News for 18 December 2013

All the news for Wednesday 18 December 2013

Argentina make clean sweep of series against SA

JONATHAN COOK in Pietermaritzburg

The South Africa men’s hockey team and Argentina were deadlocked 0-0 at half-time in the fifth and final Test at a sodden University of KZN Pietermaritzburg campus Tuesday night before the South American champions ran out 2-1 winners to complete a 5-0 series win.

The statistics confirmed that Argentina deserved to win but did not reflect the tremendous fighting spirit of captain Rhett Halkett’s South Africans, who were kept in the game through sheer courage as well as a brilliant display in goal by Rassie Pieterse.

After Argentina had peppered Pieterse with goalshots, SA forward Craig Haley’s solid strike from a good chance in the 19th minute was saved by Juan Vivaldi in goal. Argentina kept up the pressure and opened the scoring against the African champions two minutes after the break (37th) when Facundo Callioni finished superbly after good defending had halted the initial move.

In the 55th minute Haley had a great chance to score but his shot was blocked by the keeper.

SA were soon down to 10 men when umpire Ayden Shrives yellow-carded his former Maritzburg Varsity club-mate, Robin Jones, and minutes later (59th) the supremely talented Lucas Vila ran directly across the field from left to right before his pass was tapped in by an unmarked Matias Paredes lurking on the left goalpost.

The impressive crowd, who stayed the distance in the atrocious weather, erupted when SA pulled a goal back three minutes from the end (67th). A wonderful flowing move that belied the heavy, rain-soaked synthetic turf underfoot saw Pierre de Voux provide the final pass to fellow striker Taine Paton who swept the ball home from the edge of the strike zone.

The Argentina camp protested vociferously, unsuccessfully appealing that Paton’s shot was taken from just outside the strike zone. Then a Wade Paton snapshot went just wide at the death and the spoils were deservedly Argentina’s.

Deceptive runners who have the ability to go left and right at pace allowed the South Americans to capitalise on turning over SA possession. They won nine penalty corners to South Africa’s one and had it not been for Pieterse’s outstanding ability on the night, at set-pieces and field play, the scoreline would have been more.

SA had a good 10-minute period up to the half-hour mark but were not able to keep possession for long enough during the rest of the match to make a difference.

Coach Carlos Retegui’s Argentina side are preparing for the World League Final tournament in Delhi in early January next year, which will feature the best teams on the planet, while SA are coming off the back of a long journey that began at the national camp in Cape Town at the end of January this year.

SA also came into this series after a gruelling week-long camp at the University of Johannesburg. Rest will no doubt be in order for the South Africans.

Argentina (0) 2 (Facundo Callioni 37th, Matias Paredes 59th) South Africa (0) 1 (Taine Paton 67th). Argentina win 5-Test series 5-0.

Previous results - 1st Test: Argentina 4 SA 2; 2nd Test: Argentina 1 SA 0; 3rd Test: Argentina 3 SA 2; 4th Test: Argentina 7 SA 3.

SA Hockey Association media release

FIH confirms match schedule for Women's Champions Challenge I

Tournament will take place at Glasgow's National Hockey Centre

(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) today confirmed the match schedule for the women’s FIH Champions Challenge I being staged at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, Scotland from 27 April-4 May 2014.

Hosts Scotland feature in Pool A alongside Korea (pictured), Belgium and India, while USA, South Africa, Spain and Ireland are drawn in Pool B.Teams will progress to a quarter-final stage following the round-robin pool format, before contesting classification matches, including semi-finals and final. The winners of the FIH Champions Challenge I will progress to the women’s FIH Champions Trophy in 2015.

"I am very excited about the fact that the FIH Champions Challenge I will take place at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre, the venue for Hockey at the 2014 Commonwealth Games", said Leandro Negre, President of the International Hockey Federation. "It is a superb facility and will provide the perfect setting for what promises to be a very exciting and extremely competitive event."

Hockey fans will also be presented with the opportunity to view some of the world’s top international players when Belgium, England and an additional nation to be confirmed join Scotland for a Men’s Four Nations competition. Matches will be played at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre on 25/26/28 April.

These two events will be the first international matches to be staged at the brand new Glasgow National Hockey Centre, the venue for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games hockey competition.

To see the match schedule, please click here.

FIH site

Staying on track for gold

THE Malaysian women's hockey team qualified for Saturday's final after an impressive 6-0 win over Thailand at Theinphyu Stadium in Yangon yesterday.

Malaysia slogged in the opening minutes as Thailand, who trained in South Korea for three months, were defensive.

However, they managed to open accounts through Norbaili Hashim in the 26th minute. She also added a second half brace in the 62nd and 65th minutes.

Nasihin Nubli's side will play their final round robin match against Indonesia today.

"It was difficult at first as Thailand were defensive. They knew what they were doing. However, my players kept to strategy and were rewarded with a goal in the first half," said Nasihin yesterday.

"I expected Thailand to play defensively but we were ready for it though we took some time to score our opening goal. We are the best team in this region and it is normal for others here to up their tempo against us.

"I am, however, unhappy with Thailand's unconventional defending. It was dangerous, not only to us but for them as well. The referee should have reminded Thailand about the rules as some were playing dangerously."

Nasihin wants his team to keep their momentum and show no mercy when they face Indonesia today.

