All the news for Tuesday 6 September 2011
2011 Men’s Champions Trophy no longer in India
LAUSANNE – THE FIH announced today that India will no longer host the 2011 Men’s Champions Trophy due to ongoing problems with the governance of hockey in the country. A replacement host for the event is expected to be named within a week.
The schedule and line-up of the 2011 Champions Trophy will be determined when the host is announced, however the event will take place during the same window of December 3-11. As a result of no longer hosting the Champions Trophy, India has been invited to play in the Champions Challenge to be held in South Africa in November.
“We regret that we have to move the Champions Trophy from India,” said FIH President Leandro Negre. “It is difficult for the teams, the organizers and the fans. But we feel that this is the only way to maintain the integrity of our sport.”
At issue is the governance structure of the sport of hockey in India. It is a fundamental and non-negotiable requirement of the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes that there only be one governing body for any one sport in any country with exclusive authority and responsibility to govern, organize national competitions and to enter national teams in international competitions.
Dr. Michael Green, two-time Olympian and Chairman of the FIH Athlete’s Committee added: “The first priority has to be the athletes, and while this was a tough decision for the FIH to make, I feel that they have ultimately made the choice that is best for the athletes involved.”
The FIH is in the final stages of reviewing bids from other nations that are willing and able within the scheduled timeframe to host an event of the magnitude of the Champions Trophy.
The FIH will continue to monitor the governance structure in India and hopes that a resolution can be found before it begins to affect future events set to be held in India. The next event scheduled to be hosted in India is the Olympic Qualification Tournament in February.
FIH Media release
New Zealand may benefit from chaos in India
By Mihir S Vasavda
New Zealand may emerge as the unlikely beneficiary from the standoff between the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and the Indian authorities over the hosting rights of the Champions Trophy.
The tournament, which is rated behind the Olympic Games and World Cup in the international hockey calendar, is supposed to be held in New Delhi from December 3 to 11.
But the FIH has temporarily taken away the tourney from the capital following the sports ministry’s decision to merge Hockey India (HI) and Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
FIH president Leandro Negre is expected to meet the authorities from both the federations in India as well as the sports minister Ajay Maken to resolve the issue when he travels to India in mid-September.
If the talks fail, then the tournament, which features the top-eight countries of the world, will be taken away from India.
It has been learnt that the FIH has approached New Zealand in case New Delhi will be scrapped as hosts.
If the tournament is awarded to New Zealand, then it is likely that India won’t be allowed to participate as well. India, ranked ninth, are competing in the tournament on the virtue of being the host and if Auckland is chosen as the venue, then New Zealand, ranked seventh, will be a part of it.
The New Zealand hockey federation has to decide on whether it is prepared - financially and logistically - to commit to the tournament, which the FIH insists must be played on the original dates.
Auckland has been decided as the proposed standby venue. Malaysia and Dubai were the two other countries FIH was mulling over but the formers poor ranking (15th) and the extremely hot conditions in the Gulf country in December prompted FIH to look at Auckland, sources said. HI secretary general Narendra Batra said he wasn’t aware of any such thing.
“Mr Negre will be visiting India in the middle of this month. But I haven’t heard of the FIH keeping any other city as a standby venue,” he said.
South Africans dominating African qualifier
Race for London 2012 underway at African Qualification Tournament
(Photo: Adrian Boehm)
The African Olympic Qualification Tournament is underway and after the first three days of play, the South African men and women occupy the top spots and are in pole position to earn a berth to the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Six men’s teams and four women’s teams are taking part in the 10-day tournament. The men’s event features South Africa, Egypt, Ghana, Kenya, Zimbabwe and Morocco. The women’s quartet is South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and New Zealand.
The South African men kicked off the tournament in grand fashion with an 18-0 drubbing against Morocco in the opening game on Friday. Egypt also cruised in a shutout win, blanking host Zimbabwe, 5-0. The third game of the day ended in a 2-2 draw between Ghana and Kenya.
