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News for 24 January 2015

All the news for Saturday 24 January 2015

Japan play underdogs

By Jugjet Singh

JAPAN coach Kang Keon-Wook played down his team's chances against Malaysia in the semi-finals of the World League Round Two at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in Singapore today.

The Korean, who led his team to a silver medal in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, felt Malaysia are a totally different side from the one which he saw in action last year.

Even though Malaysia beat Japan 4-1 in the Asian Games last year, Kang was really impressed with the progress made by the national players since.

The other factor for the Korean to claim the underdogs tag is because he had to make eight changes to his Asian Games side due to injuries to key players.

"I believe Malaysia will be our toughest opponents in this tournament as they have improved so much since I last saw them at the Asian Games. There is more understanding, and the players give their all in every match and this can be seen from the impressive scorelines," said Kang.

Japan were beaten 3-2 by Poland in Group B, while Malaysia enter the semi-finals with a perfect record after whacking Ukraine 5-1, Oman 7-0, Singapore 16-1 and Mexico 10-1.

Kang's men beat Bangladesh 5-1, Mexico 6-0 and Ukraine 5-0 to play in the semis.

"The biggest problem with Japan, since I took over for the last two years, is the constant changes in players every few months due to injury, club commitment and also early retirement. I had to select eight new players for this tournament because many of the best picked up injuries playing in the local league.

"You can see from the scoreline, Malaysia are really playing well. But then again, we have nothing to lose, and everything to gain in this match, so we will not make it easy," said Kang.

Malaysia must beat Japan to claim an early ticket to the World League Round Two, even though three are in offer in Singapore.

Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai is optimistic his charges will not let the country down: "As usual the instructions will be not to take any team lightly and Japan can be dangerous if we allow them space. We need to score early goals to douse the fire, and I am confident the forward-line will make the chances count."

That is the biggest problem with the team right now, as the forward-line has missed too many sitters even though the opponents were nothing to shout about thus far.

In the worse case scenario, if Malaysia lose against Japan today, they still have the bronze medal to fight for and their highly likely opponents are Oman, as Poland are tipped to sail into the final.


Fifth-Eighth -- Mexico 2 Ukraine 4; Bangladesh 3 Singapore 0.

Jan 24: Semi-finals -- Malaysia v Japan (3pm); Poland v Oman (5.30pm).

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Crunch time for Malaysia in World League hockey qualifier

By Aftar Singh

Malaysia will be banking on Faizal Saari, seen here scoring in the match against Singapore, to deliver the goals in the World League Round Two semi-finals against Japan on Saturday.

SINGAPORE: The honeymoon period is over for Malaysia and their real challenge begins on Saturday when they take on Japan in the World League Second Round semi-finals at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.

A place in the final will secure Malaysia a spot in the World League semi-finals either in Belgium or Argentina in June.

The World League is part of the qualifying tournament for next year’s Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Top seeds Malaysia, who are ranked 12th in the world, have been in smashing form netting a whopping 38 goals and conceding three in four matches.

Tai Beng Hai’s boys outplayed Ukraine (5-1), hammered Oman (7-0) and thrashed Singapore (16-1) in their group matches. In the quarter-finals, they trounced Mexico 10-1.

Malaysia last played Japan at the Incheon Asian Games last September where they won 4-1.

Despite the impressive scoreline, Beng Hai has warned his players not to take the speedy Japanese lightly.

“We are the top seeds and the pressure will be on us to win and secure a place in the final,” said Beng Hai.

“We can expect a strong challenge as Japan play a fast attacking game and they have beaten us before.

“Although they are here with some new players they are still a tough nut to crack.

“I am concerned with our defence as they gave too much room in the game against Mexico. We cannot allow this against Japan as they have good forwards.

“The defenders will have to buck up and tighten up the loose ends,” added Beng Hai.

Malaysia will again rely on Faizal Saari to deliver the goals. The nippy forward has scored in every match and is currently the top scorer with 10 goals.

Japan coach Kang Keon-wook said he has high respect for Malaysia.

“Malaysia are just unstoppable. They are playing their best hockey at the moment,” said the Korean, who has been coaching Japan for the last three years.

“They also have the psychological advantage as they beat us in the Asian Games. We are here with eight new faces so the challenge will be on us to stop Malaysia.”

Poland, ranked 18th in the world and the third seed, will start as favourites against Oman in the other match-up.

The Star of Malaysia

Mohd Haziq going for goals in WHL semis

By Aftar Singh

National junior hockey player Mohd Haziq Samsul is doing well in the World League Round Two meet in Singapore. - Filepic

SINGAPORE: Youngster Mohd Haziq Samsul is enjoying his break from the classroom.

The 20-year-old student, currently playing in the World Hockey League Second Round in Singapore, has thus far scored four goals in three matches.

It was also the first time he has scored for the national team. He made his debut in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games last July.

Haziq was supposed to enrol for a degree in education at the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia last September but decided to take a one-semester break to train with national team.

