News for 13 July 2013

All the news for Saturday 13 July 2013


Bain hat-trick is Czech-mate


Kenny Bain v Wales

Striker Kenny Bain was the hat-trick hero as his three goals, together with a Wei Adams' penalty corner, gave Scotland a 4-3 win over the Czech Republic in Prague this evening.

Following the win over the Czechs, Scotland Team Manager Eugene Connolly said, “It was a pretty good performance but we should have scored more goals tonight. We gave away a couple of soft goals so we will need to ensure we concentrate on the defensive aspect of our game. But we attacked well, scored goals and it could have been more comfortable in the end if we’d taken our chances.”

The Scots went 1-0 up when Bain’s penalty corner attempt was deflected into the goal off a home defender. However, the Czech Republic struck twice in three minutes to take a 2-1 lead shortly afterwards.

Nevertheless, excellent build-up play from Gavin Byers led to Bain finding a Scottish equaliser and his second goal of the match to put the national side back on parity at 2-2.

Bain wrapped up his hat-trick shortly before half-time to give his side a 3-2 lead going into the interval.

The Scots extended their lead to 4-2 mid-way through the second half when Wei Adams’ strike from a penalty corner was again deflected off a Czech Republic defender.

The Czechs pulled one back late in the second half, but it was Scotland who closed out the match comfortably to register a 4-3 win at full-time.

The two sides meet again tomorrow.

Scottish Hockey Union media release



Fourteen teams heading for The Hague

Ten places still up for grabs at Rabobank Hockey World Cup



Argentina men qualified for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup thanks to a fine display at the Hockey World League Semi Final event in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. (Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

Following the completion of the Hockey World League Semi Finals events in Rotterdam, London and Johor Bahru, The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is pleased to bring you an update on the teams that have qualified for the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup. The joint men’s and women’s event takes place from 31st May to 15th June 2014 in The Hague, The Netherlands.   

A total of 14 teams are now confirmed for next year’s showpiece event, with many others significantly improving their chances of achieving qualification thanks to strong showings at the Hockey World League Semi Finals. More information can be found below.

Rabobank Hockey World Cup – Men’s Qualifiers

Hosts

 

  • The Netherlands

Top 3 – World League Semi-Finals

  • Germany: 1st in Johor Bahru / World Ranking: 1
  • Argentina: 2nd in Johor Bahru / World Ranking: 10
  • England: 3rd in Johor Bahru / World Ranking: 4
  • Belgium: 1st in Rotterdam / World Ranking: 9
  • Australia: 2nd in Rotterdam  / World Ranking: 2
  • New Zealand: 4th in Rotterdam* / World Ranking: 5

* The Netherlands finished third in the Hockey World League Semi Final event in Rotterdam.  As they are already pre-qualified as the host, this means that the highest ranked fourth place finisher from both Semi Final events earns direct qualification to the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. This place goes to New Zealand, who were fourth in Rotterdam and currently sit fifth in the FIH World Rankings.

World Cup Qualification - The Next Stage

The remaining places at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup for men will be filled by the winners of the five continental championships. However, if any of the above listed teams also becomes continental champion, this opens the door to the teams that finished outside the top three at the Hockey World League Semi Finals. These teams can be found below, in order of their placing in the Hockey World League Semi Finals.

  • Korea: 4th in Johor Bahru / 1st reserve for World Cup (Since Australia and New Zealand have pre-qualified and one will win the Oceania Cup Korea will qualify)
  • Spain: 5th in Rotterdam / 2nd reserve for World Cup
  • Malaysia: 5th in Johor Bahru / 3rd reserve for World Cup
  • India: 6th in Rotterdam / 4th reserve for World Cup

Rabobank Hockey World Cup – Women’s Qualifiers.

Hosts

  • The Netherlands

Top 3 – World League Semi-Finals

  • Australia: 1st in London / World Ranking: 6
  • England: 2nd in London / World Ranking: 4
  • Argentina: 3rd in London / World Ranking: 2
  • Germany: 1st in Rotterdam / World Ranking: 5
  • Korea: 3rd in Rotterdam / World Ranking: 8
  • New Zealand: 4th in Rotterdam * / World Ranking: 3

* The Netherlands finished second in the Hockey World League Semi Final event in Rotterdam.  As they are already pre-qualified as the host, this means that the highest ranked fourth place finisher from both Semi Final events earns direct qualification to the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. This place goes to New Zealand, who were fourth in Rotterdam and currently sit third in the FIH World Rankings.

The remaining places at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup for men will be filled by the winners of the five continental championships. However, if any of the above listed teams also becomes continental champion, this opens the door to the teams that finished outside the top three at the Hockey World League Semi Finals. These teams can be found below, in order of their placing in the Hockey World League Semi Finals.

