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News 12 November 2014

All the news for Wednesday 12 November 2014

Future Black Sticks Women force late draw

The Future Black Sticks Women scored two goals in the last six minutes to secure a 3-3 draw in game five against the India Juniors at TET Multisport Centre in Stratford.

New Zealand’s opening goal came from Canterbury’s Rachel McCann before the Indians responded and took control, holding onto a 3-1 lead late in the game.

With something special needed, head coach Jude Menezes substituted goalkeeper Brooke Roberts for an extra field player which freed up space for Su Arn Kwek to score with six minutes on the clock.

The Future Black Sticks then drew level with McCann delivering her second goal to equalise from a penalty corner right on the fulltime hooter.

The Kiwis have already won the series with three wins and two draws with the final game being played at 11am tomorrow morning with free entry.

Coach Menezes said it was a fantastic effort from the girls to come back from the brink of defeat and force a draw.

“It was a very close game and the team showed great character to come from behind, so in a way it feels like a win,” he said.

“We are looking to finish with a good result tomorrow, we are undefeated so far and we would like to keep it that way.”

The team will be without Alex Conway, Victoria Methven and Kate McCaw for tomorrow’s game, who all have to leave early to sit exams.

CLICK HERE for the full schedule and team list

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Fear of playing Australia is gone

Declare the Indian hockey players after thrashing Australia 3-1 in a bi-lateral series

Indian hockey team members on their arrival at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi on Tuesday after winning the series in Australia. PTI

Chandigarh - Not many teams, regardless of the sport they play, go Down Under and come back triumphant. The Indian hockey team, however, bucked the trend as they returned home on Tuesday after thrashing the world champions 3-1 in the bi-lateral series.

The joy of beating the world champions was visible on the faces of the players. “It’s a huge achievement for us. Beating Australia in their backyard was never going to be easy, so we are thrilled to have done that,” said Ramandeep, the Indian forward.

Much more important than what they have returned home with – joy and confidence – is what they have left behind in Australia – the fear of playing the mighty Australians. “There was always a nagging fear of playing against Australia... after having beaten them in their backyard, I think we will be far more confident facing them now onwards,” said Dharamveer, a midfielder.

In their moment of triumph, one should of course not forget that Australia didn’t field their first choice players and at least five of their players made debut in the series. “That’s alright but all their players are equally good... it was a tough competition and we played really well after losing the first game to win the next three matches,” said Ramandeep.

The players also felt that playing regularly against the Australian side will have long-term impact on the Indian hockey. “The regular bi-lateral series against the Australians is a step in the right direction and it’s going to help us a lot. We can learn a lot from them if we keep playing them on regular basis; our players have benefitted a lot playing alongside them in the Hockey League too,” said Ramandeep.

While the players are obviously delighted, Roelant Oltmans, the high performance director, tries to curb their excitement. “It is surely a positive result for the team. Everyone in the world including Australia would not have thought of this outcome, although they are in the process of rebuilding after the World Cup,” said Oltmans.

For him, the real test of the team’s strength will be facing Australia in the upcoming Champions Trophy. “If we are able to beat Australia in Champions Trophy, then we can say we have taken major steps forward,” he said.

The Tribune

‘Walsh has put Indian hockey back on track’

Sabi Hussain

New Delhi - The Commonwealth Games silver, Asian Games gold, direct entry to Rio Olympics and now a rare series win against world champions Australia in their own backyard — this year’s successes suggest at a possible revival of Indian hockey.

The young players, led by experienced Sardar Singh, are showing immense grit and determination on the field to bridge the gap with the top-ranked nations.

A major credit must go to chief coach Terry Walsh and High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans — who have brought out the best in the team.

Walsh might have threatened to resign from his post just days before leaving for Australia, but that bitter showdown with the Sports Authority of India did not distract him.

The appointment of Walsh as the chief coach has brought a sea change in the Indian hockey, as pointed out by midfielder Gurbaj Singh.

“Indian hockey might have had its ups and downs, but it’s on the verge of revival. The credit must go to Walsh for instilling confidence in the players that we can beat the world champions. He is one foreign coach who taught us to play as a unit,” Gurbaj told The Tribune.

There were foreign coaches attached with the national side in the past — Ric Charlesworth, Jose Brasa and Micahel Nobbs — but, according to Gurbaj, they did not bother to develop the team as a well-knit professional unit.

“The team is touching new heights under Walsh. We want him to continue till the Rio Olympics. We never played the sport as a team game under previous foreign coaches, but it’s different with Walsh. His coaching method and different training skill set are definitely helping the team to rise,” he said.

Gurbaj said the Australia tour was a great learning experience for the entire squad and they would take the winning momentum into the Champions Trophy next month. “We played attacking hockey against them which was missing earlier. We used to play defensive hockey against them, they would build psychological pressure on us. But this time we paid them in the same coin, we countered them with our solid defence, man-to-man marking and attack,” he said.

The Tribune

Indicator of progress will be win against Australia in CT: Oltmans

NEW DELHI: Indian hockey's high performance director Roelant Oltmans says the team's series win over Australia is a positive sign but repeating the feat against the World Champions in the upcoming Champions Trophy will determine the squad's progress.