Day two men’s action was much of the same as the South Africans earned their second double-digit shutout with a 10-0 victory against Zimbabwe. Ghana blanked Morocco, 6-0, while Egypt and Kenya played to a 3-3 draw.
After the first two days of round robin action, South Africa is clearly in control with six points, while Ghana and Egypt are fighting to stay in contention with four points each. Kenya is in the middle of the pack with two points after two ties and still looking for a point, and a goal, are Morocco and host Zimbabwe.
On the women’s side, South Africa leads the pack with three points after a 9-0 win against Kenya. In the only other women’s game of the event so far, Ghana and Zimbabwe played to a scoreless tie.
Both the men’s and women’s tournaments feature a round robin preliminary round followed by placement matches to be played next weekend. The Olympic qualifiers will be known after the final game on Sunday, September 11.
To view the schedule, click here.
SA hockey women make it two from two after beating brave Ghana
JONATHAN COOK in Bulawayo
Investec South Africa women's hockey team midfielder Tarryn Bright of Western Province on the attack as Free State's Nicole Kemp looks on, while Ghana's Olivia Lartey looks to defend in the Africa Cup Olympic Qualifier tournament match won 3-0 by SA at the Khumalo Hockey Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Monday. Photo: MARIE-LOUISE VAN DER SANDT
A blustery wind and hot conditions did little to deter the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team as they chalked up their second successive win at the Africa Cup Olympic Games Qualifier tournament in Bulawayo Monday and qualified for Sunday’s 3 pm final.
SA won 3-0 after leading 2-0 at half-time and scored through Western Province’s Shelley Russell (2) and national and Southern Gauteng captain Marsha Marescia, which gives them two from two going into their final round-robin match against Zimbabwe on Thursday. SA beat Kenya 9-0 in match one.
Marescia’s 251st Test cap Monday now means the all-time record number of appearances for South Africa is her own, having equalled the previous mark set by current SA men’s head coach Gregg Clark in the Kenya match.
SA immediately put Ghana under pressure and Russell won the first penalty corner. Cindy Botha injected the corner, Jade Mayne trapped the ball, Tarryn Bright made the disguised shot/pass and Russell, running in from the right, was on hand to score with a neat deflection.
Trailing 1-0 after six minutes Ghana faced a mountain to climb as the South Africans were moving the ball with assurance, stretching the underdogs’ defensive screen and making incisive breaks into the scoring zone.
South Africa's Cindy Botha, the KZN Coastal Raiders captain, on the attack with support from North West's Sulette Damons as Ghana captain Pamela Condobrey comes across. Photo: MARIE-LOUISE VAN DER SANDT
The Ghanaians were fortunate that goalkeeper Grace Mensah was on top of her game and she made half-a-dozen early saves using various parts of her body and protective gear to keep the score respectable.
But there was no way out when SA scythed through on the right and neat interplay led to Russell’s second (2-0). Ghana were employing some heavy tackles as the match threatened to run away from them. On half-time Kim Hubach’s slap shot from SA’s seventh penalty corner cannoned into the post.
Given their dominance, and no one worked harder than Illse Davids in her 50th match, SA will feel a little aggrieved that they hadn’t put more past Mensah in the first 35. Two minutes after the break pacy Rachael Bamfo created excitement in the Ghana camp but her shot from inside the six-yard box was well saved by alert keeper Sanani Mangisa..
At the other end Investec SA made it 3-0 from their eighth PC, an inch-perfect deflection goal by Marescia running in from the left that sailed high into the net.
Where SA might have made more of their opportunities was if they had been a little more patient, trying to go from A to Z instead of A to B and then C, but they weren’t helped by some interesting decisions from the Kenyan and Zimbabwean umpires. At the same time, Mensah had a brilliant game and there was no doubt which camp was more pleased with the performance.
The rampant SA men, with an 18-0 victory over Morocco and a 10-0 defeat of Zimbabwe, tackle the Ghana men at 4 pm Monday.
