Thursday, April 12, 2007

Lack of quality teams killing League


THE second round of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) begins this weekend
and by now fans would have a clear picture of which matches they would
like to stay away from.
For, after the end of the first round, the hockey divide in the MHL has
become very distinct. On the one side we have those who can play, and on
the other those who think they can.
Strangely, Maybank have been moving back and forth from both sides of
the divide.
The ones who have shown they can play hockey are Tenaga Nasional,
Andersen Sports Club, Sapura and Bank Simpanan Nasional.
The ones making up the numbers are Royal Malay Regiment (RMR),
Bumiputra-Commerce Bank, Jolly Lads Sports Club and Navy.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) acknowledged the disparity in
standard but have run out of ideas on how to improve the League.
"We would like to turn it into a two-division League but where are we
going to get the teams from?
"As it stands, only nine teams have registered for the MHL and all the
teams are based in Kuala Lumpur or Selangor," said MHF secretary S.
The club structure in the other States are either dead or slowly dying.
The fact that Malacca, Negri Sembilan, Perak, Johor and Penang have no
representatives in the MHL speaks volumes about the state of the MHL.
But surprisingly, four foreign players have agreed to play in the MHL
this season.
India's Len Ayappa and Dhanray Pillay are playing for Andersen Sports
Club while Pakistan's Sohail Abbas and Kashif Jawad for Bank Simpanan
Nasional have added colour to the MHL but their presence has not yet been
felt by table toppers Tenaga Nasional.
Tenaga, 100 per cent locally based, have ended the first round unbeaten
and look good to retain the league title this year. Their stout defence is
marshalled by former national skipper Nor Saiful Zaini and national
defender Nor Azlan Bakar and they have only let in eight goals in eight
Tenaga forwards, led by M.T. Kaliswaran, Mahinder Singh and Tajol Rosli
have scored 35 goals in the first round.
And coach K. Rajan was neither wrong nor right when he said that the
second round will be tougher because every team will be gunning for their
Good for Tenaga, but not healthy for the MHL as very few teams will be
able to stop Tenaga. And it's not because the other teams are not playing
hard enough, but they just don't have the overall depth to do that.

First day shocker for Lissek


NATIONAL hockey coach Paul Lissek conducted his first Busan Asian Games
training session, and more than half the squad failed to show up at the
National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
But Lissek was not the least worried about the absentees, because he is
not interested in players who are not interested in donning national
colours anymore.
"If they want to leave the sport, by all means go. I will not stop
anyone who wants to quit the sport because it will be unfair for young
players who are fighting to don national colours.
"If we keep persuading players who want to quit to return, when will the
young ones get a chance to play? Also I will be sending the wrong signals
if I do that," said Lissek.
It is well known that the German's passion and commitment for the sport
is not shared by most of the national players. Lissek's training methods
are said to be too tough while he is accused of being too posessive
because he has scheduled national training in the midst of the Malaysia
Hockey League (MHL).
While a handful of players had valid reasons to stay away from training,
most of the other players did not even bother to offer excuses for not
"Invitations were sent out to 42 players but only 19 turned up for
national training. The players who had valid excuses were S. Kuhan, K.
Logan Raj, K. Keevan Raj, S. Shanker, Jiwa Mohan, Chairil Anwar and
Mirnawan Nawawi.
"I don't know why the rest of the players did not turn out," said
Logan and Keevan, whose grandfather passed away on Friday, were away
attending prayers, Chairil Anwar called in sick and Mirnawan had some work
World Cup goalkeeper Nasihin Nubli, Jiwa Mohan and S. Shanker have
approached the coach and told him that they will not be available for the
Asian Games in Busan on Sept 29 to Oct 14. And the only World Cup player
who has thrown in the towel is defender Maninderjit Singh.
Nor Azlan Bakar, Tajol Rosli, Suhaimi Ibrahim (who dumped the national
team just before the KL World Cup) and V. Vinodhan were among those on the
absentee list.
Nor Azlan Bakar and Maninderjit played a crucial role in defending the
Malaysian goalmouth during the World Cup and it is said that Nor Azlan
will also send in his quit letter soon.
This means two young players will get the chance to don national colours
as defenders.
And with Mirnawan also contemplating quitting the sport, someone else
will get the chance to wear the armband in Busan.
Lissek, who watched almost 70 per cent of the Malaysian Hockey League
matches, has called up four new players who have impressed him.
"Sivanesan Pillay (Sapura), Azrul Effendy (Maybank), Abdul Malek
(Maybank) and Nagarajan (Sapura) impressed me during the MHL matches and I
have been called them up for national training.
"I will monitor their progress and who knows, we might have new stars in
Busan," said Lissek.
ATTENDED TRAINING - Shaiful Azli, K. Gobinathan, Madzli Ikmar, T.
Sivanesan Pillay, Izwan Hasan, Amin Rahim, Reduan Ponirin, Norazlan Rahim,
Jivan Mohan, Riduan Nasir, Azlan Misron, Azrul Effendy Bistaman, Engku
Abdul Malek, A. Nagarajan, Roslan Jamaluddin, Firdaus Razali, Mohamed
Hanafi Hassan, S. Kumar, Rodhanizam Radzi.
DID NOT ATTEND - Nor Azlan Bakar, Fairuz Ramli, Tajol Rosli, Shukur
Adam, Chairil Anwar, Nasihin Nubli, S. Kuhan, Jiwa Mohan, K. Keevan Raj,
V. Vinodhan, K. Logan Raj, Mohamed Fairuz Hamsani, S. Selvaraju, Norhanape
Omar, S. Shanker, Mirnawan Nawawi, Megat Azrafiq, Mohamed Supian Mohamed,
Mohamed Fikri, Zulkifli Rejab, Hoesni Rahmat, Suhaimi Ibrahim.

Tenaga maintain unbeaten run


BSN ........2 SAPURA ...2
ANDERSEN ...3 RAMD .....2
BCB ........6 NAVY .....0
TENAGA Nasional Bhd ended the first round of the Malaysia Hockey League
(MHL) unbeaten when they staved off a determined Maybank at the Kuala
Lumpur Hockey stadium last night.
There was plenty of drama in the match which was delayed for 15 minutes
because the floodlights at the KL Stadium refused to light up eventhough
Tenaga Nasional were playing.
Sixteen minutes into the explosive match, Maybank were ready to walk out
after disputing Mahinder Singh's goal.
Mahinder connected a hit from the top of the semicircle but Maybank
players claimed it was dangerous play and the referee should not have
awarded a goal. Maybank skipper Suhairi Saidi protested the goal and
walked towards the technical officials' desk. The drama went on for five
minutes and Maybank players refused to restart the match until their coach
Wallace Tan defused the situation.
In the 19th minute, Tenaga's M.T. Kaliswaran made a solo run from the
25-yard line to beat Maybank goalkeeper Paul Lopez, doubling the electric
company's lead.
Five minutes later, Maybank's Suhaimi Ibrahim injected some life into
the match when he scored a stunning goal off a penalty corner.
After the breather, Maybank took control of the match as Tenaga forwards
Mahinder and Kaliswaran missed too many open goals. Maybank equalised in
the 40th minute when K. Gobinathan slammed in a penalty corner goal past
goalkeeper S. Kumar.
But in the end Tenaga were not to be denied their glory as Mahinder
dived in and connected home a Kaliswaran pass in the 52nd minute.
Tenaga coach K. Rajan was elated by their umblemished record but
lamented on the forwards' poor finishing.
"Kaliswaran and Mahinder had plenty of good looks at the Maybank
goalmouth but they could not finish off their fine runs inside the
semicircle. But I am very happy with my men because they ended the first
round unbeaten," said Rajan.
The second round will be much tougher for Tenaga as every team in the
MHL will be gunning to be the first to beat Tenaga.
"It will be very hard to maintain the record in the second round because
every team is improving. Just look at the way RMR played against Andersen
Sports Club today (Andersen scraped past the soldiers 3-2).

Arul double steers Sapura to victory


JOLLY LADS......6 NAVY ...... 1
SAPURA .........2 MAYBANK ....1
SAPURA struggled in the second half but Maybank failed to capitalise on
the situation and went down 1-2 in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) at the
National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Sapura controlled the first half and scored both their goals, taking
advantage of Maybank's No 1 goalkeeper Paul Lopez who was rested briefly
yesterday after coming down with fever. In his absence, Hairul Nizam stood
between the posts and his inexperience showed as he fumbled a couple of
Arul Selvaraj gave Sapura the lead in the 22nd minute off a penalty
Four minutes later, a costly fumble by Hairul saw Maybank giving away a
penalty stroke and Arul was on spot again.
Down 2-0, Maybank were forced to field Lopez and it paid off as he kept
a clean slate until the final whistle.
In the second half, Sapura slowed down the tempo of the match and
Maybank made good use it by going on the offensive. They won a total of
eight penalty corners but goalkeeper Nasihin Nubli as well as defender S.
Kuhan were there to put those chances away.
In the final minute of the match, two-goal hero Arul turned villain when
he gave away a penalty stroke to Maybank for stopping the ball with his
Suhairi Saidi flicked home and the horn ended Maybank's search for an
"We started off the MHL on a bad note but have picked up steam since and
are now second on the standings," said Sapura manager Kenneth G. Pereira.
"My players have a better understanding right now and eventhough the
League is just in the middle stage, dreaming about making the semifinals
is not too far off."
Today, Sapura meet Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) at the Tun Razak Stadium
and the match can go either way.
"It will be a tough encounter but I am confident that my players can
deliver against BSN," said Pereira.
Maybank will meet high-riding Tenaga Nasional Bhd and it is highly
likely that the bankers will slip further to the bottom of the standings
after the match.
In another match yesterday, Jolly Lads Sports Club finally won their
first match of the MHL when they beat Navy 6-1.
Jolly Lads goals were scored by Kerpal Singh (10th, 15th), Chitti Babu
(28th), Aphtar Singh (38th), Daniel Kassim (45th) and Ho Kok On (58th)
while Navy's goal came through Mohamed Hazanizam (9th).

