 1.

The South African, who guided Malaysia to fifth placing in the recent World Hockey League semi-finals in Johor Baru, has asked for a few more days to decide whether he wants to continue training the national squad.

The fifth placing saw Malaysia miss out on qualifying for next year’s World Cup Finals in The Hague, Holland.

Only the top three teams in Johor Baru – champions Germany, runners-up Argentina and third placed England – confirmed their places for the World Cup.

The 40-year-old Revington e-mailed his resignation to Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) coaching committee chairman Manjit Majid Abdullah last month, citing outside interference.

But the committee rejected his resignation and Revington then agreed to continue training the national team, saying he would decide on his future after the World Hockey League semi-finals.

Midfielder Jivan Mohan said that the players wanted Revington to stay on as coach and help them qualify for the World Cup.

“We need you coach as you can guide us to reach next year’s World Cup,” said Jivan, who is a police inspe­ctor.

Defender Mohd Amin Rahim agreed with Jivan.

“A fifth place in Johor Baru was an encouraging result for Malaysia as we are ranked 13th in the world ... we were the second lowest ranked team among the eight countries who took part,” said Amin.

“We did well to beat world No. 12 South Africa (6-4) in the group match and defeated world No. 5 Pakistan (3-1) in the classification matches.”

The 33-year-old penalty corner specialist believes that with Revington guiding them, they stand a good chance of winning the Asia Cup for the first time and book a place in the World Cup.

“We have learned from our errors in Johor Baru and we pledge to go all out in Ipoh. The Asia Cup is our last chance to make the World Cup, so we cannot afford to let it go,” said Amin, who was the member of the team who won a silver medal in the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games.

Malaysia still have a chance to feature in the World Cup – but they must win the Asia Cup.

The five continental champions get a berth to the World Cup.

Malaysia have never won the Asia Cup and the best they’ve ever done was finishing third in Chennai in 2006.

So far none of the Asian teams have qualified for next year’s World Cup.

In the Asia Cup, Malaysia are in Group A with Pakistan, Japan and Taiwan. South Korea, who finished fourth in Johor Baru, are in Group B with Bangladesh, India and Oman.

Malaysia have failed to qualify for the last two World Cups – in Moen­chengladbach (2006) and New Delhi (2010).

They last featured in the World Cup in 2002 as the host.

The Star of Malaysia



Regulars India and Pakistan may miss World Cup

By S. RAMAGURU


JOHOR BARU: When the qualification process for the 2014 World Cup ends in November, one or two of the most illustrious hockey playing nations may well find themselves out of the Finals, which will be held in The Hague, Holland, next year.

Former winners India and Pakistan have played in all editions of the World Cup but now face the prospect of being shut out of the 2014 Finals after failing to land one of the qualifying spots in the recently-ended FIH World Hockey League semi-finals in Holland and Johor Baru.

India finished sixth in Holland earlier last month while Pakistan ended up seventh in Johor Baru.

Both teams will now look to the Asia Cup in Ipoh from Aug 24-Sept 1 to book a berth in the World Cup. Only the winners will make the cut.

India and Pakistan will have to contend with hosts Malaysia and South Korea for the sole ticket to The Hague.

Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool admitted that the Asia Cup would be a “do-or-die” battle for them.

“We had a bad outing in Johor Baru but we didn’ have the full complement of players then as Waseem Ahmad was injured and Rashid Mahmood was not fully fit.

“They are key players in the team. We hope to have them back fully fit for Ipoh as we will go for nothing less than a win,” said Akhtar, who blamed poor finishing as one of the main reasons for their failure in Johor Baru.

But all these teams – India, Pakistan, Malaysia and South Korea – will do well not to take Japan for granted in Ipoh though.

In the Asia Cup, Pakistan are in the same group as Malaysia, Japan and Taiwan.

South Korea, Bangladesh, Oman and India make up the other group.

The Star of Malaysia



Oltmans to take charge as HI begins hunt for new coach

Harpreet Kaur Lamba


Hockey India’s decision to "remove" Australian Michael Nobbs as coach of the Indian men’s hockey team has come at a crucial time.

India have the Asia Cup next in six weeks time, and need to win the tournament to avoid the embarrassment of missing a World Cup berth for the first-time ever.

Under Nobbs, in the last two years, the team struggled to adopt a proper style of play and even suffered an embarrassing last-place finish at the London Olympics last year.

"Communication gap" and "lack of technical acumen" are two of the major reasons for the Australian’s exit, who was initially given a contract until the 2016 Rio Games. Nobbs, who played in the 1984 Los

Angeles Olympics, was "under pressure" with HI demanding results and players’ unable to adjust to his confusing style of coaching.

"Changes were needed," said high performance director Roelant Oltmans when asked about Nobbs’ exit.

"It wasn’t working... Nobbs wasn’t able to deliver results the way he wanted to, and Hockey India did not get the results as they wanted."

The Dutchman said he would double up as a coach-cum-high performance manager till the Asia Cup in August, following which a foreign coach would be appointed.

"It is a temporary arrangement. The upcoming six weeks are very crucial, and we will have to begun work in the right direction," said Oltmans, who was roped in five months ago.

HI, meanwhile, said that Nobbs had offered to resign last month as he felt he wasn’t able to contribute significantly to Indian hockey.

What led to Nobbs’ ouster?

The Australian’s approach of switching between an attacking style of play and extreme defence - that he advocated after the failed London Olympics campaign - often had his players on the back foot. India struggled to beat even the Asian nations in the last two years. In addition, players were always blamed for losses signifying lack of responsibility from the coach.

Things reached a breaking point during the World League Round 3 in Rotterdam, Holland, where India failed to earn a direct World Cup berth.

Nobbs, said a team member, accused the players of being "consistent failures", claiming that he had taken Indian hockey "10 years ahead" during his two-year stint.

