All the news for Thursday 1 January 2009.
PIA win NBP Gold Cup Hockey beating Port Qasim
LAHORE: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) beat Port Qasim (PQ) 3-0 to lift the title of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) Gold Cup Hockey Tournament, here on Wednesday at the National hockey Stadium.
Federal Minister for Industries and Textiles, Rana Farooq Saeed, was the chief guest on the occasion and witnessed the match with keen interest.
Both the teams were introduced to him at half time. Also present was President Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Qasim Zia and Secretary Mohammad Asif Bajwa.
The Airlines led the first half with a firm 2-0 lead as Port Qasim seemed a tamed rival displaying a defensive approach.
PIA dominated with good coordination among flanks and timely passing among the forwards which yielded their first goal in the 16th minute when Ahsanullah converted a short corner.
A 1-0 lead proved a tonic to PIA who took control with persistent penetration and aggressive midfield play and doubled the lead through Mukhtar Ahmed in the 22nd minute to end the first half on a fine note.
The Airlines seemed content with their first half lead rarely coming up with fast paced moves as the game was confined to the midfield.
PIA widened the lead at 3-0 when Kashif Ali translated a short corner into a goal with a swift push.
NBP’s Imran Warsi was declared best player of the tournament, Port Qasim keeper Yaqoob was adjudged best keeper and PIA’s Kashif was declared man of the match of the final and all of them received cash prize of Rs 5,000 each while PIA got the winning prize of Rs 40,000 and Port Qasim received the runners-up prize of Rs 20,000.
Former Olympian Islahuddin on behalf of PHF gave a cash prize of Rs 40,000 and a glittering trophy to Pakistan’s former captain Rehan Butt who was recently declared best player of Asia.
The News International
PIA down Port Qasim 3-0 in final to lift title
LAHORE: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) defeated Port Qasim 3-0 to win the Gold Cup Hockey Tournament at the National Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday. Federal Minister for Industries and Textiles Rana Farooq Saeed was the chief guest at the final and witnessed the match with keen interest. Both teams were introduced to him at half time. Also present on the occasion were Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Qasim Zia and PHF general secretary Muhammad Asif Bajwa.
PIA led the first half 2-0 lead as Port Qasim seemed a tamed rival displaying defensive approach. PIA dominated the match with good coordination among flanks and timely passing among the forwards. They netted their first goal in 16th minute when Ahsan Ullah converted a short corner. PIA, who took control with persistent penetration and aggressive midfield play, doubled the lead through Mukhtar Ahmed in 22nd minute to end the first half on a fine note. PIA seemed contended with their first half lead rarely coming up with fast paced moves as the game remained confined to mid field. PIA sealed the fate of their rivals when Kashif Ali converted a short corner with a swift push.
National Bank of Pakistan’s (NBP) Imran Warsi was declared best player of the tournament, Port Qasim’s Rashid Yaqoob was adjudged best goalkeeper and PIA’s Kashif Ali was declared man of the match of the final. The trio received a cash prize of Rs 5000 each from the chief guest while PIA pocketed cash award of Rs 40,000 and Port Qasim Rs 20,000. Former Olympian Islahuddin Siddiqui, on behalf of the PHF, gave cash prize of Rs 40,000 and a glittering trophy to former Pakistan captain Rehan Butt who was declared best player of the Asia last month.
The Daily Times
PHF invites Malaysia for Test series in February
LAHORE: Pakistan Hockey Federation is awaiting reply from Malaysian Hockey Federations regarding their team’s tour to Pakistan in February.
This was stated by Secretary PHF, Muhammad Asif Bajwa at a news conference here on Wednesday after the meeting of Executive Board of the body presided over by President,PHF Qasim Zia.
“We have proposed the MHF to send its team to Pakistan for a test series against our senior team or to feature in a triangular series involving Pakistan Senior, Junior and the Malyasian team and hopefully we will be receiving their answer within a week,” said PHF Secretary.
He said the PHF is exploring every possibility to arrange events at home. Bajwa said training camp of Pakistan Senior team will begin in January and the team will start its preparation to face the Malaysian team.
Bajwa said the Executive Board was told about the steps taken by the PHF for the revival of the game and it appreciated the development plans implemented by the national federation for the development of the game.
