All the news for World Cup Rugby day Friday 9 September 2011
Investec South African Women into the Olympic Qualifier final
JONATHAN COOK in Bulawayo
Southern Gauteng and SA captain Marsha Marescia on the attack. Photo: MARIE-LOUISE VAN DER SANDT
Head coach Fabian Gregory’s unbeaten Investec South Africa women’s hockey team beat Zimbabwe 7-0 after leading 2-0 at half-time in their final round-robin match at the Africa Cup Olympic Qualifier tournament in Bulawayo Thursday.
South Africa will play Kenya, who were in an exciting 1-1 draw with Ghana, in Sunday’s 3 pm final at Khumalo Hockey Stadium.
Eastern Cape-born SA striker Sulette Damons of North West Province is congratulated by SA Hockey Association CEO Marissa Langeni on her 50th Test cap. Photo: MARIE-LOUISE VAN DER SANDT
The Eastern Cape-born Sulette Damons, now playing out of North West Province, was in her 50th international while Northern Blues keeper Sanani Mangisa and KZN Coastal Raiders captain sat out this one.
In the opening five minutes, Damons, Western Province’s Tarryn Bright, provincial team-mate Jade Mayne, Kaspersky Southern Gauteng and SA captain Marsha Marescia and Northern Blues right half Nicolene Terblanche got shots in but St Anne’s Diocesan College, Pietermaritzburg schoolgirl Stephanie McDonald was on hand to make the saves, including a stunning stick save from a Damons penalty stroke.
But the goal had to come and Marescia deflected in beautifully from a Bright PC. South Africa were transferring the ball impressively and Bernadette Coston did all the right things in clearing the path for Damons’s goal and soon after Eastern Province captain Liesel Dorothy smashed a shot into the post.
South Africa's Nicole Kemp on the attack during the 7-0 defeat of Zimbabwe at the Africa Cup Qualifier tournament in Bulawayo Thursday. Photo: MARIE-LOUISE VAN DER SANDT
An inspired McDonald was the difference between an 8-0 scoreline at half-time, while the other opportunities went past the post. Zimbabwe captain Nicky Taylor, a fine player who is playing with an injury in this tournament, worked hard for her gutsy but outclassed side.
South Africa’s low conversion rate at penalty corners is a concern, though.
Sentraal, Bloemfontein schoolgirl Tanya Britz on attack for SA with Zimbabwe's Chantelle Zietsman in close attendance. Photo: MARIE-LOUISE VAN DER SANDT
Damons made it 3-0 early in the second half before Mayne deservedly got on the scoresheet as the South Africans were able to eliminate McDonald from the equation with shots from close and the keeper faced with insurmountable odds. Terblanche banged one past the unsighted keeper for 5-0 and Illse Davids, Damons (hat-trick) also got on the second-half-scoreboard while Zimbabwe came close to scoring on more than one occasion. An injured McDonald was warmly applauded when subbed 10 minutes from time.
Friday, head coach Gregg Clark’s South Africa men’s side face Kenya in their final round-robin clash in match that will determine who goes through to Sunday’s 5.30 pm final.
SA Hockey Association media release
Indian women succumb to third successive loss in Asian Champions
ORDOS, (CHINA): The Indian women's hockey team crashed to their third consecutive defeat, losing to China 0-4 under cold and windy conditions in their last group match at the Asian Champions Trophy on Thursday.
India, who lost to Korea and Japan in the first two matches, will now play Japan for the bronze medal match on Saturday.
China scored through Yudiao Zhao (6th, 66th) and Yibo Ma (23rd, 65th). At the break, China led 2-0.
India did try to put up a fight but the attacks were too sporadic to be effective. The forwards were wayward and without cohesion and Chinese defence was never stretched.
China, on the other hand, bottled up the midfield and dictated play. After two goals they relaxed and waited for errors from the Indian defence to capitalise on it.
For India, the only player to leave any mark on the match was midfielder Asunta Lakra. She worked tirelessly and sent some wonderful through balls but it was quite apparent that the Indian forwards were not fully fit.
Rani Rampal, quite a poacher and a good striker, seemed out of sorts in the tournament.
India squandered as many as five penalty corners chances as their hits were not effective or sharp enough to trouble the rival goalkeeper.
If India kept the score line at four goals, credit must be given to Yogita Bali, the Indian goalkeeper who kept out a minimum of four goal bound shots in the second half.
