Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gold dare...

AFTER playing bridesmaid for the last two years, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah wants a golden farewell before he vacates his seat on May 13.
  However, with Australia and India sending their best players, Malaysia might even struggle to play in the final of the Azlan Shah Cup which starts on Sunday.
  The other challenges for the title are New Zealand, South Korea and Canada.
  Malaysia lost to Australia in both the finals, with 3-2 and 8-3 scores respectively. The tournament, incepted in 1983, has yet to see Malaysia lift the trophy but have finished second five times in 1985, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014.
  "Sadly, we have yet to win this title but this time, we are looking forward to lift the Azlan Shah Cup for the first time. I truly hope we can win this year," said Tengku Abdullah who will not seek re-election in the May 13 elections.
  Coach Tai Beng Hai named 20 players with two to be dropped after the New Zealand friendly. The prominent name missing from the list was Fitri Saari, who has some personal issues to sort out.
  World champions Australia, with eight Azlan Shah Cup titles under their belt, are almost sure bets to claim the ninth as well.
  The Kookaburras' squad is a combination of new and senior players while seeing the return of some of the injured.
  Captain Mark Knowles will return to the international fold after recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the Commonwealth Games.
  Two of the Kookaburras’ most experienced players, Jamie Dwyer and Glenn Turner will return after being out since the World Cup.
  Kookaburras Head Coach Graham Reid said: "What I love about the Azlan Shah Cup is that it’s one of the toughest places to play hockey. With high humidity and heat conditions it tests our players both physically and mentally. Our opponents will be tough to play and it will be a great competition to be a part of.”
  As for India, midfielder Sardar Singh will lead a full side, with just three changes from the last December's Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar. 
  MALAYSIA: Goalkeepers: Roslan Jamaluddin (191 caps), S. Kumar (242); Azreen Rizal (51), Baljit Singh (164), Marhan Jalil (139), Izwan Firdaus (82), Haziq Shamsul (11), Faizal Saari (138), Shahrun Nabil (218), Sukri Mutalib (211), Firhan Ashaari (64), Azlan Misron (336), Nabil Fiqri (140), Razie Rahim (167), Faiz Helmi (51), Meor Azuan (23), Tengku Ahmad Tajudin (192), Ahmad Kazamirul (27), Ramadan Rosli (39), Izad Hakimi (46).

Monday, March 30, 2015

Faizal's fitness places him among last 20...

Future in his hands.. Faizal with the Best Player and Top Scorer awards won at the World League Round Two in Singapore.. After which he went absent from training without notice...

FAIZAL Saari was among 20 players short listed for the Azlan Shah Cup, based on his fitness level which is much more higher than that of his team-mates.
  But based on attitude, his team-mates are miles ahead of the Kelantan-born player.
  This came as a surprise as the rest of the team went into centralised training immediately after the Singapore World League ended on Jan 25, and even went for a Tour Down Under, while Faizal skipped training for two months.
  Faizal is no stranger to controversy, as he went Awol without as much as sending a text message to coach Tai Beng Hai and team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.
  And when he finally returned to training on March 23, he was again embroiled in controversy as he played in the Hong Kong League on March 22, while awol from training and no release letter from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.
  Nur Azmi had a chat with Faizal on the sidelines of the National Under-16 finals on Sunday and said the player is ready to give his full commitment.
  "Even though he missed training for months without notice, he is still fitter than many of his team-mates. He passed the fitness test with flying colours, and will be among the 20 heading to Ipoh for a final selection," said Nur Azmi.
  Malaysia will play a friendly against New Zealand on Thursday, after which two players will be dropped.
  "It is the choice of the coach (Beng Hai) to select Faizal or drop him. When I met him (Faizal) Sunday, he was quite remorseful and said he had many personal problems which made him do what he did.
  "On the other hand, his team-mates have been training hard since the World League, and even went for a Tour of Australia.
  "My take is that if the coach wants to utilise him for the (World League) Semi-finals in Belgium, Faizal needs to play quality matches and the Azlan Shah Cup is our last sparring chance, as Japan have cancelled a series of friendlies after Ipoh," said Nur Azmi.
   The other teams who will be in Ipoh are world no 1 Australia, South Koreas, Canada, New Zealand and India.
  The WL Semi-finals are Malaysia's last chance to play in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and Beng Hai's charges are in Group B with Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland and China. In Group A are Australia, India, Pakistan, Poland and France.
  "We need to show results in Ipoh, as the possible knock-out stage opponents in Belgium could turn out to be Australia or India," said Nur Azmi.
  In the last edition of the Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia were whacked 8-3 by Australia in the final.
  On Sunday, Faizal was invited to give away The Most Promising Players (Boys and Girls) awards to National Under-16 players at Bukit Jalil.
  Naturally, the recipients Mohamed Izham of Pahang and  Selangor's  Siti Nur Akiah were in awe with his presence. But its time Faizal sheds his cry-baby attitude and fight like a man when problems come crashing on his shoulders.. for, good or bad, he is a role model for youth.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nat U16: Pahang Boys lift maiden title

