All the news for Wednesday 28 December 2011
India matches off, French instead
Apparently the Malaysian national team matches against India scheduled for this February are off and instead the team will play matches against France instead from the 20 - 27 of January.
These matches will be played after the Malaysia v China series that are scheduled from January 12 onwards.
Since the Azlan Shah matches have been called off, the national team was facing a dearth of matches to prepare for the Olympic Qualifiers from March 10.
And with India unable to accommodate the matches in February, there is a possibility that Poland could well save the day as they have indicated that they will be able to play a couple of matches before they go for the India leg of the Olympic Qualifiers.
Malaysian Hockey blogspot
Olympic qualifiers squad to be named after China friendlies
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: The friendly matches against China next month will offer the final chance for the 25 players in the national hockey squad to secure their place in the the Olympic qualifiers in Dublin in March.
Although Malaysia have lined up friendlies against India and another team in February, there is a good chance that the squad will be trimmed to 20 by the end of January.
National coach Tai Beng Hai admitted that the China fixtures will be the last chance to experiment with the players and also give those who did not feature in the Champions Challenge I last month a chance to prove their worth.
“We are in the final phase of training and are getting closer to our final selection. By the time we travel to India in February, we will be down to 20 or even the final 18 players.
“We are allowed to make changes until just before leaving for the qualifiers but we should have our final team list ready well before that.
“I want to see the players push themselves hard in the coming month and show that they deserve a place in the team,” said Beng Hai.
In the past three weeks, the players have been put through physical workouts aimed at increasing their fitness level.
Beng Hai said they will only tone down the emphasis on fitness when the friendly matches start.
“When the friendlies gets underway, we will concentrate on improving combination play and set–piece moves. I am happy with the commitment of the players and feel they are on the same wavelength as the coaches in wanting to do well in Dublin.”
Malaysia are allowed to bring along 18 players for the qualifiers. But each team can only register 16 players for the Olympics hockey competition in London.
Beng Hai said Malaysia are still waiting for India to confirm the dates for the friendly matches in New Delhi.
The matches against China, who will arrive on Jan 10, will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The Star of Malaysia
UniKL going the extra mile to land double this season
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) are hellbent on capturing the elusive double that got away from them last season.
So determined are UniKL that they began preparing two months ago for their quest to become only the fourth team after Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS), Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak) and Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) to bag the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) double.
Team manager Amir Hamzah Ibrahim said they were hugely disappointed not to win the double earlier this year and had started preparing for the MJHL, which begins on Jan 19, in October.
UniKL made their debut in 2009 and finished fourth in Division One. Last year, they emerged Division One runners-up behind Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS)–Thunderbolt in the league but beat the sports school in the final to bag the overall title.
This year, the university team powered by 11 national Project 2013 squad players won the league but failed to defend the overall crown after losing in a penalty shootout to BPSS–Thunderbolt in the final.
“Although we only have four Project 2013 squad players for the 2012 campaign, our target is to capture the double we came so close to snaring this year,” said Amir.
The four players from the Project squad are Mohd Hafiz Zainal, Fahed Saifullah, Mohd Nor Aqmal and Mohd Syafiq Zul Zairin.
“We have retained former international K. Embaraj as the coach and he will be assisted by M. Nadeson. Former international S. Selvaraju, who played for us in the MHL, is also helping out in training,” said Amir.
The Star of Malaysia
Soon Kooi takes over Penang HA
Former Olympian and World Cupper Ow Soon Kooi is now the President of the Penang Hockey Association.
His appointment into the position was ratified at the AGM of Penang HA on December 17, the same day that saw the demise of the Malaysian Hockey Federation.
Soon Kooi who is also an appointed independent member of the MHF, takes over the mantle of President from Dato Seri Dr. Ibrahim Saad who stepped down in July following his work commitments as the Malaysian Ambassador to Philippines.
"I will likely decline the position of independent member should I be appointed for the MHC council," said Soon Kooi.
"This is to prevent others from perceiving that I may have vested or peculiar interest and wish to concentrate solely on Penang hockey.
"I have myself a term to improve hockey in Penang both in terms of performance and finances and hope that all involved will work alongside me."
Soon Kooi was a product of Penang Free School and while is soft spoken he never holds back from stating his opinion on issues that affect Malaysian hockey, especially during MHF Management Committee meetings.
While it will be a loss for MHF, the fact that Soon Kooi is now President of an affiliate will give him more voice to raise issues as opposed to him being told by an MHF official that his "appointed" position was just that, and could not raise the well being of hockey at meetings.
Malaysian Hockey blogspot
International gathering in Dundee
The Grove Menzieshill Invitational Indoor Tournament, which starts tomorrow at Dundee International Sports Centre for the next three days has attracted an international field.
The men`s tournament consists of a five team pool, the Scotland senior indoor squad divided into two teams, Caledonian Cougars and Highland Jaguars, Wales and Scotland`s top indoor club sides Inverleith, who won the Subway indoor national league title for the first time in the club`s history, and hosts Menzieshill, 17 times winner of the title. After the pool matches the top two sides will play off in Friday`s final for the gold medal (16.00 hours).
The tournament provides Scotland coach Billy McPherson with an ideal selection opportunity in preparation for the European Nations Championships in Lignano (Italy) next month. McPherson has selected a total of 21 players and divided them into two teams, Caledonian Cougars and Highland Jaguars, to provide maximum court time to his international hopefuls.
McPherson explained: "We will start with the two squads named and will probably change them as we go through the tournament, hopefully ending with the squad which we will take to the Inverleith tournament in Edinburgh and then on to the Europeans."
The training squad contains several established outdoor internationalists, like the Glynhill Kelburne quartet of Gareth Hall, Alan Forsyth, Iain Scholefield and Willie Marshall, but there are indoor specialists Chris Wilson and Ross McPherson from Menzieshill. A sprinkling of youngsters are given their chance to attract McPherson`s eye, Greaves Clydesdale`s Fraser Hirst and Duncan Riddell of Grange.
Menzieshill will again be under the coaching tutelage of former internationalist Bruce Cuthill, but the side will be heavily denuded by Scotland duties. Inverleith are the final side are also in build-up mode, they make their debut in the European Club Champions Cup and welcome all the match practice on offer.
"It is good to be playing in a quality tournament at the halfway point in the league season, it is important that we continue to improve each week to allow us to be competing at the top end of the league and in Europe," said Stuart Neave, Inverleith`s coach.
Gordon Shepherd, the women`s national indoor coach, will also use the Menzieshill tournament in the build up for Europe where his charges face Switzerland, France and hosts Denmark.
The pool matches in Dundee contain an interesting variety of opposition, both the under 21 and senior squads from the United States, Wales, the Scottish junior side under the guise of Capercaillies, and top Scottish club outfits VWS Dundee Wanderers and hosts Grove.
Shepherd has initiated a change of selection policy for the national indoor squad. "2012 is to be used for the development of the national squad. We have started this process by deciding to use only outdoor squad players in the indoor training squad for the European Indoor in January," said Shepherd. "It is very important to strengthen the squad and have greater competition for places for 2013 and 2014."
The consequence is that the majority of his squad came from Grove Menzieshill and Milne Craig Western, with only Becky Ward originating from VWS Dundee Wanderers who currently occupy pole position in the Subway national league. Shepherd`s squad also contains CALA Edinburgh striker Amy Brodie and Nikki Kidd, formerly with Grove, but now playing for German Bundesliga side Mannheim.
The women`s event is also played out in a single pool with the final on Friday scheduled for 15.00 hours.
GROVE MENZIESHILL INVITATIONAL INDOOR TOURNAMENT AT DISC, DUNDEE - 28-30 DECEMBER 2011.
SPONSORED BY MONTROSE BASED INTERVENTION RENTALS SUPPORTING THE NORTH SEA OIL SECTOR IN THE LOCAL AREA
Scottish Hockey Union media release
HI-IHF tussle take centre-stage over performance in 2011
NEW DELHI: Another year passed but the sorry state of Indian hockey refused to change as the prolonged struggle for power between two warring federations once again took centre-stage over the performance of the national team in 2011.
Just like never-ending television soap operas, there seemed no immediate solution to the tussle between Hockey India and the de-recognised Indian Hockey Federation, who after calling a temporary peace, went back to fighting ways leaving the national game in utter shambles.