"It is surely a positive result for the team. Everyone in the world including Australia would not have thought of this outcome, although they are in the process of rebuilding after the World Cup," Oltmans said on Tuesday after the squad returned home following a 3-1 win in the four-match test series.

Asked how he rated the result, the Dutchman said: "All the 21 players played and the outcome is good. But we have to be realistic on what it means. Does it mean too much than just a series win against Australia? I would say if we are able to beat Australia in Champions Trophy, then we can say we have taken major steps forward," said the renowned expert.

Oltmans was quick to add that December 6-14 Champions Trophy in Bhubaneshwar will be a much tougher test for the team. India are in Pool B alongside Netherlands, Germany and Argentina in the eight-nation tournament.

"It (Champions Trophy) is a competition lot different than a friendly series. We are in a group having Germany and surprise of World Cup Argentina, so it will be tough from day one. After a short break, we will resume training for the tournament," he said, while choosing not to talk about the target for the premier event.

"I know that you guys always want to talk about the outcome. The important thing for me is that the team is showing steady progress. There is still lot of time left to talk about the outcome anyway."

Oltmans felt India executed their plans better than Australia, who are in a transitional phase, after their World Cup triumph.

"All these boys, who were playing for Australia, were probables who can make the Champions Trophy. They have not played much together but it was surely not a second string side," pointed out Oltmans.

Indians are often found wanting against the speed of top teams such as Australia, Netherlands and Germany.

Asked to dissect the performance of the team, Oltmans said he was not outrightly surprised at the win.

"I have said it from the beginning that they have a lot of potential, though you can see the issue is to translate potential into performance at the highest level.

"The domestic tournaments in India are a different ball game. Guys who are with us recognise the difference and they know what they need to be doing to overcome the gap between international and domestic hockey," said Oltmans.

He hoped for more bilateral series of this nature leading to the Rio Olympics in 2016.

"The team is getting better in execution of skills. We were able to hold possession better than before, especially when you playing against a team like Australia, there is a lot of pressure on defence that can lead to loss of possession.

"I must tell you that our boys are now able to control the ball more. In the first game, we didn't do that and therefore we lost (0-4). After that, there was gradual progression," Oltmans concluded.

The Times of India

Hockey coach Terry Walsh puts SAI on notice

By Mihir Vasavda

Walsh has asked for more freedom when it came to the running the affairs of the team (Source: Express File)

Chief coach Terry Walsh’s future with the Indian hockey team remains uncertain. The Australian will return to New Delhi on Wednesday but has insisted he will not continue as the coach if no common ground is reached between him and the decision makers before November 19, the date his contract expires.

Walsh had blamed ‘sporting bureaucracy’ for snapping the ties with the national team. However, he was told to reconsider his decision by the Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Sports Ministry in the wake of some encouraging performances. The one-month notice period he was give by SAI expires next week.

“The reality is that November 19 is the end of my contract. Discussions will take place. From my perspective, there needs to be alterations in the way some things are done to be able to produce longevity and consistency in performance levels. If it is achievable then great, if it’s not then I won’t continue,” Walsh told The Indian Express from Perth.

Walsh has asked for more freedom when it came to the running the affairs of the team. He has also asked for additional days for paid leaves plus the appointment of Australia-based sports and medicine experts.

It is unlikely that the government will accede to all his demands. Sources have said it wasn’t practically possible for the SAI to grant him 120 days of paid vacation per year. “A few more demands he has made are difficult to implement. We will meet him and discuss a few issues. The sports minister wants him to stay but a few issues have to be sorted out,” the source said.

The Indian team has shown gradual improvement under Walsh. They first won the Asian Games gold medal after a hiatus of 16 years, thus ensuring an Olympic berth, and then defeated Australia 3-1 in a Test series. It was India’s first series win over Australia. They had also won a silver medal at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

Walsh maintained he won’t continue beyond November 19, in case there is a delay in addressing the issues he has raised. “It’s nothing to do with my choice. It’s the written word in my contract terms. My one-month notice ends on November 19 and I won’t be able to continue beyond that,” he said.

Rousing reception

New Delhi: Meanchile, Indian men’s hockey team returned home to a rousing reception by Hockey India on Tuesday. It was second big achievement for the side in recent times after winning the Asian Games gold medal in Incheon.

“I am extremely happy with the way our team has performed in the entire series. And there could be no better gift to my completion of 200 international caps than this memorable win,” said India skipper Sardar Singh.

“This will act as a motivation for the boys to give a better performance in the upcoming Champions Trophy. I am confident that the boys will perform well in the upcoming tournament,” Sardar added.

Congratulating the team for their superb performance, Hockey India secretary general Mushtaque Ahmad said, “I feel the team is ready to deliver even better results in the Champions Trophy.”

Indian Express

It wasn't a weak Australia team that we beat: SV Sunil

Rutvick Mehta

SV Sunil has said that Terry Walsh did not let his resignation controversy affect the training of the team in Australia and did not let the players get involved in it AFP

India forward Sunil says 3-1 series win Down Under was a surprise even for the them

'They must've played their weakest team'. This was the popular sentiment after the Indian hockey team beat Australia 3-1 in a four-match test series in their own backyard.

