News for 27 August 2013

All the news for Tuesday 27 August 2013


India also makes the semis after a 2-0 win over S. Korea



IPOH: India sailed into the Asia Cup semi-finals after a dominant showing against South Korea in a Group B tie.

The Indians defeated the Koreans 2-0 at the Azlan Shah Stadium yesterday.

The Indians have always fared better against the Koreans in the Asia Cup. This meeting is the ninth encounter between the two teams and the tally is six wins for the Indians with one draw and two defeats.

Overall both countries have played each other 69 times and the Indians have a record of 27 wins, 12 draws and 30 losses.

Thus their matches have always been close and the encounter today was no different.

V. R. Raghunath scored an early goal in the sixth minute off their first penalty corner.

From then on it became a midfield battle with both sides not leaving much space for attacks.

But when they broke through the goal on either was in danger of being breached.  For most part of the first half it was the Indians who were in dominant form.

The second half did not see increase in pace by either side as they kept to a cautious note.

Skipper Sardara Singh, recovering from illness, was a prominent figure in the India midfield as he prodded his attacks in to action.

But it would seem that the Koreans are happy to sit back and take in the attacks by India.

The match was headed for a draw when the Indians snatched their second goal and seal the game in their favour.

In came in the 65th minute off a long cross into the D by the Indians which was then well trapped by Mandeep Singh at the top of the semi-circle. He beat two Koreans players and beat goalkeeper Lee Myung-ho. 

It was the young striker’s fourth goal of the tournament.

Indian goalkeeper P. R. Sreejesh was named man-of-the-match.

Official Asian Cup site



Oman wins 4-2 against Bangladesh



IPOH: Oman clinched their first win of the Asia Cup when they defeated Bangladesh 4-2 in a Group B tie at the Azlan Shah Stadium.

Oman is making their debut in the tournament and the win gives them a slim chance at making the last four. But they would have to beat South Korea by a big margin to qualify.

Both teams had started the tournament with a defeat. The Bangladesh team was beaten 0-9 by South Korea while India had defeated Oman 8-0.

The Omanis took the lead against the Bangladesh team through Hashim Ghani in the 28th minute. That was the only goal scored in the first half.

The second half saw a much closer fight from both teams and more goals were scored.

Oman struck in the 42 through Mohamed Ali Shar while Khatar Rejab added the other two in the 45th and 58th minutes.

Muhammad Mamunur added a consolation goal for Bangladesh in the 69th minute.

The teams will complete their group fixtures tomorrow with Oman playing South Korea while Bangladesh takes on India.

Aiman Abdullah Ali Khathiri was named the man-of-the-match.

Official Asian Cup site



Sreejesh, defenders do it for India

S.Thyagarajan


An exemplary display by the defenders and gallant goalkeeping by Sreejesh helped India cruise into the semifinals, defeating defending champion South Korea 2-0 in the Asia Cup hockey championship here on Monday. The Indians scored once in each half.

Imagine a show with Korea unable to score off five penalty corners, all in the first half. Nothing disturbed the composure of Sreejesh, whose athleticism and alacrity under the bar stood pronounced. Even a cascade of sallies by the Koreans could not upset the rhythm and coordination of the defensive phalanx where Sardar Singh was conspicuous as ever.

But a good measure of credit should also go to wing-half Bimal Lakra and the hard working Chinglensana whose interceptions were near-perfect, taking a heavy load off the rest of the defenders.

Impeccable conversion

India should consider itself lucky to survive the first half despite the tremendous pressure exerted by the Koreans. The early goal from an impeccable penalty corner conversion by Raghunath provided the needed confidence to hang on gamely.

The forwardline, notwithstanding its flurry of moves, failed to make capital of quite a few openings in the second half.

Though Malak Singh lost a good opportunity, Mandeep Singh obtained the second goal five minutes before the hooter after the move was initiated by Chenglensana, to put the issue beyond doubt.

India coach Roelant Oltmans admitted that the team had luck on its side in the first half, but acknowledged the role played by Sreejesh.

Gumption and rhythm

There was something to celebrate for the Omanis after recording their win in Pool B. Playing for the first time at this level, Oman, trained by former German international Michael Kurtz, displayed the gumption and rhythm to overcome a more seasoned unit like Bangladesh 4-2.

Initially, it looked as though Bangladesh would build up pressure gradually. But the defenders gave in to the more forthright approach of the Omani forwards who built up a sizeable 4-1 lead to the finish. Only a neat penalty corner drive by skipper Mamunur Rehman reduced the leeway.

