All the news for Monday 29 December 2008
PIA, NBP, Army enter semis
From our correspondent
LAHORE: PIA, NBP and Army reached the semifinals of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, at the National Hockey Stadium here on Sunday.
Due to the heavy fog, the fourth quarter-final between Habib Bank and Port Qasim will be played today (Monday) at 12pm. Both semifinals will be played on Tuesday and the final on Wednesday.
Centre-forward Inayatullah of PIA scored the first hat-trick of the tournament. PIA beat Pakistan Steel Mills by 4-1. At half time the score was 3-0.
Inayatullah scored three goals in the 18th, 26th and 46th minutes, while Shafqat Rasool scored one goal in the 12th minute. The only goal from Pakistan Steel Mills was scored by captain Sarfraz Ahmad in the 44th minute.
NBP beat Navy by 5-2. At the end of the first half the score was 4-1. Tariq Aziz, Akhtar Ali, Haseem Khan, Adnan Maqsood and Muhammad Attique scored one goal each in the 5th, 10th, 24th (pc), 33rd and 67th (pc) minutes, respectively.
Abdul Manan and Rao Nadeem scored one goal each for Navy in the 14th and 64th minutes, respectively.
Army beat WAPDA by 4-1. At the end of the first half the score was 1-0 in favour of Army.
Akhtar Gul, Muhammad Arshad, Kashif and Muhammad Afzal scored one goal each in the 25th, 54th (pc), 57th and 70 minutes respectively. The only goal scored for WAPDA was by captain Waqas Sharif in the 60th minute.
The News International
PIA, NBP and Army in semi-finals
LAHORE: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Pakistan Army reached the semi-finals of the Gold Cup Hockey Tournament at the National Stadium here on Sunday. To complete the last four stage, the fourth quarter-final will be played between Habib Bank Limited and Port Qasim on Monday (today) at 12:00 pm. The semi-finals will be played on December 30 and 31.
Center forward Innayat Ullah of PIA, who scored the first hat trick of the tournament, helped PIA beat Pakistan Steel Mills 4-1. At half time the score was 3-0. Innayat netted three goals in 18th, 26th and 46th minutes while Shafqat Rasool slammed his goal in 12th minute. Captain Sarfraz Ahmad scored the only goal from Pakistan Steel in 44th minute.
NBP defeated Navy 5-2 in the second quarter-final of the day. At the end of the first half the score was 4-1. Tariq Aziz, Akhtar Ali, Haseem Khan, Adnan Maqsood and Muhammad Attique scored one goal each in 5th, 10th, 24th, 33rd and 67th minutes respectively. Abdul Manan and Rao Nadeem scored one goal each for Navy in 14th and 64th minutes respectively.
In the third quarter-final, Army downed WAPDA 4-1. Army were leading 1-0 at lemon break. Akhtar Gul, Muhammad Arshad, Kashif and Muhammad Afzal scored one goal each in 25th, 54th, 57th and 70th minutes respectively. Waqas Sharif scored the only goal for WAPDA in 60th minute.
The Daily Times
PHF changes schedule of trials
LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has changed the schedule of hockey trials for the PHF academies in Punjab due to heavy fog. According to a spokesman for the PHF, now the Bahawalpur trials will be held in Lahore on January 1. The coaches are Qasim Khan (Police), Rana Muhammad Zaheer (Lahore) and Mujahid Afzal (ABL). The Lahore trials will be held in Faisalabad on January 2. The coaches are Shahzad Chishty (Faisalabad), Rana Khalid Iqbal (Faisalabad) and Almas Siddiqui (Faisalabad). The Faisalabad trials will be held in Gojra on January 3. The coaches are Mohammad Aslam Roda (Gojra), Khawar Javed (NBP) and Muhammad Arshad (Police). The trials in Sialkot will be held on January 5. The coaches are Ajmal Khan (UBL), Tariq Sheikh (NBP) and Sabir Ali (Sialkot). The dates of trials in Bahawalpur will be announced later. The selection committee of Bahawalpur is Hidayat Ullah (PIA), Muhammad Arshad (WAPDA) and Mohammad Taimur (Bahawalpur).