New Straits Times

Malaysia make final of women’s hockey

Malaysia's Norbaini Hashim (left) dribble past Thailand's defenders in their SEA Games hockey match on Tuesday. Malaysia won 6-0 to qualify for the final with one match to go.

YANGON: Malaysia qualified for the SEA Games women’s hockey final after registering a hard-earned 6-0 victory over Thailand at the Thein Phyu Hockey Stadium in Yangon.

Despite the comfortable scoreline, the Malaysians struggled to unlock the tight Thai defence and had to score three times in the final eight minutes for their fourth win in as many matches.

With one more game against Indonesia to come on Thursday, Malaysia are already assured of a top two finish in the six-team preliminary round and a place in Friday’s final.

On Wednesday, Thailand played a smart game to frustrate their opponents – by defending in numbers and relying on quick breaks to surge forward.

Malaysia, who dominated possession, failed to convert from their first six penalty corners before Norbaini Hashim broke the deadlock from open play in the 26th minute.

The goal eased the Malaysians’ nerves and they went on to double the lead three minutes later through captain Nadia Abdul Rahman’s penalty stroke.

Thailand goalkeeper Tongsun Jesdaporn produced several crucial saves to keep the scoreline down but could not keep out Siti Nor Amrina Ruhaini’s strike in the 44th minute. Malaysia 3-0.

A three-goal blitz in four minutes – from Norbaini (62nd, 65th) and Rabiatul Mohamed (63rd) – completed the victory.

“We knew the Thais would defend in numbers. We were patient in probing for holes in their defence and managed to take advantage of the few scoring chances we had.

“We were unsuccessful with the penalty corners because the Thai players threw themselves to the ground to block our attempts. This is dangerous and the umpires must curb it because it can cause serious injuries to the players,” said national coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli.

Despite the loss, Thailand are still in the running for the final – provided they beat second-placed Singapore tomorrow.

Singapore did not play to their true potential but still thrashed Cambodia 16-0 on Wednesday.

The Star of Malaysia

Penang power into the semis after Terengganu win

By Ashreena Pillai

Penang's Mohd Hafify Rodzi (right) dribbles pass Terengganu's Shahiram Zali in the MHC Under-21 hockey match on Tuesday. Penang won 4-1 to enter the semi-finals. - SHAHRUL FAZRY ISMAIL/ The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Penang booked their berth in the semi-finals of the MHC Under-21 hockey tournament after an emphatic 4-1 win over Terengganu at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Tuesday.

Terengganu, who had to win the match to give themselves a chance of qualifying from the group stages, struck first with a field goal by Ahmad Aliff Naqiuddin Ahmad Nadhri in the fifth minute.

However, Penang turned on the power with Mohd Rahimi Iskandar grabbing the equaliser via a field goal in the 13th minute.

He struck again in the 26th minute via a penalty corner before Mohammad Hafify Rodzi added another goal seven minutes later to put Penang 3-1 up at the break.

Mohd Ashraf Bahari then added a field goal in the 50th minute to seal the win for Penang.

Penang coach Bob Rajendran was full of praise for his charges, crediting their ability to bounce back from the 6-2 drubbing at the hands of Perak to their fighting spirit and determination.

Penang, who qualify as winners of Group A, will meet Selangor in today’s final. Selangor secured their place in the last four with a 5-2 win over Johor.

“Everyone has been saying it is best to avoid KL, but that doesn’t mean Selangor are pushovers. Sometimes the scoreline doesn’t do the team any justice and we can’t hold them to it,” said Bob.

“It wasn’t very smooth sailing for us either. We nearly got a scare against Kelantan and the match against Malacca was also very close. So it will all come to play during the match. If they stick to the game plan, and with our goalkeeper bringing his A-game, we have a fighting chance tomorrow (today).”

In Group B, Kuala Lumpur maintained their unbeaten run to advance into the semi-finals as group winners after beating Negri Sembilan 5-0 on Tuesday.

KL will meet Group A runners-up Perak, who beat bottom side Kelantan 13-2 in their final group match.

The Star of Malaysia

MHC urged to use Juniors as foundatio

THE achievement of the National Junior squad at the recent Junior World Cup in New Delhi will form the foundation for the future national hockey squad.

Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said he hoped that the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will continue with its back-up development programme.

"The Junior squad will be the core for us to build the future team as some members of the squad have played for the senior team," Khairy told reporters after welcoming the Junior squad on their return at Kuala Lumpur International Airport yesterday. The squad, with coach K. Dharmaraj, arrived at 5am and were received by representatives of MHC and the National Sports Council (NSC) as well as the players' family members.

On the reward for the Junior squad for finishing fourth, Khairy said his ministry will discuss the matter with NSC and MHC.

"We will look into something special for them. This is in view of their achievement which was neither at Southeast Asian nor Asian standard but at world level," said Khairy. "I hope Malaysians will recognise the accomplishment of our junior players as it is not an easy task to go that far."

The team ended the Junior World Cup in fourth place after suffering a 7-2 loss to the Netherlands in the third placing playoff match on Sunday.

The performance of the squad exceeded MHC's target of a top six placing and it also equalled Malaysia's best achievement in the same championship in 1979, 1982 and 1985.

