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News 11 March 2014

All the news for Tuesday 11 March 2014

Australia takes silver

Australia defeated by New Zealand 5-3 in final of Youth OIympic Qualifier

A fast paced match at the Youth Olympic Games Qualifying tournament final in Port Vila on Tuesday afternoon saw the Australian under 18 boys team defeated 5-3 by New Zealand.

Despite the defeat, Australia’s qualification for the Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China, was already secure following victory over Fiji on Monday.

In stormy weather and rain, Australia leapt out of the blocks with a strong 2-0 lead in the first period before New Zealand pegged them back to 2-1 and then to  3-3 in the second. Danny Fletcher from Brisbane and Isaac Farmillo from Tamworth both found the net for Australia inside the opening five minutes before Farmillo doubled his tally in the second period.  However, New Zealand fired up and took the lead in the third period scoring two goals with minutes to spare.

Australia’s head coach, David Guest, summed up the team’s experiences while taking part in the Youth Olympic Qualifying tournament over the past five days: “The team on a whole learnt a lot throughout the tournament. We tried a number of different formations and structures, which was a good learning tool leading into Nanjing. Each game presents new challenges, we were able to analyse what things worked and what didn’t.

“We all enjoyed the five a side concept. It’s very tactical, basically man on man in a small space, testing the players both physically and mentally.”

Discussing his overall feelings, Guest said, “Today unfortunately, didn’t go to plan. As far as this game went we started well, scoring twice in the first period and controlling the play. After receiving a yellow card at the end of first period, it stemmed the boys flow. The last period fell away from us, we lost shape and structure and it just looked like the boys were tired.”

The final squad nominated to the Australian Olympic Committee for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing will be chosen following the U18 Boys Australian National Championships in Canberra, which run from 4-12 April.

Match 4 - Tuesday


Danny Fletcher 3
Isaac Farmillo 5,17


Gold - New Zealand
Silver - Australia
Bronze - Fiji

Hockey Australia media release

Entire USA vs Canada Series sold out as excitement builds

As excitement builds, all participant slots for the entire week sold out in record time for the U.S. Women’s National Squad vs Canadian Women’s National Team series. The capped, four-game series will take place this week at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. The matches on Monday, March 10, Tuesday, March 11, Thursday, March 13 and Friday, March 14 will be a final step in the squad’s preparation for the upcoming Champions Challenge in April and the 2014 World Cup. Matches will start at 6.00 p.m. EST

USFHA media release

In the nearly 18 years of covering Hockey on Fieldhockey.com I have never seen a headline like this. Congratulations USFHA!

Field Hockey Series with Malaysia prepares Canadian Men for prestigious Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

One of the world’s most prestigious field hockey tournaments bears the name of a former King of Malaysia, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.  With links to Malaysian Royalty and in a country passionate about field hockey, it is considered a great honour to be invited to the annual event held in Perak Stadium in Ipoh, Malaysia.

Testament to the global respect for Field Hockey Canada Men’s National Program, not only were the Canadian Men invited to the 23rd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, they were requested to compete against the hosts from Malaysia in a 3 game pre-tournament series from March 6-9. Both invitations were eagerly accepted by Canada, who has a stated goal for 2014 of competing against more of the world’s best sides.

All three friendly matches were played in the Southern State of Malacca at the Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium.  Malaysia is currently ranked three spots ahead of Canada in the FIH world rankings and each game was fiercely contested, always in front of a passionate large crowd.  It was the 13th ranked Malaysians who took two of the three matches, the second game going to the Canadians a nine-goal thriller in front of a full stadium.

Canada v Malaysia Friendly Series Results:

    Game 1: Malaysia 6 – Canada 2
    Goals by Hudson Stewart (Vancouver, BC), Iain Smythe (Vancouver BC).

    Game 2: Canada 5 – Malaysia 4
    Goals by James Kirkpatrick (Victoria, BC), Gabe Ho-Garcia (Burnaby, BC), Gordie Johnston (Vancouver, BC), Iain Smythe (Vancouver, BC) and Philip Wright (Vancouver, BC).

    Game 3: Malaysia 5 – Canada 1
    Goal by Gabe Ho-Garcia (Burnaby, BC)

With the men acclimatized and all Canadian players competing in European clubs now with the team, Canada travels to Ipoh where they will compete in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup against highly ranked competition.  With six games, starting on March 14 versus Korea, the Canadians will take on teams from no less than four different continents.

