News for 07 Septembert 2013

All the news for Saturday 7 September 2013


SA Hockey teams named for Africa Cup

JONATHAN COOK


The South African Hockey Association has released the names of the players who will represent South Africa at the Africa Cup of Nations in Nairobi, Kenya from September 26 to October 5.

The winners will qualify for the 2014 World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands in May/June next year.

The SA men and women are the defending champions, having won the last event in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe in September 2011.

Egypt, SA’s biggest opponents for Africa supremacy in the men’s tournament, have withdrawn due to the political unrest in their country. There will be six men’s teams at Nairobi’s City Park Stadium, South Africa, Ghana, Nigeria, Seychelles, Namibia and hosts Kenya.

The six women’s teams who have entered are South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Namibia and Tanzania.

Western Province’s star goalkeeper Jacque le Roux and defender Matt Guise-Brown return to the SA men’s team.

Beijing 2008 Olympian striker Geoff Abbott makes a return to the side after a lengthy absence, while London 2012 Olympics defender Andrew Cronje is back after a year out of the international game.

The new caps are SA U21 defenders Dylan Swanepoel of Stellenbosch and Mohamed Mea of Durban.

Six players who represented the SA men’s team at the World League semi-finals in Malaysia in July have been omitted for various reasons. They are goalkeeper Gowan Jones (KZN Raiders), defenders Francois Pretorius (Northern Blues) and Lance Louw (Southern Gauteng) and strikers Craig Haley (Western Province) and Miguel da Graca (SG).

Six players who represented the Investec South Africa women’s team at the Investec World League semi-finals in London in June have been omitted for various reasons, including the unavailable Southern Gauteng superstars Pietie Coetzee and captain Marsha Cox.

The other players left out are goalkeeper Phume Mbande of Northern Blues, defender Nicolene Terblanche (NB), midfielder Tarryn Bright (Western Province) and striker Dirkie Chamberlain (NB).

World Cup 2010 goalkeeper Hanli Hattingh is back, while London 2012 Olympians Bernie Coston and Lisa Deetlefs return after injury. Christine Roos and Celia Evans are also back in the team, while Kaila Flemming makes her debut.

SA TEAMS

Men: Rassie Pieterse (Southern Gauteng), Jacque le Roux (Western Province), Andrew Cronje (WP, Rhett Halkett (vice-capt, WP), Matt Guise-Brown (Northern Blues), Jethro Eustice (SG), Dylan Swanepoel (SA U21), Mohamed Mea (SA U21), Austin Smith (capt, WP),  Jonty Robinson (NB), Clint Panther (SG), Wade Paton (KZN Raiders), Tim Drummond (KZN Raiders), Taine Paton (KZN Raiders), Julian Hykes (SG), Geoff Abbott (KZN Raiders), Pierre de Voux (WP), Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP). |

Women: Sanani Mangisa (Southern Gauteng), Hanli Hattingh (Western Province), Lenise Marais (KZN Raiders), Marcelle Keet (Border), Lisa Deetlefs (SG)), Illse Davids (Western Province), Celia Evans (North West), Shelley Russell (WP), Kaila Flemming (SG), Quanita Bobbs (WP), Sulette Damons (North West), Christine Roos (NB), Jade Mayne (WP), Bernie Coston (SG), Tanya Britz (Free State), Lilian du Plessis (NB), Izelle Lategan (FS), Kelly Madsen (KZN Raiders).

SA Hockey Association media release



Ritu Rani to lead Indian women's hockey team in Asia Cup

NEW DELHI: Veteran midfielder Ritu Rani will lead an 18-member Indian women's hockey team in the eighth Asia Cup to be played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from September 21 to 27.

"Hockey India Selectors BP Govinda, Surinder Kaur, Mamta Kharab, Chief Coach Neil Hawgood, Coach I S Gill and Scientific Advisor Matthew Tredrea alongwith Government Observer Harbinder Singh selected the 18 players and 6 standbys during the trials conducted in Patiala on August 30 and 31," HI said in a statement.

Ritu has 157 India appearances to her credit. The 18-member squad will have another mid-fielder Chanchan Devi Thokchom (88 caps) as the vice-captain.

The team's training camp is has been underway in Patiala since August 8 as final preparations for the tournament. The team will depart for Malaysia on September 16.

India are placed in Pool A with China, hosts Malaysia and Hong Kong China while Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei are placed in Pool B.

India will open their campaign against Hong Kong China on September 21 followed by China on September 22 and hosts Malaysia on September 24.

