All the news for Friday 21 August 2009
Lack of sticks won't stop young Samoa hockey side
By BRENDON EGAN
STICK TO IT: The Samoan men's hockey team get some practise in at Turnbull Thomson Park ahead of the Oceania Cup tournament in Invercargill, starting on Tuesday.ROBYN EDIE
When New Zealand hockey players turn up for an international match, they usually have four or five sticks in their gear bag.
That luxury does not exist for the Samoan national hockey team, though.
Samoa arrived for their first practice on the Turnbull Thomson Park turf in Invercargill earlier this week with most players not even owning their own stick. They will be all good to go for next week's Oceania Cup tournament in the city, however, with the Oceania Hockey Federation supplying several sticks and some also being donated from the recent Champions Trophy tournament in Australia.
Oceania Hockey development manager Gill Gemming, who is with the team for the tournament, said it was the first time many players in the side had used a stick the correct size.
"It's something New Zealand players take for granted," Gemming said.
"They turned up and were sharing them around ... The sticks they have been using are designed for kids. They were only up to their thighs. It has been an issue. It's probably the first time they've held the right size stick in their hand until now."
The Samoans have also had clothing provided by Hockey New Zealand and Hockey Australia for the tournament.
Samoa will be on a hiding to nothing at next week's tournament. The women's side has not competed in the Oceania Cup for 25 years, while the men have never played in a Pacific Cup, let alone an Oceania Cup.
On Wednesday, the men's and women's sides played Gore High School in their first ever match on a water-based turf at the Turnbull Thomson Park facilities. The enormity of their challenge next week was highlighted with the women losing 4-0 to Gore High and the men drawing their match 2-2.
Some detractors will argue that losing by a cricket score to New Zealand and Australia will not do the Samoans any good, but Gemming disagreed.
"They are aware they are underdogs. They're learning from every match they play here. It is always a difficulty if you get taken to the cleaners, but the support network around them is very good...
"At the last Oceania Cup, PNG (Papua New Guinea) were in a similar position. Samoa has had a few more build games. The Samoan men are fitter and more athletic. They're really looking forward to their first game."
The Samoan sides will be using the Oceania Cup as a leadup to the Pacific Cup tournament in Fiji in December. Gemming said gaining experience against Australia and New Zealand who are both ranked in the top 10 in the world would be invaluable for the Samoan players.
At home, Samoan hockey is taking steps to take hockey into schools and they also plan to possibly field under-19 sides at Pacific tournaments in the future. Gemming believed this would help the game in Samoa.
"Samoa have a very proactive administration. They've done a lot in the last 12 months with getting youth started. It will be a base to build on ... With time they will hopefully build up a base of players, so they have a wider group to call on."
She hoped that Fiji and Papua New Guinea would compete at the next Oceania Cup in 2011 to allow the smaller nations in the Pacific to test themselves against each other and also gain valuable top-level exposure against Australia and New Zealand.
On-fire Southerns in astonishing turnaround against KZN Coastal
JONATHAN COOK at the AB Jackson
PHOTO: JOHAN PRETORIUS KZN Inland's Duzo Khanyile fights for the ball with Eastern Province's Matthew Moser and Satchi Reddy in the 3-3 draw at the AB Jackson Greenfields Turf Thursday.
THE semi-finalists in the National Men's Hockey Interprovincial Tournament for 2009 were determined in Thursday's matches at the AB Jackson Greenfields Turf.
Southern Gauteng came back from a 2-0 half-time deficit to win 3-2 against KZN Coastal to end up top of Pool B with the Durban boys in second place.
Western Province accounted for nearest Pool A rivals Northerns Gauteng 3-1 to finish top of the Pool with the Pretoria men in second spot.
This means two-time defending champions WP will meet KZN Coastals in the second semi-final at 3 pm Friday with Northern Gauteng tackling their neighbours south of the Jukskei River, Southerns, at 1 pm.
The A Section Shield pool stage has been filled with exciting hockey – lots of mistakes, yes, but also a heartening dose of pure skill that has gladdened the hearts of those close to the game.
