Saturday, June 16, 2007

Korea name seven rookies


BUSAN Asian Games gold medallists South Korea will field seven uncapped
players, including their captain and both goalkeepers, for the Azlan Shah
Cup on March 22-30 in Ipoh.
Missing from the team list are top forward Song Seong-tae, former
skipper Kang Keon-wook and penalty corner taker Yeo Woon-kon.
Only four players from their Kuala Lumpur World Cup side - Jung-woo,
Jong-ho, Lee Jung-seon and Yang Soo-hyak - will be in Ipoh.
But still, the former champions cannot be taken lightly as they finished
runners-up in the last three editions.
The Koreans, who have already booked their ticket to the Athens Olympics
in 2004 by virtue of being the Asian Games champions, will be utilising
the Azlan Shah Cup to break in new players.
The uncapped players in the team are goalkeepers Park Hyung-seong, Son
Byung-soo, 28-year-old captain Park Kwang-ho, Hwang Seung-son, Yoo Min-ho,
Park Wan-tai and Jang Jong-hyun.
The seniors in the side are Lim Jung-woo and Seo Jung-ho who have 111
caps each.
South Korea: Son Byung-soo (nil caps), Cha Jong-bok (42), Kim Byung-hoon
(18), Hong Eun-soong (7), Lim Jung-woo (111), Kim Chul (68), Seo Jung-ho
(111), Lee Jung-seon (80), Park Kwang-ho (nil), Lee Nam-yong (14), Oh Dae-
keun (18), Hwang Seung-son (nil), Park Hyung-seong (nil), Yoo Min-ho
(nil), Yang Soo-hyak (29), You Hyo-Sik (40), Park Wan-tai (nil), Jang
Jong-hyun (nil).
Coach: Kim Young Kyu.

Alagendra: Squad will be named at managers' meeting


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Selection Committee met yesterday,
but still did not name the final 18 for the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on
March 22-30.
The MHF Selection Committee, headed by president Sultan Azhan Shah,
deputy president Tan Sri P. Alagendra, Poon Fook Loke, Datuk R.
Yogeswaran, Zulkifli Abbas, C. Paramalingam and Dr S.S Cheema named 22
players in preparation for the four Test matches, and will only reveal the
final 18 during the managers meeting on March 21.
"We named 22 players because of the four Test matches (three against
Pakistan and one against South Korea), and will only name the final squad
at the managers' meeting," said Alagendra.
Wan Mohamed Asyrizal, who met with an accident yesterday, was also named
in the squad eventhough his condition is still not clear. The other
`newcomer' on MHF's list is Redzuan Ponirin.
"Wan fell off his motorbike in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday and suffered
some bruises, we will conduct a fitness test on him soon to find out if he
will be available for the Azlan Shah Cup. I am very keen to have him
because he has a good physique and a long reach," said chief coach Paul
Wan, 20, was `discovered' by the national selectors during the National
Under-21 in Kuala Lumpur, and Lissek wants him to gain experience from the
Azlan Shah Cup.
But the rest of the 20 players named were as predicted, with S. Kuhan
being the obvious choice for the skipper's armband.
Malaysia will play Pakistan on March 17 and 18 and South Korea on March
19 at the Bukit Jalil Stadium in Kuala Lumpur while the third Test against
Pakistan will be on the 20th in Ipoh.
Meanwhile, Lissek was still adamant that the new FIH ruling on only
allowing seven players to defend at any time is "stupid".
"I was told that the FIH had sent out circulars to all six teams
competing in the Azlan Shah Cup on whether the rule should be tested here
and the rest of the team managers have said `no', but I am not sure on the
reply given by the MHF," said Lissek.
A check with MHF secretary S. Satgunam revealed that Malaysia had
already agreed on experimenting with the new ruling and nothing can be
done about it, eventhough it is ridiculous to expect a defender marking an
attacking forward to stop dead at the 25-yard line and count to see if
there are less than seven players defending before continuing.
A breach of the rule will result in a penalty corner being given away.
"It looks like there are going to be a lot of penalty corners at the
Azlan Shah Cup because there is no way players can keep track of how many
are behind the 25-yard line before crossing it," said Lissek.
Provisional squad -
Goalkeepers: Roslan Jamaluddin, S. Kumar; Defenders: Amin Rahim, S.
Kuhan, K. Gobinathan, Nor Azlan Bakar, Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi, Wan
Mohamed Asyrizal; Midfield: K. Keevan Raj, Azlan Misron, P. Prabahkaran,
Nor Azlan Rahim, Riduan Nasir; Forwards: Fairuz Ramli, Tajol Rosli, Chua
Boon Huat, Rodhanizam Radzi, Fahkrulrazi Baharuddin; Shaiful Azli, Chairil
Anwar, Engku Abdul Malik and Redzuan Ponirin.

No surprises


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will name the Azlan Shah Cup squad
at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today, but the choice is
limited and the outcome a predictable affair.
S. Kuhan, 27, is expected to be named skipper while Junior Hockey League
Pahang Telekom `drop-outs' Fakhrulrazi Baharuddin and Megat Azrafiq Megat
Termizi are expected to get a taste of top-flight hockey on March 22-30 In
Pahang Telekom tried desperately to include Megat and Fakhrulrazi in
their JHL squad, but MHF stood firm on the ruling which barred national
trainees from playing in the JHL.
Malaysia finished last in the last edition, and coach Paul Lissek will
have his hands full trying to beat New Zealand, South Korea, India,
Pakistan and champions Germany.
The national team underwent a nine-day training stint in Malacca and
returned to KL yesterday and between the goalposts, Roslan Jamaluddin and
S. Kumar are the sure bets, with Roslan being the first choice.
In defence, K. Gobinathan injured his knees in Malacca but is stil
expected to be named in the squad. Nor Azlan Bakar, who skipped the Busan
Asian Games to concentrate on his studies, and Kuhan will be the key
defenders to try and keep the goalcount down.
"The Malacca stint was very fruitful because we tried out some of the
new FIH rules which will be used at the Azlan Shah Cup," said Lissek.
Lissek was very pleased with the way Azlan Misron turned out: "He is
among the most improved players in the squad."
Chairil Anwar missed a few days to training and is likely to face the
chop, but will be retained for the Test matches against Pakistan and South
Korea. The same goes for Shaiful Azli.
Forward Tajol Rosli, who also gave the Busan Games a skip due to
studies, is back and looks fitter and more dangerous than ever.
The probable Azlan Shah squad - Goalkeepers: Roslan Jamaluddin, S.
Kumar; Defenders: Amin Rahim, S. Kuhan, K. Gobinathan, Nor Azlan Bakar,
Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi; Midfield: K. Keevan Raj, Azlan Misron, P.
Prabahkaran, Nor Azlan Rahim, Riduan Nasir; Forwards: Fairuz Ramli, Tajol
Rosli, Chua Boon Huat, Rodhanizam Radzi, Ikmal Jabar, Fahkrulrazi
Test matches reserves: Shaiful Azli, Chairil Anwar.

Division One race wide open


THE MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League takes a break for the Azlan
Shah Cup on March 22-30 and resume again on April 4.
But after last week's action a familiar pattern is beginning to take
In Division Two, only two teams - Malacca Municipal Council and Sports
School Juniors with 24 points each - are in the running for promotion,
while third-placed SM Datuk Taha is a distant 17 points behind.
In Division One, the race for the title was thrown wide open when Pahang
Telekom and Tenaga Nasional drew 1-1. Now, four teams - Tenaga, Pahang,
Malaysia Sports School and Anderson-Xybase are tied on 13 points after six
During the break, the MHF will be calling up 20 boys for Test matches
against the Unites States national team.
"MHF talent scouts have been watching the JHL with keen interest and
have identified 20 players to train for the US Test matches," said MHF
special projects manager Poon Fook Loke.
The JHL teams this year, according to Poon and his scouts, are still
relying heavily on back-passes and rarely get the ball upfront for their
strikers to score.
"Overall though, some of the teams have shown tremendous improvement,
but the pattern is still the same - when the players get cornered, they do
not move forward but make a backpass which is sometimes very dangerous,"
said Fook Loke.
For the US Test matches, Poon is of the opinion that the players should
be allowed to show off their skills and not play like robots.
"We need to have intelligent players for the national pool and the only
way is to let them practice their stick-work and not rely on strategies
planned by their coaches. I feel that the juniors will grow up into better
hockey players if they are not restricted," said Poon.
Tenaga Nasional and Pahang Telekom are among the teams which allow their
players to "enjoy hockey" and it has reaped results.
Tenaga's Kelvinder Singh, S. Bubalan, S. Selvaraju and Abbas Nekmat have
been having a field day under coach K. Rajan and their confidence has
It is very likely that the four players will be among those called up
for the US Test matches in Ipoh on March 24, 26 and 29.

