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News for 13 February 2019

All the news for Wednesday 13 February 2019

Aussies Switch Their Attention To Great Britain Clash

Ben Somerford

The Kookaburras and the Hockeyroos have switched their attention to facing Great Britain in Perth in the FIH Pro League on Saturday, with both hoping for some warm weather for Australia’s old enemy.

The world number two Kookaburras will take on the seventh-ranked Brits at 3:30pm WST/6:30pm AEDT on Saturday, followed by the third-ranked Hockeyroos facing 2016 Rio Olympics gold medallists from 5:30pm WST/8:30pm AEDT at Perth Hockey Stadium.

Britain sit top of the men’s standings following a perfect start to their FIH Pro League campaign, which has seen them score 12 goals in two matches.

Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: “They’ve won both of their games so they’ll be pretty confident.

“We expect some hot weather. It’s a one-off game again so we’ll put all our preparation into recovery and we’ll go from there.”

In the women’s, the British started their FIH Pro League with a 5-1 thrashing from New Zealand on the weekend and will be looking to bounce back.

The Hockeyroos, however, have begun brilliantly, recording two wins, a shootout win and a defeat from four matches to sit second on the standings.

Hockeyroos coach Paul Gaudoin said: “Hopefully we can get up at home in Perth. Hopefully it’s nice and hot for the British too.”

Despite Australia’s bright start to the FIH Pro League, which included a ground-breaking win over world champions Netherlands, Gaudoin is refusing to get carried away.

“It’s a long stretch and it’s quite different,” he said.

“It’s early days. It’s pleasing to get some points on the board. We’re wanting to improve each game as we play.

“I wanted us to hold the ball a bit better (against Germany). We struggled to do that.

“Germany put some more pressure on us. There’s lots to learn. We can’t afford to let teams get back into it.”

Meanwhile, the Kookaburras bounced back from a sluggish start in Melbourne against the Netherlands and Belgium, by recording their first FIH Pro League win 4-2 over Germany in Hobart on Sunday.

“We needed to improve and our preparation was very good,” Batch said.

“We were pleased to come away with the win.”

Youngster Jacob Anderson won the Player of the Match award in only his seventh cap for Australia with two goals.

“He keeps wanting to learn,” Batch said. “That’s a credit to him.

“Boccy is a striker who receives well, connects well and he had a hand in another of our goals.

“There’s a lot of positives with him and he finishes in the front of the net which is the reward with the two goals he scored.”

Tickets are selling fast but still available for Saturday’s matches at www.ticketbooth.com.au, from $30 for adults and $10 for children.

The Hockeyroos-GB match will be live on FOX SPORTS 506, while the Kookaburras match will be delayed, but live on kayosports.com.au. Both teams will be announced later in the week.

Saturday 16 February 2019 - Perth Hockey Stadium, Perth
Kookaburras v Great Britain - 3:30pm WST (live on kayosports.com.au, delayed on FOX SPORTS 506)
Hockeyroos v Great Britain - 5:30pm WST (live on FOX SPORTS 506 & kayosports.com.au)
Tickets via ticketbooth.com.au from $30 for adults, $10 for children
Gates open 2:30pm WST

Hockey Australia media release

Preview and Team Naming for Friday vs Germany

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Coach Darren Smith has made two changes to the side that lost 6-2 to Great Britain. After struggling to adapt to the pace of the new Nga Puna Wai turf the Vantage Black Sticks Men will be looking to put the previous weeks performance behind them as they meet Germany.

Germany comes over from Australia having had a tough match against the Kookaburras the previous week and will be hoping that they make a good recovery in a short turn around week.

The Black Sticks Men had a stronger second half where they managed to score two goals and play more consistent hockey. Darren Smith’s men will need to aim for a complete 60-minute performance if they are going to upset the world number 6 side.

The last time these two sides met it was a high scoring match which saw Germany walk away with a 7-4 win despite a Stephen Jenness double.

The Black Sticks are without FIH Pro League leading goal scorer Hugo Inglis and will be looking to some of the newer members of the strike line to step up and fill the void that Inglis has left.