On Dharmaraj's contract which expires at year's end, Khairy said: "Dharmaraj has proven himself through the achievement. So, there is no need for us to comment further as the feat speaks for itself. If MHC is willing, I am confident his contract will be extended."

New Straits Times


International sides battle at Grove Menzieshill Invitational Tournament

Grove Menzieshill Hockey Club are holding their annual Grove Menzieshill Invitational Indoor Tournament on the 27th - 30th December at Dundee International Sports Complex (DISC). This years' event offers a full programme of youth's, men’s and women’s hockey. This event will feature a host of international players, is a great opportunity to watch a feast of festive hockey for all ages.

The Youth tournaments will run on Friday the 27th and Monday 30th December 2013. The senior men’s and women’s games will run over the 28th and 29th of December 2013. With the men's and women's finals taking place at 5pm on Sunday the 29th December.

For the third successive year Angus based company Intervention Rentals Ltd have kindly sponsored The Grove Menzieshill Invitational Indoor Tournament, ensuring that the tournament is a great success like its previous years. Directors David Laing and Colin Kennedy state;

‘Intervention Rentals is delighted to be involved in an event that encourages both youth development and competition at the highest level in the Dundee and Angus area. In Grove Menzieshill Hockey Club we have found a partner with the same focus on performance and high standards that we apply in our business.”

In the men's event will be in a round robin format and will see national sides from America, Scotland and Wales do battle amongst National League side Inverleith and hosts Grove Menzieshill for the festive title. The ladies will have a similar format where the event hosts Grove Menzieshill will renew their longstanding local rivalry with VWS Dundee Wanderers, as well as competition from the Scotland Under 21's side, and tournament debutants Hillhead. This event, which is also being supported by Scottish Hockey, Sport Dundee and Dundee City Council, promises to be action packed and will provide an opportunity for the younger generation of hockey players to compete alongside international athletes.

Monday's Youth Tournament will also showcase some of the best youth hockey players in the area.  Under 12, 14 and 16 teams from a range of places Dundee, Angus, Fife and Perthshire will be competing in their very own mini tournaments.

Refreshments will be available all day, and spectators are invited to attend DISC free of charge on all days. We will also be welcoming our guests to the Tournament Ceilidh at Forthill Sports Club on the evening of Saturday 28 December. The ceilidh is open to all and tickets will be available at the tournament.

For tournament information and updates visit

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Sharland: Crazy hockey calendar taking its toll


Kayla Sharland wonders whether in future international hockey players will be able to survive the crazy match schedules.

Now aged 28, the New Zealand captain brought up her double century of tests for the Black Sticks at the World League in Argentina last week.

And her good friend, Emily Naylor, who bypassed that trip, is sitting on 225 tests and advancing on Suzie Muirhead's record of 238.

But ask Sharland about her upcoming schedule and it will be almost continuous until the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in July-August. And the hockey players are hardly professionals.

A New Zealand team goes to the United States in February for a Four Nations tournament, then has a Six Nations tourney in Hawke's Bay before a four-week block of "centralisation" when the players must up sticks and shift to Auckland.

It doesn't stop there. Then there is the World Cup against the top 12 nations at The Hague in The Netherlands before a three-week break leading into the Commonwealth Games.

"It makes it pretty tough; there are a lot more games these days," Sharland said.

When she started in 2003, there were about 20 tests a year. That has doubled since.

"Some teams play more than that, over 40, which is crazy.

"It does take its toll on people's bodies, the training and the game is so much quicker now."

Sharland has had her knee troubles throughout her career, but in the past two years has managed the knee in the gym and in both years was nominated the world player of the year. This year's has yet to be picked.

She knows she won't go on forever, maybe not to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

"I will focus on next year and see how it goes," she said.

She said hitting the 200 mark was special because it was her last game as a Sharland. By the end of the month she will be Kayla Whitelock when she weds Canterbury rugby player George Whitelock in Palmerston North. Naylor will be her maid of honour.

In Tucuman, Argentina, Sharland said she "felt pretty old", but she was only the third-oldest player in the team and was scoring goals, including the winner in her 200th test in the 1-0 victory over China. Fairfax NZ


Japan add to Women's Six Nations

Hockey New Zealand chief executive Malcolm Harris believes that the inaugural 2014 Women’s Six Nations Tournament in Hawke’s Bay has the potential to grow into one of New Zealand’s most loved sport events.

Malcolm was in the region today meeting with event organisers and visiting the Sports Park which now has the asphalt down, with the turf due to be laid in the New Year.

“We believe this event will attract the world’s top teams, and their supporters, to the region in years to come.  And a world class facility like this will help make even more of a spectacle,” said Malcolm.

Event organiser Bruce Mactaggart took the opportunity to announce that ninth ranked Japan has confirmed they will be the sixth team competing – adding to the strong line-up of Argentina (2nd) Australia (4th), China (7th) and Korea (8th) who are already confirmed.

Black Stick Emily Naylor has been living in the Hawke’s Bay this year and has been watching the progress as the event has taken shape.

“To have teams of such a high calibre coming in the inaugural year is a good sign – we know they will have a great time in the Hawke’s Bay and will want to come back again!” says Naylor.

Star national Dutch player Lidewij Welten has been visiting the Hawke’s Bay this week and she said that hopefully her team would get the chance to play here too.