Malacca steamroll AFATS


MALACCA Municipal Council steamrolled Armed Forces Apprentice Training
School (AFATS) 12-0 in a Division Two MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey
League match at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
The League will take a break, for the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, and resume
on April 4 but the Division Two promotion quest is strictly a two-horse
race between Malacca MC and Sports School Juniors.
Malacca MC hold the upper hand judging from the match they had against
the national team who are training in Malacca for the Azlan Shah Cup.
"I arranged a match against the national team on Friday because I was
worried about my defence which has hardly been tested in Division Two
matches. The first half was 0-0, but in the second half (national chief
coach) Paul Lissek fielded his first-11 and we lost 2-0.
"By any standard, I am proud of the way my boys played against the
national team, but now I have another problem - how to bring my players
`back down to earth'," said Malacca MC coach Eugene Lee.
Malacca MC's goals were scored by Ahmad Anuar (7th, 29th, 33rd), Hamezi
Omar (9th, 48th), Faizal Ani (11th), Hanif Hamzah (37th), Faizal Bakar
(38th), Imran Ali (45th), Nazmi Kamarudin (55th, 61st) and Syakir Hamzah
* AT the Azlan Shah Stadium, SM Datuk Taha scored an easy 3-0 win over
Perak Malays, reports R.G. RAJ.
Perak Malays, after winning both their away matches last weekend, looked
set to collect three more points at home only to be brought down to earth
by a stubborn Datuk Taha team.
Mohamed Zulfadi Rosley gave Datuk Taha the lead in the 28th minute off a
penalty corner and he was on target again in the 41st minute. A minute
later Mohamed Zaini completed the scoring with a fine solo effort.
* AT the Pandamaran Hockey Stadium, Perlis Schools Sports Council beat
Synergy Hockey Club by a solitary goal scored by Shafiq Razak in the dying
seconds of the match.

States, MAAU: We promise to hold events


THE Malaysian AAU (MAAU) yesterday signed an `Akujanji' contract with its
main sponsors the National Sports Council (NSC) and Milo as a first step
towards restoring its damaged image.
The MAAU were embroiled in a bitter conflict last year, which eventually
led to its de-registration and this year, the oldest association in
Malaysia is looking at fresh angles to bring back sponsors' confidence.
Twelve of the 15 MAAU affiliates signed the `Akujanji' contract, which
was countersigned by MAAU president Datuk Khalid Yunus, NSC director
general Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad and Nestle Malaysia Sports Marketing
Manager Datuk Dina Rizal.
Only the Penang, Kelantan and Perlis representatives were absent from
the signing ceremony, but Khalid gave assurance that the three States will
sign at a later date.
"The `Akujanji' is an effort to make sure that States hold their junior
meets, and that MAAU will organise the National Championships. The
contract is such that even if one State fails to hold its junior meet, the
rest of the States will not get funding from NSC and Milo," said Khalid.
Previously, MAAU entrusted one of its affiliates to run the National
Championships, but it did not work.
NSC and Milo have agreed to sponsor MAAU to the tune of RM500,000 in
cash and kind, and will provide another RM5,000 to each affiliate which
organises a junior competition.
The two sponsors will also allocate RM5,000 for every State Open
organised, but, as stipulated in the `Akujanji', even if one State or
affiliate fails to comply, the entire sponsorship deal will be terminated.
"Being the oldest association in Malaysia, we are not free of disease.
Even a 100-year-old tree succumbs to fungus and other parasites. But we
are working to clean up our image which has been very `kabur' (hazy) so
that the athletes will not suffer and will be able to win medals in the
2006 Asian Games in Doha," said Khalid.
"The `Akujanji' with NSC and Milo is also to attract more sponsors to
MAAU which is still facing a huge shortage of funds to carry out some of
our plans for the juniors. So I hope the MAAU affiliates will work
together and fill up our coffers for a better future in athletics," said
Khalid is looking at Malaysian athletes making the semi-finals of the
Olympics, and medals at the Asian Games to lend more credibility to MAAU's
Meanwhile, to strenghten the administrative side of MAAU, Lt Col Abdul
Hamid Barkat Ali was appointed its general manager by the Executive Board
Hamid, the Armed Forces AAA secretary, was appointed acting general
manager in July last year but it was only for six months. He is due to
retire from the Armed Forces this month, and will have ample time to put
MAAU's house in order.
When asked if any other national association will sign the `Akujanji'
with NSC, Mazlan said MAAU is a special case.

Tenaga thrash Terengganu


TENAGA Nasional Bhd thrashed Terengganu Schools Sports Council 6-1 at the
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium yesterday to top the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC
Junior Hockey League Division One standings for the first time.
Tenaga and Malaysia Sports School are tied on 12 points but Tenaga have
scored one goal more and it was enough to bring a smile to coach K.
Rajan's face.
Terengganu, who beat overall champions Pahang Telekom last weekend, were
expected to put up a fight but after five minutes of play, it was clear
that Tenaga had the upper hand.
Fairuz Hamsani started the goal-rush in the seventh minute and also
closed accounts with a 53rd minute penalty corner deflection. The rest of
the Tenaga goals came from S. Bubalan (11th), Abbas Nekmat (21st) and
Kelvinder Singh (46th, 51st). Terengganu's sole goal was scored by Che Wan
Faizul in the 63rd minute.
"Playing at home is always easier, that is why I am a little cautious
about our next match against Pahang Telekom on Sunday (tomorrow). I rate
our chances at 50-50," said Rajan.
Tenaga travel to Kuantan and a win there will assure them of a place in
the quarter-finals.
* AT the Bukit Serindit Stadium, Malacca Municipal Council beat Penang
Frees 5-1 with goals from Azmir Roslan (27th), Faizal Bakar (32nd), Nazmi
Kamarudin (61st), Nor Ikram Sulaiman (65th) and Faizal Bakar (67th). The
Frees goal was scored by Jabir Rahman in the 35th minute.
* AT the Perlis Stadium, SMK Datuk Taha edged Perlis Schools Sports
Council 3-2. Perlis scored first in the third minute through Aimi
Jamaluddin but could not sustain the pace. Taha soon took the lead though
a S. Muniandy penalty stroke in the 48th minute and seconds after the re-
start M. Amuthan scored a penalty corner goal. Perlis equalised off a
Rozaid Che Omar goal in the 62nd minute but Muniandy made sure Taha got
the three points with a 68th minute field goal.
Results - Div One: Tenaga Nasional 6 Terengganu SSC 1; Div Two: Malacca
MC 5 Penang Free 1, Perlis SSC 2 Datuk Taha 3, AFATS 1 Kerian 3.
Today - Div One: Telekom Pahang v Johor Sports Council (Kuantan,
5.15pm); Srii Aroma-PISC v Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (Bertam Stadium
5.15pm); Yayasan Negri Sembilan v Olak-MPK (Seremban II Stadium, 5.15pm);
Anderson Xybase v Malaysia Sports School (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5.15pm).
Div Two: Kuala Lumpur Schools Sports Council v Synergy Hockey Club (Tun
Razak, 5.15pm).
Tomorrow - Div One: Telekom Pahang v Tenaga Nasional (Kuantan Stadium,
Div Two: Perak Malays v SMK Datuk Taha (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5.15pm);
Synergy HC v Perlis SSC (Pandamaran Stadium, 5.15pm).

Malaysia enter the unknown


THE National team left for Dhaka, Bangladesh yesterday for the Asian
Hockey Federation Under-16 Tournament without a clue about their
India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh make up the Four-Nation, but the early
indication is that Malaysia will do well.
Ten were selected from Junior Hockey League team Sports School Juniors,
two are from Johor Sports Council, three from Kelantan and one from
While the Sports School Juniors brought forward their two JHL matches,
Terengganu Schools Sports Council, who have a crucial match against Tenaga
Nasional today, allowed their key player Ridzwan Yusof to travel to Dhaka.
"The Dhaka tournament will be good experience for the Under-16 team
because they wil be exposed to playing at a higher level. We do not have
any information about the rest of the teams, but judging from our own
preparations, we are confident of doing well in the Four-Nation," said
coach Yayha Atan.
The opening match is against India tomorrow, and it might be the
toughest because Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are not known for their hockey
The stalwart of the team is Razie Rahim who saw action in last year's
FIH Youth Carnival in Poznan, Poland where Malaysia beat Germany 2-1 in
the final.
Five other players, Baljit Singh, Muhsin Hamsani, Hafis Jami and Fitri
Abu Bakar saw action in the January Under-19 Four-Nation and will be
looked upon to deliver the blows.
"We have selected some new players from Kelantan and Terengganu for the
Dhaka tournament because we need to expose them early and have continuity
for the national pool," said Yahya.
Under-16 squad: Khairul Azahar (Bukit Jalil Sports School), Baljit Singh
Sarab Singh (BJSS), Ahmad Bakri Marfi (BJSS), Hairul Ibrahim (BJSS),
Muhsin Hamsani (BJSS), Hafis Jami (BJSS), Nabil Fiqri (BJSS), Razie Rahim
(BJSS), Fitri Abu Bakar (BJSS), Abdul Hakim Adnan (BJSS), Hang Edzharshah
Hang Tuah (Bandar Penawar Sports School), Izful Hayat Aman (Bandar Penawar
Sports School), Zulkarnain Che Azis (SMK Hamzah, Kelantan), Azuan Lewi
(SMK Hamzah, Kelantan), Faizull Noor (SMK Mengkebang, Kelantan), Ridzwan
Yusof (SMK Padang Midin, Terengganu).
Team Manager: Kon Chen Choong; Assistant Manager: V. Muraleedharan;
Coach: Yahya Atan; Technical Officlal: Khairuddin Zainal; Umpire: Hashim

Sports School Juniors thump Malay Mail


DESPITE playing at half-pace, Sports School Juniors still managed to thump
Malay Mail 7-1 in a Division Two MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League
match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Sports School finally broke their duck by scoring more than six goals in
one match, but Malay Mail scored a penalty stroke and brought down the
equation to six.
The Juniors top Division Two with 24 points from eight wins, but could
be overtaken - on goal difference - when second placed Malacca Municipal
Council play two `easy' matches against Penang Free School today and then
Armed Forces Apprentice Training School on Sunday.
Malacca already have a cushion of 44 goals even though they have played
two matches less than Sports School Juniors.
"I fail to understand why it is so difficult for the boys to score more
than six goals in a match. They have been too generous by letting in six
easy goals in eight matches," said Sports School Juniors coach V.
Sports School played two matches in the space of 24 hours, because 10 of
their players are slated to play in the Asian Hockey Federation Under-16
tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh beginning tomorrow.
The Sports School scorers yesterday were Razie Rahim (sixth), Baljit
Singh (17th, 50th), Nabil Fiqri (23rd, 66th), Hafiz Jami (36th) and Craig
Joseph Fernandez (60th). Malay Mail's penalty stroke was converted by
Zuladli Jamil in the 63rd minute.
Baljit Singh is fast becoming a penalty corner asset for Sports School
as his tally now stands at 14 goals.

