Thursday, August 27, 2015

THT& KLHC: No room for errors

MALAYSIA Hockey League (MHL) Premier Divison Leaders Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) believe they will be fighting the battles of their lives this weekend to keep their title hopes alive.
  KLHC top the standings on 19 points, just one point away from double champions Terengganu Hockey team, and hope to survive against UniKL today, and Sapura Sunday.
  "In Round One, both these matches were close as we drew 3-3 with Sapura and could only beat UniKL 1-0. I believe we will have to bring out our best to claim six points thiw weekend, and then only can we play for the final League fixture on Sept 4," said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.
  Sept 4 is when KLHC meet Terengganu HT (THT).
  As for THT they play their final three matches at home in Batu Buruk, starting with Tenaga today and Maybank Sunday.
  "If we maintain our form, and THT win both their matches, the last fixture against THT will decide the title. Thats why this weekend is seen as do-ro-die for both the teams," said Dharmaraj.
  THT have a good record playing at home, and their only blemish this season was 6-2 drubbing in the hands of KLHC in the curtain raiser Charity Shield match.
  "To say that we will have an easy time against UniKL is far-fetched, as even though they have 12 Project 2016 players, they have shown great determination and fighting spirit," said Dharmaraj.
  For the record, UniKL have yet to win or draw a match this season, but all their matches went to the wire.
  As for THT coach Sarjit Singh, he will be banking on home support: "The crowd at Batu Buruk has been simply great and with their backing, we hope to win all three matches and defend our title."
  RESULT: Premier Division -- Sapura x Maybank x.
  TODAY: Premier Division -- KLHC v UniKL (6pm, Pitch II), Terengganu HT v Tenaga (Batu Buruk, 6pm).
  Division One: Group A: MASUM USM v TNB Thunderbolts (KLHA, 5pm), MSN-THT v BJSS (batu Buruk, 4pm); Group B: ATM Airod v SSTMI (Tun Razak, 7pm), PKS-KPM v UiTM (5pm, Pitch I), Nur Insafi v Politeknik (Sg Petani, 5pm).
  Women: Group A: ATM Pernama v Politeknik (Tun Razsak, 5pm).
  TOMORROW: Division One: Group B: PKS-KPM v UniKL Young Guns (7pm, Pitch I).
  SUNDAY: Premier Division -- Sapura v KLHC (6pm, Pitch II), Terengganu v Maybank (Batu Buruk, 6pm), uniKL v Tenaga (8pm, Pitch II).
  Division One: Group A: MSP-YPSSP v BJSS (Kuantan, 5pm), MBI v MSNT-THT (Azlan Shah, 5pm); Group B: UiTM v UniKL Young Guns (5pm, Pitch I), Nur Insafi v SSTMI (Sg Petani, 5pm), ATM Airod v Politeknik (Tun Razak, 5pm).


                  P     W       D       L       F       A       pts
KLHC                     7 6 1 0 20 9 19
TERENGGANU HT     7 6 0 1 25 11 18
SAPURA                     7 3 1 3 12 14 10
TENAGA            7 3 0 4 10 16 9
MAYBANK           6 1 0 5 8 16 3
UNIKL                  6 0 0 6 7 16 0