Oman has three points from two matches, while Bangladesh is yet to open its account. Bangladesh takes on India in its third match. Oman’s next opponent is Korea, on Wednesday.

Spain makes the grade

The FIH announced on Sunday that Spain, which finished fifth in the European championships at Boom (Belgium), will be the ninth qualifier for the next World Cup at The Hague. This induction leaves three more places to be filled from three continental championships — the Asia Cup now in progress, the African Games and the Oceania Championship.

Malaysia is the third reserve followed by India. If any of the champion teams is in the already qualified list, the reserve team will go into the cluster of top 12 for the World Cup.

The nine qualifiers now are: Germany, the Netherlands (host), Belgium, England, Spain (Europe), Australia, New Zealand (Oceania), Argentina (Americas) and Korea (Asia).

The results:

Pool B: India 2 (V. Raghunath, Mandeep Singh) bt Korea 0.

Oman 4 (Hashim Ramadhan, Sher Muhammad Hoobais, Rajab Basim 2) bt Bangladesh 2 (Muhammad Roman, Mamunur Rehman).

Tuesday’s matches: Pakistan v Chinese Taipei (3.35 p.m.); Japan v Malaysia (5.35 p.m.).

The Hindu



India thrash South Korea to enter semis

NEW DELHI: P R Sreejesh produced a brilliant display under the bar as two-time champions India stunned title holders South Korea 2-0 in a Pool B match to breeze into the semifinals of the Asia Cup hockey tournament, on Monday.

India's arch-rivals Pakistan have already made it to the last four stage from Pool A after beating hosts Malaysia 4-1.

The Indians put up an inspired performance and scored a goal in each half through V R Raghunath (6th minute) and Mandeep Singh (65th) to pick up their second win in the eight-nation event.

India, who need to win the tournament to qualify for next year's World Cup at The Hague, Netherlands, had thumped minnows Oman 8-0 in their tournament opener.

The Indians started brightly and dominated the early exchanges. In the first half India played possession hockey and utilised both the flanks to build up their attacks.

The Indians need to thank their goalkeeper Sreejesh as he made as many as six-seven clear saves to keep a clean slate for his team. He also earned the man-of-the-match award.

The Indians stunned Korea early in the match taking the lead through Raghunath. The well built defender converted India's first penalty corner with a powerful low dragflick to the right corner of the Korean goal past, beating goalkeeper Lee Myung Ho.

But thereafter, the Indians should consider themselves lucky not to have conceded a goal as Korea put the Indian defence under continuous pressure with repeated raids.

The Koreans earned as many five penalty corners in the opening half but failed to convert a single one.

While an onrushing Gurmail Singh blocked the Nam Hyun Woo's flick, an outstretched Sreejesh made one of his few brilliant saves from Korea's second short corner a few minutes later.

Five minutes from the break, India had a golden chance to double their lead but an unmarked Malak Singh shot wide from close range.

Towards the end of the opening half, the Indians unnecessarily invited pressure, conceding three more penalty corners.

But a brilliant Sreejesh under the goal once again came to India's rescue to deny the Koreans.

After the change of ends, the Koreans continued in the same vein and consistently put the Indian defence under pressure.

But Sreejesh stood like rock between Korea and goal as he made an acrobatic save in the 51st minute to deny Kang Moon Kweon.

If not for Sreejesh's efforts, India could have very well lost the match. The lanky custodian denied the Koreans on two to three occasions in the final 10 minutes to keep India afloat.

Towards the end, it was India's turn to exert some pressure on the Korean defence and came very close to doubling their lead, but an unmarked Malak shot wide with only the onrushing Korean goalkeeper Lee to beat.

But young Mandeep took the game away from Korea scoring India's second goal --- his fourth of the tournament - just five minutes from the hooter.

Mandeep slotted home with a powerful shot from top of the circle after snatching the ball from a Korean defender, who was unable to control Chinglensana Singh's cross.

India will play Bangladesh in their last pool match on Wednesday while Korea will be up against Oman.

The Times of India



India avoid Pakistan in semis after win against Korea

IPOH   India rode on goals from Raghunath (6th minute) and Mandeep Singh (65th) to get the better of South Korea in an Asia Cup pool B league match in Ipoh on Monday evening. The 2-0 win takes India to the top of their group with six points from two matches. India had pumped in eight goals without reply in their first match against Oman on Saturday.

Monday’s win guarantees India a berth in the semifinals. The two-time former champions are scheduled to play minnows Bangladesh on Wednesday and a victory will mean India will avoid a semifinal meeting with arch-rivals Pakistan, who became the first team to make the round of last-four after beating hosts Malaysia 4-1 on Sunday.

