All the news for Friday 16 September 2011
SA hockey men and South Americans on collision course
JONATHAN COOK, Randburg
South Africa under head coach Gregg Clark of Cape Town and captain Wade Paton of Durban get a chance to build on the success of their 1-0 Africa Cup final victory over arch-continental rivals Egypt at Khumalo Hockey Stadium in Bulawayo last Sunday when they take on world number 11 Argentina in the two-Test EagleTurf SA/Argentina Men's Hockey Series in Johannesburg this weekend.
The spectator-friendly Kaspersky Park in Randburg is the venue for the Tests, with the opener at 6.30 pm Friday and the second and final encounter at the same venue come 4 pm Sunday.
This South Africa side, ranked 12th in the world, is regarded by Clark as “the golden generation” of post-isolation players that SA men’s hockey has had in the green and gold.
And Clark should know. The SA mentor has a national men’s record of 250 Tests as a player to his name and has been closely involved with the team as player or coach since 1993, bar a few years here and there.
Certainly in young 2011 SA Interprovincial Player of the Tournament Taine Paton, fellow Durbanite Tim Drummond and Johannesburger Clint Panther there is sufficient talent to suggest that recognition in a few years' time in the annual World All Stars team selected by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is not a flight of fancy.
Aside from these two, there are a host of team-mates fast gaining recognition in international hockey, evidenced by the high number who will miss Sunday’s Test due to unavoidable commitments with their European clubs.
This, however, will give Clark the opportunity to try out several uncapped players in Sunday’s 4 pm second Test, men such as Western Province’s SA U19 captain Grant Robertson, as well as Kaspersky Southern Gauteng midfielder Owen Mvimbi, players of sufficient quality to suggest that Argentina head coach Pablo Lombi’s squad won’t have it all their own way.
The 25-player SA line-up features seven Kaspersky Southern Gauteng representatives, three from the Pretoria-based Northern Blues, five and six respectively from Western Province and the Durban-based KZN Coastal Raiders with two apiece from Amathole-Border and Eastern Province.
Goalkeepers: Jacques Le Roux (WP), Brendon Botes (EP), Rassie Pieterse (Kaspersky Southern Gauteng).
Defenders: Justin Reid-Ross (Northern Blues), Lloyd Madsen, Gareth Carr (both KZN Coastal Raiders), Rhett Halkett (NB), Lance Louw, Ricky West (both KSG), Andrew Cronje (WP), Peter Bailey (EP), Francois Pretorius (NB).
Midfielders: Wade Paton (capt), Taine Paton, Tim Drummond (all KCR), Clinton Panther (KSG), Clive Terwin (WP), Owen Mvimbi (KSG), Grant Robertson (WP), Shaun Davenhill (KCR).
Strikers: Lloyd Norris-Jones (WP), Julian Hykes (Amathole-Border), Miguel da Graca, Thornton McDade (both KSG), Geowynne Gamiet (Amathole-Border).
SA Hockey Association media release
Winning just the Shield is not enough
KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Tenaga Nasional will both be out for a "good profit" when they lock horns in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Charity Shield at the National Hockey Stadium tomorrow.
Both sides have nine national players each, and high on their list is the three points, and second is the Shield that comes with it.
KLHC, last season's double champions, lost the Shield to Tenaga, but went on to lift the League as well as the TNB Cup.
And Tenaga will aim for a hat-trick of Shields, as well as wrestle both the other titles from KLHC.
"The Shield is secondary, as it will come naturally with what we will be looking for in the opening encounter -- three valuable points," said KLHC team manager George Koshy.
Tenaga coach Lailin Abu Hassan was equally determined: "We have won back-to-back Charity Shields (2009 against Sapura and 2010 against KLHC).
"And we are in no mood to be charitable on Saturday, as it comes with three valuable points," he said.
However, it is not expected to be an explosive and open encounter, as both teams have tired legs from the Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos.
"My players just returned on Wednesday, and I am training them for the first time today (yesterday). Naturally some of them will feel the effect of playing in the Asian Champions Trophy and playing an open game will be suicidal," said KLHC coach R. Vivekanandan.
Tenaga have the best defence in the country, as No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar, Amin Rahim, Baljit Singh and Madzli Ikmar are on their side.
All four of them played a pivotal role in getting Malaysia the bronze in Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos.
And in attack, they have young legs Azammi Adabi, Firhan Ashaari, Amir Farid and Faizal Saari.
As for KLHC, they have experience in national goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, while for penalty corners, they have established Razie Rahim.
It is in the midfield that KLHC hold the edge as they have virtually the national team setup with Nabil Fiqri, Shahrun Nabil and Shukri Mutalib.
The Charity Shield will indicate where the one-leg League heads, as both teams are front-runners for all three titles this season.
SATURDAY -- Div 1: Uniten v Ipoh City Hall (Tun Razak 5pm), BJSS v UNIMAP (Education Ministry, 8pm).
Premier League (Charity Shield): KL Hockey Club v Tenaga Nasional (National Hockey Stadium, 8pm).
SUNDAY -- Div 1: SSTMI-Thunderbolt v Uniten (Education Ministry, 5pm), Ipoh City Hall v BJSS (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm).
Premier League: Armed Forces Airod v Sapura (National Stadium, 4pm), Uitm v UniKL (National Stadium, 6pm), Nur Insafi Penang v Yayasan Negri Sembilan (National Stadium, 8pm).
New Straits Times
UniKL bank on nine Project 2013 players to secure top four spot
KUALA LUMPUR: Nine Project 2013 players will spearhead Universiti Kuala Lumpur’s (UniKL) challenge in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), which starts tomorrow at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit jalil.
UniKL hope to secure a top-four spot this year despite having the youngest squad in the MHL.
Last year, the team had five foreigners and New Zealand coach Darren Smith to chart their fortunes. But they only managed to finish fifth in the nine-team Premier Division and lost in the quarter-finals to Yayasan NS at the knockout stage.
This will be the team’s third foray in the Premier Division.
UnikL coach K. Embaraj said yesterday that their average age is around 21 years but he feels they have the material to grind out some results.