Look out for Sam Lane who will be playing a second match in front of his home crowd. Lane has some electrifying skills and can put a rocket of a shot past any goalkeeper. Sam looked to be energised by the crowd the previous week and will be aiming to channel that again this Friday.

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Coach Darren Smith States “We are going to need to play with a bit of zip on the ball and play our style of hockey against Germany this week.”

Germany features one of the most feared strike lines in world hockey. Keep an eye out for Christopher Ruhr who is one of the most determined strikers going around international hockey. Ruhr has scored 38 goals in his 118 matches and will be looking to increase that total on Friday evening.

Vantage Black Sticks Men vs Germany Men. Friday 8th February at 7:10pm. Coverage is on TVNZ DUKE

Vantage Black Sticks Men’s Side to take on Germany




George Enerson



Richard Joyce



Shea McAleese



Dane Lett



Blair Tarrant



Hayden Phillips



Kane Russell



Arun Panchia



Nic Woods



Nick Ross



Aidan Sarikaya



Marcus Child



Mac Wilcox



David Brydon



Dominic Newman



George Muir



Sam Lane



Dylan Thomas



Sean Dancer has made just two changes to the side that had a massive victory on Friday night against Great Britain. Having struggled to score goals in the first couple of games of the FIH Pro League the Black Sticks Women scored 5 goals the most that they have scored in a game since they beat Scotland 6-1 at the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The last time these two sides met in 2018 the Vantage Black Sticks Women came away with a hard fought 3-2 win and will be looking for a similar performance again as they look to get their second win of the FIH Pro League.

Friday afternoon is going to be a special one for long serving defender Ella Gunson as she has been named in the side to play her 200thmatch for the Vantage Black Sticks. Gunson isn’t known as a goal scorer having scored 9 times in her 199 matches. One of those goals came from a penalty corner last weekend against Great Britain. Don’t be surprised to see Ella get herself on the score sheet again in this milestone match.

The German Women are an incredibly strong side and are currently ranked one place ahead of the Vantage Black Sticks in 5thplace in the world. They will be looking to bounce back after a tough match against Australia where they lost in a penalty shootout.

Coach Sean Dancer commented on Ella Gunson ahead of her 200thmatch “Ella has been a stalwart of the group and certainly puts her body on the line every time she steps out there.”

Vantage Black Sticks Women vs Germany Women. Friday 15th February at 5:10pm. Coverage is on TVNZ DUKE

Vantage Black Sticks Women’s Side to take on Germany







Tarryn DAVEY



Frances DAVIES



Shiloh GLOYN






Megan HULL









Olivia MERRY









Kirsten PEARCE

North Harbour








Kelsey SMITH









Stephanie DICKINS

North Harbour


Hockey New Zealand Media release

Lawrence Amar Joins USWNT Staff as Assistant Coach

Image Courtesy of Kent State Athletics

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – USA Field Hockey is pleased to share that Lawrence Amar will become an integral part of the U.S. Women’s National Team staff by lending his diverse and hefty expertise in the assistant coach position. Alongside Janneke Schopman, USWNT Head Coach, Amar will continue to shape and guide the flourishing Team USA’s international pitch presence in 2019 and beyond.

 “I’m very excited that Larry agreed to join our staff,” said Schopman. “With his experience I’m sure he can add value to our staff and am looking forward working with him.”

“We are delighted to have Larry join our team,” said Simon Hoskins, USA Field Hockey’s Executive Director. He brings a wealth of technical experience and has played the game at the highest level.”

Bringing his own experience to the pitch, Amar has served as a USA Field Hockey Level 2 Coach in a variety of settings. In his new coaching role, he plans to use his prior experience to lead the USWNT to future success.

“My personal goals will be to serve the team, support Janneke, qualify for the Olympic Games and to continue learning in a high-level environment amongst the best our nation has to offer,” said Amar. “I am consistently trying to move from good to great in all my tasks and responsibilities.”

Amar comes to the USWNT from collegiate field hockey where he held the position of assistant coach for Kent State University from 2009 to 2018. In that role, he worked with individual team members to target specific areas of improvement, organized strategies for each match based on video analysis, experience and understanding team strengths and weaknesses, and led successful international and domestic recruiting efforts by developing strong relationships with potential student-athletes, parents and recruiting agency.