The Women's Asia Cup is the continental qualification tournament for the FIH Women's World Cup 2014 to be played in The Hague, The Netherlands from 31 May-14 June 2014.

List of 18 players is as under- Goalkeepers: Rajani Etimarpu, Savita Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Joydeep Kaur, Kirandeep Kaur, Sunita Lakra, Deepika, Namita Toppo, P Sushila Chanu, M N Ponnamma

Midfielders: Ritu Rani (Captain), Chanchan Devi Thokchom (Vice-Captain), Soundarya Yendala, Lily Chanu

Forwards: Poonam Rani, Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thokchom.

Standbys: Sanarik Chanu, Asunta Lakra, Monika Malik, Navjot Kaur, Lilima Minz, Anupa Barla.

The Times of India



Farm to form: Young hockey player picked up for Malaysia tour

More than a decade ago, a young Harjot Singh would help his father Surinder Singh on the farm at his village Amloh near Fatehgarh Sahib, about 35 km from Chandigarh. A talk with a Chandigarh hockey player once meant that the youngster enrolled in the Chandigarh Football and Hockey Academy, Sector 42, Chandigarh, and the youngster has not looked back since then.

The 18-year-old goalkeeper has been named in the Indian junior team for the Sultan of Johor Cup to be held at Johor Baru, Malaysia, from September 22 to September 29.

"It's exciting to know that I have been selected in the Indian junior team for the Malaysia tour. I was travelling at the time when I got the call. I informed my father, and he was happy to know that I will be going to Malaysia for the tournament. He said his efforts had paid off. We have a small farm at our village, and I used to assist him on the form. I started playing hockey at my village and later enrolled in the CFHA," said Singh, who studied at the Government Senior Secondary School, Sector 42.

The young goalie graduated from the Chandigarh Football and Hockey Academy in 2011 and was also a part of the academy team which toured Malaysia in 2010. After guiding Chandigarh to various junior and sub-junior national titles, Singh made a move to the rival World Series of Hockey last year and signed up for Chandigarh Comets team in last year's WSH.

But with the rival league ending and Hockey India introducing its own league, he returned to the Hockey India fold and was rewarded when he was also named in the Indian team for the Europe tour in June early this year.

The youngster also spent his time training under former Indian hockey goalie Baljeet Singh Dadhwal. "I was 10 when I joined the academy and whatever I am today is due to the academy. Late coach Jasbir Singh Bajwa and coach Gurminder Singh spent a lot of time with us. I played in WSH and spending time with players like Rehan Butt of Pakistan helped my goalkeeping skills. Besides that, I trained along with senior player Baljeet Singh Dadhwal whose inputs helped me a lot. The coming Malaysia tour will be an important one as it is for the preparation of the Junior World Cup to be held in India later this year," said Singh, who works with Punjab and Sind Bank and is currently posted in Jalandhar.

Indian Express



EHL R1 2013/14: Tickets on sale now!


Photo Frank Uijlenbroek

The Euro Hockey League is pleased to announce that tickets for Rounds 1.1 and 1.2 of the 2013/14 Edition of the competition are now available for purchase via the EHL’s online ticket sales site. The city of Barcelona (ESP) and Lille MHC (FRA) will play hosts to the world's finest club hockey tournament, with a total of twenty-four teams in action at the two venues.

Pricing for the Round 1 matches on all days are €11,50 for an adult ticket. Three-day-passes (passepartouts) cost € 27,50 for adults and € 10,00 for kids. A regular day ticket for kids cost € 5,00 (6-16 years). Please note that passepartouts can be purchased online only. Purchasing your tickets online is the cheapest way to guarantee your entry into the Round 1 events. More information about ticket sales can be found at the bottom of this page.

Round 1.1, which takes place at the Complex Esportiu Municipal Pau Negre-Parc del Migdia in Barcelona, Spain will begin on Friday 11 October and finish on Sunday 13 October 2013.

Round 1.2 takes place at Lille MHC in Lambersart, France. The event will begin on Friday 25 October and finishing on Sunday 27 October 2013.

Each event will feature twelve teams divided in four pools of three. The top two of each pool will reach the KO16 tournament. At the end of Round 1 sixteen teams remain in the competition.

