All the news for Sunday 10 January 2016
PIA to face Wapda in National Hockey final again
KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) conjured up solitary goal victories over National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) and Army, respectively on the penultimate day, Saturday, to set a repeat final.
However, some players received minor injuries when a free-for-all broke out soon after the first semi-final played between PIA and NBP that left a bad taste in mouth.
Rana Sohail scored the all-important goal for the airlines in the 15th minute, moments before the end of first quarter and maintained it till the final hooter.
The reigning champions, who have beaten NBP 7-6 on penalty strokes shootout sudden death semi-final last year, squandered two penalty corners in the third and 16th minutes.
On paper, the bankers looked superior outfit and retaliated but lack of proper finish eluded them from scoring equaliser. In the process, they earned four penalty corners in the fourth, 42nd, 42nd and 51st minutes but to no avail.
PIA’s Amir Shahzad, Yasir Islam and Atif Mushtaq were given marching orders by umpire who showed them yellow cards in the 48th, 55th and 60th minutes, respectively. Yasir was also shown green card in the 25th minute besides one each to Shafqat Rasool and captain M. Irfan.
Arsalan Qadir of the NBP was also shown a green card.
When the PIA players approached their opponents to shake hands after the triumph, inside left Akhtar Ali got infuriated and attacked Amir Shahzad with his stick that ensued free-for-all.
However, organisers intervened and calmed down the situation.
The PHF president retired Brig Khalid Sajjad Khokhar was in attendance along with Collector of Customs (preventive) S. M. Tariq Huda when the incident occurred.
Manager of PIA hockey team ex-Olympian Shahid Ali Khan has condemned the incident and demanded stern action against those found guilty.
“The PIA-NBP rivalry is not new in the field of hockey. Our five to six players were suspended after we’ve lost the final to NBP in 2014,” the PIA official told Dawn.
Assistant coach of the NBP hockey team Arif Bhopali has also deplored the incident.
“It’s awkward because it happened after the match and between the two top departmental teams of the country,” he told Dawn when asked for comments.
He said Akhtar got one of his hand fractured after being hit by fast rushing ball during the play.
Meanwhile, in a late development, the tournament committee suspended Akhtar Ali for three months and issued a warning letter to PIA.
In the other semi-final, Wapda struggled to beat last year’s losing semi-finalists Army by a lone goal.
Penalty corner striker Sohail Abbas scored the decisive goal off team’s second penalty corner in the 52nd minute.
Wapda had brushed aside Army 3-1 in the semi-final of the 61st National Hockey Championship last year.
The soldiers’ defied pressure by restricting Wapda from opening their account in the first three quarters before Abbas beat goal-keeper Adnan Asif eight minutes before final whistle. Earlier, Wapda failed to cash their first PC in the 34th minute.
Army also got two PC’s in the 41st and 58th minutes but went unfruitful.
The third-fourth position play off between NBP and Army will be played at 12noon while PIA take on Wapda in the final at 3pm on Sunday.
Wapda face PIA challenge in National Hockey final
LAHORE - Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) defeated National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) 1-0 in a nerve-wrecking first semifinal while Pakistan Wapda beat Army with same margin 1-0 in the second semifinal of the 62nd National Hockey Championship at the Hockey Club of Pakistan (HCP) Stadium on Saturday.
The final of the prestigious event will be played between PIA and Wapda on Sunday at 3 pm.
Federal Minister for State and Frontier Regions Lt Gen (R) Abdul Qadir Baloch will grace the occasion as chief guest.
The first semifinal was a clash of titans which witnessed some heated exchanges between the players of the two teams.
At one moment, the skirmish between them turned violent but timely intervention of the tournament officials calmed the situation.
Led by M Irfan, the PIA players put every ounce of their energy, skill and experience into the big win.
Irfan tackled the bankers’ forwards beautifully in the circle.