  • China: 4th in London / 1st reserve for World Cup (Since Australia and New Zealand have pre-qualified and one will win the Oceania Cup, China will qualify)
  • Japan: 5th in Rotterdam / 2nd reserve for World Cup
  • USA: 5th in London / 3rd reserve for World Cup
  • Belgium: 6th in Rotterdam / 4th reserve for World Cup

The FIH has put together two simple graphics showing the qualification process for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. To see them, please click on the links below.

Rabobank Hockey World Cup Qualification Process – Men

Rabobank Hockey World Cup Qualification Process – Women

FIH site



Pereira’s recipe for glory: 50 Tests a year

JONATHAN COOK



Dengue Fever victim Jonty Robinson, the London 2012 Olympiamn and key SA midfielder who is based in Pretoria and plays provincial for Northern Blues. Photo by MARCEL SIGG

DENGUE Fever and a consequent shortage of players, as well as bad luck – partly brought on by a systemic problem that has been with the South Africa men’s hockey team for nigh on a decade – conspired to leave the national squad in an uncomfortable eighth and last place at the World league Semi-Final tournament that ended in Malaysia last Sunday.

London 2012 Olympian Jonty Robinson of Northern Blues as well as SA captain Austin Smith of Western Province - two vitally important players in just about every facet of the team structure - were the duo struck down with the mosquito-borne virus and the upshot was that the lads in green and gold played with two players short (of the six rolling field player subs) which is suicidal in the oppressive heat and humidity of Malaysia. According to the rules, players cannot be flown in as replacements.

SA head coach Charlie Pereira, the former Southern Gauteng and South Africa central defender, has firm views on where the problems lie with the national men’s squad.

“It is absolutely astounding that the national men’s team have not been able to find a ‘big’ sponsor like our women’s side have with Investec, the specialist bank and asset manager, that would allow our men to train and play the same amount of Test matches as the women,” said Pereira, a chartered accountant who has a full-time practice.

“Unless the SA men find a ‘big’ sponsor we will not be able to hang on to our world 12th-ranked position, Malaysia and Ireland being just two teams that are chasing us – and fast.”

Pereira said the SA men’s team have been treading water for years, just managing to hang on to 12th place. “Talent is abundant in SA but, as we have discovered, natural talent is no longer enough to compete at the top on the international stage. Unless we can play 50 Tests a year we are in serious danger of falling further and further behind.”

The coach said there are fresh young players who have the potential to challenge the incumbents in the near future, mentioning Dylan Swanepoel, the King Edward VII School product Daniel Bell, Mohamed Mea and Damian Kimfley among them.

Looking back at the World League in Malaysia, Pereira said he is happy with the goals the team are scoring but not with the soft goals being given away. “It has been our plan to play a more attacking game, but that has to come off a sound defensive base. For long periods in each game we held our own and then in five minutes leaked goals at an alarming rate.

“It must be kept in mind that we are the highest-ranked amateur side in the world. But South Korea, for example, spend eight months of the year together - that’s what our amateur team are coming up against.”

Pereira said if SA sort out the soft goals and get more clinical at the back, they will certainly become far more of a force against the best teams in world hockey. “But the bottom line is that we are an amateur outfit playing against professional teams and that is the mismatch.”

Missing key men in Robinson and Smith, SA were on a hiding to nothing, but their team spirit and refusal to lie down and die drew many admirers. “That stems from our culture as South Africans,” said the coach. “The players were out on their feet in the second half of our last game against world number five Pakistan and yet they fought right to the end. We also should have beaten Japan – our own goal was a killer blow – and that would have given us a shot at fifth position, which would have been a successful tournament, despite everything.”

Pereira reiterated that the only remedy to making the SA team rise in the rankings is a simple one; 50 Tests a year against top teams. “We can only improve if we play regularly against the higher-ranked teams - and train together consistently over long periods of time.”

The SA team are arguably the most undervalued, unrecognised sponsorship commodity in world hockey, given what countries like Argentina and Belgium have been able to raise, whereas the SA team have a much higher profile back home than them. So why are SA companies so reluctant?

“Sponsors are missing out on an amazing opportunity,” said Pereira. “The amount of television coverage that hockey is now enjoying in South Africa should be ringing bells for a big sponsor. Our SA men’s hockey players are great role models, with tertiary education, and as a group they have a value system that underpins how the team operate. Respect, honesty, trust and humility are the foundations from which we work.”

