News for 24 November 2013

All the news for Sunday 24 November 2013


Double Africa Cup for Nations glory for South Africa

World Cup berths secured thanks to continental championship success in Nairobi



Jonty Robinson overcame the effects of Dengue Fever to win Gold. (Photo: SA Hockey / Marcel Sigg)

The men’s and women’s teams of South Africa have secured their respective places at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 in The Hague, Netherlands by becoming the continental champions of Africa.

In a pulsating final day of action at the Africa Cup for Nations in Nairobi, Kenya, the South African teams were both given huge tests, but battled through to becoming the final qualifiers for the summer showpiece.

South Africa women were given a massive scare by Ghana, being forced to fight back from a 2-0 half time deficit to eventually win 3-2 courtesy of a Tanya Britz strike two minutes from full time. The final was of the closest and arguably the most exciting in the history of the competition, with Ghana fully deserving the half time lead, but second half strikes from Celia Evans and Bernie Coston tied the match ahead of the late winner. 

“It’s a big relief, an amazing feeling to have come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and realise our dream of qualifying for the World Cup in The Netherlands next year”, said South Africa captain Marcelle Keet after the match. “It took hard work and the lesson learned is that nothing comes easy.”

The South Africa men's team were also given a real run for their money, withstanding a fierce challenge from Egypt to win the men’s final 2-0. A stunning Julian Hykes action goal in the eighth minute was embellished by Clint Panther's clincher two minutes from full-time during an emotion-charged gold medal match in which a berth in the 2014 World Cup finals event in The Netherlands was at stake.

SA should have made the game safe much earlier in the second half and their eight goal shots to two underlined a superiority against an Egyptian line-up that were nevertheless in the running right until the end.

“I am elated that we have qualified for next year’s World Cup, a lot of people think it’s easy for us to win the Africa title but it is never the case”, said South Africa captain Austin Smith, who finished as the tournament top scorer and was also named player of the tournament. I’m very proud of the guys’ discipline … our management deserve congratulations too.”

Congratulations to both South African teams on reaching next year’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup.

SA Hockey Association media release



SA men's hockey team leap over the Egyptian hurdle to win Africa Cup

JONATHAN COOK at City Park Stadium, Nairobi


THE South Africa men's hockey team withstood a fierce Egypt challenge to win the Africa Cup of Nations title 2-0 after leading 1-0 at half-time.

A stunning Julian Hykes action goal in the eighth minute was embellished by Clint Panther's clincher two minutes from full-time during an emotion-charged gold medal match in which a berth in the 2014 World Cup finals event in The Netherlands was at stake.

SA should have made the game safe much earlier in the second half and their eight goal shots to two underlined a superiority against an Egyptian line-up that were nevertheless in the running right till the end.

SA men’s coach Charlie Pereira: The umpires missed some critical moments, Wade Paton got a stick to the chest from an Egyptian player, Jonty Robinson was taken out badly; those are red card moments that didn’t happen. On one occasion we were prevented from taking an attacking free-hit because defenders weren’t five yards from the ball yet no sanction was given. That should be sin-bin straight away.

To be fair, the umpiring has been fairly good this tournament and we should have put the game away early, we had plenty of opportunities, but if you don’t bury them it leaves your opponent believing they can take it, that penalty corner Egypt got with three minutes to go with us still only 1-0 up, my heart sank, but we pulled through.

African hockey has huge potential, I have been very impressed, but like us, it’s all about a lack of funding to build a sustainable international and domestic programme, but we are in the World Cup finals next year in May, and sponsors can’t now shy away, we have been talking to people but had to get this hurdle out of the way, now we can talk seriously.

SA men’s captain Austin Smith:  I am elated that we have qualified for next year’s World Cup, a lot of people think it’s easy for us to win the Africa title but it is never the case in Africa, there are so many thunderbolts and curve balls, the surface was incredibly difficult, very proud of the guys’ discipline, and today the direct physical challenge meant I am just grateful none of my players were seriously injured. Our management deserve congratulations too.

* Austin Smith was Men's Player of the Tournament, Top Men's Goalscorer (7 goals) and Overall Player of the Tournament.

SA Hockey Association media release



Investec South Africa women's hockey team qualify for World Cup

JONATHAN COOK at City Park Stadium, Nairobi


THE sheer weight of 22 goal shots with just three against had to tell - and so it did, the composed Investec South Africa women’s hockey team coming back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to draw level 2-2 after 52 long minutes before Tanya Britz scored the winner for the 3-2 final score with two minutes left (68th) in the closest, most pulsating Africa Cup of Nations women’s finals in history.