The series victory came as a pleasant surprise to many. After all, Indian hockey fans are used to seeing their team getting beaten 0-4, 0-6 or 0-8 by the world champions. Thus, when the hosts won the first match 4-0, it looked like the same old story. But the Indians turned it around, quite spectacularly, and most were quick to assume that the Australians fielded their second-string team.

"Well, I don't blame them," forward SV Sunil, who scored two goals in the series, told dna after the team returned from Australia on Tuesday. "We are not used to winning against Australia, and even we didn't expect to beat them before going on the tour. We went there with the objective to learn.

"But let me tell you, the core of their team was the same that won the World Cup (in June 2014). Three players from that team were injured, and they played their five best players from the junior team. It wasn't a weak Australian team that we beat. I wish the matches were televised live, people would've realised then. Only we know what we played against," he said.

It was only a month ago that Sunil missed an easy open goal against Pakistan in the Asian Games final in October. It could've proved costly, but India won the match in the penalty shootouts.

"He will get another opportunity and if he makes the same mistake again, then you've got a problem. I don't think he will," coach Terry Walsh had said of Sunil then.

He didn't.

The 25-year-old scored the all-important equaliser in the second match, single-handedly taking the ball into the D and making no mistake in putting it past the Aussie goalkeeper. The visitors won that match 2-1. In the following game, the 25-year-old was the lone scorer in India's 1-0 win, netting the ball into the goal after a pass from Akashdeep Singh.

The Asian Games miss seemed a distant memory.

"I was really disappointed after missing that easy goal, especially since it was a final. It was a big mistake," Sunil said. "But I went to the camp and worked twice as hard with coach Walsh on my finishing. People told me after the Asian Games that you're a good player, but you need to focus a little more on finishing. I did exactly that.

"My form went down in the Asian Games, and my improvement in Australia was unbelievable even for me. I became a lot more self-confident after my first goal," the Kodagu lad added.

Finishing has been one of India's major shortcomings for quite a while, but the team scored six goals in three matches in Australia. So how did the team turn it around after the opening loss?

"We played the first match well in patches, and even Walsh told us that in our post-match meeting. We had to focus on consistency, speed and counter-attacks. We went through our videos over and over again, analysed our mistakes and worked on them. Most importantly, all the 18 players played a part in it, not just the 11. Our team unity reached its peak," Sunil said.

The hard work paid off, and the team won the next three matches. A cause of celebration, isn't it?

"No," Sunil said. "Walsh told us very clearly to keep our feet on the ground, both after we won the first game and the series. Yes, we are all very proud, but we know we have to go ahead step by step with the target of 2016 Rio Olympics."

Mind you, the team travelled to Australia in the backdrop of Walsh's resignation threat. His deadlock with Hockey India and Sports Authority of India is still on.

"It was very sudden. We didn't know about it until he personally called and spoke to all of us. But he did not let it affect our training. He did not let us get involved in that. Despite all his problems, he was very focussed in the team's performance," Sunil said.

Does he hope Walsh stays on?

"Yes. I think the future looks good for Indian hockey. But every time we do good, something bad happens," Sunil said, breaking into a nervous laughter.

First match: Australia won 4-0
Second match: India won 2-1
Third match: India won 1-0
Fourth match: India won 3-1


Settled defence has been a plus for the team: Raghunath

MUMBAI: A settled defensive line up has been a big advantage for the Indian team in its resurgence in world hockey, feels seasoned full back V Raghunath.

"The defence has played together for quite some time -- one and a half to two years -- and the understanding among myself, Rupinder, Kothajit, Gurbaj and Birender Lakra has improved a lot which is very important. Our combination has come out very well," said Raghunath on Tuesday.

"We understand each other's plus and minus points very well. You need time to do it. We try to cover up for each other which is more important as it's a team game. If we don't concede goals, we can win maximum number of matches, that's the idea," the 26-year-old drag-flick expert explained.

Raghunath played for his employers Indian Oil in the ongoing All India Bombay Gold Cup tournament here barely four hours after landing in Mumbai from Australia via Delhi after taking part in the four-Test series Down Under. India had registered a historic 3-1 series victory over Australia.

Raghunath reminded coach Terry Walsh's words that the series win in Australia was only a small step in India's preparation for the Rio Olympic Games in 2016 for which the team qualified by winning the coveted gold medal in the Incheon Asian Games last month.

"We have a target of playing against strong teams like Australia, Germany, Holland. India really needs to play these teams to find out the level of improvement over the past one year. This is the first step in the build-up to Rio Olympics, our coach (Terry Walsh) has said," Raghunath said.

The Karnataka-born player said all the players put their best foot forward in the series Down Under.

"Everyone's personal best has given the best result in Australia. Forwards came up with very good goals and defence conceded only one goal in the last three games after the loss (0-4) in the first. The defence has worked out very well," said Raghunath.

"After a long time we won a Test series in Australia. The team was very good. We also went all out as we wanted to check where we stand in international hockey. The boys have proved we have capability, fitness, skill level and strength to come to the top at the international level."

