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News for 20 March 2015

All the news for Friday 20 March 2015

Canada, Belarus, Ireland & Chile reach Dublin semi-finals

Canadians to meet Pan-Am rivals Chile while European duo Ireland & Belarus prepare to butt heads at UDG Healthcare PLC Hockey World League Round 2

(Photo: FIH)

Canada, Belarus, Ireland and Chile have reached the final four of the women’s UDG Healthcare PLC Hockey World League Round 2 tournament after winning their respective quarter-final matches at the event in Dublin.

The winners of the tournament semi-final matches will not only secure a place in the competition final but also claim a ticket to the Olympic Qualifier phase of the HWL.

Thea Culley scored twice as Canada (FIH World Ranking: 22) stormed to a 5-1 win over Austria (WR: 27) in the first quarter-final to set up a semi-final meeting against Pan American rivals and Pool B winners Chile. The in-form Chileans made it four wins from four by recording a big victory over Turkey, with Manuela Urroz and Daniela Caram claiming four goal hauls. Canada and Chile will go head-to-head on Saturday (21 March) at 1700 (local time – UTC / GMT).

The other semi-final, which takes place at 1430, will be contested between host nation Ireland (WR: 14) and Belarus (WR: 21). Goals from Nicola Evans and team captain Megan Frazer gave Pool A winners Ireland a hard-earned 2-0 win over improving Lithuania (WR: 34), while Belarus cruised to a 5-1 win over Ukraine (WR: 25) thanks largely to Svitlana Bahushevich who found the net on four occasions.

As well as the semi-finals, Saturday’s action will feature the 5-8 classification matches with Lithuania squaring up against Ukraine at 0930 before Austria face Turkey at 1200.To see all tournament fixtures and results, please click here.

In the women’s Hockey World League, a total of seven qualification places for the HWL Semi-Finals are available from the Round 2 events in Montevideo (URU), New Delhi (IND) and Dublin (IRL).  The reason for seven rather nine qualifiers is because both Spain and Belgium, two nations ranked between 12-19 at the time of seeking entries, are hosting Semi-Final tournaments later this year and have therefore already qualified.

The top two finishers from Montevideo, New Delhi and Dublin are certain to qualify for the Semi-Finals, being joined by the highest ranked of the third placed finishers from those three events.  Italy and Uruguay recently confirmed their places in the Semi-Finals with a top two finish at the event in Montevideo, and were joined in Round 3 by India and Poland, who reached the final of the event in New Delhi.

Azerbaijan are currently the highest ranked of the third place finishers, although they will need to wait for the completion of the HWL Round 2 event in Dublin before knowing if they have made the cut. To learn more about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, click here.

You can keep track of the tournament in Dublin on the official tournament microsite.

FIH site

Ireland Through to Semi Finals

Ireland took a big step toward progressing their Olympic qualification ambitions with a 2-0 quarter-final win over Lithuania in Belfield from the UDG Healthcare World League Round Two.

The win sets up a semi-final date with Belarus where a win would ensure they earn a ticket to round three of the World League where the tickets to Rio in 2016 will be doled out.

Two first half goals from set pieces – one from Nikki Evans, the other from captain Megan Frazer – killed off what proved a low-key battle as the Lithuanians intention to put numbers behind the ball made for a tie low on goalmouth action.

In the early phases, the containment policy meant space in the attacking circle was limited for Ireland but they did run up a series of penalty corners. Gillian Pinder, Frazer and Emma Smyth all had pot-shots before Cliodhna Sargent saw a hit taken off the line by Simona Grubliauskaite.

They eventually broke through in the 20th minute from the fifth corner, Sargent diverting play to the right post where Evans slid in for her second goal of the tournament.

Another penalty corner forged number two as Shirley McCay’s sweep bounced off a defensive foot on the line. Frazer rolled home with little fuss for a 2-0 half-time lead.

Thereafter, Lithuania did not have a shot in anger, meaning there was little tension to the tie while Ireland were thwarted by a jam-packed defence in the second half despite numerous attacks, an exercise in frustration.