The other SA goals went to a Celia Evans scorcher in the 48th minute and a brilliant Bernie Coston deflection goal after fine work by Jade Mayne under enormous pressure.

Ace Ghana goalscorer and striker Elizabeth Opoku, later named the women's Player of the Tournament and Top Goalscorer (10 goals) had opened the scoring with a stunning deflection goal in the third minute.

SA have now qualified as Africa’s representatives at the 2014 Hockey World Cup that takes place in The Hague, The Netherlands from May 31 to June 15.

SA were without their superstars, regular captain Marsha Cox and world record goalscorer Pietie Coetzee as well as number one keeper Sanani Mangisa, but the inexperienced youngsters plus the more experienced players who have come back into the team in their absence, were able to dig deep when it really mattered.

Fabian Gregory, SA head coach in Nairobi, taking the lead role in the absence of senior head coach Giles Bonnet, said the girls in green, white and gold again let themselves down in the strike zone.

“I am proud of the way they pulled through but against a remarkably improved Ghana compared to previous African championships you simply cannot afford to be so generous with all the opportunities we let slip through our fingers.”

SA captain in Nairobi, Marcelle Keet, said her charges stuck to the game plan in the belief that they would win through in the end.

“We didn’t panic and trusted in our processes. There was never any doubt in our minds that the goals would eventually come and I must congratulate the girls on keeping their heads against a Ghana side whose play has improved incredibly since two years ago.”

Despite having eight goal shots to two in the opening 35 minutes, the Investec South Africa women's hockey team trailed Ghana 2-0 at half-time.

Serwaa Boakye turned over SA ball in her attacking third left channel, fed Cecilia Amoako who slipped her pass to ace Ghana striker Elizabeth Opoku who evaded the SA defence to open the scoring in the third minute.

In the 14th minute Janet Adampa intercepted a left-to-right diagonal overhead ball from deep in the SA third of the field and smashed a pinpoint pass to Opoku who deflected brilliantly into the roof of the net (2-0).

But it was SA who had enough in the tank to turn things around after the changeover.

More quotes:

Investec SA captain Marcelle Keet: It’s a big relief, an amazing feeling to have come back from 2-0 down to win 3-2 and realise our dream of qualifying for the World Cup in The Netherlands next year. It took hard work and the lesson learned is that nothing comes easy.

SA women’s coach Fabian Gregory:  A big disappointment was our lack of execution in the goal zone.  Our finishing was woeful in both halves, you can’t have 20-odd goal shots yet wait until just minutes before the end to take the lead. We will take the win and I am proud of the girls for coming through a difficult match but we should have burnt off the challenge by half-time.

Hats off to Ghana, though, who gave us a very tough match, despite the stats , and there is no doubt women’s hockey in Africa is getting better. Both Ghana and Kenya made us fight till the end.

SA Hockey Association media release



SA win hockey titles: Egypt and Ghana fall in the finals of the Africa Cup of Nations

By ELIZABETH MBURUGU



Kenya playing against South Africa in the Africa Nations Cup at City Park Stadium. [PHOTO: JENIPHER WACHIE/STANDARD]

South Africa men and women teams successfully retained the Africa Cup of Nations title.

South Africa men beat Egypt 2-0 while their women colleagues came from behind to beat Ghana 3-2 in the finals played at City Park Stadium in Nairobi.

The South Africans also won the single ticket reserved for Africa at the hockey World Cup, which will be held in June in The Hague, Netherlands.

The Champions rallied from behind to beat Ghana 3-2 after the West Africans had led 2-0 by the halftime whistle. Ghana’s team captain Georgina Sam said they played to their best.

“We gave it our best shot but luck was not on our side,” she said.

Elizabeth Opuku was back to haunt the South African girls’ netting her first goal of the match and her tenth of the tournament with just three minutes of play.

She was at it again in the 14th minute beating South Africa’s goalkeeper Hanli Hattingh to slot in the second for Ghana. The West Africans, ranked second in the continent, dominated the first half playing in South Africa’s side for the better part of the match.

Held at bay

Ghana’s goalkeeper Grace Mensah got her first test in the 24th minute when Lilian Du Plessis called her to action with her left shot. Ghana contained the South Africans holding on to the lead at half time.