There are six teams who will compete in this season’s Euro Hockey League for the first time: Harvestehuder (GER), Cardiff & Met (WAL), Surbiton (ENG), SV Kampong (NED), AZS Politechnika Poznanska (POL) and SV Arminen (AUT). The draw resulted in pools that will provide us with exciting games in both Barcelona and Lille. Some expected highlights:

In Barcelona:

·  Pool D features an EHL regular alongside two newcomers to the competition, with English champions Beeston facing first timers Harvestehuder THC (GER) and Cardiff & Met (WAL). Harvestehuder will be considered Beeston’s biggest rivals to top the pool, while it looks to be a baptism of fire for Cardiff, the first ever Welsh team to qualify for the EHL.

·  In Pool E, Spanish giants RC Polo de Barcelona will be challenged by Surbiton HC (ENG) and SV Arminen (AUT). Surbiton have long been considered to be one of the most gifted teams in England, and will be looking forward to challenging themselves against their Spanish and Austrian opponents.

In Lille:

·  Host club Lille MHC face a huge battle to fight their way out of Pool A, with Dutch champions and pre-tournament favourites H.C. Rotterdam (NED) and EHL ever-presents Reading HC (ENG) standing in their way of a place at the upcoming KO16 event. However, the home favourites will be determined to show that they are more than capable of going toe-to-toe with the European elite, and will be heavily supported by a partisan crowd.

·  Pool B features German champions KTHC Rot-Weiss Köln up against Dutch newcomers SV Kampong and SC Stroitel Brest of Belarus. The squads of Köln and Kampong are packed full of international talent including several Gold and Silver medallists from the London 2012 Olympics, and their match-up is expected to be one of the highlights of Round 1.

·  Another clash of the giants takes place in Pool C, with Belgian champions Waterloo Ducks aiming to get the better of nine times European champions HTC Uhlenhorst Mülheim of Germany. The Pool also features AZS Politechnika Poznanska (POL), who will be looking to cause an upset against their illustrious opponents and claim a place in the second phase.

The complete draw, venues and match schedule can be found by clicking here.

The EHL ticketing website is available in six different languages: English, Dutch, German, Spanish, French and Italian.

If you have any questions about your order you can contact Paylogic from Monday until Friday between 9.00 and 19.00 hrs and on Saturday between 10.00 and 17.00 hrs.

Phone: +31 (0)900 72 95 66 40 (€ 0,40 pm)
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it '; document.write( '' ); document.write( addy_text86961 ); document.write( '<\/a>' ); //--> This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Note: A quick note to all fans who are attending the Euro Hockey League Round 1 events. Food and drink is available to purchase at the dedicated areas within the venue. Please be aware that it is not allowed to bring food and drink into the venue at any stage during this Euro Hockey League competition.

Euro Hockey League media release



Hunter posts career-high 10 saves to lift the Terrapins


Natalie Hunter blanked Old Dominion as Maryland won its third game of the year.

No. 2 Maryland 3, No. 8 Old Dominion 0

NORFOLK, Va. –  Career nights from senior goalkeeper Natalie Hunter and sophomore Anna Dessoye led No. 2 Maryland to a 3-0 victory at No. 8 Old Dominion.

Hunter notched a career-high 10 saves, including seven in the second half, to preserve the shutout. Dessoye, who scored twice in the first half, has started 2013 on a hot streak for the Terrapins (3-0), with 12 points in the first three games of the season. Her two goals Friday were her third and fourth goals of the year. Dessoye matched her career-high of two goals in a game last September against Massachusetts.

Dessoye put the Terrapins on the board 13:44 in. Freshman Alyssa Parker took two shots that were saved by Old Dominion’s keeper, then Dessoye put it in the net on the third try. In the 29th minute, Dessoye scored off a pass from senior Jill Witmer to make it 2-0 before the break.

The Terrapins held their two-goal lead through most of the second half. With just more than eight minutes to play, senior Hayley Turner was given a yellow card and the Terps played the remainder of the game a player down. Despite being down a player, Hunter and the defense held the Monarchs (1-2) off through their late efforts to get on the board.

Senior Ali McEvoy scored with 3:19 to play off a penalty corner to finalize the score at 3-0.

No. 3 Princeton 3, No. 10 Duke 1

PRINCETON, N.J. – Princeton opened the season on a winning note, topping No. 10 Duke 3-1 at Bedford Field. The Tigers move to 1-0 while the Blue Devils fall to 2-1. The win also extends Princeton’s winning streak to 14 consecutive victories, a streak dating back to Sept. 28, 2012.