“With the talent that we had, we maximized our efforts and found a way to win Conference Championships, win Conference Tournaments and earn our way into the NCAA tournament,” said Amar, on his experience at Kent State. “Having won seven Conference Championships, four Conference Tournaments and four NCAA Tournament berths in 10 years, speaks to what prepared me for this next role. Every coaching opportunity, I had to be creative, I had to find ways to inspire and motivate, I had to build trust, I had to build players from the ground up and teach them relevant skills and tactics... and above all I had to keep learning and exploring, in order to be the best I could be for the team.”

“My Kent State experience combined with my prior experience as a [U.S. Men’s] National Team player is exactly what prepared me for this position,” said Amar of his work with the Golden Flashes.

As an athlete himself, Amar stood out as a player at an early age, having first represented with the U.S> Men’s National Team at the age of 16. He was also one of the few players to ever represent all three squads at the same time, playing on the U-18 USMNT, U-21 USMNT and senior USMNT concurrently. A native of California, he was part of the U.S. Men’s National Team programs from 1987-1999 and competed in more than 200 international matches. Those included multiple tours, World Cup Qualifiers, Pan American Games, Junior World Cup and the Atlanta 1996 Olympic Games. He also served as captain for both his U-21 USMNT and USMNT, earning additional accolades along the way, including the 1994 and 1995 USA Field Hockey Athlete of the Year award.

Following his playing days, Amar was a member of the U.S. Army for six years, serving two tours overseas. He earned the rank of Staff Sergeant in the Infantry. Amar received two Army Commendation and Army Achievement Medals among his numerous honors and achievements.

The USWNT has been on an upward trajectory with most recently beginning play at the FIH Hockey Pro League. Other notable accolades, a strong performance in a test series against Chile and a hard-fought first game against Argentina in the inaugural home and away league have also contributed to the squad as an international threat on the pitch. With the addition of Amar, the USWNT looks to continue to develop its new members to create a strong game plan for the matches to come.

 “What a great opportunity to work with, alongside and mentor the best women our sport has to offer,” said Amar. “Not too many people get this opportunity and I am very humbled and privileged to be given this offer, by Janneke, the team and Simon.”

“I am also very excited to be able to return the valuable experience I had as a player wearing our nation's uniform under USA and USA Field Hockey,” continued Amar. “I think as every player matures in life, they often think about how they can give back, but to actually get the chance to give back... for me, that's what it is all about!”

Join USA Field Hockey in welcoming Amar to Team USA!

USFHA media release

Five Australian Teams To Compete At Indoor Masters World Cup

Ben Somerford

Australia will field five teams at the inaugural WMH Masters Indoor World Cup which takes place in Hong Kong from 14-17 February.

Australia will have mens’ teams compete in the Over-40 and Over-50 divisions and ladies’ teams compete in the Over-40, Over-45 and Over-50 divisions.

The Masters Indoor World Cup will be the first ever tournament under the banner of the WMH.

Hosted at the world famous Hong Kong Football Club and other nearby venues, the tournament will take place over four full days and feature more than 25 teams across the Over-40, Over-45 and Over-50 divisions.

For regular updates from the Masters Indoor World Cup head to www.facebook.com/2019WMHIndoorWorldCupHK or www.mastershockeyiwc.com.

For full fixtures for the Australian teams head to www.mastershockeyiwc.com/fixtures/.

There will also be Twitter updates at www.twitter.com/WmhCup and Instagram updates at www.instagram.com/2019wmhindoorworldcup.