“There is such strong rivalry between the Dutch and the Black Sticks – we have had some very close games against each other in recent years. To play here in the beautiful Hawke’s Bay would be incredible,” said Welten.

The tournament is scheduled from the 5-13 April. As part of the Festival there will also be an Affiliates Tournament where the following men’s and women’s teams will play; New Zealand Maori, New Zealand Indians, Australian Country, Hawke’s Bay, National Seniors and Masters 35+ teams.

In addition, the Festival will provide an opportunity for a number of Hawkes Bay Secondary School teams to participate and showcase their skills in curtain raiser games during the week.

Plus, it has been confirmed that Hockey New Zealand will hold its Annual General Meeting in Napier followed by an Awards dinner on Saturday 12th April.

“Our aim is to build this tournament into something special that really showcases both Hawke’s Bay region and the sport of hockey. Next year’s event is a stepping stone to what will become a bigger and even more significant event in 2015,” said Mactaggart from Hawke’s Bay Event and Education Consortium.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks men eye World League Final

The Black Sticks Men are set to kick start the new year with a bang when they contest the World League Final in New Delhi from 10-19 January.

Head coach Colin Batch has announced his team of 18 players, which features a versatile combination of experience and young firepower.

Southern defender Kane Russell has been rewarded for his sublime form at the recent Junior World Cup where he finished as third top scorer overall with seven goals from penalty corner drag flicks.

Russell brings strength and defensive instinct to the Black Sticks backline alongside veterans Dean Couzins and Nick Haig.

“I had a bit of a bad run with injury last year so I wanted to go out and prove a point at the Junior World Cup,” Russell said.

“Colin has pointed out he likes my attacking style of defence, so I’m really happy to be in the team and am looking forward to the opportunity to play an important role.”

Capital striker Jacob Smith has earned a call-up from the Development Squad and will add speed and a high work rate up front with fellow strikers Hugo Inglis, Blair Hilton, Simon Child, Stephen Jenness and Marcus Child.

The Black Sticks will play Germany, England and India during pool play at the World League Final before facing a sudden death crossover quarter final. Australia, Netherlands, Belgium and Argentina are in Pool B.

Coach Batch is looking forward to what will be a tough challenge against eight of the world’s top sides.

“We continue to grow as a team and have been focussed on our preparation for the World League Final which will be another step forward in our progression,” he said.

“Next year is a busy schedule with Champions Challenge, World Cup and Commonwealth Games among other games, so we’re hoping to start the year on a positive note and build momentum.”

The Black Sticks’ opening game at the World League Final is against Olympic champions Germany on Saturday 11th January at 1.30am (NZ time).

Black Sticks – World League Pool Games

Jan 11th – NZL v GER at 1.30am
Jan 12th – NZL v IND at 3.30am
Jan 13th – NZL v ENG at 9.30pm

World League Final, India
January 10-19, 2014







North Harbour









Marcus CHILD
















North Harbour
































































Hockey New Zealand Media release

Kane Russell picked for Black Sticks

Southern defender Kane Russell has been rewarded for his stellar showing at the recent Junior World Cup with selection in the Black Sticks' squad for next month's World League Final.

Russell brings strength and defensive instinct to the Black Sticks' backline alongside veterans Dean Couzins and Nick Haig.

The 21-year-old was one of the form players at the Junior World Cup tournament, where he finished as third top scorer overall with seven goals from penalty corner drag flicks.

Head coach Colin Batch has announced an 18-strong squad, which features a versatile combination of experience and young firepower.

Russell, who has 21 caps to his name, said he was looking to make his mark in India and cement his place in the squad for the future.

"I had a bit of a bad run with injury last year so I wanted to go out and prove a point at the Junior World Cup," he said.

"Colin has pointed out he likes my attacking style of defence, so I'm really happy to be in the team and am looking forward to the opportunity to play an important role."

Capital striker Jacob Smith has earned a callup from the development squad and will add speed and a high work rate up front with fellow strikers Hugo Inglis, Blair Hilton, Simon Child, Stephen Jenness and Marcus Child.

The Black Sticks will play Germany, England and India during pool play at the World League Final before facing a sudden death crossover quarterfinal. Australia, Netherlands, Belgium and Argentina are in Pool B.

Batch is looking forward to what will be a tough challenge against eight of the world's top sides.

"We continue to grow as a team and have been focused on our preparation for the World League Final which will be another step forward in our progression," he said.

"Next year is a busy schedule with Champions Challenge, World Cup and Commonwealth Games among other games, so we're hoping to start the year on a positive note and build momentum."

The Black Sticks' opening game at the World League Final is against Olympic champions Germany on January 11.

New Zealand men's squad: Marcus Child, Simon Child, Dean Couzins, Devon Manchester, Arun Panchia (Auckland), Phil Burrows, Blair Hilton, Stephen Jenness, Alex Shaw, Jacob Smith (Capital), Hugo Inglis, Hamish McGregor, Blair Tarrant, Kane Russell, (Southern), Corey Bennett, Steve Edwards (North Harbour), Nick Haig (Canterbury), Shea McAleese (Central).