“There are nine players from the Project 2013 and they are our core players. We are going to take it one step at a time and the main objective for the players is to learn and take responsibility.
“They must also be able to accept their roles in the team and work to perform the task given. The target is simple and that is to improve from last year. Making the top four is a reasonable target,” said Embaraj who will be acting as chief coach for the first time.
He was assistant to I. Vicknesweran in 2009 and then to Darren.
The nine Project players in the squad are Mohd Hafiz Zainol, Mohd Ramadan Rosli, Mohd Noor Faaez Ibrahim, Nor Hizzat Sumantri, Mohd Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Dedy Ariyadi Jumaidi, Mohd Rashid Baharom, Shahzrul Imran Nazli and Mohd Azri Hassan.
Senior players like S. Selvaraju, Herwan Pami and former national junior goalkeepers Mohd Hakim Adnan and Saiful Azhar Mohd Affendi will provide the experience.
Embaraj said that Selvaraju would not be available for the first two weeks of the action as he is still nursing an ankle injury.
UniKL will open their campaign against UiTM on Sunday.
The MHL will kick off with the Charity Shield match between double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club and Tenaga Nasional tomorrow.
The Star of Malaysia
Men's England Hockey League 2011 - Preview
The 2011-12 Men’s England Hockey League begins this weekend amid a pre-season of comings and goings in player personnel. With teams strengthening up to the first registration deadline, fans and players will be anxious to see how their clubs compare with the rest in their division. Here we preview teams throughout the league ahead of the weekend.
Beeston’s steady development bore fruit last season with a surprise Championships Final victory over East Grinstead which earned them the Premier Division title. The Nottingham based side have picked up Scottish international Gordon McIntyre (Kelburne) and Tom Pinnegar (Cannock), as well as venturing further afield by adding Jonathan Beckers (Belgium) and Patrick Schmidt (Germany) to strengthen their campaign as defending champions (pictured below).
East Grinstead, determined to return the trophy to Surrey this season, did not rest on their laurels, instead bringing in England & GB captain Barry Middleton from Der Club an der Alster whilst welcoming back Andy Piper from a stint in Spain and Will Arthur from Loughborough Students. Reading secured a place in Europe thanks to a 3-1 win over Surbiton in the 3rd/4th play-off; they welcome back England International Nick Catlin from Loughborough Students with team-mate Ben Carless joining too. Tom Woolvern (University of Exeter) also joins to add to the mix at Sonning Lane.
Having missed out on the chance to play in Europe, Surbiton have seen a number of players join their ranks including Tim Deakin and Alex Penney from Las Palmas, Fergus Dunn (FC Barcelona), Chris Borrett (Bowdon) and a return to the club for Jamie Ruiz. Bowdon, the last of the Championships qualifying teams last season, have complemented their squad with players including Sam Mee (Cannock), Geoff Price and Jimmi Hill (Deeside Ramblers) and Guim Ursul Colome (Spain) and Thorsten Kuffner (Germany) from the continent.
Hampstead & Westminster will be looking to improve on a sixth placed finish which saw them miss out on a Championships place by just two points last season. The Londoners have added depth to their squad in the shape of Inderpal Laly (East Grinstead), Rafael Lopez Jimenez (Indian Gymkhana) and Harwinder Chima who returns from Reading.
Despite seeing a number of faces leave Loughborough Students, they have added Sam Ward (pictured above) from local rivals Beeston and welcome back Carl Sitch from Harleston Magpies. Loughborough’s intake also includes a number of young players with Conference experience in a turnover of players.
Cannock has seen more players exit than arrive, but welcome Oliver Westbrook (Bournville) to the club and Paul Harris back from injury in a bid to avoid a repeat of last season which saw them flirt with relegation. University of Exeter returns to the Premier Division following a season’s absence, Maxime Cerrulus (Belgium), Frank Di Mercurio (Spain), Tom Cooper (Surbiton) and Matthew Laidman (Holcombe) bolster their squad ahead of a campaign to retain their Premier Division status. Southgate completes the division after their success in the Promotion Tournament; they have retained the majority of their squad with the notable addition of Spaniard Joan Elias.
Men’s Conference East is shaping up to be keenly contested with Wimbledon, Canterbury (pictured below against East Grinstead) and Holcombe all seeing a flurry of new faces. Holcombe saw 4 players depart for a Canterbury side relegated from the Premier Division, including the return of David Mathews. Over the summer Canterbury also added Kiwi Nathaniel Joy and welcomed Simon Hare back from University of Exeter. Holcombe, meanwhile, recruited Premier Division quality in Richard Lane (Cannock) and Stephane Vehrle-Smith (Hampstead & Westminster) as well as James Stedman from Old Loughtonians.
Although last season was Wimbledon’s first in the EHL, the strength of their squad belied their sixth placed finish. This season, in a bid to change their fortunes, they see Christian Pryce and Alex Collins (Hampstead & Westminster), James Osborne (Loughborough Students) and Rob Pryce (Canterbury) all arrive with valuable Premier Division experience. City of Peterborough returns to the Conference East after a season’s absence; player/coach Gareth Andrew’s goals will be important to their bid for survival. Teddington’s return to the EHL comes after three seasons in the South Regional League, Warren D’Souza (pictured below in action for Reading against EG's Glenn Kirkham) drops down a division from Reading to aid their campaign.
Durham University suffered the cruellest of blows in last season’s Promotion Tournament, missing out on a Premier Division spot, on goal difference, despite finishing level on six points with University of Exeter and Southgate. Though they retain the core of their side they see a major turnover in squad this season including Tom Batchelor’s arrival from Guildford as well as Martin Lear (Deeside Ramblers). A major departure in pre-season from that side saw James Cachia link up with Sheffield Hallam. Cachia is joined by Brendan Creed (Bowdon) and Patrick Longson from relegated Harborne at Abbeydale to strengthen a side that ran Durham University close to the top spot last season. Brooklands MU are aiming to bounce back from their relegation from the Premier Division last season, having kept the majority of their squad. Preston joins the Conference North after finishing five points clear at the top of the North Regional League.