The Daily Times
Recall of stars a beginning of a new thinking?
Whenever regime change occurs in the Indian Hockey Federation, the national team goes in for overhaul with the resultant recall of stars. The process of recall after each regime change has become so routine that it could well be termed a ritual or even a PR exercise. Mostly, the recalls, necessary or unnecessary, hardly sent right message to the public at large.
Firstly, the flurry of recalls sounds as if the ills of the by-gone regime were due to faulty team selection, which need not be the sole truth. Teams may have lost a crucial tournament because of mishandling by a coach or the alike. IHF regime changes are necessited because of maladministration, not because of selection hassles.
Secondly, most IHF regimes were thrown out due to insensitivity and failure or miscalculation from the part of incompetent coach. In this context, recalls diverted the real issues such as competent coaching and lack of vision in administration.
The situation now in the Indian hockey is different. Here, the regime changed not now but nine months ago. So the recent recall of stars, from Deepak Thakur to Hariprasad cannot be termed as an PR Exercise, even if there is attempt existed to that effect that won’t carry weight.
Only one recall that was often mentioned in the wake of Chile Olympic Qualifier was of Sandeep Singh. That issue was settled by the wrecker in chief KPS Gill himself. Sandeep was taken in for the Sonepat camp at the insistence of Junior Coach AK Bansal even before the IOA disgraced him by dissolving the IHF. Gill has thus denied the obvious joy for the new regime.
Therefore, now we, in a cool atmosphere, with no tags attached, can have a look at the team that was announced by Harender Singh whom the Ad-hoc Committee officially terms Coach-in-Charge.
Harender was often on record that he would accord top priority to fitness and form, keeping targets in 2010 in mind. Good.
Viewed from this perspective, the recall of Deepak Thakur, Arjun Halappa, Vikram Pillay and Hari Prasad merit serious assessment.
Deepak was dropped exactly 33 months ago. Arjun Halappa and Hari Prasad 24 months ago whereas in the case of medio Vikram Pillay it was 27 months ago. VS Vinaya also comes in the list of long hiatus from international duty, but made his comeback after Chile Olympic Qualifier – in the double leg Australia 4-Nation.
It is heartening Arjun Halappa’s worth was recognized. Arjun is an asset in the team, not for his artistic skills, but also for holding and pepping up the game. He is also tireless, brainy and prime mover. Deepak’s focus has been questioned by Rajinder Singh Jr, coach in the large part of 2005. He needs to prove his worth on the big stage. The big gap he had since the Commonwealth Games will weigh on his ambition. He must have regained some of the form, lest he would not haven been in.
That four of the five comebacks (including Vinaya) are from the domestic outfit that coach Harendera is from, the onus lies on the shoulders of the foursome to prove their choice is demanding on form. There is no doubt they will prove so. In all, there is a theory floating amidst a group of players that the 2001 Junior World Cup Goldies are purposefully targeted. All these players, barring Vinaya, are from the famed Hobart Heroes Hall of Fame. Their selection now should now assuage them. Now that they have got a chance, they need to prove themselves yet again, having played so many tournaments in the past won’t cut much ice.
We, who sit the seat of judgment, need to wait, wait our chances to witness them in true arenas before accepting or negating the choices made. So, s2h keeps its eyes and ears open, wishing all the selected a happy outing.
If you leave out the five, most others in the team are on expected line, luckily no vendetta seemed to have been played. Continuance of Bharact Chikara, Baljit Singh, V Raghunath, Sardar Singh, Rajpal Singh, Prabhjot Singh – all obvious choice of Joaquim Carvalho – accentuates the policy of continuance.
One’s heart bleeds for William Xalxo and Ignace Tirkey in particular and their stand by status need a closer look. You either need them or not. There seem to be a dilemma. They are within the system and let us wait for the final word on the talented duo.