Lissek disappointed


NATIONAL chief coach Paul Lissek received Maninderjit Singh's quit letter
yesterday and, for a few minutes, was lost for words.
He was clearly angry as well as disappointed because when the defender
first told him of his intention to quit the game after the Kuala Lumpur
World Cup last month, Lissek convinced him to change his mind and thought
that the matter was settled.
And more are expected to follow Maninderjit's footsteps soon.
Right after the World Cup, rumours were aplenty of a handful of players
wanting to call it a day as they can't see eye-to-eye with certain
Some of the players also complained that their training schedule was too
hectic and the gameplan of defending more than attacking was killing their
"I fail to understand the rationale behind his decision to quit the
sport when he can still contribute so much to the team in the Asian Games
in Busan. Now I will have to look for another defender to replace him and
it is going to be tough in such a short period," said Lissek.
Maninderjit played a crucial role defending the Malaysian goalmouth
during the World Cup and even scored a goal off a penalty corner, and just
when he was becoming a valuable asset to the team, he threw in the towel.
It was also learnt that four other players are also contemplating
quitting the national team and will not attend the April 22 training camp.
"Right now I have only received Maninderjit's letter, I am still in the
dark about the other players who want to quit the team," said Lissek.
World Cup skipper Mirnawan Nawawi, defender Nor Azlan Bakar, goalkeeper
Nasihin Nubli and forward S. Shanker are said to be the other World Cup
players who want to call it a day because they want to concentrate on
their work and studies.
And if they do, Malaysia's hope of winning a medal in the Asian Games
will be flushed down the drain because it will be impossible to groom
capable replacements in such a short period.
But in the long run, the five players might be doing Malaysian hockey a
big favour.
In their absence, young players will get a chance to strut their stuff
and in the strikeforce, names like Tajol Rosli and Rodhanizam Radzi come
to mind.
But in defence, right now, there are no capable replacements for
Maninderjit and Nor Azlan Bakar. Chua Boon Huat, playing in the German
League right now, is the likely candidate to fill one of the vacuum while
K. Gobinathan might find himself thrust into the limelight at the backline
more often.
Maninderjit and the other four players could not be contacted for

Andersen test today for electric company


TENAGA Nasional Bhd will face a stern test today at the KL Hockey Stadium
when they face Andersen Sports Club in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
The League enters the middle stage this weekend and if Tenaga can
maintain their unbeaten run or collect three points off Andersen, they
look set to rule the standings and a possible double is on the cards for
Although they have 18 points in the bag, Tenaga will face a torrid
weekend as after Andersen, they will take on a rejuvenated Maybank on
Sunday and the possibility of dropping six points is looming large over
ther heads.
And if that happens, Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), who face RAMD on
Friday and Sapura on Sunday, could leapfrog to a respectable position on
the mid-way standings.
Yesterday, BSN staff organised a get-together with their hockey players
and team manager Roslan Mohamed Ali was optimistic about making a
"Although BSN are placed fifth on the standings after last weekend's
matches, I am confident that we can make a strong comeback and win at
least one title in the MHL," said Roslan.
Coach C. Paramalingam, a veteran tactician in hockey, said BSN will
first plan to win three points from RAMD and then concentrate on Sapura.
"RAMD are no pushovers as they have grown in confidence and won two
matches and drew one after a bad start. So I will leave nothing to chance.
And after the RAMD match, I will have to plan something special for the
fast-improving Sapura," said Paramalingam.
Sapura hit a bad patch in the beginning when they lost 5-1 to Tenaga
eventhough they scored the first goal. But after a few matches, Sapura's
penalty corner executioners Jiwa Mohan and S. Kuhan have started finding
the target and are now joint-third with Maybank on points and goals.
BSN's penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas has also become more
comfortable with his pusher and stopper and it will be interesting to see
who, between Sohail and Kuhan, nails the three points this weekend.
FIXTURES - Today: RAMD v Bank Simpanan Nasional (Tun Razak Stadium,
5.30pm), Tenaga v Andersen SC (KL Hockey Stadium, 6pm), Bumiputra-Commerce
Bank v Jolly Lads SC (KL Hockey Stadium, 8pm).
Tomorrow: Navy v Jolly Lads SC (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.30pm), Sapura v
Maybank (National Hockey Stadium, 5.30pm).
Sunday: Bank Simpanan Nasional v Sapura (Tun Razak Stadium, 6pm),
Andersen SC v RAMD (KL Hockey Stadium, 6pm), Navy v Bumiputra-Commerce
Bank (Tun Razak Stadium, 8pm), Tenaga v Maybank (KL Hockey Stadium, 8pm).

TNB should be wary even at the top


TENAGA Nasional Bhd are sitting pretty at the top of the Malaysia Hockey
League (MHL) standings after six matches, but it would be foolish to write
off four other teams so early in the League.
And among the four, Bank Simpanan Nasional are a strong favourite to
make the semifinals, although they are placed fifth on the standings after
last weekend's matches.
But beginning Friday, when they meet Armed Forces (RAMD), and Sunday
against Sapura, their fortunes could change for the better.
That is how their foreign imports Sohail Abbas, Kashif Jawad and coach
C. Paramalingam see it.
"We (Abbas and Kashif) arrived on Sunday morning and played a tough
match against Tenaga in the evening even before we could get familiar with
the playing pattern of the rest of our teammates. That is one of the
reasons why BSN lost to Tenaga," said Sohail who scored 10 goals in the
Kuala Lumpur World Cup.
And now that they have had two training sessions with the rest of the
BSN players, the Pakistan duo feel more at ease and are confident that the
coming weekend will be a better one.
Paramalingam was not willing to reveal the new position for Kashif, who
normally plays in midfield: "Wait and see, you will know on Friday when we
meet RAMD."
Sohail, who fumbled in the the penalty corners against Tenaga, took it
upon himself to train the pusher and stopper so that his penalty corners
would be more deadly.
And with the deadly combination of veteran MHL regular Lee Sien Lam and
I. Vikneswaran to guide the team, BSN should have no problems against RAMD
and if they can get their act together against Sapura on Sunday, BSN look
good enough the snatch the League title from the jaws of Tenaga.

Three-way battle


AFTER four matches, a clear pattern has emerged in the Malaysia Hockey
League (MHL) and it looks like the fight for the League and Overall titles
will be among Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), Andersen Sports Club and
Tenaga Nasional.
And among the three, the most unstable is Andersen because they are
banking too much on their Indian imports as was the case in their match
against BSN on Sunday.
Although the Indian pair of Len Ayappa and Dhanraj Pillay, 34, delivered
a goal each to pull off a draw, the star-studded Andersen should have won
comfortably instead of struggling against BSN had they relied more on
local players.
BSN, still waiting for their Pakistan imports Sohail Abbas and Kashif
Jawad, showed that their local players can stand on their own on Sunday
and coach C. Paramalingam was more than pleased with the draw.
"You saw for yourself that we relied on the local players and grabbed
one point in a highly competitive match. I believe my players can only get
better as the league progresses," said Paramalingam.
"Once our Pakistani players arrive, we will have added firepower to go
for the MHL double this season."
BSN made a wise selection in Sohail, the top-scorer in the Kuala Lumpur
World Cup with 10 goals, and up-and-coming youngster Kashif. But it looks
like Andersen made a bad choice in Dhanraj, 34.
S. Thyagarajan, a veteran hockey columnist from India who covered the KL
World Cup, wrote at the FIH website ( "Lacking in
consistency and cohesion for the major part, India banked too much on
veterans Dhanraj Pillay and Baljit Singh Dhillon. It was unfortunate that
the latter was in poor form ... making many wonder whether these players
were over rated."
Now Andersen are making the mistake of banking too much on Dhanraj.
Fans who watched the Andersen-BSN match at the KL Hockey Stadium on
Sunday were surprised as well as angry with the way the over rated Dhanraj
They had come expecting more from the so-called Indian superstar, but
went home disappointed as he hardly made any intelligent moves and
dribbled too much.
Most fans agreed that Andersen would be better off if they relied on
local players, and that sounds like a sound ides for the next MHL season.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) should seriously consider vetting
foreign players and clubs should look for promising young foreigners who
in turn will be good role models to teach our boys a trick or two about
Ageing players who fail to deliver serve the League no purpose.
FA of Malaysia, experienced hands with troubled imports, have come up
with a good system whereby clubs are not allowed to hire players above the
age of 33. They also have a cooling off period for foreign players where,
say, someone who has played for Singapore, is not allowed to play for
Malaysia for one year.
If MHF plan to allow foreign players into the MHL in future, they should
follow the FAM system for hockey's sake.
In contrast, Tenaga Nasional, who have no foreign players in their camp,
have been picked by national coach Paul Lissek to win the league as well
as the overall titles this year.
Lissek, who is always in the stands watching the MHL every weekend, said
Tenaga have the depth to take the double.
"After watching them make a strong comeback against Sapura, I believe
they are the team to watch this season. If they maintain their form, the
double is theirs," said Lissek.
Tenaga were 0-1 down against Sapura, Nor Saiful Zaini and his men
charged back in the second half to score five stunning goals against
Sapura who had six national players fresh from World Cup duty. With Chua
Boon Huat off to Germany, they now have five.
After BSN meet Tenaga at the KL Hockey Stadium On April 14, there will
be a clear line to separate the contenders and the pretenders.