SA Hockey Association media release
SA hockey men withstand Ghana's second-half assault
JONATHAN COOK in Bulawayo
South Africa's Ian Haley and Joe Appiah of Ghana in the thick of things. Photo: MARIE-LOUISE VAN DER SANDT
The South African men’s and women’s hockey teams beat Ghana’s men and women 4-0 and 3-0 respectively in the Africa Cup Olympic Qualifier tournament at Khumalo Hockey Stadium in Bulawayo Monday.
Very physical, the Ghanaians weren’t standing back and Gareth Carr’s first penalty corner was matched by Joe Appiah’s deflection that SA keeper Brendon Botes did well to save.
SA broke the deadlock in the 16th minute when Lance Louw fed Southern Gauteng team-mate Ricky West who in turn passed to his provincial captain Da Graca, and Western Province’s Ian Haley finished clinically.
Ghana were quick out of the blocks but were left to regret their haste in execution as several promising moves came to naught.
Nearing the end of the first half. Haley got in a shot from 20-year-old Southern Gauteng midfielder Clint Panther’s set-up and soon after Panther was brought down heavily for Andrew Cronje to convert the penalty stroke . Da Graca then made it 3-0 following a well-worked dummy move at penalty corner time.
SA survived some tricky moments in the early second half as Australian umpire Adam Kearns did not take kindly to what he deemed were illegal tackles and Tim Drummond was called on to turn away off his goalline from Ghana’s second consecutive penalty corner.
The game became overtly physical as the Ghanaians fought tigerishly for the equaliser, while everyone was left perplexed that Drummond did not deserve a penalty stroke award from Kenyan umpire Tony Fernandez after he was hacked down in the strike zone. Justice was served when Haley finished with deadly accuracy to give SA a welcome four-goal cushion.
The Investec South Africa women’s team beat Ghana 3-0 in the early game thanks to a brace by Shelley Russell in the first half and a superb deflection from a penalty corner by captain Marsha Marescia, who broke SA men’s head coach Gregg Clark’s record 250 matches as a player..
SA women’s head coach Fabian Gregory was pleased that SA kept their shape, although he agreed that more goals should have resulted.
“Hats off to the Ghana coach for his defensive plan,” which worked very well,” he said.
Indeed, Ghana’s game plan was to limit the number of goals conceded as it might come down to goal difference to determine SA’s opponents in the final.
Tuesday is a rest day before the SA men meet tournament co-favourites Egypt at 6 pm Wednesday. The SA women face Zimbabwe at 4 pm on Thursday.
Other results – Men: Egypt 16 Morocco 1. Women: Kenya 2 Zimbabwe 0.
SA Hockey Association media release
A win, finally
Malaysia defeated China 4-2 at the Asian Champions Trophy this morning.
This is their first win in three matches, having lost the first two to Pakistan and South Korea respectively.
Goals were scored by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Mohd Amin Rahim, Izwan Firdaus and Faisal Saari.
Malaysian Hockey blogspot
India face South Korea in Asian Champions Trophy on Tuesday
ORDOS (China): A relatively young Indian hockey team will have to play out of their skin and avoid silly errors against a formidable South Korea on Tuesday if they desire to keep their unbeaten run intact at the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy.
Having started the tournament on a high with a 5-0 pounding of hosts China, India suffered a setback of sorts when they were held to a 1-1 draw by Japan, largely due to a lapse in concentration from the defensive line which led to a last-minute equaliser.
But against the nimble-footed Koreans the Indians cannot afford to relax at any moment as a defeat at this stage of the tournament can jeopardise their chances of a podium finish.
Unlike China and Japan, the Indians are also aware that the Koreans are a much superior opposition side in terms of fitness as well as experience.
India would be eyeing an outright win as a defeat or another draw can make life difficult for the Rajpal Singh-led side ahead of tough fixtures against Guangzhou Asian Games gold-medallist champions Pakistan and runners-up Malaysia.