Particularly, Amir Shehzad, Shafqat Rasool and Abu Bakr played brilliantly.
Amir and Shafqat were instrumental in many of PIA attacks.
Both played a vital role in their team’s first goal.
Experienced Ehsalullah also showed his brilliance in defense.
PIA relied on scoops since the beginning of the match and succeeded in their strategy.
They took advantage of the bankers’ easy approach in the last seconds of the first quart.
Amir grabbed the opportunity whose long scoop collected by Shaqat near the D – Shafqat passed it to Rana Sohail in the circle who neatly deflected it passed the goal post.
They made some other interesting moves also but their hits were saved by the Mazhar Abbas, goal keeper of NBP.
In the last quart Amir took the ball from his area and passed it to Shafqat who earned a penalty corner for PIA but the third umpire disallowed it.
After taking lead, the airliners exerted pressure on the bankers which turned the semifinal into a very exciting encounter between top teams of the country.
For PIA, it turned out to be a do-and-die issue.
The spectators, however, enjoyed good hockey.
The bankers changed their strategy and relied on scoops in the third and fourth quart.
Their forwards made some good moves but lacked in finishing.
In the 43rd minute, Bilal Qadir and and Dilber Hassan launched an attack but Atiq Arshed, in the circle, failed to finish the pass neatly.
In the fourth quart, veteran Akhtar Ali and Ammad Shakeel passed and dribbled beautifully to earn two back to back penalty corners but the Bankers failed to capitalize.
PIA’s Abu Bakr dashed speedily to stop one penalty corner.
Rana Sajid and Waqas Butt supervised the match.
Wapda struggled very hard to beat Army in the second semifinal.
After playing two quite quarts, both teams demonstrated aggression in their moves which amused the spectators.
However, they wasted some fair chances to score.
From Army, M Zeeshan missed a goal on a cross from Ghanzanfar Ali in the 31st minute.
Rizwan’s long scoop to Habib-ur-Rahman earned a penalty corner which was wasted.
Army also failed to convert a penalty corner in the 58th minute.
Wapda’s lone goal was scored by celebrated penalty corner specialist in the 52nd minute, courtesy to approval of a referral from the third umpire.
Atif Malik and Hamza were the field umpires.
NBP will take Army for third position at 12pm while PIA will clash against Wapda in the final at 3pm.
PIA clash with WAPDA in final today
KARACHI: Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) humbled National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) 1-0 in a nerve-wrecking first semifinal while Pakistan WAPDA defeated Pakistan Army 1-0 in the second semifinal of the 62nd National Hockey Championship at the Hockey Club of Pakistan Stadium here on Saturday. The final between PIA and WAPDA will be played on Sunday (today). Federal Minister For State & Frontier Regions Lt-Gen (r) Abdul Qadir Baloch will grace the occasion as chief guest.
The first semifinal was a clash of titans which witnessed some heated exchanges between the players of both teams. At one time the skirmish between them turned violent but timely intervention of the tournament officials controlled the situation. Led by Mohammad Irfan, PIA players put every ounce of their energy, skill and experience into the big win. Irfan tackled the NBP forwards beautifully. Amir Shehzad, Shafqat Rasool and Abu Bakr also played brilliantly. Amir and Shafqat were instrumental in many of PIA's attacks. Both played a vital role in their team's first goal.
Experienced Ehsalullah also showed his brilliance in defense. PIA relied on scoops from the beginning of the match and succeeded in their strategy. They took advantage of NBP's easy approach in the last seconds of the first quarter. Amir grabbed the opportunity whose long scoop was collected by Shaqat who passed it to Rana Sohail who made no mistake. The score remained 1-0 till the final whistle. Rana Sajid and Waqas Butt supervised the match. WAPDA struggled hard to beat Army in the second semifinal. After playing two quite quarters, both teams demonstrated aggression in their moves which amused the spectators. However, they wasted some good chances to score. From Army Mohammad Zeeshan missed a goal on a cross from Ghanzanfar Ali in the 31st minute. Mohammad Rizwan's long scoop to Habib-ur-Rahman earned a penalty corner which was wasted. Army also failed to convert a penalty corner in the 58th minute. WAPDA's lone goal was scored by celebrated penalty corner specialist in the 52nd minute, courtesy to approval of a referral from the third umpire. Atif Malik and Hamza were the field umpires.