Nonetheless, the semi-final berth was assured and now Darren Smith’s side face Belarus in the semi-finals of the competition. Three of those sides will win a place at World League round three.

Speaking afterwards, coach Darren Smith said it was a frustrating game but the result was the all important factor.

“Lithuania slowed the game up and we obliged a bit,” he said. “We needed to try and get out of that hole and try and quicken things up, play the game with a bit more aggression.

“In terms of the result, 2-0 is great as is being in a semi-final. In terms of watching the game, it had that slow tentative feeling and it was hard for us to get out of second gear and was a tough watch.”

As for the game against Belarus in the semi-final, Smith is expecting a much more open tussle. They beat Ukraine 5-1 to reach the final four.

“We played Belarus twice in 2013 and I think they have gotten better and better. They finished strong against Ukraine, have some dangerous forwards and good distributors from the back.

“We look forward to matching up against them on Saturday for a good, hard game to hopefully progress out of World League 2.”

UDG Healthcare World League Round 2, quarter-finals

Ireland 2 (N Evans, M Frazer) Lithuania 0

Ireland: E Gray, C Sargent, E Smyth, N Evans, S McCay, M Frazer, A Connery, N Daly, H Matthews A O’Flanagan, G Pinder
Subs: N Carroll, C Watkins, L Colvin, K Mullan, K Dillon, A Meeke, A McFerran

Lithuania: V Vileikyte, E Kalinauskaite, U Chmeliauskaite, K Poskute, D Grigiene, S Grubliauskaite, J Juodyte, S Jakovlevaite, S Adomaviciute, R Zukaite, R Petrauskaite
Subs: I Kenstaviciute, A Garbataviciute, U Aucynaite, E Nomeikaite, E Malyseva, I Paulaviciute, O Maksimovic

Umpires: A Faias, O Klymenko

Irish Hockey Association media release

Canada storms into World League 2 semifinal with win over Austria

Two goal outing from Thea Culley propels Canada to 5-1 win

Shaheed Devji, fieldhockey.ca

The Canadian Women's National Field Hockey Team booked its ticket to the World League Round 2 semifinal with a 5-1 win over Austria Thursday morning at Women's World League Round 2 in Dublin, Ireland.

As they were with Ukraine, Canada's women were ready for an awkward style of match which didn't quite allow for a free-flowing style of hockey.

That readiness paid off early and often, as veteran forward Thea Culley beat Austrian goalkeeper Jasmin Anderle just three minutes into the match to give Canada an important lead early.

The first goal of the game has proven to be quite important for the red-and-white as Canada has shown comfort playing with the lead, not giving one up throughout the entire tournament so far.

That task was made easier when Culley added to the lead in the twenty-fourth minute for her second of the game. Culley's fourth goal of the tournament ties her for first in tournament goal scoring with Chile's Daniela Caram and Ireland's Naomi Carroll.

Before the half was out, Alex Thicke, a newcomer to the national scene playing in only her sixth international match, was able to beat Anderle on a penalty corner for her first international goal to increase Canada's lead to 3-0.

Canada's dominance continued into the second half as the women were not going to leave anything to chance.

In the thirty-second minute, defender Sara McManus notched her second of the tournament on a penalty corner for the 4-0 and to extinguish any doubts surrounding the result. The teams exchanged goals late in the match, with Stephanie Norlander getting Canada's final tally in the sixteith minute.

With the win, Canada moves on to the tournament semifinal on Saturday and will face Chile at 10:00am PT/1:00pm ET. Chile is ranked 20th in the world, two spots ahead of Canada, and defeated Turkey in another quarterfinal on Thursday.

The two semifinal winners will automatically earn spots into World League Round 3 in June in Valencia, Spain.

The top two finishers at World League 2 gain an entry into World League Round 3 in Spain in June, where the top teams will earn a spot at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Field Hockey Canada media release

FIH reveals men’s HWL Semi-Final line-ups

Twenty nations will compete at events in Buenos Aires (ARG) and Antwerp (BEL) in the hope of getting their hands on one of six tickets to the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

(Photo: Koen Suyk )

Following the completion of the Hockey World League Round 2 events in Singapore, San Diego and Cape Town, we can now reveal the line-ups for the men’s Semi-Final (Round 3) events that will take place in Buenos Aires (ARG) and Antwerp (BEL) later this year.