Asked about a suitable back up to India's number one custodian P Sreejesh, Raghunath said that the untested Harjot Singh of Punjab was tried out in the Test series in Australia and performed very well in the second match that India won.

"I want to say the first match we won in Australia was with the second goalkeeper. He made some wonderful saves. His consistent level is coming up," he said.

Raghunath said the key now was to maintain the same level and improve on the weaknesses before next month's Champions Trophy tournament in Odisha.

"We should concentrate on keeping up this level and put up our personal best show in the (December 6-14) Champions Trophy (in Bhubaneswar) as a build up for Rio. We have go work on the grey areas before Champions Trophy and put up a good show," he said.

"Next year, Australia will be coming which is good for Indian hockey."

On the team's aspirations in the tough Champions Trophy tournament, the full back said there was no point in putting themselves under any extra pressure barring the will to perform at their best.

"I want to say just this, let the Indian team perform its best and let each and everyone have the freedom to perform at his best and not look at the result and not put any pressure on ourselves.

Looking back at the strides the team has taken recently, Raghunath said the turnaround happened when it defeated Asian power South Korea in the World Cup in May.

"We beat Korea in the World Cup and that's where the turnaround started. We then did well in the Commonwealth Games (by winning silver medal in Glasgow). We could not take down Australia there, we had that small challenge," said Raghunath.

"It takes time to build up a team. We took the same challenge into the Asian Games. The target there was to win the gold and we did it.

We want to build up the team slowly. Let the result come slowly. Most important thing was to qualify for the Olympics and we have done it two years in advance. It's a good opportunity for Indian hockey to show some quality level."

The Times of India

Raghu & co play in Gold Cup

MUMBAI: It's been an extremely busy year for Indian hockey with the senior team already having played the World Cup, the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games. A little over three weeks from now they will compete in the Champions Trophy.

On Sunday, they completed a four-match Test series in Australia, recording a 3-1 win over the hosts, and the squad reached Delhi early Tuesday morning after which many of the players, who are competing in the All-India Bombay Gold Cup, reached the city.

And, barely three hours after their arrival, V Raghunath, were Kothajit Singh, SK Uthappa and Dharamvir Singh out at the MHA-Mahindra Stadium, representing Indian Oil against Maharashtra State Police.

"We left Perth on Monday, reached Delhi in the morning today and came directly to Mumbai because our team is playing the Gold Cup," said Raghunath, who although tired, looked happy, at being part of the side that thrashed their opponents 12-2.

Talking about the series Down Under, the defender evinced satisfaction at the team's performance. "We are preparing for the Champions Trophy, so in that context, we are happy with the results. All of us learnt a lot, and either ways it's never easy to beat Australia, whether it's their full strength side or otherwise."

The side showed commendable resolve, especially in defence, and the ace dragflicker is happy that their collective experience is paying off now.

"Rupinder (Pal Singh), Kothajit (Singh), Gurbaj (Singh), Birendra (Lakra) and myself have played many matches together, so it's becoming easy to co-ordinate."

Raghunath was also glad that the second goalkeeper in the side, Harjot Singh, gave a good account of himself on the tour. "Harjot got to play the second game and brought about some excellent saves. His presence will now take some pressure off Sreejesh who has been key to our success."

Tuesday's results Pool-A: Indian Oil 12 (Gurjinder Singh 3rd and 46th min, Roshan Minz 7th, 42nd, 45th and 49th min, Prabhjot Singh 22nd, 27th and 38th min, Hamza Mujtaba 24th and 64th min, Sunil Yadav 67th min) beat Maharashtra State Police 2 (Aashish Chopade 23rd min, Vinod Manugade 26th min).Pool-D: Air India 4 (Shivendra Singh 7th min, Prabodh Tirkey 15th min, Gaganpreet Singh 58th min, BK Aiyappa 64th min) drew with South Central Railway 4 (Mayank James 40th, 51st and 52nd min, Innocent Kullu 44th min).

Wednesday's fixtures: Pool C: ONGC vs Indian Navy (2pm); Pool A: Indian Oil vs Army XI (4pm); Pool B: Bharat Petroleum vs Punjab National Bank (6pm).

The Times of India

Dirty dozen for champs Indian Oil

Action during the Gold Cup tie between Indian Oil and Maharashtra State Polive on Tuesday

Defending champions Indian Oil proved too strong for local qualifiers Maharashtra State Police as they easily won their opening Pool-A league match of the 49th Bombay Gold Cup Hockey Championship at the MHAL stadium, Churchgate by a thumping 12-2 margin.

Indian Oil, winners of Surjit Singh Memorial Trophy in Jalandhar last week, were in full flow enjoying a comfortable 5-2 lead at half-time. They got their goals through Roshan Minz who scored four, Prabhjot Singh three, two each from Gurjinder Singh and Hamza Mujtaba and the last by Sunil Yadav to complete the rout. The policemen managed to score two first half goals through Aashish Chopade and Vinod Manugade to reduce the margin defeat.

Earlier in a Pool-D match last year's runners-up Air India survived a scare from South Central Railway before settling for a 4-4 draw. Air India started with flourish opening up a comfortable 2-0 half-time advantage. But they were unable to maintain the momentum in the second half and conceded the advantage to the southern outfit, which put up a solid fight scoring four goals on the trot to wrest the initiative before Air India struck twice in the final 12 minutes to salvage a draw.

