News for 26 September 2013

All the news for Thursday 26 September 2013

AfHF 2013 Africa Cup for Nations and Congress Postponed

Following the tragic events in the Nairobi Westgate Shopping Mall over the past weekend, the African Hockey Federation after due consultations, has postponed the staging of the competition. A new date will be announced after further consultation. The decision in relation to this very difficult situation was reached after continuous monitoring of the situation and close consultation with the hosts the Kenya Hockey Union (KHU).

Additionally, the participating nations communicated their challenges which were seriously considered in reaching the final decision.

Similarly, Congress which was scheduled to take place during the competition has also been postponed and a new date will be announced in due course.

In a message to all Member Association of the Federation, the AfHF extend its apologies for the postponement and thanked all individuals and organizations for their support. The AfHF called for support for the Kenyan people at a very trying time in the life of the Nation.

African Hockey Federation media release

Africa Cup hockey tournament postponed

In a brief media statement released Wednesday, the South African Hockey Association said that the Africa Cup of Nations tournament, which was due to begin in Nairobi, Kenya this week, has been postponed until further notice.

A new tournament date will be arrived at by the African Hockey Federation in consultation with the Kenyan Hockey Union as soon as is possible.

The South Africa men’s hockey team and the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team are the reigning African champions and were due to defend their titles.

The Africa Cup of Nations is also a 2014 Hockey World Cup qualifier tournament. The winners would qualify as the African continent’s representatives at the four-yearly showpiece, due to be held in The Hague, Netherlands in June next year.

Several of the participating Africa Cup countries have been unable to secure permission from their national authorities to travel to Kenya based on assessments of the current situation in Nairobi.

The concurrent AfHF Congress will also be postponed accordingly and a new date will be communicated in due course.

SA Hockey Association media release

Ghana Hockey teams face financial difficulties ahead of Nations Cup

Rasheedat Kadiri

The male and female senior national hockey teams, the Black Sticks are set to leave Ghana on Saturday September 28 for the Hockey Africa Cup of Nations in Kenya but without funds.

Eight countries were initially billed for the one week tournament but Namibia and Nigeria have had to pull out due to funding. Ghana may join the two sides who have pulled out for the same reasons as the black Sticks are yet to raise the GHc 150,000 they need for the competition which begins on October 1.

Meanwhile head Coach of the male team, Winfred Sackey tells JOY Sports "We will not relent in their efforts to source for funding after government’s failure to fund us.

We have been preparing for this tournament since March so we will do all it takes to get to Kenya. We have turned to a few companies for sponsorship.

We hope some positive results will come out soon." The coach also appealed to corporate Ghana even though it is on a short notice, to help sponsor the two teams for the competition." He added.

The black sticks have been in camp since March this year and are hoping to reach the ultimate and also qualify for next year’s world cup in the Netherlands.

Myjoy Online

Malaysia down England

by  Satwant Dhaliwal

Malaysia recorded their third win in as many matches when they defeated England 3-1 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

The win has given the host the edge in the race to qualify for Sunday’s final and they only require a point from their next wto matches against Pakistan (Thursday) and India (Saturday).

Malaysia scored all three goals from penalty corners but are concerned about the effectiveness of their strikers.

“While it is good that our penalty corners are working, we need to be sharper in the semi circle as we created a lot of chances but could not put them away,” said Malaysian team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.

“It was a hard fought game, no question about that. Now we are up against the two top Asian teams and they too are in the race for a place in the final.”

Malaysia forced a penalty corner in the 2nd minute and it was not properly executed. A follow on penalty corner was muffed when the players tried to play a set piece that went horribly wrong.

However Malaysia got it right at the third time of asking as Mohd Shahril Saabah converted a penalty corner in the 9th minute, sending his drag flick into the far corner, giving Jay Gibson no chance whatsoever.

Kavin Khartik was hit in the face in the 18th minute and lost a couple of teeth in the process.

England nearly drew level in the 30th minute from their first penalty corner as the attempt by Phillip Roper was well saved by Malaysian keeper Muhd Hafizuddin Othman.

The rebound fell to David Rhys and his point blank shot hit Hafizuddin who managed to turn around and sweep the ball away from crossing the line.

Malaysia turned on the screw in the second half as Izad Hakimi and Shahril scored from penalty corners. England pulled one back in the 61st minute through a penalty cornera as well with Peter Bull finding the mark.

Korea saw victory snatched away from them as they conceded an equaliser six seconds from time against Argentina at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

It was heartbreak for the Korean to draw the match 2-2 as they had twice taken the lead in a match they really should have won.

“It was our best performance thus far and I can understand how sad the boys are. That is why we keep saying is a 70 minutes match and one should not take it easy<’ said Korean coach Kim Young Kyu.

“But Argentina too had many chances to seal the match and I guess in the end it’s a fair result.”

The two teams both lost their opening matches, Argentina 4-2 to Malaysia and 3-2 to India while Korea were on the losing end Pakistan (3-0) and Malaysia (5-1).


Argentina 2 Korea 2
Malaysia 3 England 1
Pakistan X India X

Fixtures Thursday

1605 – England v Argentina
1805 – Korea v India
2005 – Malaysia v Pakistan.

Official Sultan of Johor Cup site

India put four past Pakistan

by  Satwant Dhaliwal

India turned on a sizzling display of attacking hockey to defeat Pakistan 4-0 in a clash of the archrivals at the Sultan of Johor Cup in Johor Baru.

