Sunday, May 1, 2016

A shocker for keepers coach Nada...

GOALKEEPERS coach M. Nadarajan was taken aback when two Under-16 goalkeepers came under his wings for the May 13-16 Mannheim Four-Nation in Germany.
  The duo were selected after the National Under-16 by scouts Tai Beng Hai, S. Vellapan and Amin Rahim -- and supposedly the cream of the crop.
  "They were the best performers in the National Under-16, but sadly, they lacked basics and did not even know simple goalkeeping drills. It is not their fault, as I am the first goalkeepers coach they ever had," said Nadarajan.
  Surprisingly, Hamiz Ahir from Pahang and Helmi Fazil from Selangor, are both from sports schools.
  "I was taken aback, when they told me that I am their first goalkeepers coach as before this they were on their own. Thats why they did not even know the basic drills which must be done regularly to keep keepers on their toes.
  "Both of them reported early because they are in the Klang Valley, while the rest of the outfield players will report for training on Tuesday," said Nadarajan.
  In the Four-Nation, Malaysia will be up against Germany, Netherlands and Belgium.
  The team will be coached by Nor Saiful Zaini and assisted by  Mohamed Suffian.
  "There is a lot to be done with this two goalkeepers, and hopefully they perform against the best teams in Europe," said Nadarajan, a former national keeper who is now into coaching.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Razak Cup: Selection for Japan Tour...

THE Senior hockey players can't take this year's Razak Cup lightly, as coach Stephen van Huizen will use it to select his team for the Japan Tour on June 8-15.
  And those who played in the recent Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, where Malaysia finished fourth, can't take their place for granted.
  Van Huizen will also have to scout for two replacements as 
he is set to miss to players form the Azlan Shah Cup -- skipper Razie Rahim and midfielder Nabil Fiqri -- who will be reporting for a nine-month Police training from May 8.
  "The national players are on leave now and will resume training on May 3 and after 10 days, they will be released to play for their states in the Razak Cup (May 21-29).
  "I will select players for the Japan Tour, of six matches including two Tests, based on performance in the Razak Cup. Those who played in the Azlan Shah Cup must also give their best, as there is no 'reserved' spot for anybody," said Van Huizen.
  Malaysia had a good chance of grabbing the bronze medal, but after taking a 2-0 lead against New Zealand they crumbled to a 3-3 draw and in the shoot-out lost 5-4.
  "We are still at phase one of our training and preparing for the World League Round Two, so I need to keep all the players on their toes.
  "We will play six matches in Japan, and two will be Test matches so I will only take those who give their best in the Razak Cup," said van Huizen.
  The only international tournament for the senior men this year is the Asian Champions Trophy which Malaysia might host in October, as negotiations are still ongoing with the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) on sanction fees.
  The women will also head for Japan on May 1 for a 10-day Tour against the Japan juniors to prepare for the World League Round Two which Malaysia will host in January.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Dharma's women on a mission...

THE Malaysian women's team will head for Japan on May 1, to begin a journey which coach K. Dharmaraj hopes will end at the 2018 England World Cup.
  For the record, Malaysian women have yet to play in the World Cup, and have also yet to cross Round Two of the World League -- history which Dharmaraj plans to re-write.
  "We will be heading for Japan for a 10-day Tour to play against their juniors. This is among the plans to get the women ready for the World League Round Two, which Malaysia will host in January.
  "We have yet to advance into the WL Semi-finals, and that is what I aim to achieve with these players," said Dharmaraj.
  The women are enjoying a second life under Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal, as they have played in a Four-Nation in Hong Kong and became champions by beating Taiwan, Kazakhstan and the hosts,
  They then went on a Tour of China, where they played five quality matches against the China juniors.
  However, for the Japan Tour of five matches against their juniors, Dharmaraj will not have senior goalkeeper Farah Ayuni Yahya and outfield player Noor Hasliza Ali -- as both of them will be attending a nine-month training stint to become Policewomen.
  "Farah has been our top goalkeeper for at least seven years and in her absence I wil be fielding two juniors. Even though this might pose problems at the Japan Tour, but in the long run, it will benefit the country," said Dharmaraj.
  Both the senior players, however, will be available to play in the World League Round Two in January.
  In the recent WL Round One held in Singapore, Thailand became champions, Kazakhstan were second and the hosts third and all three countries will play in the WL Round Two in Kuala Lumpur.
  "Four teams (including Malaysia) have confirmed for the KL World League, and I believe Ireland and Italy will be among the other four. We need to play in the final of Round Two, and qualify for the World League Semi-finals to break our duck.
  "After that, I believe we have a chance to play in the 2018 England World Cup, by playing our cards right in the quarter-finals," said Dharmaraj who has coached the Malaysian men and boys at the World Cup level.