Stopwatch: Indian Oil 12 (G Singh 3, 46, R Minz 7, 42, 45, 49, P Singh 22, 27, 38, H Mujtaba 24, 64, S Yadav 67) bt Maharashtra State Police 2 (A Chopade 23, V Manugade 26), Air India 4 (S Singh 7, P Tirkey 15, G Singh 58, Aiyappa BK 64) drew with South Central Railway 4 (M James 40, 51, 52, I Kullu 44),


A Bees stinger

By Graham Wilson

Champions Beeston were left hurting as title rivals East Grinstead beat them 3-2 to open up a five-point gap with leaders Surbiton at the top of the NOW: Pensions League.

Southgate will be facing the backlash on Saturday but a sterner test of the Bees’ resolve will come on Sunday in the cup when they face the rising Kent club Holcombe, who can call upon GB captain Barry Middleton.

Brooklands registered their first win, fighting back from 4-0 down to triumph 5-4 against Reading, thanks to captain Peter Flanagan’s  penalty stroke. “It was a brilliant day,” he said. “I’ve never been part of such a turnaround.”

Daily Express

Hampton-in-Arden find no shame in 25-0 Cup rout to Beeston as Midlands hockey spirit kept alive

Beeston may have racked up record NOW: Pensions Cup score, but for emerging Midlands side it was day to remember

By Rod Gilmour

Clubs united: Beeston and Hampton-in-Arden share Cup spirit

Jas Ghata-Aura, the Hampton-in-Arden captain, can only speculate as to why clubs withdraw from England Hockey’s flagship Cup competitions year-on-year. “Perhaps teams anticipate avoiding the kind of embarrassment or shame we had against a big club, only not as severely,” the 25-year-old says.

Two weeks ago, Beeston, four-time winners of the NOW: Pensions men’s Cup, plundered 25 goals without reply against the ‘minnows from the Midlands’ as last season’s play-off champions advanced to this weekend’s last 16.

However, there was no shame for Hampton. “For us, we might never have had the chance to play against the calibre of Beeston again, so it was a massive opportunity to play on the same pitch,” says Ghata-Aura. “There were never any thoughts of dropping out.”

Of course not; this was the Cup and Hampton, two league tiers down from their premier division hosts, paid the third round due respect. They travelled the 60-odd miles to Beeston as they would any other away day. No special bus was laid on; they either met at Hampton or drove separately.

“We never went there to win,” recalls Ghata-Aura, who joined the club at 16. “A few people may have had some dreams of pulling something off, but we were realistic to know that they are one of the best in the country for a reason.

“We are a small club who have come a long way. I viewed it as reward for hard work and success in our domestic league and 70 minutes against players we are never likely to play again.”

Hampton are indeed a rising success story in Midlands’ hockey. Two years ago, they won the West Midlands premier without losing a game. Last year, they were Midlands division one champions and are now in the region’s top flight, for the first time in around 15 years.

“A large majority of our players have come through the club,” the Hampton captain continues. “It was a proud day for us to take a group who have grown through the system.”

Regardless of their makeshift back four that day, Hampton expected to leak goals, but managed to keep Beeston at bay for the first five minutes. After an 18-minute “barrage”, Beeston then sauntered into half-time 9-0 up.

“From what I’ve heard, the coach wasn’t happy in their camp for not being clinical enough,” says Ghata-Aura. “That’s why they came out in the second-half with a point to prove.”

Sam Ward, the GB forward, kept on scoring, bagging eight in all. Meanwhile Hampton kept on fighting, embracing the moment. “That was the key thing for us. Enjoy every second and every minute. I came away quite disappointed at the severity of the score, but we kept our heads high.”

Just to highlight the Cup spirit, both clubs came together for a team photo in front of Beeston’s scoreboard which was reflecting the rout.

“We didn’t ask their lads,” Ghata-Aura admits. “We went to take a picture in front of the scoreboard and then they came over. It was a really nice moment to be with players we have seen in newspapers or on television.

“We came out looking like a respectful club. Perhaps not a respectable team, but at least we made a Cup game of it.”

According to England Hockey, the 25-0 win was the biggest domestic Cup win in the competition’s history, with Cannock’s 23-0 victory over Pelicans having previously stood for 14 years.

It signalled relief for Graham Griffiths, in his 28th season as Beeston’s manager, who remembered losing to Hampton in 1988; a result, he reckoned, that “squared things up.”

“At times we were majestic but, despite the huge score line, Hampton held their heads high and never gave up hope, as they tried to break the Beeston back line,” he said.

Hampton’s players believe they may never get the chance again of mixing it with hockey’s elite, but their league success in recent years suggests otherwise.

Three ways to energise the Cup

1. Keep a weekend free before the winter break to promote the men’s and women’s premier knockout competition. Playing twice in the space of 24 hours is a hardship for big clubs – players have full-time jobs and families, excluding those in the national programme – which means the Cup loses its aura and the top players.

2. A live YouTube or pre-recorded third-round draw (last 32) at Bisham Abbey, with former players pulling out the balls and the current GB squad present in the background.

