All the news for Sunday 8 May 2011
Belarus starts Champions Challenge 2 with a bang
Belgium 2, Malaysia 1:
It took a strong second-half performance for 17th-ranked Belgium to overcome #22 Malaysia in the opening game of the FIH Champions Challenge 2 in Vienna, Austria.
Malaysia held a 1-0 advantage at the half after Fazila Sylvester Silin scored the opening goal 14 minutes into action. The lead held until Belgium’s Jill Boon sparked her team to life in the second minute of the second half with the equalizer. Morgane Vouche put in the game winner in the 54th minute, allowing Belgium to breathe a big sigh of relief and earn the first win of the event.
Russia 3, Belarus 4:
18th-ranked Russia may be considered the big brother to Belarus, but today was the day for the world #23 to shine as they survived a late Russian surge to earn a dramatic 4-3 win.
Belarus netted the only goal of the first half, coming from Hanna Zabrotskaya in the 21st minute. But the tame first half was quickly replaced something out of an old western film as the teams combined for six goals in the action-pack second half.
Belarus took control of the game when they returned to the field after the break, putting in three straight goals to take a commanding 4-0 lead, including a second goal from Zabrotskaya. Down, but not out, Russia pieced together an amazing comeback, netting three goals in a six-minute span to pull to within one. But Irina Kuzmina’s 4-3 goal with 10 minutes left would be a close as the Russians would come as Belarus buckled down on defense and held on for the slim win.
Chile 2, Italy 1:
Chile’s Denise Infante gave her team an important win on Day One when she shot in the 2-1 game-winner against Italy in the 53rd minute.
Chile took the early lead, scoring just seven minutes into action, but after the taking the advantage, the Chilean offense halted, allowing Italy to climb back into the game netting the equalizer eight minutes later. There were no signs of life from either teams’ offense until Infante struck well into the second half with the eventual game-winner.
Chile is ranked 16th in the FIH World Ranking, while Italy holds the 20th spot.
Canada 2, Austria 1:
It wasn’t convincing, but #19 Canada eked out a 2-1 win against host and 37th-ranked Austria in the final game of Day One action.
Not a single field goal was scored as all three tallies came from penalty corners. Canada looked to have the game well in hand, netting the first penalty corner 12 minutes into play and adding another three minutes before the break. Katie Baker and Jessalyn Walke scored the Canadian goals.
Austria snuck back into the game when Irene Balek put in her team’s first goal of the game with eight minutes left. While the goal gave the home fans something to cheer about, it wasn’t enough to pull Austrian through to the win as Canada held on for the 2-1 victory.
To view all match reports, click here
FIH Media release
CCII - Canada defeats Austria 2-1 in Game 1
Canada defeated Austria in their first game of the Champions Challenge II in Vienna, Austria. Playing under sunny and warm skies (so bright that the spectators could not see the numbers on the score board!), Canada came out strongly and dominated the first half. They were the first team to arrive in Vienna, but for the hosts, and it paid off in their preparation.
Buoyed on by their small, yet boisterous fans (Flexman, Roemer, Jameson; more arriving tomorrow), Canada’s strong start paid off at 12‘ when Katie Baker rang a shot off the goal post in the game’s first short corner.
Canada continued their pressure, rewarded with a short corner at 24’ and several long corners. Austria’s only chance at 27’ resulted in a shot wide.
Canada struck again at 32’. Another short corner saw Jess Walkey calmly put a rebound in at the far post. Although Austria pressured late in the half, Canada took a comfortable 2-0 lead into halftime.
Austria re-grouped at half time, resulting in a much closer game. After Kate Gillis and Jess Walkey combined to almost find the net at 36’, Austria earned a shot on goal at 37’, saved well by Azelia Liu. Austria continued to mount pressure, particularly with the use of aerial passes to gain field advantage. The game continued for the next twenty minutes with both teams having chances to score. A good deflection by Di Roemer at 61’ just missed followed by a disputed short corner to Austria at 63’. Irene Balek scored on a fine tip for which the Canadian goalkeeper had no chance.
With Austria pressing and both teams not willing to give an inch, Green Cards were issued to Austria at 64’ and to Abi Raye at 65’. Although Austria earned a couple of long corners late in the game, Canada defended well to clinch the win.
Canada now plays Chile at 3:00 pm local time Sunday (6:00 am PDT) in what could be a crucial pool game as Chile defeated Italy 3-2 earlier in the day.
Starting line-up – Azelia Liu, Steph Jameson, Sam Smith, Abi Raye, Di Roemer, Krissy Wishart, Tyla Flexman, Katie Baker, Kate Gillis, Jess Walkey, Thea Culley.
Substitutes: Kate Collison, Marian Dickinson, Dani Hennig, Hannah Haughn and Cailie O’Hara
DNP: Kaitlyn Williams and Sara McManus.
Field Hockey Canada media release
Battle for final spots hotting up
Just two days into the tournament, the destiny of the Azlan Shah Cup cannot be easily determined. The hockey on view so far has been intense, fierce and sensational as the victory the Aussies recorded against Malaysia just 35 seconds before the hooter on Friday demonstrated.
With four teams-India, Australia, Britain and Korea- on three points led by Pakistan holding on six points, a nerve wracking fight for final spots is bound heat up in the next week.
For the India watchers it is so far a mixture of joy and anguish. The win over Britain was a heart warming performance, considering the strength of the opponent. This outcome, coming as it did after the reverse against the Koreans from a position of advantage, was celebrated with a touch of spontaneity.
Having said this, it needs to examine what lies ahead. India comes to grips on Sunday with the Aussies, whose enterprise and efficiency are not a wee-bit less in the absence of its iconic Jamie Dwyer, nursing an injury.
The experience and endurance of Arjun Halappa in the mid-field has stood the test well so far. Gurbaj’s consistency and the firmness of Vikram Pillay have given this line a stability that it needs to maintain throughout. Danish Mujtaba has played a constructive role.
Admittedly, Dhananjay Mahadhik lends the mid-field with some solidity. Rupinder Pal’s hat-trick against Britain, remains the high point in the event so far.