The defeat was Pakistan’s first in the tournament while India remains unbeaten an on course for a place in Sunday’s final.

“It was a great performance from the players and I am both happy and proud. The players played to instructions, not falling into playing the pace of our opponents in the first half,” said Indian team manager baljit singh Saini who coached the team last year.

“The win was as a result of the ability of the players to finish off the chances created and this augurs well for our quest to make the final.”

India are a win away from the final and should achieve it by defeating South Korea on Thursday while Pakistan face a daunting task of trying to get a win over hosts Malaysia.

Pakistan started off on a fast pace while India was contend with stroking the ball around, awaiting the Pakistani players to make mistakes.

It was Pakistan that had a first look at goal via a penalty corner by Mohammad Tousiq in the 5th minute. But Indian custodian Harjot Sing was equal to the task.

Pakistan then had India pinned in defence as Umar Bhutta, Muhammad Dilber and Muhammad Umair strung some neat passes together but could not pose a danger on the goal.

India was awarded a penalty corner in the 15th minute and Amit Rohidass drag flick came off the upright.

It was a rather lackluster affair for the rest of the half as play was confined to the midfield area.

India came out of the tunnel looking refreshed in confidence and took two minutes to win a penalty corner.

Amit Rohidass relayed the ball to Sukhmanjit Singh whose pile driver of a flick sailed into the roof off the net to give India a1-0 lead.

And suddenly Pakistan were put on the back foot as India rallied in search of more goals and they were duly rewarded.

Imran Khan doubled the advantage in the 45th minute after a fine dribble by Harjeet Singh on the right flank and made a square pass to Imran Khan to slot into an empty goal with Mazhar wrong footed.

Barely had the cheers died down that India were awarded a penalty stroke when Ramandeep Singh was brought down in full flight by Tousiq. Up stepped Sukhmanjit to put the ball past Mazhar for a 3-0 lead.

In the 61st minute Kothajit Singh broke through on the left and set up a simple tap in for Ramandeep Singh to score India’s fourth and the humiliation was complete.

Official Sultan of Johor Cup site

Last gasp equaliser stuns Korea

by  Satwant Dhaliwal

Korea saw victory snatched away from them as they conceded an equaliser six seconds from time against Argentina at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

It was heartbreak for the Korean to draw the match 2-2 as they had twice taken the lead in a match they really should have won.

“It was our best performance thus far and I can understand how sad the boys are. That is why we keep saying is a 70 minutes match and one should not take it easy," said Korean coach Kim Young Kyu.

“But Argentina too had many chances to seal the match and I guess in the end it’s a fair result.

The two teams both lost their opening matches, Argentina 4-2 to Malaysia and 3-2 to India while Korea were on the losing end Pakistan (3-0) and Malaysia (5-1).

Korea went into attack from the first whistle but wasted penalty corners in the 5th and 10th minutes.

And they failed to take advantage of the fact that Argentina were playing with one man less as Lucas Martinez was yellow carded in the 5th minute.

Nam Yun Seon, the Korean tasked to execute their penalty corners showed that he lacked the power when he once again sent a tame drag flick into Argentinian keeper Augustin Gutierrez who was fielded instead of Tomas Matias.

After withstanding the Korean onslaught, Argentina struck in the 30th minute as Manuel Nicolas broke through the centre and laid on a pass for Martinez who had the presence of mind to chip the ball overr on rushing Lee Se Young in the Korean goal for a 1-0 lead.

The Pan American Junior champions looked sharper in the second half as they begun to move the ball around confidently and they could have doubled their lead in the 47th minute from their second penalty corner of the game, but Lautaro Diaz’s low flick struck the upright and went out of danger.

At the other end the Koreans came close to levelling the scores when Yun Ho Yeon broke into the Argentinian circle after easily beating three Argentinian defenders, however his reverse stick effort went inches wide.

The Korean’s continued their onslaught and their hard work eventually paid off in the 52nd minute when Kim Ki Hoon raced down the left flank before squaring the ball back for Hwang Weon Ki to tap home into an empty net.

Chances came thick and thin for the South Koreans but they fired blanks in front of goal.

However in the 69th minute the Koreans stole the lead courtesy of an own goal when Joaquin Terezza deflected home a cross from a South Korean player.

What looked to be all three points for Korea was dashed in the final ten seconds of the match as the South American’s levelled the scores thanks to an own goal from Nam Yun Seon.

Official Sultan of Johor Cup site

Hard man to please


Malaysia’s Zainol Muhd Hafiz (left) tries to get past England’s Taylor Luke in their Sultan of Johor Cup match at Taman Daya Stadium yesterday. Pic by Hairul Anuar Abd Rahim

MALAYSIA beat England 3-1 for their third consecutive win in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.

But it was not a comprehensive win, as coach K. Dharmaraj's boys dominated every department but lacked the final killer touch when presented with sitters.

Goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman was the player of the match as he produced some superb saves to hand Malaysia the win.

The team received a standing ovation from the full stadium, as they cool down but Dharmaraj is still expecting more from his charges.

"It is good that we won our third consecutive match, but I am still not happy with the overall performance as the players missed too many penalty corners and also sitters.

"This is the team which is going to play in the (New Delhi) World Cup and they can't continue playing like they did today," said Dharmaraj.