The Daily Times
East Grinstead top in Men's Super 6s
Chris Griffiths celebrates scoring in the indoor finals for EG.
In-form East Grinstead top the table after day three of the Men’s Super 6s Championship Premier Division, after firing 13 goals past their opponents at Kettering on Saturday.
They ran out 6-3 winners over Bowdon, courtesy of doubles from Simon Faulkner and Ben Allberry and further goals from Rob Schilling and Ross Stott. In reply, Thijs Bams, Bartosz Zywiczka and Mike Shaw were on target for their opponents.
In their second game, East Grinstead faced another unbeaten team in Reading but showed their power in front of goal once again as goals from Adam Seccull, Wesley Jackson, Dominic Bowden, Jannis Schwebs and a double from Will Arthur saw them win 7-2.
Canterbury are second in the standings and enjoyed the biggest win of the day – a 15-3 defeat of Holcombe.
Canterbury showed their ability to score from all over the pitch with 10 different scorers. Harry Jawanda, Kwan Browne, Craig Boyne, Wei Adams and Ivo Moreira all scored twice.
They comfortably won their other game too, beating Loughborough Students 11-4. Harry Jawanda was among the goals again, scoring a hat-trick.
Tim Davenport showed his importance to Wimbledon by scoring an incredible six goals in one game during their 9-7 win over Loughborough Students. It was just what they needed after losing 8-2 to Reading in their first game of the day.
In the final game of the day, the two bottom clubs, both searching for a win, met as Beeston hosted Holcombe.
The game ended 8-5 to Holcombe with Gareth Andrew scoring a hat-trick for the winners. Beeston’s Chris Proctor was unlucky to be on the losing side, hitting four goals.
Beeston are now at the bottom of the table as the only team without a win in the competition. In their other game, they narrowly lost out to Sevenoaks in a game that ended 4-3.
* For goalscorers and full competition details, including live updates click here - https://englandhockey.altiusrt.com/competitions/9
England Hockey Board Media release
Battling Canterbury see their lead cut
East Grinstead in action against Canterbury in the Women's Super 6s Premier Division. Credit Andy Smith
Canterbury dropped their first points of the Women’s Super 6s Championship in Saturday’s supercharged action, but they still lead the Premier Division after the latest round of matches in Telford.
Trailing 2-0 at half time, Canterbury battled back to share the spoils 2-2 with Bowdon Hightown. The top two scorers in the Division, Tina Cullen and Sally Walton had given Bowdon the lead, only for goals from Grace Balsdon and Lizzie Neal to bring the match back level.
Canterbury hit back in their second match, beating Reading 3-2 with Anna Kolarova scoring twice and Neal adding another.
East Grinstead climbed to second spot – just one point behind Canterbury – with victories over Leicester and the University of Birmingham. Malou Pheninckx scored a hat-trick in their second game, while Emma Lee-Smith and Zoe Burrell scored twice on the day.
After their draw with Canterbury, Bowdon went on to win 6-2 over Slough after trailing 2-0 at half time. They are now third in the table and within one win of the leaders.
Tina Cullen hit a hat-trick in the Slough victory and Sally Walton added another two to ensure the pair stay top of the goalscorers’ table.
Earlier in the day, Slough had beaten the University of Birmingham 3-2, while Surbiton are still bottom of the table after losing 7-1 to Sutton Coldfield and only managing a 2-2 draw with Leicester.
The day’s final match saw three goals in the final five minutes as Sutton Coldfield and Reading drew 3-3.