Under new coach Michael Nobbs, the Indians have exhibited a new style of hockey in this tournament -- a blend of India's aggression and Australia's sharpness -- which so far paid dividends for the erstwhile Asian giants.
But India has a chance against the experienced Koreans if they can hold their rivals in the midfield and cut the runs down the flanks.
The Indian defence of Rupinder Pal Singh and V Raghunath have played well so far in this tournament but need more experience to soak pressure.
For India, the two key areas against Korea will be penalty corners and midfield. Gurbaz Singh is in good form and Ravi Pal, though erratic, can become the fulcrum if he plays through the middle in tandem with Roshan Minz on the left and Rajpal on the right.
The Indians also need to do away with their mistakes, such as ball trapping during penalty corners, and giving away soft goals in the dying stages of the match against an opportunistic Korean side.
But the good thing for India is that they don't have any major injury concern ahead of the last three crucial matches.
Even though captain Rajpal had a scare in the Japan match after he was hit on his fingers, team doctor Chandran, pronounced him fit for the remaining matches.
Inspite of huge expectation from his wards, India coach Nobbs is realistic about his team's chances in the tournament.
"As I said earlier, you cannot expect them to do miracles in a month. Everything takes time and when we play teams like South Korea, we would realize what are the negatives and the positives," Nobbs said.
On the other hand, the Koreans are slightly better placed than India having pocketed full three points from their first two matches.
In their first two outings, South Korea beat Japan 3-2 and then in an engrossing encounter got the better of Malaysia 4-3.
Like India, Korea is also in a rebuilding phase as a few of the experienced players have taken a break or retired.
The present Korean bunch may not be as strong as the teams of 1998 Asian Games, 2000 Olympics or even the 2006 Monchengladbach World Cup, but they are a resilient lot.
Pace and man-to-man marking are Korea's forte and against India tomorrow they are sure to adopt these tactics.
However, the Indian think-tank is hardly bothered about the threat posed by Korea.
"There is no doubt about Korea as a team. And neither do we have a team that will step back. It will be a hard, tough match and hopefully we will come out richer with the experience," Nobbs said.
Olympian Mohammed Riaz, who is also accompanying the Indian team as coach, seconded Nobbs, saying, "That (experience) comes from playing many matches. The more you play, the better the team becomes as your confidence level increases."
The Times of India
Malaysians face another must-win situation
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: The national hockey team face – as usual – another must-win situation as they try to salvage some pride in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China.
Having lost their first two matches – 2-3 to Pakistan and 3-4 to South Korea – national coach Tai Beng Hai knows that they need to win the remaining matches – against China, India and Japan – for a high finish in the tournament.
“Losing two matches in a row has made life tougher for us. We still have a chance to finish in the top four,” said Beng Hai.
“While the earlier two matches gave us an insight into our current standard, the next few matches will be crucial to deciding where we finish in the tournament.”
First up for Malaysia today will be China, who have also lost both their matches thus far.
The hosts were thrashed 0-5 by India and 1-4 by Pakistan.
“We may have lost to Pakistan and South Korea – two teams who are ranked higher than us. But, to be honest, we played well against both teams,” explained Beng Hai.
“We gave all 18 players in the squad a chance to play and have only used one goalkeeper per match. I must say that the younger players are showing maturity in their game and I am pleased to see them willing to work hard.”
Among the youngsters were Amir Farid, Mohd Firhan Ashaari and Fitri Saari.
“These young players have given us more options and I feel we will benefit in the long run. But, like I have said earlier, this tournament is a learning curve. We are using it to collect data on the other teams,” he said.
“We are also improving with each match. Although we have let in seven goals, we have also scored five.
“Now we have to keep pushing harder and be more consistent.”
Today’s match against China will be played at 11am (Malaysian time) while the one against India tomorrow will be at 1pm.
Malaysia’s last match against Japan is on Friday.