Tenaga Nasional take top position


Sapura ...... 3 BCB ........... 0
Tenaga ..... .7 Jolly Lads .... 0
Maybank .... 11 Navy .......... 0
Andersen .... 2 BSN ........... 2
TENAGA Nasional hammered Jolly Lads Sports Club 7-0 to top the Malaysia
Hockey League (MHL) standings, but the match of the day was between
Andersen Sports Club and Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) at the Tun Razak
Stadium last night.
BSN were easily the better side but yesterday they let in two goals,
their first of the League after four matches, and the star studded
Andersen side were let off the hook.
Andersen imported two Indian players to inject some life into their game
but after four matches, it looks like they did one good buy and one bad
Len Ayappa, with his sizzling penalty corner goals have been in sterling
form but the same can't be said of Dhanraj Pillay because he, as ususal,
dribbles too much and is selfish when it comes to releasing the ball fast.
And each time Dhanraj loses the ball, he has a habit of appealing to the
umpires, and thankfully, they have become wise to his antics and ignore
Yesteraday, Dhanraj scored the first goal for Andersen in the fifth
minute but after that, he became a mere spectator in the highly
entertaining League match.
And two minutes later, BSN were back in the match when Robert Alcantara
scored a field goal and after that the bankers took control of the match
with stunning defending and attacking.
And just before the half-time whistle blew, BSN won a penalty corner and
eventhough the signal for the half time was blown, they won another
penalty corner and this time Mohamed Amin Rahim scored the much deserved
In the second half, Andersen won a penalty corner in the 39th minute,
and this time, Ayappa scored a stunning flick.
In an earlier match, Tenaga defeated Jolly Lads SC with goals coming
from seven players. Norazlan Rahim scored the first (8th) followed by
Syayrim Uda Karim (23rd), Azlan Misron (28th), Fairus Ramli (44th), M.
Kaliswaran (46th), Lailin Abu Hassan (63rd) and Nor Saiful Zaini (70th).
In other matches of day, Spura defeated Bumiputra-Commerce Bank 3-0 with
goals from Nishel Kumar (1st) and S. Kuhan (28th, 42nd) and maybank fired
11 salvos at the Navy men without reply.
Maybank's goals were scored by K. Gobinathan (9th, 13th, 40th, 44th,
54th), Suhaimi Ibrahim (21st, 27th), Fadzil Anuar (29th), M. Jayamaran
(42nd), Riduan Nasir (47th, 59th).

BSN win but it was not so jolly


BANK Simpanan Nasional (BSN) had to bring out their best to beat a
stubborn Jolly Lads Sports Club in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) at the
Tun Razak Stadium last night.
Although BSN collected three points from the match and are sitting
pretty at the top of the standings without conceding a single goal after
three matches, their true test will be today against Andersen Sports Club
at the KL Hockey Stadium.
Yesterday, BSN coach C. Paramalingam was more than happy that his team
was off form a day before the big clash with Andersen.
"It was our off day today, the forwards failed to click and they missed
too many sitters in the semicircle. But still, it is better that they are
off form today (yesterday) than tomorrow (today) when we meet Andersen,"
said Paramalingam.
BSN are likely to suffer today as they still do not have the services of
their Pakistan imports Sohail Abbas and Kashif Jawad, who are likely to
arrive on April 10, while Andersen have Indian stars Dhanraj Pillay and
Len Ayappa.
Jolly Lads, with the return of Kerpal Singh, Aphtar Singh and goalkeeper
Jaspal Singh to the fold after being absent in the first two matches,
looked like they were good for an upset in the first 10 minutes of the
match but in the 15th minute, they cracked under pressure.
Mohamed Amin scored a penalty corner goal and after that it looked like
Jolly Lads were in for a jolly good beating when a minute later, Muazam
Mahmud scored a stunning field goal.
But Kerpal Singh and goalkeeper Jaspal, who returned after playing in
the Sikh Games in Australia, kept the BSN strikers at bay with stunning
Kerpal stopped two sure goals by making on-the-line clearence and in the
end, Jolly Lads had reason to keep their head high even in defeat.
Jolly Lads coach Phapinder Singh was happy with the way his team played
"The return of Kerpal, Aphtar and goalkeeper Jaspal made the difference
today (yesterday) and I dare say that BSN were let off the hook only
becase my strikers missed a handful of sitters," said Phapinder.
In the other match of the day, Royal Malay Regiment (RMR) came back from
two goals down to hold Bumiputra-Commerce Bank (BCB) at the National
Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
BCB scored in the 10th minute off a Akhiar Ismail field goal and then in
the 38th minute, increased the lead off another field goal. This time it
was Mohamed Fharied who sounded the board.
RMR fought tooth-and-nail and in the 51st minute they were rewarded when
Supri Junoh scored off a penalty corner.
And in the 63rd minute, forces found the equaliser when Zulmadi Ariffin
scored a penalty corner goal.
Today: Sapura v Bumiputra-Commerce Bank (5.30pm, National Hockey
Stadium, Bukit Jalil); Jolly Lads SC v Tenaga Nasional (5.30pm, Tun Razak
Stadium); Maybank v Navy (6pm, KL Hockey Stadium); Andersen v BSN (8pm, KL
Hockey Stadium).

`Bad decisions' help Andersen against Maybank


ANDERSEN Sports Club struggled for 50 minutes against Maybank in the
Malaysia Hockey League before they received great help from their 12th
player at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium in Jalan Pantai yestarday.
Maybank put up a great show and held the star-studded Andersen side
before three bad decisions by umpire S. Kuganeswaran turned the tide in
favour of Andersen.
The crowd jeered the umpire, but in the end, Andersen walked away with
three points that are going to go a long way towards their quest to win
the League title.
The first bad call by the umpire was in the 57th minute when he awarded
Andersen a penalty corner which was duly converted by Indian World Cup
player Dhanraj Pillay.
Andersen, after failing to score seven penalty corners, received their
eighth in the 57th minute and Indian import Len Ayappa flicked high into
an onrushing Maybank defender Azrul Effendy who fell onto the turf
grimacing in pain.
Instead of awarding a free hit to Maybank, umpire Kuganeswaran
surprisingly gave Andersen another penalty corner. Maybank skipper Suhairi
Saidi made a protest but Kuganeswaran, even after having a closer look at
Azrul's injury, decided not to reverse his decision.
Andersen took the penalty corner and this time Len Ayappa passed to
Dhanraj who scored after dribbling two players.
Right after the restart, Maybank made a swift attack but Mohamed
Riduan's good attempt at goal grazed the post and went out.
The match turned robust after that and Andersen defender Maninderjit
Singh took a swipe at Suhaimi Ibrahim on the run of play but was let off
the hook by the umpires.
But in the 60th minute, when Maybank's Azrul brought down S. Shanker,
umpire Kuganeswaran sent him to the sin bin.
Then in the 63rd minute, Maybank lost another important cog in their
attack when Suhaimi was sent to the sin bin for the same kind of tackle
which Maninderjit Singh did on him.
Maybank lost their shape but held on gallantly and only allowed in
another goal in the 68th minute off a Kamal Effendy field goal.
Naturally, Maybank coach Wallace Tan was irked with the three bad calls
made by the umpire.
"My men held Andersen very well until the umpire came into the picture.
He made three bad decisions and we ended up losing a game which we were
"The ninth penalty corner, when Andersen scored, should not have been
given because it was clearly a high ball on an onrushing player. And then
we lost the match when the umpire gave my side two yellow cards but let
the Andersen players off the hook when they played robust," said Wallace.
Wallace felt that if the umpire was fair he should have also given
yellow cards to Andersen players Maninderjit and S. Suriaghandi who played
a robust game.
At the Tun Razak Stadium, Tenaga Nasional hammered Royal Malay Regiment
5-1 with goals from Nor Saiful Zaini (5th), M. Kaliswaran (15th), Tajol
Rosli (23rd, 26th) and Mahinder Singh (37th). RMR's goal was scored by
Ramli Ismail in the 43rd.
At the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Sapura sank the Navy men
with seven goals. The goals were scored by S. Kuhan (13th, 41st, 68th),
Nishel Kumar (25th), Jiwa Mohan (28th), A. Nagarajan (59th), K. Keevan Raj
ANDERSEN SC ..........2 MAYBANK ............0
SAPURA ...............7 NAVY ...............0
TENAGA ...............5 RMR ................1

BSN face hard task without Pakistan duo


CHAMPIONS Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) face a stern test on Sunday when
take on Andersen Sports Club in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), and
since the bankers are still waiting for their Pakistani duo Sohail Abbas
and Kashif Jawad, they might finish the weekend in second spot.
Andersen Sports Club - despite having Indian World Cup players Dhanraj
Pillay and Len Ayappa, who between them, have notched 14 goals after two
matches, - have also let in two goals which indicates their backline is
not invincible.
On the other hand, BSN have scored 13 and have yet to let in any after
two matches.
Today, Anderson Sports Club are expected to have another easy match
against Maybank at the KL Hockey Stadium, Jalan Pantai, while BSN should
have a field day against Jolly Lads Sports Club tomorrow.
The all-important encounter between BSN and Anderson at the same venue
on Sunday will not only decide who tops the standings but could also serve
as a possible preview of the MHL final.
BSN imports Sohail Abbas, the joint top-scorer in the recent Kuala
Lumpur World Cup with 10 goals, and teammate Kashif Jawad have been given
an open ticket.
However, the duo have yet to report for duty because they have some
unfinished business back home. They are expected to arrive on April 10.
The Bankers will feel the absence of Sohail and Kashif on Sunday but
since Dhanraj has not been up to the mark for Andersen and their defence,
marshalled by Maninderjit Singh, has not been rock-solid, they still have
a 50-50 chance to remain at the top when the dust settles.
Dhanraj scored once each in both Andersen's matches against easy
opponents Jolly Lads Sports Club and Bumiputra-Commerce Bank.
As Dhanraj has yet to click with Mirnawan Nawawi and Kamal Affendy
upfront, this could spell trouble for Andersen.
Andersen's other import Ayappa, dropped at the 11th hour from the Indian
World Cup team, has active scoring goals. He converted four out of six
penalty corners so far.
Andersen are also wary of Maybank, powered by national trio Chairil
Anwar, Shaiful Azli and K. Gobinathan, who held them 3-3 in a pre-season

Dejected Lissek stood up in Seremban


NATIONAL chief coach Paul Lissek went to Seremban in Negri Sembilan for
talent scouting on Tuesday, he waited for two-and-a-half hours and not a
single hockey player turned up.
Later he discovered that the National Sports Council (NSC), who were
supposed to arrange for a pool of players with the Negri Sembilan HA and
the schools council, failed to do their job.
"I am surprised that such a thing can still happen although the NSC and
the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have said that they are dead serious
about developing the grassroots," said Lissek before starting the talent
programme in Klang yesterday.
Before Seremban, he was in Johor and while some of the young players in
the Bandar Penawar Sports School impressed him, his session in Johor Baru
did not turn out well because most of the boys did not even have the
This is not the first time Lissek has been stood up. Late last year, the
German went to Kuala Terengganu and Kuantan and nobody turned up there as
The talent scouting programme, started in September last year to find
capable youth to fill up the vacuum left by ageing national players, have
regurlarly hit the wall head-long but Lissek still feels that there are
some talented youth waiting somewhere out there to be discovered.
"I would like to go to Seremban again, if possible next Tuesday, because
I do not want the boys to suffer just because some officials failed to do
their job," said Lissek.
So far, after going to about eight States, Lissek has identified 30
young hockey players and he is looking for at least 40 to be based in the
Bandar Penawar Sports School.
"After Klang today (yesterday) I will hold another session at the Kuala
Lumpur Hockey Stadium and hope to have at least 40 young players for the
final camp next week in Kuala Lumpur," said Lissek.
Yesterday in Klang, although the programme was hastily arranged because
the NSC sent the fax to a wrong number, more than 60 under-14 players
showed up and Lissek was more than pleased.
Meanwhile, Lissek also revealed that the MHF have yet to arrange a
meeting with MHL team managers to sort out the national training issue.
"It has been one week since I was promised that a meeting will be held
with the MHL team managers to sort out the days for national training, but
I have yet to receive any updates on the matter," said Lissek.
Lissek wants to hold national training at least twice a week, but since
the national players also have club duty to fulfill, he needs a consensus
before he can draw up a programme.