3. If clubs withdraw, England Hockey should ask why. Since 2010, there have been 24 walkovers in the Investec women’s Cup and 35 in the men’s, including two quarter-finals. The national governing body admit that they do not ask for an explanation regarding walkovers.

Who are Hampton-in-Arden?

The West Midlands club, with 200 members, runs five men's teams, three ladies' teams and a host of junior teams. The club has a large number of veteran players involved in the county and national set up, including the ladies’ over-60s England captain, Jean Scott Miller. The coaching programme is led by Jon Doherty, who won England Hockey's club coach of the year in 2012/13.

Last 16 knockout fixtures (Sunday):

Barford Tigers v Southgate
Brooklands MU v Team Bath Buccaneers
Cannock v Truro
Canterbury v Reading
Chichester Priory Park v City of Peterborough
Havant v Sheffield Hallam
Holcombe v Beeston
Surbiton v Deeside Ramblers

The Telegraph

Razie wants to be Malaysia Hockey League top scorer

By Aftar Singh

Filepic of KLHC defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim.

KUALA LUMPUR: Penalty corner specialist Mohamed Razie Abdul Rahim is having a splendid run in the Malaysia Hockey League’s (MHL) Premier Division.

The 27-year-old Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) defender has scored four goals in three matches and he wants to continue his rich vein of form. Razie has featured in the MHL since 2007 but has never won the top scorer award.

“I want to help KLHC win our sixth consecutive league title as well as bag the top scorer award,” said Razie.

Defending champions KLHC are the only unbeaten team in the six-team league. They had beaten Tenaga Nasional (5-3), Maybank (4-1) and Terengganu (2-1).

KLHC and Terengganu are tied on nine points, but the East Coast team top the standings with a better goal difference.

KLHC will take on Sapura on Wednesday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil. The match was supposed to be played last Friday but it was postponed due to a heavy downpour.

“The win over Terengganu on Sunday has boosted our confidence. We hope to maintain our unbeaten run in the league,” said Razie.

“We are expecting a tough match against Sapura as they have many experienced players. They also have Pakistan defender Khasif Ali, who is a good penalty corner drag flicker and was the top scorer last year with 18 goals.

“We cannot afford to give away penalty corners tomorrow,” said Razie.

The Star of Malaysia

Pakistan face tough task in Champions Trophy: Samiullah

KARACHI: Former Pakistan Olympian Samiullah has termed Pakistan hockey team’s chances ‘very bleak’ in the upcoming Champions Trophy starting in India starting next month.

“The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) is not taking the event seriously, as half of national team players are playing in India and half in European leagues, how it could be possible for them to even think about finishing in top four with less than two weeks left before the mega event starts.” Sami added:

“Pakistan are drawn in very tough pool, which includes the likes of Australia, England and Belgium and all these teams are very tough nuts to crack. Pakistan will play their first match against Belgium, who are one of the best teams in Europe and pose serious threats to any top side of the world. Pakistan team will struggle against Belgium, Australia, England and India.”

It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan performed exceptionally in the recently concluded Asian Games, where they remained unbeaten throughout the event and just lost the final against India on penalty shootout.

Sami urged the players to focus more on their performances to prolong their international careers.

“More passion and hard work is need of the hour to save their international careers and players must take hockey very seriously,” Sami concluded.

The Daily Times

National hockey trials for South Korea tour begin today

By Mirza Iqbal Baig

KARACHI: The two-day trials to select Pakistan squad for the tour of South Korea will be held at Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium here from November 12 (today).

Chief selector Islahuddin Siddiqui told reporters on Tuesday that the selectors would be picking the team only for short tour to South Korea and the team for the Champions Trophy would be named later. He said the trials would be held for two days because the selection committee wanted to watch juniors in action to determine their talent, skill and fitness.

Former Olympian and Pakistan captain Islah said team for the Champions Trophy to be staged in Bhubneshawar, India, would be named after the South Korean tour.

“The trials were delayed because of the players’ arrival from different countries where they were playing league hockey. Moreover, some of the Pakistan players were in Punjab team in an international event in Jullandhar in Surjeet Singh Cup.”

Head coach Shahnaz Sheikh said all players had reached here and joined the training camp. Seven of Pakistan top players including captain Muhammad Imran forward Umar Bhutta, full-back Muhammad Irfan forward Muhammad Rizwan Senior and half back Rashid Mahmood were playing league hockey in the Netherlands.

Three seniors players - forwards Shakeel Abbasi and Abdul Haseem Khan and half back Fareed Ahmed - have been rested for the Champions Trophy.

“We would be looking for good replacements for the seasoned trio,” Shahnaz added. He, however said that form, fitness and pure merit would be the criteria for the selection of the Pakistan hockey team.

The Daily Times

Thirty-five to appear in hockey trials today

Anwar Zuberi

KARACHI: Thirty five probables are set to appear in the two-day national hockey trials which begin at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium on Wednesday at 3.00pm.

The strength of the camp trainees rose to 35 after 11 players joined the national camp late Monday evening.

According to manager-cum-chief coach Shahnaz Shaikh, the players who reported for trials include Mohammad Imran, Syed Kashif Shah, Ammad Shakeel Butt, Mohammad Rizwan junior, Mohammad Tousiq, Zohaib Ashraf, Tasawar Abbas, Mohammad Waqas, Shafqat Rasool, Mohammad Umar Bhutta and Mohammad Dilber.

The five probables who will skip the trials were Faisal Qadir (hairline fracture), Qasim (knee injury), Asad Bashir (back injury) Rizwan senior and Rashid Mahmood (away in Holland).

The last two — Rizwan senior and Rashid — are expected to return on Nov 23. “They have to prove their fitness before the selectors for making it to the national team for Champions Trophy slated in India next month,” Shahnaz told Dawn.

He said the players will visit Islahuddin and late Dr Mohammad Ali Shah hockey academy on Friday to play on the blue turf.


Pro Series Indoor joins SA Hockey


Pro Series Indoor (PSi) have been appointed as an associate member of the South African Hockey Association.

“This association with Pro Series Indoor gives SA Hockey the opportunity to grow and develop indoor hockey in South Africa within schools,” said Marissa Langeni, CEO of the South African Hockey Association (SAHA).

“As a business, PSI offers highly competitive and well organised indoor leagues across the country and works closely with numerous schools.”

Senior indoor hockey remains exclusively a deliverable of SAHA provincial associations and as such the PSI agreement only encompasses school leagues, said Langeni.

“The association complements our strategic objective of growing the game at all levels and through the PSI agreement SA Hockey is able to deliver a much-needed opportunity to the game of indoor hockey at junior level.”

Langeni said it must be noted that PSI is a private entity with associate membership of SAHA and as such, participation does not represent provincial or national representation and colours.

“However, we do acknowledge that schools may decide from time to time to give appropriate merit awards for pupils who excel at PSI,” said SA Hockey’s CEO.

Langeni says that the PSI associate agreement with SAHA is in place for the 2014 calendar year and renewable annually.

“We are looking forward to having a long and fruitful relationship with PSI,” Langeni added.

PSI brand manager and Boland region franchisee Bruce Jacobs said that together with SAHA, Pro Series Indoor will continue to work to improve and develop indoor hockey at junior level.

“It is our hope that schools see the value PSI adds to indoor hockey and the extent to which it develops young players’ technical skills for the outdoor season and that they would acknowledge the players’ achievements in PSI.

"It must be noted, though, that this cannot be enforced on schools, said Jacobs, who was the SA outdoor hockey captain at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.

“Let’s focus and put our energies into our young school boy and school girl hockey players and continue to make a positive impact on their hockey development,” Jacobs added.

SA Hockey Association media release

The legend of Egbert Fernandes


From left: Anthony Vaz, Cassius Clay (before he became Muhammad Ali), Egbert Fernandez and Cajie D’Souza during the 1960 Rome Olympics. PHOTO | COURTESY 

Kenyan hockey mourns the death of one of its most gifted players - Egbert Carmo Fernandes.

Fernandes died last Thursday in Canberra, Australia, at age 73 while undergoing treatment for a growth in his oesophagus.

In 1960, at just 19 years, he was the youngest Kenya hockey Olympian to don the No. 9 shirt and begin an illustrious career which earned him the respect of his hockey peers, the affection of his admirers the world over.

Kenya Hockey Union Chairman, Nashon Randiek, led the union in paying tribute to the fallen legend, describing him as the perfect player of his generation who was dedicated to the game.

“When he played his last World Cup,  I was only four years old but I got to watch him play for his club. He was one of the finest centre forwards, very skillful. We appreciate his services as a union and stand with his family at this trying moment,” Randiek told Daily Nation Sport yesterday.

 Egbert was among a rich vein of Kenyans who achieved stardom as triple hockey Olympians (Rome, Tokyo and Mexico) and played in countless internationals and made even more appearances for his club, the Nairobi Goan Institute.


He played like a dashing gazelle in full flight, like a cheetah, the flashing hunter, a little Nureyev as he twisted and turned, dummied to right, dummied to left, flicked a pass in either direction, or stretched like giraffe to push that just out of reach of the opposing full-back to whack in yet another goal. It is no exaggeration that he was not just poetry in motion but a very intelligent forward.

In the 1960s, Kenyans were really challenging and were soon respected by the best in the world. It was all in the speed, flick of wrist, speed and cunning, producing the unexpected and that legal hit that was unstoppable as a bullet. Kenya was ranked seventh in Rome 1960, sixth in Tokyo 1964 and eighth in Mexico 1968.

Egbert and Edgar were born in Kisumu and moved to Kiambu around 1951 and to Nairobi around 1952. Both Edgar (who was a couple of years older) and Egbert debuted for Kenya in 1958. Edgar was cut from the run-in squad for the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne, Australia. They could not play in Kiambu because there were no flat, grassless patches of earth. In Nairobi, there was a ground at Dr Ribeiro Goan School, a better ground near Railway employees quarters in Park Road and a little patch of dust in Ngara.