Although all the Malaysian players are free from injury, some have come down with the flu.
“It’s nothing serious. It is very dusty in Ordos because it is very close to the desert,” said Beng Hai.
“Two or three players have showed signs of having the flu and some are coughing a lot.
“Otherwise, they are all fit and ready. We had a light workout today (yesterday) and we will have the afternoon off.”
The Star of Malaysia
Black Sticks Women beat USA 4-0 in second test
The Black Sticks Women beat the USA 4-0 after a much improved performance today, which saw new caps Rhiannon Dennison and Julia King make their debuts.
Dennison played from the start of the match, however came off in the 18th minute of the second half after a knock to the hand. “Both Julia and Rhiannon put in solid performances for their first match. It was an improved performance for the team from yesterday, however we lost some game structure late in the second half,” says Black Sticks Women’s coach Mark Hager.
There were goals from strikers Katie Glynn, Cathryn Finlayson and Krystal Forgesson.
In the seventh minute, a penalty corner was awarded to the Black Sticks which saw a direct hit from Glynn at the top of the circle saved by the US team. In the 11th minute, a great run from Gemma Flynn saw her pass in field to Forgesson who then passed to Glynn who slotted the ball into goal.
The USA had their first attempt to score in the 18th minute, which despite a great strike at goal was saved by Canterbury Goal Keeper Amelia Gibson, who played with a cool head for the full match. Five minutes later, Auckland striker Glynn scored her second goal of the game when she converted a penalty corner drag flick.
Eight minutes before the end of the first half, Flynn made a spectacular pass to Finlayson who nailed it into goal. The half time score was 3-0.
In the 51st minute, co-captain Kayla Sharland did a reverse shot from the top of the circle, which was tipped in by team mate Forgesson. The USA worked hard and were rewarded with a penalty corner in the 65th minute, but could not convert, thanks to a save from Emily Naylor.
For new caps King and Dennison, the match will no doubt be a memorable one after both players were presented with their match shirts prior to today’s game. Flynn presented Dennison’s and Lucy Talbot presented King’s. The Black Sticks Women have one days rest and will play their next match on Thursday 8 September at 9am NZ time (Wednesday 7 September at 2pm US time).
Black Sticks Women: 4 (Katie Glynn 2, Cathryn Finlayson 1, Krystal Forgesson 1)
Hockey New Zealand Media release
Blacks Sticks win second test against US
The Black Sticks reduced the high error rate from their first test against the United States yesterday, and increased the goal count to win 4-0 win in the second test in San Diego this morning.
The Black Sticks had the game under control at the interval with a 3-0 lead although they struggled to keep the US at bay in the final quarter and move the ball out of defence.
The win gives New Zealand a 2-0 lead in the five test series which is part of the team's build-up to the Oceania Cup in Hobart next month. The cup is an Olympic qualifying event and carries world ranking points.
After the withdrawal of Fiji the tournament has become a three test series between New Zealand and Australia.
Mark Hager, the Black Sticks coach, was pleased with the team's first half performance today.
"It was a huge improvement for 35 minutes.
"In the second half we dropped away a bit and lost momentum. They pressed us a little bit harder and we struggled to bring the ball out of the back.''
Hager said he made some changes in the second half, resting Gemma Flynn who was the standout striker in the first half.
"She set up two good goals early and it was probably one of her better performances.''
Hager said Kayla Sharland played very well, and Katie Glynn and Krystal Forgesson also had good games.
The two 18-year-olds in the team, Julia King and Rhiannon Dennison made their test debuts.
"They had good first halves but struggled a bit with the intensity in the second half.''
Katie Glynn put the Black Sticks ahead with a field goal after 7 minutes and added the second after 23 minutes from a penalty corner drag-flick. Cathryn Finlayson scored the third from field play after 27 minutes and Forgesson completed the scoring 16 minutes into the second half.
The team has a rest day tomorrow before playing again on Thursday morning (NZ time).