The coach also said their real test starts today against Pakistan and India on Saturday.

"We have nine points, but the real test for the players is against India and Pakistan who both have matured players. Even before the tournament started, we knew that we needed to beat these two teams to gauge our preparations for the World Cup," said Dharmaraj.

It was a first half full of zest and determination, but Malaysia only had one goal to show after 35 minutes as the forwards kept bungling their chances.

Malaysia had three penalty corners, against England's one, and scored off their third attempt in the ninth minute.

Shahril Saabah's whole-body drive went crashing into the back of the net, and the crowd expected more goals to follow, but the game turned robust instead, with Kavin Kartik receiving a blow to his jaw which drew blood.

After the breather, England were as robust as ever, and the smaller built Malaysians were tumbling all over the pitch when push came to shove.

In the 41st minute, Malaysia's Firhan Ashaari and England's Rhys Goodfield were flashed the yellow card as the game turned physical.

Malaysia started to look more dangerous as the game progressed, and off the fifth penalty corner in the 43rd minute, Kavin's push was deflected in by Izad Hakimi for a 2-0 cushion.

There was never any doubt after that goal, that Malaysia would not nail full points, but Shahril Saabah made sure with another sizzling penalty corner drive in the 56th minute.

England scored their consolation in the 60th minute when their skipper Peter Bull perfected a penalty corner.

New Straits Times

India thrash Pakistan 4-0 in Sultan of Johor Cup

JOHOR BAHRU (Malaysia): India pumped in four goals in the second session in a sizzling display of attacking hockey to post a comprehensive 4-0 victory over arch-rivals Pakistan in the Sultan of Johor Cup Under-21 tournament on Wednesday.

The Indians, who completely outplayed their opponents, struck three goals in a space of 11 minutes after resumption through Sukhmonjit Singh (38th and 46th minutes) and Imran Khan (45th) before Ramandeep Singh fired in his fourth goal of the tournament in the 61st minute.

It was a spectacular performance by the Indians in the second half that saw them win by a huge margin over the Pakistanis who were on equal terms with their neighbours till the half time.

The Indians were a completely different outfit in the second session, which turned out to be a completely one-sided affair as they dictated the pace of the game by using both the flanks well and distributing the ball nicely to mount raids into the rival's striking circle almost at will.

With Wednesday's win, their third on the trot, India are on top of the league table along with hosts Malaysia with nine points from three victories from as many matches. The Indians are in a strong position to make it to the final.

With two matches left to be played by all six teams in the fray, Pakistan are on third spot with six points, Argentina and Korea on one point each, while England are yet to open their account.

The top two teams after the round robin matches will play in the final, while the third and fourth-place outfits will fight for the bronze medal.

The first goal came in the third minute into the second half from India's fourth penalty corner. Amit Rohidas did not take the strike and instead relayed to Sukhmonjit who slammed the ball home with a pile driver.

Imran Khan then made it 2-0 for India in the 45th minute as he connected a fine pass from the right by Harjeet Singh. Ramandeep then earned a penalty stroke in the next minute and Sukhmonjit scored his second goal of the match and shut the game on Pakistan.

It was, however, Pakistan who started off the match on a fast pace while India were content with stroking the ball around, awaiting the Pakistani players to make mistakes.

Pakistan had a first look at the goal via a penalty corner by Mohammad Tousiq in the fifth minute but Indian custodian Harjot Sing was equal to the task.

The Pakistan trio of Umar Bhutta, Muhammad Dilber and Muhammad Umair strung some neat passes together but could not pose a danger on the Indian goal.

In the 15th minute, India almost earned the lead but Amit Rohidas's drag-flick off a penalty corner hit the upright.

India came out in the second session with all guns blazing and took just three minutes to earn a penalty corner and take the lead.

Instead of taking the shot himself, Amit Rohidas relayed the ball to Sukhmonjit whose flick sailed into the roof of the Pakistani net.

The second goal came in the 45th minute from a fine effort by Harjeet Singh who dribbled past a couple of defenders on the right flank and sent a square pass to Imran Khan who slotted the ball into an empty goal with Pakistan goalkeeper Mazhar wrong-footed.

Barely had the cheers died down that India were awarded a penalty stroke when Ramandeep was brought down in full flight by Tousiq inside the striking circle. Sukhmonjit stepped up to put the ball past Mazhar for a 3-0 lead.

In the 61st minute, Kothajit Singh broke through on the left and set up a simple tap in for Ramandeep to score India's fourth goal and the humiliation was complete.

India play Korea in their fourth round-robin league match on Thursday.

The Times of India

India thrash greenshirts 4-0 in one-sided tie

The victorious team is a win away from the final and will face South Korea in a match on Thursday. PHOTO: Sultan Johor Cup 2013

KARACHI: Pakistan were stunned by a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of arch-rivals India in the Sultan of Johor Cup junior hockey tournament in Johor Bahru, Malaysia yesterday.

The defeat has left Pakistan in a must-win situation for the remaining two matches against leaders Malaysia and Argentina in order to book a place in the final.

India and Malaysia are now the main contenders to battle for the title after winning three matches on the trot.

Pakistan  started off well against the old foes, but failed to carry the momentum after missing a couple of opportunities.

Mohammad Tousiq’s penalty-corner in the fifth minute was remarkably saved by India goalkeeper Harjot Singh. Following this, India’s defence averted a well engineered attack from the trio of captain Umar Bhutta, Mohammad Dilber and Mohammad Umair.