Kuantan pitch unsatisfactory, but ...


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) conducted an inspection and knew
that the synthetic pitch at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium was far from
satisfactory for the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League, but they
had no choice but to utilise it.
MHF secretary S. Satgunam said yesterday the pitch was worn out, but
since there were no other pitches for Pahang Telekom to play on, their
hands were tied.
"Before the start of the JHL, a team of officials visited all the
proposed venues around the coutntry and we found that the Kuantan pitch,
and the Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) pitch were poorly
maintained and worn out in some places.
"We decided not to use the PJMC pitch for safety reasons. The Kuantan
Stadium was fit to play, but not up the mark," said Satgunam.
PJMC were lucky because there are many pitches to select from in the
Klang Valley - they now use the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil as
their home venue.
The Kuantan Stadium, built in 1996 for the Malaysia Games, will next be
used for the Malaysian Schools Sports Council's Under-18 and Under-12
boys' and girls' tournament on May 23-29 while the Asian Schools Boys'
championship is scheduled from July 1-9.
"The stadium belongs to the Kuantan Municipal Council so repair works
and maintanance comes under them. We gave them a chance this year because
we did not want to deprive Pahang Telekom of a chance to play in the JHL.
"But if there is no improvement by next year, we will not have any
matches there," said Satgunam.
Pahang Education Department's assistant director (Sports Unit) Amir Abu
Bakar has assured that the pitch, lighting and terraces will be in working
order for the schools and Asian championships, but for now, the JHL
matches will be played on a sub-standard pitch.
Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak-MPK) team manager Joseph de
Silva did voice out his concern after playing at the Kuantan pitch on Feb
15, but he did not put in an official complaint to the MHF.
Now, Tenaga Nasional will travel to Kuantan on Sunday to play a do-or-
die match in their quest for the Division One title. The match will be an
explosive one, but on a sub-standard pitch.

Tenaga look to little Abbas


TENAGA Nasional Bhd striker Abbas Nekmat, a small built lad for a 19-year-
old, has finally come of age, and coach K. Rajan is all smiles as they
face an acid test this weekend in the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey
Tenaga play giant slayers Terengganu Schools Sports Council on Friday
and then meet overall defending champions Telekom Pahang on Sunday. Last
Saturday, Terengganu shocked Telekom Pahang 2-1 and it spells trouble for
Tenaga if they take things easy.
"My forwards, especially Abbas, have been improving with every match but
even then, it will be touch-and-go affair this weekend, especially against
Telekom Pahang because it is an away match," said Rajan.
This is Abbas' second season with Tenaga, and according to Rajan, he is
ready to knock on the doors of the national team.
"He played in the Poznan (Poland) FIH Youth Festival where Malaysia
emerged as champions (by beating Germany 2-1 in the final) but has always
been in the shadow. But his second season with Tenaga has done wonders for
him as now he is more confident and is among my most hardworking players,"
said Rajan.
Abbas was called to the junior training camp last year, but he could not
make it as he had to help look after his father's business. But now, he is
free to play hockey.
Abbas turned the tide on Petaling Jaya Municipal Council last weekend
with his tireless runs and deft touches and looks set to be called-up for
the Test matches the National Juniors will play against the United States
during the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.
On this weekend's fixture, Rajan admits that his team can't afford to
drop any more points.
"Terengganu will be very confident after beating Telekom Pahang and they
have the players to trouble us. But we can't lose this if we want to
finish among the top teams in Division One," said Rajan.
S. Selvaraju, notorious for his ill-temper which resulted in him being
flashed the red card while playing for Malaysia Sports School last season,
has surprisingly mellowed down now that he is with Tenaga.
"Selvaraju is a hardworking player who needs some direction because he
takes tackles too seriously. So far, he has managed to control his temper
and has been an asset with Tenaga and I hope he will shine in the crucial
two matches this weekend," said Rajan.

Sports School on top


MALAYSIA Sports School came back from a goal down to thump Petaling Jaya
Municipal Council 5-2 in Division One of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior
Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
With that, Malaysia SS took over the lead from Anderson-Xybase, but only
on goal difference.
Amerullah Abdul Aziz shocked PJMC with a first minute field goal, but it
failed to break them as PJMC were leading 2-1 with goals from Azreen Irwan
(24th) and Zulfaddli Isa (29th) before the half-time horn.
In the second half, Malaysia Sports School boys came back with a bang
and scored four goals to land the three points. The goals were scored by
Fikri Bassar (43rd), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (56th), Nor Affazly Ghafar
(64th) and Amir Hamzah (67th).
* AT the Perlis Hockey Stadium, Malacca Municipal Council steamrolled
Perlis Schools Sports Council 5-0 and the only team which can stop them
from topping Division Two now is Sports School Juniors who also have six
straight wins to their credit.
The Malacca goal-count was led by hat-trick hero Azmir Roslan who scored
in the 16th, 35th and 43rd minutes. Nor Hamezi Omar (48th) and Fazwan
Ghani (61st) completed the rout.
* AT the Pandamaran Hockey Stadium, Armed Forces Apprentice Training
School lost their sixth-straight match and were also slapped with a red
Ismail Shahron was sent off in the ill-tempered match for hitting a
Synergy Hockey Club player.
Synergy went on to win the match 3-1 with goals from Iswandi Andi
(second, 51st) and Syafiq Abdullah (13th). The AFATS goal was scored by
Shukri Aziz in the 25th minute.
* AT the Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium, Malay Mail and SMK Datuk Taha
shared points when the match ended 3-3. Datuk Taha's goals were scored by
S. Muniandy (32nd), Edwar Zulkifli (41st) and Isnin Akbal (48th). The
Malay Mail goals were scored by S. Rajiv (fourth) and Raden Zulhilmi
(50th, 54th).
* AT the MPJB Stadium, Perak Malays beat English College 2-1 with goals
from Ali Zakuan (5th) and Chin Kok San (10th). The English College goal
was scored by Hanif Din in the 23rd minute.
M'SIA SS .............5 PETALING JAYA MC ....2
PERLIS SSC ...........0 MALACCA MC ..........5
DATUK TAHA ...........3 MALAY Mail ..........3
SYNERGY HC ...........3 AFATS ...............1

Malacca rest


THE national team will head for Malacca on Sunday to prepare for the Azlan
Shah Cup, as chief coach Paul Lissek seeks solace from the hustle-and-
bustle of city life.
Yesterday, the trainees underwent a National Sports Council fitness
test, and Lissek was happy with the progress so far.
"Last year while preparing for the Kuala Lumpur World Cup, we had our
last training in Kuantan because the boys were tired of the routine.
"For the Azlan Shah Cup, we will train in Malacca for nine days and
other than a break in routine. I will also have all of them attending
training because in Kuala Lumpur, some of the players have too many
excuses not to attend," said Lissek.
Some of the national players will be given a break on Sunday to compete
in the Batu Pahat (Johor) Sixes, before reporting for the Malacca camp.
The Azlan Shah Cup, starting on March 22-31 in Ipoh, will showcase
defending champions Germany, Pakistan, India, New Zealand, South Korea and
Malaysia. while Pakistan have named their squad early, Malaysia will
select 20 players for Test matches against Pakistan and South Korea before
dropping two.
"I will select 20 players for the four Test matches just before the
Azlan Shah Cup and then drop two players. I need to keep everyone on their
toes and not take their spots for granted," said Lissek.
Under the FIH rules, teams need to name their players 14 days before a
In the Test matches, Malaysia will play Pakistan on March 17 and 18
while on the 19th, it will be against South Korea. The Pakistan matches
will be at the National Hockey Stadium in Kuala Lumpur while the Korea
match will be held in Ipoh.
After the Azlan Shah Cup, the national team will play four Test matches
against the United States of America at the National Hockey Stadium.
"After the Azlan Shah Cup, the national team will play against the US on
March 3, 6, 8 and 10. The Americans will also be playing against the
National Juniors on March 24, 26 and 29 at the Azlan Shah Stadium in
Ipoh," said Lissek.
Meanwhile, Pakistan have selected a mixed team for the Azlan Shan Cup by
adding three new faces - Adnan Maqsood, Mohammad Aqeel and Shakeel Abbasi.
The three will fill in for Mohammad Sarwar and training absentee
Ghazanfar Ali.