With their title on the line South Africa came into the second half organised and determined to claim the lead and retain their title. They turned the tide against Ghana’s side and ran rings as they searched for their openner.

Their efforts paid off in the 48th minute through a Cecilia Evans field goal after she was set by Tanya Britz.

A 55th minute own goal by Nafi Umaru levelled the score and revived South Africa’s hopes of retaining the title. They fought hard and Tanya Britz snatched the victory in the 69th minute denying the Ghanaians the African crown.

The 19-year-old Britz was very happy for netting the winner.

“I’m delighted to have scored the winning goal for my country,” she said. “We fought very hard to retain the title and qualify for the World Cup.”

However South Africa women’s head coach Fabian Gregory was not happy with the team’s performance. “We did not play well. We failed to score goals conceding two in the first half,” he said

The tournament attracted five countries — Egypt, South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Tanzania — with several teams opting out.

The Standard Online



Line-up complete for Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014

South Africa men & women become the final qualifiers for The Hague



(Photo: Stanislas Brochier)

Following the conclusion of the men’s and women’s Africa Cup for Nations continental championship in Nairobi, Kenya, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is pleased to announce that the full line-up for next summer’s Rabobank Hockey World Cup in the Hague (NED) is now known.

On Saturday (23rd November), the men’s and women’s national teams of South Africa became the final qualifiers for the showpiece event thanks to a string of impressive performances at the African continental championship.

Like all of the continental championships, the big prize on offer for the winners of the Africa Cup for Nations tournaments was direct qualification to the World Cup.  South Africa men sealed their ticket to The Hague when they overcame a strong challenge from Egypt to win the final 2-0, while South Africa women secured their World Cup berth by overturning a two goal deficit to defeat Ghana 3-2.

Between 31st May and 15th June 2014, the newly-crowned African champions will be competing against the world’s finest hockey nations in The Hague’s hugely impressive Kyocera Stadium. The 15,000 capacity venue will be the perfect stage as the world’s greatest teams and most skilful players fight it out in the toughest, most competitive international hockey event imaginable. The Hockey World Cup is held every four years and ranks alongside the Olympic Games the most coveted, cherished prize in the sport.

More information about the qualifiers and the qualifying process for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup can be found below.

Rabobank Hockey World Cup – Men’s Qualifiers

Netherlands: Hosts.
Germany: Continental Champions Europe
Argentina: Continental Champions Pan America
Korea: Continental Champions Asia
Australia: Continental Champions Oceania
South Africa: Continental Champions Africa
England: 3rd place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Johor Bahru (MAS)
Belgium: 1st place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED)
New Zealand: 4th place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED) *
Spain: 5th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED). **
Malaysia: 5th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Johor Bahru (MAS) ***
India: 6th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED) ****

* Netherlands finished third in the Hockey World League Semi-Final event in Rotterdam.  As they are already pre-qualified as the host, this meant that the highest ranked fourth place finisher from both Semi-Final events earned direct qualification to the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. This place was given to New Zealand, who were fourth in Rotterdam and higher ranked than Korea at the time the event took place.
** Spain qualified as second reserve courtesy of Germany’s victory in the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships. Spain (5th in Rotterdam) were named second reserve ahead of Malaysia (5th in Johor Bahru) courtesy of a superior placing in the FIH World Rankings at the time that the event took place.
*** Malaysia qualified as third reserve courtesy of Korea’s victory in the Asia Cup 2013.
**** India qualified as fourth reserve courtesy of Australia’s victory in the Oceania Cup 2013

Rabobank Hockey World Cup – Women’s Qualifiers.

Netherlands: Hosts
Germany:  Continental Champions Europe
Argentina: Continental Champions Pan America
Japan: Continental Champions Asia
Australia: Continental Champions Oceania
South Africa: Continental Champions Africa
England: 2nd place – Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final,  London (ENG)
Korea: 3rd place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED)
New Zealand: 4th place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED) *
China: 4th place – Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final, London (ENG) **
USA: 5th place – Investec Hockey World League Semi-Final, London (ENG) ***
Belgium: 6th place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi Final, Rotterdam (NED) ****