Where is our money, MAKSAK?


SERGEANT Hashim Mohamed Yusoff, the Armed Forces coach, has a bone to pick
with the Government Services Sports Council (GSSC) because they have been
holding back the money promised to them for the Malaysia Hockey League
On Sunday, after losing 4-1 to Sapura, Hashim revealed that they have
yet to receive the promised grant from GSSC.
"The amount approved for hockey was RM12,000 which means that RM6,000
belongs to the Armed Forces and RM6,000 to the Navy which is the other
government sponsored team in the MHL. But I have yet to receive the money
and this has placed us in a spot," said Hashim.
Armed Forces have shown, after two matches, that they are not there just
to make up the numbers as they gave Maybank a tough fight before going
down 3-1 and on Sunday, shocked Sapura with an equaliser before going down
"We have been training hard for the MHL and I have even injected young
blood into the team, but with the lack of funding, my hands are tied right
now," said Hashim.
The exciting players in the Armed Forces side are Supri Junoh, Abu Bakar
Abdullah, Ramli Mohamed and two 22-year-olds Mohamed Azhari Yusoff and
Zaini Sarip who not only have the speed but their basic skills are also
Hashim has 40 players training under him right now and his plans are to
gradually introduce them to the game and by next year's MHL, Armed Forces
will be ready to put up a better challenge.
After two matches, it is safe to say that Armed Forces will not end up
at the bottom of the table - and don't be surprised if they finish in the
middle of the nine-team League.
Navy are doomed to finish at the bottom of the table when the dust
settles in the MHL because after two matches, they have conceeded 16 goals
and there is nothing to say that they will make a meteorite rise
in the next few weeks.
Jolly Lads Sports Club, and Bumiputra-Commerce Bank are the other two
weak teams which the Army men should have no problems beating.
The top four teams, as predicted, have done well over the last weekend
and for the League and Overall titles, the fight will be among Anderson
Sports Club, Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) and Tenaga Nasional.
Sapura, with an array of national stars in the stables, were shocked 5-1
by an average-looking Tenaga side but they salvaged some pride by securing
three points against the Army.
BSN are still waiting for their Pakistani players Sohail Abbas, the top
scorer in the recent Kuala Lumpur World Cup, and his teammate Kashif
Jawad. The duo look set to miss this weekend's fixtures, too, because of
work commitment back home.
But open tickets have been sent to them and they are expected to arrive
on April 10 and after that, no MHL team will trouble them and the double
looks like it is theirs - unless sheer bad luck like the 1998 crisis hits
the bankers.

Fighting Sapura score first win


SAPURA ........4 FORCES ..........1
ANDERSON SC ...8 BCB .............2
TNB........... 6 NAVY ............0
SAPURA fought tooth-and-nail with a rejuvenated Armed Forces side before
walking away with their first three points in the Malaysia Hockey League
(MHL) at the Tun Razak Stadium last night.
Sapura, who lost 5-1 to Tenaga Nasional on Saturday, had to bring out
their best to stop the speedy and well-built Army men who gave them a
tough fight in midfield.
The only reason the scoreline was so high is because the Armed Forces
defenders gave away too many penalty corners and with Sapura's S. Kuhan,
Jiwa Mohan and Chua Boon Huat all well-trained in that department, the
goals came in easy.
Sapura were pinned down in their own semicircle for a good five minutes
after the start of the match but one lucky break in the sixth handed them
a penalty corner and Kuhan's powerful flick sailed into goal.
In the 33rd minute Ramli Ismail equalised for Armed Forces and Sapura
were back in trouble.
Until halftime Armed Forces gave Sapura a tough fight and only good
golkeeping by Nasihin Nubli denied them.
After the restart, Armed Forces gave away too many penalty corners and
Chua Boon Huat, who will head for Germany on Tuesday to play in the German
League, scored his first MHL goal in the 40th minute.
In the 54th minute Jiwa Mohan scooped in another penalty corner before
Nishel Kumar wrapped up the match with a field goal. The match was robust
from the start with players from both sides getting hard knocks and after
the match, there was a slight commotion as the Army players blamed the
umpires for poor handling of the match.
Some of the Army men accused the umpires of being bias as Sapura is made
up of mostly national players. In an earlier match, Maybank scraped past
Jolly Lads Sports Club 2-0 with goals from K. Gobinathan (23rd) and
Chairil Anwar (60th).
At the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, Anderson Sports Club hammered
Bumiputra-Commerce Bank 8-2 with some hat-trick help from Mirnawan Nawawi
in the fifth, eighth and 25th minutes.
The other Anderson goals were scored by Len Ayappa (2nd, 64th),
Bhuvanseprabhu (10th, 40th) and Kamal Affendy (58th).
In the last match of the day, Tenaga Nasional beat Navy 6-0. The goals
were scored by Mahinder Singh (24th), Nor Saiful Zaini (38th, 44th, 46th),
M. Kaliswaran (60th) and Mohamed Fairus Ramli (61st).

BSN start campaign with a bang


BANK Simpanan Nasional (BSN) started their quest for a Malaysian Hockey
League (MHL) double with a bang when they beat Bumiputra-Commerce Bank
(BCB) 3-0 at the Tun Razak Stadium last night.
The score was only for the first half as the second half was rained off.
It started with a slight drizzle and then the clouds opened and lit up the
sky with stunning display of lightning.
Technical official Khairuddin Zainal, BSN coach C. Paramalingam and BCB
coach Colin sta Maria agreed to call off the match and the score stood as
the final result.
"The rain was still ok, but the lightning was too dangerous so we called
off the match," said Khairuddin.
In a way it was good, for BCB actually, that the match was stopped
because they were heading for a hammering in the lop-sided match.
The handful of spectators that turned out almost went to sleep as BSN
camped in the BCB semicircle for long periods but could only break the
duct in the seventh minute when national player Rodhanizam Radzi lifted
the ball into goal.
After receiving the pass at the left of the semicircle, Rodhanizam
looked up and saw BCB goalkeeper Sarabjit Singh off his position and
lifted the ball which went sailing over the goalkeeper and into goal.
BSN attacked in numbers and in the 10th minute, Faizal Daud scored a
field goal and BCB were in deep trouble.
But after a concerted effort, BSN became complacent and allowed BCB back
into the match. BCB had four penalty corners but poor stopping and lack of
co-ordination was their bane.
And in the 32nd minute, Rodhanizam increased the lead after connecting
in a Mohamed Amin Rahim penalty corner.
BSN coach Paramalingam was more than happy with the three points.
"It does not matter that we could not play the second half because of
rain, the only thing that matters is the three points," said Paramalingam.
BSN had an easy win eventhough their Pakistan players Sohail Abbas and
Kashif Jawad have yet to arrive.
"I have sent them an open ticket and they assured me that they will be
around for the next weekend matches," said Paramalingam.
When the Pakistan duo arrive, BSN will be difficult to beat and they
look sure for a double this season.
In the other match of the day, Jolly Lads Sports Club were thrashed 6-0
by contenders Anderson Sports Club.
The goals were scored by S. Shanker (68th), Mirnawan Nawawi (13th,
17th), Dhanraj Pillay (26th), Len Ayappa (29th, 33rd).
It looks like Anderson's foreign players Dhanraj and Len Ayappa are the
only ones capable of giving BSN a strong fight for their double quest.
Today: Sapura v Tenaga Nasional (Bukit Jalil, 5.30pm), Navy v Bank
Simpanan Nasional (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.30pm).
Tomorrow: Bumiputra-Commerce Bank v Anderson Sports Club (KL Hockey
Stadium, 6pm), Jolly Lads Sports Club v Maybank (6pm), Armed Forces v
Sapura (Tun Razak Stadium, 8pm), Tenaga Nasional v Navy (KL Hockey
Stadium, 8pm).