Monday, August 24, 2015

Koshy needs to do CPR on MHL

by Jugjet Singh

WHILE the best will head for Hockey India League (HIL), the rest came to play in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
  Just as this column was being written, in came an email and the intro was --  HIL to conduct auction for 135 Indian and 141 foreign players on Sept 17.
  Among the foreign players to be auctioned, Australian ace Jamie Dwyer's name stood out. Dwyer has played in four World Cups, and will be playing in his fourth Olympics in Rio de Janeiro after helping Australia become champions at the Belgium World League Semifinals.
  Five out of six teams in the Premier Division hired players from Argentina, Pakistan, Ireland, South Africa and Germany -- but the hired guns have yet to impress in any manner.
  Tenaga Nasional, the title sponsors, were the only team who believed in locals and they are doing much better than foreign-injected Sapura, Maybank and UniKL at the start of the Second Round.
  Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) are the only two teams in battle for the League title, and are on 19 and 18 points respectively after seven matches.
  The pretenders are Sapura (10 points), Tenaga (nine), Maybank (three) and yet-to-win-a-point UniKL.
  And even KLHC and THT are being carried by their local players, while their foreign imports are in the shadows.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) had said at the start of the MHL that the foreign players are needed to inject prestige and also attract fans.
  However, the imports have failed in every department. The Premier Division matches at Bukit Jalil have yet to attract the desired number of fans, and in fact, 70 percent of those who come to watch the matches are family members and friends of players.
  Both the stadiums in Bukit Jalil only see about 100 to 200 'fans' turning up to watch the Premier Division matches, but the presence of hockey players from other teams waiting for the next match, adds to the numbers.
  Sadly, even MHC officials are normally missing from the stands.
  Nobody but KLHC and THT seem to be enjoying the spotlight, and a top MHC official said it all: "We tried everything to attract the fans, but failed."
  MHC Deputy President and Competitions Chairman George Koshy had promised drastic changes in the MHL when he went on his election rounds early this year.
  But he did not have enough time to implement them this season. Lets see if Koshy, who is also the KLHC team manager, can give this dead-end league a kiss of life, and make it as interesting and lucrative as the HIL.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Dharmaraj prefers women...

FORMER National coach K. Dharmaraj has had enough with the men, and if granted, he now wishes to train the women instead.
  Dharmaraj, who was elevated to the senior men's coach after taking his charges to a fourth spot in the Junior World Cup, does not want to re-visit the scheming and plotting which saw him unceremoniously dumped after a disastrous senior World Cup outing at the Hague, Netherlands.
  "I would rather coach the women now, as I've had a bad experience with a group of senior players who got together and plotted my exit. There was just too much of unnecessary stress and I also believe if I'm placed back with the men, many players will prematurely retire and I don't wan't that on my shoulders," said the present Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club and National Sports Council (NSC) development coach.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) has hired Australian Terry Walsh as Technical Director, and together with the coaching committee, Walsh is expected to announce the various national team coaches for the men and women in two weeks time.
  Dharmaraj also feels its up to the MHC and their selectors to kick out dead-wood, and trouble makers from the senior side.
  "I believe the MHC know everything and it is up to them, the scouts, as well as the new coach to select who they want and kick out who they feel would cause further trouble in the team.
  "As for me, I believe the women have potential and with 16 teams in the Junior World Cup, there is a great possibility of qualifying for the tournament if effort is placed," said Dharmaraj.
  On another note, KLHC will play Tenaga in the second round of the Premier Division Sunday, and the three points slant towards Dharmaraj and his men.
  In round one, KLHC beat Tenaga 3-1.
  RESULTS: Division One: Group A: BJSS 4 Masum-USM 1; Group B: PKS-KPM 3 ATM Airod  4, UiTM x Nur Insafi x.
  Women -- Group B: KL-Sukma x PKS-KPM  x.
  SUNDAY: Divison One (Second Round): Maybank v UniKL (Pitch I, 8pm), Sapura v Terengganu HT (Pitch II, 6pm), Tenaga v KLHC (Pitch II, 8pm).
  Division One -- Group A: MSN-THT v MSP-YP-SSP (batu Buruk, 6pm), Masun-USM v MBI (KLHA, 5pm); Group B: UniKL Young Guns v Nur Insafi (Pitch I, 6pm), SSTMI v Politeknik (SSTMI, 5pm).
  Women -- Group A: Politeknik v Penang Juniors (Malacca, 5pm), MSN-PHT v The Cops (Batu Buruk, 4pm); Group B: MSN-Kedah v SSTMI (Padang Serai, 5pm), PKS-KPM v UiTM Lions (Pitch I, 4pm).
  NOTE: National Hockey Stadium unless stated.