India must win the Asia Cup to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague. With at least five top stars missing from their line-up, a young team under Dutch coach Roelant Oltmans is under pressure to deliver.

At Ipoh’s Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium on Monday, India were lucky to come away with full points against a rampaging Korean side who did all but score. Goalkeeper Sreejesh had an outstanding day, making at least five wonderful saves to earn the Man of the Match award.

India took an early lead in the sixth minute with Raghunath scoring from a penalty corner. It was the only short corner that came India’s way in the entire match.

The Koreans wasted five short corners in the contest and all of them in the first half. India defended well with Rupinderpal Singh and Gurmail Singh spoiling the Korean rhythm with timely interceptions. Sreejesh, of course, stood like the Chinese Wall.

In spite of territorial advantage and more ball possession, Korea failed to score. After having their backs to the wall, the Indians came out of their cocoon late in the second session. Mandeep struck with five minutes left for the hooter with a crisp shot from top of the circle after a diagonal Dharamvir pass split the Korean defence.

South Korea are the only Asian team to have qualified for the World Cup. The defending Asian Cup champions got the monkey off their back after Argentina won the Pan American continental championship, which lifted the Koreans from among the first reserves to become the eighth team to qualify for the premier event.

The Nation



Oman registers first win in Asia Cup Hockey

Oman clinched their first win of the Asia Cup hockey when they defeated Bangladesh 4—2 in a Group B tie at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on Monday.

Oman are making their debut in the tournament and the win gives them a slim chance at making the last four. But they would have to beat South Korea by a big margin to qualify. Aiman Abdullah Ali Khathiri was named the man-of-the-match.

Both teams had started the tournament with a defeat. The Bangladesh team was beaten 0-9 by South Korea while India had defeated Oman 8-0.

The Omanis took the lead against the Bangladesh team through Hashim Ghani in the 28th minute. That was the only goal scored in the first half.

The second half saw a much closer fight from both teams and more goals were scored.

Oman struck in the 42nd minute through Mohamed Ali Shar while Khatar Rejab added the other two in the 45th and 58th minute.

Muhammad Mamunur added a consolation goal for Bangladesh in the 69th minute.

The teams will complete their group fixtures Tuesday with Oman playing South Korea while Bangladesh take on India.

The Hindu



Oman stun Bangladesh 4-2 to stay in hunt

IPOH (Malaysia): Debutants Oman sent higher-ranked Bangladesh out of the semifinal race while keeping their hopes alive with a stunning 4-2 win in a Pool B match of the ninth Asia Cup hockey tournament on Monday.

By virtue of this victory, 36th ranked Oman avenged their 1-4 drubbing at the hands of the same opponents in the FIH World League Round 2 in New Delhi earlier this year.

Oman were content playing the waiting game and the 31st-ranked Bangladesh looked out of sorts.

Oman capitalised on Bangaldesh's fragile backline and scored through Hashim Ghanim Ramadan Al Shatri (29th), Mohammad Hoobais Al Shar (43rd), Rajab Bhasin Khatar (45th, 59th) to register the upset win and their first points in the tournament.

For Bangaldesh, Mohammad Roman Sarkar (53rd) and captain Md Mamunur Rahman Chayan (69th) were the goal-getters.

Bangladesh were undone by the poor work of their forwards who failed to utilise the opportunities that came their way.

Oman were cautious in their approach but when scoring opportunities came their way they grabbed it with both hands.

Oman took the lead from one such opportunity through a field goal from Hashim Ghanim Ramadan Al Shatri as Bangladesh defence was caught napping.

Oman doubled their lead in the 43rd minute through Mohammad Hoobais Al Shar, who converted their first penalty corner.

Two minutes later, Oman once again caught Bangladesh off-guard and increased their lead with a field goal through Rajab Bhasin Khatar.

Bangladesh, however, managed to reduce the margin in the 53rd minute with a field goal from Mohammad Roman Sarkar.

Oman earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 58th minute and Khatar converted one to score his second goal of the day and help his side restore the three-goal lead.

Bangladesh pulled another back in the dying moments of the match through a penalty corner conversion by skipper Chayan, but it was not enough to save them from humiliation.

Oman will next play defending champions Korea in the last pool engagement on Wednesday while Bangladesh will be up against two-time champions India.

The Times of India



Chance for Oltmans to get Indian hockey back on track

Krishna Kanta Chakraborty


CHENNAI: With a young team at his disposal, Roelant Oltmans, high performance director of the Indian hockey team has a tough task at hand. But if he returns home with good results from the ongoing Asia Cup hockey, the confidence of the India's interim coach will get a huge boost.