By the middle of the second half, the Indians just went through the motions as the forward line faded away leaving the defence to handle the Chinese strikers.
India will now have to pull something out of the ordinary to beat Japan and pick up a bronze in the tournament.
In an earlier match, Korea beat Japan 1-0 to finish second in the group and will now meet China in the final on Saturday. Korea scored through Cheon Seul Ki off a penalty corner in the 14th minute.
The Times of India
India takes on Pakistan on Friday
Still not assured of a place in the summit clash, an unbeaten India will not settle for anything less than a victory when it takes on Pakistan in the final group match of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament here on Friday.
On paper, the high-voltage Indo-Pak encounter might be just a group match but in reality it is a showdown between two traditional rivals out to annex a spot in Sunday's final.
Although a draw against Pakistan also could see it through to the final, the young Indian team would like to avoid such a scenario as then its fate would rest on the outcome of other matches.
Pakistan is on top of the table with nine points followed by India with eight. Japan is third on seven points with Korea stationed fourth having six in its kitty. That means going into Friday's games all four teams are in with a chance of entering the final. India can afford a draw provided Malaysia beats Japan. India could then sneak into the final on better goal average, that too if Korea beats China, the lowest-ranked team in the tournament. On the other hand, if India beats Pakistan, goal averages would also count for Pakistan and Korea.
Indian women lose
Meanwhile, the Indian women's hockey team crashed to its third consecutive defeat, losing 4-0 to China in its last group match on Thursday. China scored through Yudiao Zhao (6th, 66th) and Yibo Ma (23rd, 65th).
India will now have to pull something out of the ordinary to beat Japan and pick up a bronze in the tournament.
In an earlier match, Korea beat Japan 1-0 and will now meet China in the final on Saturday. Korea scored through Cheon Seul Ki off a penalty corner in the 14th minute.
Young rivals to renew old rivalry
India will have to go all out for victory against archrivals Pakistan in the last group match on Friday if they nurture any hopes of making it to the final of the Asian Champions Trophy hockey tournament. Although a draw too could see them through to the final, the young India side would like to avoid such a scenario, as then their fate would rest on the outcome of other matches.
Pakistan are on top of the table with nine points followed by India with eight. Japan are third with seven points, while Korea are placed fourth with six points. Which means, going into Friday’s games, all four teams are in with a chance to enter the final. Thus, the match against Pakistan becomes a virtual semifinal for India. It would also give India an opportunity to avenge their 1-3 loss to Pakistan in this year’s Azlan Shah Cup at Ipoh, Malaysia.
India coach, Michael Nobbs, minced no words when he said that there would be huge pressure on his wards on Friday. “For me as a coach, this is the first opportunity to play against Pakistan and that is really exciting. But for the team it is a big step. There is going to be huge pressure and it would be interesting to see how the boys cope with it,” he said.
India are unbeaten in the tournament with two draws and two wins. But pressure and inexperience has already played a role for the Indians, especially against Japan and Malaysia, where the defence crumbled in the dying minutes.
Against Japan, the Indians conceded a last-minute equaliser, while against Malaysia they squandered a solitary-goal lead and then had to fight hard to secure a 2-2 draw.
Inexperience apart, Nobbs’ main concern against Pakistan would be the poor penalty-corner conversion rate. The Aussie coach would be looking up to drag-flickers, Rupinder Pal Singh and V Raghunath, to deliver. Both teams are relatively inexperienced. India are without six regular players. While Sardar Singh and Sandeep Singh have been banned for indiscipline, Tushar Khandekar, Shivendra Singh and Arjun Halappa are injured. While Pakistan don’t have —penalty-corner specialist, Sohail Abbas, and striker Rehan Butt.
India women lost to China 0-4 in the Asian Women's Champions Trophy on Thursday. The goal scorers for China were Zhao Yudiao (6th and 66th min) and Ma Yibo (21st and 65th min). India have already finished at the bottom in the group stage.
Shahbaz backs Pakistan to beat India in key clash
By Shazia Hasan
The Indians are looking to avenge their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Pakistan in this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.—AFP photo
KARACHI: Former Pakistan hockey captain Shahbaz Ahmed Sr said on Thursday that judging by their recent performance, he is hoping to see Pakistan reach the final of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy after beating traditional rivals India in Ordos, China, on Friday.