With no team relegated into the Conference West, Team Bath Buccaneers will be aiming for a repeat of the 2009-10 season – which saw them dominate the regular season – after finishing in second last season, eight points shy of University of Exeter. They will hope that penalty corner specialist Rufus McNaught-Barrington will add goals following his move from Sevenoaks. Guildford finished in third and will hope to challenge Team Bath Buccaneers along with a Havant side that has recruited internationally with Argentinean dual passport holder Rodrigo Elias Levy Favier and overseas player Sumeet Singh joining the club. Cardiff & UWIC and Lichfield both return to the EHL in the Conference West following two and four seasons away, respectively.
Opening Weekend Fixtures of the Men's England Hockey League
Saturday 17 September
Men's Conference East
Oxted v Old Loughtonians 17:00
Sunday 18 September
Men's Premier Division
Beeston v Surbiton 14:00
Bowdon v Loughborough Students 14:00
Hampstead and Westminster v Cannock 14:00
Southgate v East Grinstead 14:30
University of Exeter v Reading 12:30
Men's Conference North
Brooklands MU v Preston 12:00
Deeside Ramblers v Sheffield Hallam Civica 14:00
Doncaster v Belper 14:00
Leek v Barford Tigers 14:00
Olton & West Warwicks v University of Durham 13:30
Men's Conference West
Bournville v Fareham 12:30
Cardiff & UWIC v Guildford 13:00
Havant v Cheltenham 14:00
Lichfield v University of Birmingham 15:00
Team Bath Buccaneers v Whitchurch 13:00
Men's Conference East
City of Peterborough v Canterbury 13:00
Harleston Magpies v Holcombe 14:15
Teddington v Indian Gymkhana 12:30
Wimbledon v Bromley and Beckenham 14:00
England Hockey Board Media release
Sandeep, Sardara appeal against ban imposed by Hockey India
Banned for two years, ace Indian drag-flicker Sandeep Singh and star midfielder Sardara Singh appealed the sanctions imposed on them by Hockey India (HI) on Thursday.
The duo was banned last month for disciplinary breach and will be appearing before a five-member HI committee after meeting the body’s secretary general Narendra Batra.
Batra said that the duo had e-mailed their appeal plea to him and sought for a meeting with him next week. “Both Sandeep and Sardara had sent their appeals to me today. They have also expressed their desire to meet me and I will be meeting them next week any day after Tuesday,” Batra said. “After I meet them, a five-member committee will be formed which will look into their appeal.”
The question though is, will they be let away easily? Sources say the federation might be tempted to bring them back considering that India have to play the Olympic qualifiers in February next year.
The current sentiment is to reduce their term of suspension. “Sardara is presently the best midfielder in the world and Sandeep is one of the best drag-flickers. They have done a mistake but they are still young and they will be crucial to the team in the qualifiers,” a source said.
Integrity of Sports: Interesting but intrigue interpretation of FIH, our DOUBTS thereof.
The FIH has rightly felt, while relocating the Delhi Champions Trophy to New Zealand, that it is always tough decisions to shift tournaments. Yes, the sentiment is understood. It has nearly said the same when in 2007 an edition allotted to another Asian country, Pakistan, had to be shifted to Malaysia. Since these were the two occasions the prestigious asset of the FIH had to be shifted in the recent past, a peep in to the circumstances and consequences of these shifting give us interesting insight into the things, especially with respect to ‘integrity’ of sports.
Among other reasons the parent body touted for shifting is to safeguard the ‘integrity’ the sport they govern. Perhaps its first time the FIH comes out with a phrase like this; and it needs to be analysed and understood in its true perspective in order to see whether the philosophy is rightly conceived or used to deceive a deceit.
Being the global governing body the FIH has every right to define, profess, preach, and safeguard ‘integrity’ of hockey whatever is its purported meaning. The one solid reason which the FIH gave us for shifting the CT is the hosts not having a single controlling body and its affects the ‘integrity’ of global hockey. Ok
If the hosts do not have a controlling body of FIH’s like, does it mean the sports’ integrity should come into play? It seems so. Because, the control of hockey in India has been rested with Hockey India, not because of FIH, but because Supreme Court of India, which has allowed it to function on ad hoc basis. The court is yet to pass a final verdict. It means that there is no full-pledged, legally sustainable body to run in hockey in India for at least three years. In this period, An Asian event (Jr. Asia Cup), an invitational tournament (Punjab Gold Cup) and an event of such magnitude as World Cup had been staged in India. Even in the run up to the Commonwealth Games, as closely as a week before, there was uncertainty as to HI or IHF will be the official body for India. Still, despite all double-body fuss, the events were held – not just held, but on a grand scale.
Because, anybody who knows Indian hockey knows that the National Sports Federation insofar as hockey is concerned is only a formality, or at best merely the face, while right from stadium to sales, food bills to player footwear bill all being met by the government. By all means, the Government of India has accorded sanction to hold both CT and OQ for HI well in advance.
FIH cannot plead ignorance on this count. Otherwise too there are pertinent questions to be asked on other fronts.
Is it integrity of sports to allot a tournament to a country without it bidding in the first place? Does it further come under integrity cover if such allotted tournament is taken off without the benevolent receiver’s consent?
Is India so weak that one day you say we give you this, and next day you say, sorry, we take it from you. Neither the FIH nor this country can be proud of this type of actions.
In either way, I don’t think the FIH did things befitting its status of a global body, but its actions smacks of, what I can say, petty mindedness.
The FIH has signed a MoU with Indian Olympic Association to conduct the World Cup. Was it right to ignore the National Sports Federation that time? If that was correct a year ago, and the non-existence of NSF was taken it sportingly, why can’t the same be rule now, why can’t the same sportsmanship apply now? The IOA headed by Vijay Malhotra has invited the visiting FIH president for the same purpose. It was ready to sign MOU, but the FIH went by its new vista called ‘integrity’.
It’s really surprising that the then IOA headed by now jailed Suresh Kalmadi is acceptable to FIH, but someone else is not. Same way, despite courts and the Sports ministry giving ‘international rights’ to HI, it was acceptable till recently, but not now. Just because a compromise was being worked out to solve the problem that was eluding solution in the last three years.