BSN look menacing even without Pakistan connection


BANK Simpanan Nasional look good for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL)
double this year, with or without their Pakistani connections.
The MHL begins this weekend, and the standard between the contenders and
the rest is a sight for sore eyes.
Penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas, the topscorer in the Kuala
Lumpur World Cup with 10 goals, and striker Kashif Jawad have some
unsettled business back home and will not be available for this weekend's
fixtures but Bumiputra-Commerce Bank and Navy are not expected to trouble
BSN on Friday and Saturday respectively.
"Sohail and Kashif cannot not make it on time for the start of the MHL
but I have capable hands in the team to carry the challenge this weekend,"
said veteran coach C. Paramalingam.
BSN, the Overall Champions, have set their minds on the double this
year, and Paramalingam believes they have trained hard enough to make a
"We have been training since January, without the national players who
were preparing the the Kuala Lumpur World Cup, and the regulars in the
side are in good shape," said Paramalingam.
"With national No 1 goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin between the posts, and
MHL regulars Lee Sien Lam, Mohamed Faizal Daud, Mohamed Badrul Hisham and
Muazam Mohamed shaping up well, there is no reason why we should not aim
for the double this season," said Paramalingam.
BSN also have rising juniors in Rodhanizam Radzi, Jivan Mohan and
Redzuan Ponirin for the speed and lasting power.
And when Sohail and Kashif arrive in Malaysia, the twin terrors will
rake in the goals and it will be plain sailing for BSN after that.
While BSN have assembled a strong side, overall, the League can be
divided into division one and division two judging from the team lists.
The division one teams are BSN, Sapura, Anderson Sports Club, Maybank
and Sapura while the division two sides are Jolly Lads Sports Club, Armed
Forces, Navy and Bumiputra-Commerce Bank.
The standard between the top five and the bottom four is very wide and
even before the League reaches the middle mark, the champions and the also
rans can be clearly divided.
Jolly Lads, the only team in the League who don't pay their players a
single cent, are already in trouble from the very beginning as five of
their better players will not be available this weekend for a host of
The League is said to be slowly dying because the club structure in the
country is not strong. For this season, eight of the teams are from the
Klang Valley and Navy are the only outsiders.
Negri Sembilan, Johor, Perak, Pahang, Malacca and Penang had fielded
teams in the past but have shied away because it has become too expensive.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation has promised that the next season it
will rope in more clubsides, but that is highly unlikely and like the
Razak Cup, the MHL is slowly fading away.

Tenaga looking much better


TENAGA Nasional Bhd waited nine years before landing the elusive League
title last year, and with young blood injected into their normally-ageing
side, this year they will start as one of the favourites to make the
semifinals in the Malaysia Hockey League which begins this weekend.
Tenaga have recruited three national juniors - Azlan Misron, Nor Azlan
Rahim and Fairuz Ramli - and they now have a balanced side to go the
Tenaga also have national players Nor Azlan Bakar, Mohamed Madzli Ikmar
and Tajol Rosli and the country's third choice goalkeeper S. Kumar.
And with the balanced side Tenaga, who have been training for the past
one month, without the national players who had World Cup duty, they will
give the other top teams like defending overall champions Bank Simpanan
Nasional (BSN), Maybank, Anderson Sports Club and Sapura a run for their
But since BSN (Pakistani's Sohail Abbas and Kashif Jawad) and Anderson
Sports Club (Indians Dhanraj Pillay and Len Ayappa) have hired guns in
their stables, coach K. Rajan felt that it is too early to make an
assessment of their strength.
Tenaga open their campaign this weekend against Sapura who are no
pushovers and have in their side national players S. Kuhan, K. Keevan Raj,
K. Logan Raj, Jiwa Mohan and Nasihin Nubli who are all fresh from a
gruelling World Cup experience.
Sapura also recruited Chua Boon Huat, but he will not be able to play in
the MHL this season because he will be playing in the German League. He
will be attached to Red and White Munich and the German League starts on
april 8.
Former national skipper Nor Saiful Zaini will be the steady and
experienced hand for the Tenaga players to look up to.
After the MHL ends, so will Nor Saiful's career as a hockey player.
The 35-year-old hitman who now plays in midfield and occasionally in
defence, will be turning to coaching next year but said he hopes to end
his career on a high by helping TNB win the double - League and Overall -
this year.
Tenaga Nasional: Manjit Singh, Lailin Abu Hassan, Kamaruddin Abdul
Rahman, Norazlan Rahim, Nor Azlan Bakar, Zaharin Zakariah, Madzli Ikmar,
Lawrence Steven, Tajol Rosli, M. Kaliswaran, S. Saravanan, Ranjit Singh,
Fairus Ramli, Syayrim Uda Karim, S. Kumar, Azlan Misron, Omar Hafiz
Rahmat, M. Nadarajan, Mahinder Singh.

More assignments ahead


THE MALAYSIAN Hockey Federation (MHF) and the National Sports council
(NSC) met yesterday and came out with an impressive list of tournaments
for the national team as well as plans to inject new blood into the sport.
With generous funding from the NSC, the national players will be heading
for the Panasonic Cup in Hamburg on June 14-16.
"And since the team is already in Europe, we have decided to go on a
tour of Belgium, England, Holland and Germany before the Panasonic Cup,"
said MHF deputy president Tan Sri P. Alagendra yesterday.
Then there is the tour of Korea, Four-Nation in Australia, Test matches
in Kuala Lumpur and the new Asian tournament in Pakistan to look forward
In short, MHF and NSC have left no stone unturned to prepare the team
for the Asian Games in September.
The new Asian tournament came about after FIH failed to recognise Asia's
contribution in the sport and some of the Asian countries hardly got any
invitations to play in Europe.
"Pakistan will host the first tournament on Dec 17-22 and the countries
involved are the hosts, India, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan.
"After that, the annual tournament will be held on a rotation basis
among the five top Asian countries," said MHF secretary S. Satgunam.
What about the rest of the Asian countries?
"The Asian Hockey Federation has pondered on the matter and have agreed
to host a similar tournament for the second echlon of hockey playing
countries in Asia. The format and dates will be decided soon," said
The talent scouting programme, which started in January this year,
received lukewarm response in Kelantan and Terengganu but coach Paul
Lissek has managed to identify 30 potential players and will be looking
for more in April.
"From April 1, I will be conducting talent camps in Johor, Negri
Sembilan, Selangor and Kuala lumpur after which I hope to identify 40
youngsters for the centralised training on April 18-21 in Kuala Lumpur,"
said Lissek.
Those who are selected in the programme will be based at the Bandar
Penawar Sports School and their progress will be monitored. A host of
other plans were also formulated to train the Under-18 and Under-19
players in preparation for the 2005 Junior World Cup.
Yesterday, it was also decided that Lissek will get the opportunity to
re-group the national players playing in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL)
to keep them on their toes.
"The national team will train twice a week under me beginning April 22.
After that, there will be three-day centralised camps every week to
prepare for the Asian Games.
The MHL managers have agreed to release the players for tours and Tests,
but they have yet to agree to the training schedule formulated yesterday,
but Alagendra was optimistic that the MHL team managers will agree to it.
"I will hold a special meeting with the managers involved in the MHL and
get a consensus for the betterment of hockey," said Alagendra.
Lissek also agreed to lend a helping hand to the teams taking part in
the MHL this year.
"I volunteer my services to any team that is interested to train their
players during the MHL because this is a win-win situation where I can
keep an eye on the players and also lend them some technical support,"
said Lissek.
Of one particular interest to Lissek is Pakistan's Sohail Abbas who will
be playing for Bank Simpanan Nasional.
Sohail, easily the best penalty corner specialist in the world today,
was the joint top scorer in the Kuala Lumpur World Cup and Lissek hopes
that some of the national players can pick up the trade by watching him
"I will be approaching him and if he agrees, I will include him in the
weekly national training so that we can learn more about his style in
executing penalty corners," said Lissek.
BSN are also banking on the deadly Sohail to land them the double this
year, but they will have to wait for two weeks after the start of the MHL
because Sohail has to sort out work commitments in Pakistan before coming

Drastic changes needed


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and the National Sports Council will
meet today to chart the future of hockey and by the look of things,
drastic changes need to be made.
The game is slowly dying as schools are no longer the nursery which it
used to be and this was evident during the recent Champion Schools
Tournament in Malacca.
The 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup also showed that the present pool of
players cannot be prodded to a higher level because they have reached
saturation point. A revamp must be done and, as harsh as it may sound,
replacing 50 per cent of the players will be the first step.
MHF deputy president Tan Sri P. Alagendra also said that a blueprint of
sorts will be formulated after the meeting today, because "we need to
inject fresh blood into the sport."
"Coach Paul Lissek and World Cup team manager Datuk R. Yogeswaran will
be among the officials who will recommend future plans for hockey. I am
confident we will be able to come out with a strong plan," said Alagendra.
After Malaysia's miserable outing in the Junior World Cup in Hobart,
Tasmania last year, the MHF have yet to make public, even after persistent
enquiries, what came out of the plans submitted by coach Yahya Atan and
team manager Ariffin Ghani.
This time when the World Cup officials meet and discuss, it is hoped
that they will bring up the glaring weaknesses in the Malaysian team and
find solutions quickly because Malaysia will be competing in the all-
important Asian Games in September where the target is to win a medal.
The national team, when preparing for the World Cup, received every aid
from the MHF and the NSC, including overseas stints in the hope of forging
a strong side. But in the end, Malaysia even struggled to beat the fast-
rising Japanese.
Japan were ever grateful to Malaysia for inviting them to the Champions
Challenge and then the Six-Nation in January because their team grew in
confidence after both tournaments. But sadly, the Malaysian players did
not benefit from the tournaments which were specially held in Malaysia for
their benefit.
Maybe the MHF and the NSC should stop pampering the national players and
go the Japanese way. The Japanese did not have enough money to travel to
Malaysia for the Six-Nation but the players forked out their own money to
buy flight tickets. They played their hearts out during the tournament and
even beat Malaysia with a sudden-death goal.
Maybe the MHF and NSC should seriously ponder this and for one or two
future tournaments, ask the players to pay their own airfare.
This might not go down too well with the players, but Timesport is sure
that when the money comes out from their own pockets, the will to play
better will be there. Alternatively, set a target for the overseas
tournament and if the players fail to reach it, then ask them to reimburse
the fare for the flight tickets.
There is no more room for a soft approach, the whip must be brought out
to get the national players into shape.
The MHF-NSC meeting must also come out with plans to scout for more
The national team had to defend in most of the World Cup matches because
they they had nobody upfront to score after Suhaimi Ibrahim chose not to
play for the national team. Now, Suhaimi will be donning Maybank colours
in the Malaysia Hockey League which starts on Friday.
Suhaimi, it is believed, was at looggerheads with Lissek and pulled out
of the World Cup training squad.
A senior hockey official also revealed yesterday that some of the
national players have said that if Lissek remains in charge, they will
quit hockey.
Trouble is brewing at the highest level and the MHF-NSC meeting should
nip it at the bud before player-power turns away a world class coach and
Malaysia will be forced back to square one.
MHF and NSC must also impress upon Lissek to be more adventurous in his
game plan. Granted, he had better defenders than strikers in the World Cup
so he had to play defensive, but everyone knows that the best form of
defence is attack and keep the ball upfront.
The meeting will also decide on which invitations the national team will
accept for this year and topping the list is the Panasonic Cup in Germany
in the middle of the year.
Malaysia received the invitation for the five-star tournament for the
first time, and if the team has to forego the Four-Nation invitation which
clashes with the Panasonic Cup, so be it. The players will benefit more
from playing in Germany than the Four-Nation which involves Australia,
South Korea, Argentina and Malaysia.