The Semi-Final phase really is the business end of the Hockey World League, where those coveted places at the Rio 2016 Olympics are available. The Semi-Finals consist of two ten-team events, with the top three finishers at each event winning a ticket to Rio 2016. The nine qualifiers from Round 2 are joined in the Semi-Final phase by the teams ranked from 1-11 at the time of seeking entries all entering the fray.

The Argentina Hockey World League Semi-Final takes place from 3-14 June 2015 in Buenos Aires and features a stellar line-up. Olympic champions Germany are joined by World Cup Silver medallists the Netherlands as well as host nation and World Cup Bronze medallists Argentina, New Zealand, Korea and Spain. Competing alongside these recognized giants are Japan, Canada, Egypt and Austria, teams who all qualified by achieving top 3 finishes at the Round 2 events and will be determined to make their mark in the Semi-Final.

The FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final will be played in Antwerp, Belgium from 20 June to 5 July as part of a spectacular joint men’s and women’s event. The men’s event features reigning World Champions Australia lining up alongside Great Britain, host nation Belgium, India and Pakistan, with Malaysia, Ireland, France, Poland and China all qualifying for the Semi-Finals thanks to excellent displays in Round 2. It promises to be a truly fascinating event.  

The line-ups for the women’s Hockey World League Semi-Final tournaments in Valencia (ESP) and Antwerp (BEL) will be revealed upon the completion of the HWL Round 2 event currently being played in Dublin (IRL). 

To learn more about how the teams progress through the competition in the hope of reaching the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, click here.

FIH site

Manchester bolsters Black Sticks for Azlan Shah

Photo courtesy www.photosport.co.nz

Experienced goalkeeper Devon Manchester will play his first game in over six months after being named in the Black Sticks Men’s team to compete at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

The Azlan Shah Cup runs from 5-12 April and is an important part of the Black Sticks’ preparation for Olympic qualifying at FIH World League Round 3 later this year.

Manchester has been sidelined for six months after surgery on a recurring left shoulder injury he first suffered almost two years ago.

“I first injured my shoulder during a shoot-out in the NHL final two years ago diving low and to the left with my arm outstretched,” he said.

“I popped the bone out of the shoulder and have kept having issues with it since then – I think I did it again five or six times last year. I really had no decision other than surgery to be able to keep playing.

“I am really excited about getting back onto the turf after a long recovery but am a bit apprehensive as well. The main challenge has been getting range of motion back and strength back in my arm, and now is the test as to whether all those months of rehab have worked.”

Manchester joins a diverse team with the likes of Ryan Archibald (278 tests) and captain Simon Child (220) providing huge experience, while Nic Woods, Dwayne Rowsell and George Enersen will have their first taste of top level tournament hockey.

Midlands defender Andy Hayward returns to the side after completing his season with English club side Hampstead & Westminster, while Capital striker Blair Hilton is back in action after a leg injury he suffered in last year’s Ford NHL.

Head coach Colin Batch said the tournament is a significant step for the team with a spot at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games up for grabs in June.

“We view the Azlan Shah Cup as a very important tournament in terms of our preparation for the World League 3 tournament in June,” Batch said.

“It was a tough selection process for this team with genuine competition for places which shows that we have developed even more depth in our squad.

“We have selected a team that can complete well in Malaysia. There are some changes [from the Canada series] so it will be very interesting to see how we perform.”

The Black Sticks open their Azlan Shah Cup campaign with a tough battle against hosts Malaysia, who are always dangerous in front of their vocal home crowd.

The game is scheduled for 1.10am on Monday 6 April (NZ time), with all Black Sticks games at the tournament to be broadcast live on SKY Sport.

Joining the Black Sticks and Malaysia at the tournament are Australia, India, Korea and Canada.

CLICK HERE for more on the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia











Simon CHILD (capt)






North Harbour







































George MUIR

North Harbour







































Hockey New Zealand Media release

Hockey khel li, roti bhi bana lenge...