India have already won both the matches in the tournament and most importantly blanked defending champions South Korea 2-0 in their seconds match on Monday. India routed Oman 8-0 in their opening game.

The Indian hockey team, which has had a poor run in the international arena for many years, now has to perform well to bring back old glory. With Aussie coach Michael Nobbs getting sacked two months ago, Oltmans was given the charge of the national team and the Dutchman believes that he has the ability to enhance India's performance and that may well begin with success in the Asia Cup.

"I'll be responsible for the team's performance but at the same time I'm confident of a good show. We have prepared ourselves in the best possible manner in the short period of time we had. We can assure you all that we will give our cent percent every single minute and in every single game we play in the tournament. Of course, they are young. But that doesn't mean they are not good. They are good and they have showed that. There will be a lot of young faces," Oltmans had said before the tournament.

India, who have already made all right moves towards semifinals berth, will take on Bangladesh.

The Times of India



Sreejesh proved he is India's best goalkeeper: Oltmans

IPOH: India's interim coach Roelant Oltmans values team effort than individual brilliance but the Dutchman was all praise for P R Sreejesh's sterling performance under the bar today and termed him the "best goalkeeper" in the country.

Sreejesh produced a fine show under the bar to help two-time champions India stun title holders South Korea 2-0 in their second Pool B match and secure their place in the semifinals of the ninth Asia Cup hockey tournament here.

Sreejesh made as many as six-seven clear saves, which included some acrobatic efforts, to keep a clean slate for India and also earn the man-of-the-match award.

"There is only one man-of-the-match and I am happy that Sreejesh got it. But for me there is only one hero and that's my team. We don't have individuals, we are a team and we work as a team. We compete as a team and try to give our best performance as a team," Oltmans said after the match at the Sultan Azlan Shah stadium.

"No doubt Sreejesh is by far the best goalkeeper in India and he has proved it yet again today," he added.

The coach also had words of appreciation for captain Sardar Singh-led midfield and defence, which was considered as India's perennial problem.

"I am happy that Sardar was able to play a little bit more again. He is slowly getting fitter and rising to the occasion. We need him later on in the tournament. But I am very happy with the performance of all the midfielders - S K Uthappa, Chinglensana (Singh), Manpreet (Singh).

"Not only midfield but our defenders did very well. I am happy with the overall team performance. This is a huge experience for youngsters of our team," the coach said.

Oltmans, however, said that India were lucky not to have conceded a goal in the opening half and felt his wards played better after the change of ends.

"To be honest, we were lucky to be leading at halftime, especially after conceding five penalty corners in the first half. The Koreans were the better side in the first half. But in the second half after about 10 minutes we were able to turn the game," he observed.

"All in all, we played quite well in this match and scored good goals. It was an interesting test for us. It was a serious test for the team for the first time. It gave us an idea where we were good and where will have to improve. We are trying to change our style during the course of the matches so that it doesn't become easy for opponents," he signed off.

The Times of India



India eye big win over Bangladesh ahead of Asia Cup semis

IPOH: Already through to the semifinals, an upbeat India would aim to keep their winning juggernaut rolling and end their pool engagements with a thumping victory over minnows Bangladesh in the Asia Cup hockey tournament on Wednesday.

After back-to-back victories against Oman and defending champions South Korea, the Indians are brimming with confidence but they cannot afford to relax in the eight-nation tournament, which they desperately need to win to qualify for next year's World Cup at The Hague, Netherlands.

India sealed their semifinal place after shocking title holders South Korea 2-0 in their second Pool B match at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium on Monday.

A win against Bangladesh tomorrow would ensure India top Pool B which means they will most likely take on hosts Malaysia in the semifinals and avoid arch-rivals Pakistan till the final hurdle.

Taming Bangladesh shouldn't be much of a problem for Roelant Oltmans' boys as the Tigers' would be morally down after consecutive defeats, especially after yesterday's 2-4 loss against Oman, a side which is five places below them in the world rankings. Bangladesh had earlier lost 0-9 to Korea in their opening tie.

For both eight-time Olympic champions India and neighbours Pakistan, it is a do-or-die tournament as one of them faces the prospect of missing out on a World Cup berth for the first time since the launch of the tournament in 1971.

But having impressed all and sundry with their game so far, the Indians would be hoping to carry on the momentum to crucial classification matches.

The Indian midfield under inspirational captain Sardar Singh blossomed against the Koreans yesterday. Not only the mid-fielders, India's ever-fragile backline too dished out a fine show yesterday and stood tall to thwart Korea's relentless attacks.