Over 40s Ladies

Amy Billett, Georgina Gunner, Jill Hay, Lee Hodge, Reita Holmes, Nanette Latta, Amanda Meech, Anne-Marie Murray, Rebecca Platten-Reynolds, Lisa Quinn, Narelle Richardson, Jenine Watson. Coach: David Mike

Over 45s Ladies

Sharon Brown, Leanne Croft, Denise Gersbach, Trudy Green, Michelle Kennedy, Kim McCaw, Tracey Preston, Lisa Roach, Karen Seaman, Rachel Sihota, Amanda White, Nicole Wicks

Over 50s Ladies

Karen Becker, Sue Briggs, Lyn Collett, Danielle Cook, Linda Ferguson, Helen McGee, Susan Mott, Kaylene Osborne, Tania Parker, Donna Parsons, Myra Reilly, Linda Smith. Shadow Players: Rosemary Cheetham, Robin Gorton, Tracey Hardie-Jones, Susan Thomas

Over 40s Men

James Abbo, Philip Barrett, Andrew Burns, Martin Cashmere, Andrew Fenton, Stewart Fenton, Ridwan Houston, Chris McCarthy, Michael Peters, Chris Stolk, David Tilker, Grant Trollope. Shadow Players: Mark Low, David McGregor

Over 50s Men

Andre Cabral, James Crabb, Ashley Grummitt, Allen Hart, James Heath, Tibor Hegyi, Peter Huk, Paul John, Greg Johnson, David Sharpe, Richard Thompson, Colin Trinder. Shadow Players: Andrew Bewick, Mark McElligott, Andrew Myhill

Hockey Australia media release

U.S. Masters Teams Set for WMH Masters Indoor World Cup Competition

HONG KONG – Tomorrow evening, the U.S. Men’s and Women’s Masters Teams will start competition at the second World Masters Hockey (WMH) Masters Indoor World Cup in Hong Kong. Taking place February 13, with the time difference, to February 17, USA will represent in three age divisions, O-40 and O-50 for the men and O-40 for the women.

To prepare for the international event, the men’s teams had a series of training camp weekends as well as some outside competitions. In the middle of December, they traveled to Toronto, Canada to play their men’s masters in a friendly. January saw three more training events, one January 5-6 at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. and another January 13 in Virginia Beach, Va. The final training and competition was January 19-21 at Boston University, including the Boston Indoor Cup. The O-40 men took sixth out of ten strong teams and the O-50 men fought hard throughout.

The women’s team prepared similarly with multiple training camp weekends, including four held at Spooky Nook Sports in Lancaster, Pa. On top of that, members of the squad were invited to optionally join the Philly Hockey Club practices. They also competed in some outside competitions, January 12 the SPark tournament, January 19-21 the Boston Indoor Cup and January 27 the Baltimore Field Hocey Association event.

While in Hong Kong just before the Masters Indoor World Cup started, the teams had a few more practices and each side played Canada in a friendly.

U.S. O-40 Men’s Masters Indoor World Cup Schedule:

Wednesday, February 13    USA vs. Hong Kong Dragons        9:00 p.m. ET
Thursday, February 14        USA vs. Hong Kong            12:00 a.m. ET
Thursday, February 14        USA vs. England                3:00 a.m. ET
Thursday, February 14        USA vs. Canada                8:00 p.m. ET
Friday, February 15            USA vs. Germany                12:00 a.m. ET
Friday, February 15            USA vs. Australia                5:00 a.m. ET

U.S. O-50 Men’s Masters Indoor World Cup Schedule:

Wednesday, February 13    USA vs. Germany                9:00 p.m. ET
Thursday, February 14        USA vs. Australia                2:00 a.m. ET
Thursday, February 14        USA vs. Canada                7:00 a.m. ET
Friday, February 15            USA vs. England                12:00 a.m. ET
Friday, February 15            USA vs. Switzerland            3:00 a.m. ET
Friday, February 15            USA vs. England O-55            9:00 p.m. ET
Saturday, February 16        USA vs. Italy O-55                6:00 a.m. ET

U.S. O-40 Women’s Masters Indoor World Cup Schedule:

Thursday, February 14        USA vs. Netherlands            4:00 a.m. ET
Thursday, February 14        USA vs. Hong Kong            7:00 a.m. ET
Thursday, February 14        USA vs. Germany                9:00 p.m. ET
Friday, February 15            USA vs. Australia                3:00 a.m. ET

USA Field Hockey has been in contact with the WMH Masters Indoor World Cup organizing committee on whether this event will be live streamed.