It was then than Oltmans intervened and decided to take charge.

Former India skipper Zafar Iqbal says lack of communication between the coach and the players was a huge factor behind the decision.

"Nobbs was brought in with a lot of expectations. But it was clear since last year that he had a lot of shortcomings. He wasn’t able to implement any of his plans successfully. Communication was definitely one of the areas."

Gurbaj, Sarvanjit set to return?

HI might have announced the 48 probables for the Asia Cup camp that begins in Bengaluru on July 16, but talks are on to bring back experienced midfielder Gurbaj Singh and strikers Sarvanjit Singh and Bharat Chikkara, it is reliably learnt.

Newly-appointed assistant coach M.K. Kaushik, in fact, had got in touch with a few players last week over their availability for the crucial event.

"I was given a report of in discipline on Gurbaj, but I do not know if it was true," said Oltmans. "I have seen him play in international hockey and the recent Hockey India League. He is an asset for any team."

Both Gurbaj and Sarvanjit were sidelined after the London Olympics, while the promising Chhikara has been sitting it out for more than an year.

Nobbs flew back to Australia on Monday night, and will return a week later to complete the paper work over his exit.

Nobbs’ exit lines

I have had some problems for a while and it is very simple, when I went to the previous trip to Holland and before this I had real health problems.

I passed out a couple of times and had trouble with walking anywhere.

I was struggling coaching and it was worrying me.

I spoke to Roelant at the end and said I can't cope anymore. I felt I am letting myself and everyone down and wanted to resign.

The Asian Age



National coach Nobbs given the sack


A file picture of India's former Chief Hockey Coach Michael Nobbs.

Two years and one week after he was given charge of the Indian men’s hockey team, chief coach Michael Nobbs has been removed from post.

The decision was taken on Monday after a meeting attended by the officials of the Sports Authority of India and Hockey India.

SAI director-general Jiji Thomson said the results in the last two years were not proportionate to the kind of salary and support being provided to Nobbs.

“His contract stipulates an exit clause with a one-month notice, and we have followed that. Hockey India informed us on Monday that they did not wish to continue with his services. Since he was employed with us, we had to take the final decision,” Thomson said.

According to Thomson, HI had “expressed dissatisfaction over his performance. Since he was not giving results there was no point in trying to continue with Nobbs. If HI wants to have someone else or make M.K. Kaushik (deputy coach) the chief coach, they can send a fresh proposal after Nobbs’s notice period ends.”

HI secretary-general Narinder Batra said there were several reasons for the decision.

“The results were not coming. We also felt he was losing motivation. He had, in fact, offered to resign after the Hockey World League in Rotterdam, but no decision was taken immediately. There was a discussion on whether we should do it before or after the Asia Cup, but decided to do it now,” Batra said.

“The Asia Cup is a very important assignment and if he is not motivated enough, there is no point in having him there. For now (high performance director) Roelant Oltmans will take charge of the camp in Bangalore, with M.K. Kaushik assisting him.”

As for promoting Kaushik later, Batra ruled out the possibility.

“Kaushik will be the national coach but we need a foreign coach, no doubts about that. There is a lean period after the Asia Cup and we are likely to finalise the new chief coach by the year-end,” Batra said.

Nobbs was appointed on June 30, 2011, for a period of five years. The only major success for India under Nobbs was qualifying for the London Olympics, but a last-place finish there meant the pressure was back on the Australian.

The Hindu



Hockey India dumps coach Michael Nobbs because of non-performance

Before Nobbs, Spaniard Jose Barsa, Australian Ric Charlesworth and Germany's Gerhard Rach coached the Indian side but were pushed out due to several issues.



Michael Nobbs - Getty Images

Australian Michael Nobbs has been unceremoniously sacked as Indian hockey team's chief coach due to non-performance, thus becoming the fourth foreign coach to be shown the door before completion of the full tenure.

Hockey India Secretary General Narinder Batra said that Nobbs' contract has been terminated and he is presently serving a one-month notice period. Roelant Oltmans, who is currently the High Performance Manager, has been given charge of the team until a new coach is appointed.

Batra, however, claimed it was the Australian who decided to quit as he felt that he was not doing justice to his job.

"He himself had offered to resign during a meeting with Roelant Oltmans. There were some issues with his coaching style. Oltmans feel there were some areas in which we were lacking and Nobbs was not being able to rectify them and not producing the desired results," Batra told PTI.

"Accordingly, we have informed the SAI that we are not willing to avail his services anymore. For the time being Oltmans will take the additional responsibility of coach of the men’s team. He will be in charge of the team till we find a suitable replacement which might take 2 to 3 months time," he added

Nobbs, who took over the charge in 2011, was offered a five-year contract and a handsome salary, but his association with Indian hockey lasted merely two years and finally ended on a bitter note.

Before Nobbs, Spaniard Jose Barsa, Australian Ric Charlesworth and Germany's Gerhard Rach coached the Indian side but were pushed out due to several issues.

Nobbs was looked upon as someone who can cure Indian hockey, but the Australian failed to change the fortunes of the past masters of the game.

DNA



Hockey coach Nobbs sacked

New Delhi - Australian Michael Nobbs has been sacked as the chief coach of the Indian hockey team for non-performance, becoming the fourth foreign coach to be shown the door before completion of the full tenure.

Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra said that Nobbs’ contract has been terminated, almost three years before it was to expire. Roelant Oltmans, who is currently the High Performance Manager, has been given charge of the team until a new coach is appointed.

Batra, however, claimed it was the Australian who decided to quit as he felt that he was not doing justice to his job.

“He himself had offered to resign during a meeting with Roelant Oltmans. There were some issues with his coaching style. Oltmans felt there were some areas in which we were lacking and Nobbs was not being able to rectify them and not producing the desired results,” Batra told PTI.