USA blanked by New Zealand
The 13th-ranked USA Women’s National Team was blanked by 6th-ranked New Zealand, 4-0 this afternoon at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, CA. New Zealand netted three goals in the first half and added one more in the second to secure the victory.
“We came out a little slow in the first half and if that happens at this level you get punished for it,” said Kayla Bashore-Smedley. “We picked up the intensity in the second half and created some opportunities but were unfortunately unable to score off of them. We look forward to starting Wednesday’s game like we finished today’s.”
USA couldn’t get anything going and New Zealand’s depth proved too much for the home team. Katie Glynn registered a tally in the eleventh minute for the black sticks. Glynn continued her scoring streak, riffling the ball to Amy Tran-Swensen’s upper right corner of the cage in the twenty-third minute. Soon to follow, teammate Cathryn Finlayson fired a shot from the top of the circle that rocketed past Swensen. USA entered the second half with a three goal deficit.
Although USA came out strong and applied consistent pressure, the team was unable to find the back of the net.
With just over fifteen minutes remaining in the game, Krystal Forgesson set the final margin and finished the scoring for New Zealand. With the win, New Zealand improves to a perfect 2-0 in the series.
USA will be back on the field on Wednesday, September 7th at 2PM PDT. The final match of the series on Sunday, September 11th, will be broadcast live on usafieldhockey.com. The match falls on the tenth anniversary of the September 11th attacks. To commemorate the day, the team with have a moment of silence before the first whistle and black ribbons fastened to their jerseys to remember those that lost their lives in the tragic events.
USFHA media release
Wanderers claim great double
By Nick Gordon
Photo: Adelize Dodds
JOHANNESBURG - The Southern Gauteng Hockey Association Premier League drew to a close on a tense final day on Saturday as Wanderers secured the double with both their men’s and women’s side’s wrapping up their leagues.
On a final day of women’s action at Randburg Astro, just two points separated Wanderers from second-placed Jeppe St Andrews (JSA) and it was the Bedfordview side who needed a win for a last-gasp chance at stealing the title from Wanderers.
But it wasn’t to be as Pietie Coetzee stole the show, contributing four goals in Wanderers’ 5-0 drubbing of JSA.
JSA started the better of the two teams and forced several saves out of Wanderers goalkeeper Leandri Janse van Rensburg and the encounter was fairly even until Coetzee netted her first in the 23rd minute with a bit of individual brilliance, running the ball in from the right before firing a shot past JSA goalkeeper Toni Clarke.
The national striker added her second shortly afterwards from a short-corner for Wanderers to lead 2-0 at halftime.
Wanderers put the game out of JSA’s reach in the first minute of the second half as an attack down the right hand side of the astro allowed Lillian du Plessis to fire in a goal.
Coetzee claimed her hat-trick 20 minutes into the half with a powerful drag-flick before closing out the rout with a cheeky flick into the top-right hand corner to make it 5-0 with 12 minutes to play.
Photo: Adelize Dodds
In the men’s section, Wanderers needed a draw at the least to keep University of Johannesburg A (UJ) at bay as only one point separated the two sides heading into the final weekend.
Photo: Adelize Dodds
In a tense and closely-fought encounter, the teams played out to a 0-0 stalemate, but there were a few scares for Wanderers, particularly when UJ’s Owen Mvimbi found the back of the net following a goal-mouth scramble with two minutes to play only for the goal to be disallowed which was enough for Wanderers to claim league honours.
Tickets go on sale for EHL Rounds 1.1 & 1.2
Teams will start their chase for the title in Germany and Belgium
Entry tickets for the first rounds of the 2011/12 Edition of the Euro Hockey League are now available for purchase.
Round 1.1 takes place in Germany at Mülheim’s HTC Uhlenhorst, and will feature 12 of Europe’s finest club teams competing in Pools B, C, G and H. Teun de Nooijer’s HC Bloemendaal, Spanish giants Atlétic Terrassa and RC de Polo de Barcelona are just three of the teams that will join the host club in action. The tournament takes place between 7th and 9th of October, and is sure to be a thrilling event.