Jolly Lads saddened by loss of Jayhan and Ho


JOLLY Lads Hockey Sports Club, who will be making their debut in the
Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) starting this Friday, are anything but
"jolly" as they aim to show that they are dead serious about developing
their handful of juniors.
But even before the first whistle is blown, Jolly Lads are in a sad
predicament - their junior hope Ho Kok On, a Perak and Anderson player -
fractured his thumb while training taking penalty corners. He will be out
for two weeks.
They are also not certain about former international Brian Jayhan Siva,
now a doctor, who is believed to be going to Singapore then on to Scotland
to further his medical training.
"We are in a catch-22 situation. One of our promising juniors, Ho,
injured his thumb and we are still not sure if he will recover in time,"
said a worried team manager Mohinder Singh.
"But we have back-up players and if he (Ho) is not ready, we will field
another young player."
At the team manager's meeting on Saturday, Jolly Lads tried to extend
the closing date for entries but the Malaysian Hockey Federation rejected
their request, which means they are stuck with the players they have
The other player who picked up an injury is Charles Aitken David. He
will be replaced by promising junior Harvinder Singh.
"As for Bryan, we are still hoping he will be able to stay for the
duration of the league but if he is isn't able to, we will be in a spot
again," said Mohinder.
The last time Jayhan donned national colours was in the 1996 Atlanta
Olympics. He has since disappeared from the hockey scene to concentrate on
his job.
The original Jolly Lads play in the KL Hockey League but after being
approached by former international R. Shanker, the club agreed to lend
their name to the motley-crew outfit.
Now they are hoping their juniors Ho, M. Neruji, Harvinder and Hasmadi
Ismail will break into the national ranks.
"That is our mission. We hope to give the juniors exposure and hopefully
they will impress the national selectors enough to be selected for the
national squad," said Mohinder.
The other seasoned players in the team are Kerpal Singh and Aphtar
The squad: Faizul Baki, Saravanan Kanu, Surinder Singh, Kerpal Singh,
Thevadas Maniam, Harvinder Singh, Daniel Kassim, Brian Jayhan Siva, Chitti
Babu, Simon Matthew, Rosdi Pilus, Aphtar Singh, Sivanantha Prasad, M.
Neruji, Zainal Ariffin Idris, Jaspal Singh, R. Shankar, Ravikumaran
Suppiah, Hasmadi Ismail, Nor Azmi Abu Samah.
Manager: Mohinder Singh; Stand-In-Manager: Jasvinder Singh; Coach:
Phapinder Singh; Doctor: Dr Baljinder Singh.

Clubs agree to release players


THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) managers meeting was held yesterday and
the nine team managers unanimously agreed to place national duty above
club commitments.
There was fear that some of the managers would not agree to releasing
their players for a host of national assignments during the league because
they had paid good money to secure some of their star players. But
yesterday good sense prevailed and hockey was the winner.
"We (Malaysia Hockey Federation) put forward the suggestion that clubs
place national duty first and foremost and they agreed. A meeting between
the MHF and the National Sports Council will be held on Tuesday (tomorrow)
to chart new plans for hockey with the Asian Games in Busan (South Korea)
as our main target for a medal," said MHF deputy-president Tan Sri P.
Alagendra yesterday.
Malaysia are slated to play Test matches gainst Korea in Busan from May
10-15 and this clashes with MHL fixtures.
After that, it is the Four-Nation in Australia involving the hosts,
Argentina, South Korea and Malaysia. This too, clashes with the MHL
Malaysia have also been invited to play in Germany, South Africa,
Argentina, Holland and Japan after their good showing in the World Cup.
Top of the list must surely be the Four-Nation Panasonic Cup in Hamburg
in June. But this five-star tournament clashes with an earlier plan made
by the MHF to play in the Australian Four-Nation.
Alagendra said the meeting with the NSC will iron-out this problem.
"We have too many invitations and do not want to rush out and accept
all. In the meeting with the NSC on Tuesday we will decide which
tournaments we will play in to prepare for the Asian Games," said
Although all the teams, with the exception of Navy who are based in
Lumut, are from the Klang Valley, Alagendra was optimistic that the league
will serve its purpose of unearthing new talent for the national team.
"I am happy with the turnout from the clubs and hope that a few new
players will be discovered.
"I would also like to stress that being a member of the recent World Cup
team does not gurantee any player the right to play in the Asian Games. We
(MHF) are serious about blooding new players and those who do well in the
MHL will definitely be selected for the September Games," said Alagendra.
The 2001 MHL was postponed because the national team had too many
tournaments to play in to prepare for the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup.
Bank Simpanan National, champions in 2000, have assembled a formidable
side which is capable of a double this year.
With 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup top-scorer Sohail Abbas of Pakistan and
compatriot Kashif Jawad, the top scorer in the January Six-Nations,
turning our for BSN this season, the Bankers look good for another title.
Sohail is definitely a sound replacement for Mirnawan Nawawi and Indian
international Dhanraj Pillay who quit BSN and signed with Anderson Sports
Club this season.
Going by the team list Anderson Sports Club, now with Dhanraj, Mirnawan
and midfielder Len Ayappa, should give BSN a run for their money. They
also have national stars Maninderjit Singh and S. Shanker.
The rest of the teams are only in in to gain experience and, if
possible, to play the role of spoilers.
Teams like Bumiputera Commerce, Jolly Lads Sports Club, Maybank, Armed
Forces and Navy will find it tough.

Club or country?


ALTHOUGH Malaysia finished only eighth in the recent 2002 Kuala Lumpur
World Cup invitations for the national team to play in a host of
tournaments worldwide have been pouring in.
To some extent this augurs well for the team's preparations to win a
medal in the Asian Games in Busan in September. But on the other hand, it
might deprive some clubs of the players they have paid good money for in
the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
The MHL team managers meet tomorrow and the routine meeting could well
be the key to resolve what might otherwise turn into a thorny issue.
The team managers have every right to voice their dissatisfaction aboutr
having to release their players for Tours and Four-Nations, but if they
are serious about the development of hockey in the country, they should
practice a give-and-take policy.
Chief coach Paul Lissek is interested in having national training twice
a week for centralised training so that the players will not "get lost in
the bush", and the Malaysian Hockey Federation can help in this case.
"We (MHF) have no problems with the proposal to allow national players
to regroup for two days a week for centralised training, but it is in the
hands of the team managers because they are the ones who have hired the
players," said MHF secretary S. Satgunam yesterday.
Malaysia are slated to play Test matches gainst Korea in Busan from May
10-15 and this clashes with MHL fixtures.
After that, it is the Four-Nation in Australia involving the hosts,
Argentina, South Korea and Malaysia. And this, too, clashes with the MHL
Malaysia have also been invited to play in Germany, South Africa,
Argentina, Holland and Japan after a good display in the World Cup.
Top of the list must surely be an invitation to compete in the Four-
Nation Panasonic Cup in Hamburg in June. But this five-star tournament
clashes with an earlier plan made by the MHF to play in the Australian
With so many invitations, and the final decision resting in the hands of
nine team managers, it would be wiser if they come to a compromise for the
sake of the game.
The two days requested for national training would also be more
beneficial for the clubs as Lissek will definately keep the national
players on their toes. Also, they can impart their rigorous training
experience with their clubmates when they go back to the clubs during the
There is no need for the national players and their clubs to be at
loggerheads because in the end, if the clubs decide that they need the
players more than the country, nothing can be done.
That is why a sensible solution is sought, and if all parties are
intersted in the improvement of hockey, the managers meeting on Saturday
should end on a good note.

Saujana GC gets top marks


THE World Amateur Golf Council (WAGC) inspected the Saujana Golf and
Country Club for a third time yesterday and they ran out of superlatives
describing the preparations to date.
The joint deputy secretaries of WAGC Stephanie Parel and Grant Moir and
the Rules Secretary of the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews David
Rickman, all agreed that Saujana's Cobra and Crocodile courses will
provide the ideal stage for the world's biggest amatuer golf events - the
Espirito Santo Trophy on Oct 16-19 and the Eisenhower Trophy on Oct 24-27.
"I am very impressed with the preliminary work that has been done here.
All logistical preparations seem to be very thorough and that is very
encouraging," said Stephanie.
Rickman, who will be the Chief Referee for the event, said that the two
courses are in excellent condition.
"They (the courses) will provide a good test for the better players and,
at the same time, be fair and playable to the lesser golfing nations."
To date the organisers have received an overwhelming number of entries
for both the events and expect more to roll in soon.
"The WAGIC is the most important and biggest event for amatuer golfers
and to date 52 countries are confirmed for the Eisenhower Trophy,
including champions the United States, and 41 countries for the Espirito
Santo Trophy, including champions France," said Thomas Lee, president of
the Malaysian Golf Association.
Nine countries have already been to Malaysia in the past three months to
get a feel of the Saujana course and more are expected to do so over the
next few months.
"Wales, England and Scotland, who will no longer compete under one
entity as Great Britain, played the Saujana course recently and left very
impressed. Next week New Zealand will be arriving to get used to the
Saujana greens," said Lee.
Since been given the honour to host both events, Saujana has been
undergoing a multi-million ringgit facelift. Both courses are being
"The addition of tee boxes at certain holes, and most significantly, the
reconstruction of five greens on the Cobra and one at the Crocodile course
is going smoothly and will be ready by the end of April," said Saujana
Resort general manager John Eu.
The club house is also undergoing a major facelift and will be equipped
with an open air viewing deck at the Golfers Terrace which will afford a
commanding view of the Cobra 18th green.
The biennial World Amateur Golf Team Championship features two separate
tournaments running consecutively - the women's Espirito Santo Trophy
followed by the men's Eisenhower Trophy and each will be played over four
days of gross strokeplay.
Some of the biggest names in professional golf were part of the amateur
championship before making they mark on the international stage and they
include Jack Nicklaus, Ben Crenshaw, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Justin
Leonard, David Duval, Nancy Lopez, Juli Inkster and Pak Se-ri.
The WAGC was founded in 1958, and Malaysia will be the seventh Asia-
Pacific Zone nation to host the biennial championships.
In 2000, The United States of America weathered a raw and rainy final
round at the Sporting Club Berlin to secure the Eisenhower Trophy for a
record 11th time when they won by 16 strokes over then defending champions
Great Britain and Ireland.
France produced a seven-stroke victory over 1996 winners Korea for the
Espirito Santo Trophy.
For the record, at the last WAGTC held in Berlin, Malaysia finished 33rd
in the Eisenhower Trophy and 29th in the Espirito Santo Trophy.