“Accordingly, we have informed the SAI that we are not willing to avail his services anymore. For the time being Oltmans will take the additional responsibility of coaching the men’s team. He will be in charge of the team till we find a suitable replacement which might take 2 to 3 months time,” he added.

Sports Authority of India Director General Jiji Thomson said that Nobbs’ contract was terminated yesterday after giving him a month's notice period. “There was a clause in his (Nobbs) contract which states that we can stop availing his services by giving one month's notice. So, accordingly we informed him and gave him the notice period yesterday,” Thomson.

Thomson said SAI decided to discontinue Nobbs’ services on the recommendation of Hockey India.

“Hockey India approached us saying that Nobbs had expressed his desire to be relieved from his duties due to non-performance. As Nobbs was under SAI’s payroll, we had to take the final decision,” the SAI DG said.

Nobbs, who took over the charge in 2011, was offered a five-year contract and a handsome salary, but his association with Indian hockey lasted merely two years and finally ended on a bitter note.

Before Nobbs, Spaniard Jose Brasa, Australian Ric Charlesworth and Germany's Gerhard Rach coached the Indian side but were pushed out due to several issues.

Nobbs was looked upon as someone who can cure Indian hockey, but the Australian failed to change the fortunes of the past masters of the game.

The only highlight of Nobbs’ tenure was India's qualification for last year's London Olympics after having missed the Beijing edition of the Games.

But since then there was no significant change in the performance of the team as eight-time champions India returned with a wooden spoon from London Olympics.

Nobbs came under further scrutiny after India failed to book a direct ticket for the World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands scheduled for May-June, 2014, finishing a lowly sixth out of eight teams in last month’s FIH World League semi-final at Rotterdam.

Hinting that Hockey India was not impressed with Nobbs’ performance, Batra said it was a mutual decision to part ways with the Australian.

Batra said there was no point in continuing with a coach who lacked motivation and commitment.

“We felt he is not motivated anymore. He seemed to have been lacking in motivation as well as commitment. A national team can’t be coached by somebody who is not motivated and committed,” the HI secretary general said.

The Tribune



Hockey coach Michael Nobbs 'sacked', he says resigned on his own

Mihir Vasavda



Michael Nobbs (File Pic/PTI)

Indian hockey was hit by a fresh controversy Tuesday with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India saying Michael Nobbs had been "sacked" as the chief coach of the Indian team on grounds of poor performance. But Nobbs said he had "resigned" because of illness, homesickness and bouts of depression.

Nobbs, it is learnt, told Hockey India secretary general Narinder Batra that he was "fed up of the game" when they met last week in New Delhi. He even offered to quit immediately during the meeting but Batra insisted that Nobbs should continue until the Asia Cup, hoping that a good performance by the team there would lift his spirits.

However, the 58-year-old Australian, who was appointed as the chief coach of the national team in June 2011, was eventually shown the door by SAI after his contract, which ran up to the 2016 Olympics, was terminated Monday. Batra said the decision to part ways was taken in consultation with High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans, after it was concluded that there were some issues with his coaching style. "Oltmans felt there were some areas in which we were lacking and Nobbs was not able to rectify them and produce the desired results. Hence, we informed SAI that we do not want his services any more," Batra said.

Nobbs' position was under immense scrutiny after India failed to qualify for the World Cup during the recently-concluded World League semifinals. Hockey India had earlier this month hired former national coach M K Kaushik to assist the Australian during the Asia Cup, which India needs to win to qualify for the World Cup.

Nobbs, however, insisted he wasn't sacked. He said his deteriorating health was the prime reason for him not to return to India. "I have had some problems for a while. When I went on the previous trip to Holland (for an exposure tour) I passed out a couple of times and had trouble walking. It was getting really bad. I had a test after returning to India and had extremely high blood pressure of 180/120. Depression hit hard on top of this. It was a struggle," Nobbs told The Indian Express. "I was struggling to focus on coaching and it was worrying me. I was extremely homesick for my kids."

Nobbs said he considered quitting soon after returning from that tour in May. However, he decided to inform Batra and Oltmans of his decision soon after the World League. "I spoke to Roelant and told him that I can't cope anymore. I felt I am letting myself and everyone down and wanted to resign," Nobbs said.

Under Nobbs, the Indian team won the Asian Champions Trophy in 2011 and qualified for the London Olympics after missing out on the Beijing games. But those were the only high points in an era otherwise littered with disappointments.

The team failed to win a single match at the Olympics, where it finished at the bottom, and had mediocre performances in other international tournaments.

Oltmans, who will be the interim coach of the team, said Nobbs had discussed his problems before taking the decision. "He discussed his personal problems with me and, in the end, it was mutually decided that in the best interests of the team, he should discontinue," he said.

Indian Express



Struggling India axe hockey coach


Michael Nobbs. -Photo by AFP

NEW DELHI: India's field hockey chiefs on Tuesday sacked national coach Michael Nobbs due to the team's poor performances, making the Australian the fourth foreign coach to be axed in the past decade.

“Nobbs will not be working with the national team,” Hockey India secretary-general Narinder Batra told reporters in New Delhi. “We have informed the Sports Authority of India about it.

“It was felt that Nobbs was unable to improve the team's performance or produce the desired results.”Hockey India's high performance director, Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, will step in as a temporary replacement for Nobbs before the next coach is appointed, Batra said.

Nobbs, 58, was appointed Indian coach in June 2011 for a five-year term that would have seen him in charge until the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The former Australian international, who played in the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, made no immediate comment on his sacking.

India, who won the last of their eight Olympic hockey golds in 1980, finished last in the 2012 London Olympics under Nobbs. The team also failed to make the semi-finals in the recent World Hockey League in the Netherlands.