Thanks to the tug-of-war between HI and IHF, the team had hardly anything to showcase in terms of performance apart from a few successes here and there in the year gone by.
With time running out for the London Olympics qualifiers and the national team showing hardly any signs of improvement, the administrators of the game roped in a new coach, Michael Nobbs from Australia for a period of five years.
Soon after taking charge, Nobbs laid down a proper roadmap for next year's Olympic Qualifiers and it appeared that things slowly started to change for the betterment as the Australian tasted success in his maiden assignment -- the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) in Ordos, China.
Nobbs decided to go in with a relatively young side in the ACT and his decision proved good as India returned victorious from China.
They defeated Asian powerhouse South Korea 5-3 en route to the final, where they defeated arch-rivals Pakistan in a high-voltage match.
However, eight-time Olympic champions India lacked consistency throughout the year, finishing a lowly sixth in the seven-team Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in May.
Even though India managed to reap rich dividends in the ACT, they were exposed ruthlessly by the mighty Australians in the tour Down Under.
India, however, displayed some character by bouncing back in the Champions Challenge I tournament in South Africa, where they pumped in 29 goals.
But the tournament eventually ended in disappointment for as they lost to Belgium in the summit clash, which cost them their place in next year's Champions Trophy.
That was just about the Indian hockey team managed to give it to its fans in 2011 as controversies and power struggle ruled the headlines in what can be termed as a 'gloom' year for Indian hockey.
Things appeared to be going out of control from the onset of the year and the sports ministry was forced to intervene, giving both HI and IHF a strict deadline to kiss and make up or face action.
After endless meetings at the behest of the ministry, both the federations agreed to sign peace, which was only to be derailed by an opportunist International Hockey Federation (FIH), which dismissed the working agreement between HI and the IHF.
Stating that it was against the International Olympic Committee charter, the FIH rejected the formula and snatched away the hosting rights of this year's Champions Trophy from India and also threatened to move next year's Olympic Qualifiers from India.
Then came the lucrative World Series Hockey which promised to change the face of Indian hockey with huge money on offer for the poor domestic players, but that too hit a roadblock in the form of HI.
The eight-team franchise-based tournament, promoted jointly by IHF and Nimbus Sport, resulted in fresh confrontation between HI and IHF.
The tournament, to be conducted on the lines of IPL, was originally scheduled to be held across different cities of the country from December 17 to January 22, but the organisers were later forced to postpone the event as it clashed with the national camp for the Olympic qualifiers.
Since its launch, the WSH faced stiff opposition from HI and FIH with the world body warning all the players to stay away from the unsanctioned league or face sanctions from international competitions.
The FIH and HI's opposition forced India's top 12 players, including skipper Bharat Chettri, Tushar Khandekar, Yuvraj Walmiki, PR Sreejesh, Sandeep Singh and Sardar Singh to withdraw from the high-profile league.
But controversies and power struggle apart, the national team appears to be slowly finding its foot with many junior players coming up the ranks but the road to redemption is still far away for the erstwhile hockey giants.
All said and done, the Indian team has got a golden opportunity to erase the bitter memories of Beijing as they have been handed out an easy draw in the Olympic Qualifiers scheduled to be held here from February 18-26 next year.
While there is some confidence growing on that front, the signs of the two warring federations signing peace for the betterment of Indian hockey still looks a far-fetched dream.
The Times of India
IAF in quarters
Patiala: Indian Air Force, New Delhi, outgunned a fired-up but inexperienced Sangrur XI 2-0 to make the quarter-finals grade of the 36th Liberals All-India hockey tournament. The airmen attacked the Sangrur territory from the beginning and struck in 7th minute with lanky forward Harwant scoring with a full-blooded shot from the top of circle after being fed with an accurate pass from the left by left-out Harpreet.
The Sangrur goal had a narrow escape in the 15th minute when centre-forward Lovepreet essayed a flying shot towards the left corner of the net but goalkeeper Sandeep brought about a magnificent save, diving full length to his right. The Air Force goal also had a narrow escape in 30th minute when Ramandeep missed an easy chance hitting off the mark with only goalkeeper to beat.