He said after functioning of PHF academies next month under the supervision of dutch expert it is hoped that Pakistan will be able to field a balanced team in 2012 Olympics. “I dont want to make tall claims that we can build a winning combination overnight, we have to continue our struggle during the next few years,” he explained.
Bajwa said the PHF will be providing 10 thousand hockey sticks and as many balls to selected schools across the country under a transparent formula with the cooperation of provincial hockey associations to involve educational institutions in the game. Bajwa disclosed that PHF has signed an agreement with International hockey Federation to conduct various coaching clinics and courses in Pakistan to groom its coaches for various categories.
The News International
Pakistan hockey’s brains trust still miles away from home
By Khalid Hussain
KARACHI: Six weeks after being appointed as Pakistan hockey’s head coach, Ayaz Mahmood is still sitting thousands of miles away at his desk in Moscow, where he is based as PIA’s station manager.
A former Olympian, Ayaz Mahmood has applied for a release order so that he can join national duty but so far the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) is yet to find a suitable replacement. They’ve told him to carry on supervising the Moscow station.
That’s not all.
Kamran Ashraf, another former Olympian, is also yet to get a release order from PIA so that he can start working as a coach with the national team. Ashraf, who is working in the PIA marketing department, was picked last month as one of the two coaches to assist Ayaz Mahmood.
It’s all happening just five months before the Asia Cup — Pakistan’s biggest assignment in 2009. Former champions Pakistan will have to win the Asia Cup — to be played in Dubai in May — to earn a direct berth in the 2009 World Cup to be held in India in 2010. A failure to win the event will leave Pakistan at the mercy of a World Cup qualifying event in November. They will have to win the event to make the cut for the World Cup — an event they have won on a record four occasions.
But it seems that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is unaware of Asia Cup’s importance.
Last month, it appointed Ayaz Mahmood, who is known in the national hockey circles as Ayazi, as the national team coach and was given the assignment to raise a strong team for next summer’s Asia Cup in Dubai.
Ayazi, was a member of the Pakistan team that won the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and played in that memorable event alongside Qasim Zia, currently heading the PHF as its president.
The PHF had many options but it handpicked Ayazi to lead the national team’s management without even checking whether his employers — PIA — will be willing to release him.
Ideally, Pakistan should have begun their preparations for the Asia Cup a long time ago. But the ground reality is that they haven’t even prepared a training programme for their team. Even Malaysia — who are not regarded among the title contenders — are much ahead of and are even fancying their chances of winning the Asia Cup where Korea, India and Pakistan should be vying for the title.
An official told ‘The News’ on condition of anonymity that there is a lot of frustration within the Pakistan camp over PHF’s failure to chalk out a comprehensive training programme for the Asia Cup.
Pakistan players are unaware what matches they will play in the lead up to the Asia Cup as the government is unlikely to send the national team to India for February’s quadrangular double-header in Chandigarh and Jalandhar because of strained relations with India.
The PHF is trying to line up a home series against Malaysia but so far it is yet to be finalised.
The News International
Samiullah feels PHF top brass is ‘confused’
By our correspondent
KARACHI: Former Olympian Samiullah on Wednesday fired a salvo at the top brass of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), saying that it was trying to do too much at the same time.
“They all seem confused to me,” Samiullah told ‘The News’. “I mean that they are trying to do too much at the same time and it may be an initial stage but I must say that to me they look quite confused,” he added.
Samiullah said that the PHF will have to come out with a solid strategy to raise strong senior and junior national squads as several important international assignments are not far away.
“The Under-21 team has to play in the (Junior) World Cup while the senior team will go for the Asia Cup,” he said. “But sadly, I find that these teams are yet to even begin their training for these events.”
Pakistan are to feature in the Asia Cup in Dubai next May. The event’s winners will directly qualify for the 2009 World Cup in India. If Pakistan failed to win the Asia Cup then they will have to play in the World Cup qualifiers in November 2009.
In spite of the importance of the Dubai assignment, PHF is yet to begin preparing its team for the Asia Cup.
The national junior team will compete in the Junior World Cup to be co-hosted by Singapore and Malaysia in June.
Samiullah, who has served as national coach, manager and selectors in the past, said that the PHF should appoint an assistant secretary as it seemed that the serving secretary is unable to function properly with all the workload. Samiullah, however, hailed PHF’s decision to set up hockey academies, saying that so far it’s the only good step taken by the current officials.