As a hockey fan, it hardly matters to us who conducted the World Cup or who will conduct the CT? But what matters is the sport being held here. In this context, a comparison to 2007 is a must.
Due to terrorists fear, the 2007 CT was shifted from Pakistan. The FIH felt sad about it. It said that it won’t allow players of Pakistan to suffer on account of shifting; the country will be accommodated wherever the event would be shifted. It stood by it.
2007 CT was shifted to Malaysia. Ok. The six-nation event was enlarged to -- believe me, not a seven-nation one so as to accommodate the hosts Malaysia -- eight nation! England was brought in. It was a huge bonanza, advantage for England which was in the India’s group of OQ and thus got invaluable match exposure.
At the hospitality of an Asian nation, Malaysia, England was accommodated. India also made a bid for the 2007 CT, but lost out to Malaysia, simply because Malaysia was ready to dance to the tune of FIH for winning the bid. India stuck to seven-nation while Malaysia offered free cheque.
Why do I elaborate this? To bring home a valid point. Here lies the question: Where is the same logic which was used in 2007, now? CT is now shifted from India for whatever reason. Why do you allow a set of players (India) suffer for not fault of theirs.
When 2007 event was shifted, the FIH elaborated the logic that Pakistan players should not be deprived of their right to play CT, their participation should be ensured. We appreciated the FIH’s logic. Why can’t the same logic be used now with respect to Indian players, who are facing OQ and are desperate to play CT?
In 2007, the same FIH used a godsend opportunity – shifting CT from Pak – to accommodate England, besides Pak. Why do they not even talk about Indian players being deprived of their right now? Why not the HI, which sub-served the FIH interest, think on this line?
Shift the CT, ok, why don’t you accommodate the perceivably victimized Indian players. Why was India not given a slot in NZ CT instead asked them to go to SA which NZ was supposed to figure in? I don’t know what is the integrity of sport in the obtaining situation?
Never say India is 13th or 30th in rank. Its mere participation in this year’s CT would have pushed them to many notches upwards in the fragile system of ranking. If a non-bidding country can be allotted CT and the nation then can collect Ranking Points, it was ok when other things suited, not ok now because the FIH doesn’t like some faces in India!
This is not integrity by any stretch of imagination.
FIH plays strong disaffiliation card
Even as hockey stuttered between lots of misses and a few hits, the Indian Hockey Confederation added to the chaos, demanding holding up of the funds due to the FIH.
The varied struggles between Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (FIH); the Sports Ministry versus the Indian Olympic Association (IOA); IHF vs. IOA; players vs. administrators and the International Hockey Federation (FIH) versus all the stakeholders of Indian hockey, has driven the game into a mire, though India’s title triumph in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy has provided a whiff of fresh air.
If the FIH decision to move out the Champions Trophy from Delhi to Auckland, which has robbed India of a place in the prestigious event, was not jolting enough, FIH president Leandro Negre, who was in Delhi on Tuesday to have parleys with the ministry, IOA and hockey officials, gave no assurance of backtracking from its threat of disaffiliating Hockey India and pulling out the Olympic qualifiers from Delhi.
Though he set no time frame for HI and IHF to form a single body, as is prevalent in other countries and to be tune with the Olympic Charter and IHF guidelines, he expected the merger to take place sooner than later. Negre emphasised that the FIH was committed to the development of Indian hockey but would not tolerate a multiplicity of authority, though he conceded that HI was a duly elected body and FIH was aware of that.
“But we cannot recognise more than one unit for running the game,” he had stated. He was also aware of the pending court cases with regard to the legal standing of the IHF and HI, and the IOA’s known opposition to the Sports Ministry-brokered truce between IHF and HI as it recognised only Hockey India.
IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra, after his meeting with Negre, had blamed the Sports Ministry for losing the Champions Trophy as it was a letter from the Ministry to the FIH in July, informing the world body about the unity forged between the two warring bodies, but maintaining their individual status nevertheless, which forced a re-think by the FIH about allowing Delhi to host the Champions Trophy.
The FIH then issued a warning that the event will be shifted out of Delhi if IHF and HI did not merge and carried out the threat on the day Negre landed in Delhi, when there was no sign of a merger.
Now, the Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC), which supposedly came into being with the merger of IHF and the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation (IWHF) for the consumption of the FIH (though the international body did not accept this so-called merger and disaffiliated IHF) has added fuel to the controversy by asking the Reserve Bank of India to stop payment of $500,000 owed to the FIH for hosting the Hero Honda World Cup in Delhi last year.
The IHC contention was that it had signed the original Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the World Cup to be held as a joint venture with the FIH on November 6, 2007 before it was organised by the Hero Honda World Cup Society, in which both the FIH and the HI had stakes. IHC argued that releasing the withheld money to FIH would amount to violation of the Foreign Exchange Act of 1973.
The FIH is already peeved that the IHF, in association with Nimbus, will be organizing the FIH unsanctioned World Series Hockey (WSH) on a franchise-based format, which will send the cash registers clicking and give a hefty pay packet to the players.
The WSH will be clashing with the Champions Trophy and that was reason for the IHF to be upset. Negre’s visit to Delhi was to warn the stake-holders in India to fall in line or face severe consequences, which will include banning India from all the FIH-recognised events, including the Olympic Games, Asian Games, Champions Trophy, World Cup and the Commonwealth Games.
This is reason enough for hockey community to panic, unless they thrash out a final solution in the next few months, nay weeks, to bring Indian hockey back into centre-stage.
Ministry now keen on roping in IOA
BANGALORE: The Union sports ministry has increasingly begun to believe that roping in Indian Olympic Association (IOA) would be crucial to resolving the impasse surrounding hockey in the country.
Sports minister Ajay Maken pulled no punches during the meeting with International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre on Tuesday that IOA had to be roped in all discussions as they represented the Olympic movement in the country.