And Oltmans would hope for similar performances from his players in the remainder of the event.

"I am very happy with the performance of all the mid-fielders - Sardar, S K Uthappa, Chinglensana (Singh), Manpreet (Singh). Our defenders also did very well. I am happy with the overall team performance. This is a huge experience for youngsters of our team," Oltmans said.

It would not be fair to overlook the performance of India's young and inexperienced forward line which so far managed to live up to the expectations.

In the absence of quartet of Danish Mujtaba, SV Sunil, Gurwinder Singh Chandi and Akashdeep Singh -- all out of the tournament due to injuries, India fielded a young, untested forward line for this tournament.

But the likes of Mandeep Singh, Nithin Thimmaiah, Malak Singh, Ramandeep Singh and Nikin Thimmaiah managed to rise to the occasion and did not let anyone feel the vacuum created by the injuries to senior players.

Young Mandeep, in particular, is in superb form and so far scored four goals in the tournament, including three against Oman the other day.

On the goalkeeping front, P R Sreejesh is in rollicking form and against Korea he showed why he is considered as India's best goalkeeper.

Against Korea, Sreejesh made as many as six-seven clear saves, which included some acrobatic efforts, to earn the man-of-the-match award and help India keep a slate clean.

But India will have to do away with their habit of providing easy scoring chances to their opponents ahead of the important classification matches.

Oltmans too admitted that India were lucky not have conceded a goal in the opening half against Korea.

"To be honest we were lucky to be leading at halftime, especially after conceding five penalty corners in the first half," he said.

Going by head-to-head record, the Indians are expected to steamroll the Bangladeshis tomorrow. India defeated Bangladesh 18 times out of 19 encounters between the two teams so far with one ending in a draw. Out of the 18 wins, six came in the Asia Cup.

The Times of India



Defensive blues

Kumar admits backline has not been impressive

By JUGJET SINGH



Malaysia’s Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (centre) tries to get past a Pakistan player at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium on Sunday. Pic by Muhaizan Yahya

GOALKEEPER S. Kumar holds the key to Malaysia making the  Asia Cup semi-finals  at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh today.

But going by form, Kumar might allow the Japanese in instead.

Voted the best goalkeeper in Asia in 2011, Kumar and his main defenders Razie Rahim and Baljit Singh have been guilty of letting in five goals in two matches in Ipoh, and a whopping 18 goals in six matches in the World Legue Semi-finals in Johor Baru.

"Yes, five goals in two matches do look a bit too many, but I'm still focused on the task at hand which is to win the Asia Cup gold medal.

"And I will give my best against Japan to achieve that target," said Kumar.

Taiwan scored off their first shot at goal against Kumar, while Pakistan's shots were not that dangerous but the ball still slipped past the defenders and the goalkeeper.

"We did not impress against Japan (1-1) in the World League, and had to win the shoot-out, but I have a feeling that my teammates are ready to beat Japan and play in the semi-finals," said Kumar.

Another player who had a bad run in Johor Baru and is having the same in Ipoh is striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, who started his career as a promising player in the 2005 Junior World Cup in Rotterdam.

But he has been overtaken by younger strikers in the last two tournaments.

"I played the feeder's role when playing Taiwan, and against Pakistan, the marking was too tight as at times five players surrounded me when I got the ball.

"And many times when I ran with the ball, there was not enough Malaysian support in the semi-circle to turn the attack into goal. Yes, it has been a disappointing tournament for me, but I hope to deliver against Japan and make it memorable," said Tengku Ahmad.

Pakistan are assured of the top spot in Group A as they play whipping boys Taiwan today, while Malaysia will need to beat or hold Japan to a draw to secure their semi-final slot.

New Straits Times

 



Pakistan to play out of their skins in semis.

ISLAMABAD - Former Olympian Shahnaz Sheikh on Monday said that Pakistan players would have to play out of their skins against their opponents in the semi-final of Hockey Asia Cup.

Pakistan got back-to-back convincing victories in their first Group A matches of 9th Asian Cup they have played so far defeating Japan 7-0 in the first game before eliminating hosts Malaysia 4-1 in their second fixture on Sunday.

Pakistan, who have qualified for semi-final, are also expected to whip minnows Chinese Taipei when they take on them on today (Tuesday). The semi-final will be the first real test for our players ahead of final as they will be facing either arch-rivals India or quicksilver South Koreans. “The tournament is very important for Pakistan to qualify for the World Cup and everyone in our team will have to play out of skin,” said.