    March 14 versus Korea 7
    March 16 versus Australia 1
    March 17 versus Malaysia 13
    March 19 versus South Africa 12
    March 20 versus China 25
    March 23 classification matches

Canadian Men’s National Roster in Malaysia:

Adam Froese (Perth, Australia)
Antoni Kindler (Vancouver, BC)
Benjamin Martin (Vancouver, BC)
David Carter (Vancouver, BC)
Gabriel Ho-Garcia (Burnaby, BC)
Gordon Johnston (Vancouver, BC)
Hudson Stewart (Vancouver, BC)
Jagdish Gill (Toronto, ON)
James Kirkpatrick (Victoria, BC)
Iain Smythe (Vancouver, BC)
Keegan Pereira (Ajax, ON)
Mark Pearson (Tsawwassen, BC)
Matthew Guest (Melbourne, Australia)
Paul Wharton (Vancouver, BC)
Philip Wright (Vancouver, BC)
Scott Tupper (Vancouver, BC)
Sukhi Panesar (Surrey, BC)
Taylor Curran (North Vancouver, BC)

For a fan-friendly in-depth look  at Field Hockey Canada Men’s National Team in Malaysia follow: https://www.facebook.com/CanadianMensNationalFieldHockeyTeam

Twitter: ‪@FHC_MNT

Instagram: fhc_mnt

Field Hockey Canada media release

Injury woes for Dharmaraj

By Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIAN COACH K. Dharmaraj's Azlan Shah Cup preparations hit another big snag as No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar picked up an injury before the Hockey India League (HIL) semi-finals.

And he will be out for at least two weeks as he undergoes rehabilitation and will miss the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on March 13-23.

"I am now undergoing rehabilitation at the National Institute of Sports and will need at least two weeks of rehab and rest before I can pad up again," said Kumar.

Malaysia's No 1 penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim also picked up an injury when he dislocated his shoulder during the HIL and not only will be out for the Azlan Shah Cup, but might not even be ready for the World Cup in the Netherlands on May 31 to June 15.

Dharmaraj will name his squad, to defend last year's silver medal, today after training matches against Australia and China.

Malaysia will be up against defending champions Australia, who will be gunning for their eighth Azlan Shah Cup title, South Africa, South Korea, China and Canada.

Malaysia played a three-match series against Canada in Malacca last week, winning the first 6-2, lost the second 5-4 and won the third 5-1.

Meanwhile, Azzami Abadi was left shell-shocked on learning that he was dropped from the national training squad by Dharmaraj.

Azzami believes he has always given his best and does not deserve the cold shoulder from the coach. Dharmaraj had dropped the 24-year-old, who has 54 caps, upon returning from the Australian tour last week.

"I have trained under coach Tai Beng Hai, Stephen van Huizen and recently Paul Revington and none of them had any problems with my playing style, determination or desire.

"All the coaches liked me and I have represented the nation 54 times as proof," said Azzami.

"I always give my best in every match, training and team activities."

He will now turn out for Tenaga Nasional in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League.

Dharmaraj cleared the air yesterday by saying: "When I broke the news to him (Azzami), I also said that 'you are a good boy and I have no problem with your attitude. I think it is better that you focus on your studies and you can also continue playing in Division One of the MHL.'

"I will now call up two other players and see how they progress in this ongoing selection process until the World Cup."

New Straits Times

MJHL REVIEW: One-horse race to the finish

NO CONTEST: Thunderbolts just too good


THE Malaysian Junior Hockey League ended with a bang for SSTMI Thunderbolts on Sunday but the rest of the teams need to do more than just soul searching.

Division One had seven teams, while three groups in Division Two had 23 teams turning the JHL into a mammoth tournament which showcased 540 players.

Many teams had players who only went through the fixtures, and there was little improvement in their game after playing so many matches.

But a large number of players from Thunderbolts, UniKL Young Guns, Petaling Jaya City Council, Politeknik-KPM and Olak-PKT did show promise.

And from the large pool, National Juniors coach Arul Selvaraj named 25 trainees for the 2016 Junior World Cup, with Division Two outfits Politek-KPM and Olak-PKT providing six and three players respectively.

Politeknik-KPM and Olak-PKT not only provided players for the national side, but also added spark to the otherwise predictable JHL.

Politeknik went on to win the Division Two playoff title, while Olak qualified for the semi-finals, and the Division Two team finished a creditable fourth and pocketed RM10,000.

Thunderbolts, who won their third consecutive double, beat the daylights out of every team they met, and even early in the season it was an open secret that the title was theirs to lose.