Friday, August 21, 2015

KLHC edge Maybank

KUALA LUMPUR Hockey Club (KLHC) came back from a goal down to edge Maybank 2-1 to keep their grip on the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) yesterday.
  Playing at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Maybank's Pakistan import Muhammad Toseeq scored a field goal in the 36th minute, but the joy was short lived as a minute later, Mohamed Syamim nailed the equaliser.
  KLHC were saved the blushes by Pakistan's Ali Shan, who scored a penalty corner rebound in the 42nd minute.
  "We went in expecting a tough match and I'm glad that we did not crack when we were trailing but kept pushing for a win," said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.
  KLHC had beaten Maybank 3-1 in the first round but yesterday's match was a close shave.
  "Entering into the second round we should have done much better, and that's the one aspect that I'm not happy with our progress so far. Otherwise, we are doing just enough to challenge for the title," said Dharmaraj.
  After six matches, KLHC top the standings on 16 points with five wins and one draw.
  Maybank, on the other hand, have yet to win a game: "Even though we have yet to win a point after five matches, I believe the team is improving and we should claim a win against UniKL (Sunday)," said Maybank coach S. Vellapan.
  Maybank and UniKL also have yet to complete their first round fixtures which was washed away by rain. That abandoned match will be played on September 2.
  RESULTS: Premier Division (Round Two): KLHC 2 Maybank 1, UniKL 0 THT 3, Tenaga 2 Sapura 1.
  Division One Group A: BJSS 1 Thunderbolts 3, MSP-YP-SSP 2 MBI 5; Group B: PKS-KPM 4 SSTMI 2, UiTM 1 ATM Airod 1.
  Women's Group A: MSNT-PHT 0 Penang Juniors 1; Group B: Manjung 0 SSTMI 4, BJSS 0 Thunderbolts 3.
  SATURDAY: Division One: Group A: BJSS v MASUM-USM (Kuantan, 5pm); Group B: PKS-KPM v ATM AIROD  (NHS I, 5pm), UITM v NUR INSAFI (NHS II, 7pm).
  Women -- Group B: KL-SUKMA v PKS-KPM  (KLHA, 8pm).

Thursday, August 20, 2015

STADIUM DREAM: UniKL's finest hour...

 Asian Hockey Federation president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah at the ground breaking venue...

UNIVERSITI Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) yesterday broke new ground when their Chancellor Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah officiated at a ground breaking ceremony to build a 500-seater hockey stadium in Bangi.
  To be called the Tengku Abdullah Stadium, it will cost RM7.5 million and is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
  "Hockey has made Malaysia proud at the international level in the past, and I hope with this new UniKL stadium, we can reach that level again," said Tengku Abdullah who is the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president.
  UniKL Young Guns were formed in 2009, and in a short span have exposed 160 players in the Malaysia Hockey League as well as Junior League. In the last Junior World Cup where Malaysia finished fourth, UniKL contributed 12 players.
  This year, in collaboration with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC), UniKL started a free coaching clinic every Saturday for goalkeepers, and players below the age of 16.
  When completed UniKL will utilise it for development, as well as home for the MHL and JHL matches.
  Meanwhile, UniKL will face another challenge when they meet MHL double champions Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) again in Round Two of the Premier Division in Kuala Lumpur today.
  In Round One, THT beat UniKL 4-2.
  THT's only blemish was when they were hit 6-2 by Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the Charity Shield, and being the first game of the Second Round, THT are expected to hit UniKL hard to keep sight of their League title.
  UniKL are still winless after four matches and fifth on the standings, and still have not completed their First round rain abandoned match against bottom placed Maybank.
  "Even tough UniKL have 12 youth from Project 2016, they have shown good fighting spirit and have only lost narrowly to all the teams. I expect it to be another tough match for us, but we need a win to keep the momentum going in the second round," said THT coach Sarjit Singh.
  TODAY: Premier Division (Round Two): KLHC v Maybank (6pm), UniKL v THT (8pm, Pitch I), Tenaga v Sapura (8pm, Pitch II).
  Division One Group A: BJSS v Thunderbolts (KPM, 5pm), MSP-YP-SSp v MBI (Kuantan, 5pm); Group B: PKS-KPM v SSTMI (4pm, Pitch I), UiTM v ATM Airod (6pm, Pitch I).
  Women's Group A: MSNT-PHT v Penang Juniors (Batu Buruk, 4pm); Group B: manjung v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Azlan Shah, 5pm).
  NOTE: National Hockey Stadium unless states.