Shahnaz lauded national team’s performance in first two matches but suggested forward line players to attack their opponents in the semi-final in pairs instead of focusing on individual attacks. “The best form of attack in hockey is a trio-attack. But I will suggest our players that if they can’t do that they should at least adopt pair attacks against their rivals in the semi-final,” he added.

He said winning Asia Cup was vital for Pakistan as they would not only qualify for the 2014 World Cup at Hague, Netherlands and improve their rankings but would also become Asian Champions after 20 years. He said semi-final would be hell of a challenge for Pakistan.

“For both Pakistan and India, the Asia Cup is a do-or-die tournament as one of them faces the prospect of missing out on a World Cup berth for the first time since its launch in 1971,” he said.

“If Pakistan meets India in the semi-final, the latter will also be trying their best as they too desperately need to win the event to reserve a berth in the World Cup. And in case if it is a South Korea-Pakistan clash, then it will be even more challenging as after having already qualified for the World Cup, the South Koreans will be desperate to assert their supremacy in the eight-nation event by defending their title,” Shahnaz added.

About Pakistan team’s defence, he said it was comprised of most aged trio of Wasim, Imran and Salman Akbar adding that the management should devise a plan for Wasim and Imran’s substitution during the game so that they could sustain the pressure. Shahnaz also asked the team management to teach the players art to get penalty corners purposely.

The Nation



National broadcaster urged to telecast Asia Cup

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan hockey team is currently in Malaysia to participate in the ninth Asia Cup Hockey Tournament which is very significant for the green shirts as their future of participation in the Hockey World Cup 2014 depends on the outcome of this event.

But to the utter disappointment of the millions of hockey followers of the country, the national broadcaster didn’t bother to telecast this highly-significant event, thus depriving masses of watching their stars in action. Hockey is our national game but it is getting step motherly treatment from the TV giants and also from the government. This game is fast losing its charm in the upcoming generation as cricket has long overtaken all the other sports. With none of the so-called champions of sports promoters in the private channels, who claim to be the first to open a separate channel for sports, bothered to telecast this event. It was the national and moral duty of the state run channel to make arrangements to telecast this prestigious event which has other priorities. They are free to telecast tennis, soccer and other international sports live, spending huge national exchequer in the process for a limited group of fans, but they don’t have the funds or means to broadcast our national game.

People from different walks of life have resented national broadcasters’ attitude and demanded an immediate inquiry into this matter of national interest, as why and on what grounds, national TV has failed to make arrangements to telecast Hockey Asia Cup 2013.

Talking to The Nation, former Pakistan hockey team captain and winner of 1994 Hockey World Cup legendry goalkeeper Mansoor Ahmed said: “I am very disappointed with the behaviour of the national TV. They have a separate sports channel, then what are the reasons they didn’t bother to make arrangements to telecast the Asia Cup. I along with other ex-Olympians request to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to look into this matter, as if our national game can’t be telecast on national TV, then what will be the future of this game?”

“We will soon meet with Prime Minister and take up this issue and ensure these things will not be repeated in future,” Mansoor concluded.

Now Pakistan hockey team have qualified for the semi-finals so the state run channel should make arrangements to telecast the semifinal and final of the event, so people may at least watch their favourite sons in action in the high-profile matches.

The Nation



Love for hockey keeps Bharat Chikara going

IPOH: For any sportsperson who has earned fame and adulation, it is always difficult to digest neglect and oblivion and out-of-favour India hockey forward Bharat Chikara is no different.

Chikara, who not long ago was vital a cog in the Indian hockey team's forward line and was a member of India's silver medal winning squad in 2010 Commonwealth Games, has been living a lonely life since losing his place in the national team after London Olympics qualifier.

Like many other seniors, Chiakara's decision to play in the unauthorised World Series Hockey proved costly as he was labelled a rebel by the national federation and subsequently dropped from the London-bound squad.

But Chikara, who was also part of India's bronze medal winning squad in Guangzhou Asian Games, is no mood to give up without a fight. At 29, he knows very well that age is not on his side but what keeps him going is his love for the game and faith in his stick work.

Eying one last shot at a national comeback, Chikara is not even thinking about his monetary condition. He is spending money from his own pocket to travel to Ipoh, Malaysia to watch India's matches in the Asia Cup and get an idea about the team's changing trends in their style of play.

"I came here a day before the tournament began and leaving after the final. It's my love for the game and determination to make a return to the national team that brought me here. No one sponsored my trip, I had to shell out money from my savings for this trip," Chikara said outside the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium.

