All the news for Monday 29 December 2014
It’s make or break time for Pakistan hockey
By Abdul Majid
THIS OR NOTHING: The government has to seriously start funding the national sport or the PHF has to pull in sponsors otherwise the game’s future doesn’t seem any brighter. PHOTO: AFP
KARACHI: ‘Play for the title and the trophy because there is no prize money’. This was the statement given by Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary General Rana Mujahid to the players of the national sport as the National Hockey Championship kicked-off. The players who are playing international events thanks to the support of third parties, rather than the federation or the government, must have had flashbacks and some may have regretted the decision of opting for hockey as a career.
The turmoil that our national game is facing has been talked about so much that we have stopped giving an ear to it now. The adage of ignorance being bliss is followed as a thumb rule by the federal government, which is supposed to provide enough funds to the PHF to develop the sport.
In the recently concluded PHF congress, a summary of Rs500 million was approved to run the proceedings of the federation for 2015, but like all previous propositions to stabilise the federation, this one may also fall on deaf ears.
If we look at the payment chasm between cricket and hockey, a hockey player, while playing for the national team and his department, doesn’t earn enough monthly as the lowest-category cricketer does. While national hockey team players receive less than Rs1000 a day from PHF while training in the camps preparing for a tournament and are paid nothing during off-season, a category D cricketer with a central contract receives Rs100,000 as his monthly retainer.
In the ongoing national championship, where 16 departmental teams are participating, the PHF simply said it is out of funds and that there will be no prize money for the victors. The federation said that the title of national champions should be motivation enough but, as former Olympian Samiullah Khan rightfully said, monetary incentives are imperative for the players and the departments so that they field strong teams and the level of competition is high.
Otherwise, it would just be another tournament with no fruitful findings in terms of players and quality. Results like 8-0 on the first day as Army rolled over Balochistan and 5-0 of PAF against Sindh on the third will be expected more often and the game will further plummet in terms of value and mass appeal. A vicious spiral that would be difficult to address or stop.
Another step that the PHF needs to take is to pool in their available resources and structure the PR department to attract sponsors who can add eminence to the national sport. With two silver medals in two important events — the Asian Games and the Champions Trophy — up for display, it’s the prime opportunity for the federation to cash in on them and gain much-needed attention of sponsors so that their reliance on government funds can be reduced.
The PHF has time and again said that players are soon going to quit hockey if their monetary problems are not solved. With this in mind, it’s very important for the federation to push forward with all their strength in a drastic make-or-break move, or sit back and helplessly watch the national game plunge towards a bleak future and oblivion.
The Express Tribune
National hockey championship: Adnan Bilal guides PTV to big win
PTV beat K-P 6-3 in a high-scoring match. PHOTO: APP
KARACHI: A brilliant performance by Adnan Bilal, who scored four goals, guided PTV to a 6-3 victory against K-P on the third day of the 61st PSO National Hockey Championship at the Sialkot Hockey Stadium on Sunday.
K-P’s Abdul Hadi, who hit the back of the net thrice, opened the scoring with an early goal in the fourth minute of the game before Bilal equalised in the 19th. Just three minutes later, Aamir Shahzad gave PTV a 2-1 lead. The lead was short-lived though as Hadi struck back in the 24th minute to level the score at 2-2.
In the third quarter, PTV went on to score three more goals through Muhammad Fayyaz in the 32nd minute, while Bilal struck twice in the 37th and 39th minutes to end the quarter at 5-2. In the last quarter, Hadi completed his hat-trick but Bilal scored once again in the 53rd minute to ensure a 6-3 win for PTV.
In the other matches, PAF won their first match against Sindh 5-0 by two penalty-corner goals converted by Muhammad Zahid in the 21st and 26th minute, while Waseem Aslam, Shujat Ali and Muahmmad Fahad score a goal each in the 43rd, 45th and 51st minutes respectively to win the match 5-0.
SSGC defeated Balochistan 4-0 as Shakeel Abbasi scored in the eighth and 50th minute while Muhammad Ehsan and Yasir Shabbir struck the back of the net in the 16th and 38th minutes respectively.