And Haziq was happy he made the right decision.

“It feels really good to score my first four goals. It is a really good morale-booster,” said Haziq, who have played nine times for the national team.

“I would like to thank the coach (Tan Beng Hai) for having faith in me and I am glad I did not let him down.”

The goals have whetted Haziq’s appetite and he hopes to sound the board against Japan.

“I scored two against Mexico in the last eight (quarter-finals) and hopefully I can do the same against Japan tomorrow (today).

“The team are confident of beating them as we are having a great run at the moment. I’m optimistic we will qualify for the final and earn a place in the World League Semi-finals,” added Haziq, who will lead the national juniors for the Sultan of Johor Cup in October and at the Asian Junior Cup in Kuantan in November.

The Asian Junior Cup is the qualifying tournament for next year’s Junior World Cup in New Delhi.

The Star of Malaysia

S’pore hockey official denies ‘pay-to-go-hospital’ claims

by S. Ramaguru

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Hockey Federation (SHF) have clarified that they did not seek any payment from Mohamed Firhan Azhaari for the use of an ambulance after the player suffered an injury during the World Hockey League Second Round match.

An unnamed Malaysian official was quoted as saying that Singapore officials demanded S$85 (RM230) for the ambulance ride.

“We have investigated this matter and found it to be untrue. So I am very surprised with the claim,” said SHF president D. Mathavan.

Mathavan added that each team have to bear the cost of the hospital charges only.

“The teams were fully briefed on the matter and we had informed them clearly that any ambulance charges will be borne by the organisers.”
Firhan was hit by a stick during Malaysia’s 10-1 win over Mexico and suffered a cut on his upper lip.

The Star of Malaysia

SA hockey women and Belgium all-square after first Test

JONATHAN COOK at Hartleyvale

SA forward Bernie Coston on attack against Belgium during the first Test at Hartlevale in Cape Town Friday.

The Investec South Africa women’s hockey team and Belgium fought out a 1-1 draw in the exciting first Test of the six-Test series at Hartleyvale Friday night after the Belgians led 1-0 at half-time.

The goals came from a superbly struck Stephanie de Groof penalty corner in the second minute while SA’s Lilian du Plessis equalised in the 33rd minute with a well-taken field goal.

Belgium started strongly, winning a penalty corner in the second minute – and it was flawless in its execution - De Groof’s slap-shot cannoning into the backboard (1-0).

SA came back into the game and launched a number of dangerous attacks without reward, as did the Belgians, while there was some solid defending from both sides as attackers strived to find a way through.

Early into the second chukka and the defence did well to repel a dangerous De Groof PC strike before SA goalpoacher Dirkie Chamberlain got in a shot on the turn. The end-to-end action did not let up and after keeper Sanani Mangisa had made a good save, another De Groof PC was well monitored.

Belgium had the upper hand as the second quarter ticked down – and half time drew near. Barbara Nelen, Manon Simons and Jill Boon were posing problems upfront but defenders Lisa Deetlefs, captain for the match Nicolene Terblanche, Marcelle Manson and Nicole Walraven held firm.

Into the third chukka and a determined run and well-struck cross from the right by Sulette Damons was coolly trapped and slotted into the far corner of the goalbox by Du Plessis for 1-1 in the 33rd minute.

SA continued their resurgence and a number of opportunities came and went, not to say that replacement SA keeper Anelle van Deventer was idle at the other end. Matters became increasingly physical as both sides fought for advantage but at the third quarter’s end it was still 1-1.

In the thrilling fourth and final chukka Van Deventer made a stunning triple save that had the crowd on its feet. No amount of effort could break the deadlock and the final score was 1-1

The Cape Town Summer Series kicks up a gear Saturday and Sunday with double-header  afternoon Test matches that involve the SA men and women in three of the four clashes, while the other one is very special – Holland men versus Belgium men. Sunday is a back-to-back affair with both SA teams in action.

All at Hartleyvale
Saturday - Men: Holland vs Belgium (3pm); Women: SA vs Belgium (5pm).
Sunday – Women: SA vs Chile (2pm); Men: SA vs Ireland (4pm).

Investec SA: Sanani Mangisa (GK), Shelley Russell, Lisa Deetlefs, Lilian du Plessis, Nicolene Terblanche (capt), Erin Hunter, Jade Mayne, Bernie Coston, Sulette Damons, Nicole Walraven, Dirkie Chamberlain. Rolling subs: Anelle van Deventer (GK), Marcelle Manson, Candice Manuel, Illse Davids, Quanita Bobbs, Line Malan, Tanya Britz.

Belgium: Aisling D’Hooghe, Anne-Sophie Scheemaekere, Aline Fobe, Stephanie de Groof, Anouk Raes, Judith Vandermeiren, Lieselotte van Lindt (capt), Alix Gerniers, Barbara Nelen, Manon Simons, Jill Boon. Rolling subs: Megane Simons (GK), Louise Cavenaile, Emilie Sinia, Stephanie van den Borre, Anne-Sophie Weyns, Louise Versavel, Joanne Peeters.