With FIH demanding one federation to govern the game, as per the Olympic charter, the ministry feels IOA will play a crucial role now. "We will not take any decision without keeping IOA in the loop," Maken had said on Tuesday. There is also a definite shift towards Hockey India, particularly after FIH reiterated that it would not recognise Indian Hockey Federation at any cost.
In a meeting with Negre on Tuesday, IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said his organisation recognised Hockey India as the body running the sport. Later, in a letter to FIH, with copies marked to IOC Committee and HI, Malhotra reiterated his stand: "We wish to reaffirm and confirm that IOA recognises only Hockey India as sole NSF for men and women in India. We request you to deal only with Hockey India for affairs relating to indoor and field hockey concerning India."
IOA has always been critical of the arrangement between HI and IHF worked out by the ministry in July, and the letter confirms this.
What does this leave the ministry with? There are enough indications that the live-in relationship may have to be shelved and the focus ought to be more towards establishing HI as the sole national federation. But that is easier said than done.
The ministry has planned a meeting of all the stakeholders in the coming days to thrash out the issue. With IOA on board -- a welcome inclusion after the apex body chose to stay away from these discussions until now -- the ministry plans to chart a new roadmap that will eventually lead to one federation for hockey in the country. However, no timeframe has been set yet. A new formula will have to be arrived at by the end of this year.
Otherwise, India will risk losing the Olympic qualifiers too.
The Times of India
Kerala announces Rs five lakh cash prize to Sreejesh
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Kerala government on Thursday announced a cash prize of Rs five lakh to Indian hockey team goalkeeper PR Sreejesh for playing a stellar role in the Asian Champions Trophy triumph in Ordos, China.
Speaking at a function organised to felicitate Sreejesh, state Sports Minister KB Ganesh Kumar also announced a cash prize of Rs 50,000 to team manager Ramesh Kolappa.
"Sreejesh has made not only Kerala but the whole country proud through his stunning performance in the tournament. The government will give a cash prize of Rs five lakh to honour his talent. Team India manager Ramesh Kolappa would also be given Rs 50,000 as reward," Ganesh Kumar said.
Sreejesh has risen to the top despite poor facilities and infrastructure in the state. The state sports department would take all necessary action, including setting up of modern stadiums to revive hockey in the state, he said.
The minister also assured to provide high quality sports kits to hockey players in the state.
Sreejesh said collective effort of the players had helped India lift the trophy.
Sreejesh's two saves in the tie-breaker played a part in the team's 4-2 win over Pakistan in the final
Hockey India president Mariamma Koshy, Hockey Kerala president V Sunil Kumar and Kerala State Sports Council president PS Abdul Rassak participated in the programme organised by Hockey Kerala.
The Times of India
Walmiki — breaking barriers
THE TWO TROPHIES LIGHT UP THE DARK ROOM! India forward Yuvraj Walmiki inside his shanty in Marine Lines, Mumbai. Photo: Vivek Bendre
There are many Yuvraj Walmikis in Mumbai hockey, living on the edge and waiting for the right break. The young Indian striker is in the news for his courageous performance with the senior squad at the Asian Champions Trophy final against Pakistan.
Coach Michael Nobbs chose the 21-year-old debutant for the penalty shootout, and the Mumbai striker responded with an audacious reverse hit goal.
Yuvraj returned home to a hero's welcome, and the celebrations continued in Marine Lines, where he lives in a shed. The youngster is one of many from the Bombay Republicans Club assembly line, staying in proximity to the Mumbai Hockey Association Stadium under tough conditions and with families trying to make ends meet. Republicans co-founder Merzban Patel named four other players from similar backgrounds.
Nobbs's faith in Yuvraj's ability is the key, points out Patel. “There is talent in India waiting for a chance. We need coaches like Nobbs to back them. Yuvraj is in the news now for fulfilling his dream of playing for India despite living in a home sans even electricity.
“There are at least five more poor kids at Republicans, talented and hungry for exposure, hoping to make a living from hockey,” says the hockey promoter known for spotting and nurturing Olympians Gavin Ferreira, Viren Rasquinha and Adrian D'Souza, to name a few.
Awaiting their chance
He lists Anand Rai, Yuvraj's cousins Anup and Vinay, Amit Gowda and Pabitra Sabat as youngsters from financially poor backgrounds capable of tracing the Indian striker's footsteps. “Yuvraj came to Republicans as a kid and trained like other kids on cement courts behind the MHA astroturf.
“Older players helped them out with kits, shoes and hockey sticks. He attracted attention for his powerful hits in training during the Bombay Gold Cup, when the turf was thrown open after the completion of matches,” said Patel.
While on a stipend from Bank of India came a switch to Air-India for exposure in national tournaments. During his final year at Rizvi College, Yuvraj was a frequent flier, attending numerous national camps for juniors, youth and seniors before catching Nobbs's eye at Bangalore.
“Yuvraj's cousins Anup and Vinay live in similar conditions near the Wankhede. Anand's father runs a cycle-hire shop at Marine Lines, Pabitra and Gowda stay in chawls nearby. (A chawl is a type of building, often with four to five storeys, with about 10 to 20 tenements, referred to as kholis, which literally mean rooms on each floor). All five come from poor families and so supporting hockey-playing kids is tough,” points out Patel.
“I am no coach, so all I could offer Yuvraj was competitive experience playing for the club, motivation to train despite difficulties at home and convincing his parents to support him,” said Patel, revealing that the player's father, employed as a private driver, took loans to keep his kids interested in hockey and home fires burning.
Now, the same kid, whose self-confidence impressed Nobbs to shortlist him for the final shootout, is struggling to balance time between media interviews and invites from politicians for felicitations.
The darkness at home is over; a new electricity connection has given Yuvraj's home a new identity in the neighbourhood.
“He has broken down barriers. Kids from poor families across India have one more reason to keep playing,” observed Patel, for whom Yuvraj's brother Devendra is the next link in the Walmiki chain, currently in Jalandhar for a National under-21 camp.