PAHANG lifted their first Boys' National Under-16 title when they beat Malacca 2-0 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
  The Pahang goals were scored by Mohamed Kamil (seventh) and Mohamed Idris (55th).
  In the Girls final, Selangor edged Kuala Lumpur 1-0 and the star of the day was P. Revathi, who scored a penalty corner goal in the 32nd minute.
   "I am very proud of my girls who played good hockey in the entire tournament to become champions in this age-group tournament. There are some very good players in this team and this augurs well for the future of women's hockey in the country," Mohamed Jadwi.
   Selangor girls won all five of their Group B matches by scoring 21 goals and only let in four. For the record, it was match winner Revathi's first goal of the tournament.
   RESULTS: Boys' Final: Malacca 0 Pahang 2; Third-Fourth: Perak 3 Johor 1.
   Girls' Final: Selangor 1 Kuala Lumpur 0; Third-Fourth: Penang 4 Kedah 2.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nat U16: KL Girls stun Penang...

KUALA Lumpur stunned defending champions Penang 3-2 in the semi-finals of the Girls National Under-16 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
  In the other girls semis, Selangor beat Kedah 3-0. KL and Selangor will now play for the title today.
  Hazatul Huzra (22nd and 29th) started the goalcount while Siti Nur Arfah made sure the final ticket when she scored in the 60th minute.
  Hur Maizatul Hanim scored both the goals for Penang in the 36th and 63rd minutes.
  As for Selangor, Felyya Amanina scored a brace in the 17th and 30th minutes while the third was scored by Dayang Nuramirah in the 47th minute.
  RESULTS: Boys' Semi-finals: Malacca 5 Perak 0, Johor 0 Pahang 1.
  Girls' semi-finals: Selangor 3 Kedah 0, Penang 2 Kuala Lumpur 3.
  TODAY: Boys' Final: Malacca v Pahang (6pm, Pitch II; Third-Fourth: Perak v Johor (5pm, Pitch 1).
  Girls' Final: Selangor v Kuala Lumpur (4pm, Pitch II); Third-Fourth: Penang v Kedah (3pm, Pitch I).
  (All matches at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dharmaraj: More average than exceptional in Boys U16

THERE are many average, but only a few exceptional players in the ongoing National Under-16 hockey tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
  And goalkeepers are well below par in all the 13 states competing in the boys section.
  This observation was made by National Sports Council (NSC) development coach K. Dharmaraj who is tasked with selecting at least 40 boys from this tournament for the 2020 Junior World Cup.
  Commenting on the boys event Dharmaraj said: "Compared to the last edition, which had many exceptional players, this year there are more average players in every state while the goalkeeping department needs more attention.
  "I am supposed to select 40 players, of which four would be goalkeepers, but since the standard of goalkeeping is very poor, I might make a suggestion to have separate training for them by selecting 10 as this department is quite weak in the national under-16," said Dharmaraj who coached Malaysia to win their first Junior Asia Cup gold medal and then took the team to finish fourth in the New Delhi World Cup.
  Meanwhile, in the Girls' Group B, Kuala Lumpur moved into the semi-finals when they edged Negri Sembilan 1-0 with the winner coming from Nurul Syahirah in the 30th minute. The slim wins saw them finish second in the group.
  KL will play Group A champions Penang in the semis today.
  In the Girls Group B, Selangor emerged champions without dropping a point when they beat Pahang 6-0 yesterday. 
  RESULTS Boys' Group B: Kelantan 1 Sabah 6, Perak 3 Kedah 0, Negri Sembilan 2 Kuala Lumpur 3.
  Girls' Group B: Negri Sembilan 0 Kuala Lumpur 1, Terengganu 4 Sabah 4, Selangor 6 Pahang 0.
  TODAY: Boys' Semi-finals: Malacca v Perak (6pm, Pitch I), Johor v Pahang (6pm, Pitch II).
  Girls' semi-finals: Selangor v Kedah (4pm, Pitch II), Penang v Kuala Lumpur (4pm, Pitch I).
  (All matches at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil)