All the news for Thursday 31 December 2009
Pakistan to make mark in World Cup: Bajwa
By Imran Ali Teepu
ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan hockey team has the ability to create a stir in the upcoming hockey World Cup slated to be held in India from Feb 28 to March 13.
Pakistan Hockey Federation’s (PHF) Secretary Asif Bajwa told Dawn on Wednesday: “The team has the much-needed finishing ability and the upcoming mega event will see us giving a tough time to our opponents.”
Pakistan has been placed in Pool ‘B’ along with hosts India, Australia, Spain, England and South Africa.
“India, having the advantage of playing in front of a home crowd, will definitely have an edge but we, too, are determined to give them a tough time,” said the former Olympian.
The green shirts will be seen in action against hosts India in the opening Pool ‘B’ match to be played at New Delhi on Feb 28.
“We have, no doubt, thrashed India in the recent Champions Challenge Cup in Argentina. Still we refuse to take them lightly,” he said.
Pakistan beat India 6-3 in order to confirm a berth for the final of the event which they [Pakistan] later lost.
He said: “I know we will be under pressure with millions glued to their television sets to witness the important clash between the arch rivals. But winning against India will be our top target.”
Answering a question, Bajwa asserted: “I am aware that being placed in a tough pool, Pakistan will be facing strong squads such as Australia and Spain. Still I have faith in God. Our players, too, have the much-needed potential of delivering their best.”
About his opinion on what level the team would finish in the mega event, he said: “You cannot make predictions for such an important international tournament but we hope to be making a mark there by including our name among the best-rated teams there.” Pakistan last won the hockey World Cup in 1994.
“We will be featuring in two matches against Holland on Jan 21-22 as a build up exercise for the World Cup and are trying to close a deal for a match against Argentina, too,” Bajwa said while adding that they had also received a request from New Zealand for a slot to play against Pakistan as part of their own preparations for the World Cup.
Hockey series against Netherlands in Doha
PHF names 23 players for training camp
LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) selection committee on Wednesday announced 23 players for a training camp to prepare a strong squad for a two-match series against the Netherlands on a neutral venue. The camp will begin on January 6 at the Sialkot Hockey Stadium in Sialkot while the series will be held on January 20 and 21 in Doha, Qatar.
Nasir Ahmad, Zeeshan Ashraf, Sohail Abbas, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Irfan, Waseem Ahmad, Sajjad Anwar, Fareed Ahmad, Mohammad Rashid, Rehan Butt, Shakeel Abbasi, Abdul Haseem Khan, Mohammad Zubair, Akhtar Ali, Mohammad Rizwan, Waqas Sharif, Omer Bhutta, Imran Shah, Mohammad Tauseeq, Mohammad Rizwan, Kashif Shah, Shafqat Rasool and Abbas Haider.
The Daily Times
Punjab Police reach quarters
Nabha (Patiala), December 30 - Field hockey is akin to photography and if you do not focus all you have in your hands at the end of the day is the negative. That is the reason why Punjab Police coach Manpreet Singh delivered a lengthy sermon in chaste Punjabi to his players to be focussed and positive throughout the proceedings as his team readied itself to take on PSEB, Patiala.
His motivational lecture paid off as Punjab Police ambushed the Patiala powermen 4-2 in a high voltage encounter of the 34th All India Liberals hockey tournament played today.
More than the pyrotechnics of the players of either side, the high point of the day was the loud roar that went up each time a goal was scored against the cops or when their players were deprived of the ball by the powermen.
And when PSEB sounded the board to signal the first goal the roar was really deafening. Punjab Police may have good players in their ranks, including International Jugraj Singh, but they remain a highly unpopular outfit in this part of the country.
Throughout the proceedings, yet another match was being played within the real one. It was a contest of hurling the choicest of Punjabi expletives at rival players by either of the team and the cops won this competition too.
After a goalless first half, Punjab Police started using wings to their advantage and some good wing play by Satvinder and Kamaldeep Singh saw enough space being created upfront.
However, a lackadaisical display by the cops’ strikers did not do the team much good. Finally, as things turned out, particularly in the second half,
Punjab Police had to ride on a combination of luck and pluck to beat the powermen 4-2. It was a high quality contest and what did PSEB in was the experience and expertise of their opponents.
In other matches of the day, Corps of Signals grounded Indian Air Force, Delhi 3-2; BSF, Jalandhar never had to strain a sinew against AOC, Secunderabad whom they beat with embarrassing ease 4-0 and EME beat RCF, Kaputhala 5-2.
Team Netherlands for Hero Honda FIH World Cup
Michel van den Heuvel, coach of the men’s team of Netherlands, made his first selection of players for the Dutch team to play at the Hero Honda FIH World Cup in New Delhi, India from 28 February-13 March 2010.
Prior to the Hero Honda FIH World Cup, Netherlands will travel abroad twice for training and matches against Germany, South Africa, Pakistan, England and Spain. Mink van de Weerden is the only newcomer in the Dutch squad. Guus Vogels, Ronald Brouwer and Geert-Jan Derikx will return. Roderick Weusthof and Timme Hoyng are not selected.
Team Netherlands: Guus Vogels, Jaap Stockmann, Taeke Taekema, Wouter Jolie, Billy Bakker, Marcel Balkestein, Geert-Jan Derikx, Teun Rohof, Mink van der Weerden, Robert van der Horst, Laurence Docherty, Floris Evers, Klaas Vermeulen, Robbert Kemperman, Teun de Nooijer, Rob Reckers, Ronald Brouwer, Nick Meijer, Jeroen Hertzberger, Rogier Hofman, Constantijn Jonker, Valentin Verga.
Jiwa yet to get off the mark for Sapura
KUALA LUMPUR: Midfielder Jiwa Mohan has yet to find his true form for Sapura in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division.
Last year, he scored 12 penalty corner goals but he has yet to get off the mark this time after three matches.
Jiwa, who is working as a mechanical engineer in Perth, said that the lack of training was the reason for his lack of sharpness to score goals.
“I only fly in for the matches and then return to Perth,” said Jiwa in a telephone interview yesterday.
“Therefore I don’t get to practise the penalty corner flicks with the team. It is also tiring to travel from Perth to Malaysia for matches.”
Former champions Sapura are in third position in the six-team league with just one win after three matches.
Maybank and newcomers Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) are tied on the maximum nine points with the Tigers in front on better goal difference.
Sapura lost 3-2 to Tenaga Nasional in the Charity Shield match but bounced back to beat Nur Insafi 3-0 before going down 2-4 against KLHC.
Sapura will take on Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in Penang on Saturday and will play against Maybank the next day.
Jiwa added that former national skipper S. Kuhan and national junior Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin were doing well by delivering penalty corner goals for Sapura.
“I hope to end my goal drought in my home state, Penang, against UniKL. We need to beat them for a big boost to play a tough match against Maybank,” said Jiwa, who will arrive from Perth today for this weekend’s round of matches.
“It will be a crucial week for us as we need to collect full points in both matches to stay in cotention for the league title.”
Last year, Sapura were the runners-up in both the league and overall championship.
The Star of Malaysia
Technique changes are working, says Harinder Singh
With the national hockey team holding their first training session after Salta’s Champions Challenge at Balewadi on Wednesday, it was a chance for coach Harinder Singh to look back at the bronze-winning show.
According to Harinder, the team had a solid performance until the semi-finals, where they crumbled under pressure against an experienced Pakistan outfit. “We were great in the round-robin stages, but in the semis we conceded an early goal and lost our nerve and the match,” he said.
After being embroiled in the controversy over the supposed rift between chief coach Jose Brasa and some senior players, Harinder described the tour as being a successful one, and one where a lot of changes in technique were undertaken. “Prior to the tour, we had been focusing on our one-touch play and first-time passing. I was glad to see that the players implemented this technique in the tournament,” he said.
There were a few things he was unhappy about though. “In the Pakistan game, we were playing the game at too fast a place at some times. We have to learn how to get out of pressure situations by passing the ball into defence. We have to also learn about how to react under pressure especially when emotions run high as in the Pakistan game.”
Harinder also denied that the team missed out on the experience of the absent players. “We have a strong set of players and our focus is on them,” he said.
The coach is also looking ahead to the World Cup at home. “With 12 of the world’s best teams participating, any one can run away with the Cup. We are not going to look too far ahead and take one match at a time, but I must admit, the opening encounter against Pakistan is something I can’t wait for,” he said.
Punjab yet to receive affiliation to Hockey India
By Mail Today Correspondent in New Delhi
HOCKEY India is still dragging its feet in granting affiliation to Punjab in the lead- up to its election slated to be held on January 29.
Several state units have registered with Hockey India, but they don’t include Punjab and Mumbai, who have a rich history in the game.
Hockey India officials had a meeting with the sports ministry and election observer SK Mendiratta on Wednesday.
Speaking to M AIL T ODAY , Mendiratta said: “ We have now got a list of 25 units which have been affiliated with Hockey India.” However, prominent states such as Punjab, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Kerala are yet to get affiliation, he said.
Regarding Punjab, Hockey India has told the election observer, that there were still a few issues which needed to be addressed.
The contentious point is the onestate- one- body requirement imposed by Hockey India.
It says the regulation is part of its constitution and has been insisted upon by the International Hockey Federation.
As far as affiliation of the Kerala unit is concerned, Mendiratta said the High Court of the state had imposed a stay and, hence, no party can apply for affiliation as of now.
Asked about the affiliation of the Punjab and Delhi units, Mendiratta said they are still hopeful that before the election some solution would be found to ensure representation from all associations and states. “ We will address all the issues before the election,” he said.
The men’s and women’s units of Punjab and Patiala and East Punjab States Union have already merged.
There was also resistance from some Hockey India officials over having polls through ballot. They wanted the old system of election with a ‘ show of hands’. But Hockey India finally agreed that they would follow the model of nomination, scrutiny and polling, as advocated by Mendiratta.
Despite repeated attempts, Hockey India president AK Mattoo could not be contacted.
Doubts have been expressed over the affiliation process in Maharashtra where the traditional associations of Mumbai and Vidarbha have been ignored, with Hockey India recognising a splinter group from Pune.
Similarly, a little known association has been given affiliation in Tamil Nadu. It is also learnt that Karnataka has been affiliated as they bowed to the terms of Hockey India.
FIH to organize media Summit on March 10
In a novel attempt, the FIH will be organizing a media summit in New Delhi in the run up to the World Cup to be held in the same city.
This Media Summit 2010 will be held on Wednesday, the 10th March 2010 at the Le Meridien Hotel, New Delhi.
Billed as `Where the media meets the FIH' the new venture seeks to interact with the media to popularize hockey. As per the official version, the following are the objectives and topics to be discussed in the summit
• Discussions about FIH media policies and Strategic Plans
• Better understanding between Media and FIH
• Learning Experiences
• Feedback opportunities
The FIH President Leandro Negre, Aaron Sher, who is FIH Executive Board Member and CITC Chairman, Arjen Meijer, the FIH's Communications Manager and others are expected to speak on the occasion.