Princeton took the lead early, capitalizing on a penalty corner at 9:35. Senior Michelle Cesan fed the ball in and after a pair of passes to the right side of the circle, Teresa Benvenuti dished the ball inside to Cesan, who chipped in the go-ahead goal at the far post.

In the 48th minute a pair of deflected Princeton shots eventually resulted in a penalty corner. Cesan served the ball in but the Tigers could not find a clear shot in on the cage. After a scrum in front of the goal, junior Allison Evans received the ball at the baseline and lifted it into the air with a cross to an open freshman Hailey Reeves on the near post. Reeves was able to make a clean motion with the ball to send in first career goal at 50:26.

Duke’s Emmie Le Marchand converted on a penalty corner to cut Princeton’s lead to 2-1, very much bringing the Blue Devils back into the contest in the 63rd minute.

After breaking up Princeton’s shutout, Duke removed its goalkeeper and played with 11 field players. The Tigers took a long drive down the far flank and sent the ball into the circle. It would deflect toward the cage off a Blue Devil defender and senior Julia Reinprecht was there to finish it with a tap into the cage at 65:25.

No. 5 Syracuse 3, Michigan State 0

EAST LANSING, Mich. – Four goals by four different scorers led No. 5 Syracuse (3-0) to a 3-0 victory at Michigan State (1-3) at Ralph Young Field. Emma Russell, Leonie Geyer, Lauren Brooks and Karlee Farr scored goals as the Orange controlled play with a 13-3 shot advantage.

Sophomore goalkeeper Jess Jecko improved to 3-0 on the season while recording her first career shutout.

Russell, a sophomore forward, started the scoring in the 22nd minute when she came down the left side following a steal and scored her third goal of the season.

In the 35th minute, Geyer converted on a penalty corner attempt to make it a 2-0 game. The goal was the second of the season for Geyer, a senior midfielder.

In the second half, Brooks scored off an assist by Geyer giving the Orange a 3-0 lead. The marker was her third of the season and 19th of her career. The assist gives Geyer a team-high five on the year and 34 for her career, tying her with Sherri Magsam (1986-89) for fourth all-time at Syracuse.

Farr closed out the scoring in the 66th minute when she scored an assist by Russell. It was the first collegiate goal for Farr.

Temple 3, No. 6 Penn State 0

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – On the back of impressive performances from senior Molly Doyle and redshirt junior Lizzy Millen, Temple field hockey upset and shut out No. 6 Penn State (1-2) on the road by a score of 3-0. Doyle scored twice and Millen recorded six saves in the victory, which was the Owls’ first against Penn State since 1983.

The win is the second for Temple (2-1) against a Big Ten team already this season, and is only the second-ever win against Penn State in a total of 33 games between the two teams.

All three of the Owls’ goals were scored on penalty corners, of which they had four in the game while Penn State earned 12.

Doyle set the tone with a goal less than six minutes into the game off assists from Nicole Kroener and Mandi Shearer on a corner. In the 28th minute, Doyle assisted on a goal by Amber Youtz, also resulting from a corner.

The 2-0 lead held through the rest of the first half and most of the second, until Temple added one more with seven and a half minutes remaining. It was Doyle yet again, striking a shot into goal off a Penn State defender thanks to assists from Kroener and Rachel Steinman.

No. 7 Virginia 6, Yale 1

NEW HAVEN, Conn. – Virginia earned a 6-1 road victory at Yale with freshman Caleigh Foust logging the first hat trick of her career, including scoring the game-winning goal.

Riley Tata scored her third goal in three games, tapping in a long pass from senior Carissa Vittese just under 18 minutes into the game, to give Virginia (3-0) a 2-0 lead.

The Cavaliers led 5-0 when Yale’s Gabrielle Garcia broke up the shutout, taking off on a breakaway and getting around Virginia junior goalie Jenny Johnstone at the 44:43 mark.

Virginia dominated the pace of play and the action, outshooting Yale 30-5 in the Bulldogs’ season opener and the first game on Yale’s new blue AstroTurf playing surface.

Senior Elly Buckley added to her team-leading points tally with back-to-back goals scored 80 seconds apart in the first five minutes of the second half. Buckley also had an assist, setting up Virginia’s first goal of the game, scored by Foust 10:09 into the contest. Buckley scored both of her goals on passes from Chloe Pendlebury, one off a corner and the other a shot after a cross from the far side of the circle.

NCAA



PM takes notice of hockey team’s dismal show

Mohsin Ali


ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has taken strong notice of Pakistan Hockey team’s dismal performance in the 9th Asia Cup in Malaysia, where Pakistan team failed to qualify for the Hockey World Cup.