* Netherlands finished second in the Hockey World League Semi-Final event in Rotterdam.  As they are already pre-qualified as the host, this meant that the highest ranked fourth place finisher from both Semi-Final events earned direct qualification to the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. This place was given to New Zealand, who were fourth in Rotterdam and higher ranked than China at the time the event took place.
** China qualified as first reserve courtesy of Germany’s victory in the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships.
*** With second reserves Japan and the already qualified Argentina winning the respective continental championships in Asia and Pan America, the World Cup ticket was handed to third reserves USA.
**** Belgium qualified as fourth reserve courtesy of Australia’s victory in the Oceania Cup 2013

FIH Media release



Clean Sweep for Black Sticks against Chile


Gemma Flynn and Kayla Sharland

The Black Sticks Women have won their final test against Chile in Santiago today, giving them a 3-0 series win ahead of the World League Final starting next weekend in Argentina.

However, their 3-2 win today was by far the closest game of the series, with the Black Sticks winning the previous two tests 6-2 and 7-0.  The Kiwis were 3-0 up thanks to goals from Sophie Cox, Petrea Webster and Anita Punt before Chile found the back of the net twice in the final 15 minutes.

Head coach Mark Hager said it wasn’t the best performance from his side and better decisions up front would have helped them score more goals.

“It’s a little disappointing, particularly our decision making in the attacking third. We got the ball up into the attacking third enough times, but our decisions and option taking in the circle weren’t good, which is why we didn’t get as many goals as we have in our previous games,” says Hager.

In the first half, Cox scored in the 25th minute and Petrea Webster scored a minute later and although the Kiwis created opportunities to extend their lead, they couldn’t convert and went into the second half 2-0 up. Punt was next to score in the 41st minute and with 15 minutes left on the clock, Chile scored from a penalty corner and then a last minute field goal.

The Black Sticks Women have a day off tomorrow as they travel North to Tucuman, Argentina. They then have two training sessions and a practice game against Holland ahead of their opening game of the World League Final which is against China on Sunday 1 December. All World League Final games are live on SKY Sport.

Along with China, the Black Sticks will also face current World Champions Argentina and Australia in Pool B, while Pool A includes reigning Olympic champions Holland alongside England, Germany and Korea. The format of the tournament is the same as World League Three.

Black Sticks: 3 (Sophie Cox, Petrea Webster, Anita Punt)
Chile: 2
Halftime: 2-0 Black Sticks

Hockey New Zealand Media release



Blacks Sticks disappointing in Chile win

The New Zealand women's hockey team have put in a disappointing shift in their penultimate tune-up match ahead of the World League final tournament in Argentina.

The Black Sticks beat Chile 3-2 in Santiago to sweep the series 3-0 but, after 6-2 and 7-0 wins in the first two tests, today's performance left much to be desired.

The Kiwis were 3-0 up thanks to goals from Sophie Cox, Petrea Webster and Anita Punt before Chile found the back of the net twice in the final 15 minutes.

Coach Mark Hager said better decisions up front would have helped them score more goals.

"It's a little disappointing, particularly our decision making in the attacking third.

''We got the ball up into the attacking third enough times, but our decisions and option taking in the circle weren't good, which is why we didn't get as many goals as we have in our previous games.''

The Black Sticks have two training sessions and a practice game against the Netherlands ahead of their opening game of the World League final against China on Sunday.

Black Sticks 3 (Sophie Cox, Petrea Webster, Anita Punt) Chile 2. HT 2-0.

Stuff



Surbiton beat Clifton to maintain title fight


Surbiton Reading - Sarah Page

SURBITON closed the gap to the leaders in the Investec Women’s Premier Division when they battled to a 2-0 win at Clifton on Saturday.

With the top two teams - Reading and Canterbury - playing each other in Sunday’s big match, Surbiton narrowed the gap to just two points.

Their game against Clifton looked to be headed for a 0-0 draw until Jenna Woolven popped up in the 63rd minute, tucking the ball home for the lead. And three minutes later, Sarah Page made sure of the points, scoring a second.

Bowdon Hightown are four points behind Surbiton after taking a convincing 4-1 win on the road against struggling Olton and West Warwickshire.

Lisa-Emma Crewe opened the scoring for the visitors after 15 minutes but Olton struck back through Amie Hone – only their sixth goal of the season.

The stalemate lasted until five minutes after the break with Natalie Wray finding the target to put Bowdon back into the lead. They effectively killed the game off from then on as Sophie Crosley and Fay Nash adding to the tally.