Hockey came very naturally to brothers Hilary, Leo and Nereus Fernandes, Edgar and Egbert Fernandes, Sylvester Fernandes, Saude George, Aloysius Mendonca, some of whom got their first taste of the game at the Dr Ribeiro Goan School but it was fine-tuned and invented upon on a small patch of mchanga (Kenya murram earth) situated conveniently between the Government and Railway employees quarters in Ngara. It is here that individual genius found the time and space to experiment and bloom.

Edgar Fernandes was the thinking man’s Kenya half back. He was sheer class. Alu Mendonca, one of the most elegant left wingers (later a respected a coach) was recognised as perhaps the best player Kenya ever produced. If Edgar was sheer class, then Sylvester (Silu) Fernandes was the larrikin genius on the other side of the field. He played some unorthodox blinders in his time. Saude George is one of Kenya’s few double international goalkeepers. The hockey world respected his courage and calm, cool approach to the game.


This Ngara mafia’s skills were further enhanced when they joined other great Kenyan players like Avtar Singh, perhaps, the most capped player of all time; Surjeet Singh Jnr, a classy centre half, Amar Singh a joy to watch forward, Reynolds De Souza, a charming, gentle forward with an uncanny killer instinct for scoring or delivering the killer pass, Surjeet Singh senior and elder statesman of the game with Pritam Singh as well as the crafty Santokh Singh Matharu. The pedigree of all the Kenya hockey teams was almost at its best and Egbert thrived in this exalted company.

The Ngara mafia were indeed a very close-knit group and Hilary tells the story of Egbert picking him up every morning on pedal bike. They happily went to school, Hilary operating the left pedal and Egbert the right. One foot up somewhere on the bike, they had not a care in the world.

Who could have imagined in those early days that this scrawny kid would be the only Kenyan to be nominated for an Olympic World XI (nominated after the Olympics). Of everything Egbert, one memory stood out for all time. Edgar explains: “His greatest memory of the best  game we ever played was when we beat India (then the masters of the game)in 1964 in two tests, lost two and drew one on their home soil But at Jubbulpore we beat them 3-0, Egbert scoring two and me one, as I played at inside right alongside him that year.” RIP hero, mate.

Cyprian Fernandes is a Kenyan-born journalist, among the first employed by the Nation Media Group. He left as Chief Reporter and now lives in Sydney, Australia.

Daily Nation

Egbert Fernandes: 'A naturally-gifted athlete’  

By Norman Da Costa

Egbert (left) with his brother Edgar during the 1964 Tokyo Olympics. PHOTO | COURTESY

Egbert Fernandes was one of Kenya’s most versatile and gifted sportsmen.

In a country that produced world-class athletes by the bushel-load, the naturally-talented Egbert excelled at every sport he tried, but it was in field hockey where he left an indelible impression.

Fernandes came from a well-known sporting family whose brother Edgar was also an Olympian and sisters Ellen and Edna played hockey at the highest club level in the country. And the family’s deep sporting ties didn’t end there. Egbert’s wife Bertha played for the national women’s team.

Egbert played at every position in the forward line before settling in at centre forward where his speed, quick thinking, adroit stick work earned him more than a 100 caps and - most importantly what he and every Kenyan strived for – that once-in-a-lifetime opportunity of a trip to the Olympics. 


Egbert went to three – the first to Rome in 1960 where a bombastic Cassius Clay, later Muhammad Ali held centre stage, followed by the second to Tokyo four years later where Wilson Kiprugut Chuma won Kenya’s first Olympic medal, a bronze in the 800 metres behind the great Peter Snell and Bill Crothers - and in Mexico City in 1968 where Kipchoge Keino and Naftali Temu firmly established Kenya as a track power. The field hockey team didn’t win medals but finished eighth in Rome, sixth in Tokyo and eighth in Mexico.

Friends and teammates of this modest and fun-loving personality expressed their dismay when news filtered out of Canberra of his passing away.

Among them were two former teammates - Silu Fernandes and the master-of-dribble Hilary Fernandes - who lined up with and against him from a very young age at the famed Dr. Ribeiro Goan School, a conveyer belt of producing world-class hockey players under the guidance of coach-extraordinaire Anthony De Souza.

“We are very saddened at the passing of a great sportsman,’’ said the brilliant and uncompromising left-half Silu Fernandes, who was Egbert’s teammate at three Olympics. “It was such a pleasure to play alongside a hockey genius and great athlete.”


Hilary Fernandes, another teammate at three Olympics, added he will remember his buddy Egbert for his “sense of humour, his jovial and outgoing personality. He was a gifted athlete and since we played together in school we developed a strong bond that served us well in international games. He knew instinctively where my next pass would go.’’

I remember the great Pakistan centre half Saeed Anwar telling me after Egbert ran him haggard in Kenya’s unexpected 3-1 Test win at Nairobi City Park in the early 60s. “He made my life difficult and I will have to watch him closely in the rest of the matches and at the Olympics if we meet.”   The fact teams had to employ a strategy to nullify the threat Egbert posed every time he played is a lasting tribute to his world-class calibre.

In my opinion, Egbert was a star and possibly the best centre-forward Kenya ever produced.

Norman Da Costa is a former Sports Editor of the Daily Nation. He moved to Canada and joined the Toronto Star where he worked for 27 years.

He retired five years ago.

Daily Nation

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