Till a few days back, a basic online search or a coffee table discussion on Indian women's hockey wouldn't really go beyond the girls of Chak De! India, and how its title track was perfect to be played on repeat at the next India vs whoever World Cup match.

But on Sunday, the real Chak De! girls managed to change all of that by winning the second round of the World Hockey League in Delhi. Their victory was more than noticed - it was all over social media, with everyone from Chak De's bete noire, Shilpa Shukla, to PM Modi taking to Twitter to congratulate the team.

DT had met the team during the practice sessions for this tournament, where they had shown the same confidence that they did on the field on Sunday.

Turns out that the players are just like any other 20-something desi girls, putting in extra hours at work, saving up the recognition certificates (in their case, the rare newspaper clips), getting excited about friends' weddings, and dreading the day when it'll be their turn to make round rotis - a battle, but nothing, they say, in comparison to their daily hockey practice sessions.

Excerpts from a candid chat with the Indian women's hockey team before their most recent victory.

Nobody knows what our lives are like

For most girls, choosing hockey as a profession wasn't the difficult part, since they come from towns where hockey is a daily habit. But the current battle is to get recognition for the hours they spend on the field. As they say, "Logon ko lagta hai hum camp mein aaram se rehte hain. We work very hard and spend hours at a stretch on the field. We enjoy it, but it is still a lot of hard work. We wish people could see the hard work that goes into every game, victory or loss. That's one thing we hope changes."

We aren't scared of the men's team like they show in the movie

The captain of the men's hockey team, Sardar Singh, was present at the final match to cheer for the team. When we were interviewing them, we asked if they were intimidated by the hockey guys, as is shown in Chak De!, and they replied, "We're not scared of the men's hockey team like that. We know them and play with them frequently, and it's all in the spirit of the game. The only negativity is that they get more opportunities than we do, but that's just how it is with sports or any activity in India. They get more job options and can work in any department, while we get jobs only in the railways. They get the private leagues like Hockey Premier League, and we don't. These issues can be solved, but we hardly hate them!"

We save newspaper clippings and take them home to our families

Before the Hockey World League match, recognition was a big battle for the team, which is why every small newspaper clipping or publicity was important for them and was cut out and saved to be taken back to the families. One team member told us, "Kabhi kabhi jo aata hai, usko hum ghar leke jaate hain. We spend most of the year in the camp and go home once a year. That's when we take the newspaper clippings with us to show our families. All these mean a lot to us."

Women do move out of the team after marriage, but that's okay

We asked them what a rest day looks like in the team common room, and the girls told us that they, like other girls, go out with their friends - teammates, in this case - shop and have a good time together. We asked about weddings and players who leave the team. "Yes, people do leave the team when they are about to get married. Slowly, we get used to the absence and new members fill the spot, but that's okay," they said. We asked them if getting into the kitchen is something they dread, to which the captain, Ritu Rani said, laughing, "Hockey khel li, roti bhi bana lenge jab time aayega. Zyada mushkil cheez toh kar chuke hain."

Individual sportswomen are known for their efforts, nobody acknowledges the team

Some of the team members have seen and others have at least heard of the movie Mary Kom. Talking about why there won't be a movie on them, individually, they said, "Yeh sab individual players ko log jaante hain. Woh unke akele ki mehnat hoti hai and their victory or loss is in their hands alone. Nobody gives that sort of importance to a team sport. Here, we have to take care of each other as a team and only then can we achieve something. Individual sportswomen are known for their efforts, but people don't acknowledge teams."

The Times of India

Seven Tiger Cubs head to Netherlands

By Jugjet Singh

Maxhan Cristhi (gripped fist) celebrates after scoring for UniKL in the JHL
SEVEN juniors will be heading for a 10-day stint in the Netherlands, as preparations start early to defend Malaysia's Junior Asia Cup gold medal, which comes with a ticket to the 2016 Junior World Cup.

Malaysia were champions in the last tournament in Malacca, and went on to finish fourth in the last Junior World Cup which was also held in New Delhi.

The Junior Asia Cup will be held in Kuantan, and is slated for Nov 12-22.