Umpires: Tanja Schafer, Melissa Taylor.

Tickets: R30. Gates open one hour before the first whistle.

SA Hockey Association media release

Hockey fans to pack Wembley this weekend

(Photo: Peter Savage)

The indoor season in England reaches a climax this weekend as East Grinstead men go in search of their seventh consecutive title and East Grinstead women seek to join them as indoor champions. For the hundreds of fans packing the SSE Wembley Arena on Sunday, the excitement surrounding this year’s Hockey 5s is hitting fever pitch, as the last teams standing prepare to do battle in the climax to the English indoor hockey season.

Wembley Arena is a fitting location for this exciting event. Located in north London, next to the iconic Wembley football pitch, the Arena has been home to sporting events since it was built in 1934 to house the British Empire Games - later known as the Commonwealth Games. Seating 12,500 people, the Arena was refurbished in 2006 and is the second biggest indoor arena in the capital city after the O2 arena.

A full house is expected for the women’s final and the men’s semi-finals and final. It will be a day of stiff competition with reigning champions East Grinstead men challenged by Sevenoaks, Reading and Canterbury, all seeking to spoil the party; while Bowdon Hightown will be hoping to banish memories of last year’s finals, where they crashed to a 9-2 defeat at the hands of Reading.

In the women’s final, not only will East Grinstead need a ploy to stop the league’s top goal scorer Sally Walton from hitting the mark, they will also need to find a way past the athletic Amy Tennant in goal for Bowdon Hightown. Former Great Britain international Tina Cullen said: “In the semi-final against Canterbury, Amy was brilliant. She saved three certain goals in the first half and then at the end she kept us in it. She’s played superbly all year but that was her best performance. Canterbury said she was awesome.”

FIH site

It's the Hockey 5s Finals Day: And it's live!

East Grinstead's captain Niall Stott, top-scorer, pic by Josh Dixon

This weekend, the crème de la crème of the domestic indoor teams will make their way to The SSE Arena, Wembley to battle it out to be crowned 2015 Hockey 5s champions.

Bowdon Hightown and East Grinstead are in action in the women's final, whilst East Grinstead, Sevenoaks, Canterbury and Reading will be vying for the men's title. It's all live on our website.

There are still tickets available, which you can buy if you click here, however if you are unable to make it to the event, all the action is right here on our website, live and uninterrupted! Just follow this link and keep an eye on the drama from all four games.

England Hockey Board Media release

12.30 - Men's Semi Final 1: East Grinstead v Reading

13.45 - Men's Semi Final 2: Sevenoaks v Canterbury

15.15 - Women's Championship Final: East Grinstead v Bowdon Hightown

16.45 - Men's Championship Final

England Hockey Board Media release

Men's Hockey 5s Semi-Final Preview: Canterbury

Canterbury celebrate reaching Hockey 5s final

Last year’s runners up are back again for another shot at the title. A side who certainly know where the goal is, they scored 60 times in the qualifying phase, just one shy of East Grinstead, the competition’s most prolific team.

The ever-impressive Kwan Browne is still going strong, bringing his fierce will to win, incredible skill and eye for goal to the table with nine goals so far. Ben Allberry has had another good year in front of goal, too, bagging 18 to make him the second top scorer in the competition.
Canterbury are an impressive indoor outfit, of that there is no doubt. Is this the year the Kent side go from the nearly men to winning the big prize.

Tom Richford, Canterbury Captain:

“We’ve performed well in places, but we know we haven’t performed at the level we’re capable of. When we play to the best of our ability we’re arguably the best indoor team in the league so we think we’ve got every chance of doing really well at Wembley.”

League position 2014/15: 3rd

Top goal scorer: Ben Allberry [18 goals].

Star players: Kwan Browne and Ben Allberry.

Route to the final: Won 5, drew 0, lost 3, scored 60.

England Hockey Board Media release

Men's Hockey 5s Semi-Final Preview: Reading

Reading defend a penalty corner in Hockey 5s

A side containing a number of new faces, Reading had to wait until the final game of the qualifying phase to pick up the points they needed to book their place at finals day. They made a slow start, falling to defeats in their opening two games, but once they hit their straps they were a force to be reckoned with as their bright, inventive young contingent blended superbly with seasoned campaigners such as Richard Mantell, John Jackson and Richard Springham. By their own admission, they’ve been “pleasantly surprised” with how well they’ve done to get this far. Now they are in the semi-finals, in the cauldron of noise that Wembley promises to be, anything can happen.

Chris Newman, Reading Captain:
“We weren’t entirely sure how the league would pan out for us this year given the changes in the team from last season, but I’ve been really pleasantly surprised with the way that the younger guys have stepped up to the challenge and we’ve got better and better across the two weekends.”

“We haven’t managed to score as many goals last year, but we set the foundations of being really disciplined and staying strong in defence from the very start of the league and I think that’s been the key to us getting to Wembley again.”