A boost for Malaysia Games


THE SportExcel-NSC-Milo Junior Circuit for 2002 was launched yesterday by
chairman Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja'afar and their mission this year is
to help States select athletes for the Malaysia Games in September.
SportExcel specifically changed the format of their Grand Finals to a
carnival affair in August so that States will have a better selection base
for the Sabah Malaysia Games.
"We decided on this experiment because we feel that it would be more
beneficial for States to select their Malaysia Games athletes if we hold
all the Grand Finals on a carnival basis in August," said Tunku Imran
after the launch at the National Sports Council (NSC) hall yesterday.
SportExcel feels that by holding the Grand Finals in August on a
carnival basis, they can help associations better prepare their athletes.
"We hope to house all the Grand Final athletes in the NSC hostel so that
they can get a better feel of a sporting atmosphere. We also hope that the
crowd support will be better if we hold all the Grand Finals over a
weekend," said Tuanku Imran.
SportExcel is also looking to upgrade their athletics and sepak-takraw
circuits and have sent in a proposal to the Malaysian Schools Sports
Council (MSSC).
"In this respect, I would like to state that SportExcel is very keen to
develop ties with the MSSC. We have often stated that schools are the
nursery for a better future when it comes to talent identification and
development," said Tunku Imran.
"But sadly, unlike in the 60s, 70s and early 80s, when we witnessed
schools sports at its best, we are now more or less at a standstill when
it comes to the promotion and development of talent at this level."
SportExcel will have eleven circuits this year and they are bowling,
squash, cycling, shooting, cricket, swimming, diving, rhythmic and
artistic gymnastics, tennis and golf.
"SportExcel, Milo and NSC will spend about RM600,000 on the junior
programmes and we feel this money will be well spent as it is for a
brighter future," said Tunku Imran.
SportExcel is also keen to develop other sports but first, the
associations must show they have a sound grassroot plan before they can
get help from the foundation.
"We are always open to other sports, but first, the associations must
show interest in grassroot development and only then can we help them.
"I would like to stress here that SportExcel is an elite programme and
we are not involved with grassroot development which we feel is the job of
the associations," said Tunku Imran.
Two of the more successful circuits have gone the extra mile to make
sure they remain in the forefrunt.
"The Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress has added an extra leg, so this
year there will be seven legs before the Grand Finals.
"The Squash Racquets Association of Malaysia has in turn introduced the
back-up division for the under-13 and the under-15 age groups and the
Premier Division for the under-17 and under-19 age groups."
Tunku Imran said SportExcel welcomes fresh ideas from associations to
improve the image and effectiveness of the circuits which have produced
many household names like Nicol David and Shalin Zulkifli.

Lack of funds hamper teams' progress


MONEY, or the lack of it, is the thorny issue that is haunting the
Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) which begins on March 29.
While some clubs have more than they need and have hired foreigners to
beef-up their challenge, others were forced to give it a miss because
their coffers are dry.
Last year the MHL was scrapped due to a hectic international schedule,
but this year's edition will go on, albeit on a sorry note because the
disparity between some teams is huge.
One needs a whopping RM50,000 to be able to compete in the home-and-away
league and this being the case, many interested clubs remain just that ...
While champions Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) have the means to hire
Pakistan's Sohail Abbas, the top scorer (10 goals) at the 2002 Kuala
Lumpur World Cup, and his teammate Kashif Jawad, lack of funds have
knocked out the Penang clubs even before the first whistle.
Arthur Anderson have hired ageing Indian star Dhanraj Pillay and
compatriot Len Ayyapa, who was dropped from India's World Cup squad, and
their presence in the team should take their employers the distance
because the opposition is very poor.
After 13 years in existance, the MHL is heading nowhere and is fast
becoming just another sideshow to be completed for the year.
The other teams in the league are Bank Bumiputra-Commerce, Tenaga
Nasional, Maybank, Sapura, newcomers Jolly Lads, Royal Malay Regiment
(RMR) and the Malaysian Navy.
Jolly Lads of Kuala Lumpur are the new kids on the block while RMR and
the Navy are making a comeback after skipping the League in 2000.
Penang Indians and Malacca MC were forced to stay away because they do
not have the funds while RMR and the Navy are in it only to make up the
Is hockey a dying sport in Malaysia? How come there are only nine clubs
competing in the MHL? What is the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and
their affiliates doing about it?
One will not be wrong to assume that club hockey is non-existent in most
States in the country. Hockey in Perlis, Kelantan, Terengganu, Sabah and
Sarawak has always been in the shadows, but what about Penang, Johor,
Negri Sembilan and Perak?
There are so many unanswered questions that hockey fans have nothing to
look forward to, other than a lop-sided three-month league.
Indeed, it was surprising when players from Pakistan and India agreed to
play in the MHL. Suprising because, besides picking up their paycheques,
they certainly will not be picking up any new skills or tricks.
After killing off the Razak Cup, the MHL is dying a slow death because
the quality and quantity of teams is being diluted with every new season.
Some will argue that 8,000 fans who turned out to watch the 2000 final
between Tenaga Nasional and BSN showed that that year's League was a huge
success. But what about the search for talent?
Malaysia were a big flop at the Junior World Cup. The rest of the world
could be ahead of us for the next five years at least.
The national team's perfromance in the recent World Cup was also not up
to mark. The country is in desperate need of new faces and fresh talent.
But if the MHL is going to be made up of only a handful of clubs from
the Klang Valley, then the game will be as popular as kite-flying in 10
year's time.
The recently concluded Champion Schools Tournament in Malacca showed
that the champions of one State could be the whipping boys for another.
Perlis got a drubbing of their lives during the tournament as all the
States they played against put double-digit score lines past them.
And the fact that Anderson of Ipoh retained the title does not say much
for the standard of hockey being played in the schools around the country.
The MHL and the Junior League that will soon follow must be taken
seriously if Malaysia want to maintain their consistency of qualifying for
the Olympics and the World Cup on a regular basis.
If not, it will be wise for MHF to close the offices of all their State
affiliates because they are doing nothing to help the game in the country.

MHF sure of breaking even


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) are busy balancing their books right
now, but they are confident of breaking even as far as costs for
organising the 2002 Kuala Lumpur World Cup are concerned.
Yesterday, MHF secretary S. Satgunam said that the ticket sales reached
RM2.5 million and after adding up their sponsors, they will break even.
"We lost some revenue after reducing the ticket prices midway through
the World Cup, but we are more than pleased with the fan turnout,
especially to support the Malaysian team," said Satgunam yesterday.
The Malaysian matches was what saved the MHF because capacity and near
capacity crowds turned up to watch the men in yellow.
The initial budget for the entire World Cup was set at RM5 million and
MHF had great difficulties in securing sponsors but, somehow, they managed
to scrape through.
"Most of the money went towards booking the Bukit Jalil Hockey Stadium
and also the hosting fee that we had to pay the International Hockey
Federation (FIH)," said MHF deputy president Tan Sri P. Alagendra.
The hosting fee paid to the FIH was RM500,000 while another RM500,000
was flight and accomodation expenses for the FIH officials, umpires, and
other officials for the World Cup.
Meanwhile, Satgunam also revealed yesterday that the Asian Hockey
Federation has agreed in principle to organise a yearly tournament in this
region to revive the sport.
"We (AHF) held a meeting during the World Cup and decided that is is
time that Asia has another tournamant so that teams can get more exposure
and make a concerted push to get back into the elite circle," said
The tournament has yet to be given a name but Pakistan have agreed in
principle to host the first edition.
"After Pakistan it will be rotated among the top five hockey playing
countries in Asia," said Satgunam.
The five Asian countries in the World Cup - South Korea (fourth),
Pakistan (fifth), Malaysia (eighth), India (10th) and Japan (12thh), are
the likely candidates to host the new tournament on a rotation basis and
this is the first step that the AHF have initiated to bring back Asia's
glory days.
AHF will also give away the Most Promising and Player of the Year awards
to their men after the Asian Games in Pusan, Korea.
"It is time that the AHF recognise their own players and motivate them
to do better at international level. Players who do exceptionally well in
the Asian Games this year will be rewarded duly," said Satgunam.
The new awards came about after the FIH failed to recognise Asian
players during their awards ceremony held in Kuala Lumpur during the World
The MHF and other Asian countries snubbed the FIH awards and later in a
meeting, decided that drastic changes needed to be made if the Asian
countries want to see their players get due recognition.