India then took control and gained the lead from a second penalty-corner in the first-half as Sukhmanjit Singh struck the ball past goalkeeper Mazhar Abbas. Through repeated attacks, Imran Khan made the score 2-0 in the 45th minute while the lead was tripled by Sukhmanjit.

Ramandeep Singh completed the 4-0 mauling with a goal in the 61st minute.

Pakistan now face the high-flying hosts today, needing a victory to keep their chances alive for the final.

Malaysia replaced Pakistan on top of the table after overcoming England 3-1, while Korea were held to a 2-2 draw by Argentina after a last gasp goal in another match yesterday.

The Express Tribune

India thrash Pakistan 4-0 in Sultan of Johor Cup

JOHOR BAHRU: In a dazzling second-half show, India whipped archrivals Pakistan 4-0 in a round-robin league match of the invitational U-21 Sultan of Johor Cup Hockey Tournament on Wednesday. Sukhmanjit Singh (38th and 46th), Imran Khan (45th) and Ramandeep Singh (61st) scored for India in what turned out to be a totally one-sided contest. The teams were locked 0-0 at half-time.

This was India’s third straight win while Pakistan lost their first game in three outings. India and Malaysia are level on points (nine from three wins each) but the hosts are No. 1 in the six-team championship with a better goal-difference. India play Korea while Pakistan and Malaysia lock horns in key games on Thursday. A win against Korea should ensure India a spot in Sunday’s final. “It was a great performance from the players and I am both happy and proud. The players played to instructions, not falling into playing the pace of our opponents in the first half,” said Indian team manager Balajit Singh Saini, who coached the team last year. “The win was as a result of the ability of the players to finish off the chances created and this augurs well for our quest to make the final,” the former Olympian added.

India looked a galvanized lot after the breather. Sukhmanjit scored in the 38th minute from India’s second penalty corner of the game after his first-half effort hit the woodwork. It was a crisp finish after the Indians employed an indirect set piece. Imran’s 45th minute field goal showed the Pakistan defence in poor light and after Sukhmanjit converted a stroke in the 46th, the Pakistanis looked completely gutted. Unlike the Indians, the Pakistanis had experience in their team but they looked completely out of sorts.

The hard-working Ramandeep Singh completed the rout in the 61st minute. It was a brilliant field goal and the best of the match. Imran and Mohammed Amir Khan set up Ramandeep with a simple finish after a sizzling move down the centre left the Pakistanis gasping. With Pakistan making very little effort to hit back, India defended easily and even changed goalkeepers. India struggled to beat Argentina and England in their opening games but they looked good in a big game like Pakistan.

The Daily Times

Malaysia aim for top-five finish in Women’s Asia Cup


PETALING JAYA: Malaysia are looking to salvage some pride when they face Taiwan in today’s classification playoffs for fifth to eighth placing of the Women’s Asia Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Thursday.

Malaysia’s target was to reach the semi-finals. They failed to do so after finishing third in Group A behind China and India. Defending champions China topped the group with the maximum nine points followed by India on six. Malaysia ended up with only three points, courtesy of their 6-0 win over bottom side Hong Kong.

“Now we will settle for nothing less than a top-five finish,” said Malaysia coach Mohamed Nasihin Nubli.

“The 2-0 loss to India on Tuesday was tough on the team, but the tournament is not over yet. We have one more match and the players are ready to put their disappointment behind them. We came with the goal of finishing in the top four. But now, we are in the position to finish fifth and we’ll grab it,” said Nasihin.

Malaysia, however, will be without first-choice rightback Raja Noorsharina Raja Shabuddin. She suffered a concussion after Tuesday’s match against India. The 22-year-old has been given a two-week medical leave.

Eighteen-year-old youngster Fatin Syafiqah will fill up the spot.

“Fatin is a good young player that can play in both defence and midfield. She’s the right person for the job. She was one of our best players in last year’s tournament so I’m sure she will rise to the occasion again,” said Nasihin.

With nothing much to lose, Nasihin is likely to send in a more attack-minded team today with Siti Nor Amalina and Noraini Abdul Rashid up front.

“We played quite defensively against China and India. Taiwan may have lost 16-2 to South Korea in the Group B match, but they can play hockey. We won’t take them lightly but we’ll explore more attacking options,” said Nasihin.

In today’s semi-finals, Group B winners South Korea will take on India while China will face Japan.

The Star of Malaysia

Indian women take on high-scoring Korea in semis

China play Japan in the second semifinal. The tournament champions get a direct entry in the World Cup next year.

With an eye on next year's hockey World Cup, Indian women play South Korea in a semifinal match of the 8th  Asia Cup in Kuala Lumpur today. China play Japan in the other semifinal.

India claimed a hard-fought 2-0 win against Malaysia, with Poonam Rani and Lily Chanu Mayengbam both scoring crucial second half goals to end the host nation's title and World Cup qualification ambitions. The result sealed a second place finish in Pool A behind China, who on Tuesday powered to a 7-0 win over Hong Kong China to make it three tournament wins out of three.

Korea continued their superb run of form with a blistering 16-2 win against Chinese Taipei to seal their place at the top of Pool B, while Japan confirmed their place in the competition semifinals with a thoroughly convincing 12-0 drubbing of Kazakhstan.