Leicester held on to fourth spot in the table, thanks to a strike from Jo Hunter. Their game against University of Birmingham was goalless until Hunter notched the only goal of the game with ten minutes remaining.

Sutton Coldfield breezed past Beeston with a comfortable 3-0 score line. Jane Sixsmith, Sarah Mills and Emma Mccabe all found the net.

Slough held on to their lead at the top of the Investec Conference West with a 4-0 victory over Trojans. After taking the lead in the eighth minute through Christie Fearnside, Philipa Newton added a second before the break. Then, in the second half, Charly Brydon and Leanne Ryan completed the task.

An injury time goal from Sarah Bell saw Wakefield lose top spot in the Investec Conference North as Ben Rhydding held them to a 3-3 draw. Wakefield were leading 3-1 going into the final ten minutes of the match but Ben Rhydding were awarded a penalty stroke. They missed the chance but amazingly rallied and still managed to draw level through Jen Wilson and Bell. Brooklands Poynton are top after beating Stourport 2-1.

Holcombe maintained their standing as top club in the Investec Conference East with a 2-1 win over Wimbledon courtesy of goals from Megan Frazer and Nicci Daly.

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, November 23 2013):

Investec Women's Premier Division:
Clifton 0, Surbiton 2; Leicester 1, University of Birmingham 0; Olton & West Warwicks 1, Bowdon 4; Sutton Coldfield 3, Beeston 0.

Investec Women's Conference East: Chelmsford 2, East Grinstead 2; Harleston Magpies 1, St. Albans 1; Ipswich 0, Horsham 4; Sevenoaks 5, Old Loughtonians 1; Wimbledon 1, Holcombe 2.

Investec Women's Conference North: Boots 2, Doncaster 1; Stourport 1, Brooklands Poynton 2; University of Durham 0, Loughborough Students 1; Wakefield 3, Ben Rhydding 3; Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 3, Kendal 0.

Investec Women's Conference West: Barnes 1, Swansea City 1; Bristol Firebrands 1, Buckingham 2; Exe 1, Gloucester City 6; Oxford Hawks 2, Isca 1; Slough 4, Trojans 0.

England Hockey Board Media release



It’s yet to sink in for highest-paid Ramandeep

Indervir Grewal


Chandigarh - After garnering much acclaim for his good performances in the last couple of months for both the senior and junior Indian teams, Ramandeep Singh created sent in the hockey circles on Friday when he became the highest paid Indian player in the Hockey India league.

The 20-year-old forward, who had a base price of only $2,600, was snapped up for a whopping $81,000 (Rs 50,00000 aprox) by the UP Wizards in the players' closed bid. That's $3000 more than India skipper and marquee player Sardar Singh, who was bought by the Delhi Waveriders last year for $78,000. Busy training with the junior India team in Delhi, Ramandeep said he was shocked when Baljit Singh Saini, coach of the junior team, called him with the news.

“I was shocked. I was expecting around Rs 20 lakh but this was beyond my imagination," said Ramandeep, who works for the PSB. "You know how I feel. I feel great," he added, in a tone that was a mix of humility and disbelief. Asked whether he had thought about what he would do with the money, he said, "I have not thought about it at all. We are so busy with training and the only thing on my mind right now is the World Cup."

With the junior World Cup only a couple of weeks away, the Indian team, which plays the host, will be under considerable pressure. "Being the host team we will be under some pressure, but we are training really hard and feel confident."

Aware that he will be under the scanner after this bid, he said that it did not put him under any extra pressure. "I know all eyes will be on me, especially now, and I will have to perform. I will just play my natural game."

Ramandeep, who hails from village Mike in Gurdaspur district, Punjab, has become an integral part of the team. His rise from an unknown entity to the one of the most talked about juniors has left everyone in awe. But this lanky forward recognises the importance of good understanding within the team.

"It's a team game so if the team plays well, the team wins." With majority of the players hailing from Punjab, gelling with the team shouldn't be hard for Ramandeep.

Asked how his team-mates reacted to the news, a shy Ramandeep said, "You know how they are. They have been congratulating me and teasing me at the same time."

What about a party for the team? “All our focus right now is the World Cup. After the tournament, we'll have a party.”

