Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Shamala looking for equality

PIC: Dr Shamala (right) and her Asian buddies including AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram (centre), in Gifu recently.

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Dr S. Shamala has dedicated her life to hockey in Malaysia since her playing days, and was recently recognised for her immense contributions by the Asian Hockey Confederation (AHF).
  At the end of their AGM in Gifu, Japan, recently Malaysian delegate Shamala was called up to receive the AHF Order of Merit.
  And at the AHF website, the Order of Merit was describes as -- "This is one of the most prestigious awards given by the AHF."
  Shamala juggles many 'jobs' while rising from the ranks to become the current Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) deputy president while her bread-and-butter is Professor at the Universiti Putra Malaysia Department of Communication Technology and Network.
  "The award could not have been achieved without dedication and commitment form the MHC team, and so, I would like to thank everybody from the bottom to the top level," said Shamala.
  The AHF used to be more involved in protocols, but according to Shamala, that's history.
  "The delegates who came to Gifu were committed to shed the AHF's 'protocol image' and move towards 'action base'. This includes having more Asian teams in the next World Cup and Olympics.
  "And at the bottom half, teams like North Korea, Afghanistan and Oman are also keen to move up and are involved with many AHF activities now," said Shamala.
  She also aims to start the ball rolling for the Asian continent to earn their rights and equality of the FIH world ranking system which prefers Europe and the Pro-League more than Asian and Olympics respectively.
  For example, even continental championships provide different points as in Europe its 750 points for No 1, while in Asia it's 650 points for gold.
   "Yes, I will push for equality especially in ranking points provided for championships, as in the end, points are what matter most for a team to qualify for the Olympics and World Cup now," said Shamala.
  He other burning desire is to see field hockey played more regularly at the Sea Games level.
  "Manila (2019) will only have indoor hockey while Vietnam (next hosts) have totally take hockey out.
  "It is ok for Sea Games to include some traditional sports, but don't sideline Olympic and world level sports in the same breath. Sea countries must be realistic and move forward," said Shamala.
  And if more AHF as well as Sea country officials have the same mindset like Shamala, the continent can finally move forward and have more world beaters in their ranks.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Azlan Shah Cup: Poland to the rescue...

PIC: Azlan Shah Cup organising secretary M. Selvakumaran.

KUALA LUMPUR: World No 21 Poland politely accepted an 11th hour invitation to compete in the 28th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on March 23-30.
  This came about after South Africa, No 16, withdrew due to financial reasons.
  The tournament will see hosts Malaysia (13th), battle for their maiden title since 1983 with India (5th), Canada (10th), South Korea (17th), and Asian Games champions Japan (18th).
  Azlan Shah Cup organising secretary M. Selvakumaran thanked Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram for his help.
  "Poland accepted our invitation to play even though the tournament is just around the corner and we are very grateful to them.
  "This inclusion was made possible with help from AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab," said Selvakumaran.
  Malaysia has only seen silver since the inception of the tournament, but with regulars Australia, New Zealand, England and Argentina missing due to their FIH Pro-League engagements, this is coach Roelant Oltman's best hour to guide his side to the top of the podium.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Azlan Shah Cup: Scrooge South Africa withdraw

 Sultan Nazrin with former Malaysian hockey greats.
 Selva (left) with Dr Shamala (centre).

Sultan Nazrin with Dr Shamala.

KUALA LUMPUR: South Africa players will miss the chance of a lifetime to play in the 28th Edition of the Azlan Shah Cup, because their Hockey Association (SHA) had asked them to fork out 70 per cent of the flight expenses.
  Many players naturally refused, and SHA pulled out their team a few days back.
  This is strange because the 'almost free' tournament just received RM2.06 million in sponsorship yesterday, which was handed to the Sultan of Perak, Nazrin Shah, in a gala ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.
  The organisers are now banking on Poland to make it six again, as the other confirmed teams are hosts Malaysia, India, Japan, South Korea and Canada.
  And if Poland do not confirm in two days time, it would be run as a five-team tournament.
  Azlan Shah Cup organising secretary M. Selvakumaran said: "This is the only tournament in the world which caters for accommodation, food as well as internal transport to and fro Kuala Lumpur (airport) to Ipoh for invited teams. All the teams need to do is pay for their players and officials flight tickets and show up with playing gear."
  But South Africa HA are no strangers to this, as they has also asked their players to fork out nearly RM3,000 each to play in the recent World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) deputy president Datuk Dr S. Shamala said: "This is one of the most prestigious Invitationals in the world which has stood the test of time and has seen the best in the world play and lift the trophy.
  "It's a pity South Africa could not make it due to financial problems, and so we wait for Poland. And if the tournament becomes a five-team affair, we will let the FIH (International Hockey Federation) decide its format."
  There are no plans to include a Malaysian B team if Poland does not  answer the 11th hour call-up as the Cup will be held on March 23-30.
  SOme of the sponsors are Astro RM400,000, Perak State Govermnent RM300,000, KL Teh Land and Development Sdn Bhd RM300,000, Lumut Maritime Terminal RM200,000 and many others.
  Teams and officials are even provided with water, as Spritzer has pledged 20,000 bottles.
  South Africa surely missed the freebee of their lives to expose their players by being an international scrooge.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Najmi back in training squad...