Round 1.2 will take place between 21st and 23rd of October at the home of Belgian champions KHC Dragons (Brasschaat, near Antwerp), and will feature the teams in Pools A, D, E and F. The host club will be in action alongside double EHL champions UHC Hamburg (GER), Taeke Taekema’s Amsterdam H&BC (NED) and Club de Campo de Madrid (ESP), a team that reached the Final of last season’s Euro Hockey League. Other top sides include Jeroen Hertzberger’s H.C. Rotterdam (NED) and 2010-11 EHL Bronze Medallists Reading HC (ENG), home of Great Britain internationals Richard and Simon Mantell.
In total 24 teams will take to the field over the six Round 1 competition days, with the winners and runners of each pool qualifying for Easter’s exciting KO16 event.
Pricing for the event begins at just € 5 (youth day ticket), with an adult day ticket costing just €11. 50. Three-day passes (Passepartout) tickets offer exceptional value for money for those people who are planning on attending at the events, with prices ranging from €10 (Youth – Round 1.2 only) and €27.50 (Adult). Children aged 5 and under will be allowed free entry into both events. Full information about the tournament and purchasing tickets can be found at www.ehlhockey.tv .
Euro Hockey League media release
Women's Shastri hockey from November 8
NEW DELHI: India will vye for top honours with Australia, Germany and New Zealand in the 22nd edition of the Lal Bahadur Shastri U-21 Women's Hockey Tournament, scheduled to be held from November 8 to 12.
The men's event will be held from December 17 to 24. The anual tournament, started in memory of the late Prime Minister, will be organised at the Major. Dhyan Chand National Stadium.
The Times of India
Nur Insafi to stick with their tried and tested policy
KUALA LUMPUR: Nur Insafi will continue with their tried and tested policy of hiring foreign players for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) campaign for a fifth consecutive year.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have limited the number of foreigners per team to six this year after leaving it open for the last three years.
And Nur Insafi did not waste any time in filling up the six slots with four Pakistan and two India players.
Five of them – Pakistan’s Kashif Ali, Abdul Asim Khan, Syed Shifteen and Imran Khan Yusof and India’s Prem Kumar – are making a return to the side. The sixth player is newcomer Dhamandeep Singh of India.
Nur Insafi manager S. Tatchana Murthi said yesterday that he had no choice but to rely on foreign players for their experience.
“Our problem is the same – we have difficulty getting seasoned local players for the MHL. The rest of our team is made up of junior players aged between 17 and 21,” he said.
“I did plan to field an all-local team this year but the lack of senior players available forced me to recall the foreigners.”
This year’s MHL will start on Sept 17 with nine teams in the Premier Division. Besides Nur Insafi, the other teams are KL Hockey Club, Sapura, Maybank, Tenaga Nasional, Universiti Kuala Lumpur, Yayasan Negri Sembilan, Armed Forces and UiTM.
“Our target is the same as last year – a top-four finish and qualify for the knockout stage. We had a good mix of foreign players last year and we were confident of a top four finish,” said Tatchana Murthi, who will be aided by S. Sivakumar in preparing the team.
“We had a great start but, after four matches, six of our foreign players had to go back home for their domestic competitions and that cost us dearly. We ended up in seventh place.
“This time our foreign players have no immediate commitments back home and should be around until the MHL ends on Oct 23. I believe we have a better chance of finishing in the top four this time,” added Tatchana Murthi, who founded and funds the Nur Insafi hockey team.
He uses the team to groom young players up north, where they train at the Sungai Petani Hockey Stadium.
The Star of Malaysia
O45's (W) do double against England
The Irish Womens O45s played an invitational series against English O45s in Railway Union over the weekend. Ireland won both: 1-0 (Alison Pigot) on Saturday and 2-1 Joanne O'Grady, Alison Pigot) on Sunday.