Nobbs follows in the footsteps of three other foreign coaches -- Spaniard Jose Brasa, Australian Ric Charlesworth and Germany's Gerhard Rach -- whose contracts were terminated prematurely by India's hockey bosses.

Oltmans, 58, will take charge for next month's Asia Cup tournament in Malaysia, which India must win to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in the Netherlands.

The Dutchman will be assisted at the Asia Cup by former India player Maharaj Krishan Kaushik.

Former players welcomed the decision to remove Nobbs, saying the Australian had not taken the team forward.

“He (Nobbs) was not able to produce results. He did not deserve to get a longer run,” said India's only World Cup-winning captain Ajitpal Singh.

“He should have been removed immediately after the London Olympics. Let us give Kaushik a chance now since foreign coaches have not delivered.”

Former India player Joaquim Carvalho, who also served briefly as national coach, said Nobbs' stint was a complete failure.

“One can't call him a good coach,” Carvalho said.

“A good coach is someone who makes good strategies, possesses good management and communication skills.

“A good coach is someone who reads the game well. But India's performance just went down under him,” he said.

Dawn



Sacking Nobbs a step in right direction

Former players approve of hockey coach’s firing, want Kaushik for job



Michael Nobbs

Former players on Tuesday termed Hockey India's decision to sack Australian coach Michael Nobbs a “step in the right direction” and backed Olympian MK Kaushik to take over the reins of the national team once again.

Ajitpal Singh, captain of India's last World Cup-winning side in 1975, said Nobbs should have been shown the door after the London Olympics debacle last year.

“The sacking should have come much earlier. It is a step in the right direction. We finished 12th out of 12 teams in London which is disturbing and shameful for a hockey playing nation like India,” said Ajitpal.

“He (Nobbs) has not been able to produce results. So, he doesn't deserve to get a longer run.”

Ajitpal, a member of India's bronze-medal winning teams in 1968 and 1972 Munich Olympics, welcomed Hockey India's decision to induct Kaushik into the coaching staff. “Kaushik is a good coach. I would welcome his appointment. We have spent a lot on foreign coaches without desired results, so why not hand over the charge to Kaushik,” he said.

“He has already proved his credentials as a coach. He coached India to gold medal in 1998 Asia Games in Bangkok,” said the Padma Shri awardee.

Former India captain Zafar Iqbal seconded Ajitpal's views.

“Hockey India has made the right decision. Under Nobbs the performance of our team has dropped. So why should he be retained,” Zafar said. “There is hardly any improvement to show.”

Zafar also sympathised with Nobbs, saying a coach is only as good as his players. “I feel sorry for Nobbs too because maybe he did (not) have high quality players. A coach has his own limitations,” said Zafar, a member of India's last Olympic gold medal side at the 1980 Moscow Games.

Like Ajitpal, Zafar too vouched for Kaushik to fill up Nobbs’ shoes.

“We have to believe in Kaushik. He has a good track record as a coach. In my opinion we have tried a lot of foreign coaches, but it's time an Indian like Kaushik should be given full charge,” he said.

Former national coach Joaquim Carvalho was also critical of Nobbs' performance and said the Australian has hardly done anything worthwhile to galvanise the sagging fortunes of Indian hockey.

“Nobbs is not at all a good coach. A good coach is someone who makes good strategies, possesses good management and communication skills. A good coach is someone who reads the game. But India's performance has gone down drastically under him,” he said.

The Tribune



‘He should never have been appointed’

Former India captain Jude Felix was scathing in his criticism of the national hockey setup on Tuesday, in the light of Michael Nobbs’s exit as coach.

“There’s no point blaming Nobbs; it’s not his fault. Those who appointed him have to answer the country,” he said.

Felix laid the blame at the feet of past colleague Pargat Singh, who was earlier chairman of the Hockey India technical committee.

“I was absolutely shocked to know that a person of Pargat’s stature had recommended him. Pargat and I are good friends, but he has to take responsibility. They should have done their homework,” he said.

“Why did they wait for a year after the Olympics to sack him?” Felix asked. “Why did it take them three years (sic) to realise that he was not good enough? It is just mismanagement.”

M.P. Ganesh, captain of the Indian team that won bronze at the 1972 Olympics, also said Nobbs should never have been appointed. “He has never coached any major team to victory,” he said. “I had expressed my doubts even when he was hired. I say, better late than never.”

Ganesh, who has also coached the national team, said “I would prefer an Indian coach because he can understand the psychology of the players. If we do bring in foreign coaches it must only be for a short period.”

Things, meanwhile, went on as normal at the junior camp at the SAI here. The senior squad is expected sometime next week.

The Hindu



Pargat says not fair to only blame Nobbs for team’s slide

Former India hockey captain Pargat Singh, who played a key role in the appointment of Michael Nobbs as national coach in June 2011, blames the Australian as much as the lack of infrastructure in the country for India’s slide at the international level.

Hockey India sacked Nobss after a meeting on Friday, making him another foreign coach who could not revive the dipping fortunes of Indian hockey.

Pargat told IANS that Nobbs was never a top coach, but was the best option under the circumstances.

“There were not many options available at that time. Roelant Oltmans (who is currently India’s high performance manager) was too costly and in that context, Nobbs fitted the bill. At the least, we thought he would be able to inculcate the good things of Australian hockey in our players,” said Pargat.

The former defender, however, stressed that it was not fair to only blame Nobbs for the team’s poor run.

“The best coach in the world will be no good if you don’t have a system in place. We have no structure at the grassroot level. A few top teams continue to dominate the nationals and you have scorelines such as 20-0. The weaker and strong teams are all playing at the same time. The process should be streamlined where the best of the weaker States qualify to play teams like Punjab,” said the 48-year-old.