Secret ‘Open’ trail underway in Jalandhar
So, ultimately the Hockey India has woken up to the need to have a junior India team. Its so unfortunate and irony too that, despite next Jr World Cup is technically still to be held in India, this country did not have either a development team or a Junior India team. However, some movement has taken place of late, and typically as we do things, very secretly also. The process that has secretly started is called ‘Open Trials’.
An open trail has started on Thursday in Jalandhar. Each unit affiliated to Hockey India has been asked to send four or five players for the trails at the Olympian Surjit Singh Stadium.
Former Olympian Mukesh Kumar is designated as Chief Coach with his peer in the national team and his domestic team Lajrus Barla as assistant. Haryana’s Sandeep Sangwan will also be another assistant coach. He comes to the centre-stage riding on the strength of his state team winning the Bhopal Nationals this year.
Hockey India is good at communication. However, it chose not to disclose the open trail planned to last for four days from Thursday. Probably they are busy elsewhere to douse the fire they set in by giving a pittance to Asian Champions Trophy Winners or juniors is not a big thing.
India is to take part in an Under-21 tournament to be held in Johor Baharu in November. India last played in the Junior tournament was the World Cup in the early 2009. This country did not have singly Junior engagement in the last two years!!
Trial & error method works for HI
Lack of a proper junior structure has forced Hockey India (HI) to restrict the selection of its men’s under-21 team to just a 3-day trial. While HI didn’t conduct junior nationals, infighting within Indian hockey meant that it ignored the junior events conducted and backed by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
As a result, HI has now left talent hunting to state units and various academies, who have been asked to send their best 4-6 players for the trials in Jalandhar.
“It is sad that due to the attitude of HI, many youngsters didn’t get the chance to showcase their talent (at national level). Now, it is up to the state associations to decide the players they want to send,” said a coach. “HI should have called players for trials on the basis of performance in the junior nationals conducted by the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).”
Problem for girls
Last month, HI picked the under-18 girls team for the Asia Cup in Bangkok beginning today, through trials.
The girls were called for trials on the basis of their performance in the senior nationals held in Sonepat.
Similarly to select the girls’ under-21 team for the 4-nation Shastri Cup, HI is conducting trials in Bhopal from September 28 to 30.
Earlier, due to the absence of a junior programme, India had not sent teams for both boys and girls’ junior Asia Cup.
‘The Best option’
“As the junior nationals were not held because of time and budget constraints, an open trial was the best alternative to select the teams.
“If we had waited for the nationals, we would have deprived the junior players of international exposure,” said chief selector Col Balbir Singh, who is currently in Jalandhar for the trials.
While IHF has been conducting junior nationals, private societies have been holding junior events, like the Nehru Cup, successfully. But their proximity to the IHF hasn’t gone down well with HI.
No hockey training in Major Dhyan Chand sports complex
Nikhila Pant & Suruchi Sharma
The divide couldn't have been more evident.
On Tuesday evening, India's national sport - hockey - plunged into a controversy when members of the national hockey team rejected the cash reward of Rs 25,000 which was offered to them on their return to the country after winning the inaugural Asian Champion's Trophy in China.
While the Hockey Federation and sports ministry wrangled to pass the buck, by evening, the amount had been revised to '25 lakh for the entire team, which means '1.5 lakh for every player.
Much before the 'windfall' of '25 lakh, captain Rajpal Singh said, "The federation has failed to meet our expectations. This is not the way to treat the national players. The money should be better not just for the motivation of the current crop of players, but also for the future generations who'd like to take up the national sport."
Singh made a valid point since the difference between the number of youngsters queuing up to get into cricket academies around the city is far greater than them wanting to learn to play the national game. According to sources, some of the top cricket academies in Delhi register almost 15-20 new students every week.
CK Khanna, vice president of Delhi and District cricket Association, told DT, "DDCA holds trials for Under-14, Under-16 and Under-19 groups. While for getting through the latter two, the aspirants have to pass many criteria, for Under 14, open trials are held. And almost a thousand youngsters appear for them."
Gurpreet Singh of Harry Cricket Academy said, "Seeing the kind of money these cricketers are making these days, parents want their children to become cricketers. We get calls from parents of kids as young as five years checking if we'll take them in the academy. Hockey mein itna paisa aur naam nahi hai naa."
An official at the Major Dhyan Chand Sports Complex at Ashok Vihar on the condition of anonymity said that the complex offers training and coaching in sports like cricket, karate, badminton, etc, and that they don't have any provision for coaching hockey at the complex.
"We don't teach hockey here. For that people can go to Major Dhyan Chand Stadium, India Gate and get coaching. Yes, this is a sports complex, but we don't provide any training in hockey, we cater to other sports."
When asked why, the official merely said, "Starting se hi nahin thi yahan hockey ki training."
Ironically, the sports complex is named after a hockey legend and the complex doesn't offer any training in the same sport. "Ab log nahi aate toh training deke kya karenge. People come here for coaching in cricket," the official added.
Coach at a hockey academy in Delhi who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said, "Jo team ke saath hua woh suprising nahi tha. Seeing the miserable state of hockey, who wants to take up the sport as a profession? Youngsters play hockey in schools and that's the end of it. Though we have youngsters coming to us to get entry into the training camps, but the numbers certainly don't match to those for cricket academies. Aap Indian cricket team ke saare players ke naam jaante ho, aur unko pehchante ho. But how many Indians can recognize and name Indian hockey players? That's the difference between the two sports. Interesting, while other sportspersons are also gaining recognition, Hockey remains to be neglected."
The Times of India
Md. Riaz and Kumar felicitated
National hockey coaches Md. Riaz (left) and C R. Kumar were felicitated by the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu in Chennai on Wednesday.
National hockey coaches, former Olympian, Md. Riaz and international C. R. Kumar, were felicitated on Wednesday by the Hockey Unit of Tamil Nadu (HUTN) at the Mayor Radhakrishnan Stadium.
Md. Riaz was assistant to the Australian coach, Michael Nobbs, at Ordos, where India triumphed in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy on Sunday beating Pakistan via the tie-breaker by four goals to two.
Complimenting the players for the single-minded devotion in achieving the target against a formidable rival, Md. Riaz said the victory opened a new chapter for Indian hockey.