Hero Hockey World League Final in Delhi

Top teams in the fray in the final leg of the Hockey World League from 10-18th January 2014

Come January, the world’s finest men’s international teams in will battle it out for the right to be crowned champions of the inaugural edition of the Hockey World League.

The Hero Hockey World League Final – which is the culmination of a tournament that began way back in August 2012 – features eight world class teams in action, with host nation India being joined by Olympic champions Germany, world champions Australia, Pan American champions Argentina as well as the Netherlands, Belgium, England and New Zealand. The event will take place from 10-18 January 2014 at, the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi.

The Hockey World League (HWL) is the newest addition to the international hockey calendar and was conceived with an aim to make the sport more accessible across the globe. It is open to all member national associations of the FIH, creating a unique platform of inclusiveness that saw World League events held all across the globe, including the Czech Republic, Ghana and the Caribbean. Countries such as Scotland, Azerbaijan and Fiji faced off against established hockey powers in an effort to make their mark on world hockey.

The men’s edition of the HWL has seen 53 teams compete over 3 rounds already, a historic first for an FIH tournament. All of the teams that join host nation India in

January’s showpiece Final in Delhi earned their place thanks to strong showings at the Hockey World League Semi Final events in Rotterdam, the Netherlands and Johor Bahru, Malaysia, which were held earlier this year.

Besides coveted World Ranking Points, the Hero Hockey World League Final will also bestow upon its winner the privilege of being the first men’s team in history of Hockey to win the World League. With so much at stake, the Hero Hockey World League Final promises epic clashes and breath-taking action that will be followed passionately by fans across India and the world.

“The Hockey World League is a unique concept that its very first edition has proven its success”, said Leandro Negre, President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH). “The fact that over 50 men’s teams participated in the entire process starting from 2012 proves that the sport of hockey is slowly but surely spreading its wings to new corners of the world."

He further added, “I am sure that the finals of the tournament will see great action from some great teams at a venue that has always seen impressive crowds cheering for the sport. India is a very important destination for FIH and the passion that the country has for the sport will once again make this new event a great success.”

Mr. Pawan Munjal, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Hero Motocorp Ltd., said, “These are exciting times for hockey in India. Starting with the Men's World Cup in 2010 in Delhi, there has been a series of exciting big-ticket

Hockey events in the country, and now we are absolutely delighted to see India hosting the Final round of the inaugural edition of the Hockey World League. We are happy to be the Title Sponsors of the Final, which has the potential to become one of the most prestigious hockey events in the world. The Hockey World League has travelled across continents and seen a record number of nations taking part. It is a testament to FIH’s successful global programme to promote hockey and the ever-increasing universal appeal of the game. I wish all the participants a memorable stay in India and greater outings on the turf.?”

Talking about the national team he added, “I hope to see the Indian team doing its best and come out with a medal. We at Hero MotoCorp remain committed to the development of hockey globally and in India."

The matches will be played from January 10-18, 2014, and will be telecast Live on Ten Sports.

DELHI WAVERIDERS showcase their mettle for season two of Hero Hockey India League

Introduce John Abraham new face of the franchise ~ Announce new coach- Cedric D’Souz

New Delhi - Delhi WAVERIDERS, the Delhi franchise of Hero Hockey India League (Hero HIL), showcased new additions, new vigour and new management today at the National Stadium in the city. With the second season of Hero HIL gearing up, Delhi WAVERIDERS announced their plans of going a step up from where they finished in the inaugural season of the Hero Hockey India League.

The team announced a new face of the franchise, actor and producer, John Abraham, who will also be co-owner of Delhi WAVERIDERS. Driven by his passion for sports and Hockey, John Abraham will be part of the Delhi WAVERIDERS camp in the league, supporting his team during their games.

Announcing John Abraham as the co-owner, Mr. Amar Sinha, Chief Executive Officer, Delhi WAVERIDERS said, “Delhi WAVERIDERS stand for dynamism and passion. Continuously evolving and energetic the team’s main aim is to bring alive the true spirit of the game. We have lived up to our philosophy in the first season and would look to keep the same going this season as well. With John Abraham joining us to develop the franchise, we are all committed to fulfil our vision of reigniting the love and passion for our national sport – Hockey from the grass root level.”

Speaking on the occasion, John Abraham said, “This is a great opportunity for me to be associated with Hockey, our national sport. Delhi WAVERIDERS has an excellent team led by Sardar Singh, I am sure this team will do well and be the super team of the Hero Hockey India League in 2014. My vision is to see Hockey in the forefront of all sports played in India once gain and soon this vision is going to be a reality.”

The franchise also unveiled its team, the captain and a new coach- former coach of Indian Hockey team- Cedric D’Souza.

Introducing the new coach, Ajit Pal Singh, former captain of the Indian Hockey Team and Chief Advisor, Delhi WAVERIDERS said, “Cedric has coaching experience in domestic as well as international arena, and working experience with Indian as well as global players. His passion for fitness, technique and mental toughness makes him one of the most sought after coaches in India hockey. With Cedric in our ranks, Delhi WAVERIDERS will be the team to beat this season.”

DELHI WAVERIDERS team, like the last year, will create a thunder in the grounds of the Dhyan Chand National Stadium, defeating their opponents with their weapon - The Hockey Stick. For the second time, the team will thrill the nation with their execution under the captaincy of Sardar Singh.