While Pargat got Nobbs to India, it was under the Australian that another former captain Rajpal Singh was sidelined. The man from Perth wanted to flood the team with youngsters, ignoring the likes of Rajpal, Arjun Halappa, Shivendra Singh and Sandeep Singh.

“I was removed after leading the team to victory in the Asian Champions Trophy in 2011. The policy apparently was to get youngsters and phase out the established names. Clearly, that has not worked out,” Rajpal said.

As for Nobbs, Rajpal said: “Nobbs was weak with his strategy and it was most visible with his actions during the Olympics. I would say Brasa (Jose) was much better than him.”

Looking ahead, he hopes a capable coach will take charge of the team.

“Indian or foreign, the coach should be good. We should focus more on the performance rather than having high performance managers.”

The Hindu



His reaction

“A lot of reasons were behind this decision, which I myself wanted to take for some time now. Health is my primary reason but there have been other problems, of cultural philosophy, with Roelant Oltmans.

“He is a great guy and he is the right person for the job.

“I also think that 6-8 years, as Roelant spoke about to get success, maybe about right. I can’t make anymore difference to this team, or at least any major differences, and I will be hitting my head against a wall to try and do that.

“I am worried about the toll it’s been taking on me. I had discussed this possibility and was asked again about it.

“I had told Roelant about this on the last tour and he knows about the problems I have had. I still want to help Indian hockey but not in this role.”

The Hindu



It was my decision to quit: Nobbs

New Delhi - Sacked Michael Nobbs today said he was not “pushed out” from Indian hockey team chief coach’s position, instead he willingly resigned from the job owing to his deteriorating health condition.

Nobbs’ contract as the chief coach of the Indian team was terminated yesterday because of non-performance, thus becoming the fourth foreigner to be shown the door before completion of the full tenure.

But the Australian mantained that he quit the job on his own terms and was not shown the door.

“I wasn’t pushed out by Hockey India or Sports Authority of India. This (to resign) is my own decision,” Nobbs said.

“I love Indian hockey too much. I don’t want to hurt it. But I just couldn’t cope any longer with deteriorating health. So, I thought not to coach anymore.”

“My health was too difficult for me to continue. I don’t want to hurt the system. I don’t want to be selfish because it would take at least 6 months to get my health back,” he added.

Nobbs’ contract was terminated almost three years before it was to expire. Roelant Oltmans, who is currently the High Performance Manager, has been given charge of the team until a new coach is appointed. Before Nobbs, Spaniard Jose Brasa, Australian Ric Charlesworth and Germany’s Gerhard Rach coached the Indian side before being shown the door due to several issues. Nobbs said he tried hard to recover his health since the start of the year but it continued to deteriorate with every passing day.

“My health wasn’t too good. I had quite a bit of trouble in Holland during the first trip earlier this year. I passed out a few times from January onwards. I had noticed things were getting worse, deteriorating pretty badly,” said Brasa.

“I spoke to Roelant Oltmans on the last tour to Hoalland (during last month’s FIH World League Round 3 in Rotterdam) and said I wasn’t coping well health wise. I am struggling,” Nobbs said.

Even though he did not have the best of results, Nobbs’ sounded optimistic about the future of Indian hockey.

The Tribune



Michael Nobbs insists he had resigned due to poor health

V Narayan Swamy


BANGALORE: The Sports Authority of India (SAI) may have stated the obvious on Tuesday when they said that chief hockey coach Michael Nobbs's contract had been terminated following a request from Hockey India (HI) but for the Australian, it was his poor health which forced him to resign.

Two conflicting versions but Nobbs, who faced turbulent times ever since India finished at the bottom of the heap at the London Olympics, told TOI he had broached the matter with HI's high performance manager Roelant Oltmans a few weeks ago after he realised that his high blood pressure had made life a struggle.

During the Dutch tour in April-May this year, where India played a series of 'test' matches, the Australian realised his health needed greater attention. "When I went on the previous trip to Holland I had real health problems. I passed out a couple of times and had trouble with walking anywhere and it was getting really bad," Nobbs, who returns to India on July 15 to complete all formalities with SAI, said.

A medical test in India revealed that his blood pressure had risen to 180/120. "I was quite scared. I was struggling with my coaching and it was worrying me. I was also extremely homesick for my kids and at that time I was considering finishing," he said.

Apparently, medication did not help. "The next trip I was on blood pressure pills and a few other things. But I was still struggling. I spoke to Roelant at the end and said I can't cope anymore and feel I am letting myself and everyone down and I want to resign. He said OK and we have been working towards that end."

On Monday, Hockey India CEO Elena Norman asked Nobbs whether he had changed his mind. "She told me she was going into a meeting with (Narinder) Batra and am I still going ahead with my decision? I said yes. She said Dr Batra would then visit SAI and inform them of the decision," he said.

Nobbs reiterated the decision to quit was his. "There are problems I can't solve and will only get worse. I am leaving for the good of Indian hockey in this capacity and hope I can help somewhere else," he said.

The Times of India



The writing on the wall was quite clear for Nobbs

Shayan Acharya


KOLKATA: So what if Michael Jack Nobbs' ouster as the coach of Indian hockey team came as a surprise to many, the hockey fraternity knew this was coming. With Hockey India bringing in MK Kaushik as Michael Nobbs' deputy recently, the writing on the wall looked quite clear--- the Australian's days as the head coach of national hockey coach were being numbered. Perhaps, nobody knew it better than Nobbs. And maybe, that's why the veteran Aussie coach decided to 'sever' the ties with Indian team, once and for all.

On Tuesday, Hockey India's decision to show Nobbs the door was quite obvious for those in the know of things. "Nobbs' performance was far below expectations and with the time the focus was being lost. The decision was long due," a Hockey India insider told TOI on the condition of anonymity.