"This (third straight double) was a combined effort between the school and our sponsor Tenaga Nasional.

"We could not have done it alone," said SSTMI Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman.

Arul Selvaraj will now get his chance to train the players every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday while releasing his trainees to play for clubs in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League.

Arul does not have time on his side as he prepares his team for the Junior Asia Cup which is a qualifier for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in 2016.

But with quality players selected from the JHL, his task has been made easier by the club coaches who have already taught the basics, and now Arul only needs to strengthen their determination and desire to make an impact on the Asia Cup.

For the record, Malaysia are the Junior Asia Cup champions and finished fourth in last year's Junior World Cup in New Delhi.

New Straits Times

Jordan Grant earns spot in National Squad

Versatile Canterbury player Jordan Grant has earned a promotion into the 2014 Women’s National Squad.

The 22-year-old made her debut at the Black Sticks’ three nations tournament against USA and Great Britain in San Diego last month and impressed the coaches.

Black Sticks head coach Mark Hager said they have been keeping an eye on Jordan for some time, and she has proven she has what it takes to perform at the top level.

“Jordan has been on our radar for the past few years. She had a great NHL (Ford National Hockey League) and worked very hard over summer on her fitness,” Hager said.

“With all our injuries to key players over the past six months, we gave her a chance on the USA tour and she showed us she deserves to be there.

“Her versatility is a huge bonus for us going forward in that she can help us in many different positions. She’s got speed and strength and in terms of physicality she doesn’t take any backward steps.”

Jordan has been promoted from the Development Squad and adds to the now 27-strong National Squad.

CLICK HERE to view the 2014 Women’s National Squad

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Top four confirmed for playoffs

The top four playoff positions have been filled in the Aberdeen Asset Management Women’s National League Division 1 as Grove Menzieshill put 8 past bottom side Grange EL to make it 17 wins out of 17 games.

Milne Craig Clydesdale Western had a strong performance winning 7-0 over Glynhill Kelburne, they are currently two points behind Edinburgh University and will be playing in the play offs.

The students took another win away from the weekend as they won 4-2 over Dundee Wanderers, it could have been more if it wasn’t for the Wanderers keeper denying the students any more goals. The Dundee based side take the fourth spot in the play offs.

Mid table clash saw CALA Edinburgh win 5-1 over seventh place Watsonians.

Aberdeen Asset Management Women’s National League Division 2

It’s close at the top with AAM Merlins Gordonians jumping to top spot after a solid 7-1 win over University of Dundee.

Second place Hillhead lost 1-0 away from home to Inverleith, they hold one game in hand but they look likely to face promotion with AAM Merlin Gordonians.

Third place Erskine Stewart Melvilles travelled north for a 6-0 win over Granite City Wanderers. Granite City Wanderers need a few more points to keep them away from relegation.

Haddington who sit bottom and facing relegation lost 6-0 over fifth place Glasgow University.

Aberdeen Asset Management Women’s National League Division 3

League Winners University of St Andrews won by a single goal over rival students Aberdeen University 3-2. St Andrews University will face promotion alongside Stirling University after their back to back wins over the weekend. It was a 2-0 away win over Ayr followed by 3-2 win over Aberdeen.

Bon Accord MBC didn’t quite do enough to help them out of relegation zone as they lost 4-2 to Waverley Inveresk Trinity.

Championship League

Division 1

Milne Craig Clydesdale Western II are walking away with the league after another win, 2-0 over Glasgow Accies.

Second place Edinburgh University II won 4-2over Milne Craig Clydesdale Western III whilst struggling CALA Edinburgh II drew 1-1 with fifth place Grove Menzieshill A.

Division 2

Grange EL II move off the bottom after a thrilling 3-2 win over Kelburne II elsewhere Stirling Wanderers drew 0-0 with Edinburgh University III.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Hillhead make the playoffs for the first time

Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s National League Division 1 playoff positions are beginning to take shape, despite losing by one goal 3-2 to Inverleith, Hillhead men have secured a top four spot. After fighting in the relegation zone this time last year it is the first time Hillhead have made the top four.

Western Wildcats put a stop to PSL Team Sport Clydesdale chances of a top four finish as they won 2-1 at Titwood. Western Wildcats sit comfortably in second whilst John young side are in sixth joint on points with Grove Mezieshill on 26.

Top of the table Glynhill Kelburne segmented why they are top with a comfortable 4-1 win over fifth place Grove Mezieshill.