At 23, Rupinder is developing into a lethal striker using his height advantage like Sandeep Singh. As coach Harendra Singh agreed realistically, Rupinder has a long way to go. His form in the tournament will now be watched with interest.
Goal keeper Chettri was outstanding against Britain. This was sadly buried in the wake of of Rupinder’s show. His saves frustrated the Britons who obviously never anticipated such resistance to Richard Mantell and James Tindell. Harendra needs to take stock of Chettri’s display against the perceived policy of alternating the goal-keeper. Adrian did not inspire confidence, as the outcome Korea showed.
Served well by the seasoned trio of Sohail, Rehan and Abbasi, the Pakistanis are on top. The outcome over New Zealand and Korea by an identical 4-2 margin underlined the fighting qualities. Zubair and Haseem Khan are the two colts proving their mettle as is goal-keeper Imran Shah.
Despite the loss against India, Jason Lee and his British squad continues to be the best bet for the trophy. It has everything that a coach wishes for; balance, proficiency and professionalism. One factor that might upset the British is the weather, which is humid and oppressive.
To sideline the Aussies because Jaime is absent will be a miscalculation. With a tactician like Charlesworth at the helm, supported by seasoned players like Glen Turner, Simon Orchard, Christopher Cierello, Liam de Young and Jason Wilson, the Aussies onslaught on the trophy cannot be ruled out at this stage.
Malaysia failed to score a point despite demonstrating a noticeable flair. Faisal Saari’s missed penalty stroke caused the downfall against the Aussies, while Great Britain showed a bit more power to subdue the local combination. Malaysia deserves a higher placing in the final tally.
Neither the Koreans nor the Kiwis have projected that measure of consistency to achieve results matching their strength. Both are capable of recovering from this frailty.
5-time winners, Australia and India clash on Sunday
India will have had enough time to recharge themselves when they take on Australia in their crucial league match of the Azlan Shah Cup on Sunday. Having lost their first match to Korea narrowly despite taking a 2-0 lead, it was commendable the way the team fought back against Great Britain to win 3-1. India’s last meeting with Australia was in the final of the commonwealth games 2010, when Ric Charlesworth’s team thrashed India 8-0. And while many would be expecting that scoreline to play on the players’ minds, their performance against Britain indicates that this team may not be as mentally fragile as expected.
Both Australia and India tied at five titles each in Azlan Shah, this may well be an opportunity for the Indians to go one up on the world champions in at least one area
While coach Harendra Singh has said that that the GB match is history now, the players themselves are not too awed of the Australians. A senior player said that while the aussies deserve respect for being no. 1 , that respect will not mean that they will get a free hand on the field.
undefined“One, they are also without their top players and we also do not have many of our best players here. So it will be an even match. And two, this is not a team that enters with shoulders dropped anymore against big teams. We know we can play well and are trying our combinations here. Most importantly, the youngsters are not carrying any baggage. Despite the 8-0 loss in CWG, we learnt our lessons. That is the key part. I am sure we will do much better tomorrow,” he said.
Australia played their first match against Malaysia on Friday and just managed to scrape past through a final seconds winner through a penalty corner by Jason Wilson. They were scrappy but that does not mean they will repeat the mistakes against India. "The Australian team has depth in its ranks even without several key players. It is not unusual for them to start slowly, so one must not read too much into the performance yesterday," harendra said.
For India, the most important thing will be make sure the Australians do not get space to move. Against Britain also, while the overall effort was good, there were times when the Indians, playing man-to-man marking, lost their bearings. Often, one of the key players on the flanks was left unmarked and that ultimately helped England pull one back. Against Australia, such mistakes may prove costly.
Also, the Indian attack needs to get sharper. While it may be understandable that the lack of a solid defence means all the players have been forced to pull back, that does not excuse the close chances that have gone waste. Plus, the left flank remains India’s weakness – there is no one to build up an attack from that side and they also have been unable to thwart attacks from that side. undefined
On the other hand, Australia’s performance against Malaysia may not be a reference point but some of their senior players did seem a tad slower than they used to be. The Malaysian defence was impressive and effect showed in Australia’s desperation. Australians love to attack and go for the goal at every opportunity but their biggest advantage is in the mind.
Charlesworth may be a master tactician and with a brilliant record – Australia winning all three major competitions last year, the CWG, the World Cup and the Champions Trophy is proof of that – but even the best teams have weaknesses. A close match or no space to move for a long time frustrates them and they are drawn into committing mistakes in desperation. If India manage to thwart them from not only scoring early but also keep them quiet for a long time, it will be half the battle won.
With Saturday being a rest day, the players got a well-deserved break to prepare themselves for bigger challenges ahead. The coach has already said that the competition is important for testing India’s pool of players ahead of the qualifiers. "The key is to stick to the gameplan and that revolves around maintaining a sound structure throughout 70 minutes.
It's important to judge if the current pool of players have the ability to perform at a high level," harendra said.
That will be tested severely against Australia.
Keeping possession vital against the world champs
After a tough game against Great Britain, it was good to get a rest day. There are no easy games here, since almost every side is at full strength. Since we have two big games coming up on consecutive days, the rest day is definitely welcome. Up next are world, Olympic and Commonwealth champions Australia on Sunday. That is a game that will be very important for us, so there is no question of taking it easy. Also, having lost the first game, every match is important for us. The most important thing for us is concentration. We need to stay focused for the entire 70 minutes.
Even the slightest loss of intensity can make a big difference against Australia and that is what we need to guard against. Australia are a team who always attack whether they lead or trail. They are always on the lookout for a goal. We saw that against Malaysia yesterday when Australia got the winner with 35 seconds remaining.
In terms of tactics, we won't change our game much. There is a system that we have slowly come to believe in for the last two years and we will try to stick to that. It is good that the change of guard in team management has not meant a change in system. It is now beginning to pay off. We will be looking to up the speed and momentum.
Australia are expected to score early and then add pressure. During the CWG final, we saw them sit back for the first 20 minutes and then come attacking. After that, they kept scoring on counters also.