These views were expressed by Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) minister Syed Riaz Pirzada while talking exclusively to The Nation on Friday. He said the hockey team had let the entire nation down and these results were by no means acceptable to masses and government of Pakistan.

“Hockey federation had been provided with exceptional amount of funds and they can’t present lame excuses in this regard. The team should have prepared well as they were depended on Asia Cup to earn the right to play in the world cup.”

He said they had decided to constitute special wings for female sports and we will also encourage journalists to participate in different sporting activities and they would take all the steps to fill the empty grounds of the country.

“We would also encourage sports at school and college levels, as it is the best nursery to provide raw and fresh talent to the country for future medals and we have already written letters to provincial governments in this regard. It is quite unfortunate that millions of Pakistani’s can’t even produce one gold medal winner at international level and everyone is fully aware about the poor state of affairs of sports in the country.”

Replying on a query minister said: “We have solved the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA) issue. Those who defy with government policies and disobey Supreme Court orders, a strict action will be taken against all such federations and individuals. We would not target any certain federation. It is my appeal to all parallel federations to shun differences and join hands for the promotion of sports and prepare future medal winners for the country. We are not here to act as masters or try to enforce our own self-styled policies.”

“We are here to work for the betterment and lift the ever declining standard of sports. If I was the sports minister six-months back watching such poor performance of the hockey team, I had resigned without wasting a single day.

The Prime Minister is the patron in chief of PHF and he had taken notice. We can’t appoint ad-hoc on them as their elections are round the corner and new elected body will decide the future course of action of working of the PHF,” Riaz concluded.

The Nation



Prime Minister takes notice of poor hockey performance at Asia Cup


ISLAMABAD: Minister of Inter-Provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada said on Friday that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was taking serious notice of the national hockey team for not making it to next year’s World Cup.

The minister was addressing the press at the inauguration of Inter Media Football Tournament at the Jinnah Stadium of Pakistan.

Responding to a question about the Pakistan Olympic Association (POA), Pirzada said that action would be taken against those who did not comply with the government and Supreme Court’s orders.

“We appeal to all the sports federations to conduct their body’s elections according to the National Sports Policy,” he said.

Special wing for women

He announced that special sports wings would be made to encourage women to participate.

“A letter has been sent to all the provinces to encourage sports at schools, colleges, universities and other levels,” he said.

The Express Tribune



Our heartbreaking hockey history: Do we have a future to look forward to?

By Muhammad Asif Khan



Our wakeup call should have been the last World Cup, played in India in 2010, where the Pakistan team finished last. PHOTO: FILE

The heartbreaking Friday of last week has passed with the most shocking news of the Pakistan Hockey history. The upcoming World Cup will be played without Pakistan – the country that conceived it in 1971 – for the first time in history.

A lot has been said and will be said on the defeat at the hands of South Korea in the Asia Cup, which shut the door on Pakistan, but was that the only chance Pakistan had to qualify for the mega event? Absolutely not, as the team had failed to impress in the qualifiers too.

The national hockey team has fallen into an abyss but this state is not new for the hockey followers of this country.

After winning the World Cup in 1982, the Pakistan team followed with a disastrous show in the following mega event in 1986 and finished 11th out of 12 teams, however they went on to win the silver medal in the following 1990 event and then claimed gold in the 1994 World Cup. This shows the resilience in the players which is a major factor missing today.

The incumbent management of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) kept on changing its goals ever since it took over in 2008. Many foreign coaches were brought in however only to be sacked later, the selection committee was dismantled, coaching staff was altered and a lot of such moves were made evidencing the instability in the federation altogether.

The state of affairs in our administrative side of hockey reflects the fact that appropriate measures were avoided in the recent past and our wakeup call should have been the last World Cup, played in India in 2010, where the Pakistan team finished last.

At the junior level, the PHF claims to have a large pool of players yet we have not been able to produce a good penalty-corner specialist, quality forwards or goal-keepers.

Since modern hockey is played without classical rules [off-side etc], hence, a player needs to run up and down which demands top class fitness, there is a rolling substitution available and yet fitness is where Pakistan is lacking.

The glorious era of Pakistan hockey had three great aspects about it which have gone missing in recent times; hockey – the national game – was a regular sport at the school level, club hockey was nurtured and the country’s top players were taken care of very well with permanent jobs and such.

The PHF has built academies and they will surely look towards school and club hockey as well, but their foremost priority should be the well-being of their national players.