With Asia's four finest teams powering into the semis, Thursday's matches are expected to be incredibly close and fiercely contested.

Pool A runners up India face a mammoth task when they face Pool B winners Korea, a side that has scored a breath-taking 31 goals in just three matches.

The second semifinal sees Pool A winners China butting heads with Japan, the runners up from Pool B. China will be favourites, but Japan are more than capable of battling their way into the tournament final.

NDTV Sports

Women Asia Cup-Head to head of semifinalists

By B.G.Joshi

Team P W D L GF GA
KOR-IND 7 3 1 3 16 16
CHN-JPN 7 3 2 2 7 8

Umpire Ayanna McClean honored for her 50th international match at the 2013 Women's Pan American Cup

Rebecca Kanter

Umpire Ayanna McClean from Trinidad & Tobago was honored for her 50th international match at the 2013 Women's Pan American Cup during the match between Mexico and Chile on September 25th, 2013.

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Western Railway clinch MHA-Super League hockey title

Sudheendra Tripathi

MUMBAI: What's in a name, they say. Well, if the name is Chinglen Sana, it makes a huge difference. The India international scored a brace and shepherded Western Railway to the Mumbai Magicians-Mumbai Hockey Association-conducted Super League title at the Mahindra Stadium on Wednesday.

Western defeated Indian Navy 4-2 to walk home with a glittering trophy and Rs 100,000 cash award. Navy for their part, had to be content with the runner's up trophy and Rs 60,000.

"It made a huge difference today," Western Railway coach Sunil Kumar Singh said about Sana's influence on the game. "He is an international player. His presence not only boosts the confidence of his teammates, but also puts the opposition under pressure. It worked well for us. He also scored a couple of goals," he added.

Speaking about the match, Singh said: "We went all out. All the plans and strategies we had drawn, were implemented to the T. I am really satisfied with today's performance."

Sana, however, chose to play down his performance. "It was a team effort," he said, but admitted that being in the national team helped because he could come up with some vital inputs. "The advantage of being an international is you get to work with the best coaches and support staff. It is a great learning process and I tried to implement what I learnt in the camps. My coach also welcomed my inputs. But other than that, I don't think I made any difference. On the playing field, we played as a unit and won as a team," he said.

Navy coach, P L Murugappan was satisfied with the team's overall performance but felt that his team lacked maturity and that is why they lost in the final.

"The thing is our boys are very young and some of them are playing the Super League for the first time. I guess they lacked the acumen to play in a big match like this. I am sure with time, they will improve a lot. Chinglen (Sana) also was a young and immature lad but because he is playing with senior pros he has improved so much. Clearly, he made a huge difference. I am confident that my boys will be the team to beat once they mature a bit," he said.

Results: Western Railway 4 (Kuldeep Singh 29th min, Chinglen Sana 38th, 48th, Stanli Minz 54th) beat Indian Navy 2 (Faheen Khan 39th, 68th).

Awards: Player of the tournament: Devinder Walmiki (Central Railway) cash award of Rs 7,000; Best goalkeeper: Avdhoot Solankar (Central Railway) Best defender: Kuldeep Singh (WR); Best midfielder: Ksh Wangamba (UBI); Best forward: Usaf ur Rehman (UBI), all received a cash award of Rs 3,000 each.

The Times of India

City's famed hockey nursery gets the govt's short shrift

Harshraj Singh

Players at Malwa Hockey Academy, which happens to be the nursery of India hockey player Akashdeep Singh, have been deprived of a shot at international glory. 

Each trainee of the illustrious academy, which is run at Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School at Model Gram here, is entitled to receive a kit comprising a pair of shoes, shin guards, a hockey stick and mouth guard every year, but have not received the benefit since 2011, claims Jagbir Singh Grewal, treasurer of Ludhiana District Hockey Association.

The government-funded academy has 31 trainees on its rolls. The budding hockey players live in classrooms of the government-aided school that have been converted into makeshift dormitories.

Even their gruelling practice sessions are fraught with a risk of them suffering injuries.  "We go to practice at Prithipal Singh Hockey Stadium at Punjab Agricultural University, but often get injured as the astroturf there is not watered properly due to damaged sprinklers," said a player of the academy who did not wish to be named. HT Ludhiana had on September 24 highlighted how water sprinklers at the stadium had been dysfunctional and buckets full of water were being used to water the turf.

Grewal said he had taken up the matter with the director of Punjab sports department. "The government should do something. Even the hockey sticks that were given to the players recently are not of good quality," he said.

Malwa Hockey Academy has two teams - one in the under-14 category, the other in the under-17 category.

Contacted, Pawan Kumar Tinu, chief parliamentary secretary (sports and youth services), said that he did not know that the players had not received new kits. "I will look into the matter and take the steps required."

District sports officer Kartar Singh said did not why the kits weren't given. "I hope they get them this year."

Malwa Khalsa Senior Secondary School principal Karanjit Singh demanded an Astroturf for the school. "At present, there is no Astroturf here. The players will benefit a lot if there is a smaller, six-a-side Astroturf pitch here."

Hindustan Times

WatDucks’ Boccard recalled to Red Lions squad

Gaultier Boccard - Waterloo Ducks. Euro Hockey League / Frank Uijlenbroek

Waterloo Ducks star Gaultier Boccard has earned a recall to Belgium’s Red Lions international team. 