Nobbs' appointment was seen as a major boost to Indian hockey and after initial success, the veteran coach's strategy faltered big time at the London Olympics, and that's what triggered the axing stance. "The Hockey India didn't want to jump the gun. But even after fair bit of opportunity the team failed to return to winning ways, and a step had to be taken," the insider said.

But Then, the source reiterated the fact that it was the Australian coach who himself decided to draw curtains on his coaching job. "May be, he thought he wasn't doing justice to his job. But yes, initially it would be difficult to get someone as experienced as him," the source pointed out.

Even before Nobbs, Indian hockey had seen the likes of Joseph Brasa, Ric Charlesworth or Peter Rach trying to reshape the game but in vain. After days of struggle and under-performances, Indian hockey had pinned hopes on the Australian veteran but now with Nobbs bowing out of the scene, the situation is back to the same old stick-y wicket!

The Times of India



Kaushik not losing sleep over his designation

Gaurav Kanthwal


Chandigarh - Maharaj Krishan Kaushik doesn’t know what exactly his designation would be — assistant coach, national coach or something else. But there is one thing that he knows — there is a lot of work to be done ahead. Also, he knows that he is going to be in the thick of the action very soon. He does not confirm anything but, at the same time, leaves little to imagination.

“Assistant coach, national coach or whatever, these are purely egoistic things. How does it matter what your designation is going to be. I want to work and my name has been proposed and I am willing to contribute to Indian hockey. Let the work begin in right earnest. It does not matter what the designation is,” Kaushik says.

Given the skepticism around the state of affairs and plummeting performances of India, Kaushik also refrains from discussing the game or the players too much.

“It would not be right for me to comment. I may say something and Roeland Oltmans may say something else. My views may conflict with his. We will sit and listen to what he has to say,” the 58-year-old coach said.

But Kaushik knows what his brief is going to be. “I think I will be dealing with the Indian aspect of coaching. Culture, style of play and giving inputs on players. I think that is required of me,” he explains, adding that the core group of the team will consist of 49 identified players.

“We will try to sift players from that pool and see what the team’s requirement is,” he said. When asked how tough a task it’s going to be, Kaushik made no bones, saying, “No matter how much you work with the national team you feel it’s always less.”

Kaushik, a member of the Indian team when it won the gold medal at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow and a former coach of the Indian women's national hockey team, is not ready to accept that the state of affairs in Indian hockey are at the lowest.

“I don’t take that. Yes, the team has not produced results but it is not right to say that Indian hockey is at the lowest right now. There are still very talented young players around,” he said.

Assistant coach, national coach or whatever, these are egoistic things. How does it matter what your designation is going to be. I want to work and contribute to Indian hockey. Let the work begin in right earnest. — MK Kaushik

The Tribune



HC to hear former Indian hockey skipper's plea

Rosy Sequeira


MUMBAI: Bombay High Court is slated to hear today a petition by former India hockey skipper Rekha Bhide challenging action initiated against her by Hockey India, the apex body governing men and women's hockey activities for alleged religious discrimination against an umpire.

On June 19, 2013 the court had directed Hockey India to restore her name as vice-president on its website. Bhide's petition has challenging the May 29, 2013 inquiry report recommending action against her for alleged religious discrimination. The inquiry was initiated on a complaint by an umpire Firoz Shaikh alleging that she humiliated and discriminated against him only because he is a Muslim.

The inquiry report stated that it found merit in Shaikh's complaint "and in order to avoid and strictly discourage any discrimination and dislike on the ground of race, creed, caste or religion" recommended her removal from her posts as VP of Hockey India and president, Hockey Maharashtra. It also recommended that she be banned her for a year from "taking active part in any Hockey India activities." The report was submitted to the Working Board which confirmed the inquiry report.

Bhide's advocate S M Gorwadkar had submitted that under the rules the Working Board's order has to be ratified by the Executive Board.

"It seems they (working board) have given effect to its order and her name was removed yesterday from the website. Someone else's name appears," he said.

Hockey India's advocate Stuti Jain had informed the court that the executive board meets twice a year and the working board's order is to continue till the executive board convenes. The judges directed Bhide's name to be restored on the website of Hockey India and adjourned the hearing. The matter will be heard by a division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice K R Shriram.

The Times of India



No need to push panic button, says Hanif


Pakistan coach is confident they can win the Asia Cup and qualify for the World Cup. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: As former Olympians continue to assail the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and national coaches in the wake of the team’s poor finish at the Hockey World League (HWL), coach Hanif Khan called for patience and hoped that the team will bounce back at the Asia Cup.

Pakistan finished seventh at the eight-nation event in Malaysia, missing the chance to qualify for next year’s World Cup which required them to finish among the top three teams.

The poor finish followed calls of removal of the top PHF officials and coaches by former Olympians who were disappointed with the current standing of the once hockey giants of the past.

But Hanif, who returned yesterday from Malaysia, stressed an overhaul will not solve the problems.

“There is no need to push the panic button,” the coach told reporters at Karachi airport.

“We admit that we have missed a golden chance to qualify for the World Cup but we still have another chance.

“Removing the team management or players is not the solution.

“All the coaches worked hard. Most of our players played well but unfortunately results did not go in our favour.

“Our major weakness was missing opportunities but we can surely improve on it.

“I’ll still say that we have the ability to bounce back to win the Asia Cup.”

Pakistan’s only chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Netherlands is by winning next month’s Asia Cup in Malaysia.

The Express Tribune



Southern Dogs out for Ford NHL revenge



After finishing runners up last year, the Southern Men are looking to go one step further at next month’s Ford National Hockey League.

In the 2012 men’s final Southern went down to Auckland in extra time, but are back will their full Black Sticks firepower for a shot at redemption when the tournament kicks into full swing from August 17th at North Harbour Hockey Stadium.