The Express Tribune
Surjit Academy pound in six
Players fight for the ball during a match of the Mohinder Singh Munshi Tournament in Jalandhar on Sunday. Malkiat Singh
Jalandhar - Surjit Academy registered their second consecutive win, beating Panj Dariya Academy, Dhariwal, 6-0 on the second day of the Mohinder Singh Munshi Hockey Tournament at the PAP hockey stadium here today.
Satynam Singh (37th and 42nd minutes) scored a brace, while Shamsher Singh (9th), Vikramjit Singh (27th), Amanpreet Singh (29th) and Dilpreet Singh (48th) scored one goal each.
Earlier, SGPC Academy beat Ranjit Academy 2-1. Sukhdeep gave SGPC Academy the lead in the 4th minute. Gurkeerat Singh increased the lead in the 41st minute.
Ranjeet Academy fought back when Arshdeep Singh scored from penalty corner but SGPC Academy held on.
In the other big-scoring match, Sangrur Academy thrashed Rupnagar Academy 5-1. Ratwada Academy managed to get a walkover as Khalsa Academy failed to reach the venue on time.
Sangrur academy in second round of Liberals
Patiala: Azad Hockey Academy of Narwana, Haryana, overwhelmed North West Academy, Dhudike, 3-1 and Sangrur Hockey Academy beat Himachal XI 2-0 to advance to the second round of the 39th GS Bains Liberals All India Hockey Tournament at Nabha. Pardeep drew first blood for the Haryana outfit when he sent home a rebound off a penalty corner. Sumit scored twice in the 40th and the 63rd minutes to give a comfortable 3-0 lead to the Haryana team. Jagmohan reduced the lead in the 66th minute with a deft finish from close range. The second match was hotly contested but the Sangrur lads proved superior in their attacks and took a 2- 0 lead in the first half. Vijay converted a penalty corner in the 9th minute and Sharan scored in the 23rd minute.
Nitnaware scores brace as St Joseph's HS drub MAK Azad 5-0
NAGPUR: St Joseph's School posted a thumping 5-0 win over MAK Azad High School in the VHA Inter-School Hockey tournament at the VHA ground on Saturday.
Kunal Raute gave St Joseph's flying start by scoring in the first minute. Then in the 19th minute, Ravi Rahile made it 2-0. Five minutes later, Rohit Khobragade found the net to put his team in commanding position. Aniruddha Nitnaware thnen swung into action and netted a couple of goals.
Riding on Azeem Khan's hat-trick, Anjuman English HS beat St Anthony School 3-2. Azeem found the target in sixth, 15th and 29th minutes. For St. Anthony, Pankaj Mishra (22nd) and Abhishek Sharma (26th min) scored a goal apiece.
In another outing, St John's HS rallied to down Royal Gondwana 2-1. In the 14th minute, Shreyans Zodke put Royal Gondwana ahead.
However, in the second half St John's bounced back. Raj Somalwar and Devyanshu Kanojiya were the goal scorers for St John's.
Jingle Bells defeated St Xavier's 1-0 thanks to a goal by Mukesh Singh.
The Times of India
Terry Walsh cleared
Less than a month after Terry Walsh sent a legal notice to USA Field Hockey (USAFH), the former India men’s hockey coach has claimed through his lawyers that the USFAH has cleared him of any wrongdoing.
Walsh had sent the notice to USAFH seeking redaction of the financial irregularity allegations against him, which formed the basis of Hockey India president Narinder Batra refusing to extend his tenure with the Indian team.
In a statement on Saturday from his lawyers IP Business Laws, Inc, in California, the Australian reiterated his innocence. “We are glad to report that the attorney for USA Field Hockey (Mr. Steve Smith) wrote, on December 10, 2014: ‘Finally, the assertion that USAFH criticised Mr. Walsh’s failure to obtain a software license for Sportstec software directly from Sportstec on behalf of USAFH is simply incorrect.’ This confirms that there were no financial issues related to the services rendered by Mr. Walsh for USAFH,” the statement read.
