All the news for Sunday 28 December 2008
Ernst and Young land elusive MHL overall title in seventh attempt
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: Ernst and Young finally nailed an elusive Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) overall title in their seventh attempt.
But it was a close call for them as they blew a two-goal lead to allow Sapura to force a 2-2 draw and take the match into a penalty shootout. But their better pick of players for the shootout allowed them to scrap through for a 5-4 win.
Ernst and Young were playing in their sixth consecutive final. They were also the finalists in 2001. In the last two years, they were beaten in the final on a shootout. But they prevailed this time with the tournament’s top scorer, Baljit Singh, scoring the winner.
Sapura fought back with Jiwa Mohan starring for them with two late goals to salvage the match. They also held out in extra time. But it all ended when K. Keevan Raj saw his last flick saved by goalkeeper Khairul Nizam Ibrahim.
Before that Sapura had scored through Jiwa, Song Seung-tae, Mohamed Redza Maadun and S. Shanker.
For Ernst and Young, the players who converted their flicks were Mohamed Shukri Mutalib, Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Nor, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Kelvinder Singh.
In winning the overall title, Ernst and Young also became the seventh team to clinch the double after Kilat Club (Tenaga), Maybank, Yayasan Negri Sembilan, MPPJ, Bank Simpanan Nasional and Sapura. Ernst and Young were also the winners of the Asian Champion Clubs tournament last month.
But it could all have gone wrong for them yesterday as Sapura made a late surge.
Ernst and Young drew first blood in the 27th minute when Baljit made sure of his flick from a penalty corner set piece. That saw them gaining in confidence but they failed to increase their lead in the first half.
In the 41st minute, Ernst and Young scored their second goal with Mohamed Shahrun Nabil turning in a cross into the D by Chua Boon Huat.
Sapura fought back and Jiwa Mohan scored a field goal in the 56th minute to put pressure on the league champions. Before that, Sapura had muffed four penalty corner chances. But just as the match was heading for a Ernst and Young victory, Sapura earned a penalty corner in the 68th minute and Jiwa made no mistake with his attempt to send the match into extra time.
The Star of Malaysia
E&Y finally get it
By Ajitpal Singh
THEY lived on the edge at times, squandering a two-goal lead for the lottery of penalties but Ernst & Young were not to be denied again as they won their maiden Malaysian Hockey League (MHL)-TNB Cup at the KLHA Stadium in Pantai yesterday.
It was a case of seventh time lucky as E&Y finally nailed the title by winning 5-4 on penalty strokes.
The win also marked their first double in the competition after having won the league title earlier.
For E&Y coach Muhd Dharmaraj Abdullah, it was his seventh title of the year.
"I'm the happiest man today (yesterday). We lost the previous two finals on penalty shootouts and I feared the worst when it went to penalties again," said Muhd Dharmaraj.
"I did not prepare the players for penalty strokes this year as I wanted them to win in regulation time. In the 2006 and 2007 finals, I replaced my first choice goalkeeper for the shootout and we failed but this year I decided not to make a change."
Muhd Dharmaraj also led E&Y to the MHL and Asian Cup titles. He also helped Kuala Lumpur win the Razak Cup, Under-21, Under-18 and Under-16 titles.
E&Y could have won the title in regulation time as they led 2-0 with only 20 minutes to go.
Baljit Singh Sarjab opened accounts when he sent a low flick off a penalty corner set-piece past Sapura goalkeeper Nasihin Nubli in the 27th minute.
Shahrun Nabli widened the lead when he sounded the board in the 39th minute.
However, Sapura's relentless attacks finally paid dividends when Jiwa Mohan's reverse stick sailed past E&Y goalkeeper Kairulnizam Ibrahim in the 57th minute.
Three minutes from time, Sapura were awarded a penalty corner and Jiwa's low flick forced the match into extratime.
In the penalty shootout, K. Keevan Raj was the Sapura villain as his flick, the fifth, was saved by Kairulnizam.
Baljit Singh made no mistake though and the wait was finally over.
In the third placing match, Maybank stunned Tenaga Nasional 3-1.
League Champions: Ernst & Young (RM60,000); Runners-up: Sapura (RM40,000); Third: Tenaga Nasional (RM30,000);
Overall Champions: Ernst & Young (RM25,000); Runners-up: Sapura (RM10,000); Third: Maybank (RM5,000)
Best Player of Tournament: Tg Ahmad Tajudin Jalil (E&Y); Best Player of Final: Baljit Singh Sarjab (E&Y); Top Scorer: Baljit Singh Sarjab (13 goals);
Best Goalkeeper: Khairulnizam Ibrahim (E&Y); Fair Play: Bandar Penawar SS.