One of those who missed last year’s NHL was striker Hugo Inglis, who was on a break after a draining London Olympic campaign with the Black Sticks.

Despite recently battling through glandular fever prior to World League Round Three, Inglis is ready and excited to get back into the Southern colours.

“The boys did awesome last year so it would be great to go one better. It would be good to face Auckland again in the final and get a bit of revenge,” he said.

“I think we’ve got a really good team this year. We’ve got some good young guys who have come through the ranks at Southern and are doing well, balanced in with the national squad guys.”

This year’s NHL will be top class with all the Black Sticks on show and battling for selection for the 2013/14 National Squads.

Coached by Dave Ross, the Southern Men have five current National Squad players in their initial team with Inglis joining Hamish McGregor, Nick Ross, Kane Russell and Blair Tarrant.

Add to the mix the likes of seasoned veteran James Nation and top class forward Eddie Ockenden, an international guest player from Australia, and Southern are looking strong.

“I think it will be the best year of National League we’ve had since I started playing really, with all the Black Sticks on deck,” Inglis said.

“As well as all our local boys we’ve got a real quality import in Eddie Ockenden. He’s a pretty good competitor and has done really well in the Aussie setup. He’s good mates with Hamish McGregor so we were lucky enough to convince him to come over.”

Rounds 1 and 2 of the 2013 Ford NHL are across various locations from August 10-11 with all remaining rounds hosted at North Harbour Hockey Stadium from August 17-25. This year’s National Senior Tournament will also be contested at the same time as the NHL.

 

INITIAL TEAM LISTS - SOUTHERN
SOUTHERN DOGS (MEN)

Chris Ashton
Callum Bailey
James Bishop
Jason Dungey
Nick Elder
Brent Garske (IGP)
Hugo Inglis (NS)
Hamish McGregor (NS)
Ollie McIntyre
Jeremy Morris
James Nation
Eddie Ockenden (IGP)
Nick Ross (NS)
Kane Russell (NS)
Richard Storey
Blair Tarrant (NS)
Jonathon Spence (GP)

Coach: Dave Ross
SOUTHERN STORM (WOMEN)

Mathilda Carmichael (IGP)
Millie Cowan
Liz Gifford (DS)
Latoya Grant
Aimee Heaps
Charlotte Henley
Tessa Hewlett
Dayna Holland
Paige Lane
Louise Mitterdorfer (IGP)
Courtney Ross
Emma Spratt
Pip Symes
Sophie Wickens
Jamie Wiles


Coach: Sam Brown

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Nakuru and Kenya Police firm grip on men hockey leagues

By ERICK OCHIENG’


Nairobi,Kenya:Continental club champions Telkom Orange have climbed back to the helm of Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) women national League standings after defeating rivals Vikings 3-0 at City Park Stadium on Sunday.

Margaret Rotich’s brace in the ninth and 19th minute and Carol Guchu’s field goal in the 44th minute ensured the defending champions displaced Strathmore University from the summit with nine points from three matches.

“This is good for us, we hope to maintain the lead. We are hopeful to carry on with the good run even at the continental level where we will be defending the club championships,” Orange coach, Jos Openda, told FeverPitch.

In their first game this season, Telkom Orange beat Sliders by 3-1 and trounced United States Inter national University-Africa (Usiu-A) 7-0.

Usiu-A moved from the basement of the women standings to position five after trouncing Mount Kenya University (MKU) 9-0.

Usiu-A scorers were Lorine Nondi (third, 27th, 42nd, 55th and 68th minutes), Shirley Kimani (18th), Pauline Naise (25th and 47th) and Anne Wabusya (58th).

National league

Even though they did not play any match at the weekend, Nakuru are still perched at the summit of the men’s National League this week with 12 points from four matches.

Kenyatta University won 3-1 against Thika Rovers, courtesy of a brace from James Juma (24th, 66th) and a converted penalty corner from Brain Oweke (second minute), which saw them climb to fifth position with seven points.

Isaac Githinji (39th) pulled one back for Thika Rovers, who are second last in the men’s national league standings with three points from as many games.

Police still dominates the men’s Premier League standings with 12 points in four matches even without having any fixture at the weekend.

Level terms

Contest between Wazalendo and Simba Union did not alter the rankings as the two giants drew 1-1.

Mombasa Institute also drew by similar margin against Daystar University, with Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCA-U) sharing the spoils with a 1-1 scoreline against Parkroad in Nairobi.

Greensharks had a good day at work winning their first match of the season 3-0 against Strathmore University. Wazalendo Youth were a lucky lot, winning 4-2 against Parklands Sports Club.

Meanwhile, Nairobi Hockey Association (NHA) league will soon unveil its executive  committee. The committee will be in-charge of NHA league as well as deliver a constitution for the association.

NHA is also seeking to fill the positions of finance committee, marketing, sponsorship and fund-raising committee, Development, Coaching, Umpiring and Disciplinary Committees.

Other committees to be filled include communication and publicity as well as the players committee. “Those seeking positions should  know they are voluntary,” said Tom Olal, NHA Secretary General.

The Standard Online



Czech challenge for Scotland in Prague


Chris Grassick v Wales

Scotland Senior Men will face three matches against Czech Republic in Prague from 12-14 July, as Head Coach Derek Forsyth continues to prepare his squad for the forthcoming EuroHockey Nations Championship II in Vienna early next month.

The Scots have displayed good form of late, having beaten both Wales and England ‘A’ in warm-up internationals last month.

However, the Czech Republic will provide a sterner test for the players with the Czechs due to compete in the EuroHockey Nations Championship in Boom, Antwerp, where they will face off against the continent’s top sides.

Scotland Team Manager Eugene Connolly said, “The Czechs will be step up in quality but these are the games that we now need to win on a regular basis in the build-up to the European competition in Vienna. We’ve beaten Poland recently and these are the nations we need to be aspiring to beat and compete with.