"Three goalkeepers and four penalty corner flickers will head for Netherlands on March 25th and return on April 1. They will train under goalkeepers' specialist coach Martijn Drijver and penalty corner coach Toon Siepman," said Project 2016 team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.

The three goalkeeepers are Ridzwan Azmi, Adi Fazri and Amirul Afiq Azhar. The budding penalty corner flickers are Aminuddin Zain, Najmi Farizal, Syed Shafiq Cholan and Sabahan Maxhan Cristhi who was named as the best player in the recently concluded Junior Hockey League.

Maxhan played for UniKL Young Guns in the JHL, and the 18-year-old promising lad is from Keningau.

"Our best junior penalty corner flicker Shahril (Saabah) will remain home and train with the senior side which is preparing for the Azlan Shah Cup. Former internationals Amin Rahim and Jivan Mohan will accompany the seven to Netherlands," said Mirnawan.

The Project 2016 side will then head for Australia on April 16-26 to play a series of friendlies against the WAIS side.

"We decided to send goalkeepers and penalty corner flickers for specialist training as these are the two main departments that can determine if a team performs or fails in major tournaments. The seven will be coached by experts and hopefully they pick up pointers which will will help Malaysia win gold in the Junior Asia Cup, which is a qualifier for the Junior World Cup," said Mirnawan.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Sabah’s Maxhan looking to shine for national side

By Aftar Singh

Maxhans (left) was among four penalty corner drag flickers selected to go to Amsterdam for a 10-day training stint

KUALA LUMPUR: Sabah teenager Maxhans Christi is definitely going places.

The 18-year-old from Keningau created history on Sunday when he became the first East Malaysian to be named best player in the Under-19 MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL).

The Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) midfielder was among four penalty corner drag flickers selected to go to Amsterdam for a 10-day training stint.

The other three who will leave for Amsterdam Saturday to train under world-renowned penalty corner drag flick coach Toon Siepman are Mohd Aminuddin Mohd Zain, Mohd Najmi Farizal Jazlan and Syed Shafiq Syed Cholan.

Maxhans, who scored nine penalty corner goals in the MJHL to help UniKL finish runners-up in Division One and the Milo Cup (overall), is clearly is thrilled to be going for the Dutch stint.

“This will be my first overseas trip since joining the 2016 Project squad last year. I’m excited to go to Holland and further improve my drag flicks,” he said. “I’m proud to be the first player from Sabah to train under coach Siepman.

“My ambition is to be a national player and feature in the next year’s Junior World Cup (in New Delhi). I will go all out to train and also learn the right techniques in penalty corner drag flicks,” added the teenager, who is also looking forward to featuring in the Sultan of Johor Cup in October and the Junior Asia Cup in November.

The Junior Asia Cup is the qualifying tournament for next year’s Junior World Cup.

Three goalkeepers – Mohd Ridzwan Azmi, Mohd Adi Fazri Abdul Rahim and Amirul Afiq Azhar – will also be joining in the 10-day training stint. They will train under top goalkeeper coach Martijn Drijver.

The Star of Malaysia

Hafiz gets Beng Hai approval despite firing blanks

By Aftar Singh

The 22-year-old Hafiz (right) was with the national team in Perth for a 10-day playing tour.

KUALA LUMPUR: Newcomer Mohd Hafiz Zainol did not score a single goal in the recent playing tour of Perth but he still did enough to impress national hockey coach Tai Beng Hai.

The 22-year-old forward was with the national team in Perth for a 10-day playing tour from March 3 in preparation for the six-nation Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which will be held in Ipoh from April 5-12.

“Hafiz showed maturity in performance and was not intimidated despite playing against world champions and world No. 1 Australia in the three friendlies,” said Beng Hai.

“He proved that he can play at the highest level.”

Malaysia lost all three friendlies against the Australian national team – 6-0, 2-0 and 6-0. But Beng Hai’s men won the other three friendlies – beating Australian Institute of Sports (AIS) 6-0 and 4-1 and edging Hale Club 2-1.

There was one low point from the tour as midfielder Mohd Shahrun Nabil Abdullah injured his ankle and is doubtful for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup tournament.