The Masters Indoor World Cup will be the first-ever tournament under the banner of WMH and will take place at the world-famous Hong Kong Football Club, as well as the nearby Island East Sports Centre and Shek Kip Mei Park Sports Centre. The tournament will take place over four full days and feature more than 25 teams across the following age categories: 40+, 45+ and 50+.

For more information regarding the WMH Masters Indoor World Cup, including the full schedule, results, rosters and more, check out the official event page by clicking here.

USFHA media release

Polo move five points clear at the head of Spanish table

©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics

Real Club de Polo moved five points clear at the top of the Spanish Honor Division with a big 3-2 win over arch rivals Atletic Terrassa on the second weekend back after the winter break.

Borja Llorens put Polo in front with a powerful low drag-flick but Dutchman Jair van der Horst levelled up for 1-1 with a quickfire shot on the spin.

David Alegre scored a beautiful second goal to restore the lead from a long-ball from the back, taking it on and flicking in with a delightful finish.

Atletic equalised once again in the second half via Pol Parrilla’s drag-flick but Alegre won it in the end from a clever penalty corner routine back to the injector with seven minutes to go.

Polo’s cause was helped, too, when Club de Campo shared a 2-2 draw with Club Egara. The tie was level at 1-1 with four minutes to go when the Madrid club went in front courtesy of a Jose Basterra strike but Josep Romeu levelled in the last minute for the draw.

It leaves Egara in second place, one above Atleti with Junior FC in fourth thanks to a 5-4 win over Barcelona. Next weekend sees all of the top five meet teams in the bottom half of the table.

Euro Hockey League media release

Terengganu Ladies, Liaoning win semis first leg

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Terengganu Ladies bounced back in the second half to overcome PKS-UniTen 4-2 in the semi-final first leg of the Vivian May Soars Trophy at the Tun Razak Stadium here today

The east coast side netted through Siti Rahmah Othman (44th, 54th), Manmeet Kaur (52nd) and Siti Noor Amarina Ruhani (60th) while Hanis Nadiah Onn (eighth) and Nur Zafariah Aziz (50th) replied for PKS-UniTen.

With the result, Terengganu Ladies will have a two-goal cushion for the return leg on Thursday.

In the other semi-final, China’s Liaoning Hockey Club edged Police Blue Warriors 2-1 at the Tengku Abdullah Stadium in Bangi.

"A two-goal lead is nothing in modern hockey. We cannot afford to be defensive in the return leg.

“Today, we had more than enough chances to win by a bigger margin, but we failed to convert sitters,” said Terengganu Ladies coach K. Gobinathan today.

PKS-UniTen coach Lailin Abu Hassan said his charges are not out of the running yet.

"No, we are not going to give up easily as even though they have a two-goal cushion, I have my plans for the return leg.

“We just gave up after taking the lead today as we made too many mistakes,” said Lailin.

Chen Yiming was the toast for Liaoning HC with a double in the second and 14th minutes while former international Nadia Abdul Rahman narrowed the gap in the 21st minute.



Semi-final, return leg

Liaoning HC (2) v Police Blue Warriors (1)
(Tun Razak Stadium)

PKS-UniTen (2) v Terengganu Ladies (4)
(Tengku Abdullah Stadium, Bangi).

* both matches at 5pm
* first leg scores in parentheses

New Straits Times

Terry Walsh quits MHC

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical director Terry Walsh has decided to step down after more than three years of charting the future of the sport in the country.

The 65-year-old Australian made the announcement at a special press conference that was held at MHC’s headquarters here earlier today (Tuesday).

And what was the reason behind his decision?

Well, apparently the National Sports Council (NSC), who are his paymasters, were forced to release him because of limited funding.

“After more than three years as the technical director of Malaysian hockey, I have decided to step down from my position and have already informed MHC on my decision.

“I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do next, as I will go back to Perth and enjoy some quality time with my family,” said the 1976 Montreal Olympic Games silver medallist, who read from a prepared statement.

MHC president, Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, then added: “It does not mean this is the end of our relationship with Walsh, as we might call him on special assignments in the future.”

Walsh will see through the remainder of his contract until the end of March, before calling it a day in Malaysia.

“I will continue to be involved with MHC until the end of March, after which I will return to Perth and enjoy some quality time with my very understanding wife and family.