He was particularly impressed by the role played by Kullu as full back and Sunil and Walmiki in the attack. “These youngsters have a tremendous future,” Md. Riaz noted.
Refusing to be drawn into a discussion related to the prize money fiasco after the return, Md. Riaz felt that the ministry should treat the support staff as part of the players' group and be made eligible for full cash awards.
At the moment, the assistant coaches get only 50 per cent of what a player gets from the Government as cash incentives.
Although officially defender Rupinder and goal-keeper Sreejesh, who played an outstanding role in the tie- breaker, represent Tami Nadu because of their employment here, Riaz is the only official in the team hailing from the State.
He deserves suitable recognition from the State Government, which has enhanced the cash awards for achievements in international competitions.
C. R. Kumar, the chief coach for the women's team, is striving his best to carve a new path. India finished fourth in the four-team event, but missed the bronze, which it was defending, went down to Japan after dominating the proceedings.
Ms. Renuka Lakshmi, Secretary, HUTN, welcomed the gathering and congratulated the men's team for the victory at Ordos. She also expressed her thanks to the Chief Minister, Ms. J. Jayalalithaa, for hiking the prize money to achievers and hoped that the sportspersons in the State would take advantage of the incentives offered by the State Government and strive for excellence in all competitions.
We've to learn from BCCI: Rajpal
The captain of the Indian hockey team Rajpal Singh says that the team's feat of beating arch-rivals Pakistan is not being recognised by anyone.
"The sports minister didn't fare well in our expectations of him," he said.
Reacting to the re-announcement of receiving '1.5 lakh, Rajpal added, "It was total injustice. It's not just about 18 to 20 players who go play hockey, it's about national pride, and they should have at least treated us well. Unless they encourage and motivate players, how can we promote the game? It's very disappointing. We ought to have been rewarded well... It was wrong and this is not the way to treat the national players. Such incentives will not only demotivate us."
Rajpal added, "Jab sponsorship ki baat hoti hain toh players ko pata hi nahi chalta hain ki kya ho raha hain. Even when we travel abroad the sports authority of India spends and takes care of us. We wear sponsor shirts but, pata nahi kyun. Kuch nahi milta woh shirt pehenkar. Every player in the team's upset."
So, what's his take on the revised prize money? "We're not against the government 'coz they have a policy - they can't pay players more than '3 lakh, if an Asian cup is won. And also if a team wins, you only get half the award money. Aur wohi 3 lakh aada karke humme 1.5 lakh diye hain."
Has the popularity of cricket has overshadowed hockey, he said, "Agar hum cricket ko compare kare, BCCI ko hatake aur government ki baat kare toh cricket ko bhi utna hi izzat deti jitna hockey ko. But when they won the World Cup, then every state government facilitated their captain. Main apni baat nahi kah raha hoon, lekin hockey team ke captain ko kabhi bhi Dhoni ki tarah dekha nahi jaata hain."
Talking about the game, he said that it's every players' duty to do well and that "the federation has a bigger role. As a product, hum kisi bhi cheez ko sale karte hain to marketing ki baat aa jaati hain. BCCI is more expert in that thinking approach," he said.
"Mujhe lagta hain ki isme sharm bhi nahi karni chahiye ki agar hum BCCI ko bole ki humme hockey mein funding kijiye, aur aap humare liye sponsor le aao. Agar hum nahi kar sakte hain toh humme sikhna chahiye. Agar hum doosre desho se coach laa sakte hain toh hum yeh toh kar hi sakte hain."
What's the future of hockey? "I still feel that passion for playing hockey exits amongst everyone. Lekin yehi hain ki aisi hi bartav raha aane wale 10-12 saalon main toh yeh na ho ki yeh passion bhi katam ho jaaye."
Talking about the sweeter side of life, he told us about his marriage to long-time GF Avneet Kaur Sidhu, a national-level shooter.
"Everyone needs to settle down in life, so shaadi toh har ekh ki honi hain aur meri bhi honi hain," he joked.
"We haven't yet got engaged as I have been so busy with all theses issues. May be in a day or two we shall organise a small function and get engaged. Avneet is also very busy right now. She's a sport person and understands my passion for sports. We plan to marry very soon, but it will all depend on the time - when we both are free of commitments."
ABHINAV BINDRA (Gold medal in the 10-meter air rifle event in the 2008 Beijing Olympics)
1.5 crore (Mittal Champions Trust)
50 lakh (Central Govt)
25 lakh (BCCI & State Govt of Haryana)
15 lakh (Steel Ministry of India),
11 lakh (Bihar government)
10 lakh (Karnataka and Maharashtra government & Golds Gym)
5 lakh (Tamil Nadu government),
1 lakh (Chhattisgarh government),
1 lakh (MP government), a free lifetime railway pass by the Railway Ministry of India, a gold medal by the Kerala government
15 lakh (Pune Municipal Corp)
RAJYAVARDHAN SINGH RATHORE (Silver medal, 2004 Olympics)
11 lakhs (Rajasthan Government)
A flat in Jaipur worth 8.80 lakh
VISWANATHAN ANAND (won world chess championship, 2007)
25 lakh (Tamil Nadu Government)
INDIAN CRICKET TEAM (World Cup 2011)
1 crore for the team (BCCI),
Free plots to all players (Karnataka government)
Free travel for players and their wives and children in 1st class AC cabins in Indian Railways
Free domestic & international flights for the rest of their lives
Free luxury villas near Delhi
MS Dhoni (2 crores by Delhi govt)
Sachin Tendulkar (a plot from Uttarakhand and one from Maharashtra government).
The Times of India
In India only cricket is doing well: Dhanraj
Former Indian hockey captain Dhanraj Pillay said, "Let me clarify that it was not the sports minister, but the Hockey India Federation (HIF) who had made the announcement of '25000 award money. Now the matter has been clarified by the sports ministry and finally they have announced reward cash money of ' 1.5 lakh to each player. But, one thing is for sure - in India, only one sports is doing very well and that is cricket. We've to learn from them and from BCCI about how they made cricket so popular."