The team will resume training on Monday and 24-year-old forward Faizal Saari, who has not been attending training since last month due to personal problems, is expected to join in.

“We want Faizal in the team as he’s a top-notch striker,” said Beng Hai.

Faizal’s younger brother, Fitri, has taken an indefinite break to be with his wife after she suffered a miscarriage.

The other teams taking part in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup are defending champions Australia, India, New Zealand, South Korea and Canada.

Malaysia are also preparing for the World League Semi-Finals to be held in Belgium from June 20-July 5.

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

The Star of Malaysia

Attacking hockey will help Pakistan reach Rio Games: Shahnaz

Kashif Abbasi

SHAHNAZ Sheikh ... plans on implementing a ‘9/11 strategy’ to help Pakistan qualify for the Olympics.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan head-coach Shahnaz Sheikh has vowed to play attacking hockey — with a ‘9/11’ strategy — to help the Green-shirts qualify for next year’s Olympics.

The strategy, which was misinterpreted and linked to the 9/11 tragedy during the Champions Trophy last year, is what Shahnaz believes will help Pakistan win games at the Hockey World League (HWL) semi-finals, which act as qualifiers for the 2016 Rio Games.

A month-long training camp for the Pakistan team began on Monday featuring 30 probables here at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium ahead of the HWL semi-finals which will be held in Antwerp, Belgium from June 20-July 5.

The semi-finals in Antwerp are one of two which will have six berths for the Olympics on offer.

“The 9/11 strategy sees the team attack with nine players while as far as defending is concerned, all 11 take part in it,” Shahnaz told Dawn during the team’s training camp.

Shahnaz added that it was the same strategy which helped Pakistan beat India in the semi-finals of the Champions Trophy in December last year and hoped it would come good again.

Pakistan lost to Germany in the final of that tournament but Shahnaz’s 9/11 strategy was linked to the 9/11 tragedy by Indian media.

“It’s all about sports so I don’t want people to misinterpret my words ... I profusely condemn all kind of terrorism anywhere in the world,” he said.

“We’re working hard to rectify or past blunders [including failure to qualify for last year’s World Cup] and we’ll do our best to qualify for the Olympics.”

At the HWL semi-finals, Pakistan have been drawn in Pool ‘A’ alongside Australia, India, France and Austria. India have already qualified for the Olympics courtesy their gold medal at the Asian Games last year.

Pakistan need to finish amongst the top three in their HWL semi-final to earn a berth at the Olympics. The top three teams from the other semi-final in Buenos Aires will make up for the six places available from the HWL.

The hockey tournament at the Olympics will see 12 teams take part, including the hosts.

Shahnaz said after the training camp, week-long trials will be held to select the team which will then play preparatory games ahead of the HWL semi-finals.

“Before participating in the HWL semi-finals, we will participate in a four-nation championship in Australia before visiting South Korea for a bilateral series.

“A month before the Olympic qualifying round we will play six matches with different European countries as I believe that participation in those matches will help us qualify for the Olympics.

“I hope we will be amongst the top three teams in the HWL and there are good signs. Recently, three domestic tournaments were held in which the players showed a good performance and we’ll select the best players for this crucial assignment.”


PHF bailout dream shattered as meeting with PM cancelled

Kashif Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) bailout dream was shattered on Thursday as its scheduled meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who happens to be the PHF patron was once again postponed. It was the fourth scheduled meeting which has been cancelled.

The much-awaited meeting was supposed to take place on Friday (today) but the prime minister office citing preoccupation of the premier postponed the meeting on the eleventh hour for indefinite period putting the cash-strapped PHF in further trouble.

“The PHF and all players are disappointed, for we were expecting that during the meeting the premier will order for immediate release of funds for our preparation for the upcoming international events. But now we have no idea about our participations in these events,” PHF secretary Rana Mujahid said.

The entire team has been looking forward to the meeting with prime minister with the hope that the PHF patron would play his due role in keeping the national game alive, maintained Mujahid.