League position 2014/15: 4th

Top goal scorer: John Jackson [11 goals]

Star players: Richard Springham and Tommy Alexander [GK].

Route to the final: Played 8, won 4, drew 1, lost 3, scored 41.

England Hockey Board Media release

Mumbai holds Warriors

Harmanpreet Singh (centre) of Dabang Mumbai celebrates scoring against Punjab Warriors in the Hockey India League in Mumbai. Photo: Vivek Bendre

Dabang Mumbai and last year’s runner-up Punjab Warriors played out an exciting 3-3 draw in their opening game of the Hero Hockey India League at the Mahindra Stadium here on Friday.

Mumbai’s junior India international Harmanpreet Singh converted a penalty-corner in the seventh minute, which was neautralised by Australia’s Jamie Dwyer (32nd minute).

Australian Glenn Turner, Belgian Tom Boon, and Dutchman Floris Evers spelt constant danger to the Warriors citadel.

However, Warriors found the equaliser in the 33rd minute through Dwyer until Mumbai went ahead again through India international Chinglensana Singh.

Then came Sandeep Singh’s goals for Warriors and Chinglensana’s last-minute strike.

Other result: At Lucknow: Delhi Waveriders 2 (Steven Edwards, Talwinder Singh) drew with Uttar Pradesh Wizards 2 (Jeroen Hertzberger, Ramandeep Singh).

The Hindu

Punjab fail to hang on

Punjab Warriors player Sandeep Singh celebrates a goal during their match against Dabang Mumbai in Mumbai on Friday. PTI

Hosts Dabang Mumbai and last year's runners-up Punjab Warriors played out an exciting 3-3 draw in their opening game of the Hero Hockey India League at the Mahindra Stadium here today. Mumbai went ahead twice, only to see Punjab draw level on both occasions. And then, the visitors took lead through Sandeep Singh to raise visions of a Punjab win. But the home team scored in the final minute through Chinglensana Singh to earn a draw.
The first goal was scored in the first quarter by Mumbai's junior India international Harmanpreet Singh (7th minute) via a penalty corner, but Jamie Dwyer scored an equaliser in the 32nd minute.

Mumbai soaked up some pressure in the opening quarter before starting to assert. With the half line providing excellent passes, Australian Glenn Turner and Belgian Tom Boon — along with Dutchman Floris Evers — posed constant danger to the Punjab citadel.

Punjab came into their own early in the second quarter and came close to scoring twice. On the first occasion, Yousuf Affan's deflection went wide off the far post, and then Mumbai's Irish custodian David Harte foiled SV Sunil's goalmouth deflection in the nick of time.

The teams kept pressing hard, until the last minute of the match when the hosts netted an equaliser.

UP Wizards hold Delhi Waveriders to a draw

Lucknow: Defending champions Delhi Waveriders were held to a 2-2 draw by Uttar Pradesh Wizards here today. After a barren first quarter, UP Wizards took lead through a penalty stroke in the second quarter.

Waveriders, however, made a quick comeback with Steven Edwards scoring the leveller. Delhi went ahead again but the home team home side managed to level the scoreline with another field goal.

HIL: Today’s match
Dabang Mumbia vs Ranchi Rays, 7 pm

Live stream on Star Sports

The Tribune

Mumbai, Punjab play out exciting 3-3 draw in HIL

MUMBAI: Hosts Dabang Mumbai and last year's runners-up Punjab Warriors played out an exciting 3-3 draw in their opening game of the Hero Hockey India League at the Mahindra Stadium on Friday.

Mumbai went ahead twice only for Punjab to pull it back on both occasions and then the visitors took the lead through the first of two goals by India discard Sandeep Singh to raise visions of a Punjab come-from-behind win.

But the home team had other ideas as they scored in the final minute through their international Chinglensana Singh, his second goal of the game, to earn the draw.

The first goal was scored in the first quarter by Mumbai's junior India international Harmanpreet Singh (7th minute) via a penalty corner which was equalized in the third quarter by Australia's Jamie Dwyer (32nd minute).

Mumbai soaked up some early pressure from the Warriors in the opening quarter before starting to assert.

With the half line providing excellent passes, Australian Glenn Turner and Belgian Tom Boon -- along with Dutchman Floris Evers -- spelt constant danger to the Punjab citadel.

The first goal of the match was scored in the eighth minute by junior India international Harmanpreet Singh when Mumbai earned the first of three short corners in the first 15-minute period.

The award came following an obstruction by Malak Singh who tripped ex-India player Arjun Halappa just inside the 25 yard line on the right and Harmanpreet's drag-flick beat Dutch great Jaap Stockman under the Punjab bar hands down.

Turner, part of the World Cup winning Australia squad in 2010 and 2014, almost made it 2-0 with three minutes left in the opening quarter. But his first-time deflection off a diagonal through from the left by junior international Santa Singh sailed inches wide of the right post.

Mumbai earned two short corners in succession close to the end of the quarter but both went waste.