The talk of the AB Jackson Thursday was the amazing turnaround in the Southerns/Coastals encounter. Coastals went 2-0 up through Taine Paton and Michael Botha and Southerns were nowhere. The half-time break changed things; Southerns just relaxed and had a go with startling results, the outstanding Thornton McDade bagging two and Ricky West the other goal.
WP were too good for Northerns, who did come back from 2-0 down to 2-1, but nevertheless the champs held firm and took the match with an Austin Smith hat-trick to Northerns' goal from Grant Hosken.
North West came to light, beating Pens 4-1 with goals from Stew Dunbar, Sihle Grootboom, Jody Hosking and Justin Reid-Ross to Raaghib Fredericks's effort for the Cape men.
Host province KZN Inland drew 3-3 with Eastern Province after leading 3-1 at half-time to finish second, ahead of the men from Port Elizabeth, and at 11 am Thursday they face Peninsula in the cross pool playoffs that will ultimately decide positions five to eight on Saturday in this Top Eight Shield competition. Inland scored through Gavin Jelley (2) and Karl Oftebro to EP's three from Darren Kimfley, Satchi Reddy and Geowynne Gamiet.
In the equivalent cross pool playoff, North West come up against EP in the dawn patrol match at 9 am.
A Section: North West 4 Pens 1; WP 3 Northerns 1; KZN Inland 3 EP 3; Southern Gauteng 3 KZN Coastal 2.
B Section: Border 4 KZN Mynahs 2; EP Settlers 3 Namibia 0; Free State 3 KZN Inland B 3; Wits 0 Mpumalanga 0.
SA Hockey World
Experience takes Malacca to the title
MALACCA played well only in patches, but it was good enough to beat Project 2013 2-1 in the Razak Cup Division One final at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The title came with prize money of RM10,000, while the Project 2013 team pocketed RM7,000.
In the bronze play-off -- which came with a RM5,000 purse -- Kuala Lumpur beat Johor 6-3.
The first half of the final was well balanced and the 1-1 score at the break a perfect indication of how equal the teams were.
However, Malacca's greater experience was the difference in the second half and Project 2013, who set the tournament alight by scalping some big names, had to concede defeat.
"My players put on a good show, but the lack of experience clearly showed today (yesterday), especially when executing penalty corners," said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
Malacca shocked the Project boys when Ahmad Anuar Sham was on target off a penalty corner in the sixth minute, but the youngsters rallied back to level the score.
Faheed Saifullah's 14th minute field goal kept Project 2013 in the game at the break, but a 47th minute penalty corner by Amirullah Zainal handed Malacca the title.
"We did just enough to keep afloat, and I salute my players for being able to play seven matches in eight days and still manage to keep a blistering pace in the final," said Malacca coach K. Balakrishnan.
In the Division Two final, Armed Forces beat Singapore 3-0 and victory was worth RM5,000.
Zulkifli Abdullah scored in the 23rd minute, Ahmad Riduan made it 2-0 in the 39th and Forces skipper cemented their win with a 69th minute strike.
Singapore collected RM3,000, while bronze medallists Selangor received RM2,000.
RESULTS -- Division One Final: Malacca 2 Project 2013 1; Bronze playoff: Kuala Lumpur 6 Johor 3.
Division Two -- Final: Armed Forces 3 Singapore 0; Bronze playoff: Selangor 7 Kedah 1.
ROLL-OF-HONOUR -- Division One: Best Player: Noor Faeez Ibrahim (Project); Best Player in the Final: Amirullah Zainal (Mal); Best Goalkeeper: Hanafi Hassan (Mal); Top Scorer: Nor Hafiq Ghaffar (Joh, seven goals); Fairplay: Johor.
Division Two -- Best Player: Harjeet Singh (Sin); Best Player in the Final: Azman Hassan (Forces); Best Goalkeeper: Saiful Azhar (Sel); Top Scorer: Noor Mohamed Othman (Forces, 11 goals); Fairplay: Kedah.
New Straits Times
Coach: Stamina the key to Razak Cup victory
By S. RAMAGURU
Close call: Project 2013 player Mohd Fitri Saari goes airburne after a collision with Malacca goal keeper Mohd Hanafi Hassan in the Razak Cup final yesterday. Malacca won 2-1. — MOHD SAHAR MISNI / The Star
KUALA LUMPUR: Malacca won their second Razak Cup hockey title when they defeated the Project 2013 team 2-1 in the Division One final at the Tun Razak Stadium here yesterday.