The winners consolidated their lead in 39th minute through Lovepreet, who dodged past a bunch of defenders to beat goalie Sandeep with a smart push. Maintaining an upper hand, Air Force could have won with a bigger margin but poor finishing in the circle prevented any further damage to the Sangrur goal.
In another match, Sports Hostel, Lucknow were halted when seasoned Punjab Police outstroked them in the tie-breaker after the two teams were locked 1-1 in the regulation time.
Excelling in all departments of the game, Ropar Hawks inflicted a crushing 6-1 defeat on Army Ordnance Corps, Secunderabad, who had entered the tournament as a substitute for Northern Railway who failed to make it to the tournament.
Schedule: EME Jalandhar vs Air Force New Delhi (10 a.m.); Western Railway Mumbai vs Punjab Police Jalandhar (11:30 a.m.); Punjab & Sind Bank, Jalandhar, vs CRPF New Delhi 1p.m.); BSF Jalandhar vs Hawks Ropar (2:30 p.m.).
PHF plans to move court against former Olympians over allegations of trafficking
Our Sports Reporter
LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Congress has given go-ahead to its president Qasim Zia to file a defamation case against 13 former Olympians for levelling allegations of human-trafficking against the federation.
“We will welcome any kind of criticism from the Olympians and other senior players about the performance of the federation and the national team, but no one will be allowed to level human-trafficking allegations against the federation,” secretary Asif Bajwa, while addressing the Congress, said.
Later, Bajwa took the consent of the members by show of hands in favour of moving the court against the Olympians.
Over 13 former Olympians, including Shahnaz Sheikh, Islahuddin Siddiqi, Saleem Sherwani, Samiullah, Shahbaz Ahmed Senior, Saleem Nazim, Qamar Ibrahim, Qamar Zia, Saeed Khan, Mohammad Ayaz, Naveed Alam in a joint strong-worded letter to the prime minister had suggested to dissolve the current PHF after Pakistan team’s poor show at the Champions Trophy in Auckland, New Zealand.
The Olympians had alleged: “The present PHF is also involved in human smuggling as an inquiry was conducted by sports committees of Senate/NA and expressed concerns over the issue.”
“We will soon be starting legal proceedings against those Olympians without taking into consideration their status,” Bajwa said at a press conference along with PHF president Qasim Zia.
Dawn has published the letter of the Olympians.
Meanwhile, various Congress members hailed the performance of the PHF office-bearers.
While some demanded support from the PHF, others wanted permission for holding tournaments in their region.
One blunt Congress member, Rana Liaquat from Attock, hit hard at the PHF, alleging that the federation was just obliging their blue-eyed Olympians by giving them coaching stunts at the academies.
“The PHF is paying them salaries to oblige them though they are getting handsome salaries from their respective departments,” he said.
He suggested the PHF to give financial support to districts instead of giving funds to the academies.
Meanwhile, the PHF secretary said the federation had amended its constitution under which up to five-year ban could be imposed on the players who would take part in any tournament not recognised by the international body of the game.
“The amendment will equally be applicable at the domestic level and any activity which will be organised without getting prior permission from the PHF will be dealt in accordance with the amended clause of article 5.4,” the PHF secretary said.
“After these amendments, the PHF will be in a position to restrict the participation of players in non-sanctioned tournaments of the FIH and will also ensure that illegal hockey tournaments do not take place in Pakistan,” he asserted.
He said the Congress had also approved a budget of Rs480 million for the year 2012. He added the deficit of the budget was Rs220 million.
Meanwhile, PHF president Qasim Zia assured the Congress that he would generate necessary funds to meet the shortfall.
“I have taken my best efforts to make the PHF financially viable during the past three years by generating adequate funds to meet the ever-growing needs of the hockey federation,” he added.
The House also offered “fateha” for the departed soul of former PHF president Air Marshal Nur Khan and paid glowing tributes to his services.
The PHF president also announced that Nur Khan Trophy along with the cash prize of Rs100,000 would every year be awarded to the best player of the year.
Likewise, he added that a similar trophy would also be introduced after the name of former PHF secretary Brig (retd) Manzoor Hussain Atif which will be awarded to the best junior player along with cash prize of Rs50,000 every year.
The house also formed disciplinary, finance and competition committees for smooth functioning of the PHF.
Seventy-eight members of the Congress out of total 93 attended the meeting.