Bottom of the table Dundee Wanderers put in a stellar performance to hold Edinburgh University students 2-2 coming away with one point a piece.

A thrilling 3-3 draw for fourth place Grange over AAM Gordonians, a strong performance from the Aberdonian side but the one point was enough to see Grange secure a playoff spot.

Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s National League Division 2

A thrilling top of the table clash this weekend as second place Watsonians edged the win over rivals Uddingston by one goal, finishing 5-4 after being all even at 3-3 at half time. Both sides will go up into the Division 1 bottom 8 play off for a chance to be in Division one next season.

Third place University of St Andrews lost out to Erskine Stewart Melville FP 1-0.

Bottom side FMGM Monachs secured a 4-2 win over fellow strugglers CALA Edinburgh, it looks like both these teams will be facing relegation this season.

Granite City Wanderers moved up to seventh despite losing one of their matches this weekend. Fifth place Falkirk GHG took the upper hand winning 3-2 but that didn’t stop the Wanderers winning 3-2 over Alpha Data Carnegie at home on Sunday.

Stepps beat Glasgow University 3-2 whilst fourth place Aberdeen Grammar FP beat Alpha Data Carnegie 4-0.

Aberdeen Asset Management Men’s National League Division 3

Regardless of not playing over the weekend 202 Renewables Greenock face promotion next season, the team that will be joining them is still unknown. Perthshire, who sit second put on quite a performance this weekend as they won 18-0 over struggling Stirling Wanderers. However missed out to University of Strathclyde losing 5-4 on the Sunday.

Harris Academy who sit one point behind Perthshire, won 2-1 away from home against University of Strathclyde.

Fourth place University of Dundee have a game in hand and could possibly face promotion if other scores can go their way, they lost out to Highland 5-2.

Aberdeen University face relegation after having a inconsistent season, they lost to Ayr 4-1. A win for Ayr will want to get as many points added to their tally to keep them off relegation. Giffnock who are on the same points as Ayr lost 6-1 to Waverley Inveresk Trinity.

Regional League

Central Division 1

With three matches left it is too close to call the champions of the league as only two points separate the top two sides. Thomsons Cycles Kelburne closed the gap to the top as they won 4-2 over Grange II.

Fifth place Inverleith II travelled east to put in a solid 10-2 win over struggling Stepps II who have been bumped down into the relegation zone.

Edinburgh University II won 3-2 over PSL Team Sport Clydesdale whilst Edinburgh University III creeping out of the relegation zone with 3-2 win over Grange III.

Central Division 2

Uddingston II managed to hold a 3-3 draw with league leaders Rottenrow Blue Sox, to help their promotion campaign.

An epic come back from Watsonians II as they came back from 4-0 down at half time to just miss out on a point losing 5-4 to GHK.

Glasgow University secured vital points over bottom side Livingston & West Lothian winning 4-0 to help them move away from the bottom.

Anchor won a solid 7-0 over PSL Team Sport Clydesdale III to help them move up to third in the table whilst East Kilbride beat Clydeside 2-1.

North Division

Aberdeen Grammar FP move up to third after a 3-0 away win over Aberdeen University II. Top of the table AAM Gordonians II won 7-0 over Aberdeen rivals Granite City Wanderers II elsewhere Grove Menzieshill II beat AAM Gordonians III 4-1.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Senior players inspire Busby Primary School

Busby PS visit

National senior players Ali Howie and Maisie Morris visited Busby Primary School this morning to chat to the kids about everything hockey in the lead up to Glasgow 2014.

As it is National Commonwealth Day, the school kids were supporting Sport Your Trainer’s Day scheme and have been doing lots of activities ahead of Glasgow 2014.

First thing this morning Ali from Milne Craig Clydesdale Western and Maisie who plays for Edinburgh University took some fun dribbling games with the senior part of the school, primary 6 and 7. This was followed with a Q & A with the rest of the lower school where all sorts of questions were asked, from what inspired them to take up hockey to the most exciting place in the world where they had played hockey.

The kids really enjoyed the sessions and meeting two of the National Scotland players and wished the girls the best of luck for the future.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Namdhari enter hockey national semis with 4th consecutive win

LUCKNOW: Namdhari XI continued its winning streak and defeated Rajasthan 3-1 in their last Pool A league match to book their place in the the semifinals of the fourth Hockey India Senior Men National Championship 2014 (Division B) at the Major Dhyan Chand Hockey Stadium on Monday.

With their fourth consecutive win, Namdhari topped the points table in the Pool A.