“I have every confidence that after 20 years, the men’s team will qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and I really hope that when they do it, it will encourage a whole new generation to start playing hockey in the country.

“Malaysia needs to be strong, for Asia to be strong as well,” said Walsh.

In his absence, national men’s senior squad head coach, 64-year-old Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, will now chart the path to Tokyo, starting with the Hockey Series Finals which Malaysia will host in April.

New Straits Times

It’s family first for Walsh as his contract expires next month

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical director Terry Walsh’s (pic) three-year tenure will end next month.

The Australian has decided to return to Perth, Australia, to be with his family when his contract ends on March 31.

Walsh said his stay in Malaysia has been pleasant and is happy to see the steady progress of the national team.

“Malaysia have the potential to be one of the world’s big powers. I believe Malaysia, led by our youngsters, will qualify for the Olympic Games after 20 years,” said Walsh.

“I would like to thank MHC for giving me the opportunity to serve Malaysian hockey. Their support for me has been invaluable too.”

MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said he respected Walsh’s decision.

“Terry has been with us for three years now. He told us that he wants to be with his family. Besides, MHC have financial constraints too,” said Subahan.

“We’ve to spend according to our means. Terry has stated that he’s willing to help us on a consultancy basis.

“He’s very knowledgeable and we need his expertise when it comes to youth development,” he said.

Meanwhile, Subahan revealed that a programme similar to the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) is in the pipeline for hockey.

“Terry has set the foundation, but we need to discuss further on this National Hockey Development Programme,” said Subahan.

“Our intention right now is to set the right landscape and make sure there is long-term funding for this project.

“We need to boost the overall development of youths to produce the next pool of national players in the future.”

The Star of Malaysia

Conducting PHL essential to revive national game: Shahbaz

Mohsan Ali

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior has said that conducting the Pakistan Hockey League (PHL) is essential to revive the national game.

Addressing the press conference at Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium, Karachi, Shahbaz Senior said: “The players of Argentina, Spain, Netherlands and other top hockey playing nations will be in action in the Pakistan Hockey League starting from March 23. I will be leaving for Switzerland to attend the FIH Governing Board meeting to be held on March 15 and I will also take up Pakistan’s case of two-year ban on taking part in pro-league try to ensure the ban should be lifted.”

He said Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) elections were held as per PHF constitution. “We are ready to talk to all stakeholders and our doors are always open for those, who are angry or upset with the federation without any solid reason. The Pakistan Hockey League will start in Lahore and it will take around Rs 100 million expenditures to conduct the first-ever league in Pakistan.

“We need to shun our meager differences if we want to take Pakistan and hockey forward. It is very important to fill the hockey stadiums and it is only possible through regular matches and Pakistan Hockey League will be a milestone in helping the youngsters towards attracting youth towards playing hockey,” he added.   The PHF secretary said that the government had also promised to provide funds for holding the PHL. “As far as the federation’s audit is concerned, we are ready to provide every single detail of expenditures, what we’ll get from the government and produce through our own resources.

“The world XI visit to Pakistan gave a very positive signal to international community. After world XI tour, the international players very positively presented the true image of the country across the globe that Pakistan is completely safe for holding all kinds of international hockey events.

“The Senate Standing Committee on IPC has shown trust in the PHF, while the IPC Secretary has accepted that the resignations won’t help the national cause and directed us to continue with the good work. He also assured of government’s all-out support to the federation. Had former IPC Secretary Jameel Ahmed not ignored our requests of sending the national team to professional hockey league, the situation would have been completely different, but his irresponsible attitude cost hockey and PHF dearly,” he added.

Shahbaz said that the PHF congress meeting will be held on February 26, in which all the major decisions will be taken and we will seek vote of confidence from the congress as well. About taking back his resignation, he said: “Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar had refused to accept my resignation and asked me to continue for the sake of hockey. It is our responsibility to ensure hockey back on its feet.

“It hurts badly that we are running from post to pillar to arrange funds and a few negative-minded people and hockey family start unleashing hell on us. I request them to give us positive suggestions to help Pakistan hockey start flourish again. They must criticise our policies and should wait for audit report and if found guilty of a single penny’s corruption or any wrongdoing, we will immediately quit,” he added.