New Straits Times
Beng Hai appointed interim caretaker coach of national team
KUALA LUMPUR: Tai Beng Hai, who was removed as the national junior coach in 2007, has been appointed the interim caretaker coach of the national team. He replaces Sarjit Singh, whose contract expires on Dec 31.
Beng Hai will be assisted by Tenaga Nasional’s Nor Saiful Zaini and Lailin Abu Hassan. The decision was taken by the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) at a team management meeting yesterday.
The MHF deputy president, Nur Azmi Ahmad, said yesterday that they were still scouting for a foreign coach and they hope to announce the candidate next month.
Manager: George Koshy.
Coaches: Tai Beng Hai, Nor Saiful Zaini, Lailin Abu Hassan.
Manager: Johari Abdul Aziz.
Coordinator: Paul Lissek.
Chief coach: K. Rajan.
Assistants: B. Rajendren, Lailin Abu Hassan, Saiful Azli.
Manager: Mirnawan Nawawi.
Coach: K. Dharmaraj.
Assistants: M. Gopinathan, Nor Azlan Bakar, Dr Saju Joseph (goalkeepers).
The Star of Malaysia
National team: Caretakers in charge
IT named caretaker assistant coaches when an announcement of the next national coach was expected but the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) was confident it would be able to do so soon.
Tai Beng Hai, Nur Saiful Zaini and Lailin Abu Hassan were named caretaker assistant coaches yesterday with MHF stating that the national coach, a foreigner, will be in charge by mid-January.
Until then, Beng Hai, a former national junior coach, will call the shots as he is the chief caretaker assistant coach.
Deputy president Nur Azmi Ahmad said MHF is negotiating with three possible candidates.
"One candidate is from Asia, one from Europe and the other from Australia. We are optimistic that a foreign coach will take charge of the team somewhere in January," said Nur Azmi at the KLHA Stadium in Pantai yesterday.
The caretaker assistant coaches were appointed by the coaching committee yesterday.
"Beng Hai and co will call up about 30 players for training next month. We need caretaker staff to handle the team in the meantime as the players need to prepare for the Azlan Shah Cup (April 3-12)l."
"Although, the foreign coach will not have enough time to prepare the team, the Azlan Shah Cup will not be the prime priority."
"The main priority is the Asia Cup in Dubai (May 8-15), as it offers one automatic 2010 World Cup spot."
Meanwhile, MHF competitions committee head Datuk Rahim Mohamed Arif, said the joint league, incorporating senior and junior clubs, will likely be introduced in 2010.
"There's also a possibility it could be implemented next year depending on response."
If accepted, the Division One, Two and Three leagues will be played first. Division One will consist teams which played in Division Two this year. The MHL Premier, consisting of six teams, will follow on Oct 2-Nov 29.
New Straits Times
Single league system for next year
KUALA LUMPUR: It will be a single league system for hockey next year.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) competitions committee have agreed in principle to merge the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL).
The new-look MHL will begin in stages from February, starting with Division Two and Three, which will be for the Under-19 age-group.
Teams who want to take part in the MHL will be asked to submit their entries next month to enable the divisions to be finalised.
The competitions committee chairman, Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohamed Ariff, said that they would call for a meeting with all teams and seek their feedback before taking the matter to the council for endorsement.
“We had a fruitful discussion on a merger and all the states are for it. Some concerns were raised and we hope to sort them out over the next few weeks.
“There will be some fine tuning and this will be based on what we learn from the teams concerned,” he said.
Rahim added that the league would initially have four divisions.
The elite clubs will play in a five-team Premier League. The other three divisions will have a maximum of 10 teams each.
“We plan to restrict the age-group for Division Two and Three to Under-19 and there will be promotion and demotion of teams at all levels,” he said.
“We hope to settle the rules on promotion and demotion and also the age-group for each division.”
The plan is to start off with the Division Three in February and then the other division after every two months.
The competitions committee have also agreed to retain the Under-14, Under-16 and the Champions Schools tournaments.
They have discarded the plan to allow the national schools sports council (MSSM) to take over these tournaments.
The national Under-16 tournament will be held in Malacca from March 14-22 while Johor Baru will host the Under-14 meet from June 6-14.
The Under-21 tournament next year has been replaced with the Under-23 meet to be held in July in either Sabah or Negri Sembilan.
The Razak Cup and the Champions Schools meets have been scheduled for August.