KUALA LUMPUR: National chief coach Roeland Oltmans picked 28 players to train for the Azlan Sha Cup, and four of them were young legs.
  Th tournament will be held in Ipoh on March 23-30, followed by the FIH Series Finals in Kuala Lumpur on April 26-May 4.
  The four are Akhimullah Anuar Esook, Arif Syafie Ishak, Noor Firdaus Rosdi and Azrai Aizad Kamal.
  Najmi Farizal Jazlan, who walked out of the team before the World Cup, was also included in the training squad which will head to Kuantan for a one week camp.
  Oltmans has also roped in former penalty corner great Taeke Taekema and goalkeepers' coach Martin Drijver to train the players in Kuantan.
  TRAINING SQUAD: S. Kumar (gk), Hairi Rahman (gk), 
Hafizuddin Othaman (gk), Zaimi Mat Deris (gk), Sukri Mutalib, Razie Rahim, Syed Syafiq Cholan, Faiz Helmi Jali, Luqman Nul Shukran, Najmi Farizal Jazlan, Najib Abu Hassan, Amirol Aideed Arshad, Arif Syafie Ishak, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Meor Azuan Hassan, Ashran Hamsani, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Azrai Aizad Kamal, Haziq Samsul, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Firhan Ashari, Faizal Saari, Nik Aiman Rozemi, Norsyafiq Sumantri, Shahril Saabah, Akhimullah Anuar Esook, Noor Firdaus Rosdi.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

TNB Cup: Terengganu HT dethrone UniKL

KUALA LUMPUR: Terengganu Hockey Team dethroned Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 2-1 in a highly entertaining TNB Cup final at the Tun Razak yesterday.
  UniKL, handicapped by the absence of their four foreign imports, fought gallantly and even had a penalty corner in the dying minutes to take the match into shoot-out, but Najmi Farizal Jazlan missed the post by inches.
  Terengganu were powered to the title by their two South Korean imports, Jang Jong Hyun who scored his 22nd goal of the tournament in the 25th minute, while Jang Man Jae delivered in the 40th minute -- both off penalty corners.
  National penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim gave UniKL hope with a 44th minute penalty corner, but they could not find the equalsier.
  Terengganu received RM100,000 while UniKL RM60,000 and Tenaga Nasional RM40,000 for their efforts.
  UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj saluted his charges who gave their all even though they were short of four of their best.
  "My foreign imports were sorely missed in the final but the players who took over their positions fought gallantly and I am proud of their efforts," said Arul.
  UniKL waited until the last minute for a release letter from the European Hockey Federation (EHF), to allow their players to ply their trade overseas until Feb 28, but it never came.
  This ruling saw UniKL's best players Dutchmen Valentin Verga, Robert Kemperman and Martijn Havenga as well as Irish top goalkeeper David Harte who helped UniKL win their first League title in nine years, watch the final from the stands.
   "I salute UniKL because even though they were short of players, they planned their game well and gave us a good fight. As for my players, they never gave up the fight and even though we finished third in the League, we clawed back and won the TNB Cup with pride intact," said Terengganu HT coach I. Vikneswaran.
  In the bronze battle, Tenaga Nasional hammered Maybank 7-2 with goals from Firhan Ashaari (23rd, 45th), Aiman Nik Rozemi (34th), Amirul Hamizan Azahar (39th), Aiman Nik Rozemi (41st), Arif Syafie Ishak (46th) and Amirol Aideed Arshad (54th).
   Maybank scored late off Hafiizhuddin Zaidi (57th) and Amirrullah Zainol (59th).
    RESULTS: TNB Cup Final -- Terengganu Hockey Team 2 Universiti Kuala Lumpur 1. 
  Third-Fourth: Maybank 2 Tenaga Nasional 7.