Punjab came into their own early in the second quarter and came close to scoring twice. On the first occasion, Yousuf Affan's deflection from the left went wide of the far post and then Mumbai's Irish custodian David Harte foiled international S V Sunil's goalmouth deflection in the nick of time.

Towards the end of the second quarter, Stockmann brought off a brilliant save to foil Boon's stiff close ranger off a pass from Turner on the right.

Crossing over, Punjab found the equaliser in the 33rd minute of the game when Jamie Dwyer took advantage of a weak clearance on the left and beat Mumbai goalie Harte with a rising shot to the far post.

Punjab, by then, were combining better than in the first two quarters but then were lucky to see Vinaya's angular push from the right of the circle go agonizingly past the far post.

Punjab then held sway with repeated forays into the Mumbai area but it was the home team that took the lead again against the run of play through India international Chinglensana Singh whose top of circle shot brooked no stopping.

Punjab, then, continued attacking Mumbai in right earnest. They earned the first of their two penalty corners very late in the match, failed off the first when Sandeep Singh's drag flick was blocked by Harte with his outstretched left leg.

However, off the second -- taken by Australian Christopher Ciriello -- Punjab were awarded a penalty stroke as Mumbai captain Vikram Pillay stopped the flick with his foot.

Sandeep made amends by coming off the bench to find the mark to the right of Harte to make it 2-2 four minutes before the final hooter.

It was Sandeep again who raised visions of a win for Punjab when he beat Harte under the Mumbai bar with his penalty corner shot to sound the board in the 59th minute.

With just a minute left, Harmanpreet Singh provided a superb long-range diagonal from just inside the half line on the right into the rival 'D' which was connected with a first-time shot by Chinglensana to the roof of the net, giving no chance to Stockmann.

The Times of India

Uttar Pradesh Wizards hold Delhi Waveriders to 2-2 draw

LUCKNOW: Defending champions Delhi Waveriders were held to a 2-2 draw by Uttar Pradesh Wizards in a high-voltage Hero Hockey India League match at Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Friday.

After a barren first quarter, the opening goal of the match was scored in the second quarter when Uttar Pradesh Wizards were awarded a penalty stroke and Jeroen Hertzberger made no mistake from the opportunity.

Delhi Waveriders made a rapid comeback as Steven Edwards soon scored a leveller in the same quarter, breaching the sturdy guard of goalkeeper PR Sreejesh. Despite a number of attempts by both the teams, no further goals were scored as they were levelled 1-1 at half time.

Delhi Waveriders opened the third quarter with swift attacks while ensuring that the ball remained in their possession but that period did not yield any goal in either of the team's favour.

In the fourth quarter, Talwinder Singh sliced-in a beautiful field goal handing over the lead to the defending champions from Delhi.

Unfazed by this, the home side managed to level the scoreline with another field goal that came from the stick of Ramandeep Singh.

Delhi Waveriders were awarded a penalty corner in the dying minutes of the match but they could not utilize the chance.

Speaking after the match, Delhi Waveriders captain Sardar Singh said, "We have performed really well in the last two editions of the League and we want to continue the same. We made a good start today but because of a few mistakes the match ended in a draw. We will work on our mistakes and perform better in the next match."

Uttar Pradesh Wizards captain V R Raghunath said, "The start was good but it was tough to play against the defending champions. There was a bit of pressure but we eventually managed to tackle it."

The Times of India

Dabang Mumbai to link up with Dutch club Bloemendaal

Bovelander, de Nooijer to work with juniors, coaches

The Netherlands hockey great Teun de Nooijer presented with Dabang Mumbai jersey by team owner Radha Kapoor to announce the association with the HIL franchise and Dutch club HC Bloemendaal.

Floris Jan Bovelander and Teun de Nooijer were standout performers in their respective area of expertise on the hockey turf. The two Dutch aces from different generations will team up to work with junior players and coaches across three Indian States — Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat.

Dabang Mumbai, the franchise making its debut in Hockey India League 2015, created a situation for these two world stars to share their knowledge and experience here as part of a tie-up with HC Bloemendaal, a noted club in Netherlands with 13 league titles, besides Euro Hockey League victories.

Both Dutch greats were clear that getting India back to the top in world hockey is necessary for the game to boom. “India is doing quite well at the top, winning the Asian Games gold (direct entry into Rio Olympic Games men’s hockey). It is a little bit empty under the top,” remarked Bovelander.

Teun de Nooijer, named three-time ‘Player of the Year’ by FIH, observed: “Indian hockey talent needs a structure. We (Bloemendaal and Dabang Mumbai) plan to do it together with a development plan so that kids playing with passion can get better.”

As part of a Technical Alliance Partnership with the DoIt Sports Management owned franchise, these two will work with juniors and coaches twice annually during the vacations, starting with Mumbai kids and coaches attached to schools, then spread to DM catchment areas for grassroots development.