The Star of Malaysia
Diwakar to lead India colts in Australian Youth Olympic
NEW DELHI: Promising drag-flicker Diwakar Ram will lead a 16-member strong India under-21 hockey squad to the four-nation Australian Youth Olympic Festival to be held at Olympic Stadium, Sydney from January 14-18.
All the 16 members picked on Saturday following trials in Bhopal were in the 21-member squad that toured Argentina for a Test series earlier this month.
The remaining five who were in Argentina were kept as stand byes for the Sydney tournament.
Apart from India and hosts Australia, the tournament will feature Malaysia and Great Britain.
The U-21 men's hockey team, under coach AK Bansal, is on a high in the international circuit this year. Apart from retaining the Junior Asia Cup title in Hyderabad, the colts also defeated World Champions Argentina 1-0 in the four-match Test series.
These tournaments are seen a exposure trips for the team before the Junior World Cup at Singapore and Malaysia in June next year.
The team will leave from Delhi on January 9 for Sydney.
Goalkeepers: Mrinal Chaubey, C Santosh Kumar. Full Backs: Diwakar Ram (captain), Innocent Kullu, Manjeet Kullu.
Mid-fielders: Birender Lakra, Vivek, Vikas Sharma, Belsajar Horo, Amardeep Ekka.
Forwards: Pramod Kumar, Mandip Antil, Jay Karan, Danish Mujtaba, Dharamvir Singh, Mohd Amir Khan
Standbyes: Hari Kripal Yadav, Jagwant Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Karamjit Singh, Mohd Asif Khan
Officials: AK Bansal (Chief Coach), Clarence Lobo (Coach), Rajeev Mehta (Manager), RC Trivedi (Physiotherapist).
The Times of India
Diwakar Ram to lead India for the Sydney mela
The Ad-hoc Committee running the hockey affairs have announced a 16-member team for the 'Australian Youth Olympic Festival' wherein a 4-Nation Tournament will be held at Sydney from 14-18 January 2009 According to a press release of the Adhoc Commitee, India's participation in this tournament is in keeping with their plans for maximum competition and exposure for the team in preparation for the Junior World Cup coming up at Singapore/ Malaysia in June 2009.
The team will depart for Sydney on 09 January 2009. The other teams in the tournament are Australia, Great Britain and Malaysia. All matches will be played at the Olympic Stadium, Sydney, Australia.
C. Santosh Kumar
Diwakar Ram (Capt)
Mohd. Amir Khan
Hari Kripal Yadav
Rupinder Pal Singh
Mohd. Asif Khan
Rajeev Mehta (Co-Convenor Ad Hoc Committee) - Manager
A.K. Bansal - Chief Coach
Clarence Lobo - Coach
R.C. Trivedi - Physiotherapist
Diwakar to lead U-21 team
New Delhi, December 27 - Ace drag flicker Diwakar Ram was today retained captain of the 16-member Indian U-21 hockey team which will take part in the 'Australian Youth Olympic Festival' four-nation tournament to be held at Sydney from January 14 to 18.
Diwakar had led the junior side to just concluded four-match test series against World champion Argentina.
India won that series 1-0 besides beating Holland 3-2 in a one off test.
Other teams taking part in the tournament are Australia, Britain and Malaysia.
All matches will be played at the Olympic Stadium, Sydney.
The Team: Goalkeepers: Mrinal Chaubey, C Santosh Kumar.
Full Backs: Diwakar Ram (Capt), Innocent Kullu, Manjeet Kullu Midfielders: Birender Lakra, Vivek, Vikas Sharma, Belsajar Horo, Amardeep Ekka.
Forwards: Pramod Kumar, Mandip Antil, Jay Karan, Danish Mujtaba, Mohd Amir Khan and Dharamvir Singh Standbyes: Hari Kripal Yadav, Jagwant Singh, Rupinder Pal Singh, Karamjit Singh, Mohd Asif Khan.
According to the Convenor Ad Hoc Committee Mohd Aslam Khan, the team's participation in this tournament is to provide it the maximum competition and exposure for the team before the Junior World Cup at Singapore and Malaysia in June next year. The team will depart for Sydney on January 9.
Pakistan hockey board awaits government nod for India event
KARACHI: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Saturday denied it has pulled out its team from a double-header in India, saying that it is still awaiting a word on the tour from the authorities.
PHF secretary Asif Bajwa said that the federation is awaiting a reply from the Foreign Ministry on a request for a No Objection Certificate for the India tour.
Earlier this month, Pakistan had confirmed its participation in the double-leg hockey tournament to be played in Chandigarh and Jalandhar next February.