SOJC: Motley Crew from Malaysia...

THE Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) holds little importance for Malaysia this year, but the other five teams will use it to prepare for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi.
  Malaysia failed to qualify for the Junior World Cup, when they finished fifth in the Kuantan Junior Asia Cup.
  The other five SOJC teams -- England, Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Japan -- have all qualified for the Junior World Cup and will be at their best in Johor Baru on Oct 31-Nov 6.
  Japan were invited after two-time champions India withdrew, after confirming their entry earlier.
  The SOJC team will be handled by development coaches Wallace Tan and Amin Rahim.
  "After we failed to qualify for the Junior World Cup, the team was disbanded and we might have some difficulties forming a formidable side," said Amin.
  This is because there are only 15 players in training under the development coaches, and so, the Razak Cup will be a selection ground for the SOJC.
  "My advise to those who played in the Junior Asia Cup, as well as those who aspire to play in the Under-21 SOJC, is to keep themselves fit and give their best in the Razak Cup.
  "The plan right now is to select players from this tournament, and maybe, train for two months before the SOJC," said Amin.
  The Razak Cup will be held on may 21-29 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

KLHA 1MAS mess cleared...

Pic: Tai Beng Hai

THE Kuala Lumpur 1MAS programme is in a big mess, because of miss-information among parents, KL officials and director Tai Beng Hai.
  Kuala Lumpur HA suspended their 1MAS Boys' programe in February without informing Beng Hai, and it has since spiralled in an all-out 'war' among the stake holders -- namely parents who are anxious to know if their children can play in the Under-13 tournament on May 7.
  "This issue has been blown out of proportion because of misunderstanding, and for starters, KLHA stopped the boys programme without informing 1MAS," said Beng Hai.
  KLHA's have their own reason, and according to their secretary V. Rajamanickam not more than nine boys attend training at any one of their sessions.
  "We had to suspend the boys 1MAS programme because of lack of attendance. At ony one time, only about nine under-13 boys turn up for the training under coaches K. Embaraj, S. Selvaraju and S. Bubalan.
  "So, we decided to suspend the programme, and are in the midst of trying to re-vamp it. The girls section has no problems because they attract a large number of trainees," said Rajamanickam.
  Beng Hai met with KLHA development chairman Datuk N. Sri Shanmuganathan yesterday to clear the air, and it looks like the KL boys will not be victims of misunderstanding.
  "I had a meeting with Sri Shan today (yesterday) and he is in the midst of getting new coaches to revamp their 1MAS programme because some of the previous coaches like K. Rajan and Selvaraju left because of other commitments.
  "In the end, to clear the mess of misinformation, I would like to assure parents that their children can still play in the 1MAS under-13 tournament and all we need is a list of players from KLHA so that we can buy insurance, and they will be allowed to play in the tournament.
  "The 1MAS programme is to develop grassroots, and rest assured, players will not be victimised because of misinformation, or any other external issues.
  "As long as the states send us a list of their players, we will accommodate them in tournaments and other zonal programmes," said Beng Hai.
  Beng Hai is expected to meet Rajamanickam on Monday to clear the air further.