What is more important is to keep them away from the ball. It will be important for us to keep possession and play short and hard. Running hard will also be important, both with and without the ball.
However, I feel that it will be unfair to compare the two sides. Though Australia do play at a different level, they are here without their top 5-6 players. But that doesn't make them a weaker team.
On the other hand, we are also playing without several of our top and key players.
‘Forget about CWG final’
Indian team are keen on leaving behind the disappointment of of the Commonwealth Games final drubbing as they lock horns with the mighty Australia in their third match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, here tomorrow.
Ahead of their next round-robin league outing tomorrow, chief coach Harendra Singh has told his players to focus on the team's game plan and the structure of their play.
Aware that the drubbing in the Commonwealth Games final may be playing on the minds of his players ahead of the Australian game, Harendra said his boys should try and keep that score-line away from their thoughts.
"That match is history now. It is something that happened in the past. We must move on and try writing a new chapter here," the coach said asking the youngsters to emulate rookie drag flicker Rupinder Pal Singh's brilliant show against Great Britain.
The victory over Great Britain has lifted the sagging spirits in the team after the dejection of squandering a two-goal advantage against South Korea on the opening day.
Outright winners of the Azlan Shah Cup in 2009 and joint champions with South Korea in 2010, India defeated Britian 3-1 yesterday after suffering a 2-3 defeat at the hands of a young Korean team in the first outing on Thursday.
Britian have brought a near full-strength team to fine-tune the squad for the London Olympic Games, while India are without several leading players and are starting their preparations for the Olympic qualifiers which will be held in New Delhi, in December.
Even Australia, who India play next, are without half a dozen members of the line-up that became the first side to win the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games in the same year. Australia and India share the record of having won the Azlan Shah Cup five times each.
Injuries suffered by skipper Jamie Dwyer and ace striker Desmond Abbott have forced coach Ric Charlesworth to field a young squad. Penalty corner specialist Luke Doerner, and key players like Mark Knowles and Eddie Ockenden are among the other Aussies missing as they are currently playing in Dutch League.
Testing the reserve strength at the Azlan Shah Cup, the only tournament where Australia failed to emerge on top of the podium last year, Charlesworth's team only managed to put it across hosts Malaysia 2-1 last night through a final-minute goal by the seasoned Jason Wilson.
Harendra feels that no one could afford to assess the Australians on basis of their form in the tournament's first outing yesterday.
Teams unfair to the Azlan Shah Organizers
Competitions are lifelines of sport. Tournaments, such as ongoing Azlan Shah Cup, sustain interest of hockey in both short and long term perspectives. People remember and relish sports only during competitions.
Team preparation, target tournaments, selection hassles, and such stuff are there in the news, that lead up to tournament, but nothing like tournament proper.
Over years, totally unprofessional sports that hockey is, there has been a tendency, which has become a habit nowadays, to use the multi-nation tournaments as a trial events for some other targets like Olympics or World Cup.
A few mild exceptions apart, hockey has nothing to offer to interested public, getting over-shadowed even in multi-discipline summits such as Olympics and Continental Games.
Bilateral series used to be main thirst quencher for many years, this genre has almost died due to many factors the primary of which being the coaches’ overreach, over-enthusiasm and overkill to try and test players.
This tunnel vision of coaches and Federation has nearly killed international tournaments. In the past there used to be so many of them – Ahmadabad International, Bombay International, Indira Gandhi Gold Cup etc, etc to quote Indian example. And then you had Humburg Festival of 70s, Warsaw Internationals, Lyon International etc etc.
Where are they now? These all died for want of motivation and purpose.
If an organizer spends a fortune to stage a wonderful tournament, their interest goes for a toss once they come to know some X or Y country is bringing C or D teams. Even the winners of such competitions do not get accolades which they otherwise deserve. Coaches have killed hockey in the name of experimentation and preparation.
For instance, Indira Gandhi International Cup (1987 to 1996) held annually in India died not for want of money or support, but essentially because of the inability of the organizers to get strong teams.
In the whole world, there is only an annual international tournament, that is, the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. A huge money is spent to stage the event. True, teams come on their expense, they have some right to use the situation to their advantage, but the liberty has crossed the limits.
The present Azlan Shah Cup team composition worries me. Australia and Korea in particular have brought almost their second string teams. Not left behind is New Zealand and India (though two senior players are injured, another two opted out).
The problem in larger perspective is like this. Out of the 126 players here, hardly 8 have caps more than 200.
About 50 players, which is almost 40 percent have played less than 50 matches, in fact 80 percent out of them are within 20 caps.
8 players are playing their first international which is almost one per team not a cause for concern.
What of course is the cause for concern, is two third of Australia and Korean players have caps below 50, meaning their team is essentially second string.
With 2 debutants and 3 below century caps, Australia’s is a perfect case of second string; they did so last year as well.
Korea has 11 players below 50 caps, while it is 8 for New Zealand and 7 for India.
Pakistan, Malaysia and Great Britain are perfect senior teams in terms of players international appearance record, four Pakistan player having caps above 200, two even more than 300 (Sohail and Waseem). Ten players from Great Britain have caps between 100 and 200.
Qualitatively also, these three teams have almost brought established stars.
It is really unethical to bring second string teams for major competition which robs of its charm and steals the very purpose for which the organizers spend a huge fortune.
If there is a guarantee that senior teams will come on invitation, hockey will have many more Azlan Shahs. But unfortunately, teams like Australia and Korea even undermine this, sorry to say this.
The big picture is that hockey has to shed the Olympic-Wrold Cup centric mindset, try to cater to other needs, a best would be to have more and more tournaments, certainly not spoiling the exisiting competitions, as some teams are habitually intend to.
Yoga the answer for Harendra
Indian coach Harendra Singh relies on yoga to help in concentrate on his role as the Indian hockey coach, one of the most difficult jobs in world hockey.
Akin to sitting on a time bomb, Harendra needs all the concentration he can muster in order to carry out his task effectively as taking charge on the Indian team is not for the faint hearted.
Each morning Harendra spends an hour on yoga, drawing a circle on a paper and listing out his thoughts - those which are within his means, inside the circle and those beyond his control outside the circle.
"I started doing this (yoga) after the Commonwealth Games last year and it has helped me carry out my task with a calm mind," said Harendra who is a Rajput.
"As a coach it gives me calming moments and the chance to reflect on things. And honestly over the past six months it has made me into a better person."
Harendra said that as a coach, one has to take risks and it is no different in coaching India.
"A coach who does not take risks is not a coach. And the same principle applies in coaching - where a great player does not necessarily mean that he will become a successful coach," said Harendra.
"So coaching is all about a continued learning process and the ability to accept change. It is a question of teamwork in coaching as we have others to help us in carrying our tasks, like physiologists, mental trainers, physiotherapists.
"Unlike the past where only the coach decides, things have change and we also rely on input from the support staff. But ultimately it is the coach who has to take the blame should anything go wrong."
On India's performance in the ongoing Azlan Shah Cup, Harendra said that blooding youngsters was a common objective for all the teams in the tournament and it was no different for India.
"We are using the tournament to try out some players and tactics. The results are important but we also need to know if the current pool of players have the ability to perform at a higher level," said Harendra.
"After the Azlan Shah Cup, the national championships are on and we will name a squad of 45 trainees and our work towards the Olympic Qualifiers will start."
India will take on reigning world champions Australia tomorrow (Sunday). The last meeting between the two teams was in the final of the 2010 Commonwealth Games in New Delhi where Australia won 8-0.
"That was in the past. Once the match is over it is considered history and we must move on and write a new chapter," said Harendra.
"Australia have depth in their squad and even without key players here in Ipoh, they have impressed. Forget about the match against Malaysia as it was their first match and it is normal for them to start slowly.
Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site
Under pressure to take down Asians
By Jugjet Singh
MALAYSIA, as was expected, lost their first two matches but victories are what they have to serve when playing against Asian opponents in the Azlan Shah Cup from now.
Malaysia play India tomorrow and it will be a tough match as the Indians beat Britain 3-1, the scoreline similar to the national team's defeat to the 2012 Olympic hosts on Thursday.
"There are no easy matches for us in the Azlan Shah Cup as we are the lowest ranked team. India, New Zealand, South Korea and Pakistan have displayed good attitude even with many new players, and I expect them to improve with every match," said national coach Tai Beng Hai.
On his players, Beng Hai was satisfied with the way they played against Australia, but the poor conversion rate is a cause for worry.
"The forwards made many openings in both matches, but failed to score and that is a cause to worry. We only scored two field goals (both by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin) while the penalty corners have not been working.
"That (penalty corners) is what we will work on in the two rest days. I need to stress that we are working towards the Olympic Qualifier so I might try some new approaches."
India are inconsistent, as after losing tamely to South Korea, they played like champions against Britain.
Malaysia need to beat the three Asian teams to show that their silver medal in the Asian Games was not a flash in the pan.
They showed that they were not afraid of World No 1 Australia, and it is time to produce super shows against their Asian counterparts.
New Straits Times
Time to deliver
Getting a positive result from the match against India on Monday is vital for Malaysia if they harbour hopes of meeting their target of a top four finish in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Having lost their two matches so far, 1-3 against Great Britain and 1-2 against Australia, the Malaysian team is well aware that they need to start having points on the table in order to meet the target set by the national body.
And their road to redemption begins with India on Monday followed by matches against New Zealand (Wednesday), Korea (Thursday) and Pakistan (Saturday).
Coach Tai Beng Hai is well aware on the trials and tribulations facing his team as well as living up to the expectations of the national body. But he is taking matters in his normal calm disposition, opting to let his players do the talking on the pitch.
"Things have not been going according to plan and while we did not play up to our normal standards against Great Britain, we ought to have got at least a point against the Australians," said Beng Hai.
"The youngster in the team are doing relatively well and this augurs well for the future of Malaysian hockey. What we need is more high competitive matches in order to help prepare the players for the Olympic Qualifiers next year.
"Coming back to this tournament, we need at least seven points, and some upsets from other teams, in order to finish amongst the top four. It is well within our reach."
Beng Hai said that the match against India will be interesting given that Malaysia beat India in the semis of the Asian Games.
"It is not revenge but the fact is that India will want to show that they are better then us despite not having some of their better players here in Ipoh," said Beng Hai.
"We have to play the right game against them and be patient. I believe the strength of the Indian team is the same and they have some very good new players coming through the ranks."
Beng Hai said that with Mohd Madzli Ikmar out, Kevinder Singh will be brought in to play in midfield with Azlan Misron pulled back into defence.
"This is the opportunity for Kevinder to stamp his mark. We did not play him in the two earlier matches as we want to ease him back into international hockey. He has enough experience and I am confident Kevinder will handle the task well," added Beng Hai.
The performance of the three youngsters, Mohd Azammi Adabi, Mohd Firhan Ashaari and Mohammad Izzat Mohd Rahim also came in for some praise from Beng Hai.
"Azammi has fitted in well and is playing with confidence in the midfield while Firhan and Izzat too are comfortable when fielded," said Beng Hai.
"I hope that they will continue to give it their all as they are young and have many years of good hockey in them. So its vital they pick the correct skills and work on their physical strength so that they can cement their place in the squad."
Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site
Beng Hai: We are heading in the right direction
IPOH: The national hockey team are heading in the right direction with their training but they will need more quality matches if they hope to play consistently against top sides.
National coach Tai Beng Hai said that the two matches at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup showed that they have a good programme in place but more work needed to be done to improve on their game.
He said fitness level was still low but the programme they are working on is starting to bear fruit.
“Result wise we are not happy but then players showed good character in the matches against two top sides. Australia and Britain are in the top four in the world. It was a tough opening for us but I believe that we can improve greatly over the months to come,” said Beng Hai.
Malaysias lost their first match 1-3 to Britain and then blew a one goal lead against Australia and lost 1-2 with the world champions scoring a last-minute goal.
For the Malaysians the target is the Olympic qualifiers next year. This tournament marks the start of their final run in.
The team came into the tournament with just four weeks of training and this is also their first tournament since the Asian Games last year.
“So we hardly had an ideal training programme. I also cannot give the players a heavy fitness programme as they would not be able to play well here.
“Still like we said this is a test event for us and the idea is to see where the team stand and at the same time expose our players to some high quality matches.
“The players will get their moves right and execute them with greater confidence if they play more often with top teams. And the only way you can get these kind of matches is to play in major meets.
For the record, Malaysia have not featured in the last two editions of the World Cup (2006, 2010) and Olympics (2004, 2008). On each ocassion they failed to win their respective qualifiers.
Beng Hai said the Champions Challenge in November would be a better indication of their potential to make the Olympics.
“By then we would have had proper training and the players for the qualifier can be shortlisted.”
The Malaysian Hockey Federation have set a top-four target for the team at the Sultan Azlan Shah and a top-five finish at the Champions Challenge.
The Star of Malaysia
Brave Madzli wants to play on
Malaysia will be without the influential Mohd Madzli Ikmar for the match against India. And he could miss the rest of the Sultan Azlan Shah campaign.An assessment of his injury will be done on Monday.
"it was not painful at first as all I felt was numbness and when I put my hand to my face I could see the blood. That is why I walked off instead of asking for a stretcher," said Madzli.
"This is not the first time I was hit on the face as I was also injured during the Test match against New Zealand prior to the Commonwealth Games last year.
"It is unfortunate that I cannot play on Monday (against India). But I hope that the doctors will give me the green light after they set my nose back. I want to look good again."
The ball hit Madzli on the face when he tried to stop a goal bound shot in the match against Australia on Friday night.
And as a result, Madzli who was rushed to the hospital, suffered a compound fracture on the bridge of his nose and swelling on his cheek.
"I hope that the injury will not rule me out of the tournament as I want to help the team achieve the top four target," said Madzli.
However this is subject to his recovery and his condition will be monitored over the next few days.
Official Sultan Azlan Shah Cup site
Madzli fractures cheekbone and may have to sit out tournament
By S. RAMAGURU
IPOH: Malaysian hockey skipper Mohamed Madzli Ikmar is injured and is doubtful of playing on in the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Malaysian team doctors will check him out during the two rest days before deciding whether he can continue playing. Madzli, 32, sustained a compound fracture on his cheekbone during the match against Australia on Friday.
National coach Tai Beng Hai said that Madzli would have to miss the game against India on Monday after which a decision will be make on his stay with the team.
“We are waiting for the doctors to do more detailed tests before making a decision. The question is whether we risk aggravating the injury by playing him. Is it worth the risk? That is the main issue for us,”said Beng Hai yesterday.
The experienced Madzli is the mainstay in the Malaysian defence and his absence will be sorely felt as two key defenders are missing from the team.
Mohamed Amin Rahim and Azreen Rizal who played in the Asian Games last year are injured and did not make the squad for this tournament.
If Madzli cannot carry on playing a new defensive line-up will have to be implemented.
“We faced the prospect of using new players and see if they can fit into the vacant slots. It is good in one way as we are forced to try out new combinations. But at the same time it would be good if we had an experienced defensive line-up.
“We play India next and the expectations will be high for us to beat them again. We hope to play hard and go all out. Our aim remains to learn and aim for a win in each match,” added Beng Hai.
The Star of Malaysia
Defender goes Dutch and reaches higher level
Frustrated by a lack of opportunity at international level, Wellington defender Matt L'Huillier decided to take matters into his own hands.
Upon completion of a printing apprenticeship, the 23-year-old stepped out of his comfort zone and took his talents to Holland and a curiously named club known as Klein Switzerland.
It proved to be an inspired decision. Eighteen months later he made his New Zealand debut in Thursday's 4-2 loss to Pakistan in Malaysia.
L'Huillier, a late callup due to injuries, impressed and was a tad unlucky that two drag flick rockets were well saved by Pakistan goalkeeper Imran Shah.
"It was a huge honour to pull on the jersey for the first time," L'Huillier said from Ipoh.
"I went over to Europe to try and develop what was left to develop in my game and then come back and have one last push at the team. It has worked out well."
The Dutch experience helped L'Huillier, a noted penalty corner exponent, round out the finer points of his defensive game.
"I really enjoyed it. They play a different style of hockey and it was what I needed to develop my game."
Originally from Nelson, L'Huillier moved to Wellington five years ago to take up a printing apprenticeship as well as play hockey.
His first season at Harbour City Tawa was underwhelming – "there wasn't a very good team culture" – and he was lured to Indians, where he is now player-coach, by former Black Sticks star Umesh Parag.
"It's an Indian club but you don't have to be Indian to play there. I've enjoyed it."
L'Huillier hopes to be selected for New Zealand's tour of Europe later this year as selectors continue to assess their options ahead of next year's London Olympics.
A hat-trick in an unofficial warmup game against India helped him feel like he belonged.
"It was just more recognition of realising that I can play at this level. It's huge, everything happens so much faster. You have to be so much more pro-active."
New Zealand's next game in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is against Korea tomorrow, and L'Huillier said adjusting to the oppressive heat was challenging.
"It's pretty ridiculous. The first game was the hottest it has been all trip, so all the boys were sort of hanging out a bit to start with. It was around 38 degrees."
The Dominion Post
Pakistan show improvement
ASIAN Games champions Pakistan are a rejuvenated side, as their senior and junior players have clicked extremely well in the first two matches of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.
They beat New Zealand and South Korea by 4-2 scorelines to give themselves a good chance of playing in the final.
And the secret to their success after finishing 12th in the New Delhi World Cup last year?
"We have been drilling the players to play as a family, and only rely on individual skills when they are presented with an opportunity.
"The sport has changed so much that the coach now has to tell the players when to play as a team, and when to break free individually. Our players no longer run with the ball aimlessly," said Pakistan coach Junaid Khawaja.
Pakistan have qualified for the 2012 London Olympics, and so have Australia, New Zealand and Britain.
"We are playing against nations who are seriously building sides for the Olympics, and it was nice to beat New Zealand.
"And we play Britain next. They have the same brand of European hockey like New Zealand and even though it will be a tough match, I believe my players have received a big boost in the two earlier matches and are primed for another win," said Junaid.
New Straits Times
Lack of club culture no issue in India hosting world event: FIH
IPOH (MALAYSIA): The lack of club culture in India will not be an issue in the country hosting the World Inter-Club Championships in 2013 as any team like a company, a university or an institution can participate in it, according to International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre.
Negre acknowledged that club culture was lacking in India as compared to that prevalent in Europe but that was not an issue in allocating the World Inter-Club Championships in the South Asian Country.
"I accept that the club culture in these parts of the World are not the same as we have in Europe, but the concept of a club is broader than it is generally presumed," Negre, who was here in connection with the Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament, said.
"Any company, institution or university, or for that matter any team that plays hockey can be recognised as a club," he said.
Negre said India has agreed to bear the cost of hosting a world clubs event for men and women in 2013.
The inaugural World Inter-Club Championship is likely to be an eight team competition and the FIH is seeking to allocate one major event to India every year.
Negre said that the FIH was also in talks with sponsors to start a top-class domestic professional hockey league in India but made it clear that it will be conducted through its recognised affiliated association.
He said the players in any league, domestic or otherwise, can only be allowed to appear in a league after approval from the FIH and its affiliated national associations.
"We are constantly assessing the situation in India, from where we have several offers for a professional league. We'll be happy as a league will bring a lot of money to the players, but the FIH alone will give the approval for players," said Negre, who is travelling from Malaysia to India tomorrow to scrutinise the plans for the men's Champions Trophy to be held in New Delhi in December.
The FIH's income from the 2010 World Cup in New Delhi has reinforced that India is the biggest revenue earner for the world body. But Negre says the FIH is not in India to make money only.
"I've read some criticism that the FIH is in India to make money, but I need to emphasize that this is not true. We are not there to take profits out of India. The World Cup in India was very successful, and we're looking forward to some more exciting events," he said.
In fact, India has now emerged as favourite tournament venue for the FIH after the successful hosting of the World Cup which had reinforced the country's status as the biggest audience for hockey and also the main source of revenue.
New Delhi will stage the men's Champions Trophy in December, which has been expanded to eight teams. Soon after, the country will be the venue for Olympic Qualifiers for men and women, featuring six teams each in both events.
It will be followed by the Junior World Cup - again both for men and women - in an Indian city. And the latest is the World Inter-Club Championships, whose inaugural edition the FIH says India has offered to host in 2013.
India has never had it so good in terms of international events, even when it was among the top-ranked nations in international hockey.
In fact, the first time India hosted the World Cup was in 1981-82, and that was the fifth edition of the premier hockey event outside the Olympic Games.
The scenario is quite different now. India was not among the 12 teams in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which was the first time the country did not play in the Olympic Games in 80 years. India has slumped to as low as the last position in the World Cups, and has failed to reach semifinals of the Asian Games on one occasion.
But the bounty in the form of top-notch international events is coming India's way, and critics have attributed this to the prospects of the world body making huge profits in the form of sponsorship money.
The Times of India
IPL-style hockey league to get official backing?
International Hockey Federation Leandro Negre, who is expected to arrive in New Delhi on Saturday to iron out details for the proposed league, also announced that India had offered to host the inaugural World Inter-Club Championship in 2013. -Photo by AFP
IPOH, Malaysia: Hockey’s world governing body has revealed it is negotiating with sponsors to start a high profile league in India.
“A total of four different groups have approached us for a hockey league and we are assessing them all. In fact we are discussing the financial situation with a couple of them,” Leandro Negre, the president of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) said late Friday.
Negre said the FIH would approval the hiring of foreign players, adding that “we need to ensure that the recruitment of these players will not affect the major world tournaments”.
The FIH chief was in Malaysia for the Sultan Azlan Shah hockey tournament in Ipoh, capital of the northern Perak state.
A new Indian league called the World Hockey Series was supposed to start later this year but no dates or details have been fixed and it has not been announced who would run the league.
The FIH has said it will not sanction any league organised by the Indian Hockey Federation, which is not recognised by the world body.
“I have read some criticism that the FIH is in India to make money, but I need to emphasise that this is not true,” Negre said.
“We had a very successful World Cup and have had an agreement with (motorcycle manufacturer) Hero Honda that it will sponsor all FIH events in the years to come,” he added.
Negre, who is expected to arrive in New Delhi on Saturday to iron out details for the proposed league, also announced that India had offered to host the inaugural World Inter-Club Championship in 2013.
“India’s agreed to bear the cost of the World Inter-Club Championship, which will be a knock-out competition played over one weekend,” he said.
Round 2 results - women's Australian Hockey League
Women’s Australian Hockey League – Round 2 in Sydney and Adelaide
Victorian Vipers 6 def Canberra Labour Club Strikers 0
Goal: Renee Trost 25m FG, Han Peake 26m FG, Claire Messent 34m FG, Danielle Schubach 46m FG, Stephanie Riordan 53m FG and Georgia Nanscawen 55m FG
Full match report:
NSW Arrows 6 Tasmanian Van Demons 1
Goal scorers: NSW Yasmine Phillips 14m PC, 17m PC 65m PC, Kellie White 42m FG 62m FG, Jade Close 46m FG, TAS Hannah Calvert 54m FG
Full match report:
OAMPS Southern Suns 4 def WA Diamonds 3
Goals – OAMPS Southern Suns – Georgie Kiel (FG 14th min) Janelle Pisani (FG 33rd min, FG 68th min) Kayla Sharland (PC 47th min) WA Diamonds - Chantelle Ciallella (FG 18th min) Ash Nelson (PS 55th min) Katy Symons (PC 61st min)
Full match report:
OAMPS Queensland Scorchers 6 def Darwin Airport Resort Territory Pearls 0
Goals – Jodie Schulz (PC 11th min, PC 23rd min, PC 45th min) Renae Ashton (PC 29th min) Kirsten Johnson (PC 31st min) Tegan Holocroft (FG 43rd min)
Full match report:
Hockey Australia media release
Play off Triumphs for Edinburgh University
The Scottish domestic National League Play Offs took place at Peffermill today. Both Edinburgh University men and women ensured their survival in Division 1 with crucial victories over Stepps and Highland respectively.
The Division 2 spots were claimed by Inverleith Ladies and Highland Men who enjoyed the all important victories over George Heriot’s and 20-20 Renewable Greenock.
The first game of the day saw Inverleith, who have enjoyed a very successful season losing out to Glasgow Accies for the automatic promotion place, take on Edinburgh neighbours George Heriot’s in a tense closely contested game. Inverleith had demonstrated their pedigree earlier in the season claiming the scalp of Kelburne in the Cup. The only goal of the game from Sarah Jamieson with ten minutes remaining sealed promotion.
Highland who only lost out on being Division 3 champions on goal difference then triumphed over Division 2 Greenock, whose inability to score was once again in evidence, with a 2-0 final score.
Next it was the turn of Edinburgh University women to face the test of nerves and this was managed with a comfortable 3-0 win over a Highland side who had benefitted from a points deduction to claim a spot today ahead of Borders Fjordhus.
Finally the University men with the several seasons in the top flight under their belt proved this experience to be invaluable as they overcame the challenge of Stepps by running out clear winners 4-1.
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Under 21 New Zealand vs Malaysia test series to take place in Dunedin
The Malaysian Under-21 juniors will play a four test series against their Black Stick counterparts in Dunedin from June 2 to 8. This series will be held in view of the new high performance programme for juniors being conducted by Hockey New Zealand.
Hockey New Zealand’s star manager, Toni Cumpston, said, “It is a real coup to have the Malaysia team coming across to play us. This is exactly the type of experience that our younger players need so that we strengthen our talent base and have more people vying for Black Sticks selection.”
A junior Black Stick men’s team, along with a women’s team, will be announced subsequent to the recently held National Under-21 Tournament from May 7-14 at the Alexander McMillan Hockey Centre in Dunedin.
“Knowing that selectors are in the stands and that both our Junior Black Sticks teams have been invited to participate in international competitions will be an extra incentive for players to give it all they have got when they take to the turf next week,” added Cumpston.
Initially, the squad will be announced and a total 30 players will be invited to a training camp. Following this, the squad will be short-listed to a total of 20 players. Both these junior squads have invitations to international competitions, later this year. The tournaments include one in Malaysia for men and one in India for women.
The U-21 men will be playing the first junior seven-nation Invitational in Malaysia which is called the First Sultan Ibrahim Cup Tournament, to be held from October 27 to November 6.
On the other hand, the women’s junior squad will play the Lal Bahadur Shastri Under-21 Women's Hockey Tournament, being held from November 8 to12 in India.
According to Cumpston, the intention is to give international exposure to top playing as well as providing them with top coaching to age group players so that they improve their abilities. In view of the fact that these players are future Black Sticks, it is important to facilitate them as much as possible.
In context to the international series ahead, it will be a great encounter for the U-21 Kiwi boys against the Malaysian counterparts. Moreover, the visiting team will be hosted by the Otago Hockey Association of New Zealand.
Meanwhile, the senior side of the Black Sticks is currently playing the seven-nation Invitational in Malaysia, the 20th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. The team so far has played one game against Pakistan in which they ended up with a defeat at 4-2.
It was a disappointing opening for the team, however, is playing to make up in their next game against Korea on May 8.
Malaysian Hockey blogspot
Lahore, Faisalabad face off in Junior Super Hockey Leage final
By Our Sports Reporter
LAHORE: Lahore and Faisalabad qualified for the third PHF Junior Super Hockey League final after winning their respective semi-finals at the National Hockey Stadium here on Saturday.
Two goals from Mohammad Fahad including the decisive one helped Lahore earn a nail-biting 2-1 victory against Sialkot in the first semi-final.
As the match started, both the teams remained defensive and launched sporadic attacks against each other but without any success.
However, Lahore cashed in on an opportunity in the 15th minute as Fahad converted a penalty-corner on the first try.
The one-goal lead remained in tact till the end of the first half as while both the teams exhibited some attacking hockey they lacked finishing touch.
After the resumption, Sialkot equalised as Ali Butt converted a short-corner in the 41st minute to make it 1-1.
But 14 minutes later Fahad again gave Lahore lead, capitalising on another penalty-corner, which proved the final and decisive goal of the match.
In the other last-four match, Faisalabad overwhelmed Multan 2-0 after taking 1-0 lead in the first half.
Faisalabad’s skipper Bilal Qadir netted the opener in the 10th minute scoring a field goal with a solo effort. The 1-0 scoreline remained same till the conclusion of the first half.In the second half, Multan fought hard to earn the equaliser but their forwards missed some chances. In the dying moments, Faisalabad consolidated the lead as Waseem Abbas converted a penalty-corner to seal the fate of the match.
While Lahore will face Faisalabad in the final on Sunday, Multan will meet Sialkot for the third place.
Lahore, Faisalabad reach final
LAHORE: Lahore and Faisalabad set a showdown in the final of the PHF Junior Super Hockey League after winning their respective semifinals on Saturday. Lahore carved out a narrow 2-1 win over Sialkot while Faisalabad registered a 2-0 win over Multan. The final of the tournament will be played on Sunday (today).
Lahore ended the first half with 1-0 lead after Mohammad Fahad scored a goal in the 15th minute from a penalty corner with a carpet hit. Ali Butt brought back Sialkot in the match by equalising 1-1 in the 41st minute when. Lahore got a penalty corner in the 55th minute and this time too Fahad sent the ball in the goalpost to seal a hard earned win for his team.
In second semifinal, Faisalabad skipper Bilal Qadir put his side ahead with the 10th minute through a field goal. With time tickling away and Multan wasting a series of scoring sitters, Faisalabad doubled the lead with the 69th minute short corner goal scored by Waseem Abbas.
The Daily Times
PHF bans players, officials for submitting wrong ages
By Our Sports Reporter
LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has banned six female players and two officials for submitting wrong ages to play in the first National Under-18 Championship, which was held at the National Hockey Stadium here from April 11 to 19.
According to PHF spokesman, the federation had constituted a committee to verify ages of the players which found that the documents provided by the six players and two officials were fake.
“In accordance with the decision of the Executive Board, the PHF has imposed ban on them, preventing their participation in the federation’s activities,” the spokesman said.
The two officials who have been banned for one year each are manager Razia Malik, who is also an international player and acted as manager of the Lahore Colours team, and Mohammad Pervaiz, the coach of the same team.
The players who will face two-year ban each are Ishrat Abbas, Nazia Rehmat, Nafeesa Anwar, Ahnazza Bashir, Nimra and Hina Pervaiz.
Women hockey players banned
LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has banned a number of women hockey players who faked their ages during the 1st U-18 Girls National Hockey Championship played at National Hockey Stadium from April 11 to 19.
To verify the players ages, the PHF constituted an age credentials committee to check the documents provided by the management and the players of all nine teams, who participated in the event, and found some fake and false, said a PHF press release issued here on Saturday.
Pursuant to the decision of the PHF Executive Board, the PHF body has imposed different bans on these players for participation in any further hockey-related activities.
One-year ban is imposed on team manager Miss Razia Malik and caoach Muhammad Pervaiz of Lahore Colours hockey teams.
Two years ban is imposed on players Miss Ishrat Abbas, Miss Nazia Rehmat, Miss Nafeesa Anwar, Miss Ahnazza Bashir, Miss Nimra and Miss Hina Pervaiz.
Strict and stern warning was also issued to president and secretary of Punjab Women’s Hockey Association for non-compliance of the PHF directives.
The Daily Times
TBSS face tough task against MSSP
By Ajitpal Singh
TUNKU Besar Secondary School (TBSS) manager M. Vivekananda believes that the return to form of semi-final hat-trick hero Muhd Syabariq Samsuri will give them the edge against MSSP-USM in the Division Two final of the Junior Hockey League today.
Muhd Syabariq' second half goals helped TBSS beat Malacca High School (MHS) 4-1 on Friday to reach their first major final in recent times.
The Tampin school, however, will not have it easy against an undefeated MSSP-USM side, who beat Johor 2-0 in the other semi-final.
"MSSP-USM are a good side with experienced players. We need to really be at our best. I am delighted that Muhd Syabariq managed three goals in the semi-finals. We hope he will maintain his form in the final," said Vivekananda yesterday.
"We will definitely need to produce something special to get the better of our opponents."
Muhd Syabariq said: "It's perfect as you always dream about scoring hat-tricks and to achieve it against a top side is the best feeling ever. But I need to forget about it and focus on the final.
"Of course, I want to help TBSS win the title. It really does not matter who scores as long as we win it," said Muhd Syabariq, who is TBSS' leading scorer with seven goals.
TBSS' best show in the junior league was finishing Division Two runners-up in 2005. They played in Division One for one season before returning to Division Two, upon their request, in 2007.
MSSP-USM, made up of players from the Penang Free School and Mutiara Impian Secondary School, are eager to maintain their unbeaten run.
"My players lacked the killer instinct in the semi-finals. Our forwards need to be sharper if we hope to win the title. We need to limit TBSS' space especially in the semi-circle as they are sharp up front," said MSSP-USM coach Yap Gark Soo.
Both teams will join the top six teams from Division One -- UniKL, BPSS-TNB, BJSS, BJSS Juniors, Anderson and BPSS Juniors -- in the knock-out competition for the overall title, which starts on Friday.
TODAY -- 3rd placing: Johor v MHS (4pm); Final: MSSP-USM v TBSS (6pm) -- Both matches at Tun Razak Stadium.
New Straits Times
Debutants need to buck if they are to beat Tunku Besar in the final
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Debutants MSS Penang-USM forwards need to buck up if they hope to beat Tunku Besar School in the final at the Tun Razak Stadium today to win their maiden Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) Division Two title.
The Penang team struggled to beat MSN Johor 2-0 in the semi-final on Friday while Tunku Besar School outplayed Malacca High School 4-1 in the other semi-final match.
MSS Penang-USM coach Yap Gark Soo said that reaching the final was a good achievement for his team as they are making their debut in the MJHL.
“However, my forwards were a let down in the in the semis against MSN Johor as they missed a number of sitters.
“My forwards needs to buck up if they hope to get the better of Tunku Besar School, who are playing well in the league,” said Gark Soo,
MSS Penang-USM forwards are Mohd Azwar Abdul Rahim, Mohd Rahimi Iskandar Baharom, Mohd Hafify Mohd Rodzi, Mohd Uzair Ahmad sabri and Tunku Mohd Luqman Naimi Tunku Iskandar.
Gark Soo said that their team are made up of 12 players from Penang Free School and 10 from the Mutiara Penang School, which is the project school for sports.
“We did well in the group matches by winning win four and drawing one. We are the only unbeaten team in Division Two.
“And we hope my forwards will rise to the occasion tomorrow in the final to beat the Tampin school,” said Gark Soo.
Tunku Besar School coach R. Vivekananda said that his boys are improving from match to match and he is confident that they have the depth to get the better of the Penang team in the final.
“We came close to winning the Division Two title in 2005 but lost out to Penang Free School on goals difference.
“But this time we are playing a Penang team in the final and my boys are all fired up to beat them to win the Division Two title for the first time,” said Vivekananda.
“We also have a good strike force led by Mohd Syabariq (Shamsuri), who scored a hattrick against Malacca High School.
“He has scored seven goals to date and I believe he will deliver the goals in the final,” said Vivekananda.
The Star of Malaysia