Have learned to control my speed: SV Sunil
It won’t be exactly out of place if one says that SV Sunil at times, leaves us frustrated given the talent and the kind of speed he possesses. But the 25-year-old Coorg lad seems to have turned over a new leaf- first excelling in the four Test series in Australia and later in the Champions Trophy in Bhubaneshwar.
Sunil was the cynosure of all eyes at Perth where he dished out a magnificent reverse shot match-winner, following a stupendous run in the second Test before scoring again in the third Test. At the Champions Trophy, he gave India the lead against Olympic silver medallist Netherlands, which panned out to be their first win over the Dutch in twenty-eight years.
The Indian striker shunned his ‘often seen loose play’ upfront and came up with a disciplined effort be it in scoring goals or setting it up for his team-mates. “I have been working on my game. My coaches have been telling me to control my speed as I tend to show promise in moving up but my lack of control ensures the ball goes out of play and the attacking move is wasted,” he puts forth his thoughts in an exclusive interview.
The demure Indian forward realizes the importance of making the most of his burst of speed. “Speed is my lethal weapon for my opponents and I want to use it judiciously and not overdo it so that my team reaps the benefits of it. I have learnt to control my speed,” he observes.
Sunil, who recently moved to Bharat Petroleum, which also features team-mates Manpreet Singh and Birender Lakra, feels playing the full-strength top sides will put India in an advantageous position ahead of the 2016 Olympics. “Look, we have played these top sides and we now know their strengths and weaknesses. Our video analyst will help us in figuring how we can outmaneuver them in our upcoming tourneys, especially the 2016 Rio Olympics which is less than two years away.”
He has no doubts that India can really turn it on at the Rio Olympics if they maintain the consistency over the next seventeen months. “Consistency is the key and if the same bunch of players perform as we have been doing in recent times, there is no reason why we can’t win a medal in Rio,” he exudes confidence.
Dwelling on India’s superb Test series win over Australia, Sunil believes the team showed a lot of character after losing the opening Test. “Our coach was very angry when we lost the first Test 0-4, but the boys turned it around winning the next three Tests.”
He agrees frequent encounters with world champions Australia have inculcated plenty of self-belief in the side. “We have played Australia nine times and lost the first one 2-7 in New Delhi after taking a 2-0 in the first twenty-odd minutes. If you look closely, we have narrowed the gap and ended up winning three and losing six. Obviously playing top sides regularly helps and in this case regularly facing Australia worked in our favour,” he signs off.
Danny Kerry: looking ahead to 2015
Danny Kerry half time talk at Investec London Cup 450
After catching up with Great Britain and England men’s head coach Bobby Crutchley last week, it’s now time to hear from the women’s head coach Danny Kerry. Read on to find out what Kerry thinks about the recent Champions Trophy result, the weekly training environment and what’s in store for the squad in 2015.
Progress made in 2014: “Since September, we’ve established a very high standard in our daily training environment which has a clear set of priorities and focus areas. The athletes review their training every week to ensure that the environment we’ve created is at a level which will allow us to compete for medals at world level and also that we are progressing towards the objectives of that particular block of work.”
Specific targets from training: “We’ve seen considerable growth in areas that are easy to measure such as strength and conditioning and we have also seen similar progression in key performance indicators through our match play, in test series and most recently at the Champions Trophy.”
On selection for the Champions Trophy: “We selected a group of athletes who had trained well throughout the three month block following the Commonwealth Games. This tournament allowed us the opportunity to give developmental experience to a number of young players, which in turn has given a greater insight into what it takes to win at this level and it has created a greater depth of experience through the whole squad.”
Kerry's view on the Champions Trophy, game by game:
2-1 loss vs Australia. “Despite conceding in the final moments of the game this did not detract from the good volume of attacking opportunities we created throughout the game which is something we had not previously seen during this Olympic cycle.”
1-1 vs Germany. “A great opportunity for the newest squad members to understand a very different tactical challenge and the players really stepped up in that regard. A good team performance.”
4-1 loss vs Argentina. “Played in front of a vociferous home crowd, which provided some unique experiential learning for the group. We created three excellent opportunities early on in the third quarter when the scores were even, but the Argentinian keeper made a number of outstanding saves and they took their chances well in the closing stages.”