Pakistan, who will clash with archrivals India in one of the last of the group matches on Friday, is currently heading the table with nine points and India are hot on their heels with eight. Having beaten Malaysia (3-2), hosts China (4-1) and Korea (3-2), Pakistan have only lost one match, the one with Japan in which they went down 1-3.
Meanwhile, with two draws and two wins, India haven’t lost any match. Yet, they are not confirmed for the final and will be looking to score a win against Pakistan rather than hope for the other contenders to fare poorly in their respective matches and allow them (India) to sneak into the final.
Besides the age old rivalry, the Indians are also looking to avenge their 3-1 defeat at the hands of Pakistan in this year’s Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
But the Asian Games Champions will be no easy prey according to Olympian Shahbaz Ahmed Sr. “Pakistan have been playing well and should come out as the winners,” he said while speaking to Dawn on Thursday.
“It is usual for all teams to play one bad match in any tournament and it is good that we are over and done with ours against Japan where they beat us by two goals.
“And the win against Korea in our last encounter must have done a lot of good for our morale too. So the boys will be stepping on the field with a positive mind. And if they play aggressively, there is no reason why they shouldn’t win,” said the former forward.
“You see, you can’t keep on defending for the entire 70-minute duration of the game. Besides, in my 18 to 19-year playing experience, Pakistan has always emerged the winner when playing aggressively,” the triumphant captain of the 1994 World Cup-winning team added.
“India are always nervous when playing against Pakistan and once we control our own nerves and manage to score a goal or two, we immediately have the upper hand thus putting them under more pressure from which they rarely recover,” he stated.
“But whatever the outcome, with Pakistan and India facing each other it will be another exciting, adrenaline-pumping, do or die affair as our boys, too, are well aware of the fact that a defeat against India doesn’t go down very well with the nation,” he concluded.
What a pity! There is no Live Telecast. AHF to be blamed
As India takes on Pakistan in only second time this year, tension mounts amidst the hockey fans especially those in the sub-continent. A great opportunity for any television channel to grab the eyeballs, but what a pity there is none to bring those actions to the drawing rooms.
Whom to blame?
The Asian Champions Trophy is the brainchild of Asian Hockey Federation. The Chinese Hockey Federation is organizing, rather rescuing the event, on its soils. Naturally, it is expected either the parent organization, in this case the AHF or the host’s country, China, is expected to put in place television Live.
However, it has to be mentioned here the Asian Champions Trophy, starting of which was announced four years ago in Chennai during the Asia Cup had no takers. That time the concept was mooted by IHF, and it was willing to host the event for the first three years. However, the sedate phase with which the AHF functions, delayed the matter, and the matters were further complicated when the IHF itself was dysfunctional due to dissolution by the IOA in the early 2008.
So, then it has become a routine to announce ACT after every Executive Committee meeting of AHF which normally takes place whenever Asia Cup, Asian Games or Sultan Azlan Cup were held. It got as many times postponed as HI postpones the Nationals in India.
Strictly speaking Indian men did not qualify for the ACT. It was from the beginning stipulated that only the Continents best four, as now involves with the women, will figure. As India finished fifth in the 2006 Asian Games, and then fifth in the Asia Cup, India did not qualify in the first place. It seems India lobbied for its inclusion, which it did.
When AHF says ACT is a tournament of excellence, involving its best four or five. Then it is their duty to see the tournament is packaged professionally and marketed seriously. The two aspects which one normally does not attach to AHF. This time too the continental body, as it happened with respect to Asia Cup (Kuantan), could not organize television coverage.
In the electronic age, in the age of communication, we are now in a situation that even to getting the ACT result is considered breaking news!
The AHF at least could have managed video streaming in their website – believe me they have a name-sake website.
The Asia’s best tournament is being held without television, without website, without Live telecast or Text Commentary.
The shame squarely lies on the shoulders of the AHF. The entire AHF brass will be at Ordos, undoubtedly at the hospitality of the hosts. They will be able to witness the match, what about the fans all over the world?
If anybody wants to know how not to develop popular sports, perhaps they should dial AHF.
Malaysia face Japan resistance for bronze
By Jugjet Singh
JAPAN will be fighting for a spot in the final, while Malaysia have a shot at the bronze medal playoff when both teams square off in the Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, Inner Mongolia, today.
Japan are third on seven points, while Malaysia are fifth with four points and both need a win to stay in the medal rounds.