* For goalscorers and full competition details, including live updates click here - https://englandhockey.altiusrt.com/competitions/8
England Hockey Board Media release
Top Indian stars add colour to 2016 HIL
Sardar Singh, who moved from Delhi Waveriders to Jaypee Punjab Warriors, will be one of the key players to watch out for.
Some of the big names of Indian hockey will be seen in action in the fourth Hockey India League (HIL) to be held across six different venues in the country from January 18 to February 21.
Two-time finalists Jaypee Punjab Warriors have retained some of their key players in the auctions last year and one of the most prominent Indian stars among them are SV Sunil.
Sunil was a part of the Hockey World League bronze medal winning Indian team. He has 174 international caps and 56 international goals. The 26-year-old was retained for a sum of $50,000.
India captain Sardar Singh, who moved from Delhi Waveriders to Jaypee Punjab Warriors, will be one of the key players to watch out for.
The star midfielder has led the national team to many famous victories and has an experience of 236 international caps with 14 international goals to his credit.
Sardar bagged a price of $58,000 in the auction.
Drag-flicker V.R. Raghunath will be another player to watch out for. He will turn out for Uttar Pradesh Wizards and has an impressive record of 203 international caps and 127 international goals to his credit.
Ever-dependable and hard working Birendra Lakra will be a key player for defending champions Ranchi Rays. The 25-year-old defender has 123 international caps and nine international goals to his credit till date.
Lakra was retained by the franchise for a sum of $55,000 alongside Fergus Kavanagh from Australia will be looking to put of the similar robust at the backline for Ranchi Rays.
India vice-captain and goalkeeper P.R. Sreejesh will be guarding the goal of Uttar Pradesh Wizards and will be a force to reckon with in this edition of HIL.
For schedule and other important statemenets click on this
Sreejesh is amongst the top goalkeepers in the world is in the prime of his form with an excellent display at the Hockey World League Finals in December.
The combination of Raghunath and Sreejesh can be lethal in the defence and will be one of the biggest assets for the Uttar Pradesh Wizards.
The six franchises battling for supremacy in the richest field hockey league in the world are Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Delhi Waveriders, Kalinga Lancers, Uttar Pradesh Wizards, Dabang Mumbai and defending champions Ranchi Rays.
Indian offence, Aussie power
Jay Stacy feels that his ability to invest time in understanding the players and identifying their areas of strength, where they can play their best hockey, will be important. —PHOTO: VIVEK BENDRE
Four-time Olympian in men’s hockey, Jay Stacy, talks about his vision for Dabang Mumbai after taking over as head coach.
You are appointed in place of Germany’s Valentin Altenburg as Dabang Mumbai head coach. He is in charge of the national men’s squad. Your thoughts on Germany in field hockey.
I have the utmost respect for German hockey. They place great focus on preparing for the big tournaments, like the Olympic Games and World Cups. They defeated us in the 1992 Olympic final 2-1; it was a very experienced team which had lost the previous two Olympic men’s hockey finals (Los Angeles 1984 and Seoul 1988). Germany will be trying for a ‘Three-Peat’ of Olympic gold medals after titles in 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London), which were outstanding efforts.
To appear in four Olympics and remain injury-free is amazing. Were you involved in any epic Australia vs India matches?
We had fantastic physical preparation staff. I was always very professional away from the pitch. I was always focused on keeping my body in the best condition possible so that I could compete at the international level for as long as possible. Over the years, India and Australia had some fantastic battles at various tournaments. We had a very tight encounter at the 1992 Olympics (Barcelona). Pargat Singh was leading from the front and Dhanraj Pillay was dangerous in full flight.
Australian teams were known for their eye-catching playing style, though podium finishes were missing. Now, success and style go hand-in-hand for Australia. Explain please…
I disagree with your view that Australian teams lacked podium finishes. I have provided some compelling results for you. At the past six Olympic Games, Australia has been among the medals. At the past seven World Cups, we won medals, winning two World Cups. Australia has won every Commonwealth Games gold medal since hockey’s entry, besides the past five Champions Trophy tournaments.