MHF to discuss academy


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will hold their council meeting on
Sunday, and top on the agenda will be the formation of a hockey academy at
the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
The idea of the academy had been around for the last few years, but it
never got off because the past proposals were very costly, but the present
Technical and Development Committe has come out with novel ways to cut
costs, but still maintain high standards.
MHF secretary S. Satgunam said he has received the proposal and it is up
to the MHF Council members to debate about it on Sunday.
"The Technical and Development Committe has submitted a proposal for a
hockey academy at the Tun Razak Stadium. The matter will be discussed on
Sunday and, in my personal opinion, it will receive a favourable suport,"
said Satgunam.
The Technical and Development Committee, chaired by MHF vice president
Dr S.S. Cheema, will be out to convince the council members on the need to
have an academy to make sure Malaysia do not slip further in the hockey
"There is a pressing need for a hockey academy in Malaysia because the
rest of the world is fast catching up," said Dr Cheema yesterday.
It was learnt that if the MHF Council endorses the academy plan, the
first batch of hockey players will be scouted from the Malaysian Schools
Sports Council meet in Kuantan in May.
The academy will initially house Form One students at the Jalan Duta
tennis courts as the facilities are already in place and no additional
costs will be incurred.
The idea of an academy was mooted by Terry Walsh when he was the
national coach, it failed to get off the ground. The idea was tossed
around in 2000 but it failed to gather momentum, however, the Technical
and Development Committee has taken on the arduous task of reviving the
project by the end of the year.
Once the players are selected form the Kuantan meet, the committee will
have seven months to see that everything is in order before the academy is
The proposal is to take in students each year up to a maximum of 100 in
five years and those selected will be enrolled in schools around Jalan
Duta and provided with proper hockey basics.
The Sports Schools in Bukit Jalil and Bandar Penawar offer the same
chance for hockey players to excel, but both the schools have too many
sports under its wings.
So the academy, with the support from the Education Ministry, Sports
Ministry and the National Sports Council will be the right avenue to spur
the growth of hockey in Malaysia.

Fiona, Razani set for Hawaii


MALAYSIAN Ironman Dr Fiona Lim and Mohamed Razani Husain swam, cycled and
ran the race of their lives in the Ironman Langkawi Malaysia on Sunday to
qualify for the World Ironman Championships in Hawaii, Kona, in October.
While Fiona had raced in Hawaii in 2001, Razani, who will be making his
debut in the World Championships, is still in two minds about the offer.
"I also finished first among the Malaysians in the 2002 Langkawi Ironman
and was given a slot in Hawaii, but I could not find enough sponsors to
take part. This year, I am in discussion with Tenaga Nasional Bhd, and
hopefully, I will seal an agreement and have enough money to take part in
the World Championships," said Razani.
Fiona, a dentist based in Kota Kinabalu, is only five feet tall and one
will not notice her on the street, but inside, she is made of steel.
"I was never involved in sports during my schooling years and dedicated
my time to studies. It was the same in medical college. But when I turned
27, I had a sudden urge to test my endurance level and I started taking
part in mountain biking and swimming.
In the end, I decided to test my limit and tried the Langkawi Ironman
for the first time in 2001 and was the best Malaysian woman finisher.
After that, I just got hooked to the sport and yesterday (Sunday) was
the third time I finished first among the Malaysian women and it's very
satisfying, said Fiona, 33, and still single.
Fiona clocked 12:26:12 while Razani had a time of 10:37:29. The best
Malaysian finisher in the professional category was Sharom Abdullah who
clocked 11:28:21. In the 25-29 age-group category, Malaysian Jasmi Sarael
received the ticket to Hawaii with his time of 10:48:08.
All four Malaysians are considered to have reached a milestone because
the world champion, Luc van Lierde, described Langkawi as the Toughest
Ironman course in the World.

Belgium's van Lierde wins Ironman


BELGIAN Luc van Lierde was only 85 percent prepared for the 2003 Langkawi
Ironman triathlon but he still managed to finish first with a time of
eight hours, 31 minutes and 16 seconds.
The Belgian was a cool 20 minutes ahead of second-placed compatriot
Marino van Hoenacker who clocked 8:51:29.
Third was Japan's Yoshinori Tamura with a time of 8:52:39.
Van Lierde did not compete the last two years as both his kneecaps
underwent corrective surgery. Thus, his winning time was quite remarkable.
The world record holder, who clocked 7:15:27 in 1997 in Europe, also
declared that he would be back next year to defend his title and possibly
dip below eight hours.
The conditions were so bad yesterday that two-time Langkawi champion
Bryan Rhodes of New Zealand gave up after completing the 3.8km swim and
the 180.2km cycle due to stomach cramps.
Swimming is the Belgian's strongest event and he took his chances well.
In the women's professional category, Langkawi saw a new champion for
the fourth straight year when Gillian Bakker from Canada clocked 10:01:33.
In the Malaysian men's category, Mohamed Razani Hussain won again,
snatching the ticket to the World Championships at the end of the year.
Results - Men's Professional category: 1 Luc van Lierde (Bel) 8:31:16, 2
Marino van Hoenacker (Bel) 8:51:29, 3 Yoshinori Tamura (Jpn) 8:53:39, 4
Petr Vabrousek (Cze) 9:04:49.
Women's Professional category: 1 Gillian Bakker (Can) 10:01:33, 2
Belinda Granger (Aus) 10:09:22, 3 Susan Peter (Aus) 10:21:24.
Malaysian category - Men: 1 Mohamed Razani Hussain 10:37:29.
Women: 1 Fiona Lim 12:26:12.

Rhodes poised for third title


JUST two days ago, Langkawi was a quiet and tranquil place, seeing as it
is the off-peak season.
But everything changed yesterday as 417 health freaks descended on the
island and started swimming, cycling and running. The activity was non-
But as the Ironman 2003 Langkawi buntings and banners fluttered in the
breeze, tension among the triathletes was reaching fever pitch.
The overall number of competitors has grown to 412 with hosts Malaysia
having a 97-strong contingent, mostly made up of Armed Forces personnel.
The triathletes live a Spartan life, which abhors smoking and the
consumption of alcohol, but when it comes to meal times, every triathlete
can consume a quarter of a horse. It is strictly lights out at 8pm at the
official hotel.
During a photo session for the 34 professional woman and men triathletes
yesterday, one athlete wondered out loud who would be the champion this
Two-time Langkawi Ironman champion Bryan Rhodes of New Zealand answered
tongue-in-cheek: "I don't know, but I know for sure that all those present
today (yesterday) will be finishing behind me!"
Rhodes clocked a blistering 8:43:54 in his maiden outing in 2001 for the
title, and last year, he lowered it to an unbelievable 8:10:35 in a race
which requires one to finish a 3.8km swim, 180.2km cycle route and a
42.2km run inside 17 hours.
Since Rhodes is confident of completing a hattrick even with former
World No 1 Luc van Lierde in the race, the only question remaining is
whether he will be able to dip below the magical eight-hour mark which has
only been achieved by two triathletes around the world, and one of them is
van Lierde.
The women's race will feature all three former Langkawi champions -
Susan Peter of Australia (2000), Belinda Cheney of Australia (2001) and
Danielle Florens of Mauritius (2002).
Susan and Belinda have made remarkable recoveries from major injuries.
Susan suffered a broken back while Belinda was paralysed while pursuing
their passions.
Total prize money for the Langkawi Ironman is US50,000 (RM190,000).
Winner of the men's category gets RM32,000 while the women's pockets

Rhodes out for history


TWO-TIME champion Bryan Rhodes of New Zealand is sporting a bottle-blonde
look in his attempt to create history in the Langkawi Ironman Triathlon
Other than the dye, nothing else was pretentious about the Kiwi as he
spoke earnestly about his bid to land a hat-trick of titles, and maybe
better his 2002 time of 8:10:35. The only worry he had was that this race,
unlike the last two which he won, did not fall on his birthday which is
Jan 28.
"It will be difficult to achieve my target, but that is what the Ironman
is all about. I have been training well since Christmas for this race, and
I feel good enough to land my hat-trick in Langkawi," said Rhodes
The presence of former world champion Luc van Lierde in Langkawi this
year does not worry Rhodes, but instead, he is looking forward to scalping
the Belgian.
"I have beaten European champion Lothar Leder twice in Langkawi, so I am
not worried about the opposition. I will be very happy if I can land van
Lierde's scalp this year as a trophy because he was the best in the world
until injuries floored him over the last two years," said Rhodes.
Rhodes led from start to finish in the last two Langkawi Ironman races
but feels it will be difficult to predict the outcome until he emerges
from the 3.8km swim, which is his strongest event.
"The organisers have made it more difficult for me by changing the swim
and biking route. But I believe if I can emerge out of the water first,
maybe with a two-minute cushion, I have a good chance of winning my hat-
trick. But it would be difficult to break the eight-hour barrier in
Langkawi," said Rhodes.
In his bid to create history, Rhodes will miss the New Zealand Ironman
which will be held a week after the Langkawi race.
"I had to give up my home race because I wanted to concentrate all my
training for Langkawi. And if on race day, all is well, it will be hard to
catch me," he said.
Rhodes was not so lucky at the Ironman World Championships in Kona,
Hawaii, last year where he had to withdraw during the marathon because of
influenza and stomach cramps.
"I trained for six months in the United States for the Hawaii Ironman
and was second out of the water and placed 10th in the cycling segment but
during the marathon, the flu got worse and I suffered stomach cramps,
forcing me to withdraw," said Rhodes.
But Langkawi has been a fruitful hunting ground for the Kiwi, and it
will come as a big surprise if he is not at the top of the podium after
eight hours tomorrow.

Susan `back' to torment rivals


WHAT do you call someone who broke her back 12 months ago, but is running
fit enough to take part in the grueling Langkawi Ironman marathon on
Meet the women's 2000 Langkawi Ironman champion Susan Peter who is among
the rare breed who believe in punishing her body for the sake of sport,
and doesn't let a broken back stand in the way.
The primary school teacher from Australia looks like any ordinary
scholar, but has an iron will and will stop at nothing after getting
hooked to the sport in 1998.
"I was cycling as usual in Adelaide when a car hit me from behind and I
broke my back. It took me 12 months to heal from the injury and in my
first race after recovering in August last year, I finished fourth in
Korea," said Susan.
Susan took a test-run of the course yesterday and was very happy with
what she saw.
"The course has been changed a little to make it tougher, but I liked
what I went through yesterday because it will not group the triathletes
together and there is a better chance to break away especially in the
cycle event.
"The weather has also been very cool and cloudy since I came to Langkawi
and that will help me very much. But since there are about six good women
triatletes this year, it will be touch and go," said Susan.
This year's women's race is also special because all three past
champions have entered for it.
Susan won in 2000 with a time of 9:55:17; in 2001 the champion was
Belinda Cheney of Australia who clocked 9:44:12. Last year, Danielle
Florens of Mauritius clocked a slow 10:29:36 for the title.

Rajan: Tenaga picking up


TENAGA Nasional Bhd have been hard at training after their shock 2-1
defeat to Malaysia Sports School in the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey
League curtain raiser on Feb 8.
In fact, Tenaga coach K. Rajan believes the defeat as an early "wake-up
call" and is planning towards the quarter-final stage.
"Normally, the past JHL Tenaga teams do not drop a single match in the
League but falter when it comes to the knock-out stages. This year, we
received an early `wake-up call' and I'm using it to motivate the boys,"
said Rajan yesterday.
Tenaga were unbeaten in the League last year but lost 2-1 to Malaysia
Sports School in the semi-finals.
Rajan is also happy with his strikers who have been combining well in
training. This was evident in their 7-1 drubbing of Johor Sports Council
in their last match.
"In the first match against MSS, I could not find the right midfield
combination and my forwards received little support. I experimented with a
few combinations during training and have found the right one," said
Tenaga play Yayasan Negri Sembilan this weekend and should come away
with full points. However, they are expected to face strong opposition
from Petaling Jaya Municipal Council next week.
"My boys can only get better with each match, and I am confident that as
the League progresses, we will be in the quarter-finals," said Rajan.

National team to play four Test matches


FOUR Test matches have been arranged to beef up the national team
preparing for the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on March 22-30.
Three of the Tests will be played at the National Hockey Stadium in
Bukit Jalil, while the other at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.
"Pakistan have requested for three Test matches, while South Korea one,
just before the Azlan Shah Cup. The Malaysian Hockey Federation have
agreed to the requests," said MHF secretary S. Satgunam.
The three Tests against Pakistan will be on March 17-18 in Kuala Lumpur
and March 20 in Ipoh. The Korean Test will be on March 19 in Kuala Lumpur.
Fans are also in for a treat at the end of March when the United States
will be down to play friendlies against the national juniors during the
Azlan Shah tournament. The senior team will play the Americans after the
"The United States wrote to us asking for matches and we have agreed to
play them on March 24, 26 and 29 in Ipoh. The first three matches will be
against the Juniors but after the Azlan Shah, the US team will play the
seniors on April 3, 6, 8 and 10 in Kuala Lumpur," said Satgunam.
Azlan Shah Cup defending champions Germany, India, Pakistan, New Zealand
and South Korea will also be coming for the tournament.
"The response during training has been great, in fact, it is better than
when Malaysia were preparing for the Asian Games last year. Back in the
fold, we have Logan Raj, Jivan Mohan, Tajol Rosli and Nor Azlan Bakar, who
were all on study leave during the Busan Games," said National coach Paul
"We must do well against the Champions Challenge teams (Korea and New
Zealand) so that the boys will be better prepared when they travel to
South Africa in the middle of the year," said Lissek.
The MHF has also agreed to allow fans free entry for the 12th edition of
the Azlan Shah Cup.
The match that is expected to pull in the crowd is the clash between
India and Pakistan on March 26. In their last meeting in the semi-finals
of the Busan Asian Games, India won 4-3.

Hot Anderson Xybase


AFTER the second weekend of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League,
the final outcome in Division Two seems quite predictable but the picture
in Division One is still hazy.
Malacca Municipal Council and Sports School Juniors are the clear
favourites in Division Two while in Division One, four teams have shown
they are capable of finishing tops.
Pahang Telekom, Malaysia Sports School, Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Anderson
Xybase are the frontrunners and cannot be taken lightly even though some
of the teams have shown inconsistency in their first matches.
Anderson lost 1-0 to Old La Sallians Associations of Klang (OLAK-MPK) in
their opening match but came back strongly to beat Petaling Jaya Municipal
council 2-1 tough the Ipoh outfit is made up of mainly 16-year-olds.
Tenaga were also shaky when they lost 2-1 in their opening JHL encounter
to Malaysia Sports School, but have since shown remarkable progress by
beating Johor Sports Council 7-1.
Defending overall champions Pahang Telekom are the only side who have
shown consistency, winning both their opening matches with identical 4-0
Division Two leaders Malacca MC, despite scoring 19 goals in three
matches, are feeling the pressure on the contrary.
"It is going to become more difficult to score in our remaining matches
because the opponents will surely start packing their defence to limit the
number of goals," said Malacca MC team manager Rahim Omar.
In their last match against English College, the Johor side packed their
defence and play was centred in their semicircle. Malacca, nevertheless
went on to score seven goals.
"I do not blame the opposition because it is their right to minimise the
damage. We are only warning our fans not to expect too much after this as
most teams will not adapt an open game against us," said Rahim.
Malacca MC host Malay Mail on Sunday at the Bukit Serindit Stadium.
While teams like Yayasan Negri Sembilan are finding it hard to train as
a team together as most of their players are schooling and are only
available on Fridays, Malacca MC train three times a week.
The good news for Malacca MC is that all seven strikers have scored in
the last three matches and this will be crucial when they play Sports
School Juniors.
The Juniors have won all three matches and scored 15 goals in the
process. They came back 0-2 down against Synergy Hockey Club to win 4-2.

Lady Luck smiles on PJMC


PETALING Jaya Municipal Council (PJMC) rode on luck yesterday when they
beat Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS) 2-1 in the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior
Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
PJMC were a burnt-out team, after giving their all in the 1-2 defeat to
Anderson Xybase at Ipoh on Saturday, but still YNS failed to score off the
numerous sitters they had.
Fitness is a big problem for PJMC and it might work against them when
they play better sides in Division One.
But the three `lucky' points they received placed them third in the
standings with a total of six, only losing out on goal difference to
table-toppers Pahang Telekom and second placed Malaysia Sports School who
have both played one match less.
YNS had six penalty corners in 70 minutes, but their stopper Khairi
Mansor still had the old rules ingrained in his mind, and tried to make
dead stops, and the PJMC runners easily blocked all their attempts.
PJMC scored first in the 16th minute off a Zulfaddli Isa penalty corner
deflection and that was the only action in the first half, as YNS were
contended with defending.
The second half belonged entirely to YNS as they went out looking for
the equaliser and finally found it in the 61st minute when Arial Aiman
tapped in a field goal.
But even before YNS could settle down, PJMC took the lead again when
Zulfaddli scored his second. YNS practically camped in the PJMC danger
zone for the reminder of the match, but the draw specialists could not get
it right this time.
After three matches, YNS have only two points from two draws and a
defeat, and might struggle to stay in Division One next season.
"We were very lucky to have walked away with three points because YNS
were the better side today (yesterday). The main problem with my team is
"My players do not have the energy to run back in a counter-attack and
that is why we lost to Anderson Xybase on Saturday. Playing back-to-back
matches have also taken a toll and only luck handed us the three points
today (yesterday)," said a frank PJMC coach Roslan Salikon.
YNS team manager Soffian Abdullah felt like kicking the water bucket,
but kept his cool.
"The match belonged to us and PJMC gave my boys plenty of sitters to
seal the match in the first half itself. But I have an inexperienced side
and it showed today (yesterday) when they failed to win a match which they
dominated," said Soffian.
PJ MC 2 Yayasan NS 1
Malay Mail 4 AFATS 0; Malacca MC 7 English College 0; Perlis SSC 1 KL SSC
0; Sports School Juniors 4 Synergy HC 2.

Malacca hammer KLSSC


MALACCA Municipal Council (MMC) took another step towards promotion to
Division One when they hammered Kuala Lumpur Schools Sports Council
(KLSSC) 6-0 in the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League at the Bukit
Serindit Stadium yesterday.
Malacca are second in the standings, but only because they have played
one match less than table-toppers SMK Datuk Taha of Gemencheh.
Yesterday, Datuk Taha thrashed Armed Forces Apprentice Training School
(AFATS) 8-1.
Malacca MC were simply awesome and outclassed KL SCC in all departments.
The hosts got their first goal through Nor Ikhram Sulaiman as early as
the second minute and in the 29th, Ahmad Anuar made it 2-0 after
connecting a cross from Nor Hamezi Omar.
Inspired by the two first-half goals, Malacca MC pushed forward and got
a third from a penalty corner, deflected in by Nazmi Kamarudin in the 40th
Shakir Hamzah got the fourth in the 53rd minute and Nazmi Kamaruddin
further punished KL SCC with a 62nd-minute field goal. Two minutes before
the buzzer, Malacca MC sounded the board again and this time it was Azmir
Roslan who scored.
In the second match, Datuk Taha's hero was M. Subramaniam who scored
four consecutive goals in the 14th, 16th, 20th and 45th minutes.
M. Krishna added another two in the 50th and 51st minutes while S.
Batumalai and Zulkifli Rosli scored in the 35th and 42nd minutes. AFATS'
consolation was scored by Nazrul Arshad in the 37th.
o AT the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh, Kerian District survived a second
half fightback by Perak Malays before carving out a narrow 1-0 win,
reports R.G. RAJ.
For Kerian this was their first win from three matches, having drawn
once and lost the other while for Perak Malays this was their third defeat
which has kept them rooted to the bottom of the table.
Mohamed Noradli Yusop was Kerian's hero, finishing off a flowing three-
man move in the 8th minute with a powerful shot past goalkeeper Mohamed
Noor Sahib.
* AT the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Sports School Juniors
steamrolled Panang Frees 5-0 and are in good stead to achieve their target
of reaching the last eight.
The Sports School goals were scored by Yusri Zainal (24th, 63rd), Hafiz
Jami (31st, 53rd) and Razie Rahim (4th).
* AT the MPJB Stadium in Johor Baru, English College edged Perlis SC 3-
2. English goals were scored by Norfadli Omar (1th) and Faez Doal (39th,
43rd). The Perlis goals were scored by Rozaid Che Omar (18th) and Aimi
Jamaluddin (57th).
TODAY - Div One: Johor Sports Council v Tenaga Nasional Bhd (MPJB
Stadium, 5.15pm); Anderson Xybase v Petaling Jaya MC (Azlan Shah Stadium
5.15pm); Malaysia Sports School v Terengganu SSC (Tun Razak Stadium,
5.15pm); Pahang Telekom v Olak-MPK (Kuantan Stadium, 5.15pm); Yayasan NS v
Srii Aroma PISC (Seremban II Stadium).
Malacca MC................. 6 KL SCC................0
Sports School Juniors...... 5 Penang Frees..........0
Kerian District............ 1 Perak Malays..........0
SMK Datuk Taha..............8 AFATS.................1
English College.............3 Perlis SC.............2

Valentine's Day gift for Ironman


AFTER courting Tenaga Nasional Bhd for the past three years, Ironman
Langkawi Malaysia Triathlon finally got the much-awaited `yes' on
Valentine's Day yesterday.
Another windfall for the Ironman race, on Feb 23, was when Edaran
Otomobil Nasional (EOM) joined in with 11 cars, while RTM signed to become
their official broadcaster.
"We have been in touch with the utility giants Tenaga Nasional Bhd for
the past three years and today (yesterday) we finally received their
backing to make the Ironman race much stronger," said Langkawi
International Marathon Sdn Bdh president Datuk Sri Ram Sarma.
Meanwhile, wheelchair-bound triathletes have also signed up for
gruelling race. Randy Caddle of the United States will compete in a
wheelchair in the 3.8km swim, cycle for 180km and 42.2km marathon.
The other disabled athlete is Sarawakian Mahathir Ejin Dating who will
attempt to become an Ironman by finishing the race under 17 hours.

Malacca MC team to beat


MALACCA Municipal Council (MMC) will be the team to beat in Division Two
this weekend in the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League, as both
their opponents do not have the calibre to pull off any upset.
Since Malacca MC will be playing their matches at home at the Bukit
Serindit Hockey Stadium, KL Schools Sports Council and English College of
Johor will definitely start underdogs.
"We have been training hard the past week and I see that the boys are
fully committed to the goal set by Malacca - topping Division Two and
subsequently playing in the quarter-finals," said Malacca MC coach Eugene
Even though it is too early to make claims, Malacca MC have the best
line-up and their six former Anderson Old Boys players have the
capabilities to realise their target of winning promotion.
Old La Sallians Association of Klang (OLAK-MPK) will play a tough match
tomorrow when they meet Telekom Pahang in Kuantan. There will be little to
separate the two as both beat Sri Aroma PISC by four-goal margins. Olak
beat PISC 6-2 while Telekom won 4-0.
"Telekom Pahang are the overall defending champions and it will be
foolish to play an open game against them. Also, their players are more
experienced while my boys are all new hands," said Olak-MPK coach Joseph
de Silva.
De Silva prefers to start the match as underdogs, but Olak have shown
that they are a very strong team. They beat Anderson Xybase 1-0 and then
thrashed Sri Aroma while still in the process of grooming a large number
of 16-year-olds who have little experience playing in the JHL.
Olak, surprisingly, play better in the second half, and this is when
Telekom Pahang might feel the full brunt of the Klang-based outfit.
Div 2 joint-leaders Penang Free School face a litmus test against Sports
School Juniors at the Tun Razak Stadium.
Penang Frees share top spot with SM Datuk Taha with a win and a draw
from their opening matches.
Frees coach Yap Gark Soo knows that their stay at the top is not
"Sports School Juniors are one of the better sides in Div 2. Therefore,
whether we remain at the top or slip will depend on this weekend's
What's important, Yap added, was for the players to not take things easy
just because they are the joint-leaders.
"They have to realise that we have played a game more than six other
teams. And these are the teams who can easily dislodge us if they register
bigger goal margins," cautioned Yap.
In Division One, Tenaga Nasional, who lost 2-1 to Malaysia Sports
School, will be out to make amends.
Tenaga travel to Johor to play Johor Sports Council and should not have
any problem collecting three points after a disappointing start in their
bid for a JHL double.

Lim hooks national colours


THE Malaysian Tenpin Bowling Congress (MTBC) announced the national team
for the Fifth World Tenpin Team Cup on Feb 16-24 after a training session
at the Pyramid Megalanes, and the biggest winner was 18-year-old Jonathan
The Sarawakian was part of the selection over more established Ng Yiew
Hup and Mustapha Yassin because new coach Mats Karlsson feels that the
hook bowler is more suited than spinners for the championship in Europe.
The six men and six women bowlers, recommended by Karlsson, was endorsed
by the National Selection Committee and will head for Odense, Denmark, on
This will be Swede Karlsson's first assignment after being hired on Jan
Karlsson, 46, was in Singapore during the Masters Open, and was
impressed when Wendy Chai won the Open title and Shalin Zulkifli bagged
the AVIVA Asian Bowling Tour Grand Slam after an all-Malaysian final
against Lai Kin Ngoh.
"Malaysia have good bowlers and they can go higher. There is still fine-
tuning to be done and that will be my challenge here," said Karlsson.
"I'm looking forward to working here. It is not the money as I have a
very good business back home. I am attracted by the challenge to coach a
team after having done well as a bowler," said Karlsson.
Karlsson was Sweden's nine-time Bowler-of-the-Year and twice World
Bowler of the Year. He was part of the Swedish mental training programme
and currently works on special techniques for teams and groups in Sweden.
Malaysia's highest ranking in the Team Cup was the bronze won by our
women in 1996 in Canada and 1998 at Holland. The men's highest ranking was
fourth in 1994 in Malaysia and fifth in Puerto Rico in 2000.
The competing teams will bowl three rounds of round-robin matches on
best-of-three format, with one point awarded to each game won.
At the end of the three rounds, the top three countries with the highest
accumulated points will qualify for the Step-Ladder Grand Finals, also
based on best-of-three matches.
Men's team: Alex Liew, Azidi Ameran, Ben Heng, Daniel Lim, Jonathan Lim,
Zulmazran Zulkifli.
Women's team: Choy Poh Lai, Lai Kin Ngoh, Sarah Yap, Shalin Zulkifli,
Sharon Chai, Wendy Chai.

Record entries for girls' league


THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (Women's Section) Junior Hockey League
will see a record entry of 10 teams vying for honours, starting at the end
of March.
Another special feature this year, in their bid to make the girls' final
memorable, MHF(WS) has decided to hold it just before the boys' JHL final
on May 11 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Kuala Lumpur.
"The final has been slated for May 11, just hours before the boys' JHL
final so that fans can watch two exciting finals in a row this year," said
MHF(WS) secretary S. Shamala.
In the inaugural girls' JHL in 2001 only five teams - two from Bukit
Jalil Sports School, one from Bandar Penawar Sports School and one each
from Perak and Pahang took part.
Last year, eight teams - Bukit Jalil, Bandar Penawar, MSS Negri
Sembilan, Perak, Pahang, Sarawak, Kuala Lumpur and Selangor entered.
This year, the teams taking part are Bukit Jalil Sports School, Bukit
Jalil Sports School Puteri, Negri Sembilan Schools Sports Council,
Terengganu, SMK Seberang Temerloh (Pahang), SMK Tengku Afzan (Pahang),
Selangor, Perak, Kuala Lumpur and Pahang.
Missing from the list this year are Sarawak who took part last year and
were accorded special privileges as their matches were spread over two
weeks to cut costs.
"We tried to get another two teams to enter the Junior League, but have
yet to get a response from States which we approached. Still, having 10
teams this year can be considered a big achievement," said Shamala.
The MHF(WS) hopes to use the Junior league to select players for its
various agegroup development programmes.
Milo, National Sports Council and Admiral will be the main sponsors for
the girls' JHL this year.

Third eye on umpires


THIS year's Azlan Shah Cup will not only experiment with new hockey rules,
but will also have a `third eye' to keep tabs on the umpires.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) will bring in the equipment
and the expertise to implement the new rules in the March 22-30 tournament
at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.
"The FIH will bring the equipment and expertise to operate the
electronic eye which will oversee the implementation of several changes in
the rules of hockey," said Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary S.
Satgunam yesterday.
The two umpires on the pitch will be under constant touch with the crew
manning the television screen, via earphones, and any wrong decisions can
be instantly relayed to the umpires and the situation rectified on the
The most controversial rule that will be tested at the Azlan Shah Cup is
allowing only eight defensive players to remain in the 25-yard line, while
the remaining three players must remain beyond the 25-yard area.
A breach of the rule will result in the opponents being awarded a
penalty corner.
The two match umpires will have their hands full, trying to figure out
how many players are inside the 25-yard line, so the third eye will help
them keep track.
National coach Paul Lissek feels that experimenting with the new FIH
rule in the Azlan Shah Cup is as ridiculous as the rule itself.
"I cannot understand the need for such a rule which confuses the game
further," said Lissek.
"Hockey already has complex rules and rather than making the game more
interesting, it will become more difficult to understand. And since the
rule is not going to be implemented during the Olympic Qualifiers, we will
be on the wrong track in our preparations for the Qualifiers and the
Champions Challenge (in July in South Africa)."
The German coach's major concern is trying to get his players used to
the style of defending as there is no way a defender, who is checking the
movement of a striker, to keep track on whether he has seven players
behind the 25-yard before crossing the line himself.
This rule will surely put a strain on the umpires and players.
Malaysia first had a taste of the rule in the Masters Cup in Hamburg.
"All the teams there, Germany, Spain and Argentina agreed that the rule
was ridiculous," said Lissek.
The other rules to be checked by the third eye is the ability to score
from anywhere inside the 25-yard line and during long corners, the
defending team must have eight defenders behind the goal line.
The Azlan Shah Cup will parade four Asian Teams - Pakistan, India, Korea
and hosts Malaysia, while from Europe will be defending champions Germany.
New Zealand replace Australia who have domestic commitments.
The national team will be much stronger than the bronze medal-winning
side at the Busan Asian Games with the return of defender Nor Azlan Bakar
and striker Tajol Rosli.
Tajol played a sterling role for Kuala Lumpur in the recent National
Under-21 tournament, played in the Kuala Lumpur World Cup, but skipped
Busan because of studies.
Jiwa Mohan and K. Logan Raj will also return to the fold, and their
presence will make a big difference in Ipoh.

Azlan bent on KL Open


AZLAN Iskandar is determined to bag his first Professional Squash
Association (PSA) title in the Kuala Lumpur Open which begins tomorrow at
the National Sports Council (NSC) courts in Jalan Duta.
The other national players in the main draw are Kenneth Low and junior
Timothy Arnold.
However, Azlan's path to the title is expected to be tough as standing
in his way is No 1 seed Tommy Berden of Holland.
Azlan, seeded second, faces a qualifier in the first round and should he
progress, as he is expected to, he comes up against fifth seed Gavin Jones
of Wales in the quarter-finals. But waiting for him in the semi-finals is
fourth seed Cameron White of Australia.
The national No 2, who won bronze at the Busan Asian Games last year,
said he has never played Jones before but believes the final result will
be in his favour.
"I might face a stiff challenge from Jones but I will go all out to
reach the final because I want to improve my world ranking," said Azlan.
Azlan is currently ranked 43rd in the world and if he reaches the final,
he will meet Berden, ranked World No 39.
Dutchman Berden won the KL Open in 2001 when he beat Malaysia's third
ranked player Low in the final.
The London-based Azlan is looking forward to winning his first PSA
"I turned professional three years ago but have yet to win a PSA title.
I hope to start with the KL Open, which is a one-star tournament.
"I am seeded second behind Berden and looking at the draw, I have a good
chance of realising my dream," said Azlan.
The former Asian junior champion reached the semi-finals of the YTL Open
in 2000 and 2001 but, on both occasions, he lost to Low.
Azlan, who trains under coach Neil Harvey in London, is aiming to break
into the top 30 by the year's end.
"Last year I set out to break into the top 50 and achieved it, and this
year, with help from Neil, I am confident of reaching my target," said
Azlan was out of action for almost a month after he fell ill during the
December World Open in Antwrep, Belgium where he handed a walkover to his
opponentn in the first round.
He returned to training in January but lost in the first round of the
Coas International in Islamabad to Pakistan's Farruk Zaman.

Olak await true test


OLD La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak-MPK) got off to a rousing start
in Division One of the MHF-Milo-Admiral-NSC Junior Hockey League last
weekend, but it is still too early for them to get comfortable.
Team manager Joseph de Silva is feeling a little uncomfortable with the
spotlight shining on them so early in the season.
"The wins against Anderson Xybase and Srii Aroma PISC were excellent
starts for Olak, but we have a tough match this weekend and might find the
going difficult," said de Silva.
Olak-MPK travel to Kuantan where Telekom Pahang will start as the
overwhelming favourites, hence, the pressure will not be on Olak. The
match will determine the true strength of Olak-MPK.
Olak were the overall champions four times from 1997-2000 and won the
double in 1998 and 1999. However, due to financial constraints they had to
team up with Klang Municipal Council last year and so they cannot be taken
lightly even though their team does not contain any national players.
"Almost all of the Olak players will be available for the next two
seasons so this year we are not too worried about results," said de Silva.
When Selangor exposed 10 Olak-MPK players in the recent Under-21
tournament, there were raised eyebrows and Selangor did not fare well, but
grew in strength by the day.
"Selangor's opening Under-21 match was against Penang and we lost, but
in the classification when we met again, we beat Penang and so I was quite
confident of beating Srii Aroma of Penang in the JHL after exposing my
boys at the Under-21 tournament," said de Silva.
After one weekend of the JHL, Malaysia Sports School (MSS) and Telekom
Pahang have emerged as strong contenders for honours in Division One and
the disappointing team was Tenaga Nasional Bhd.
Tenaga, with a strong reputation and the right coffers to buy the best
players, were the least impressive when they went down 1-2 to MSS.
The consensus was that the Tenaga team this year lacked capable strikers
and will find the going tough.
In Division Two, Malacca Municipal Council (MMC) kept their word and
started their title hunt by punishing Synergy Hockey Club 6-0.
"I have the players to win the Division Two title this season. That is
our first step, once we are in the quarterfinals, I will re-assess the
situation," said MMC coach Eugene Lee.
The only player which has shown some potential in the early stages of
the JHL is MSS forward Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, who has had international
The Perlis-born lad has a good sense of positioning and has the strength
and speed to take on defenders, eventhough he has a tiny frame for a 17-
Tengku should mature into a better forward by the end of the JHL.
Overall, the level of hockey played over the weekend was not too
impressive and some of the matches could put one to sleep in the stiffling
afternoon heat, but the action is expected to pick-up midway in the JHL
when the pretenders fall by the sidelines.

Juniors on parade


THE Junior Hockey League (JHL) gets underway today with 22 teams battling
for honours in Divisions One and Two.
While the contenders can be easily separated from the pretenders even
before the start, the game itself looks primed for better days.
Tenaga Nasional Bhd looks the team to beat in Div 1 while in Div 2,
Malacca Municipal Council have staked a strong claim for the RM10,000
winner's cheque and a ticket to Div 1 next year.
Six teams from Div 1 and two from Div 2 will meet in the quarter-finals,
while the rest must be content with having exposed their youth in a major
Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS), despite entering an inexperienced team
last year, still finished 10th in the 22-team league. This year their aim
is to stay in Div 1.
"We have retained ten players from the last JHL, and will be exposing
ten new players this year. We realise that it will be very difficult to
remain in Div 1 with this raw side but we are not worried because our
sponsors (YNS), at this stage, are more keen on exposing Negri Sembilan
youth than winning titles,"said YNS coach S. Chandran.
All YNS players are Negri Sembilan-based. The State is determined to
make hockey the popular sport it once was in Negri Sembilan.
The State, who are preparing a side for the 2004 Malaysia Games which
they will be hosting, will expose a total of 40 juniors in the JHL. The
second NS team competing, Datuk Taha of Gemencheh, is also well known for
exposing their youth.
Datuk Taha have the distinction of producing three players who made it
into the national squad via the JHL.
Suhaimi Ibrahim, Nor Azlan Rahim and Fairuz Affendy were given the break
by Datuk Taha when they were noticed by national selectors.
The exploits of the trio have brought Gemencheh out of the shadow of the
more illustrious Tunku Besar Secondary School, Tampin, where hockey used
to thrive once.
The National Sports Council (NSC) had noticed the sterling work of
`cikgu' Roslan Mohammad and subsequently, laid a small patch of artificial
turf at the school for the students to train on.
Playing in the JHL for the third time this year, SMK Datuk Taha are not
unduly worried about being written off even before the tournament starts.
"I am quite happy to be given the `no hopers' tag as long as my boys can
play and enjoy the sport. I have a young and untested side who can rise to
the occassion, so don't be surprised," said Roslan.
Last year Datuk Taha finished 14th and were relegated to Div 3 but it is
unlikely that their stay there will be for long.
As YNS are in Div One, the Gemencheh side `gave away' five of their
experienced players to the Seremban-based team.
The five Khairi Mansor, Fairuz Yahya, Hafiz Zin, Azwar Hafiz Zulkifli
and Rais Shah, all played for Datuk Taha in the Champion Schools last
Anderson XYBASE is the other team who have produced star players, but
will be parading mostly Form Three players this year.
So, it looks like not only the teams which make the last eight can be
considered winners, but overall, 440 youth will get the opportunity to
parade their skills, and possibly, get noticed by the national selectors.
1 - Telecoms Pahang
2 - Malaysia Sports School
3 - Tenaga Nasional Berhad
4 - Ipoh City Hall *
5 - Anderson
6 - Petaling Jaya MC
7 - Serdang HC *
8 - Olak-MPK
9 - Terengganu Schools SC
10 - Yayasan NS
11 - Seberang Prai MC *
12 - Penang Indians
13 - Johor Sports Council
14 - SMK Datuk Mohd Taha
15 - English College
16 - Kerian District
17 - KL Schools Sports Council
18 - AFATS
19 - Synergy HC
20 - Malay Mail
21 - Perak Malays
22 - Taiping District *
(* Not participating this year)
Overall Champions: RM25,000
Runners-up: RM15,000
Third: RM10,000
Fourth: RM5,000
Fair-play: RM3,000
Div 1 Champions: RM10,000
Div 2 Champions: RM10,000