"I am out of the team since the Olympic qualifiers. After the qualifiers I went to give my MBA exams at Panchkula and while returning I stayed in Chandigarh to play in the World Series Hockey. Since then I have never been called to the national camp although I have doing very well for Indian Oil Corporation in domestic tournaments," he said.

But with Hockey India deciding to offer amnesty to rebel WSH players, thereby providing them an opportunity to be part of the mini players auction of Hockey India League to be held in October this year, Chikara is hoping for a new beginning.

"I am very much hopeful of making a comeback (in the national team). If there is no hope, there is no way. Hockey India's decision to include WSH players in HIL auctions is a welcome step," he said.

"I will be there in the auction pool. I am eager to play in next year's HIL but it remains to be seen whether any team picks me or not."

Apart from the 2010 Commonwealth Games and Asian Games, Chikara also played in the 2010 FIH World Cup held in New Delhi.

The Times of India



Seventh heaven for U21 Burras men

Blake Govers nets a hat-trick in 7-1 win over Malaysia


Match day two saw a much more clinical performance for the men’s U21s, the Burras, in Brisbane. Having narrowly edged Malaysia 1-0 on Sunday, Paul Gaudoin’s charges were looking for an improved performance on Monday evening. And they responded well to post a 7-1 victory including five second half goals.

A tentative start suggested little of what was to occur as the game progressed but once Blake Govers (NSW) scored seven minutes before half time the flood gates opened. Aaron Kershaw (NSW) made it 2-0 just before the break and Aussie number 20 bagged his second penalty corner immediately after the restart to make it 3-0.

In a whirlwind five minutes, Daniel Robertson (WA) got in on the action for 4-0 in the 39th minute and Aidan Rintala (QLD) hit Australia’s fifth moments later. The Burras were not done yet though. There was still plenty of time remaining and it proved to be time enough for Govers to go on to complete a hat-trick with a 44th minute goal from open play and a 59th minute penalty corner.

The Malaysians grabbed an equaliser from a penalty corner seven minutes from the end but it did little to take the shine off Australia’s more clinical performance in the circle.

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Remaining fixtures - Australia U21 Men v Malaysia U21 Men
Queensland State Hockey Centre, Brisbane

Wednesday 28 August – 2:00pm AEST
Thursday 29 August – 3:30pm AEST

Australia U21 Men’s Squad
Started

Ed Chittleborough (GK) (South Australia)
Simon Borger (Queensland)
Jeremy Hayward (Northern Territory)
Robert Bell (Queensland)
Aaron Kershaw (New South Wales)
Casey Hammond (Victoria)
Aidan Rintala (Queensland)
Flynn Ogilvie (New South Wales)
Frank Main (Western Australia)
Blake Govers (New South Wales)
Justin Douglas (Queensland)

Subs Used
Adam Luck (GK) (Northern Territory)
Cameron Joyce (South Australia)
Kane Posselt (Queensland)
Daniel Beale (Queensland)
Daniel Robertson (Western Australia)
Dylan Wotherspoon (Queensland)
Tyler Cowley (Victoria)

Hockey Australia media release



Free State run champs Southerns down to the wire on BDO Men's IPT day two

JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town


Day two of the BDO Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Monday brought a galaxy of goals and some very exciting matches.

In the top-tier A Section, KZN Inland beat North West 6-1, KZN Raiders beat Western Province Peninsula 3-1, Southern Gauteng beat Free State 4-2; South Africa U21 demolished KZN Mynahs 15-0; Northern Blues drew 2-2 with Witwatersrand and Tuffy Western Province beat Fain Eastern Province 3-1.

On the first day of B Section action, Border edged EP Settlers 2-1 and Western Province Disas beat a willing Namibia 5-2.

While the day was punctuated by some big winning margins, there were also a number of close-run results and one of those matches was that between defending champions Southern Gauteng and rank underdogs Free State.

Southerns, with a dozen players boasting national selection past and present, only led for the last five minutes of the match as a Free State side possessing massive self-belief and refusing  go with the sway of accepted wisdom first established a 2-0 lead inside the first 17 minutes and then clung on tenaciously to that advantage until the last 10 minutes.

This Free State team under the leadership of coach and Atlanta 96 Olympian Allistar Fredericks and underrated defender and captain Jaco Fourie got on the scoresheet in the fifth minute when Fourie converted a penalty corner. Nazo Mlakalaka made it 2-0 in the 17th minute when he followed up his initial shot and buried the rebound off SA goalkeeper and Southerns captain Rassie Pieterse’s pads.

Make no mistake, Southerns dominated this match and won 16 penalty corners to Free State’s two from their multiple advances into the strike zone, but keeper Xander van Biljon was inspirational in the Bloemfontein-based side’s goalmouth, while his defenders were also heroic.