Saturday Star



Hosts Riverside and Wanderers set the tone at Elite Clubs Challenge in Durban

JONATHAN COOK at Riverside



Wanderers Jockey at the Riverside

Night one of the Riverside Elite Clubs Challenge at a festive Riverside Sports in Durban North Friday saw an emphatic 5-2 win for host club Riverside over UP-Tuks after the score was 1-0 at half-time to the KZN lads, while there was no getting away that the Jockeys from Johannesburg got out of the starting blocks fast and a 2-0 half-time lead was the fabulous Wanderers club’s reward, but once the Badgers from Western Province Cricket Club found their feet the second half was a reasonably different ball game in what was a 3-2 final scoreline to the lads from Jozi town.

In game one the goals came from SA stars Wade Paton and Taine Paton before former SA player Kyle Rhodes pulled one back for UP-Tuks , but that setback served to inspire Riverside further and a three-goal blitz from Wade Paton, Mondli Dlamini and captain Mike Botha put the home side 5-1 to the good.

Tuks never gave up and Richard Pautz netted for the final score of 5-1.

Game two saw Wanderers Jockeys full value for their 3-2 win over WPCC Badgers, but it must be said that this Riverside Elite Club Challenge hosted by the classy Riverside Sports – a feature club and entertainment venue in Durban North - hasn’t seen the last or the best of the lads from Cape Town and the race for first place is still wide open.

In short, the Wanderers goals came from SA striker Miguel da Graca via the field goal and penalty corner route, while the highly talented Dylan Coombes added the third after the changeover. For Province it was Rory McComb and SA cap Matt Botha who got on the scoresheet, but the Badgers are not done yet.

Saturday night’s mouthwatering line-up sees a hurting UP-Tuks up against what many knowledgeable pundits predict will the R5 000 Club Challenge prize-winners, Terence Kidd’s Jockeys from Wanderers in Johannesburg, the flick-off at 6 pm, while home favourites Riverside will prove to be a handful for the Badgers from Western Province CC in the 7.30 pm showdown.

There is no better place to be Saturday night live at Riverside.

Sunday sees canny coach Pierre le Roux’s quality WPCC Badgers crossing swords with Pretoria University’s talented Tuks outfit at 9 am, while what many consider will be the marquee match of the weekend - and the title showdown - features Riverside riding the waves with the Wanderers Jockeys at 11 am, followed by the closing prize-giving.

The Riverside Elite Clubs Challenge could well be the dawn of a new venture that quite possibly will become a fixture and indeed a highlight on the South African hockey calendar.

Three major South African hockey provinces boast non-tertiary clubs as their champions, while the vision of the event is to hopefully catalyse the development of a parallel non-tertiary-based club structure to the current Varsity Cup and University Sport South Africa hockey events, which are on offer to the tertiary clubs.

More information on the event can be found at this fine Riverside Hockey Club's website www.riversidehockey.co.za

RESULTS

Friday: Riverside 5 UP-Tuks 2; WPCC 2Wanderers 3.

Saturday: Tuks vs Wanderers (6 pm); Riverside vs WPCC (7.30 pm).

Sunday: WPCC vs Tuks (9 am); Riverside vs Wanderers (11 am).

About Riverside Sports

Riverside Sports is all about the community in the North of Durban Area but with their ever-growing world-class facilities the clubs’ appeal is broadening.

Riverside Sports is a unique club in that we JSE Listed entities are sub tenants -  a Spur Restaurant Franchise and a Varsity College Campus - both of which increase the appeal to a broadened demographic - and this along with two FIH-Approved Hockey Astroturfs and three grass fields as well as all the allied bars and function room enable the facility to offer much more than just the traditional club opportunity to all those who either use the facilities for corporate functions, as advertisers or family and membership groups.

The ample parking, nearly 700 well-lit and secure parking bays, offers enormous potential for so many events - right from the elite of local sports through to the junior levels where literally tens of thousands of families visit and participate in sports and recreational social activity in what is above all a safe and secure environment designed to make all welcome.

Riverside Hockey Club is a community-run hockey club located in Durban North that offers its members world-class facilities with two water-based floodlit Astro Turfs. Riverside Hockey Club has approximately 800 members of which 600 members are aged between 2 and 16 from across 30 schools in the KZN region. Of the total number of players, 10% are provincial players, and Riverside Hockey Club prides itself on its continued involvement with the community and offering its members top coaching and skills development within hockey. Riverside Hockey Club was previously known as Durban North Hockey Club, which was established in 2000 as a result of a merger between Crusaders and Glenwood Old Boys.

Musco Lighting, the FIH floodlight facility of choice, is a sponsor of this event alongside the priceless contribution of Riverside Sports under the direction of general manager Roger Gardner of rugby fame. Varsity College, Waltons, Powerade and subsidiary sponsors all play significant roles in the robust health of RHC.