Hero Hockey India League is scheduled to start from January 25 and will be brought to a close on February 15, 2014; with six teams competing against each other. Under the able leadership of captain Sardar Singh, the teaching and guidance of the Chief Coach Cedric D’Souza and Assistant Coach Berkhout Hendrik Bortel and the advice of Chief Advisor, Ajit Pal Singh, the team is set to create a on the pitch and the stadiums for the second season.

With the second edition of Hero Hockey India League (Hero HIL) to begin from January, the National capital would also witness a scintillating School Hockey tournament, amongst 32 schools of Delhi/NCR. The opening ceremony of the school tournament was flagged off today by Union minister for new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah and Mr. Manpreet Singh Chadha, Managing Trustee, The Ponty Chadha Foundation.

The Team

The team of DELHI WAVERIDERS for the present season would encompass of International Players like Pirmin Blaak, Nicolas Jacobi, Simon Child, Matt Gohdes, Lloyd Norris-Jones, Andres MirBel, Jason Wilson, Tristan White, Steven Edwards, Timmothy Drummond and Indian players namely Imran Khan, Danish Mujtaba, Akashdeep Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Talwinder Singh, YuvrajWalmiki, Bipin Kishor Kerketta, Surender Kumar, Gurbaj Singh, Sardar Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Rahul Shilpkar and Armaan Quereshi.

WAVE GROUP: Wave Group – a leading business conglomerate that has expanded across Industries to create a niche for itself. Since its establishment in 1963, and a journey of 50 years, the Wave Group has had a successful track record of being steered by an astute vision of the future through a strong professional management structure. Today the group boasts of an impressive portfolio of business verticals including Sugar, Power, Steel, Paper, Real Estate, Malls & Multiplexes, Distilleries and Breweries, Beverages , Education, Sports, Film Distribution and Production. An integral belief of the Wave Group has always been to give back to the community it serves, and through The Ponty Chadha Foundation it takes forward such initiatives.

Army XI, PSB start with wins

Ludhiana - Army XI survived a scare when they scored in the 66th minute to beat Air Force XI 2-1 in the first match of the All India Sahibzada Ajit Singh hockey tournament at the Punjab Agricultural University on Tuesday.

The match got off to a brisk start with both the teams raiding each other’s halfs time and again, but to no avail. After a barren first half, it was Air Force XI that surged ahead in the 49th minute through Jatinder Singh. Three minutes later, Army XI restored parity through Muthna and with just four minutes to go, they scored another, which turned out to be the winner.

In the second match, Punjab and Sind Bank (PSB) humbled Punjab Police XI 4-0. The policemen failed to match their rival’s speed and stamina and eventually surrendered meekly. Harpreet Singh scored two penalty corner goals for PSB.

The Tribune

Big win for SRC in Liberals hockey tourney

PATIALA - Bengal Engineer Group (BEG), Roorkee, defeated Northwest Institute, Dhudike, 2-1, to register their second win in the 38th Liberals All India Hockey Tournament at Nabha.

In a couple of one-sided matches, Sikh Regimental Centre (SRC), Ramgarh Cantonment, thrashed PAU, Ludhiana, 4-1 and Sports Academy, Jarkhad routed Hawks Ropar 4-0, while J &K Police, Jammu, edged past Rock Rovers, Chandigarh, 3-2.

In a fog-delayed match, BEG faced stiff resistance from the young Dhudike lads. Relying on crisp and precise passing, BEG dominated the proceedings after initial hiccups. Prabodh Khokha struck twice in the 24th and 29th minutes to put BEG 2-0 ahead. Despite maintaining all round superiority in the second half, BEG conceded a penalty corner in the 59th minute, which was converted by Rachpal Singh.

The Tribune

World cup show underlines decline

V Narayan Swamy,

BANGALORE: The sense of deja vu is inescapable . Only two victories to show for years of training, familiar mistakes on the field and the worst-ever finish — 10th — in Junior World Cup hockey.

With six players from the senior team and a preparatory stretch that ought to have sharpened them enough for the global competition , India could not have asked for more. Yet they fluffed their lines when called upon, the worst moment being against South Korea who were allowed to claw back for a draw towards the end of the match.

Even High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans couldn't hide his bafflement. "There is nothing positive at this moment," he was reported as saying by a newspaper. "Players need a lot of skills. They also need to be clever."

Former players are aghast at the slump and wonder whether the team actually benefitted from a foreign coach. Midfield legend Ajitpal Singh was among those to point out the futility of employing such coaches as also former India captain MP Ganesh and 1980 Olympian Allan Schofield.

Former goalkeeper Schofield hit the nail on the head when he said that India needed mind trainers who could make the players psychologically stronger. "That's something only an Indian can do. No foreign expert, no matter how good he might be, can understand or decipher the mindset of an Indian."

While the role of foreign coach cannot be totally discounted, fetching Gregg Clark of South Africa six months before the Junior World Cup has been questioned by these stalwarts.

What rankles them is that India has already been set back by more than two years, with a despicable 12th place at the Olympics and 10th position at the Junior World Cup to show as results. More importantly, the process that ought to have begun with coach Michael Nobbs in May 2011 has continued to remain on paper with the new think-tank yet to get cracking on it. India cannot hope much from Rio Olympics in 2016 either. The sights, if utterances from the coaches are any indication, are now focussed on 2020 Tokyo.