Brief profiles of GenNext 22
Adrian D'Souza: goalkeeper, Caps 89, Last International played: 2008 Azlan Shah Cup
Arjun Halappa: Forward Caps 162, Goals 27, Last International played: 2006 Asian Games
Baljit Singh, goalkeeper, Caps 28, Last International played: 2008 Australia 4-Nations
Bharat Chikara, forward, Caps 20, Goals: 1, Last International played: 2008 Olympic Qualifier
Deepak Thakur, forward, Caps To be, Goals 69, Last International played: 2006 Commonwealth Games
Dilip Tirkey, defender, Caps 357, Last International played: 2008 Olympic Qualifier
Gurbaj Singh, midfielder, Caps 31, Goals: 1, Last International played: 2008 Azlan Shah Cup
Hari Prasad, forward, Caps: 59, Goals: 6 Last International played: 2006 Asian Games
Prabodh Tirkey, midfielder, Caps 101, Goals: 1, Last International played: 2008 Olympic Qualifier
Prabhjot Singh, forward, Goals: 62, Last International played: 2008 Australia 4-Nations
Rajpal Singh, forward, Caps 66, Goals: 28, Last International played: 2008 Australia 4-Nations
Ravi Pal Singh, forward, Caps 7, Goals: 0, Last International played: 2008 Australia 4-Nations
V. Raghunath, defender, Caps 50, Goals: 40, Last International played: 2008 Azlan Shah Cup
Sandeep Singh, defender, Caps 77, Goals: 42, Last International played: 2008 Azlan Shah Cup
Shivender Singh, forward, Caps 64, Goals: 32, Last International played: 2008 Azlan Shah Cup
Sardar Singh Caps 57, Goals: 3, Last International played: 2008 Azlan Shah Cup
Sarwanjit Singh, forward, Caps 9, Goals: 0, Last International played: 2008 Azlan Shah Cup
SV Sunil, forward, Caps 20, Goals: 6, Last International played: 2008 Azlan Shah Cup
Tushar Khandkar, forward, Caps 137, Goals: 32, Last International played: 2008 Australia 4-Nations
Vikas Pillay: Punjab Gold Cup (yet to come)
Vikram Pillay: Caps 128 Goals 5, Last International played: 2006 World Cup
VS Vinaya Caps 82, Goals: 2, Last International played: 2008 Australia 4-Nations
New Year Bang for Juniors
By Jugjet Singh
THE NEW year will start with a bang for the National Juniors, as they will be involved in a Four-Nation tussle in the Australian Youth Olympics Festival Jan 14-18 in Sydney.
And they are expected to be tested to the limit because Junior World Cup runners-up Australia, India and Great Britain will also be using it to test their youth for the Junior World Cup, which Malaysia and Singapore will co-host on June 7-21, and will involve 20 teams playing in two groups.
The juniors, who took part in the Malaysia Hockey League, were far from impressive, and there is still much work to be done before one can call them an outfit.
Realising this, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have planned for a series of team-building sessions, and military training is also on the cards.
“The juniors will be involved in team-building sessions because right now, we (MHF) notice that they are still a loose outfit. Hopefully, once they undergo motivation sessions and military-style training, their understanding will be much better,” said MHF secretary Hashim Yusoff.
Fitness is still a problem, and chief coach K. Rajan will be helped by personal from the National Sports Institute (NSI) in this area.
“Rajan will receive help from NSI fitness trainers to get the boys in shape, and we also plan to hold a four-nation in March, at the tournament venue as a final test for both the teams and logistics as well as the artificial pitch in Johor,” said Hashim.
Hashim also said a joint meeting with Singapore will be held on Jan 10, where a clearer picture will emerge on what has been done, and what needs to be done to avoid hiccups in the tournament.