DM team mentor Viren Rasquinha explained, “Bovelander and de Nooijer have already conducted a special clinic for coaches attached to schools, followed by a clinic for kids where the entire Mumbai team was present. Twice a year during our vacations, the Bloemendaal team will come to work with our kids and coaches, starting with Mumbai and spreading to the three States.”

Boverlander explained their outlook when conducting kids clinics. “The kids should learn not just skills of hockey, but also skills of life. Hockey will teach them to play by the rules, commitment and result in their development. In Holland, that is how we look at development. Our intent is the same here.”

HC Bloemendaal key officials, Hendrik Goeman Borgesius (chairman) and Joof Verhees (president of Topmusch project) explained that “success” was part of the club culture and it extended to DM, whose owner Radha Kapoor was also present. The two Dutch hockey greats and key club officials were presented with DM jerseys on Friday in the presence of chief coach Valentine Altenburg, Mumbai Hockey Association secretary Ram Singh Rathore.

The Hindu

I seek improvement every day, says Sardar

Harpreet Kaur Lamba

India hockey skipper Sardar Singh is known for his work ethic. Following every session, the 26-year old midfielder breaks away from the squad and spends some time on his own. This period is dedicated to working on his weaknesses, fine-tuning his shots, mastering difficult angles and even fitness.

Today, Sardar is symbolic of India’s progress at the world level. In 2014, India put up a consistent show picking up medals at the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games, besides defeating world number 1 Australia in an away series.
Sardar credits the good work to the team’s "improved technical acumen" and "working together as a unit".

From a teenager who was all set to leave for USA in search of a job to the youngest Indian captain at the age of 22, Sardar reflects on his journey and much more on a day he was named as a Padma Shri recepient. Excerpts:

On his plans to settle down in the US: At the age of 16-17, I was playing hockey at the Sant Nagar Academy in our village. My room mate decided to go to USA and I thought I would also find a job there. Besides, there were a few people who told me that I did not have it in me to become an India player. But then I got selected to the junior team and then the seniors. I believe I am lucky that the Almighty charted out a different path for me. Today, I am everything because of hockey.

On his success: I never thought I would reach here. But one thing that has been constant in my life is the will to improve. Right from my junior days to being the India captain, I seek improvement in myself and want to learn more. I think that has helped me move ahead in life.

On India’s consistent show in 2014: We have a lot of youngsters who can go on to play for another 10 years. Players like Akashdeep, Manpreet... They are very fit and are keen to learn. There was a lot of improvement in the fitness area under coach Terry Walsh and the players understood that the combination of skills and fitness would take us ahead.

Besides a professional approach on the field, a lot depends on team bonding as well. During my early days in the team, there were different groups. Even on the dinner table, players from the south and the Punjab players sat separately. All that needed to change. High performance director Roelant Oltmans brought that change and we adapted it as a team.

On the need to build on the good work: At this point, the team need a good coach ahead of the 2016 Olympics. We have started to play European teams regularly and that is the only way to success. Also, we require more youngsters for a stronger pool, who could be picked from the HIL or the domestic tournaments. We have to think big and believe in our abilities.

On his own game: I played my best hockey under Jose Brasa in 2009-2010. Long ball vision and passing are my strongest points and he fielded me as a free man, which suited my game. The next lot of coaches thought I was best suited to midfield and I adjusted my game accordingly. But given a chance, I would still love to play in the same position.

On captaincy: I believe in give and take, rather than being a strict captain. I talk to the players regularly and ask for their opinion. If a player lacks in something, I give him my advice and expect the same from them.

On future plans: I have played more than 200 matches for India. And my target is to play for another four to five years. Now I realise that I have to slow down a little bit to ensure that I am able to play at the top level for at least four more years. Usually, I don’t like to get substituted in a 60-minute game, but after the coaches’ advice, now I take breaks during matches to make sure I am fit for key tournaments.

The Asian Age

Shakeel steers SSGC to victory in COAS Hockey Cup

Mohsin Ali

RAWALPINDI - Thanks to a brace by Olympian Shakeel Abbasi, Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) carved out sensational 3-0 victory over Army Juniors, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) outclassed PAF 4-1 while star-studied Wapda drew against Navy on the second day of the 1st Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Challenge Hockey Cup here at Army Hockey Stadium Friday.

The event is a joint venture of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) and Army Sports Directorate. In the first match, SSGC beat Army (Juniors) 3-0. Although score line showed a clear 3-0 victory in favor of SSGC, but Army junior's team showed tremendous determination, fighting skills in the first match. Adnan Ahmed of Army baffled his opponents with his sole moves amid brilliant dribbling on a number of occasions, but lack of support from others prevented him from giving Army lead, while Army's defenders played out of their skins and defended their fort effectively particularly M Altaf. Their goalkeeper was exceptional in the goal post and saved at least two sure shot goals with his acrobatic dives. The army men gave tough resistance in the third quarter but couldn't maintain their tempo in the fourth and last quarter, in which they conceded two late goals.  After struggling hard in the first quarter, SSGC scored their first goal in the second quarter’s 23rd minute, when Yasir Shabbir scored a field goal on a pass from M Zeeshan. Shakeel Abbasi scored two goals in the last quarter, first in the 47th minute on a penalty and second a field goal in the 55th minute. Haider Rasool and Zahid supervised the match.