This brings us to the question: Is too much money being spent on foreign coaches? Six experts, including Clark whose contract ended with the Junior World Cup, are on Sports Authority of India rolls, the money being paid to them as salary being a whopping Rs 4.15 crore every year.

Compare this to shooting that has been bringing India medals from the 2004 Olympics. Two coaches -- Stanislav Lapidus (rifle) and Pavel Smirnov (pistol) -- employed at $7,000 each per month. Shotgun coach Marcello Dradi charges 550 euros a day for a maximum of 160 days a year. Ennio Falco (skeet, 450 euros) and Daniella del Din (junior shotgun, 350 euros ) work on a contract similar to Dradi's .

"Foreign experts should ideally be with us for shorter durations, imparting knowledge to India's coaches in areas where they are weak. Our coaches should be in charge of teams rather than the foreigners," Ganesh said.

The Union government and Sports Authority of India were disappointed with the result too. "We have increased the total budget for hockey from Rs 10 crore to Rs 20 crore this year. To see India finishing 10th is disappointing considering the money spent," SAI sources told TOI.

The sources felt it was time they introduced a plan to assess foreign coaches periodically. "They have been talking about their long-term plans but that cannot stop us from determining whether they have met short-term targets too. The idea has not been met with an enthusiastic response but with the sort of money that we pay, it is high time the appraisal is introduced as soon as possible," sources said.

The Times of India

Only Sardar would have found place in golden era team: Balbir

NEW DELHI: Disappointed with the state of Indian hockey right now, three-time Olympic gold-medallist and former captain Balbir Singh (Sr) feels among the current lot of players, only Sardar Singh would have found a place in the Indian teams that competed in the golden era.

In an interaction, Balbir spoke of his utter dejection at the game's current state and the issues plaguing Indian hockey.

"Sardar Singh is the only player of that standard. Not all of them. Had other players been as good as Sardar Singh, then they would have been somewhere at the top," Balbir said of the halfback, who was the only Indian to be named in the FIH's world XI recently.

The octogenarian, who will turn 90 later this month, holds the world record for most number of goals by an individual in an Olympic final, an astonishing five that he scored in the 1952 summit clash against the Netherlands.

Revered as the greatest centre forward to have played the game after the iconic Dhyan Chand, Balbir said the current set of players don't have the skills to match the ones who made India an eight-time Olympic gold-medallist.

"If they had the skills, they would have won. They can be at the top again. Practice is the only key, not only schemes, not only money, the players need to develop individual skills, and practice hard," Balbir said.

"They can come up to the standard provided they try and follow the latest rules, follow their coaches, we need highly paid coaches, highly qualified coaches. Then we should be at the top, among the top 4-5 team," he added.

"Practice, it's the key...there were times when we used to score from penalty corners. Individual training is important. Time and again, we used to practice penalty corners. Excellence is not an art but a habit," he said.

Besides, Balbir said he also senses a lack of desire to excel among those playing the game now.

"They are money-minded these days, that is normal also because money is required. Money is very important," he said.

Balbir said the changes in playing conditions in international hockey has not helped India, which has lagged in adapting to the altered dynamics of the game.

"The playing surface, we don't have astro-turf everywhere. Only very few venues (in India) have it, whereas they (the other international teams) are trained right from their childhood on artificial turf," he pointed out.

"In Holland, there are so many artificial turfs. The playing conditions, then equipment, they are very costly these days. The equipment should be provided by the federation. The federation should do more to promote hockey," said Balbir.

Talking about the nuances of the game, Balbir said the most jarring aspect of the current players' game is their tendency to keep dribbling in the midfield instead of looking to make a winning pass.

"In the middle, we dribble too much there, we waste time. It's easy to dribble in the mid-field. You can move anywhere. The aim should be the other end, reach there, dodge close to the circle enter the D and try to score," he said.

"At that time, defenders are close, it's very difficult to dodge. Those who dodge there, they are more successful. We play for the opponents, we give the ball to them. Possession of ball is very important. Those who have better ball possession, they win the match.

"Possession creates opportunity to take the ball to the opponent's goal...Everything has changed. We used to play on natural turf, now astro turf, equipment has changed," he explained.

Asked if the Indian players were pulled back by a mental block against top teams, Balbir laughed and said it was just a case of carelessness and lack of skills.

"Perfect passes, goals, corners come with repeated practice. If I can do it, any individual can do it. It's our job to get the ball. Hard work is very important. As we say, physical fitness, technical fitness, tactical fitness and mental toughness. Most important now is mental toughness," said Balbir.

"If we are confident and strong, think positive, the top is always vacant, try and reach there. If you are confident, there would not be any mental block," he added.

The Times of India

Shahnaz blames PHF for disgrace in Junior WC

Mohsin Ali

RAWALPINDI - Olympian Shahnaz Shaikh termed Pakistan team’s worst showing in the recently-concluded Junior World Hockey Cup in New Delhi as disgrace to the nation which once ruled this game.

Talking to The Nation, Shahnaz said: “Despite the green shirts having the services of nine players from the senior team, who had played more than 70 to 80 international matches, the team failed miserably in giving even ordinary results against much weak opponents. The way Germans beat Pakistan, was very hard to digest for the Olympians, who had time and again offered their services to the PHF, but neither the former regime nor the current PHF even bothered to respond to our offer.”