They first won in 2005 and were runners-up the following year.
Penalty corner goals in each half by national trainee Ahmad Anuar Sham and Amirullah Zainal were enough to give Malacca the title and the RM10,000 purse.
The Project boys earned RM7,000 for their efforts.
In the third placing play-off, defending champions Kuala Lumpur beat Johor 6-3 to pocket RM5,000.
Project coach K. Dharmaraj attributed their defeat to inexperience.
“My players put up a good show and created a lot of chances. But their lack of experience proved costly, especially in executing the penalty corners. Furthermore, Malacca got the goals when it mattered most,” he said.
Malacca drew first blood after just six minutes through Ahmad’s penalty corner conversion.
Faheed Saifullah equalised for the Project team eight minutes later.
But Malacca had the last word when Amirullah found the net in the 47th minute.
Malacca coach K. Balakrishnan said they did just enough to secure victory.
“It was not a great game but we did just enough to keep ahead of the Project side. I salute my boys for being able to play seven matches in eight days and still win the final. The pace was fast and the juniors were going strong towards the end. So, to come out victors is a great all-round effort,” he added.
The Division Two title went to the Armed Forces, who beat Singapore 3-0, thanks to goals by Zulkifli Abdullah (23rd minute), Mohd Hanip (39th) and Ahmad Ridzuan Zainal Abidin (69th).
Forces, who will return to the top division next year, also pocketed RM5,000.
On Wednesday, Negri Sembilan were demoted to the lower division.
Runners-up Singapore received RM3,000 while Selangor, who beat Kedah 7-1, finished third to bag RM2,000.
The Star of Malaysia
Changes to the England Hockey League Announced
England Hockey has today announced changes to the way the Men’s England Hockey League (EHL) Premier Division winners and teams qualifying for Europe will be determined.
The revised Premier Division format stems from a proposal put to the England Hockey Board by the Men’s Premier Hockey League Forum (MPHLF), a group comprising representatives from the men’s Premier Division clubs.
Effective from the 2009-2010 season, at the end of the regular season the team finishing top of the league will receive an automatic place in the Euro Hockey League as England’s third ranked team. They can improve on this ranking, and compete to be crowned EHL Champions, in a subsequent play-off tournament.
After 18 matches, the top five teams in the Men’s EHL Premier Division will play off for the Championship title and a place in Europe. The team winning the play-off tournament will be crowned England Hockey League Champions and will be England’s first ranked team in the Euro Hockey League for the subsequent season. The play-off final runners-up will be England’s second ranked team in the Euro Hockey League. In the event that the team already qualified for the Euro Hockey League finishes in the top two in the play-off tournament, there will be a third place play-off to determine England’s third ranked team to participate in the Euro Hockey League.
The play-off tournament will be structured as follows:
Match 1: EHL 4 (fourth placed team) v EHL 5 (fifth placed team)
Match 2: EHL 1 v Winner of Match 1
Match 3: EHL 2 v EHL 3
Match 4: Loser of Match 2 v Loser of Match 3
(This match will determine England’s third ranked Euro Hockey League participant. The match will only be required if EHL 1 wins Match 2)
Match 5: Winner of Match 2 v Winner of Match 3
(This match will determine who is crowned England Hockey League Champions and consequently, England’s first and second ranked teams in the Euro Hockey League)
Details such as dates, the finalised match schedule and venues will be confirmed shortly. The England Hockey Board is pleased to note the work of the MPHLF and its members’ pro-activity in collectively considering issues in respect of the EHL.
In the absence of a representative forum for clubs in the Women’s Premier Division, England Hockey continues to consult with clubs in the division on the adoption of a similar structure with a decision to be reached prior to the start of the 2009-2010 season.
From the 2009-2010 season, the maximum number of players a club can register is to be increased from 27 to 30 to ensure teams can register sufficient players to include cover for players on international duty. This regulation will apply across all Divisions in the EHL.