In the second match, Navy dominated the proceedings of the match against star-studied Wapda. Navy was all over the first three quarters of the match during which they outpaced Wapda. In the 5th minute, Rashid Mehmood struck a penalty corner to give Navy a well-deserving lead. Navy scored two more goals in the third quarter, as Shahbaz Ahmed and Akbar Ali scored in the 33rd and 49th minute. Navy entered the last quarter with a convincing 3-0 lead. It was sheer good luck of Wapda, as form down and out, they still managed to score three late goals in the last nine minutes to earn a hard-fought draw.

Waqas Sharif scored field goal in the 53rd minute, Tasawar Abbas then scored the second in the 54th minute, before Waqas completed his brace in the 59th minute to share honors. Anwar and Sohail supervised the match.

Two goals by full back Kashif Ali on penalty corners ensured a comfortable victory for PIA against PAF. Kashif converted the first penalty corner in the 18th minute to give PIA lead, but surprisingly against the run of play, PAF managed to equalize through skipper Saeed Shah in the very next minute, but their joy short-lived as Kashif completed his brace in the 23rd minute to restore airliners advantage, Nohaiz Malik then scored the third goal for the airliners in the 35th minute, before Shafqat Rasool completed the scoreline as he netted the fourth goal in the 49th minute. Asghar and Rana Sajid supervised the match.

Meanwhile, PIA’s Shafqat Rasool has been slapped one-match ban on disciplinary grounds. Tournament Director Col (r) Nadeem Ahmed Bhatti imposed the suspension after a written complaint was submitted by the field umpires.

Today (Saturday), Army (Senior) will take on Punjab while Navy face Army (Junior) and PAF vie against Police.

The Nation

Wapda bounce back to draw against Army

Kashif Abbasi

RAWALPINDI: By showing brilliant performance, Wapda’s forwards saved almost a confirmed defeat at the hands of Pakistan Navy at the Army Hockey Stadium here on Friday.

By scoring three goals during the last ten minutes, Wapda managed to draw their match against well composed Navy, in the Chief of Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup.

While Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) won their respective matches convincingly.

Navy players dominated the proceedings of the match from the very beginning.

It took five minutes for well-drilled Rashid Mehmood to throw the ball in Wapda’s net on a penalty-corner.

Shahbaz Ahmed doubled the lead in the 33th minute while sixteen minutes later Akbar Ali added another goal for Navy.

The well-composed Navy team entered the final quart with 3-0 lead, however, they could not hold their supremacy as Wapda strikers Waqas Ashraf and Tasawar Abbas made aggressive came back and scored three goals during the last ten minutes to draw the match.

Waqas scored two field goals in 53rd and 59th minutes while Tasawar scored in the 54th minute.

Players of both team showed brilliant speed, stamina and ball control.

Earlier, SSGC beat Army (Junior) 3-0.

Army demonstrated good performance in the opening match of the day against the experienced SSGC, which were led by Olympian Shakeel Abbasi, who scored two goals.

Adnan Ahmed of Army baffled his opponents with his sole moves amid brilliant dribbling on a number of occasions.

Army’s defenders also defended their fort effectively particularly goalkeeper Mohammed Altaf, who saved at least two goal attempts.

In the 23rd minute, SSGC scored their first goal when Yasir Shabbir scored on a pass from Mohammed Zeeshan.

Then, in the last quarter experienced Shakeel Abbasi scored two goals.

PIA, the hot favourites of the tournament, continued their wining spree.

Fullback Kashif Ali scored two goals while Nohaiz Malik and Shafqat Rasool added one each for the winners.

PAF’s lone goal was scored in the 19th minute by their captain Saeed Shah.

Kashif scored the first goal for PIA in the 18th minute and again struck successfully in the 23rd minute.

Nohaiz scored the third goal in the 35th minute while Shafqat netted the fourth goal in the 49th minute.

Shafqat was shown the yellow card for using abusive language.


PHF bans Shafqat for one match

RAWALPINDI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Friday imposed one-match ban on PIA’s forward Shafqat Rasool for abusing umpires.

During PIA’s match against the PAF, Shafqat sought a foul, however, umpire paid no heed to it.

To this, he became furious and used abusive and aggressive language against the said decision.

He was shown the yellow card. “In today’s match we noticed that he (Shafqat) openly challenged several decisions of umpires and used abusive language against them.

“All the three umpires submitted written complaints against him,” said tournament director retired Col Nadeem Ahmed Bhatti.

He said Shafqat had therefore been banned from playing the next match.

Sources said the player had been found guilty of the same offence even in the past.