“Currently, we don’t have a single penny for running the affairs of the federation. We are running the day-to-day affairs on borrowed money as a result of which the game of hockey is dying slow death,” stated the PHF secretary while saying that despite minimum resources, the team produced brilliant performance in the last edition of the Asian Games as well as the Champions Trophy.

He said that for the last several months the PHF had been trying to meet the patron but to no avail.

“We want to share our problems, we want to tell the patron about our future plan of action but all this is linked to the meeting with the prime minister,” Mujahid said, adding that the PHF had moved a summary to the prime minister last year for the release of a bailout package of Rs500 million but that file is yet to attract the patron’s attention.

Speaking to Dawn on condition of anonymity, some members of the national team said that if the prime minister had no time to listen to PHF officials and players then he should immediately pass an order for the bailout package.

“We have very limited time to prepare for the upcoming events including the four-nation tournament in Australia in May-June and the planned visit to Korea and Europe before the Olympic qualifying round. So, if the premier wants to release fund he should immediately do so, otherwise delay will badly disturb our preparation,” said a senior player.


PM carries on playing hide and seek with hockey players

ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) patron-in-chief, carries on playing hide and seek with hockey players and officials as he cancels the meeting with them for the fifth time.

The PM’s meeting with Asian Games and Champions Trophy silver medal winning hockey team and officials was due on March 20 but this time too, the meeting was called off at the 11th hour.

Talking to The Nation, head coach Shahnaz Sheikh earlier told this Scribe that he was not aware of the meeting’s postponement, but later on, he said that he had just received a call from the federation and revealed: “The players were asking me about the meeting and I was assuring them it is very much on, but now it was cancelled one again.

I know the prime minister is very busy these days, but I want to request him that he must meet the team before Olympic qualifiers in June, as it will be a great boost for them who already have been going through pain and agony of not playing the World Cup last year.

Being Muslims, we are not upset or disappointed, and quite sure the PM will spare some time for us which will prove a morale booster for the boys.”

“I request the PM that the meeting must take place before the Olympic qualifiers in Belgium, or else we could suffer badly.

The national hockey team is going to Karachi on March 22, as Omar Associates have hosted a reception, gold medals and a cash prize of Rs 2.
2 million for the players.

After that, we assemble in Lahore on March 23 as Punjab government has arranged a march past, in which people from different walks of life will take part,” he added.

“We are working without getting any incentive.

The players need central contracts and my staff also working purely for the sheer love of the country but how long we can survive without getting any incentive,” Shahnaz concluded.

The Nation

Hockey itinerary: Pakistan to take part in Australia event

By Nabil Tahir

The players are training for a number of international assignments, the most important of which is the Hockey World League in June that will also serve as qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Pakistan’s national hockey team will take part in a Four Nation Hockey Tournament in Australia in May after a month long training camp, which is underway at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium in Islamabad.

Currently, the players are training for a number of international assignments, the most important of which is the Hockey World League in June that will also serve as qualifiers for the 2016 Olympics.

“Trials will take place for the Four Nation Hockey Tournament, which will take place from May 2 to 11 and will feature five teams comprising Pakistan, South Korea, New Zealand and two teams from Australia,” head coach Shahnaz Shaikh told The Express Tribune.

He added that the team will also visit South Korea for a bilateral series after the Australia event, which will help them prepare for the Olympic qualification round staring from June 20.

Commenting on the fitness of the players, Shahnaz said that three players suffered injuries during the second day of training camp. “Arsalan Qadir, Rizwan Jr and Umair Rana twisted their ankle during the drill and have been asked to rest for five days to recover injury,” he said.

“Qadir and Rizwan are our key players for whom we have no replacement, so we will start proper training after they recover.”

The coach added that the team has hardly any time left for the Four Nation Tournament, so an efficient and effective plan needs to be made.

Meanwhile, the team was scheduled to meet Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif on March 20, which has been delayed for the fourth time.

The Express Tribune

EG edge out Surbiton to EHL berth

East Grinstead captain Niall Stott is looking forward to another Euro Hockey League campaign after his side beat Reading  last Sunday to top the NOW: Pensions English Hockey League on goal difference.