The sheer volume of Southerns’ goalscoring opportunities from field play and set-pieces had to count for something in the end - and so it proved against a brave but played-out opponent, the Johannesburg lads bagging four goals in the last 15 minutes through Brandon Panther, Dean Symons, Ricky West and Miguel da Graca.

SA U21, in the tournament under special dispensation in order to prepare for the Junior World cup in Delhi, India in December, had drag-flick wizard James Drummond in irresistible form against hapless KZN Mynahs, the hugely talented Capetonian nailing two penalty corners and the same number of field goals inside 13 minutes of first-half mayhem before adding a fifth after the changeover.

The SA juniors played sublime one-touch hockey at times and one of the beneficiaries, with four goals, was Ignatius Malgraff. Patchy at times, the juniors put it together with effect six more times through a brace apiece by Grant Glutz and Matt Brown, and one apiece from Damien Kimfley and Chad Cairncross.

In the late game, Tuffy Western Province withstood some early pressure from Fain Eastern Province before SA striker Lloyd Norris-Jones broke free in the 12th minute to set up national team-mate Pierre de Voux’s first-timer that flew high into the net. EP hit back through former SA forward Geowynne Gamiet before WP captain and double Olympian Andrew Cronje’s penalty stroke a minute before half-time gave the home crowd much to cheer about.

Turning around 2-1 to the good against a highly competitive EP, the WP lads under national assistant coach Pierre le Roux scored one more goal for the deserved 3-1 final score when the red-hot Norris-Jones netted in the 53rd minute.

KZN Inland deserved their 6-1 victory over North West, their goals going to Gavin Jelley (3), Zamo Cele, captain Justin Domleo and Satchi Reddy, while North West's goal came from Jardus Smith.

KZN Raiders led 1-0 at half-time against WP Peninsula via a stunning penalty corner drag-flick from Greg Last. On-song Raiders captain Wade Paton bagged a brace in the second half while Vaughn Erasmus got on the scoresheet for Pens.

Raiders coach Ryan Hack is managing his players well in what will be a marathon seven matches in seven days, taking key players off once he is sure the result is safe.

The Northern Blues match against neighbours Witwatersrand was a hard-fought 2-2 draw, the goals going to Stephen Cant and Emile Odendaal for the Blues while Aiden Lotz scored a magnificent goal for Wits with team-mate Matthew Poval netting the equaliser from the penalty spot two minutes from the end.

The semi-finals and cross-pool playoffs are on Friday with the gold medal and classification matches on Saturday.

MONDAY RESULTS

A Section: KZN Raiders 3 Western Province Peninsula 1; KZN Inland 6 North West 1; Southern Gauteng 4 Free State 2; South Africa U21 15 KZN Mynahs 0; Northern Blues 2 Witwatersrand 2; Tuffy Western Province 3 Fain Eastern Province 1.

B Section: Border 2 EP Settlers 1; Western Province Disas 5 Namibia 2.

TUESDAY FIXTURES

Stadium

A Section: SA U21 vs WP Pens (10 am); Fain EP vs Free State (12 pm); South Gauteng vs North West (2 pm); Northern Blues vs KZN Raiders (4 pm); Tuffy WP vs KZN Inland (6 pm).

Pitch B
A Section: Wits vs Mynahs (11 am).
B Section: EP Settlers vs WP Disas (2 pm); SA Country Districts vs Namibia (4 pm).

SA Hockey Association media release



England look to a silver lining after

By Graham Wilson



Kate Walsh side scalped Olympic champions Holland 3-2 in the semi-final shoot-out

BOTH England squads were licking their wounds after a stunning end to the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships in Boon, Belgium.

But realistically, in this post-Olympic rebuilding phase, they should be proud of a show which helped provide the thrills and spills for the fans.

To see Kate Walsh’s side scalp the Olympic champions Holland 3-2 in the semi-final shoot-out after a 1-1 draw was a rare sight – and one where Maddie Hinch earned her spurs as the goalkeeper of the tournament. But then a 4-4 final score against Germany, plus the drama of losing a shoot-out 2-0, was everything that the TV game needs.

Lee said: “I feel optimistic as there’s lots of room for us to improve.

The men came fourth but Belgium were superb in a 3-0 semi-final win. Again England fell short, losing 3-2 against Holland in the bronze play-off, but Olympic champions Germany still won 3-1 in the final.

That prompted England coach Bobby Crutchley to say: “The challenge for us now is winning these big games.”

Daily Express