Coach Marc Lammers has named Boccard along with fellow WatDuck Nicolas Dumont in a squad which contains no less than 16 players who will feature in the upcoming Euro Hockey League season. 

The Red Lions are preparing for their participation in the Hockey World League Final tournament, which takes place in New Delhi in January 2014. Lammers is hoping to build on his team’s remarkable silver medal at the Tri Finance EuroHockey Nations Championships in Boom, Belgium during the summer.

The group contains a number of players who are plying their trade in The Netherlands, including Elliot Van Strydonck, Thomas Briels (both Oranje Zwart), Simon Gougnard, Tom Boon (both HC Bloemendaal) and Jeffrey Thys (H.C. Rotterdam.

The full squad can be found below.

Red Lions squad

Goalkeepers: Jeremy Gucassoff (Racing Club de Bruxelles), Vincent Vanasch (Waterloo Ducks).

Defenders: Alexandre De Saedeleer (Waterloo Ducks), Nicolas Dumont (Waterloo Ducks), Loick Luypaert (KHC Dragons), Xavier Reckinger (Braxgata), Emmanuel Stockbroekx (KHC Dragons), Arthur Van Doren (KHC Dragons), Elliot Van Strydonck (Oranje Zwart).

Midfielders: Felix Denayer (KHC Dragons), John-John Dohmen (Waterloo Ducks), Simon Gougnard (HC Bloemendaal), Amaury Keusters (Herakles), Jerome Truyens (Racing Club de Bruxelles).

Forwards: Gauthier Boccard (Waterloo Ducks), Tom Boon (HC Bloemendaal), Thomas Briels (Oranje Zwart), Cedric Charlier (Racing Club de Bruxelles), Tanguy Cosyns (Daring), Sébastien Dockier (Beerschot), Jeffrey Thys (H.C. Rotterdam), Florent van Aubel (KHC Dragons).

Euro Hockey League media release

Four matches, four wins for Waterloo Ducks

Euro Hockey League / Frank Uijlenbroek

BELGIUM: Waterloo Ducks were the runaway winners of the Belgian league last season and it would seem that they are keen for a repeat performance in the 2013-14 season.

The team recorded a 3-1 victory over Daring at the weekend, a result which made it four wins from four matches. Nicholas Vandiest, Alex de Paeuw and Charles Masson were all on target for WatDucks. The team are clearly in excellent shape, and will be looking to bring that impressive form into next month’s Euro Hockey League Round 1. 

Fellow EHL representatives Racing Club de Bruxelles and KHC Dragons were also weekend winners, with the Racing Rats crushing Braxgata 5-1 while the Dragons edged past Namur 4-3.

Waterloo Ducks currently sit at the top the Audi Hockey League having earned 12 points from their four matches. Beerschot sit second with ten points, ahead of Dragons and Racing who have nine and eight points respectively.

Euro Hockey League media release

Table-topping East Grinstead face champs Beeston

East Grinstead's Mark Pearn

TOP of the table on goal difference, free-scoring East Grinstead take on last season’s champions Beeston in round three of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League on Saturday.

Twelve goals in their first two matches has put the Sussex side top of the early table, but they will need to be at their best if they are to preserve top spot with Beeston having battled to a hard-fought win over Reading last weekend.

“Beeston are a very able outfit and they’ve clearly started the season well,” said East Grinstead manager Matt Jones. “This is the kind of match that any Premier Division player looks forward to playing in.

“It will give us a benchmark of how this new-look East Grinstead side is shaping up. But it’s too early really to look at the table. Only after five or six games we will get a good feel for who the form teams are.”

Elsewhere Surbiton also have two wins from their first two matches, and they will be aiming to extend that run when they host Wimbledon, who bolstered their squad in the summer with the signings of several key players including Michael Hoare (from Beeston), Henry Weir (from Loughborough Students), Phil Roper (from Sheffield Hallam) and Alastair Brogdon (Waterloo Ducks, Belgium).

Other Premier Division action sees Cannock travel to Reading, while newcomers Sheffield Hallam will be aiming to secure their first win at home against Hampstead and Westminster.

Finally, Canterbury entertain Loughborough Students.

Another side to have boosted their squad significantly over the summer are Holcombe, who finished runners-up in last season’s NOW: Pensions Conference East.

With England and GB ace Barry Middleton having signed up alongside Dan Fox (from Hampstead and Westminster) they are keen to challenge for promotion, and will be aiming for another big win on Saturday when Brighton and Hove are the visitors.

Meanwhile, early leaders Southgate play host to Cambridge City.

There are only two teams left with 100 per cent records in the NOW: Pensions Conference West, and they meet each other this Saturday when Team Bath Buccaneers host Cardiff and Met.

In the NOW: Pensions Conference North last season’s runners-up Bowdon take on newcomers West Bridgford, while early leaders University of Durham travel to another side with a 100 per cent record, Brooklands Manchester University.

Meanwhile, Sunday sees the start of the NOW: Pensions Men’s Cup with 32 first round matches scheduled to take place.

NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League (Saturday, September 28 2013)

NOW: Pensions Premier Division

Canterbury v Loughborough Students 13:00
East Grinstead v Beeston 14:00
Reading v Cannock 14:00
Sheffield Hallam v Hampstead & Westminster 13:30
Surbiton v Wimbledon 18:00

NOW: Pensions Conference East
Bromley and Beckenham v Oxted 12:00
Holcombe v Brighton and Hove 14:30
Richmond v Old Loughtonians 13:30
Southgate v Cambridge City 14:30
St Albans v Teddington 13:00

NOW: Pensions Conference North
Brooklands MU v Univ of Durham 13:30
Deeside Ramblers v Belper 12:00
Leek v Olton and West Warwicks 14:00
Wakefield v Khalsa (Warks) 15:30
West Bridgford v Bowdon 13:30

NOW: Pensions Conference West
Fareham v Havant 17:00
Indian Gymkhana v Isca 14:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Cardiff & Met 13:00
Univ of Birmingham v Guildford 14:30
Univ of Exeter v Cheltenham 12:30

England Hockey Board Media release

Battle of the unbeaten teams in Investec Premier Division

Canterbury v Olton

JUST two weeks into the season there are only two teams who still have a 100 per cent record in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division – and they meet each other this weekend.

Leaders Bowdon Hightown play host to Canterbury who are second in the early table, and both sides will be aiming to maintain their good start to the season.

“We’re really looking forward to it,” said new Canterbury coach Jen Wilson. “There’s a good history of well-fought battles between Bowdon Hightown and Canterbury .

“The travelling always makes it difficult because it’s one of our longest trips, but it’s the same for them when they come down to us.

“Bowdon have got off to a good start like us, but we’re not looking too much at the table. As a team we target each game as it comes. There is plenty of quality in the league, but our focus is on ourselves rather than other sides.”

And for their part, Bowdon Hightown will be looking to replicate the fighting spirit which helped them secure a win over Leicester last weekend.

“It will be a tough match as Canterbury have some excellent players,” said manager Roger Hunt. “But as well as some experienced players we’ve got some great young talent, and they’re getting better and better with every match.”

Elsewhere, free-scoring Reading head to Beeston and will be aiming to add to the 13 goals they have scored so far.

Leicester will want to return to winning ways when they travel to Sutton Coldfield, while Clifton go to the University of Birmingham and Surbiton play host to Olton and West Warwickshire.

Ambitious Holcombe will be aiming to secure a third consecutive victory in the Investec Conference East on Saturday, when they go to St Albans.

Summer recruitment – which has included Steph Elliott (from Univ of Durham) and Laura Unsworth (from Loughborough Students) – has helped make them the only team with a 100 per cent record.

It is a similar situation in the Investec Conference North, where Whitley Bay and Tynemouth are the only team with a 100 per cent record left. They host University of Durham on Saturday.

In the Investec Conference West leaders Buckingham – who have scored an impressive 13 goals and conceded none – host Trojans. Slough are also unbeaten so far, and host Barnes.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, September 28 2013)

Investec Premier Division

Beeston v Reading 12:00
Bowdon Hightown v Canterbury 13:45
Surbiton v Olton & West Warwicks 14:00
Sutton Coldfield v Leicester 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Clifton 12:30

Investec Conference East
East Grinstead v Sevenoaks 16:00
Harleston Magpies v Wimbledon 12:30
Holcombe v Ipswich 18:00
Old Loughtonians v Chelmsford 18:00
St Albans v Horsham 15:00

Investec Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Boots 11:45
Kendal v Ben Rhydding 12:30
Loughborough Students v Wakefield 12:30
Stourport v Doncaster 12:00
Whitley Bay & Tynemouth v Univ of Durham 12:30

Investec Conference West
Buckingham v Trojans 12:00
Exe v Oxford Hawks 13:00
Gloucester City v Bristol Firebrands 12:00
Slough v Barnes 13:00
Swansea City v Isca 12:00

England Hockey Board Media release

Making hockey popular in Africa

Hockey is simply a game in which two opposing teams use sticks to move a small object into the opposing goal. It is divided into two major types ‑ field hockey and ice hockey.

Field hockey is played on an open area, traditionally grass but more modernly an artificial surface, and using a ball while ice hockey is played on an enclosed ice surface, traditionally an iced-over lake or pond but more modernly an artificial rink, and using a small rubber disc called a puck.

Unlike soccer and cricket, the game of soccer is unpopular in most – if not all – African countries.

The environment to make the game of hockey popular in the African continent is not conducive due to different factors.

Accordingly, African countries should strive to create an environment in which top hockey teams are best equipped to win medals and tournaments while simultaneously creating a vibrant social environment to ensure that players of all levels are catered for.

Hockey authorities in countries within and across the African continent should also encourage the development of hockey by introducing the young Africans not only to play but also to enjoy the family and social aspects that the game of hockey provides.

It is well known that low levels of corporate sponsorship and failure to see hockey as a big business in the continent are biggest problems facing the development of the game of hockey in African countries.

Until the level of corporate sponsorship reaches the level obtainable in other parts of the world, hockey cannot develop in the continent.

This means that governments in Africa through their respective sports ministries and other important players in the development of the game of hockey should join hands and embrace the game of hockey as an empowerment tool.

This also means to take the game of hockey to the next level; there must be a change in the present trend where governments and corporate organisations favour more illustrious sporting codes such as soccer and cricket.

Hockey should be better marketed at the All Africa Games, which is the continent’s number one sporting fiesta.

It should, therefore be the responsible authorities’ mission to provide a wholesome conducive environment and world class facilities at which one can play hockey in a competitive and sociable environment at any age.

More so, to popularise hockey in Africa, responsible authorities should come up with developmental projects.