But after India's decision to cancel its cricket team's visit to Pakistan over last month's terror attack in Mumbai, it became apparent that in a retaliatory move Pakistan will not send its hockey players to India.
Suresh Kalmadi, the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president, Friday 'confirmed' that Pakistan has pulled out of the double-header that will be featuring world and Olympic champions Germany, Holland and host India.
"Pakistan is not playing. We are in process of inviting another foreign team," Kalmadi, who is also heading India's ad-hoc hockey committee appointed by the IOA, was quoted as saying.
However, Bajwa said that the PHF has not sent any such message to India. "We have received no intimation from the authorities over the tour of India," said the Olympian.
But well-placed sources said that it is highly unlikely that the government will clear the hockey team's tour of India in the current circumstances.
Meanwhile, Pakistan's squash officials have also lost all hopes of entering their team in the Asian Junior Squash Championships to be played in Chennai next month. Pakistan was supposed to defend both the team individual titles in the championships but the chances of the squash team getting a clearance to go to Chennai are almost zero.
The Times of India
Gold Cup Hockey quarters today
By our correspondent
LAHORE: The quarter-finals of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Gold Cup Hockey Tournament will be played today (Sunday), here at the National Hockey Stadium. The first quarter-final will be played between Port Qasim and Habib Bank at 0830am. The second quarter-final will be played between Army and WAPDA at 1000am. The third quarter-final will be played between PIA and Pakistan Steel Mills at 1130am. The fourth quarter-final will be played between National Bank and Navy at 0200pm.
The News International
EME, BSF in summit clash
Patiala, December 27 - Punjab Police in their endeavour to take a shot at the title for a record eleventh time, took too many risks, left far too many gaping holes in their defence and fell to the ground with a thud, losing to EME, Jalandhar 0-1 in a semifinal match of the 33rd All-India Liberals hockey tournament.
In the other last four match, holders BSF out stroked CISF 12-11, in an epic sudden death, which threatened to go on till eternity under a fast fading sun.
EME downed Punjab cops in what may be termed as the biggest upset of the tournament so far. However, this one goal victory margin does not exactly mirror the domination of the game EME had as they earned nine penalty corners as compared to the two their rivals managed and they also enjoyed more territorial supremacy than the cops.
Pre-match favourites Punjab Police played a totally disjointed game and repeatedly jeopardised their defence by virtually keeping it man-less for long periods of time.
EME forced as many four penalty corners in the first 20 minutes of the match and this in itself proves how much the rival defence lacked coherence. Midway into the first half the army men came close to scoring when M. Horo relayed the ball to an unmarked Amit Tirkey. However, once he was in sight of the goal, Tirkey fumbled and the ball was kicked out of harms way by an onrushing custodian Manpreet Singh.
The cop’s citadel fell when centre half Rajbir Singh took advantage of a defensive gaffe and sounded the board with a withering carpet drive. After this goal, the cops’ play turned a bit jagged and their rough tackling too came under the scrutiny of the umpires.
The contest between CISF and BSF was played on an even keel and with both teams locked 1-1 at the end of regulation time the tie breaker was brought into play to break the deadlock. However, things were settled only in the long drawn out sudden death with BSF charting out a 12-11 win.
Jharkhand has a field day
HYDERABAD: Jharkhand boys recorded two easy wins in the league phase defeating Rajasthan 4-0 and later drubbing Bihar 8-0 in the 54th National School Games hockey championship being held in Kanuparthipadu (Nellore) on Saturday, according to information received here.
The Jharkhand girls, meanwhile, thrashed Tamil Nadu 14-0.
The results: Boys: Jharkhand bt Rajasthan 4-0; IPSE bt TN 1-0; Uttaranchal drew with UP 0-0; UP bt MP 3-2; HP bt Chhattisgarh 1-0; Delhi bt Kerala 5-1; Manipur bt Maharashtra 3-0; Haryana bt J & K 7-2; Jharkhand bt Bihar 8-0; Karnataka bt TN 3-0; Assam bt Uttarakhand 3-0; UP bt AP 3-2; Chhattisgarh bt Rajasthan 3-2; IPSE bt Kerala 4-1; J & K bt MP 3-1.
Girls: Delhi bt IPSC 9-0; Jharkhand bt TN 14-0; Orissa bt Uttarakhand 7-0; Chhattisgarh bt Kerala 8-0; Chandigarh bt J & K 11-0; Punjab bt Maharashtra 3-1; Rajasthan bt HP 4-0; Orissa bt MP 1-0; Haryana bt AP 3-0; Karnataka bt IPSC 11-1; Manipur bt TN 3-2.