The News International
PHF-FIH coaching course concludes
LAHORE: A Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF)-International Hockey Federation (FIH) coaching course concluded at the National Hockey Stadium here on Wednesday.
FIH master coach Tayyab Ikram was the course conductor and delivered lectures about latest hockey.
Certificates were distributed among the 39 participants by the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Qasim Zia. Speaking on the occasion, Qasim said the PHF and FIH were in contract for organising coaching courses in Pakistan and the PHF would continue its efforts to arrange such courses in future.
“The PHF is trying to create a structure to promote hockey in Pakistan. And the present officials of the federation need support from hockey circles,” he added.
Qasim also thanked Tayyab for his support towards the PHF.
The Daily Times
Problems galore await coach
THIS may not be the best way to start a new year but lazy players and a support system that is not producing quality second liners mean Malaysia can forget about qualifying for the 2010 World Cup.
In fact, Malaysia may also have to forgo the London Olympics two years later is the frank assessment of a former international who has handled the national team in the past.
"Two problems have combined to become a major headache. The current batch of players take home between RM3,000 to RM6,000 monthly, depending on their status.
"Money from the National Sports Council (NSC) and clubs or employers, combined with no challengers for their national team positions have led to many (of them) becoming complacent," said the former coach who declined to be identified.
But he knows what he is talking about as he has first hand experience with the players.
"So, in training, they do not give 100 per cent, as they know that they will be selected anyway, and this attitude is carried onto the pitch when they play in a tournament.
"This 'tidak apa' attitude has taken out the competitive edge in training as well as tournaments, and that is why we had to come from behind to draw 4-4 against Italy in the Japan Olympics Qualifier (last year)."
"Too much of the night life has also taken its toll on players and giving them a break can be a nightmare as they will report back unfit.
"I am not against players enjoying themselves, as it is good to de-stress, but there are a few who over-indulge and come for training looking sleepy and disinterested."
The coach said the problem is common knowledge in the hockey fraternity.
"The hockey circle knows about these problems, but all efforts to eradicate them have been futile thus far.
"I want to highlight these problems again, not to bring disrepute to anyone, but for the new MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation) regime and whoever is appointed as the next coach to be wary abut the pitfalls."
The disparity between the seniors and juniors, according to him, was glaring in the Malaysia Hockey League.
"The seniors (Ernst & Young) won both titles this year, but were given a fight till the end by a team made up of former internationals (Sapura).
"This shows that there is not much progress in the new batch, as they should have won comfortably against players who are now quite portly and slow.
"The national juniors couldn't even match the former internationals so what hope is there?
"And this problem will only become bigger in the next few years as there is very little talent in the juniors to be drafted into the senior side, and qualifying for the London Olympics will be very difficult."
Tai Beng Hai, who assumes the caretaker coach position today, probably knows all this but imagine the shock that, when MHF hires him, awaits the foreign coach.
New Straits Times
Beng Hai might have to stay longer
By Jugjet Singh
TAI Beng Hai officially became the interim coach today, but he should face no problems handling the players, as most of them were with him when he was the national juniors assistant coach in 2004.
A majority of the 2004 Rotterdam junior world cup players made the grade to the senior side, and Beng Hai knows them like the back of his hands.
“I see no problems with the players as I know their playing style, while they know me as they practically grew up with Sarjit Singh (former national coach) and I when we were preparing for Rotterdam,” said Beng Hai.
Beng Hai graduated as the juniors coach in 2006, when Sarjit was elevated to the seniors side, but he quit the post in October 2007 because of other commitments.
He came back as the women’s coach, but has accepted an offer to return to the men.
“I start training on Jan 5, and have recalled 30 players for training purposes. Only S. Kuhan and Jiwa Mohan are not on the list, while the rest are the same,” said Beng Hai.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) did not extend Sarjit Singh’s contract, which expired on Dec 31, and are now looking for a foreign coach to chart Malaysia’s future. Beng Hai has been named as an interim measure, but it looks like he might be ‘stuck’ with the job.
The Azlan Shah Cup is in April, while the Asia Cup in May, and the MHF have had no luck with the foreign coaches that they have approached.
“We are still looking for a suitable foreign coach but it wont be easy as our ream is ranked 15th in the world, while the targets are too close.