“The management committee has endorsed Tan Sri Anwar Mohd Nor (former MHF president) as the tournament chair man, and after January 10, we will finalise more details.:
The teams which have qualified for the World Cup are defending champions Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Egypt, Malaysia, Singapore, India, South Korea, Pakistan, Japan, Spain, Netherlands, Germany, Belgium, England, Poland, Russia, Chile, US and New Zealand.
And the juniors will be involved in a few friendlies with a South Korean University side, after which they will head to Europe to play Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
New name for new year
By S. RAMAGURU
KUALA LUMPUR: Ernst and Young’s double victory in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) could not have come at a better time for them. They are set to become history in the MHL.
Team manager George Koshy said that he was in the process of forming a new club to effectively replace Ernst and Young.
“There will be a new name but the players from Ernst and Young will move to the new club,” he said yesterday.
“One of the reasons for this is the offer to me to be the national team manager. If I accept it, there will be a conflict of interest. And in line with the thinking of the MHF leadership, it may be a good time to set up a professional hockey club in Malaysia.”
Ernst and Young started out in the MHL as Arthur Andersen in 2000 before changing their banner the following year. They have featured in seven finals for the overall title but only managed to land the title last Saturday. They were the league champions for the last three years.
Koshy added that they were working on the set-up for the new club and have yet to decide whether they would be an off-shoot of the KLHA or remain a separate entity.
“Details will be worked out soon. We are for the forming of professional clubs in Malaysia. But if you look at the current set-up, the players are professionals but the clubs are employer-based,” he said.
“I’m happy to note that the MHF have agreed to a single league next year. It is the right way to go to develop hockey.”
Last Saturday, Ernst and Young beat Sapura 5-4 on penalties in the final after extra time failed to resolve a 2-2 deadlock. It is the third consecutive year that the final was decided in a shootout.
The National Juniors were given a place in Division One this year but as in previous seasons, the competitions were dominated by Ernst and Young, Sapura, Maybank and Tenaga Nasional. If the other teams do not put in greater effort to improve their side, it will be the same four-horse race.
Even promoted Nur Insafi, with nine foreigners, lacked the experience to play in Division One and registered just one win in 12 matches.
It now remains to be seen how a new single league format will help improve the standard of Malaysian hockey with better quality matches to appeal to the fans.
It was good to note that the final between Ernst and Young and Sapura was given live TV coverage. Hopefully, this will become a regular feature to generate greater interest in the game outside the Klang Valley.
The Star of Malaysia
Beng Hai game for new challenge
KUALA LUMPUR: Former international Tai Beng Hai is ready to accept the challenge of being the interim coach of the national hockey team.
Beng Hai is under the employment of the National Sports Council (NSC) and his secondment to the national women’s hockey team since last January expires on Wednesday.
The former National Juniors coach said that he was told by the NSC last week to be on stand-by to move back to the men’s team.
“I have not been told of my duties. I only learnt of the appointment through the newspapers’” said Beng Hai yesterday.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) are still looking for a foreign coach to take over from Sarjit Singh, whose contract with the NSC has not been renewed.
Last Saturday, the MHF named three coaches to oversee the preparation of the national team until the job of chief coach is filled. The other two coaches selected were Tenaga Nasional’s Nor Saiful Zaini and Lailin Abu Hassan.
Beng Hai was initially given the task to train the National Juniors in 2006. But a string of poor results saw him being removed in October 2007 by the MHF.
“I have no problem coming back to the men’s team. I need to find out if it is just a temporary move. I will also have to talk to the NSC about my contract,” he said.
The national team will resume training next week and their first assignment is the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament in April followed by the Asia Cup in May.
The Star of Malaysia
Local coaches finally get a break
By AJITPAL SINGH
THE success of local coaches in guiding their respective states and clubs has finally been recognised.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) coaching and management committee yesterday decided to hire several former internationals as chief and assistant coaches of the national senior and junior squads.
MHF hopes that the new local coaches will lay a solid groundwork in ensuring hockey makes an impact in the near future.