SA Hockey Association media release



England U21 Women now a step closer to the Junior World Cup


England U21 Women in action

Coming up to the women's Hockey Junior World Cup, to be held in Mönchengladbach, Germany from July 27-August 4, England's U21 Women play the latest in a series of test matches - this time against Belgium.

Hosting the opposing team in Canterbury, England had to work hard to stay victorious on the home turf. Ultimately putting away nine goals against Belgium, England took away the win on the first two days, while Belgium managed to fight back to clinch the final game 2-1*. Head Coach Craig Keegan had these thoughts to say after the games were over:

"Over the past two weeks we have played 9 games in 14 days. This weekend we hosted Belgium in Canterbury, where I anticipated three very testing matches – England vs Belgium encounters are always closely run contests.

"This young England team dominated the early exchanges in match one and ran out worthy winners 5-2. Match two was much closer, and it took until the second half before England were able to get on top and control the game, winning 3-0.

"Game three was going to be a physical test for England having played a high number of games recently that combined with Belgium improving game on game. Both teams played aggressive hockey, scrappy at times, but the game failed to reach any great heights with Belgium coming out on top winning 2-1.

"The weekend was the last opportunity for players to impress before final selection. The team will now move back to Lilleshall on Friday for what is planned to be a tough four days of fitness based pitch sessions before we taper off in preparation for the Junior World Cup in Mönchengladbach, Germany at the end of July."

*Full details on scores and scorers can be found below

More about the Junior World Cup

The Junior World Cup is held once every four years. There is a 16 team field, which will be split into four pools of four teams each. Following the preliminary round robin, teams will either move into a placement round for the bottom eight finishers or onto a quarterfinal, semi-final and final round. In total, every team is guaranteed six games.

England have been drawn in Pool D and will face tough opposition from Germany, Belgium and Spain.

Pool A will feature the Netherlands, Korea, USA and Ghana. Pool B includes Argentina, China, South Africa and Canada, and completing the field is New Zealand, Australia, India and Russia in Pool C.

To view the Hockey Junior World Cup Women’s Schedule click here.

Saturday 7th
England 5 (3)

Josie Inverdale, 1, PC
Stephanie Addison, 19, FG
Jo Leigh, 22, 41, FG, PC
Lucy Hyams, 39, FG

Belgium 2 (0)
Floraine Villain, 44, FG
Silke Steenackers, 53, FG

Sunday 8th
England 3 (0)

Grace Balsdon, 36, PC
Stephanie Addison, 46, FG
Josie Inverdale, 50, PC

Belgium 0 (0)

Monday 8th
England 1 (0)

Eliza Brett, 40, FG

Belgium 2 (1)
13, OG

England Hockey Board Media release



England U18 Boys continue toward EuroHockey Championships


England U18 Boys Team Photo

Continuing their work towards the EuroHockey Championships in Vienna, Austria, the England U18 Boys went up against Germany earlier this week.

After a well played series against Belgium earlier this month, England will have gone into these two games looking to keep up the good work. However, Germany proved to be worthy opponents, showing that there's still some work to be done after getting in 12 goals to England's three in two days*.

*Further match information can be found below

More about the EuroHockey Championships

The EuroHockey Youth Nations Championships is an annual tournament for national age group teams that takes place each summer. The U16 and U18 competitions alternate so that each takes place every second year.

Two years ago the England U18 boys competed in the Youth Nations Championships in Edinburgh, Scotland, where they finished fourth – narrowly missing out on the bronze medal. This year England has been drawn in Pool A alongside Germany (reigning U18 EuroHockey Youth Nations Champions), Scotland and Poland. Pool B consists of Netherlands, Belgium, Russia and Spain.

Competition Format

The Pool stage sees two pools of four teams. Each side plays the other three teams in its Pool to determine the Pool standings. After each side has played each other once, the crossover matches begin. The top team in Pool A plays the second top side in Pool B in semi-final 1 while the top side in Pool B takes on the second team in Pool A in semi-final 2 with the winners of each contesting the final and the losers of each competing in the Bronze medal match.

For those that finish third and fourth in Pools A and B, the competition progresses as follows; the third and fourth placed teams in one Pool plays both the third and fourth placed teams in the opposite Pool. Final classification (including relegation to the 'Trophy') is based on the results of these matches.

For more information on the EuroHockey Championships, please click here

Tuesday 9th
England 2 (0)

James Gall, 36, PC
Isaac O'Connor, 63, FG

Germany 6 (3)
Lukas Windfeder, 3, 53, PC, PC
Tom Grambusch, 17, 44, PC, PC
Paul Kaufman, 30, 70, FG, PC

Wednesday 10th
England 1 (1)

James Gall, 3, FG

Germany 6 (2)
Florian Scholten, 5, PC
Jennings Hutterman, 8, 64, FG, FG
Lukas Windfeder, 45, PC
Max Godau, 58, FG
Christian Schmiedel, 63, FG

England Hockey Board Media release



Ireland U18s face tough tests vs Poland & Russia

The Ireland's U-18 Boys face off against Poland & Russia this weekend at the EuroHockey Youth Championships in Gasawa, Poland. Ireland have already racked up impressive wins vs Wales, Italy & Switzerland and currently sit top of the table thanks to the +19 goal difference.