They were 4-1 winners, meaning they edge out rivals Surbiton and take the first EHL place on offer for English sides, meaning they will have two trips to Europe next season as they also won the national indoor championships.

Speaking to the East Grinstead Courier, Stott said it was a big boost and they will now look forward to the the end of season playoffs in confident mood.

"It came down to the wire, but we got the result that we wanted and it was job done in the end," he said.

"It is important for the club and for us as players to have that place in the Euro Hockey League.

"As players, we want to win everything each year and we have now won the indoor and the league title, and now we want to win the play-offs."

They will be joined by Surbiton, Wimbledon and Beeston in the final four.

Euro Hockey League media release

Play-off hopes go down to the wire

Olivia Chilton and Lily Owsley celebrate Univ of Birmingham's goal, Sept 13 2014 - credit Andy Smith

THERE is still much to play for as the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division heads into the thrilling final week of regular season matches on Saturday.

Surbiton host Holcombe, with the leaders aiming to finish the season unbeaten while Holcombe will want to clinch the fourth and final play-off spot. But there are crucial matches elsewhere which could also impact on both ends of the table.

The University of Birmingham are at home against Buckingham. The students are sixth and could still scrape into the play-offs depending on other results. Meanwhile, Buckingham are fighting for their lives at the other end of the table.

“We’ve played Buckingham many times in the league, cup and friendly matches, and they’re always close games,” said University of Birmingham coach Phil Gooderham. “They will be fighting tooth and nail to win it, as will we.

“We’re relying on two other results to go our way to get to the play-offs, so in a sense we have nothing to lose. All we can do is win and hope, but nerves will come into it as both Holcombe and Reading have tough games.

“But whatever the outcome, the girls have done really well this year and I’m chuffed to bits with them.”

A win for Buckingham could see them climb out of the relegation play-off place but that would rely on Bowdon Hightown failing to win at already relegated Beeston.

Second-placed Canterbury have a home game against third-placed Clifton in a rehearsal of the Finals Weekend, which this year is being held at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London from April 18-19.

Reading are another team who could make it into the play-offs, and they play Leicester knowing that if they win Holcombe will need to have beaten Surbiton to deny them fourth place.

All three Conference titles have been settled with East Grinstead (East), Wakefield (North) and Slough (West) in the play-offs which start at Cannock a week on Sunday then culminate alongside the league finals at Lee Valley on April 18-19.

However, there are still relegation and play-off issues to be decided in all three Divisions.

In the Investec Conference East, bottom of the table Horsham hope to leap-frog Bedford and avoid automatically going down.

Horsham are at home against Chelmsford, while Bedford entertain Maidenhead.

In the Investec Conference West, Bristol Firebrands head to champions Slough as they bid to avoid the relegation play-offs. They must win – and hope that rivals Oxford Hawks lose at home against relegated Cheltenham.

Cannock go to Loughborough Students in search of a win as they aim to move off the bottom in the Investec Conference North. Just above them, Liverpool Sefton are also on the road, at league runners-up Brooklands Poynton, as they bid to avoid automatic relegation.

Investec Women’s Hockey League Fixtures (Mar 21 2015):

Investec Premier Division
Canterbury v Clifton 14:00
Reading v Leicester 14:00
Univ of Birmingham v Buckingham 14:00
Surbiton v Holcombe 14:00
Beeston v Bowdon Hightown 14:00

Investec Conference West
Slough v Bristol Firebrands 12:30
Swansea City v Isca 14:00
Oxford Hawks v Cheltenham 14:00
Gloucester City v Stourport 14:00
Trojans v Olton and West Warwicks 14:00

Investec Conference North
Brooklands Poynton v Liverpool Sefton 14:00
Kendal v Wakefield 14:00
Whitley Bay & Tynemouth v Univ of Durham 14:00
Ben Rhydding v Sutton Coldfield 14:00
Loughborough Students v Cannock 14:00

Investec Conference East
Ipswich v Sevenoaks 14:00
Bedford v Maidenhead 14:00
Wimbledon v East Grinstead 14:00
Horsham v Chelmsford 14:00
Harleston Magpies v St Albans 14:00

England Hockey Board Media release

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