“The PHF is not a personal property of anybody. Today Shahbaz Senior is secretary, tomorrow someone else will be performing this role. We must discuss positivity. I never thought about discrimination as all the players and officials are same for me. I once again request to all former Olympians to come and bring suggestions as hockey is our common interest and we must shun differences to take Pakistan hockey back to old glory days’ heights,” Shahbaz concluded.

The Nation

Shahbaz Ahmed offers olive branch to critics, ex-Oympians

Anwar Zuberi

KARACHI: Perturbed by the ongoing scenario in national hockey, the secretary of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Shahbaz Ahmed has offered an olive branch to all former Olympians and the Karachi Hockey Association (KHA) - headed by Dr Junaid Ali Shah - to come at one table and suggest ways and means to lift the national game.

“All stalwarts of the game belong to hockey family and will be welcomed in the larger interest of the game,” said Shahbaz while addressing a press conference at the Abdul Sattar Edhi Hockey Stadium here on Tuesday. He was flanked by former Olympian Ayaz Mahmood.

Refusing to accept the blame for Pakistan’s 12th place finish at the Bhubaneswar World Cup last year, Shahbaz said the team was similar ranked when he took over three years back and had pointed out that it lacks the grit to go up on the ladder.

‘I did my best to build confidence of pool of players and inculcate vigour in them by inviting foreign coaches including physical trainer but in the end the team failed to rise to the occasion,’ he told reporters

The press conference started 50-minutes behind schedule and instead of giving opening statement, the PHF secretary directly invited questions from reporters.

Shahbaz pointed out that he will be remembered in history for his heroics and not as PHF secretary, a position where people come and go.

Refuting allegations pertaining to discrimination with Karachi players the PHF secretary added he believes in Allah and can’t even think of it. “We all are like a family,” he remarked.

Asked about his meeting with the IPC secretary Akbar Durrani he said the government official admired his services both as a player and as PHF secretary and assured his support. He stressed for setting up four to five academies for youth under high performance coaches with the help of respective provincial governments in order to create a strong base.

To yet another question, Shahbaz said he will use his ‘connections’ to help revoke the suspension imposed on Pakistan by the world governing body of the game in the FIH executive board meeting next month.

It is pertinent to mention that the FIH had suspended Pakistan from the inaugural Pro League following its refusal to compete.

Comparing his heyday period with today, he said the level of physical fitness, skills and match temperament of Pakistani players used to be very high which is lacking now. Citing example, he said either a player become hero or zero in high-voltage Pakistan-India Test series.

Sheding light on the proposed Pakistan Hockey Super League (PHSL) he said some 15 to 20 foreign players from Holland, Germany, Argentina among other others have confirmed while efforts are being made to invite a few from Asia also.

Tentatively to be held from March 23 to 30, the PHSL is likely to cost approximately Rs 100m on the sponsors pocket and will help PHF raise ample funds.

He answered in affirmative when asked whether the PHF has obtained No Objection Certificate (NOC) rom the government regarding PHSL.

Responding to a question about criticism from different quarters regarding financial audit of PHF accounts he said: ‘We’ve conducted the audit twice and if any other department want to do it again we’re ready for it’.

“As my seniors, I respect Samiullah and Manzoor Junior and they have their own point of view,” he said.

He sounded optimistic to get vote of confidence when the PHF Congress meets on Feb 26.

He disclosed that national junior under-19 hockey championship will be held at Islamabad from Feb 17 to 27 which is a first step to start preparation for the Junior World Cup.

Shahbaz recalled that Pakistan have won all glories – Olympics, World Cups and Asian Games – in the past with the government’s support.

Defending sending juniors to Canada he said the trip had cost PHF approximately Rs 10m as accommodation and meals were free.

Ayaz, meanwhile, termed his visit to the KHA’s Olympian Hanif Khan-Dr Junaid Ali Shah hockey ground as ‘ice breaking’.

‘It is need of the hour that all Olympians and internationals should sink their differences, ego and work collectively in the larger interest of the game, he added.