MHF, FIH war steals limelight


National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil for 13 days, there was another warthat was raging in the seminar rooms and the corridors of the officialhotel, the Kuala Lumpur Concorde. Germany only lost one match in the World Cup, 3-2 to Spain in the poolmatches, but the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and the Asian HockeyFederation (AHF) received a severe beating from their parent body - theInternational Hockey Federation (FIH). The FIH demands grew steadily as the World Cup progressed but theirinput to make the pinnacle of world hockey as a more recognised event wasnegligible, and sometimes, non existent. One hockey official described their high-handedness in overseeing theWorld Cup as "slowly starving the goose that lays the golden egg." MHF took a weak stand by not attending the FIH awards for mostoutstanding and promising players 2001, and that is surely not enough ifthey are serious about calling for changes. FIH are changing the tournament rules, the number of teams and playersin the World Cup as and when they like, and since there is little or noopposition from anyone, they feel they are doing the right thing. But their short-sightedness is slowly killing the sport by scaring thedaylights out of sponsors. Then came the highly awaited AFH meeting, which was to be followed by apress conference, but the Pressmen were made to wait for three hoursbefore they found out that "the AHF secretary general (Tan Sri P.Alagendra) is too tired and has gone home to sleep, maybe he will call fora Press conference later." That was three days ago and since, the World Cup has ended, the localpress are still waiting while the foreign press corp has gone home. And by his action, he has aptly decribed what is happening to Asianhockey - Malaysia, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, Singapore andThailand are still sound asleep while the rest of the world are workingovertime to improve the sport. And the shocking thing is that an official who attended the AHF meetingsaid that they came out with some strong ideas to revive the game in thisregion, but are waiting for the right moment to make the announcement. Are they waiting for the FIH president Els van Breda Vriesman and hercommittee members to go home before making a statement? Anyway, it was reliably learnt that the AHF, fed-up that their playersare not receiving due recognition from the parent body, have decided tohave their own awards for the most talented and promising players fromthis year. "This way, we can reward Asian players who contributed immensely towardsthe sport while the FIH awards can nominate and select whoever they feeldeserve recognition," said the official. India lifted the Junior World Cup trophy, Argentina are the silvermedallists while Germany ended up with bronze. FIH shocked everybody bypicking a German as the most promising player. So the Asian award istimely. "We (AHF) have also decided to add another tournament to our calendarbecause we hardly get any invitation to play in tournaments organised inEurope," said the official. And, in the heated AHF meeting, it was also decided that FIH increasetheir sponsorship and marketing team because for the 2002 Kuala LumpurWorld Cup, not a single cent came from them and the MHF are stillstruggling to balance their books and by the look of things, they will endup in the (END)

Champs Germany eye bigger things


AS the dawn after the World Cup final arrived, there was pin-drop silence
at the official hotel as players and officials slept soundly after a night
of merry-making.
Amid the celebrations, which saw all the banners and posters along the
road leading to the hotel being ripped off by players to be kept as
souvenirs, German coach Bernhard Peters and Australian coach Barry Dancer
have already started to formulate plans for their teams.
The coach of the world champions proudly stated that his plan now is to
lift the Olympic gold in Athens two years from now.
Whatever Peters says, cannot be taken lightly because after taking over
the team which had a disastrous Sydney 2000 Olympics outing, he has a
phenomenal record of winning 45 out of 48 international matches. The three
defeats were in the hands of India, Holland and Spain.
"The Olympic gold is our next main target, but we've got several other
titles to win on the way," said Peters.
"Right now we're the world champions, but we'll soon have to defend our
Champions Trophy title in August. Then there will be the European Cup
before we head for the Olympic Games in 2004," he said.
The Champions Trophy is an annual event for the world's top-six
countries, as ranked by their performance in the World Cup and Olympics.
Germany are also the European Cup defending champions which is held
every four years and the next one is scheduled for next year.
Dancer said they will work to defend their Commonwealth Games title
which they last won in 1998 in Kuala Lumpur.
"We have good players in this team and I don't see why any of them
should retire from the game after the World Cup. They will feature
prominently in my plans to defend the Commonwalth Games gold," said
On money, the Aussies seem to be getting little help back home and their
silver medal will only keep them floating for another year.
"Yes, we have some trouble getting the money. We could do with more,
much, much more. That is why we put every effort to lift the trophy for
better funding.
"The silver we won will keep us going for another year, but we must win
another tournament soon if we want the money to keep coming in and support
our deveopment plans," said Dancer.
Peters, on the other hand, feels he must make some drastic changes in
the team to stay ahead of the rest of the world.
"There may be some drastic changes in this team, as some players could
retire after winning the World Cup, but there is a bright side as we have
several new talents available," Peters said.
"We'll have to build a new team, but I'm confident we will have a strong
side again the next time," he said.
German skipper Florian Kunz, who was voted the final's Man-of-the-Match,
said he would remain with the team as long as the coach needed his
Kunz almost retired after the Sydney Olympics but is now expected to
stretch his career until the Athens Olympics.
"The Olympics is certainly a great target to work for, but I'll speak to
my brother, who is my business partner, and see if I can play for two more
years," Kunz said.
"I'll also have to ask my girlfriend if she will allow me to continue
With or without their World Cup skipper Kunz, Germany look set to
dominate hockey for another five years because they not only have a clever
coach, but also brilliant players.

Gluckwunsch, Germany!


GERMANY finally lifted the World Cup trophy after nine unsuccessful
attempts at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
But you can say that they have nine lives as they came back from a goal
down and in the second half, the Aussies were left wondering what hit them
as they limped to the sidelines as the final whistle blew.
The Germans fell flat on the turf and there was much hugging and kissing
going on but Sascha Reinelt, who played a sterling role to hand Germany
their first title, stole the limelight by climbing on the goalmouth and
sat on the bar.
Then they held hands and formed a straight line facing their fans. After
a short sprint, they dived, and slid towards the sideline as the crowd
cheered them to a deafening roar.
Australia started with 10 strikers as even fullbacks Bevan George and
Matthew Wells made some superb runs into the German semicircle, but stout
defending by skipper Florian Kunz and Philipp Crone stopped the Aussies
from getting the goal which they worked so hard for.
Germany were not their usual confident side as they were reduced to
defending as the Australian players went for an early goal to break them.
The only good move by Germany was in the fifth minute when Christoph
Bechmann made a backstick attempt at goal but Aussie goalkeeper Lachlan
Dreher only had to ward off the ball.
Australia were in total control of the match for the first 15 minutes as
they troubled goalkeeper Clemens Arnold with well-placed shots, but from
the stands, it was clear that the Aussies were only testing the waters.
By the 29th minute, the capacity crowd at the National Hockey Stadium
had yet to make their pick on which team to support as they cheered every
good move towards goal.
As for the Germans, they picked the left side to launch their attacks,
and they had to use their reverse stick to take shots at goal.
In the 23rd minute, Matthias Witthaus came close to giving Germany the
lead when his deflection headed towards the goalmouth, hit the post and
went out. That was the only serious attack from the Germans.
Australia won the first penalty corner of the match in the 25th minute
but the ball went straight to goalkeeper Arnold and off the clearance,
Germany's Dr Michael Green mounted a swift counter attack and only luck
sided the Aussies as they miraculously survived Oliver Domke's darting run
and sizzling shot at goal.
But in the 32nd minute, Australia won their second penalty corner and
this time they tried a variation with Matthew Wells doing a dummy and Troy
Elder pushing in for the goal. Even German goalkeeper Arnolds gestured
skyward with his hands signaling that there is no way he could have saved
that one.
But Germany, true to what their coach Bernhard Peters said, made a
tremendous comeback into the match after that and with a minute left in
the first half, they won a hard-fought penalty corner.
The towering fullback Florian Kunz did not bat an eyelid as he sent in a
sizzler crashing into the net and Germany were back in the game.
Upon resumption it was clear that the 18,000-odd crowd were not there to
support a particular team, but hockey played at its highest level by two
top proponents of the modern game.
Australia earned three penalty corners in a spate of five minutes but
the German runners made sure that the ball never got off the stick of
Elder, and the score remained tied with only eight minutes left in the
Then the twin terrors of Germany - Reinelt and Domke - brought down the
house in the 64th minute with a field goal which the fans will long
remember and talk about over beers.
Reinelt made a pass from the right and it was connected, like an ice-
hockey pug, by Bjorn Michael towards Domke who sneaked it past a rushing
Australian goalkeeper Dreher, and it was all over for the Aussies.
Florian Kunz (34th) Troy Elder (30th)
Oliver Domke (64th)
Sander van der Weide (68th) Song Seung Tae (9th)
Jaap Derk Buma (73rd)

Make it an exciting final


AUSTRALIAN coach Barry Dancer said yesterday Germany are the favourites to
lift the title, but when the question was put forward to German coach
Bernhard Peters, he said Australia have the upper hand.
Both coaches were being diplomatic, naturally, but in today's final
Peters and his men will enter the pitch as the overwhelming favourites and
don't be surprised if they hammer six goals past the highly touted
"It will be very hard for us tomorrow (today) because Australia have
improved 100 per cent since we last beat them at the Azlan Shah Cup in
August and twice in the Champions Trophy in November in Rotterdam," said
The score in the final of the Champions Trophy was 2-1 but the Aussies
have entered the final as the only unbeaten team in the World Cup. And if
they play like they did against Netherlands in the semifinals, they have a
chance of taking the early lead again, but Peters is confident of his
men's ability to come from behind.
"I will not be worried if they (Australia) take an early lead, even 2-0
is not a problem, because my men know how to fight back and win the
match," said Peters.
The German coach was not being overconfident and neither was he arrogant
when he made the statement because Germany's record in the World Cup is
The worst finish for Germany was fifth in the 1973 World Cup and they
have since made the semifinals of nine World Cups. The only thing they
have yet to do is lift the title.
Florian Kunz, whose piercing passes from the backline made sure that
Germany reached the final, said that they will enter the field as the
underdogs but emerge with the trophy.
"My teammates are in great shape and we will not give the Australians as
much room as the Dutch gave them in the semifinals. Australia plays total
hockey for 70 minutes, but our man-to-man marking will restrict them,"
said Kunz.
The only problem that Peters foresees is the ability of the Australian
players to sprint with and without the ball.
"They have a team who can run at tremendous speed and so we will have to
restrict their pace, especially in the semicircle because they have the
tendency to take shots from the top of the semicircle," said Peters.
On the format of the tournament, Kunz feels that playing nine matches in
13 days is a little too much.
"I stick by what I said before the tournament, that the FIH did the
right thing by reverting the World Cup format to 12 teams. Sixteen teams
is simply too much because players can get injured easily. There is also
less time to recover," said Kunz.
While the Aussies have no injuries in their team, the Germans have a
handful of injured players, but nothing serious.
But one thing is for sure, both sides play attacking hockey and those
who turn up to watch the final will receive great value for their money.
"We will play to win the match in 70 minutes, so you can expect non-stop
action," said Peters.