Top Indians

Ramandeep Singh (Uttar Pradesh Wizards) $81,000
Sardar Singh (Delhi Wave Riders) $78,000
VR Raghunath (Uttar Pradesh Wizards) $76,000
Sandeep Singh (Mumbai Magicians) $64,400
Danish Mujtaba (Delhi Wave Riders) $63,000
Manpreet Singh (Ranchi Rhinos) $61,000

The Tribune



Terry Walsh talks tough on Indian hockey


A file photo of Head coach of the Indian men's hockey team Terry Walsh.

Terry Walsh loves the way Indians play hockey, but is frustrated by their lack of application. He accepts they are skilful, but wonders how they can be so “careless”. A couple of weeks into his new job, the new chief coach of the men’s national team is trying to come to terms with the contradictions here.

Walsh, who replaces compatriot Michael Nobbs, has already identified the immediate areas of concern. “The Indian players have skills and they are very flexible and agile. Unfortunately, they are also very careless. They don’t think about spraying the ball over to relieve pressure.

“It is very frustrating for me, coming from Australia, where players play with a lot of open space and creativity without getting careless,” he explained on the sidelines of the closed bid for the Hockey India League on Friday.

The 59-year-old is also not satisfied with the team’s fitness levels.

“India is not yet in the top-four level at the moment. There is no quick fix; there has to be some way to harden the bodies. You need at least 18 months of playing time, and also a strengthening programme, not to get injured,” he added.

Survival

Walsh also insisted he has learnt how to survive in India. “It’s about flexibility. If you come to India without flexibility, you will stagnate. You also need to have patience because it takes time to change things here. It’s not an instant thing, which is what some of the people who worked here before expected.”

Walsh, who was with the US women’s team before coming to India, feels Indian players lack tactical thinking.

“They hold the ball too long in search of that perfect pass, the most accurate shot, the perfectly positioned partner, when it is not needed.” he said.

However, having seen India play at the Asia Cup recently, Walsh felt the present generation was on the right path of playing a tactical game to outwit the opposition.

“It is important to understand the correct concepts of training and put the right processes in place. Once that is done, the results will come gradually, but I think we are moving in the right direction,” he said.

The Hindu



Need to be patient for better results: Harinder Singh

Rohan Puri


NEW DELHI: A day after chief coach of Indian men's hockey team, Terry Walsh, termed Indian players as careless, Dronacharya awardee and former coach of the Indian men's team, Harinder Singh agreed with the former's statement and said an Indian coach would have been shown the door for making such a statement.

"Terry is cent percent right. I fully agree with him. Indian players are careless! However, if an Indian coach had said such a thing, he would have been surely thrown out," said Harinder on Saturday on the sidelines of the 50th Nehru hockey tournament which is currently underway at the Shivaji stadium here.

Harinder said a blend of patience, planning and vision is required for Indian hockey to progress. "We need to be patient. Improvement will come with time. We cannot expect Indian or foreign coaches to do wonders. There is a need for better planning. Sports Authority of India's (SAI) curriculum needs change and we need to use more technology and introduce scientific methods in the game."

Meanwhile, the Jawaharlal Nehru Hockey Tournament (JNHT) Society has decided to award a Honda Amaze car to the player of the tournament who would be selected by a committee comprising Olympian Harbinder Singh, Harinder and former player Rohit Chauhan.

"A sum of Rs 910,000 would be given as prize money. Winners will get Rs 500,000, runners-up Rs 250,000 and teams which finish third and fourth would get Rs 100,000 and Rs 50,000 respectively. The best umpire would be awarded a cash prize of Rs 10,000," said Kukoo Walia, secretary, JNHT Society.

The Times of India



Akhtar, Mujahid new PHF chief, secretary

LAHORE - Former Olympians Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool and Rana Mujahid Ali were elected unopposed Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president and secretary.

PHF election commissioner Arshad Ansari late Saturday issued the notification, declaring that the two office-bearers were elected unopposed for four years. The PHF election commissioner said that the elections to fill the remaining posts of the federation would be held on November 25 in Islamabad.

Newly-elected PHF chief Akhtar Rasool claimed that he would leave no stone unturned to regain the lost hockey glory. “Former Olympians will be engaged for promoting the national game while the federation will learn from its mistakes and try to perform well in the national events earning laurels for the country.”

Mujahid said academy system will be improved to hunt the talent. “Improvement of academy system and hunt of young and promising talent will be our top priority. We will try our best to revive the game across the country and also bring international hockey to back to our country.”