England Hockey Media release
Sports Ministry’s request to IOA chief
Chennai: The Union Sports Ministry has requested the President of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to address the issues raised by Mr. J.B. Roy, the President of the Bengal Hockey Association, and the leader of the group urging early democratic elections to Hockey India, and Ms. Amrit Bose, Secretary of the dissolved Indian Women’s Hockey Federation.
This is consequent to the representations sent to the Prime Minister’s Office about the “Management of Hockey in India.”
Mr. Shankar Lal, Under Secretary to the Government of India, Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports, in a letter dated August 10, addressed to the IOA President has asked him to consider the issues raised by Mr. Roy and Ms. Bose in their representations to the Prime Minister.
Mr. Lal has also asked the IOA chief to respond to the issues and keep the Government posted.
Pakistan set to play in France, Belgium and Poland
By Khalid Hussain
KARACHI: Pakistan’s preparations for the World Cup Qualifiers could receive a boost as the country’s hockey officials have almost managed to line up a series of test matches against European rivals this fall.
A senior Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) official told ‘The News’ on Thursday that efforts are on to confirm warm-up games against France, Belgium and Poland during September and October ahead of the 2010 World Cup qualifying event to be held in November.
“France had shown an interest in playing against us. We have told them that Pakistan can play there in the last week of September,” said PHF secretary Asif Bajwa.
“We have proposed similar test matches against Belgium and Poland and hope to line up a full-fledged European tour ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers,” added Bajwa, a former Olympian.
Pakistan’s hockey officials are delighted with this development.
“It is a good breakthrough,” Pakistan coach Shahid Ali Khan told this correspondent from Lahore where he is currently supervising a conditioning camp at the National Hockey Stadium. “Our boys desperately needed some good games ahead of the World Cup qualifying tournament and I’m sure they would be fully ready for that crucial assignment,” he added. Pakistan have to win one of three World Cup qualifying tournaments to be held later this year to make the cut for the 2010 edition of the quadrennial spectacle penciled in for New Delhi from February 28 to March 13.
The four-time former world champions are expected to feature in the first qualifying event to be played in Lille, France from October 31.
Pakistan have not played much international hockey since featuring in the Asia Cup in Malaysia where they lost to Korea in the final. Later in the summer, they played and won a three-match test series against England.
Shahid, a former Olympian, said that his boys desperately need to play against European rivals ahead of the World Cup Qualifiers. “Most of our rival teams in the World Cup Qualifiers are expected to be from Europe which is why it is very important for us to play as many matches against them as possible.”
Pakistan are tentatively scheduled to leave for France on September 23 and will play a three-match test series there before leaving for the Belgian leg of their European sojourn.
They will complete the tour by playing matches against Poland. This means that if the European tour is confirmed, Pakistan will play at least nine test matches before featuring in the World Cup qualifiers.
The News International
Violation of players code of conduct : PHF disciplinary committee completes inquiry
LAHORE: A disciplinary committee of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has completed its inquiry against former Pakistan captain Mohammad Saqlain and will submit its findings to PHF president Qasim Zia in a couple of days.
Saqlain was issued a show cause notice for violating players’ code of conduct when he criticised the national federation two weeks back.
“We heard Saqlain today and he recorded his statement in detail in reply to the show cause notice served on him for his unwanted criticism of the PHF,” committee chairman Shahid Pervez Bhandara told reporters at the National Hockey Stadium here on Thursday. The members of the committee were Iqbal Qasim, Rana Mujahid Ali, Sagheer Ahmad, Gulfraz Ahmad, Rana Shakir Ur Rehman and Zahir Shah.
“We will be submitting our report soon to the PHF chief after which a disciplinary action may be taken against the player,” he added.
He said the disciplinary committee gave a fair hearing to Saqlain’s point of view in detail and also questioned him to know the ‘real facts’.
“Our job is to give recommendations by finding him guilty or not. And it is up to the PHF president to take any action,” he concluded.
The Daily Times
Saqlain hearing takes place
A PHF disciplinary committee conducted a hearing over the case of indiscipline against former Pakistan captain Muhammad Saqlain. “The committee gave me a sympathetic hearing and I hope that they will give a positive report on my case,” said Saqlain, who lashed out at the PHF secretary over his axing from Pakistan’s training squad for the World Cup Qualifiers.