Irrespective of the final result, it was Rajasthan who took the lead in the 29th minute through Saif Ali Khan.

But Namdhari drew level at the stroke of halftime from a penalty stroke which was perfectly converted by Santa Singh (35th).

In the second half, Namdhari were the aggressive among the two sides and surged ahead in the 42nd minute through a penalty corner conversion by Bhagat Singh Dhillon.

Namdhari sealed the match in their favour in the 65th minute when Santa Singh scored his second goal of the day, this time from a field effort.

In the second match of the day, Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd were held to a 1-1 draw by Jammu and Kashmir.

After a barren first half, Jammu and Kashmir went ahead in the 53rd minute through Amrinder Singh's goal before the Mumbai outfit equalised in the 63rd minute through Kuldeep's strike.

The draw enabled Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd to stay on the top of the points table, while Jammu and Kashmir with one win and one draw are placed fourth in Pool B.

The third game of the day between Bihar and Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) also ended in a draw.

It was a fast-paced exciting contest as Bihar and SSB were locked at 5-5 after regulation time in the Pool A tie.

Naveen Minz (4th, 57th) scored two goals, while Sankalp Raghav (2nd), Ajit Kerketta (17th), Bhim Kumar (19th) scored one each for Bihar.

For SSB, H Surachandra Singh (26th, 60th) and Pradeep Kumar Singh (45th, 61st) scored two goals each whiole the other came from the sticks of Gunamani Singh (24th).

Meanwhile, in the last match of the day Himachal Pradesh eked out a fighting 2-1 win over Uttarakhand in Pool B.

HP took the lead in the 28th minute through captain Gaurav Kumar.

But Uttarakhand leveled the scores in the 56th minute from a penalty corner which was converted by Vikram Singh before HP scored the winner in the 65th minute when skipper Gaurav scored his second goal of the day to ensure the win for his side.

In the Wednesday's semifinals, Namdhari XI will take on Hockey Gangpur-Odisha while Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd will face Hockey Maharashtra in the second last four match.

Today's Results:

Pool A: Namdhari XI 3 Santa Singh (35th, 65th); Bhagat Singh Dhillon (42nd) vs Rajasthan 1 Saif Ali Khan (29th).

Pool B: Mumbai Hockey Association Ltd 1 Kuldeep (63rd) vs Jammu and Kashmir 1 Amrinder Singh (53rd).

Pool A: Bihar 5 Sankalp Raghav (2nd); Naveen Minz (4th, 57th); Ajit Kerketta (17th); Bhim Kumar (19th) vs Sashastra Seema Bal 5 Gunamani Singh (24th); H Surachandra Singh (26th, 60th); Pradeep Kumar Singh (45th, 61st).

Pool B: Himachal Pradesh 2 Gaurav Kumar (28th, 65th) vs Uttarakhand 1 Vikram Singh (56th).

The Times of India

Hockey nationals sans top players

Asheem Mukerji

LUCKNOW: Non-availability of top players in the 4th Hockey India men's national championship (Division A) will rob the tournament of its sheen.

The championship, which gets underway at the Dhyanchand stadium on Tuesday, will be played without prominent players who are undergoing a national camp in Delhi preparing for the World Cup, to be held at The Hague, Netherlands, from May 31 to June 15. Without them, it will be like a party without champagne.

The hardest hit will be last year's runners-up Punjab, who will be without 11 of their main players - Ramandeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Akashdeep Singh, Manpreet Singh, Dharamvir Singh, Harjot Singh, Gurbaj Singh, Gurjinder Singh, Gurinder Singh and Satbir Singh. Punjab, who had lost to Air India 2-6 last year at Pune will find the going tough in Pool B where they will have to contend against Manipur, Madhya Pradesh Academy, Sports Authority of India and Comptroller & Auditor General of India.

Air India, who are in Pool A, will miss their midfielder Vikas Pillay along with forwards Affan Yousuf and Lalit Upadhyay.

Karnataka, who have been clubbed with Jharkhand, Odisha, hosts Uttar Pradesh and Bhopal in Pool C, will be handicapped by the absence of Nikkin Thimmaiah, Nithin Thimmaih and SV Sunil in the forwardline. They will also be hit hard by the non-availability of the ever-dependable defender and drag-flicker VR Raghunath and midfielder SK Uthappa.

Also missing will be the poster boy of Indian hockey Sardar Singh. The services of Singh, along with Sandeep Singh will be missed by the Haryana team.