Distinguished international players taking up coaching is positive for the sport. Do you agree with the view that coaching education is a necessity for famous hockey players nursing ambitions, and why?
It is great for the sport when long-serving international players take up coaching. These players have an immense amount of experience and knowledge to pass on to future generations.
This does not guarantee they will be successful coaches. I put as much time and energy into learning, developing and reviewing as I did when I was a player. Formal accreditation is a fantastic addition to one’s prior playing experience and knowledge.
Work for Hockey India League coaches involves blending various playing styles and understanding players from different nationalities. Have you done this before in Australia?
HIL provides an interesting challenge for all coaches. I have experienced coaching players from various nationalities and playing structures in Europe and, to some extent, in Australia. My ability to invest time to understand my players, identify their areas of strength, provide a training and structural environment, where they can play their best, will be important. This will enable the team to gel together and perform on a consistent basis.
What is your vision for Dabang Mumbai?
We want to play an exciting brand of hockey that blends the traditions of attacking Indian hockey and the power of Australian hockey. If we can achieve this, our loyal fans will enjoy the matches very much.
Professionals do their homework on leagues, teams and players before taking up an assignment as coach or player. Can you explain the factor/factors which convinced you to find time for HIL, besides the monetary aspect?
Professional coaches do many hours of homework on leagues, teams and players. Since my appointment, I have been researching everything on Hockey India League. I was offered the opportunity to be Head Coach of Dabang Mumbai when there was a change within the German national team (Valentin Altenburg appointed men’s coach). I was not part of the player auction back in September, but believe the franchise and Valentin have assembled a competitive list. The main driving factors in accepting this position were that as the Head Coach of the men’s Hockey Programme, Victorian Institute of Sport (my employer in Melbourne) granted me leave for the duration of HIL. It gave me the chance to coach some of the world’s best hockey players and the opportunity to develop an unknown team with varying nationalities into a winning combination.
Steep rentals: Corporation ready to give discounts
By Jugjet Singh
STADIUM Malaysia Corporation Friday gave assurance that they are in negotiation with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) on discounts for pitch bookings at Bukit Jalil and Tun Razak Stadiums.
This came about after clubs and social teams cried foul over almost 100 per cent rise in rental prices, which also saw the hours being shortened.
Stadium Malaysia Corporation CEO Azman Fahmi said: "We had no choice but to raise rental at both the stadiums because or rising costs like electricity and maintenance. But rest assured, we are in the midst of negotiating discounts with the MHC to lower the rates."
The Junior Hockey League (JHL), starting on Jan 15, is just around the corner and teams are edgy because there is no concrete development in the negotiations yet.
Last year, it was RM130 for the MHC to rent for one match (two hours) at Bukit Jalil, but the new season will see teams paying RM250 to RM300 with floodlights.
And at Tun Razak, which is also under the Stadium Corporation, the rates for night remains at RM120, but the minutes have been reduced from 90 to 60 minutes.
However, for daytime it has now doubled to RM80 per hour, from RM40.
All these rates are exclusive of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
"I have forwarded the new rates for MHC and its affiliates to our chairman for approval. Once I receive the green light, I can forward the information to the said parties," said Azman.
Last year, bookings for the JHL season was RM130 per-game, but it went up to RM300 for Malaysia Hockey League matches which were played under floodlights.
Comparatively, at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium the rates are much lower. Its RM40 per-hour for bookings from 8am to 4pm, and RM50 per-hour from 4pm to 7pm. At night under the floodlights, its only RM90 per hour.
The KLHA Stadium is fully booked months ahead as the rates are very reasonable.
On another note, Azman said both the hockey pitches at Bukit Jalil will not be closed this year for the 2017 Kuala Lumpur Sea Games preparations.