The News International
Saqlain says sorry but threatens to protest if not selected
LAHORE: Former Pakistan hockey captain and Olympian Mohammad Saqlain on Thursday said ‘sorry’ for his acts but threatened to continue his protest if not selected in the Pakistan hockey team.
Saqlain yesterday appeared before a disciplinary committee of the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to give his point of view regarding his criticism of the national federation. Saqlain was issued a show cause notice after he flayed the PHF for being dropped from a list of players named to play in the qualifying rounds of the World Cup 2010.
“I am sorry for what I have said. But my protest was genuine as I was not selected without any reason,” he told reporters.
Saqlain said he was optimistic that he would be given a fair chance to be part of the national team as he was fully fit and had the potential to play till next year’s World Cup.
“I hope the PHF will give me a chance and if I am not selected then I will continue my protest until justice is served,” he added. He said he was fully fit and the selectors or anyone else can judge his fitness. “And if I fail the fitness standard then I’ll quit.”
Saqlain said there was no logic to drop him without any valid reason. “The disciplinary committee heard me in detail and I am expecting a fair deal from the PHF.”
Saqlain said whatever he achieved in his life was because of hockey and his country. “That is why I want to serve my national team to play my role in winning the World Cup,” he concluded.
The Daily Times
PSB committee absolves Bajwa of allegations
By Imran Ali Teepu
ISLAMABAD: The three-member Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) probe committee investigating into allegations of human trafficking against Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Secretary Asif Bajwa has absolved him of all the charges levelled against him by ex-Olympians, Dawn has learnt on authority on Thursday.
Bajwa had earlier been accused by ex-Olympians Mansoor Ahmad and Naveed Alam of misusing his authority and also being involved in human trafficking.
‘They [Mansoor and Naveed] have failed to provide any strong documentary evidence to the committee which would have suggested that Mr Bajwa was involved in human trafficking, misuse of authority or any other allegation as levelled by them,’ a top official of the federal government told Dawn on condition of anonymity.
The three-member probe committee formed by Federal Minister for Sports Pir Aftab Shah Jilani comprises committee head Deputy Director General Akhtar Ganjera along with two junior officials of the sports board, who conducted a detailed investigation into the allegations.
The official said that Mansoor, Naveed and Asif Bajwa had appeared before the committee and their every word was documented.
‘The probe committee was not pressured from any circles and investigated the issue on merit,’ the official assured when asked to comment over the transparency of the probe committee.
The official asserted: ‘Instead the committee has recommended to the Ministry of Sports that the current PHF management must be given a green signal for continuing with their efforts of promoting the sport in the country.
‘We have the passport copies of Mr Bajwa’s family and were amazed to see that none of his family members ever got any visa from the German consulate in Karachi,’ the official informed.
Commenting on the documents provided by Naveed and Mansoor, the official said: ‘Mansoor has also provided the probe committee with a computer disc that has the voice recording of some official(s) along with some documents but the law does not recognise such material as evidence.’
Regarding Naveed, the official said that his documents were not as much related to Asif Bajwa as they were against ex-Olympian Rana Mujahid.
Both ex-Olympians who were banned for life after their outburst against the federation had also pleaded to the committee that the lifetime ban imposed on them by the PHF Executive Board was unjustified and should be removed immediately.
When asked to comment over the lifetime ban imposed by the federation’s premier body, the official said: ‘The federal government does not deal with the micro or operational affairs of the federation and it will be difficult for the ministry to advise the PHF to remove the ban. However, the Sports Minister Pir Aftab Shah Jilani has the power to request PHF’s elite panel to review the ban imposed against the ex-Olympians.’
Hockey – the only medal hope?
LAHORE: Considering sending athletes abroad a crucial part of giving boost to national sports, President of the Pakistan Olympic Association Gen (ret) Arif Hasan on Thursday conceded that excluding hockey he had no medal hope in any other discipline at the 2012 London extravaganza.
Gen (ret) Arif was addressing the ‘Meet the Press’ programme organised by the Sports Journalists Association of Lahore (SJAL) here.