The Irish Womens Over 45s showed the progress they have made when they won the 2 match invitational series against the English Over 45s at Railway Union's grounds on Saturday and Sunday, winning 1-0 and 2-1 respectively. The results demonstrate the progress made since June when the English Over 40s heavily defeated the Irish O40s and two weeks ago when the Irish O45s suffered a 4-0 defeat to English in Cardiff. The progress made is testament to the recruitment policy put in place since June, adding new players to the squad, and the coaching structures put in place by the two young coaches (whose son's are they?), Benjamin Epstein and Stuart Malcolm.
On Saturday Ireland scored early in the match when a Maura O'Neill transfer down the right was well trapped by Joanne O'Grady, she gave a defence splitting pass to Alison Pigot who beat the advancing GK to roof the ball into the net. For most of the rest of the match Ireland had to defend the lead as England went in serach of the equaliser. Irish GK Sinead Guilfoyle pulled off a number of top class saves, including from a penalty stroke and defender Bronwyn O'Donnell took a corner shot off the line. England had a double figure corner count but were unable to penetrate the Irish defence, for whom Linda Jenkinson was outstanding.
The Irish met a very determined English team on Sunday morning as they sought to turn around Saturday's scoreline. But it was Ireland who took the game to them with possession evenly shared in a much more balanced game. Carolyn Shankey was running the Irish midfield and one penetrating run drew the English defence with Joanne O'Grady finishing off the rebound. The English saved off the line at a penalty corner to leave the half time score 1-0 for Ireland. England equalised early in the second half off a short corner rebound. Both teams went in search of a winner, with Roly Burke and Angie Boran working hard in midfield to close down the English attacking options and Sue Vincent creating numerous attacks for the Irish with her fast driving runs. From one of these runs, Alison Pigot snatched up a rebound to flick high into the roof of the net. Final result: Ireland 2 England 1.
This finishes the masters series for this season - but there will be some training sessions in the autumn, including in Ulster and Munster for all Over 40s, as we seek to extend our playing base. A programme of matches will be drawn up for next spring/summer.
Squad: Sinead Guilfoyle (GK), Bronwyn O'Donnell (VC), Helen Johnston, Maura O'Neill, Linda Jenkinson, Trish Dwyer, Roly Burke, Angie Boran, Pat Stewart, Carolyn Shankey, Sue Vincent, Orla Galvin, Clare Ryan, Alison Pigot (C), Joanne O'Grady, Edwina Mulcahy, Judith Hayward. Coaches: Benjamin Epstein, Stuart Malcolm. Manager: Sarah Williams.
Irish Hockey Association media release
England triumph at UK School Games
UK School Games England U18 Boys. Action Images / Paul Burrows - Livepic.
England U18's Girls and Boys teams were crowned UK School Games hockey champions over the weekend.
The girls secured a 2-1 victory over Wales in their final match at the Abbeydale Sports Centre in Sheffield on Sunday morning.
A pair of goals from East Grinstead’s Lucy Wood helped England to victory, but the whole team’s performance was excellent against a difficult Welsh team.
“We’re pleased to win gold. It was an improved performance today,” said Team Manager Melissa Bennett. “The girls worked hard and their work-rate was a lot better, and it shows how they have come together as a team."
UK School Games England U18 Girls. Action Images / Paul Burrows - Livepic.
The boys successfully defended their UK School Games title when they beat Wales 8-4 in their final match of the competition at Abbeydale Sports Centre in Sheffield.
England dominated the match for long periods, and only a lapse in concentration, where Wales scored three goals in three minutes – stopped the victory being even more comprehensive.
“We came here to win and develop and we have done that,” said Head Coach Craig Keegan. “Everybody has played a big part in retaining the UK School Games title.”
For a full match report on these games and details about the rest of the competition please visit our international results section.
England Hockey Board Media release