South Africa hockey coach, Silver Malele, believes that developmental projects provide youngsters with something positive to focus their energies on.

He says, “It helps them avoid the peer pressures and socio-economic pitfalls plaguing most impoverished communities.”

Hockey authorities in the great African continent should therefore work hard to establish dedicated hockey academies and focus on promoting hockey through club development and strengthening regional or national associations.

Scouting of players should be spread to all parts – urban and rural.

Authorities should also engage public and private organisations and aim to train practitioners (volunteers and officials) and to deliver development programmes more effectively in countries across the African continent.  As hockey breaks down the barriers of generations, cultures, race, gender and income levels, governments, sponsors and hockey associations in the continent should organise coaching clinics.

The wholesome idea of these coaching clinics should be to effectively make the game of hockey more appealing; to make it popular, and at the same time develop it for the good of Africa and her citizenry.

For total transformation of hockey, coaching clinics should also target graded coaches as well as players of different age groups.  More so, the coaching clinics should focus on new rules, modern techniques, drag flick techniques, penalty corner defence strategies, taking penalty corners, formations and how to conduct practice matches. The African Hockey Federation (AfHF), the continental governing body of field hockey in Africa, should come up and religiously follow specific components on umpiring and the guidelines for establishing national umpiring development structures and plans.

The main purpose should be to make the game of hockey popular in the African continent and to increase number of participants.

Southern Times

Buckley scores twice to lead No. 4 Virginia against James Madison

Junior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone logged three saves, improving to 9-1 on the season for No. 4 Virginia. Virginia Athletics

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia defeated James Madison 6-1 on Wednesday at Turf Field.

Virginia (9-1) dominated the first half, scoring three goals on six shots while the Dukes failed to take a single shot. Virginia finished the game with a 14-6 shot advantage. It was the first time this season that James Madison, which had been averaging 20 shots per game, was held to zero shots in a half.

Senior Elly Buckley scored a pair of goals off penalty corners, including the first score of the game 10:22 into the first period. Buckley also assisted on a second-half goal that gave UVa a 5-0 lead, sending a pass through the circle to senior Hadley Bell who tapped in the ball for the score.

“I challenged the team to come out and play like a team because of the struggle we had against Richmond in that midweek game,” Virginia head coach Michele Madison said. “They convinced me they were ready and they definitely put it out there and worked together. I think we got back to our build-up and getting numbers around the ball. When they play together and let the system work, you end up with the ball in front of the goal.”

Freshman Riley Tata scored twice in the first half. Tata caught the goalie leaning out of the cage when the ball was loose in front, wrapping the ball around the goal post for the score. Tata also knocked in an on-target pass from fellow freshman Lucy Hyams with just under three minutes remaining in the first half.

The Cavaliers added a sixth goal to the tally when senior Chloe Pendlebury fired off a pass from outside the circle that deflected off a JMU player for an own goal. The Dukes scored their lone goal of the contest three minutes later on a third-chance shot after a penalty corner.

Junior goalkeeper Jenny Johnstone logged three saves, improving to 9-1 on the season.


Words of Wisdom from the Pan American Cup

The end of September is quickly approaching and so is the heart of field hockey season in the United States. Nothing compares to the rush of hockey. The ability to feel the ball vibrate through your fingertips and sail through the air to defy gravity is pure pleasure. Whether you are maneuvering through cones or competitive opponents, the skills remain the same even at the Pan American Cup.

The game provokes creativity. As athletes might have to adjust to certain scenarios or situations, so does their foot-work, stick position and speed. Although skills and fitness are vital in an athlete’s success on the pitch, another valuable quality is the power of positive thinking. Having a positive mindset will heighten confidence, leadership thus translating to stronger decision-making on the pitch.

Halfway through season, athletes may find a need for an additional surge of motivation to make a statement during the second half of matches. For an extra kick of energy, all the way from Mendoza, Argentina, the U.S. Women’s National Team brings you into their huddle for a mid-season pep talk. 

Words of Wisdom from the U.S. Women’s National Team:

Alesha Widdall:
Play like every moment could be your last.

Stefanie Fee: It's not about the minutes you play. It is about making the minutes count.

Kathleen Sharkey: My advice would be to take one game at a time. Do not get frustrated after a loss. Instead try and learn from it and look to improve for the next game. Also, enjoy and appreciate each day with your teammates because the season goes by fast. 

Lauren Crandall: Work hard and make sure you have fun!  If you can mask all the hard work it takes to be successful through your love of the game, you will have the best repeatable recipe for success! – Lauren Crandall

Katie Reinprecht: Don't take practice time for granted. Although it's easy to get caught up in the monotony of practice by simply going through the motions, it is important to embrace each practice as an opportunity to improve as player and ultimately help your team succeed. Always remember there is something to be gained from every game, no matter the level of difficulty.

Jamie Montgomery: My advice is work hard and have fun! Winning is an outcome, the process is the part that matters most and if you enjoy that, you're on the right path.

Jackie Kintzer: I've always found the most success in hockey when I enjoy it. There are times to be serious and focus on tactics, fitness, and skills but keeping the atmosphere fun and sometimes incorporating silly games where everyone is involved allows me to refocus and recharge.

Cheer on Team USA tomorrow September, 26 at 5:30 p.m. ET as they take on Canada in the Semi-Finals of the Pan American Cup. Follow @usafieldhockey on Twitter for live updates!

USFHA media release