“For the trip to Prague, we are missing the likes of Dan Coultas, William Marshall, Alan Forsyth and Gordon McIntyre through injury but on the flip-side, there is an opportunity for the fringe players to press a case for the Europeans. The likes of Paul Martin, who has more goals than caps at the moment, have done very well since being included for the games against Wales and England ‘A’.”

The three games against Czech Republic, one of which will be a shortened 'friendly' comprising three fifteen minute periods, will be followed by a trip to face Spain during the penultimate weekend in July before the squad flies out to Vienna for the European competition in Austria.

Scotland Senior Men: Jamie Cachia (Sheffield Hallam), Graham Moodie (Edinburgh University), Michael Bremner (Glynhill Hotel Kelburne), David Forsyth (Glynhill Hotel Kelburne), Russell Anderson (Brooklands), Ian Moodie (Western Wildcats), Kenny Bain (THC Hurley), Ian Scholefield (Qui Vive), Michael Ross (Grove Menzieshill), Wei Adams (Royal Penguins), Callum Duke (Edinburgh University), Ross Stott (Grove Menzieshill), Chris Grassick (Surbiton), Gavin Byers (Grove Menzieshill), Nick Parkes (Surbiton), Gavin Sommerville (Western Wildcats), Gary Cameron (Grange), Paul Martin (Grove Menzieshill).

Match Schedule:
12th July, 19.00 (CET), Scotland v Czech Republic, Prague
13th July, 15.00 (CET), Scotland v Czech Republic, Prague
14th July, 19.00 (CET), Scotland v Czech Republic (3 x 15 minute sessions), Prague

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Scotland open with draw against Poland

Scotland U18 Girls drew 1-1 against Poland in the first match of their EuroHockey U18 Nations Championship II campaign today.

Millie Brown was the goal-scorer for the Scots, netting an opening goal in the ninth minute before Poland equalised mid-way through the second half when Izabela Dorobiala hit back for the Poles in the 58th minute.

Following today’s encounter, Scotland U18 Girls Head Coach Colin Clarke said, “The game was physical and frantic. We were unable to get hold of the game due to its stop-start nature and as a result, we did not take advantage of our superior possession.

“Looking forward to tomorrow’s game against Italy, the girls have everything in their hands in terms of semi-final qualification.

“Our ball-pace and decision-making in the opposition’s half has room for development and we’re confident as a group that focussing on the processes will provide the platform for an improved performance against the Italians.”

The Scots now face Italy in their second Pool A match tomorrow at 19.00 (CET), where a positive result is vital to securing a place in the fight for promotion in post-pool crossover matches.

Please visit the EuroHockey website for more information, including fixtures, results and pool standings.

Scotland U18 Girls (Brown 9’) 1-1 Poland (Dorobiala 58’)

Scotland U18 Girls: Megan Inch, Waverley Miller, Emily Newlands, Susan Graham, Katie Hibbert, Kerry-Anne Hastings, Alison Eadie, Maisie Morris, Laura Page, Kirsten Peters, Jennifer Mathieson, Jennifer Eadie, Jessica Ross, Camilla Brown, Claire Hill, Fiona Burnet, Emma McGregor, Rowan Sinclair.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Electric Ireland Irish U18 Women's Squad Finalised

Electric Ireland U18 Women's Head Coach, Richie Malone has today finalised his strong squad to compete at the Electric Ireland U18 Women's EuroHockey Championships which will take place at UCD, Dublin from 29th July to 4th August 2013 with the inclusion of Naomi Costley of Lurgan

The tournament, running as part of The Gathering, will feature the cream of European Women's Hockey including Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, England, Russia, France and Wales as well as Malone's Ireland team who will be keen to impress on home turf.

Electric Ireland U18 Irish Women's Squad

1. Elaine Carey (Colaiste Iognaid/Galway Hockey Club)
2. Emma Duncan (Kilkenny College/Old Alexandra)
3. Aisling Cronin (Loretto Wexford/Wexford Hockey Club)
4. Abby Oakes (Mount Mercy/Cork Harlequins)
5. Rachel Gray (Alexandra College/Old Alexandra)
6. Millie O'Donnell (Alexandra College/Old Alexandra)
7. Amber Gleeson (Alexandra College/Old Alexandra)
8. Sarah Hawkshaw (Mount Sackville/Railway Union)
9. Jessica McGirr (Loreto Beaufort/ Loreto)
10. Claire Foley (St Gerards/Pembroke)
11. Sarah Twomey (Mount Anville/Hermes Hockey Club)
12. Ayeisha McFerran (Larne Grammar/Randalstown)
13. Robyn Chambers (Rainey Endowed/Ballymoney)
14. Hannah Grieve (Lurgan College/Lurgan)
15. Ruth Maguire (Larne Grammar/Ulster Elks)
16. Zara Thom (Methodist College Belfast/Harlequins)
17. Emma Kernaghan (Ballymena Academy)
18. Naomi Costley (Lurgan/Lurgan College)

Irish Hockey Association media release



Celtic success for Ireland U16s in Wrexham

Ireland's U16 Boys & Girls both had fantastic success over the weekend as both claimed Tri-Nations success in Wrexham.

The Boys defeated Scotland 6-2 and followed that up with a resounding 7-0 over Wales to claim the Tri-Nations title. Aaron Martin racked up 4 of Ireland's 13 goal haul including a hattrick vs Scotland on the first day of play.

The Girls had a much closer battle to claim their Tri-Nations title. They drew 1-1 with Scotland before beating Wales 5-0 to win the crown with goals coming from Sally Campbell, Katie Larmour, Kathryn Edgar, Michelle Barry and Kate Crotty.

Everyone at Irish Hockey congratulates both squads on their acheivements

Irish Hockey Association media release