He added, "We've to learn how they've got sponsorship coming into the game. The HIF should learn from BCCI on how to make hockey popular."
"If this kind of reward being given to players after winning first inaugural Asian Champions trophy, it is an embarrassment. A shame. I would say that the federation should realise that hockey is running because of hockey players," he added.
The Times of India
Basic hockey development coaching course commences
LAHORE: A basic hockey development coaching course commenced at National Hockey Stadium here on Thursday with forty coaches in attendance. Sports Board Punjab (SBP) director general Jamshed Daudi inaugurated the useful activity that aims at imparting basic knowledge of the game to the participants. The coaches are drawn from the various divisions of the provinces besides nominees of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF). Speaking on the occasion, Daudi said the course would help the coaches to improve their coaching skills and techniques.
PHF secretary general Mohammad Asif Bajwa also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the importance of the course and called for starting similar coaching opportunities on regular basis. “The SBP should give special emphasis on broadening the base of hockey by organising hockey tournaments at early level and holding coaching courses of different levels to groom technical officials,” said the PHF secretary.
Pakistan hockey team manager Khawaja Mohammed Junaid assistant coach Mohammad Amjal and video analyst Nadeem Lodhi also delivered lectures on various hockey coaching topics. SBP director Jalil Ahmed is the coordinator of the course.
The Daily Times
Hockey Player Shows Courage
Hockey Australia would like to acknowledge and express their support of a recent video created by Victorian based former hockey player Gus Johnston.
The video discusses homophobia in sport and focuses on Gus’s personal journey.
As part of the Fair Go Sport program, an initiative driven by Hockey Victoria and supported by Hockey Australia, Gus’s video is a perfect demonstration as to how crucial sport can be in playing a vital role in acceptance.
“Hockey Australia are proud to be a partner of the Fair Go Sport program and support Hockey Victoria who are driving the project. One of the project’s key themes is to ensure safe, supportive and inclusive sporting environments for all people. I acknowledge the courage shown by Gus Johnston in taking this stance and releasing the video. It delivers a strong and clear message about sport’s responsibility. We applaud Gus’ honesty which will hopefully assist others in a similar situation and cause all of us to reflect and ensure that our own behaviours are supportive and encouraging of all individuals within our great sport,” said Hockey Australia Chief Executive Mark Anderson.
“Over a long period of time Gus Johnston has shown a passion for hockey and displayed courageous leadership on the pitch for the Essendon Hockey Club. Gus is now showing courageous leadership off the pitch as shown in his film clip that he has just released. Hockey Australia acknowledges the tremendous courage that Gus has shown in telling his story and encourage all clubs to examine the messages and story that Gus conveys and consider ways in which you and your club can create a more welcoming and inclusive environment for all participants. Hockey Australia in conjunction with Hockey Victoria is proud to be involved in the Fair go, sport! program which conveys strongly the message that ‘what you say matters’. Gus could not have illustrated this point any better in telling his story,” said Hockey Australia Game Development Manager Grant Weir, who has been heavily involved in the Fair Go Sport program.
Below is a message from Hockey Victoria CEO Ben Hartung regarding Gus and the video.
I first met Angus ‘Gus’ Johnston in 1995 when he was selected to represent the Victorian Secondary Schools’ Sports Association Under 16 Hockey team at the Australian Secondary Schools Boys Hockey Championship in Perth. I was the Assistant Coach & Manager of the Victorian team. Gus demonstrated his skill and leadership as a goal keeper from that very young age.
After playing hockey for 19 consecutive seasons, the last 12 in State League One for the Essendon Hockey Club, Gus retired from playing hockey at the completion of the 2010 season. Gus’ loyalty and commitment to his club is simply demonstrated through the remarkable statistic that in his 12 years of playing State League One at Essendon, he only missed two games from injury.
Gus progressed through the junior representative ranks to proudly represent Victoria at a senior level. He was also a scholarship holder at the Victorian Institute of Sport from 1998-2005.
Like many players who have a passion for Hockey, Gus has also coached and mentored numerous players and underage teams during his time in the sport and in recent years he has greatly assisted Hockey Victoria in his important role as a selector of various state teams. Gus has remained actively involved in the Essendon Hockey Club where he acts as a mentor to a small group of developing State League One players. Young players are eager to receive his advice and he is a highly respected member of the Victorian Hockey community.
My personal respect for Gus was elevated even further on Monday of this week when he contacted me to notify me that he had produced a video to highlight his personal challenges and experiences in relation to his sexuality and that he would like me to watch the video. I am very grateful for the opportunity that Gus provided me because the video that I watched was extraordinarily powerful and thought provoking. In the video, Gus declares that he is a gay man and courageously he relates his personal journey in reaching this declaration.
Gus displays his passion and love for Hockey and the many benefits that the sport has provided him but he is also brutally honest in discussing his regret with regard to how he responded to the homophobia he had witnessed in his time in the sport. And the impact it has had on his life.
Gus has requested that with the support of Hockey Victoria his video is made accessible to the Hockey community and other sports in the hope that people will be able to view the video and benefit from the intimate story that he has told.
I would strongly encourage all affiliates to view the video, examine the issues that Gus discusses and consider ways in which you and your club members can make Hockey environments in Victoria more inclusive and welcoming for all participants. Unfortunately, research shows that sporting environments are a key site for homophobic harassment, discrimination and exclusion for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex (GLBTI) sports people. Hockey Victoria and all Hockey clubs have a responsibility to make the sport more inclusive and welcoming.
Through the courage of Gus Johnston and the personal journey that he has beautifully documented, I sincerely hope that the Victorian Hockey community can build on the foundation work of the Fair go, sport! project that we have been working on in 2011 and continue to show leadership in increasing awareness of sexual and gender diversity in Hockey.
Gus’s selfless act of leadership and courage is an inspiring example to us all.
CLICK HERE TO VIEW GUS' VIDEO - GUS JOHNSTON: THE REALITY OF HOMOPHOBIA IN SPORT
For more information on the Fair go, sport! project visit Hockey Victoria’s website
Chief Executive Officer
Hockey Australia media release