Quarter Final: 3-1 loss vs New Zealand. “Performance was disappointing following the group stages. On reflection we were structurally not in good shape in defence and that led to New Zealand being able to control the ball from their outlet.”
5-8 classification match: 3-1 victory v Japan: “Demonstrated the flexibility of this group to apply the good game understanding of how to break down a deep-line defence. This game [in particular] was played in especially hot conditions and we played smartly given the conditions.”
5th v 6tt: 1-1 full-time, 3-2 shoot-out victory v China. “Another very hot game against a team who, like Japan, sapped energy out of the game by playing very conservatively. We took a deserved lead with one of the goals of the tournament, a great team effort which started on our baseline. Successful shoot-out and great to see Laura Unsworth very confidently score the first sudden-death attempt and Maddie [Hinch] saving well from China to secure the win.”
Overall: “Being a player short after losing Alex Danson just seven minutes into the first game and without six other medallists from the London Olympics [who were not selected for various reasons] I feel we have grown in depth, developed an understanding of what it takes to win and are now well placed as we prepare for the Olympic qualifying tournament in June as Great Britain.”
Looking ahead to the next 12 months
Areas to work on: “Penalty corner conversion remains a priority for us, along with a continued focus on open play goal scoring. These two areas were very much a main part of our training in the lead up to the Champions Trophy, however we will now further focus on aspects of delivering these under pressure and ensuring our daily training environment recreates the specificity needed for this development.”
Focus on leadership: “We will continue to grow the quality of our performance culture. As part of this we will continue to develop aspects of leadership and followership and Kate Richardson-Walsh rejoining the programme from January [following a 3 month sabbatical] will no doubt bring her experience and qualities to this endeavour.”
Switching to Great Britain and looking ahead to 2015: “I’m looking forward to being able to play regularly as Great Britain from January onwards as we’ve largely only been able to do this in training during a period where we’ve predominantly being competing as home nations. As ever the combination of talent across the wider Great Britain squad is an exciting prospect and brings extra competitiveness to selection and raises the bar of performance even further.”
“With test matches against Spain, Ireland and Belgium plus the Investec London Cup on Olympic Park, I believe we have an excellent combination of focussed practice and match play that will allow us to develop a strong team for the World League Semi Finals [Olympic Qualifiers] in June.”
England Hockey Board Media release
Full schedule of activities for hockey juniors in 2015
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: A comprehensive and interruption-free programme has been lined up for the National Juniors in their build-up to next year’s Junior Asia Cup hockey tournament.
The tournament, to be held in Kuantan from Nov 12-22, is a qualifier for the 2016 Junior World Cup.
There are now 27 players in the training squad. However, three of them – Meor Mohd Azuan, Mohamed Shahril Saabah and Mohd Haziq Shamsul – are with the senior national team.
Juniors chief coach A. Arulselvaraj said on Sunday most of the Juniors would be available for training and competition from next month until the Junior Asia Cup.
“Only eight of them will be involved in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (which starts on Jan 16) this time. Previously, the majority of the juniors had club commitments.
“The programme will start next month. We will have the players tested by the National Sports Institute (ISN) before going full steam with the preparations,” he said.
Under the programme, the team will also go for two tours – Australia in April and Europe in May – and then participate in the Sultan of Johor Cup in October.
Arulselvaraj said the juniors will also play as a team in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) in August.
“We requested for a place in this year’s MHL, but the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) shot it down. But they have agreed to let us play in next year’s edition. It will be a good platform to get the players in shape for the Junior Asia Cup.
“The players need to play as many matches as possible. With this programme, there will be ample practice matches for the players to gain experience,” he added.
The team are now in South Korea for a week-long training camp on the invitation of the Korean Olympic Council (KOC).
On their return, they will play two friendlies with the visiting Poland senior team who are heading to Singapore for the World Hockey League Round Two.
The juniors will also play matches against the visiting Japanese Juniors in February.
“The Korean stint was a last-minute invitation and since all expenses were paid by the KOC we decided to go. The invitation came through the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM),” added Arulselvaraj.
The Star of Malaysia