"Four teams are in the running to play in the final and tomorrow's (today's) last pool match will decide who makes it.
"Japan have improved much since they last played us in Bukit Jalil and it looks like they have picked up some pointers from us and are using them in this tournament," said Malaysia team manager Stephen van Huizen.
In the Japan-Malaysia series during the fasting month, Japan won the first two matches with similar 2-1 scores before Malaysia won 4-1 and 3-2. The last match ended 2-2.
Pakistan and India meet in the first match, while South Korea have the easiest task as they play winless China. Malaysia play their last match against an improved Japanese side.
"We will know before the start of our match what we need to do, but to be safe, we need to beat Japan by at least two goals to play in the third-fourth playoff," said van Huizen.
On the two Project 2013 players who made their senior debut in Ordos, the manager said: "No complaints about them as they gave their best, but this tournament was of too high a level for them. That's why we only used them for short spells."
Amir Farid and Fitri Saari are the debutants with Amir scoring against Pakistan in the first match.
"To become better players, they need to work on their physique. However, I believe the exposure has been good and the two boys have a good future."
Youngster Firhan Ashaari has had a much better tournament.
"Firhan is much more confident and matured now. He was among the better players who can be relied upon," said van Huizen.
"The draw against India put paid to our chances of finishing among the top two. Now we will work to play in the bronze playoff."
TODAY: India v Pakistan, South Korea v China, Japan v Malaysia.
New Straits Times
Four teams in scramble to make the cut in Asian Champs Trophy
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: The final day of the preliminary round matches in the inaugural Asian Champions Tophy today will see a scramble by four teams for a place in the final.
Pakistan lead with nine points after four matches, followed by India on eight, Japan on seven and South Korea on six.
Malaysia have four points from their first four mastches Their aim is to make the play-off for third placing.
Pakistan play India today and need just one point to qualify for the final. India, on the other hand, need an outright win to fight for the title on Sunday.
Should Pakistan draw with India, they will have 10 points.
That means if Japan beat Malaysia, then they too will have the same number of points.
South Korea, on the other hand, are expected to go on a goal spree against hosts China and finish on nine points. Thus, their chances of of making the final will depend on the results of the match-ups between Pakistan-India and Malaysia-Japan.
For the Koreans to make the final, they will have to hope that Pakistan either win or draw against India and Japan lose to Malaysia.
For today, it is the India-Pakistan match that is the plum tie.
Pakistan have already qualified for next year’s London Olympics while India will have to play in the qualifiers.
The two teams have played each other 147 times and the record favours Pakistan, who have won 75 times. India have won 48 times and the teams have drawn 24 times.
The last time these two teams met, at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament in Ipoh in May, Pakistan won 3-1.
The Star of Malaysia
Malaysia need to beat Japan to ensure a top-four finish
KUALA LUMPUR: The success of Malaysia’s campaign in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy hinges on their last preliminary round match against Japan in Ordos, China, today.
Both teams need to win. For Japan it will ensure their place in the final. For Malaysia it will mean a spot in the third placing playoff – and meeting their target of a top-four finish.
Any other outcome for the Malaysians will be deemed as a failure, especially after reaching second spot in Asia just 10 months ago.
Malaysia have just four points from two defeats (Pakistan 2-3, South Korea 3-4), a win (China 4-2) and a draw (India 2-2).
Japan, on the other hand, have gone from strength to strength. The started poorly, losing 3-2 to South Korea. But they bounced back to beat Pakistan 3-1 and China 3-1 and have seven points.
National coach Tai Beng Hai knows his men will have a tough time against the Japanese, who need to win to qualify for the final.
“Whether our campaign is successful or not hinges on the outcome of this one match. We have played well in all our matches, including in the defeats by Pakistan and South Korea,” he said.
“It is not over yet and we have an even chance of beating Japan.”
Malaysia have scored 11 goals – and conceded just as many – in their four matches.
And Beng Hai is aware that a simple win won’t be enough if they hope to pip the Japanese to the third place playoff.
“Goal difference will be crucial. We need to win by two clear goals. The players know what is expected of them,” he said.
Malaysia played a five-match series with Japan in Kuala Lumpur last month. The teams won two matches each and drew the other one.
“But those matches count for nothing. Japan are playing much better than they did in KL and are in better form. We know their game well,” said Beng Hai, who is eager to continue fielding the younger players who, he added, “have earned their places in the team”.
