THE inclusion of Jorge Lombi for the Champions Challenge is good news for
the fans but for the Malaysian hockey team, the Argentinian spells doom.
Initially, Lombi's name was missing from the Argentine hockey website,
but on the list submitted to the Malaysia Hockey Federation, he is marked
as their vice-captain.
Going by current form, the ticket to the next Champions Trophy is a toss
between India and Argentina.
Lombi is currently among the top penalty corner experts in the world and
in the World Cup Qualifier in Edinburgh in july, he played a sterling role
to make sure Argentina finish tops and qualify for the 2002 Kuala Lumour
World Cup in style.
In the final of the Qualifier, a brilliant Lombi hat-trick (12th, 60th
and 67th) helped Argentina beat Spain 5-4.
For Lombi, it was a superb Qualifier and he ended as the top scorer and
player of the tournament with 19 goals, a majority of them coming off
drag-flicks from penalty-corners.
He is among the elite penalty corner specialists in the world right now
and is as deadly, sometimes better, than Pakistan's Sohail Abbas and
Holland's Bram Lomans.
From the 18 players named for the Challenge, only three players are from
the junior side that won the silver medal in the recent Junior World Cup
in Hobart. The three are Lucas Cammareri, Matias Pardes and Marco
Argentina will be arriving this morning and will be playing their first
practice match against Malaysia tomorrow.
Earlier, the dates for the friendlies between Argentina and Malaysia
were on Dec 3 and 5, but due to unforseen circumstances, the first match
will be tomorrow and the second on Dec 3.
"Although the journey from Argentina to Kuala Lumour will take them more
than a day, they have agreed to play Malaysia after a day's rest. Earlier
the friendly was to be played at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit
Jalil but right now we might hold it at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in
Jalan Pantai," said Satgunam.
South Africa and Japan will be arriving on Dec 2, and Belgium on Dec 5.
The only team yet to confirm their arrival date is India.
Their secrecy is to be expected because if any team can stop Argentina
from winning the Champions Trophy ticket for the next edition, it will be
our most improved Asian cousins.
As expected, the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) placed their faith in
the juniors as ten from the Junior World Cup winning side have been slated
for the Challenge.
The IHF also recalled star striker Dhanraj Pillay and in place of Cedric
DSouza appointed Junior World Cup winning coach Rajinder Singh as the
The juniors who made it to the national team are goalkeeper Devesh
Chauhan, in the defence, hit by the injury to Dilip Tirkey, backing up
experienced Lazarus Barla will be juniors Kanwalpreet Singh and penalty
corner marksman Jugraj Singh.
India's midfield has been breached by four juniors, Ignace Tirkey,
Vikram Pillay, Bipin Fernandez and Arjun Halappa. In terms of experience,
Sukhbir Singh Gill and Thirumalvalavan will strengthen the midfield.
Indian junior captain Gagan Ajit Singh, Deepak Thakur and Prabhjot Singh
line up with the fowards Baljit Dhillon, Sabu Varkey, Dhanraj and Daljit
Only their defence, without Dilip Tirkey, that seems to be the weakest
link in the Indian team. Apart from that the IHF has chosen the best
possible side from the probables.
Sabu's selection is the most heartening feature as the Bharat Petroleum
player still has the skills and the pace to outwit the best defence in the
ARGENTINA: Pablo Moreira (skipper), Jorge Lombi, Juan Pablo Hourquebie,
Maximiliano Caldas, Matias Dila, Ezequiel Paulon, Juan Manuel Vivaldi,
Mario Almada, Tomas Mac Cormik, Santiago Capurro, Marco Ricarrdi, Fernando
Zylberberg, German Orozco, Fernando Oscaris, Matias Pardes, Leonardo
Deambrosi, Guillermo Muir, Lucas Cammareri.
Coach: Ruiz Jorge.