Khalsa and SSSC Falter, Punjab Close the Gap

Hong Kong—Premier Division

By Bill Cox

Play in a recent match between Punjab-A and Khalsa-A at King's Park. (Bill Cox/Epoch Times)

HONG KONG—With just three more rounds to play in the HKHA Premier Division it is all square at the top of the Standings with Khalsa-A heading the table on goal difference from SSSC-A, both on 34-points. Khalsa-A were held to a 4-4 draw by Valley-A and SSSC-A were beaten 4-6 by Punjab-A to move Punjab-A onto 32-points.

Khalsa-A play HKFC-A, Punjab-A and SSSC-A in the last three games of this year’s league. SSSC-A meet KNS-A and HKFC-A before their final match with Khalsa-A. Punjab-A play Valley-A, Khalsa and KNS-A. Any of the top three teams can still take the title and the performances of HKFC-A and Valley-A may be instrumental the final result.

Premier B
In Premier-B Shaheen-A romped home 7-1 against Rhino-A, HKFC-B had a narrow 3-2 victory over HKCC-A, and KCC-A drew with Pak-A. Shaheen-A is leading this division with 18 points from HKFC-B (17) and HKCC-A (13).

The Epoch Times

Kenya up seven places in world hockey rankings


From left: National Hockey team players Terry Juma, Audrey Amooh, Pauline Amutebi and Anita Agunda duringa a past match. The national women’s hockey team has moved seven places up in the latest international hockey federation (FIH) world rankings. PHOTO | FILE |   NATION MEDIA GROUP

The national women’s hockey team has moved seven places up in the latest international hockey federation (FIH) world rankings.

Kenya is ranked 37th, the country’s best position so far globally. FIH on Thursday released the latest rankings since December which took into account points awarded following the completion of the Hockey World League Round One, the 2014 Champions Trophy and the Champions Challenge events.

Kenya won the World League One event in Nairobi last September, beating Ghana and Tanzania to qualify for the second round. The performance reflected in the rankings, the team boasting a total of 170 points.

But Kenya is still third in the continent after African Champions South Africa who are 11th globally and Ghana who are 31st in the world. Tanzania is ranked 47th globally ahead of Nigeria (54) and Zimbabwe (55).

The men’s team which failed to advance to the second round of the competition is ranked 39th while Tanzania have been included in the rankings for the first time after making their debut in the World League one series. Tanzania are 73rd, a slot above bottom-placed Vanuatu.

Coach Jos Openda believes the team can make it into the top 20 if they perform well in World League two, as they continue their hunt for a maiden Olympics berth. He said they will continue seeking greater success.

“The improved ranking is a reflection of our hard work and success last year. We can better the ranking in Uruguay. The team is talented and has the quality to take on the World’s best and the coaches are committed to making this come true,” the Coach of the Year in the 2014 Sports Personality of the Year Awards said.

Kenya is the lowest ranked team in the World league two series which begin from February 14 to 22 in Uruguay.

Daily Nation

Lighting up lives

German players show how taking a little time out of a busy schedule can make the world seem a better place.

(Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)

At the 2013 European Championships in Boom, Belgium, the victorious German women’s team was wearing the Sterntaler logo on the back of their shirts. The logo appeared again at the World League Finals in Tucaman. This prompted questions among the spectators and other teams. Who or what was Sterntaler? Der Mannheimer Verein Kinderhospiz Sterntaler is a hospice for terminally ill children, located in Mannheim.

Die Danas’s connection with the hospice came about through their head coach Jamilon Mulders, after he had visited the facility while he was the German U21 men’s coach. Initially, the youth team had sponsored the hospice for children, visiting the children who lived there when they had a training camp at Mannheim.

When Jamilon became Die Danas coach he wanted the project to continue so, as Germany had no kit sponsor, the German coach decided to get the name of the hospice printed on the shirts. The German Hockey Association was happy to support a partnership with the hospice, so for the next few months, the German team wore the Sterntaler logo at all its matches and competitions.

The hospice, which first opened in 2004, is a non-profit organisation that looks after terminally ill children and offers support and counselling for parents and the wider family. The work at the hospice has touched the hearts of the German players and many of the team has visited the hospice, including a surprise visit by some of the team to the Sterntaler Christmas party.

Captain of the German women’s team is Julia Muller and she has been to visit the children on a number of occasions.

She says: “We are really pleased to be involved in the project and to help the Hospice for Children. A couple of children and parents watched some of our indoor games last year. It is great to see the children with a smile on their faces during the difficult times they have. We try to keep in contact and to visit as much as possible.

Julia Walter is team manager for Die Danas. She says: “This involvement with the hospice has helped to lighten the lives of the children. They now know more about hockey, and the players are able to give something back to those who are not on the sunny side of life.”

When the German team played in the recent 2014 World Cup in The Hague, they gave signed pictures of the team to the children in the hospice. These hung from the children’s walls for the duration of the tournament.

Talking about the charity, Jamilon says: “I was so inspired when I first saw the work of the hospice that I wanted to continue to be involved in it. I am so pleased that the women’s team is happy to support this great charity.”

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