"Initially there were plans to close both the pitches to public as we wanted to re-turf them. But after discussing with the MHC, we will now allow them to use the pitches until the end of the year before we start re-turfing both the pitches for Sea Games," said Azman.
The only other facility at Bukit Jalil which will remain open for the year is the Aquatic Centre while the rest, including Stadium Malaysia HQ at the soccer stadium, will be closed for Sea Games renocations.
STADIUM Corporation published rates at Bukit Jalil: 1. 7am-7pm: RM150 per 60m, RM225 per 90m.
2. 7pm-12am (with full lighting - best for TV Coverage): RM300 per 60m, RM450 per 90m.
3. 7pm-12am (with half lighting): RM225 per 60m, RM300 per 90m.
NOTE: Negotiations are ongoing for a different rate for MHC, their affiliates and schools.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
JHL: Boys settled, now waiting for girls
By Jugjet Singh
EVEN THOUGH there was a record 36-team entry for the boys, the debut of the girls Junior Hockey League is expected to see about 10 teams only.
Yesterday, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee released groupings for the boys Division Two, which will be played on a zonal basis.
"The boys JHL will see a record entry of 36 teams, 10 in Division One and 26 in Division Two. The total prize money on offer would be RM144,000," said competitions committee chairman George Koshy.
The girls JHL entries will close on Jan 30.
"We expect fewer team in the girls JHL which is scheduled to begin after the Chinese New Year. But its a step towards the right direction to develop the women's game in the country," said Koshy.
The boys JHL was incepted in 1995, and has produced many promising players for the nation. Even though the girls JHL is 21 years too late, its still a step towards seeing the women play at a higher level than the Asian Games.
Nine venues nationwide will be utilised in the two-month long JHL.
Defending double champions SSTMI Thunderbolts lead the Division One challenge which will be played on a league format.
The other teams in Division One are SSTMI Juniors, Politeknik Malaysia, SMK Datuk Bentara Luar Johor, UniKL Young Guns, BJSS Thunderbolts, Petaling Jaya Municipal Council, Olak-PKT Tigers, Nurinsafi and SSP/MSP Thunderbolts.
At the conclusion of the league, the top two teams will advance to the final.
The 26 teams in Division Two will be divided into three groups with matches played on a zone system. North and South zones will consist of nine teams each while South zone will have eight teams.
The top two teams in each zone will advance to the second round. They will be further divided into two groups of three teams each respectively. The group winners will play in the final.
The top four teams in Division One and Division Two will play in the Junior TNB Cup which will be on a knockout system. The champions will receive RM25,000, runners-up RM20,000, third RM13,000 and fourth RM10,000.
“MHC will provide a grant of RM3,000 to each team. We have also increased the total prize money by RM15,500 which is more by 10 per cent compared to last year's RM128,500,” said George.
He added that Sabah team will be based in Johor Bahru throughout the duration of the tournament with the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium as their home venue.
DIVISION Two: Group A: MSSP/PHP Perlis Young Lion Jr, MSN/PHP Perlis Young Lion, SM Agama (Matri) Perlis, MSSD Larut Matang Selama, MSS Kedah, Penang MSSPP, KHA Kedah Juniors, Seratas and MCKK.
Group B: Sekolah Tuanku Abdul Rahman (Star), Felda Juniors, Anderson Thunderbolt, MSNPK/ILHC, Anderson PHA, Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors, MSSWPKL and MISCF-UFL.
Group C: Tunku Besar Secondary School Tampin, Malacca High School-Hercules, Young Hurricanes, SMK Datuk Taha, Sekolah Sukan Malaysia Sabah, MSNT/PHT, Academi Hoki Pahang, Sekolah Dato Bentara Luar Jr and SM Sains Johor.
PRIZE MONEY: Division One - Champion: RM18,000; runner-up: RM13,000; Third: RM10,000; Fourth: RM8,000.