He said players were not utilized according to their abilities. “Umer Bhutta is a attacking-minded defensive player, but he was forced to play in the defensive role, that was the reason our attacking was very weak and we concede too many goals. Once again green shirts scored only six goals and conceded 10, which is quite alarming and showed our concerns were genuine. Former greats have warned the PHF to adopt aggressive approach, but no heed was paid to our suggestions, which resulted in shameful finish in the Junior World Cup,” the ex-Olympian added.

“It is a matter of grave concern that a team like France managed to enter the final, while on the other hand, once the super power of world hockey Pakistan team finished as lowly as No 9 and that too thanks to plenty shootout victory against arch-rivals India, otherwise, we could have finished at number 10. These ordinary results are not acceptable to the masses or former greats. We had given our lives to this game and now it is very pinching to watch national team is going from bad to worse after each passing day,” he asserted. Shahnaz said it was noticed during the pool matches that Pakistan players were not holding the possession of ball for longer periods of time and they were lacking circle penetration and the ratio of shooting against opponents’ goal was very low.

“Fitness of the players was also highly questionable, as the players looked completely tired after the first half and their body language spoke volumes about their poor fitness levels. It seemed they had the stamina of only playing for first 35 minutes and that was the reason why green shirts conceded too many goals in the second half of the pool matches, especially in the dying moments of the matches,” he added.

He said the team management, who remained at the helm of national teams affairs for the past four years or so, were suddenly replaced at the crucial time which cost Pakistan hockey team dearly, as the new management had hardly any role to play with the side, when such a high-profile event was just round the corner. “The PHF top brass should have stick with the same management till the completion of the Junior Hockey World Cup.” “Same people are at the helm of affairs of the PHF and they lack vision and direction. How could it be possible for Akhtar Rasool and Rana Mujahid to change the fast declining fortunes of Pakistan hockey team, when they failed to do so during the last five years or so. Only portfolios have been changed otherwise there is hardly any change in the PHF top brass. I have strong doubts about the future of Pakistan hockey as long as genuine and hard working people will not be taken on board,” Shahnaz concluded.

The Nation

Girls School Hockey Championship

ISLAMABAD - Four matches were decided at the inaugural day of the Federal Board Inter-directorate Girls School Hockey Championship 2013 here at Naseer Bunda International Hockey Stadium on Tuesday. In the opening match, Islamabad Model College for Girls (IMCG) G6-1/4 beat IMCG I-10s/4 by 3-0. Nabeela scored a brace while Khansa hit a goal for the winners. The second match between IMCG I-9/1 and IMCG I-10/4 ended in 1-1 draw. Arooj scored for IMCG I-9/1 while Tayyaba scored for IMCG I-10/4. In the third match, IMCG F-6/1 thrashed IMCG I-10/4 by 4-0. Kainaat scored a brace while Maria Aslam and Saira Ashraf hit one goal each. In the fourth match, IMCG F-6/1and IMCG I-10/4 ended in a 1-1 draw. A total of six matches will be played today (Wednesday).

The Nation

BBC London Unsung Hero - Matt Lovell

BBC Get Inspired Logo

Prior to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards, the BBC also awarded several Unsung Hero awards in 14 regions of the UK, and Waltham Forest's own Matt Lovell was named BBC London's Unsung Hero for 2013.

Over the past eight years, Matt has dedicated all of his spare time (and probably hours of his work life) to promoting sport in Waltham Forest. His main focus has been on encouraging participation in Hockey both locally in Waltham Forest and across the East Region by offering a junior competition framework to ensure that children can enjoy competitive matches and have events to build up to throughout the year regardless of their ability level.

He runs the junior section at Waltham Forest Hockey Club and has persuaded 20 coaches to give up their time throughout the week to provide training to children from ages two and up. He also instigated the club’s now annual adult beginner’s courses in 2010 and takes hockey to the local community in schools and events during the year. Add to this captaining the club’s academy team and umpiring adult fixtures, it’s amazing he finds the time to do anything else, and now he's been recognised for his efforts by BBC London.

He said after being presented his award at the club, “This award is recognition of the time all of our volunteers have given up over the years. With the club having grown so much over the years and without so many of our members committing their time to helping out, we wouldn’t be able to offer hockey for free in the way that we do.

“For me hockey and team sport in general offers a great opportunity for children to interact with other kids their own age and learn all sorts of life skills. At Waltham Forest Hockey Club we aim to encourage anyone, irrespective of age or ability the chance to try hockey and hopefully enjoy a new sport.”

While we have our own England Hockey Awards, that’s only one chance in a year to let us know about who you think has really added value to the hockey community and we’d like to hear more.

Matt was nominated by his club (who sent us their form) for the Unsung Hero Award, and because of that we're able to showcase one of our brilliant volunteers who makes our sport tick. Do you know someone who has worked tirelessly to improve their club or team, or has inspired you or others in hockey? Let us know at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it who's your own 'unsung hero' (you can use the BBC's form to make it easier), and then we can let people know about the great contributions that you and others make to sport and hockey!

Source: Waltham Forest HC

England Hockey Board Media release