“We have to do well in the Asia Cup (which offers the gold medallist direct entry into the 2010 Delhi World Cup) and that is why we cant hurry and just hire any foreign coach,” said MHF deputy president Nur Azmi Ahmad.
MHF had looked towards South Korea, Australia and Europe for coaches, but all of them have prior commitments, and it is almost akin to scratching the barrel right now.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
Jiwa gets invitation to play in Aussie hockey league
By AFTAR SINGH
KUALA LUMPUR: Former international Jiwa Mohan has been invited to play for Northern Territory in the Australian Hockey League (AHL) in March.
The 27-year-old midfielder, who quit the national team after the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup last May, however, will have to attend trials on Jan 16 and 17 to earn a place in the team.
Jiwa, who has been working as a mechanical engineer in Perth since last June, said that it was an honour to him to be the first Malaysian player to get an invitation to play for a state team in the AHL.
“My good performance for Curtin Trinity Pirates Club in the Perth League last year has brought me an invitation from Northern Territory to attend trials,” said Jiwa in a telephone interview from Perth yesterday.
“I was playing in a league in Australia for the first time and I did extremely well, scoring 12 goals in 12 matches.
“I will do my best to impress the Northern Territory selectors in the trials.It’s not easy to win a place in a team for the AHL. They only pick the best players.”
The Penang-born Jiwa added that he would be playing again for Curtin Trinity Pirates Club in the Perth Indoor League, which begins on Monday.
“The duration of the indoor league is over two months before the AHL begins in March. Five states will play in the AHL,’’ said Jiwa, who used to travel from Perth almost every week to play for Sapura in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
Jiwa, who has represented Sapura for seven consecutive years, was named the best player in the MHL in 2006 and he was the top scorer in 2007 with 23 goals.
The Star of Malaysia
We can collectively do it – if we contribute individually
Indian hockey is alive, just that it is not kicking. And it cannot continue to be on low for long. It’s only a question of time before the beautiful game bounces back.
It is not just a customary saying on the eve of yet another new year – certainly not just to sooth ourselves.
No. Not at all.
Leave the national news, forget for a moment the administrative woes, actual or contrived, look at the Indian horizon. Then you can see clearly how enough is happening on the hockey front. Those happenings are all for the good of the game we love the most, twinkling stars not radiating energy but captivating the eyes from above the skies.
About ten new synthetic turf grounds were laid – and a plan for 40 six-a-side turf grounds have truly taken off – all in 2008.
By the end of this year (2009), for instance, three new turfs will be available in Delhi and six around its periphery. This is mentioned just to bring home the point that what’s in store for us even in one city.
Government of Haryana will alone lay 8 turfs in 2009. The state has already five.
If you look around most of the provinces in the country, nearly the same thing is happening, and why?
The country is really shaken over the fact that enough is not done for hockey, enough to keep its vibrant tradition ticking. This realization has come in the political and bureaucratic set ups. I am sure about it.
Government of India has earmarked a whopping 28 crores for training men and women hockey teams till 2010 Commonwealth Games. This amount will be, I suppose, more than what the whole of Europe spends on hockey annually!
These are all, on economic parlance, pointers towards our governments make their bailout package for our hockey that is facing both recession and meltdown -- of our own making.
Government of Punjab is committed to spend around Rs.3 crore each year to host the Punjab Gold Cup.
World Cup hockey has been confirmed for India.
These are just some samples.
We have no reasons to be pessimistic. If we are still so, it is wrong -- better get rid of it in the good of hockey. There is every reason to be optimistic. Because, there are enough good things happening around us.
Yes, we expected a lot with the exit of previous regime. The newcomers did not measure upto our expectations.
But, are we surely say the previous regime has exited? No. Absolutely not. The present administrators cannot do certain things, cannot go full steam even if they are capable of and competent enough, because of the legal tangles that has been brought to bear upon them by the crooked minds who cobweb shortcuts to access hockey thrones.
Historically speaking, regimes changes never occurred overnight. It took three years for MAM Ramasamy to unseat the invisible hand of Ashwini Kumar in the mid 70s. It is just to quote the past, an example, certainly not to sing antithesis tune to the optimists. At the same time we are equally aware that India won it’s only world cup when an ad-hoc set up was running our hockey. The Indian Hockey federation not being in place is an academic exercise if the alternative arms including the ad-hoc committee work with a purpose.
Not all presidents of the IHF have gone the way gentleman RN Prasad left the scene once it is made out to him that he is no longer needed.
So, give benefit doubt to the adhoc committee. Let them perform or pave way for someone else to come into the administration constitutionally.
One thing we miss in the whole scenario is the will of the people
It is you and me.
We love the game. We follow it passionately. We pray for our teams’ successes. We live and die with its fortunes—almost.
Stop here. Think for a while differently.
Is the emotional connect and the sentimental attachment alone are all what you can offer? You are capable of just this only?
No. Definitely not.
You can do more. You cannot afford to be idle and remain a watcher – merely, no more.
You are a concerned citizen of India.
You are concerned when India is at war, or when a terror strikes us. You come out of the homes, lit a candle, sign on the street posters, and find numerous ways to express your emotions and feelings. We saw this on a phenomenal scale in Mumbai after 26/11, our own 9/11.
Yes, your voice was heard world over. The nation saluted the spirit shown by you all.
Now hockey needs you. A game that gave you so much pleasure, so much to savour about, so much passion, that it needs you.
Only thing is you don’t know this.
Because, you are not aware of your worth to hockey. You think you are only a fan, a keen watcher, and assume no role to you beyond this.
You can contribute to the game. It is possible. Don’t be stuck with pessimistic virus. It will un-immune you. It will take neither you nor your game any further.
A professor in Amritsar goes to the schools and talks to the principals and headmasters, get invited to the schools’ morning assembly, where he speaks about hockey. He motivates the adminos and the students to bother about hockey. He eggs them on to start hockey in their premises.
He has so far done it so in 17 schools in the span of just three months – with more than expected response.
A passionate Delhite trains 60 to 70 boys and girls, all poorest of poor sections, every week end; he has been doing it so for so many years.
Bawa Patel’s untiring legs haven’t stopped spotting Virens in Mumbai.
When they all can, why can’t others -- you and me?
Have we ever spared a minute and thought about what we can offer to hockey? Why we have to look up to the likes of Gills, Ajit Pals and Aslams to deliver – all the time.
If hockey wins, we savour more than those in running the hockey affairs. Are we not therefore supposed to be more responsible and accountable for what we do -- or rather what we don’t do?
Are others duty-bound to make you happy? That too in public life? If you think so you are an idealist not a common man.
Why can’t we be an another Randhawa of Amritsar, Mahesh Dayal of Delhi or Bawa of Bombay – or of your own in different and distinct style.
We need not sacrifice our lives, our fortunes -- but only a day or half in the week ends. That can do wonders for hockey.
If you in case want to contribute to hockey and don’t know how to go about it, please believe me -- and in yourself -- there are many ways how you can fulfill this urge.
You can form a small group with like-minded people or friends and start involve with hockey. You can form or motivate others to form a team in the school next door, or a team in your locality, something like this. You yourself go and play the game on the park or the street, and enjoy it barbeque style.
Or, you or your friends can interact with your state or city hockey teams, invite hockey players to your Resident Welfare Association functions, or School’s sports day functions and much more like this.
There is no need for funds, no administrative approvals to stand connected with hockey. What is needed is your will and time that too on your leisure spells and holidays.
If you are still clueless or not satisfied as to what you can do for the betterment of hockey, just look for. Keep eyes and ears open. If you cannot do it for any reasons, but would like to join others, yes, that is also a good option. I can help you I this regard.
Speak to me. Or, write to me. Email or sms. I, and the volunteers with me, can help you, advise you and if possible take you in our fold.
Do it something for hockey on your own with your own friends and hockey fans at your own city or village. We can help you, we want to do such things.
If you can’t, I invite you to join us in whatever we intend to for the betterment of hockey.
If you really love the game and you have a heart for it, for heavens sake don’t just sit at home and rue about it. It is time to dream and say, “Yes. I have a hockey dream”.
Time has come for you, people who love the game, to come out and contribute.
Never hesitate to contribute, don’t be afraid of doing some good for some good cause.
If we can contribute something, we gain moral strength to appraise, apprise, criticize and comment on non-performers.
If we don’t contribute, don’t involve with hockey effectively, we lose the moral right to accuse others of non-performance, including the non-delivering players, coaches and administrators.
You are capable of contributing. You are capable of making others hear your voice.
Are you ready?