Division Two - Champion: RM7,000; runner-up: RM4,000; third: RM3,000; fourth: RM2,000.
Junior TNB Cup - Champion: RM25,000; runner-up: RM20,000; third: RM13,000; fourth: RM10,000.
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
MJHL knockout stage to feature teams from both divisions
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) knockout stage will continue to involve teams from both divisions.
It was initially proposed that only Division One teams would feature in the knockout stage.
But the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee held a meeting with the team managers and decided that the top four teams from Division One and Division Two will play for the overall title.
The champions will receive RM25,000 while the runners-up will get RM20,000. The third team will get RM13,000 and fourth team RM10,000.
MHC deputy president and competitions committee chairman George Koshy said the knockout stage will start immediately after the end of the league competition.
“MHC will provide a grant of RM3,000 to each team. We have also increased the total prize money by RM15,500, which is 10% more compared to last year’s RM128,500,” he said.
This year’s MJHL sees a record number of 36 teams in the fray.
Defending double champions SSTMI Thunderbolt will lead the Division One challenge, which will be played in a round-robin format.
The other teams in Division One are SSTMI Juniors, Politeknik Malaysia, SMK Dato Bentara Luar, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), BJSS Thunderbolt, Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ), Olak Tigers, Nur Insafi and SSP-MSP Thunderbolt.
The other 26 teams will feature in Division Two in a zonal format.
The top two teams from each of the three groups will advance to the second round, where they will be divided into two groups of three teams each.
The group winners will then play in the final to decide the Division Two champions.
The MJHL will start on Friday and end on March 13, with the final for the overall title.
THE PRIZE MONEY FOR MJHL
Champions: RM18,000; Runners-up: RM13,000; Third: RM10,000; Fourth: RM8,000.
Champions: RM7,000; Runners-up: RM4,000; Third: RM3,000; Fourth: RM2,000.
Champions: RM25,000; Runners-up: RM20,000; Third: RM13,000; Fourth: RM10,000.
The Star of Malaysia
Major shakeup in Malaysia Hockey League this year
by S. Ramaguru
KUALA LUMPUR: This year’s Malaysia Hockey League (MHC) will see some drastic changes.
The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee have confirmed that while there will be some restrictions on the number of foreign players in the Premier Division, the teams in Division One will be allowed to hire foreigners for the first time.
The MHC are also looking at providing a substantial grant to the teams in a bid to encourage Division One sides to fight for promotion to the Premier Division.
MHC competitions committee chairman George Koshy said that they have held a meeting with the Premier Division teams and that most of them agreed to the proposed changes.
“We need to look at making the MHL a quality meet ... and for teams to take it more seriously,” he said.
“The changes are meant to make the MHL competitive. At present, the Division One champions are not in favour of gaining promotion as they know that they cannot compete with the top teams, who hire the best available players locally and overseas.
“So, we’re hoping that by giving a grant to the Premier Division teams, we can encourage the lower division teams to move up. We have also opened the door for foreign players to play in Division One.”
George said that the MHC executive board had already approved the changes, in principle.
“The changes will be implemented this year. We still need to work out the quantum of the grant to be given and the number of foreign players allowed for the Premier Division teams. This will also include restrictions on the number of national players per team,” he explained.
The teams who attended Saturday’s meeting were Tenaga Nasional, Terengganu, Maybank, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL), Sapura, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Nur Insafi.
All the teams have agreed to another proposal: that each side must field a certain number of Under-20 players during a match.
“We want teams to nurture their young players and expose them at the top level. The teams have agreed to the fielding of Under-20 players ... we now need to work out the numbers,” said George.
“I’m happy that the teams have seen the need for these changes and are willing to work towards making the league competitive.
“I’m sure we will see the MHL grow in strength and dish out quality matches.”
The MHL is slated to start in July.
The Star of Malaysia