He said that Mohd Firhan Ashaari, Fitri Saari or Amir Farid would be in the line-up for the match against Japan “as we only plan to field one goalkeeper for the game”.
Senior players like Mohd Amin Rahim, Mohd Madzli Ikmar, Mohd Razie Rahim, Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Baljit Singh will still the mainstay of the team.
“We will have a blend of youth and experience. For me, the combination and the chance to improve is always our priority. We need to learn from every match. But, for now, we must win at all cost,” said Beng Hai.
The Star of Malaysia
HUMBLED HOCKEY - Money music will make FIH sing again
While the International Hockey Federation has been making a lot of noise about propriety and making all the threatening noises, a display of dollars that the FIH needs desperately could well make it change its tune about the Champions Trophy.
International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre must really be missing the incarcerated Suresh Kalmadi in this time of crises for Indian hockey. When Kalmadi was around, particularly during the turbulent days leading to the formation of Hockey India and the run up to the hosting of the World Cup in Delhi in March 2010, he played his cards well and pulled the right strings to get things moving and cracking at a fast pace.
The thumping success of the World Cup held at the renovated, world-class Dhyan Chand Stadium impressed the FIH top brass. They also realised the enormous potential of generating much-needed funds by selling hockey in India. Kalmadi and his team got many sponsors for the World Cup and filled the FIH coffers as never before.
In fact, whenever Negre made one of his many visits to Delhi to inspect the progress of the preparations for the World Cup, he was given a royal treatment and left a happy man. After the World Cup, the FIH saw a lot of merit in awarding the Champions Trophy and the Olympic Qualifying tournament to Delhi, as India was perceived as a cash cow. The FIH also promised to award many other important events to India for the revival of the game here.
But with Kalmadi’s arrest in connection with the Commonwealth Games scams, things took a tumble overnight, as it were, as Hockey India was left without a charismatic head -- it is still without a president after Vidya Stokes resigned to fall in line with the Government fiat on tenure and age-limit - forcing secretary-general Narinder Batra to hold the fort.
Managing day-to-day administration and getting a challenging event like the Champions Trophy going by roping in the right kind of sponsors, are two different ball games and the present management was not rising to the FIH’s expectations. Though Kalmadi held no formal post in HI, it was common knowledge that he wielded ‘the’ power and played the lead role in the successful conduct of the World Cup.
Moreover, HI’s monopoly over the game took a beating when the Government was forced to recognise the existence of the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) following a Delhi High Court ruling. When Ajay Maken was appointed Sports Minister, he took active interest in getting the two hockey bodies either merged, or form a working relationship, which raised the hackles of the FIH.
FIH suddenly became aggressive, as it contended that it would only deal with HI, as the Champions Trophy and the Olympic Qualifiers were awarded to HI. FIH threatened to pull out these events if the “joint board” arrangement mentioned in the “settlement minutes” of IHF and HI was not rescinded, as the FIH Executive Board felt that the settlement “breaches not only the FIH Statutes, but also the Olympic Charter”.
Maken was willing to talk to Negre and hoped to settle the matter when the FIH chief visited Delhi on September 13. But Negre pre-empted that decision and in a two-page letter to Maken, in reply to the Government’s response to the initial IHF posers, he stunned everyone connected with Indian hockey by announcing that the Champions Trophy would be moved out of India.
But Negre conveniently left out the name of the alternate venue, leaving space for bargaining -- to extract his pound of monetary flesh. The FIH threat was intended to blackmail the Government and HI to give in to its demands, which was evident in the small print of the last paragraph of the letter, which read: “The other point upon which I am being pressed by my Executive Board is in relation to the amount of approximately US$500,000, which is owed to FIH, pursuant to contract for the men’s World Cup held in Delhi in March, 2010.The release of this money is apparently being refused by the Reserve Bank of India. It would help if a written explanation is provided as to the reasons why this money is being withheld together with the steps that the FIH is required to take in order that payment can be made. The money is clearly the property of the FIH”.
So that’s it. It all boils down to money and money alone. If Maken manages to make the RBI release the blocked dollars, Negre will once again sing the Indian tune, like a canary! Perhaps the FIH also fears that the World Series Hockey league, to be held under the aegis of the IHF, without sanction from the FIH, will take the thunder away from the Champions Trophy and might eat into the sponsorship business of hockey.
The Times of India