This weekend's opposition should provide sterner tests for the Irish squad who know that one win should be enough to secure promotion back up to the ‘A division' of EuroHockey.

Fixtures

13th July 2013 Ireland vs Poland, 3pm

14th July 2013 Ireland vs Russia, 12.30pm

Live streaming of both games will be available by clicking here

Irish Hockey Association media release



Asia’s obsession for foreign coaches: boon or bane?

By S. Thyagarajan


The need of the hour is to craft an incentive-oriented programme.

That none of the Asian teams qualified in the set of seven for the next World Cup is disheartening. This is an unambiguous endorsement to the growing chasm that divides Asia and the rest.

Of the seven assured of a spot, four (the Netherlands (host), Germany, Belgium, England) are from Europe, two (Australia and New Zealand) from Oceania and one (Argentina) from South America. Five slots remain to be filled.

Once the beacon light for skill and aesthetics, Asia — with India and Pakistan as super powers — now faces the prospect of slipping into the twilight zone. The chances of India or Pakistan missing the event for the first time cannot be discounted.

Even Korea, which captured the imagination of the public with a sparkling brand of hockey from 1986 — it won a silver in 2000 Olympics at Sydney — looks stranded in a queer street. For all the investments and streamlining Malaysia is struggling to regain a place in the elite zone after 2002.

Significantly, all the four major players in the region have opted for foreign expertise for nearly three decades. Malaysia has had a handful of them from the 90s starting with the Aussie Terry Walsh. Currently, it is guided by the South African Paul Revington. For a long time the Koreans avoided the temptation. Eventually, they settled for a consultant, Paul Lissek.

Pakistan pinned its faith on the Dutch coach, Hans Jorritsma, despite stiff opposition from the traditionalists. But it recaptured the World Cup in 1994. Its subsequent recruits, Roelant Oltmans and Van den Heuvel, failed to deliver.

For India, the obsession began in a quixotic way. Germany’s Gerhard Rach surfaced on the scene weeks before the Olympics at Athens.

What needs to be examined is whether foreign expertise has yielded results. The answer is negative. None of the four has won any major title — Olympics, World Cup or the Champions Trophy — in nearly two decades.

This is not to suggest that foreign training is unworthy or merely elitist. These coaches hired are knowledgeable, professional and possess impeccable credentials. They are committed and work tirelessly in a system that is invariably inimical, nit-picking and under extraordinary pressure to perform a miracle.

The weight of expectations for immediate results has devastated many.

Coaches with outstanding records such as Terry Walsh, Ric Charlesworth, Jose Brasa, Paul Lissek, and Roelant Oltmans, were subjected to a lot of embarrassment and pain of being removed without a hint of gratitude by those who employed them.

For Asian hockey the overall scenario is disturbing. The efficacy of foreign coaches is one factor. But primarily the area of concern is plummeting standards.

Hockey does not attract the youth anymore. In this era of professionalism the lack of financial rewards turn many to other lucrative disciplines.

The need of the hour is to craft an incentive-oriented programme.

The federations and the Asian Hockey Federation should work on a war footing.

The Hindu



Sardar Singh advocates need for foreign coaches

Hindol Basu


CHANDIGARH: After Michael Nobbs' removal as head coach of the Indian hockey team, the clamour for a 'desi' coach grew and former players advocated the need of an Indian coach who would understand the 'Indian mindset'.

Toeing the popular sentiment, Hockey India (HI) decided to appoint MK Kaushik (who guided India to Asian Games gold medal in 1998) as the head coach.

Legendary Dutch player Roelant Oltmans, who is the high-performance director of the Indian team, is currently in-charge of the Indian team and Kaushik will assist him in a pursuit to revive Indian hockey's flagging fortunes.

Indian hockey team captain, Sardar Singh, begs to differ from the popular sentiment and feels that the sport nowadays has changed by leaps and bounds and only a top foreign coach can meet the demands of modern hockey.

"The (Indian) team should go in the right direction and in the long run, I feel we need someone like (Roelant) Oltmans to take the team forward," said Sardar.

Sardar's perspective comes on the back of former Indian hockey coach Ric Charlesworth vociferously advocating the need of a foreign coach for the Indian team asserting that Indian coaches 'are not good enough to fulfill the requirements' of modern-day game.