Hockey: pushing for social change

While the FIH Pro League continues to amaze and the FIH Series Finals is on the horizon offering an Olympic qualifying spot as the ultimate prize, it is also worth taking a moment to contemplate another, astonishing role that hockey can play.

Hockey as a catalyst for change is an aspect of our sport that is often under the spotlight but can be as impactful as a World Cup medal or an Olympic gold.

One such project is being run by social entrepreneur, Juan Sanchez, in the turbulent Central American state of Colombia.

Colombia has a violent recent history. More than 220,000 lives have been lost during an ongoing armed conflict between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). Recent attempts at brokering a truce between the two groups have led to a fragile peace.

It was against this backdrop of violence that Sanchez decided that hockey could play a role. His vision for a sustainable hockey project won the support of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and is fast gaining traction in two Colombian cities – the capital Bogota and Itagui in Antioquia.

Sanchez now runs one of 42 community-based projects around the globe. His project – using hockey as an activity to promote change in challenging local communities – headlines as ‘Social Change Through Sport’.

In 2018, recognising the value of the project, the IOC made the 25-year-old a Young Change Maker, an initiative supported and funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

“I had seen the power of sport in multiple scenarios [for example, in South Africa, rugby was used as a tool to end apartheid], and I felt something needed to be done. Here was an opportunity to use sport as a tool to achieve social cohesion in a country that after the peace process felt more divided than ever.”

The Young Change Maker programme provided Juan with a chance to put substance to his ideas. He contacted schools in marginalised areas and spoke to them about his plans. Soon he was matching hockey coaches to schools as the project rapidly transformed from plans to reality.

For the programme to work, Juan needed two factors to come together. He needed coaches to be on board and enthusiastic about delivering hockey in sometimes fractious areas; and he needed the schools to value the benefits that sport could bring.

Progress is understandably slow. One coach very much dedicated to hockey development is Cristina Llano, a physical education teacher from Argentina. She teaches hockey at the Colegio Gran Bretaña in Bogota, but is also involved in hockey from grass roots to elite level.

While Llano bemoans the lack of equipment, trained coaches and support at government level, she like Juan, is one of life’s ‘doing people’, so she had been waging a campaign, with hockey organisations at all levels, to get hockey into schools, colleges and a well-planned process in place to develop the national team over the next five years. The increase in tournaments, leagues and clubs in pockets across the country is testimony to her work.

A third player in this drive to promote hockey in Colombia is Armando Pinzon, a physical education teacher at the Colegio El Saltire I.E.D in Bogota. Much of Pinzon’s coaching knowledge was gained during a sabbatical in Germany when Armando was one of 12 coaches who traveled from Bogota to Cologne to work with top German hockey coach Rüdiger Hänel.

“My project started after I had the opportunity to travel to Germany to train in the foundations of hockey. When I returned, I started working with my students. I also brought back donated equipment from Germany.”

Armando then set about convincing his fellow sports staff of the value of coaching hockey. The result is eight trained hockey coaches and 2,500 children playing hockey as part of the physical education programme at the Colegio El Saltire.

One of the first challenges faced by Armando, aside from a lack of equipment, was to persuade the student cohort that there was a team sport besides football. He achieved this by ensuring that his coaching sessions were full of fun and interesting activities. Gradually, the students’ eyes were opened to the potential of this new, unfamiliar sport.

It has also helped, he says, to see more hockey on television and across social media. International coverage is helping the children understand and appreciate the game more.

Sanchez, Llana and Pinzon are just three of many dedicated coaches who are working on something less tangible than a gold medal but equally important – a viable, sustainable hockey programme that brings a love of the game but also acts as a catalyst for social change.

The work in Colombia is very much in line with the FIH Hockey4Life global programme. Under this initiative, projects follow three main themes: #Hockey Dreams, which promotes the sport to young people; #Equally Amazing, which focuses on equality and inclusion; and #BeyondHockey, the strand that extends to legacy and social impact.

The outcome of Hockey4Life? The programme aims to achieve: Higher rates of participation; better skills and more professional hockey programmes, more opportunities to play/coach and get involved and placing hockey as a key player within both the Olympic movement and the wider sporting landscape.

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