To a question as to why the POA and the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) had been giving priority to send teams and officials abroad to oblige joy-riders, the POA president reckoned sending teams abroad was an essential step.
He said it was right of the country’s best athletes to get exposure at the international level.
However, there was no appropriate response from the president when he was reminded that except for hockey Pakistani athletes in different disciplines had been hitting rock bottom again and again, causing embarrassment for the country. He admitted that apart from hockey he had no medal hope in other games at the 2012 Olympics.
He also termed lack of funds, modern equipment and facilities for scientific coaching are the root causes of decline of sports in Pakistan.
The POA president noted that the world had made swift progress by using latest equipment and employing modern coaching techniques, adding in Pakistan the case was different.
Gen (ret) Arif said Pakistan could import modern sports gear from neighbouring countries especially Iran but urged the government should also waive the customs duty in this regard.
Gen (ret) insisted the POA had no strained relations with the Punjab Olympic Association, adding there were some issues with the Punjab chapter over the affiliation of some provincial sports bodies, which were being resolved.
To a query that some federations had introduced a new system of sending athletes abroad on self-finance basis and there were reports the Pakistan Swimming Federation had charged a swimmer Rs400,000 who wanted to appear in the world championship in Italy, the president said he would take notice of it.
The POA boss said as the Pakistan Sports Board had decided not to sponsor the Pakistan contingent for the next Indoor Games, the POA had no other resource to send it.
Emphasising there was no row between the POA and the PSB, he said he always believed the PSB was the country’s supreme sports institution.
Gen (ret) Arif said the Pakistan Sports Trust (PST), which is running under his command, was facing problems due to certain reasons and it had only Rs20 to 25 million in accounts, adding that the PST had been giving financial support to all the federations previously.
Cavs The Favorite In ACC
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. - The Virginia field hockey team was picked to finish first in the annual Atlantic Coast Conference preseason poll, voted on by the head coaches and released Thursday by the league office.
"It's nice to know our colleagues respect what we are doing here at UVa," head coach Michele Madison said. "It doesn't really matter where you start - what matters is where you finish. We are focusing on our performance right now to be the best team we can be."
Sophomores Paige Selenski and Michelle Vittese were two of 11 players named to the preseason all-conference team. Selenski, the 2008 ACC Freshman of the Year, was also named the national rookie of the year by womensfieldhockey.com in addition to being an All-ACC selection a year ago.
Selenski and Vittese were the only two sophomores named to the squad; the other 10 student-athletes were either juniors (three) or seniors (six).
Virginia received 23 of a possible 25 votes, including four first-place votes. North Carolina and defending champion Maryland both tallied 20 points and one first-place vote apiece to land in a tie for second. National runner-up Wake Forest is tabbed fourth (13 points) while Boston College (eight) and Duke (six) fall in at fifth and sixth place, respectively.
Selenski and Vittese are both coming off play at the 2009 BDO Junior World Cup where the Virginia duo, along with newcomer Tara Puffenberger, helped the United States to an eighth-place finish.
Virginia, which plays host to the ACC Tournament Nov. 5-8, compiled a record of 14-9 including a 2-3 mark in conference play last season. The Cavaliers reached the semifinals of the ACC Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
2009 Predicted Order of Finish
1. Virginia (4) 23
2. Maryland (1) 20
3. North Carolina (1) 20
4. Wake Forest 13
5. Boston College 8
6. Duke 6
2009 Preseason All-ACC Team
Lauren Miller, Sr., Back Duke
Katie O'Donnell, Jr., Forward Maryland
Emma Thomas, Sr., Back/Midfielder Maryland
Brianna Davies, Sr., Back Maryland
Katelyn Falgowski, Jr., Midfielder North Carolina
Illse Davids, Sr., Midfielder North Carolina
Jackie Kintzer, Jr., Goalkeeper North Carolina
Michelle Vittese, So., Midfielder Virginia
Paige Selenski, So., Midfielder/Forward Virginia
Raisa Schiller, Sr., Midfielder/Forward Wake Forest
Aileen Davis, Sr., Midfielder/Back Wake Forest