Oltmans took over as the high-performance director of the Indian team in January and Sardar quipped that better results are in store for Indian hockey.

"He (Oltmans) knows the players. He has been involved with us for months and monitored our sessions. He knows where we need to work on," reflected Sardar. Asked how Oltmans is different from Nobbs, Sardar said, "Nobbs used to focus on man-to-man marking while Oltmans prefers zonal marking. He says you don't have to run with your opponent all the time. This is one major difference in their thinking."

And, how different is the modern-day game, Sardar feels the game nowadays moves at a breakneck speed and no player can last 70 minutes. So, substitutions are imperative and that's where the role of a good coach comes in.

"The game moves on at an express pace. You can't last for 70 minutes if you don't make fast substitutions. That's where a good coach can make a huge difference," said Sardar.

The attacking centre-half also asked the fans to be patient and felt that the Indian team is a work in progress and it'll take some time before they start delivering consistent results.

"The boys realise their mistakes and hopefully we will overcome them in the camp and do well in Asia Cup. But doing well against all teams will take some time," he added.

The Times of India



Top foreign coach need of hour: Sardar

New Delhi - India captain Sardar Singh agrees with Australian Ric Charlesworth that the eight-time Olympic champions need a top foreign coach to meet the demands of modern hockey.

Hockey India (HI) has started its search for a foreign coach to replace Michael Nobbs, who was sacked last week for non-performance.

Charlesworth, who had a brief coaching stint with the Indian team in 2008, had said that the country`s coaches were not good enough to meet the demands of modern hockey. India`s high performance director and Dutch legend Roelant Oltmans is currently in charge of the team while Olympic gold medallist Maharaj Krishan Kaushik has been named the national coach.

Sardar welcomed the appointment of Kaushik but said the need of the hour is a reputed foreign coach. “Kaushik is one of the best Indian coaches we have and along with Oltmans, the team should go in the right direction. In the long run, I feel we need someone like Oltmans to take the team forward,” Sardar said ahead of the training camp for the Asia Cup next month.

The Tribune



Kaushik can do the job in Oltmans' company: Sardar

NEW DELHI: Indian hockey captain Sardar Singh is in favour of a foreign coach as Michael Nobbs's replacement, but said Olympian MK Kaushik too can live up to the job under High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans' guidance.

Welcoming Kaushik's appointment as a coach with the Indian men's hockey team, Sardar said the Olympian has the credentials to produce results but needs a foreign expert like Oltmans to constantly guide him.

"India has good coaches, there is no doubt about it. Kaushik sir is a very good coach. He doesn't have to prove it to anyone. It was a good decision to bring him in. He can replace Michael Nobbs but he will need someone like Oltmans to guide him," Sardar said.

"But I feel a foreign coach has better knowledge about the requirements of modern-day hockey. If Kaushik takes up Nobbs position, Oltmans will have to spend more time with us", he said.

"At end of the day the decision rests with Hockey India and they have already made it clear that a foreigner will be appointed as chief coach," he said.

Legendary Australia coach Ric Charlesworth has recently said that Indian coaches are not good enough and the eight-time Olympic champions need a foreign expert to meet the requirements of modern hockey.

India's High Performance Director and Dutch legend Oltmans is currently in charge of the team till next month's Asia Cup after Australian Nobbs' association with the country ended prematurely last week.

Even though Nobbs' claimed that he resigned from the post because of his deteriorating health condition, Hockey India said his non-performance had a role to play in the Australian's unceremonious ouster.

Sardar, however, said he was taken by surprise by Nobbs' sudden ouster.

The Indian captain said the entire team will miss Nobbs as the Australian was like a friend to them.

"We knew that he was not well for the last couple of months, but we never thought he will leave. It was a shock to us, especially me because I had an interaction with him in Rotterdam after the FIH World League Round 3 but he never said anything about leaving the job," Sardar said.

"He (Nobbs) was a good coach because he didn't try to tinker with Indian style of play. He treated all players (seniors/juniors) equally. He was open-minded and always approachable," the star mid-fielder said.

Asked to compare Nobbs with Jose Brasa, under whom India won silver in the 2010 Commonwealth Games and a bronze in the Guangzhou Asian Games, Sardar said: "I can't compare two coaches because all the coaches have different styles. Nobbs' style was different from Brasa.

"Now Oltmans will take over the team and his style too would be different from Nobbs and Brasa."

Sardar, however, sounded optimistic about qualifying for next year's World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands for which India will have to win the eight-nation Asia Cup to be held in Ipoh, Malaysia from August 24 to September 1.

"It (winning the Asia Cup) is something which is not impossible. We have the resources to win the Asia Cup. But for that to happen every player need to realise his or her mistake and work hard on them in the coming six weeks," he said.

"We can't be over-confident going into any match. We will have to play consistent hockey for entire 70 minutes then only results will follow," Sardar added.

The Times of India



Pakistan hockey coach, team consultant at loggerheads

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey is in turmoil after a rift developed between the national coach Hanif Khan and the federation's coaching consultant Tahir Zaman during the recent Hockey World League in Malaysia where the team finished seventh in the eight-team tournament.

Top three teams -- Argentina, Germany and England -- qualified for the 2014 World Cup through the Hockey World League. Only one spot in the World Cup is now up for grabs and that will go to the winners of the Asia Cup also being held in Malaysia from August 24.

"Pakistan hockey is facing problems no doubt about it, more so since now we have to decide whether to change the team management ahead of the Asia Cup or retain the team of chief coach/manager, Akhtar Rasool and Hanif Khan," a official of the federation said.

The PHF is holding an emergent meeting on July 15 to take a decision on this. But the decision is not going to be an easy one since Hanif has claimed that Tahir interfered in his work and his plans for the team.

"Hanif is not happy at all that the PHF in the first place sent Tahir silently to Malaysia as their coaching consultant and more importantly gave him the authority to interfere in team matters and also devise game plans for the matches," one well-informed source said.

"Hanif's contention is that if he had been allowed to work with a free hand and without interference from Tahir results could have been different," he added.

Tahir a qualified coach from the International Hockey Federation has complained to the PHF that the game-plans he prepared were dismissed by Hanif before the matches at the ground and this led to confusion among the players.

"The PHF realises it faces a tough time ahead because if Pakistan fails to win the Asia Cup and qualify for the 2014 World Cup it would be a big low to the pride and prestige of the sport which is the national sport of Pakistan. It has never happened that Pakistan has not featured in the World Cup," the PHF official admitted.

Pakistan, three-time World Cup champions, will have to stave off strong challenges from India, Malaysia, South Korea, China and Japan to win the Asia Cup.

The Times of India



Tahir, Hanif refuse to work together



LAHORE: Pakistan hockey teams coach Hanif Khan and consultant Tahir Zaman have refused to work together any further, reported Geo News.

After a disappointing show in the World Hockey League, the differences between the two have reached a point where working together seems impossible.

According to sources Tahir Zaman and Hanif Khan were never on the same page when it came to devise game plans for matches resulting in dismal performances during the tournament.

The Pakistan Hockey Federations has called an emergency meeting on the 15th of July to look into the matter and try to find a solution to the situation.

The News International



Hanif, Tahir deny reports of rift in team management

KARACHI: Pakistan hockey team coach Hanif Khan on Friday said there was no rift among members of the team management, and termed media reports about the differences mere rumours.

“We are working hard to make a comeback in the Asia Cup next month,” Hanif, the former Olympian, said. “I don’t know from where such rumours surfaced when we are looking to lift the team’s performance for the Asia Cup collectively.”

It was reported in the media that coach Hanif and consultant Tahir Zaman have refused to work together, however both the officials denied such reports of infighting.

Hanif said he was hopeful that the green shirts would make a comeback in Asia Cup and win the title to claim a place in the 2014 World Cup.

“We have the talent to outdo our opponents. Hopefully, our injured players will recover; we are also working on our grey areas. We missed a lot of opportunities inside the circle in the World Hockey League. Had we availed those chances the results in the WHL would have been different.

“But now we are working on those areas and hopefully our players will produce a better show next month,” Hanif added.

Meanwhile, Tahir also brushed aside reports of rift in the team management. He reiterated Hanif’s words that some key players were injured, which was the reason Pakistan failed to perform at the WHL.

“Some of our key players were injured, which was one of the reasons we failed to perform in the WHL. However, this is not a justification but a fact. I assisted the team management from behind the scenes so there is no question of conflicts, which actually never happened,” Tahir insisted.

Tahir reckoned that the Asia Cup would be a tougher test for Pakistan.

“The WHL offered three places for the World Cup while only the winners at the Asia Cup will qualify for the World Cup. The Asia Cup will be the battleground also for India, Malaysia and South Korea along with Pakistan for the World Cup qualification. Therefore, the contest will be tough and seeking a place for the World Cup through the Asia Cup will be a tougher assignment for green shirts,” he explained.

The Pakistan Hockey Federation has convened an emergency meeting on July 15 to discuss team’s performance in the WHL and preparation for next month’s Asia Cup.

Dawn



Changes in management will be a blunder: Shahnaz

By Fawad Hussain


KARACHI: Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh has warned against a further decline for the Pakistan hockey team if the current team management is not retained for the all-important Asia Cup.

Pakistan’s failure at the Hockey World League (HWL) triggered calls for the removal of head coach Akhtar Rasool and coach Hanif Khan.