The Times of India

Don’t give up on hockey yet

In HIL, Indian youngsters showed they can be worldbeaters with good guidance

Indervir Grewal

Chandigarh - In one of the matches of the recently concluded Hockey India League, Nikkin Thimmaiah lit up the opponent's circle with a lightning run that left the defenders surprised. The Karnataka forward's staggering burst of speed was one of the wow moments of the match and the tournament. The run also ought to have instilled some confidence in the wavering belief of the Indian hockey followers.

This display of an extraordinary acceleration by the 19-year-old was one of the many examples of the potential the Indian youngsters have. Nevertheless, a lot remains to be done before this potential can translate into solid performance at the international level.

"There is a great potential in India; the HIL showed that," said Hardeep Singh Grewal, a former India player. "Our players matched the foreign players in pace, and their fitness level has also improved a lot."

Grewal added that there were at least 10 young players like Akashdeep Singh, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Thimmaiah, Rupinderpal Singh or Affan Yousuf who have the potential to become world class players. But, he said, a lot of work needed to done to make these players world beaters. "Their physical strength has to be improved to match that of the foreign teams. More importantly, their mental strength has to be improved."

Tactical understanding

The run brought the UP Wizards' forward, Thimmaiah, to the top of circle with a clear try at goal, and the easiest angle to score from. But the overwrought teenager scuffed the shot.

"They have a lot of speed but don't know what to do with it," Grewal added. "It is understandable as it takes youngsters years to grasp the tactical aspect of the game."

What Grewal hinted at was that over the years many youngsters have shown potential at the junior level (where the game is more skill and speed based), but apart from a few, none have been able to shine at the senior level.

"Hockey has changed a lot; it has become more like a game of chess. They need to do extra work on developing their understanding of the modern game," said Grewal.

MK Kaushik, coach of the Indian team, said, "We have the foreign coaches who are working with these youngsters." India has hired foreign coaches for many years now. So why are our teams still failing in the tactical department?

"Our players have low grasping power. Their state of mind has to be changed. They are happier going for a two-hour run, rather than sitting for a 30-minute video session," said Ashish Balal, former India captain. "The management has to come up with more exciting ways to teach the players."

Balal added that there was great need for a psychologist who could understand the different cultures and lifestyles of India.

"We have players from different states and different cultures. A Punjabi has to be handled differently than an Adivasi from Odisha. A coach is too busy to do that."

Confidence issues

There is another big problem which has regularly hurt the Indian team — the junior players not being able to make a successful transition to senior level. "Ramandeep Singh is a fantastic player. But he has put immense pressure on himself after the HIL auctions. He is trying too hard," added Balal. "There should be a psychologist whom someone like Ramandeep can approach."

"The role of the senior players becomes important in these situations. The Indian team lacks a leader. Sardar Singh is a great player but hope he can become a great leader," added Balal, who himself came into the side when he was only 17 years old.

"This is a reason why Indian youngsters player so well in HIL. Every team had a great leader such as Moritz Fuerste for Ranchi Rhinos or Teun de Nooijer for the Wizards or Mark Knowles for Punjab Warriors."

This being an important year, with the World Cup and the Asian Games, Indian fans will be hoping for a good show by the team.

But both Grewal and Balal said that it would be impractical to expect any drastic change in such a short period. Though Kaushik said that the management had set 2016 as their target, there was no special plan regarding the youngsters.

The Tribune

Junior women’s hockey: Manipur meets Chhattisgarh in semifinals

Manipur, Gangpur-Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Kerala (all with three wins from as many games), topped their respective pools and sailed into the Group B semifinals in the fourth Hockey India junior women’s National championship on Monday.

In Pool D, Kerala, riding on Amala Thomas’s hat-trick, registered a 9-0 win over Puducherry to storm into the last-four stage.

In Pool B, Gangpur-Odisha scored an 8-1 win over Assam to qualify for the semifinals.

In another Pool B game, Andhra Pradesh blanked Jammu & Kashmir 6-0. B. Maheshwari scored a hat-trick, U. Jyothi a brace and P. Jyothi completed the tally.

Tuesday is a rest day and the semifinals will be played on Wednesday.

The results:

Group B: Pool B: Gangpur-Odisha bt Assam 8-1; Hockey Andhra Pradesh bt Jammu & Kashmir 6-0; Pool D: Kerala bt Puducherry 9-0; Gujarat w/o Chandigarh Olympic Association.

Semifinal fixtures: Manipur vs Chhattisgarh; Gangpur vs Kerala.

The Hindu

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