The Nation



Talents offer hope for future

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) coaching director Tai Beng Hai is impressed with the standard of play in the ongoing MHC-Milo-NSC Under-14 Hockey tournament in Kuala Terengganu.

He sees a number of talents who could be groomed into better players.

"In the beginning there was too much of rain and the pitch was heavy so I could not really see individual talent in the state sides, but the last two days the pitch condition is much better and I did spot a number of players who are future potentials," said Beng Hai who is in Kuala Terengganu.

He is also impressed with the way the Pahang boys are playing in the tournament.

"MHC president Tengku Abdullah (Sultan Ahmad Shah) started an academy in Temerloh and Pahang have improved tremendously in a year.

"They beat Terengganu (a junior powerhouse) 3-1 in their first match, and were sound in their structure, but lacked strength and also tactical aspects in their next matches.

"But I believe this age group tournament has teams which are better prepared and also more talented. I will select a pool of players from here to attend selected camps," said Beng Hai.

Yesterday, Perlis shocked Penang 3-0 for their second win of the tournament in the Boys' Group A, and now have seven points and are among the potential semi-finalists from the group.

Syukur Abu Bakar was the hat-trick hero as he scored field goals in the 21st, 41st and 53rd minutes to beat Penang.

And in the boys' Group B, Malacca edged Selangor 1-0 with the winner coming from Mohamed Nur Asyraf in the 21st minute off a penalty corner attempt.

RESULTS -- Boys' Group A: Penang 0 Perlis 3, Kuala Lumpur 1 Kedah 0.

Group B: Selangor 0 Malacca 1, Johor 0 Terengganu 2, Kelantan 2 Negri Sembilan 0.

Girls' Group A: Pahang 0 Kuala Lumpur 12.

TODAY -- Boys' Group A: Perak v Sabah, Kuala Lumpur v Sarawak, Kedah v Penang.

Group B: Johor v Pahang, Terengganu v Selangor.

Girls' Group A: Terengganu v Malacca.

Group B: Negri v Kelantan, Johor v Penang, Kedah v Selangor.

New Straits Times



One Step Closer to being Crowned NCAA National Champions

The NCAA National Championship stage is set following Friday's fierce competition. The top two teams from each division will meet on the pitch Sunday in an effort to earn a national title and ultimate school pride.

Division I

The Connecticut Huskies defeated North Carolina in dramatic fashion to advance to the NCAA championship game on Sunday afternoon. UConn, who bested the Tar Heels in strokes to take a 2-1 victory, has rolled to its sixth consecutive win and avenged three of its four season losses, improving to 20-4 on the year. North Carolina concludes its season with a record of 18-6.

For further details click here.

The Blue Devils (17-6) outlasted top-seeded Maryland 3-2 to advance to its first NCAA championship game since 2005. Head coach Pam Bustin's squad moves on to face the winner of the second semifinal contest between Connecticut and North Carolina at 4:45 p.m. Sunday for a chance to capture the program's first national championship.

For further details click here.

Division II

Sunday’s NCAA Division II field hockey national championship is a battle of the 2013 tournament’s top two seeds. It also matches two teams seeking a first NCAA title and all the potential significance of that accomplishment– LIU-Post first in the North Region and Shippensburg seeded first in the South Region. With the national-semifinal hurdle cleared, both look to scale the ultimate bar.

LIU Post (21-0) and Shippensburg (19-1) meet at 1:15 p.m. Sunday at Old Dominion’s L.R. Hill Sports Complex in Norfolk, Va. Both earned byes into Friday’s national semifinals at the USA Field Hockey National Training Center in Virginia Beach. Both emerged victorious – LIU-Post beating Northeast 10 Conference rival Merrimack 1-0 and Shippensburg beating Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference rival Millersville 4-1.

For further details click here.

Division III

Statistics and history say so, but the combatants in Sunday’s NCAA Division III national championship game are anything except familiar to each other. Both teams played on an artificial surface during Friday’s national semifinals at the USA Field Hockey National Training Center in Virginia Beach. Both teams also received good tests, weathering early scores by their opponents and bouncing back.

Bowdoin defeated Christopher Newport 4-1 in the first semifinal while Salisbury beat Skidmore 3-2 in overtime in the second semifinal.

For further details click here.

For more tournament updates regarding all collegiate divisions, check usafieldhockey.com and ncaa.com

USFHA media release



UConn Field Hockey Team Ready To Play For Elusive Title

Only Duke Stands In Way Of First National Championship Since 1985

By LORI RILEY


For good luck this weekend, UConn field hockey coach Nancy Stevens has been wearing her national championship ring.