The team finished seventh in the eight-nation event at which the top three teams would have confirmed their entry for next year’s World Cup.

The Greenshirts now face an uphill task to win next month’s Asia Cup in order to qualify for the global competition.

PHF to discuss plan next week        

According to a Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) official, the federation will hold a meeting on Monday that will also be attended by the team coaches – Rasool, Hanif and Tahir Zaman (consultant).

The meeting will discuss reasons behind the team’s failure and take steps to ensure a better performance in the Asia Cup.

“There can be a change in the team management,” said the official.

“Tahir [Zaman] may get a key role in the team management instead of Rasool and Hanif who may be removed.”

The official said Rasool and Hanif had developed a difference of opinion with Zaman during the HWL regarding the team’s game plan, adding that chances of the same combination were now slim.

Team management must be retained: Shahnaz

However, Shahnaz said changing the team management will not serve any purpose of betterment.

“A new coach will come up with new plans,” the former great player told The Express Tribune. “There is just over a month left in the Asia Cup. It will be tough for the players to follow new game plans.

“It’s true that the team’s performance was disappointing, but the current coaches must continue because they’ve been with the team for over a year.

“Both the new coaches and the outgoing officials will not admit failure in case Pakistan does not qualify for the World Cup.”

But Shahnaz added that there was an instant need of change in the PHF hierarchy.

“The top PHF officials save themselves by making others scapegoats. They are the real culprits for the downfall of our national game. The current set-up has spent five years in which the team has reached new lows.

“I request the prime minister to remove these officials and give responsibility to more competent people.”

The Express Tribune



Semis target achievable

JUNIOR WORLD CUP: Dharmaraj confident players have the pedigree

By Jugjet Singh



Fitri Saari is one of five players who will rejoin the juniors after the Asia Cup.

THE Malaysian team are almost in full flight for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi on Dec 6-15, where making the semi-finals is the target.

In 2005 in Rotterdam, Malaysia ended 10th, and in 2009 in Johor Baru, they slipped two rungs to 12th.

"Looking at the players that we have right now, it is not impossible to finish higher than the last two editions, and right now, I am working towards reaching the semi-finals in New Delhi," said national juniors coach K. Dharmaraj.

The team, who recently returned from a South Korean tour, will head for a two-week European tour starting July 20 to play England, Belgium and Poland.

Incidentally, in 2005, Malaysia lost to England in the 9th-10th classification play-off, and in 2009, Belgium beat Malaysia in the 11th-12th classification.

"Right now, seven of my boys are in Kazan for the World University Games, and another five were with the national team who just played in the World League Semi-finals.

"I will take 20 players for the tour, including the seven in Kazan, but not the five who need to train with the national team for the Asia Cup in Ipoh," said Dharmaraj.

Faiz Helmi Jali, Izad Hakimi, Fitri Saari, Firhan Ashaari and Meor Azuan are the five with national coach Paul Revington.

"The five will only rejoin the juniors after Ipoh, and this gives me an avenue to test other players in Europe."

The juniors made the World Cup on merit when they won the Junior Asia Cup gold medal in Malacca, and with five players getting top-grade action with the senior side, Malaysia are poised to make an impact in New Delhi.

New Straits Times



Veteran goalkeeper wants Revington to remain as coach

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: Goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin is confident that Paul Revington will stay on as the national coach until the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

The 35-year-old Roslan, the most senior player in the national team, feels that Revington “has become like a family member to the players”.

“We are like one big happy family ... and we need his guidance. The players like his style of coaching and he has helped us improve our game,” said Roslan, who has been with the national team since 1998.

“We fully support him and strongly believe that he will continue to train the team until the 2016 Olympics.

“We did well to finish fifth in the recent World Hockey League semi-finals in Johor Baru and are confident, that with his help, we can win the Asia Cup in Ipoh next month to qualify for the World Cup.”

Revington tendered his resignation last month citing outside interference. But he continued to train the team, saying he would decide on his future after the World League semi-finals.

The National Sports Council (NSC) have given him until next week to make up his mind.

The Star of Malaysia



Malaysia trounce Italy

By AFTAR SINGH


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia are back in the running to qualify for the men’s hockey semi-finals after defeating Italy 4-1 in a Group A match in the World University Games in Kazan on Thursday.

Malaysia, who are second in the group with six points from two wins and a loss, must win their last match against South Africa today to book a place in  the last four.

South Africa are in third spot with four points from three matches.

Italy took the lead in the 15th minute through Andrea Corsi before defender Mohd Razie Abdul Razie (18th & 56th) and Dangerous Lee (38th & 45th) replied with a brace each for Malaysia.

The Star of Malaysia