Tai Beng Hai, a former national junior coach, was appointed as the chief caretaker assistant coach of the senior team.
Nor Saiful Zaini and Tenaga Nasional coach Lailin Abu Hassan are the other assistant coaches.
Beng Hai will be in charge of the national squad's preparation until a foreign coach is hired to helm the team.
MHF is expected to name the new national team chief coach in mid-January.
K. Rajan, one of the more successful coaches in the local scene with his impressive record in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and national junior league, has been retained as the national junior coach and he will be assisted by Bob Rajendran and Azlan Bakar.
The experience will come in handy for Rajan, who is trying to mould a formidable side for the Junior World Cup on June 7-21.
Johor Baru and Singapore are co-hosting the junior world meet.
He will also get German help in Paul Lissek, who is the team coordinator.
Former Asian All-Star player Mirnawan Nawawi has been appointed the national Under-16 team manager while Muhd Dharmaraj Abdullah the chief coach.
Dharmaraj has been outstanding throughout his coaching career.
This year alone he guided Ernst & Young to the MHL, TNB Cup and Asian Club Championships titles.
He also helped Kuala Lumpur with the Razak Cup, Under-21, Under-18 and Under-16 titles.
Dharmaraj will be assisted by former internationals M. Gopinathan and Azlan Bakar.
New Straits Times
MHL out of fresh talent
By Ajitpal Singh
THE Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) has lost the plot in terms development and fan support.
Only six teams played in Division One, and nine in Division Two. And out of the six elite clubs, only four teams had quality players.
It was no surprise that with 13 national players, Ernst & Young claimed the League and TNB Cup titles.
Sapura, Maybank and Tenaga Nasional stamped their mark with squads made up of mostly former internationals.
Sapura, who played bridesmaid in both the MHL and TNB Cup, were the surprise package as they only had one national player in Jivan Mohan, while the rest were either former Olympians or World Cup players.
Sapura's success in the tournament was largely attributed to South Koreans Song Seung Tae and Kim Jung Chul.
Besides scoring crucial goals, the Korean duo also assisted Sapura's coach K. Enbaraj in coaching the team.
Former national coach Stephen Van Huizen also had a hand in the team's preparations for the tournament.
Tenaga Nasional, who relied on its four national players, finished third in the league and fourth in the TNB Cup.
Maybank were outclassed by the three teams and finished fourth in the league.
However, the bankers, who had six national junior players in the team, turned the tables on Tenaga to take third in the TNB Cup.
Nur Insafi, the only Division One club from outside the Klang Valley, initially wanted to remain in Division Two but changed their minds after hiring eight foreign players from India and Bangladesh.
However, despite the foreign help, the Penang outfit could not match the other teams and finished fifth in the league.
National Juniors, as expected, finished last in Division One but its coach K. Rajan was happy with his charger's performance.
They were competing in the league for exposure in preparation for the Junior World Cup, to be co-hosted by Johor Baru and Singapore, on June 7-21.
Jurutera, Letrik dan Jentera (JLJ) and Royal Malay Regiment (RMR) finished first and second in Division Two and their achievement is prove that army teams are staging a comeback in the league. RMR were a major force in the late 1980s.
Overall, the MHL failed in churning out new talent and this does not augur well for development.
Fans stayed away from the venues, except for Saturday's final where more than 2,000 people showed up to watch the E&Y and Sapura match.
Discipline among players also took a knock, as there were constant arguing and harassing of umpires.
MHF must come down hard on these players before it becomes endemic.
In the hope of reviving Malaysian leagues, MHF competitions committee agreed in principle to merge the MHL and the Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL).
The senior clubs are receptive to the idea but the junior teams are not too keen.
In general, it may not be worthwhile as the junior players, who might be good enough to represent senior clubs, will not be able to hone their skills at the top level.
The new-look MHL will begin on Feb 6-May 31, starting with Division Two and Three, which will be for Under-19 clubs.