Stevens won it as a player when her West Chester team (she was the captain) won the first AIAW national field hockey championship in 1975.

"The players were trying it on and telling me, 'We want one of these,' " Stevens said. "I told them, 'You have to go win one.' It's for good luck, but it's to show the players it's something they can have. It's in their reach. They have to grasp it."

Stevens has gone to the national semifinals six times with her UConn teams. But Friday was the first time the Huskies won there with her.

UConn will look to win its third national championship — and Stevens her second (and first as a coach) — when the Huskies (20-4) face Duke (17-6) in the NCAA Division I final (4 p.m.) at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va., on Sunday.

It's the first time UConn has played in a national championship game since 1985, when the Huskies won their second title. And they won it that year in Norfolk.

Duke, the fourth seed, upset top-seeded Maryland 3-2 in their semifinal Friday. UConn, which was unseeded going into the tournament, beat North Carolina 2-1 in a game that was decided by a shootout after two overtimes. It was the first time the Huskies had beaten North Carolina since 1982.

"We've been so close," Stevens said. "It was great. Our players felt great about taking the next step and getting to the championship game."

UConn led 1-0 after the first half on a goal by Marie Elena Bolles, but North Carolina tied it in the second half to send it into overtime. UConn had the advantage of speed in overtime — both Bolles and her sister Olivia are very fast — and the Huskies outshot the Tar Heels 5-0 but couldn't score. Anne Jeute and Chrissy Davidson ended up scoring shootout goals for the victory.

UConn senior goalkeeper Sarah Mansfield, who has a 1.16 goals against average, made four saves in regulation and overtime Friday and did not allow a goal in the shootout.

"Having such a terrific goalkeeper was key," Stevens said.

UConn and Duke haven't played each other a lot, and the most recent game Stevens could recall was an overtime loss in the regional final to Duke in 2005.

"Duke has a lot of talent," Stevens said. "They have experience. They're well-coached. And they have great goalkeeping as well."

The Hartford Courant



A big step for Ecuador Hockey


Johana Moran Ecuador Team Manager and Laura Macchiotti PAHF. (Photo: Victor Martinez Arcelay)

Chiclayo, Perú - Here in Chiclayo PAHF had the opportunity to talk with Johana Moran, Team Manager from Ecuador. It is Ecuador debut in international Hockey competitions at the XVII Bolivarian Games.

Q: Johana, I guess you’ve been waiting for this moment with great anxiety. How did Ecuador prepare for the XVII Bolivarian Games?

A: Yes, we are very excited and nervous, even more because it has been very difficult to get here. The boys are preparing towards this tournament since the beginning of the year but for the last 3 months we have been in constant concentration, travelling for 15 days in Argentina where they could benefit from training with Prof. Javier Braña, from whom they have learned a lot.

Q: What are the expectations of Ecuador for this tournament?

A: Undoubtedly to grow and gain experience! This is an impulse for Ecuador to keep the Hockey Development and it is a good opportunity to prepare for the South American Games next year.

Q: What comes after the Games?

A: Now that we've gotten our first participation, our plan is to hire a foreign coach to be in charge of preparation of National Teams for future competitions and also to teach our local coaches, so we may have good performances in the future.

Thanks Johana, we wish all the best to Ecuador. Enjoy the tournament and take the opportunity to gain experience in order to keep gdays in Argentina where they could benefit from training with Prof. Javier Braña, from whom they have learned a lot.

Q: What are the expectations of Ecuador for this tournament?

A: Undoubtedly to grow and gain experience! This is an impulse for Ecuador to keep the Hockey Development and it is a good opportunity to prepare for the South American Games next year.

Q: What comes after the Games?

A: Now that we've gotten our first participation, our plan is to hire a foreign coach to be in charge of preparation of National Teams for future competitions and also to teach our local coaches, so we may have good performances in the future.

Thanks Johana, we wish all the best to Ecuador. Enjoy the tournament and take the opportunity to gain experience in order to keep growing

Visit the official PAHF site at www.panamhockey.org for all information, updates and pictures of Tournament of Hockey XVII Bolivarian Games that are held in Chiclayo, Peru, from 23 to 30 November 2013.

Pan Amerifan Hockey Federation