Technique and fitness of a player can be tuned by top quality trainers; however, for mental peace – providing them jobs – the federation needs to play its part. In this regard, the 30-year age restriction for a departmental team is also a barrier which should be abolished.

The sad but true reality is that Pakistan will now be featuring in the Hockey World Cup scheduled in 2018 – if they qualify – but the national hockey administrators are now left with no other choice but to look ahead.

And all we can do is hope that this time around, they will learn from their past mistakes and make things right in the future.

The Express Tribune



Top hockey stars to feature in exhibition game

KARACHI: Top hockey stars of past and present will feature in an exhibition match to be played between Islah XI and Dr. Shah XI at 7pm on Saturday (tomorrow).

To be played under floodlights and on the latest Blue synthetic surface, which is the first of its kind in Karachi and only the second anywhere in Pakistan, the match will mark the formal opening of the Olympian Islahuddin-Dr. S.M.A. Shah Hockey Academy that will function under the patronage of the Youth Affairs Wing of the provincial sports department, Government of Sindh.

The two sides will have leading stars, including Islahuddin, Shahnaz Shaikh, Samiullah, Kaleemullah, Manzoor-ul-Hassan, Akhtarul Islam, Manzoor Junior, Hanif Khan, Hasan Sardar, Shahbaz Senior, Sohail Abbas, Ahmad Alam, Shahid Ali Khan, Jahangir Butt, Saeed Khan, Qamar Zia, Iftikhar Syed, Waseem Feroz, Qmar Ibrahim, Ayaz Mehmood, Kamran Ashraf, Farhat Khan, Masoodur Rahman, M. Irfan, Nasir Ali, Pervez Iqbal, Arif Bhopali, Khalid Paracha, Faisal Waheed, Naseem Qureishi, Arif Siddiqui, Gulfaraz, Farooq, Riazuddin and Haseem Khan.

The Islah XI will be led by Shahnaz Shaikh, while the Dr. Shah XI will be led by Dr Junaid Shah, the son of the leading Orthopedic Surgeon whose services for sports at provincial and national levels are legendary. The Exhibition match will be telecast live by Geo Super.

The Academy, with most modern facilities on the premises, will soon announce trials for Under-12, Under-14 and Under-18 streams for both boys and girls from across the province of Sindh which will be supervised by leading Olympians who will pick up the probables for further training.

Former Pakistan captain, chief Coach-cum-manager and chief selector Islahuddin will head the Academy that will be managed by the provincial sports department and run with the help of a team of Olympians and internationals who will provide coaching and guidance to the youth in an effort to promote the national game.

The News International



Veterans still going strong in Razak Cup

By AFTAR SINGH



A file photo of S. Kuhan (left) who will once again be playing for Negri Sembilan in the Razak Cup.

KUALA LUMPUR: The 51st edition of the Razak Cup in Kuantan might turn out to be a mini veterans tournament.

There are more former internationals rather than current national players.

Most of the national players have decided to take a break as they are tired after playing in the Asia Cup, which ended in Ipoh on Sunday.

With fewer national players, this year’s Razak Cup will not be as competitive and exciting.

Negri Sembilan, who finished fourth in Division One, will have the services of four former national players - ex-national skipper S. Kuhan, 37, Mohd Madzli Ikmar, 34, M. Kaliswaran, 34, and Suhaimi Ibrahim, 34.

Negri will be led by national midfielder Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil, who has been named the captain.

They also have the services of national goalkeeper S. Kumar.

Former penalty corner specialist Kuhan, who has been playing in the Razak Cup since 1993, said that although he is 37 he still loves to play hockey.

“Hockey is in my blood and I will continue playing as long as my services are needed.

“I also hope to score goals from penalty corners and help Negri finish on the podium,” said the father of two.

Negri coach S. Chandran said that they have named a mixed team of senior and junior players.

“We have included former internationals for the Razak Cup because they have the experience and will lead the juniors.

“I have named nine juniors in the team as they need the exposure in the preparation for next year’s Under-21 Malaysia Games (Sukma) in Kangar,” said Chandran.

Last year, Negri lost to Kuala Lumpur 8-4 in the third-placing match.

For this year’s Razak Cup, Negri are drawn in Group A with defending champion Terengganu, Johor and Malacca while last year’s losing finalist Pahang is in Group B with KL, Perak and Penang.

Negri will open their campaign Sunday against last year’s Division Two champions Malacca. 

The Star of Malaysia