The Premier league, consisting five elite clubs, and Division One, in this year's Division Two clubs, is on Oct 2-Nov 29.
MHF vice-president Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohamed Ariff noted that the new league format will only be introduced if clubs approved.
New Straits Times
BSF win Liberals hockey
Nabha, December 28 - Defending champs BSF dream to lay their hands on the coveted title for the seventh time blossomed like a rose on a warm December afternoon at the Government Ripudaman college grounds here today as the curtain came down on the 33rd All India Liberals hockey tournament here today.
Today’s final, played in front of a packed house under an azure sky, was a repeat of last year’s summit clash and BSF did an encore by out stroking last year’s runners up EME 5-4.
However, in the midst of some enthralling and absorbing hockey displayed by both teams, a discordant note was struck when the chief guest PWD Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa arrived at the venue nearly two hours behind the scheduled time.
This late arrival forced harried organisers to postpone the final of one of the most prestigious and oldest tournaments of north India by more than 90 minutes.
From the first half itself the dice rolled favourably for BSF as they forced a series of penalty corners in the first quarter of the match.
Much against the run of play EME forged ahead in the 16th minute when Bijay Dhingra sent in a stinging reverse shot, the speed of which completely blinded the BSF custodian.
Things heated up in the second half and after the BSF coach made a couple of substitutions, midfielders started feeding the frontline with some precise passes.
The equaliser came when defender Gurmeet Singh scored off a penalty corner, shot being as clean as a whistle although the goal was protested by the EME players.
The tie breaker had to be resorted to to break the 1-1 deadlock and finally BSF triumphed 5-4.
Postal in final
CHENNAI: Tamil Nadu Postal entered the final of the CHA first division league with a 13-12 verdict over Indira Gandhi Memorial via tie-breaker and sudden death at the Mayor Radhakrishnan stadium on Saturday.
The teams were locked 2-2 at the end of regulation time. Rajan and Jawahar had scored for Postal and Dinakaran and Thirugnanavalavan for Indira Gandhi Memorial.
In the tie-breaker, Jawahar, Premkumar, O.M. Balachandran and Kamalakannan converted for Postal to be matched by Kumar, Carmelraj, Dinakaran and Thirugnanavalavan.
In the sudden death, Kamalakannan (2), Jawahar (2), O.M. Balachandran, Prem Kumar and Rajan scored for Postal, while Thirugnanavalavan (2), Dinakaran, Kumar, Carmelraj and Bharath converted for the loser.
Andhra girls win twice
HYDERABAD: Andhra Pradesh girls recorded two wins in the league phase of the 54th National School Games hockey championship for boys and girls being held in Kanuparthipadu (Nellore) on Sunday, according to information received here.
Andhra girls first blanked IPSC 20-0 and later scored a 3-0 win over Karnataka.
Boys: Orissa bt IPSE 6-0; UP bt J & K 3-0; Jharkhand bt Chhattisgarh 4-0; Orissa bt Kerala 4-1; Assam drew with Manipur 3-3; AP bt MP 10-0; HP bt Bihar 4-0; Delhi bt Karnataka 6-1; Maharashtra bt Uttaranchal 6-0; AP bt J & K 13-2; Jharkhand bt HP 3-0; Delhi bt Tamil Nadu 8-1; Haryana bt MP 26-0.
Girls: AP bt IPSC 20-0; Jharkhand bt J & K 21-0; Maharashtra drew with Uttarakhand 1-1; Chhattisgarh bt Rajasthan 2-0; Haryana bt UP 2-1; Chandigarh bt TN 7-0; Orissa bt Punjab 3-0; HP bt Kerala 2-1; Delhi bt Karnataka 4-2; Manipur bt J & K 11-0; MP bt Maharashtra 8-0; Bihar bt Rajasthan 2-0; UP bt IPSC 7-0; AP bt Karnataka 3-0; Jharkhand bt Manipur 6-0; Delhi bt UP 3-1; Punjab bt Uttarakhand 3-1.