Third Formers set to continue Anderson's winning ways


ANDERSON School of Ipoh, fresh from their eighth Champions Schools victory
last month, will give four Form Three students the opportunity to play in
the Junior Hockey League (JHL) which starts on Feb 7.
In the JHL, they will be known as Anderson XYBASE.
Mokhtar Baharudin, who has been coaching the school for several years,
has been given the task once again.
Perak duo Tajol Rosli and Azlan Misron made a name for themselves in the
Under-21 tournament when they helped Kuala Lumpur finish second, and by
exposing the players at a young age, Mokhtar hopes there will be
continuity after the Form Five boys leave school.
Anderson Old Boys are in high demand, as Malacca Municipal Council have
named eight former Anderson players in their quest to move out of Division
Two this season.
The four gunning to make a name with Anderson XYBASE this year are Noor
Khairul Azrain, Mohamed Noor Habib, Kamarul Adzhar Noordin and Mustaqim
But the players to watch in Anderson are Fazreen Ehsan Kulub and Baljit
Fazreen scored seven goals in the Under-21 tournament.
"He is one of the most exciting raw talent that I have seen for quite
some time now. He not only has the speed, but the brains to complement
it," commented Kuala Lumpur coach Nor Saiful Zaini during the Under-21
Sixteen-year-old Baljit Singh had a sterling performance not only in the
Champions Schools, but also the Under-19 Four-Nation International and the
Under-21 tournament.
Baljit is slowly gaining confidence, and can be relied to keep a tight
grip of the defence with accurate passes and intelligent play.
"We have to groom new faces in the JHL every year because we need to
have strong and reliable players to defend our Champions Schools title. I
am just exposing them at a higher level so that they will pick up the
right basics at a young age," said Mokhtar.
Even with a majority of inexperienced being players in their side,
Andersdon, playing in Division One, have set themselves an initial target
of reaching the quarter-finals.
The JHL, an Under-19 tournament, is a different ball game altogether
compared with the Champions Schools because there are financially strong
clubs like Tenaga Nasional Bhd and Telekom Pahang who have the means to
buy good players.
But Anderson have a reputation to defend, and with XYBASE sponsoring
them, things have finally started to look rosy for the normally cash-
strapped team.
Anderson XYBASE - Noorazlan Daud, Amar Firdaus Arshad, Baljit Singh,
Mohamed Fahmi Baserah, Herwan Pami, Zahiruddin Aman, Khairul Anam Suhati,
Mohamed Razali Zulkipli, Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Fazreen Ehsan Kulub, Mohamed
Nor Hisham, Mohamed Nor Hafizie, Rizal Haniffa, Saiful Nur Faiz, Mohamed
Noor Khairul, Mohamed Noor Habib, Kamarul Adzhar Nordin, Mustaqim Hamzah,
Mohamed Shahidan Hassan, Mohamed Izzani Mubarak.
Team manager: Mohamed Azlan Ali; Coach: Mokhtar Baharudin.

Petsy still strong at 59


PETSY Yap from Kuala Lumpur completed the Ironman Langkawi triathlon in 16
hours and 30 minutes last year. Barely crossing the line 31 minutes before
the doors closed on those vying for certificates.
Nothing to shout about, unless one takes into consideration that she was
58 years old and swam 3.8kms, cycled 180.2kms and ran 42.2kms for the
Ironman certificate.
Petsy is back for this year's race on Feb 23 and broke a record even
before breaking sweat as she, at 59, is the oldest woman triathlete to
And the pint-size Petsy's only regret is that she might not be able to
better her time because a road accident three months ago robbed her of
valuable training time.
"I was cycling when a motorcyclist knocked into me. I had a deep cut on
my right knee and could not train for more than a month.
"I was very fortunate not to break any bones because at my age, it is
harder for bones to heal well," said said Petsy who is still single.
But even the road accident couldn't stop Petsy, who has been working at
the American Embassy as a secretary for the last three decades, from
competing in the gruelling event.
"The accident interrupted my training programme so I do not think I will
be able to clock a better time this year.
Petsy will not be challenging any of the woman participants, but racing
against the clock to finish under 17 hours to receive recognition as an
Petsy trains about two hours after work and on weekends spends more than
four hours.
"Among the three disciplines, I prefer running as you can train anywhere
but swimming is my weakest point especially in the open sea," said Petsy.
Meanwhile, defending man and woman champions Bryan Rhodes of New Zealand
and Danielle Florens of Mauritius, who completed the circuit in 8:10.35
and 10:29.36 last year, will be down to defend their titles.
Entries closed yesterday and the last to register were from the Armed
Eighteen men from Squadron 21 Commando will be among the local
participants in the triathlon which has attracted a total of 368

Malaysia need thinking players


THE National Under-21 Tournament, if nothing else, showed that Malaysian
hockey is at a crossroad - we have a large pool of skilled players but
very few thinking ones.
In contrast, the New South Wales AIS team rarely relied on skill, but
their players made up for it with intelligent play and, deservedly, lifted
the trophy in their maiden appearance.
Losing finalists Kuala Lumpur had the largest number of skilful
players, Azlan Misron and Tajol Rosli to mention two, who could slice open
any defence with their deft dribbling but they received little support
from their team-mates who failed to read their passes.
KL were easily the better side in the final, but they failed to use
their brains - especially when they were 4-2 up. They should have just
dropped back and kept possession of the ball and irritate the Aussies.
"We did everything right, but inexperience showed in the final as the
boys did not know what to do after taking a 4-2 lead," said KL coach Nor
Saiful Zaini. "I tried to tell them to drop back and start keeping the
ball for longer periods, especially by making back-passes and slowly
taking control of the match.
"But they were too eager to score more goals and, instead, let in three
easy goals and we lost the title."
Present at the final was a pool of national selectors, led by chief
coach Paul Lissek to scout for talent, and all of them shook their heads
in disbelief when KL let slip their two-goal lead.
Maybe they should take up the offer made by NSW AIS coach Larry McIntosh
for a Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) delegation to come to Australia
and take a look at their structure and methods used in training.
"We had a very good outing in the Under-21 tournament and we achieved
the target that we set out for. Malaysia were very good hosts and maybe we
will be back in two years time to defend our title," said McIntosh.
Malacca, who finished fifth, were the most improved State team in the
tournament. They did not send a team to the Malaysia Games in Sabah, but
their St David's High School finished second in the recent Champions
Schools and in the Under-21 their youth showed alot of promise.
In fact, one of their most skilful players Ahmad Anuar Sham, impressed
the scouts with his skill and strong will.
Ahmad was selected for the recent Under-19 Four-Nation but could not
attent due to a leg injury suffered when he fell off his motorbike. But in
the Under-21, he looked like he had fully recovered and should be among
the boys who will receive national call-ups.
The States which fared badly and need to buck up are Kelantan (10th),
Selangor (11th), Penang (12th) and Armed Forces Apprentice Training School
They were the whipping boys of the tournament because their players not
only lacked skill, but had no direction. They looked like they took part
just to make up the numbers.
"The inclusion of New South Wales provided an opportunity for our boys
to get the feel of playing a good side at an early age so that they will
not be overawed when they face foreign teams at the senior level," said
MHF secretary S. Satgunam.

KL bow out in explosive final


NSW AIS ............6 Kuala Lumpur .........5
IT was a heart-stopping final and when the horn sounded, the National
Under-21 title was on its way to Australia as Kuala Lumpur rued their
missed chances.
KL forgot to defend and in their haste to score more goals, eventhough
they had a two-goal cushion, paid dearly for their gung-ho style of play.
KLHA president Tan Sri Noordin Hassan summed up the match: "I am very
happy with the way the boys played. We lost because of poor umpiring."
NSW AIS were so eager to start the match and catch their flight home to
Australia, that they started the match while the umpires were still
signalling each other.
It was evident from the start that the teams were physically mis-
matched, but fitness and speed-wise, KL had the upper hand.
NSW AIS held possession and waited for KL to make a mistake. It paid off
in the seventh minute when Sturt Fletcher found himself alone at the top
of the semi-circle, his thundering shot catching KL goalkeeper Hanafi
Hassan napping.
NSW AIS increased their lead in the 23rd minute off their first penalty
A direct flick from Brendon Booth, which the Aussies used for the first
time in the tournament, caught goalkeeper Hanafi off guard and it looked
like another disaster in the making.
KL refused to be broken and Redza Maadun narrowed the gap by slicing in
a field goal in the 28th minute.
KL won their fourth penalty corner in the dying minutes of the first
half and this time the ball was slapped in by captain and pusher Azlan
Misron. However, umpire Amargi Singh blew for no goal much to the
disbelief of everyone.
The reason: Azlan did not deflect the ball in, but slapped it and it did
not sound the board, so it was not a goal.
Though robbed of the equaliser, KL went into the dressing room looking
very confident.
In striking orange strip, KL came out charging as soon as the match
resumed but the Aussies read their plan well to defend in numbers.
As the Aussies found the the speedy KL boys a handful, they used their
bigger physique to win 50-50 chances.
The umpire was at the right position to see Stuart push Tajol Rosli at
the top of the semi-circle to award KL a penalty corner in the 38th
The first shot by Engku Abdul Malek hit an Aussie leg, and the umpire
blew for a second penalty corner.
This time, Engku's powerful direct grounder crashed the board and KL
were back in the hunt.
In the 41st minute, a beautiful move originating with Azlan, found Tajol
who unselfishly passed to Kamarudin Rahman for the third goal.
Even before the Aussies could re-group, Tajol hammered a thundering back
stick shot which not only crashed the board, but came out like a bullet
right up till the 25-yard line.
The 43rd minute goal woke up the beast in the Aussies and they replied
swiftly with a Mathew Naylor field goal in the 46th minute to narrow the
gap to 3-4.
KL, in their haste to increase the lead, forgot about defending and were
punished when Jeremy Walzak equalised in the 52nd minute.
Then Engku Abdul Malek thundered in in a shot off a penalty corner in
the 59th, but the umpire blew for no goal.
NSW seized the opportunity with a long ball freeing Matthew, who left
alone in the KL semi-circle put NSW AIS in the lead again.
But even with the Aussies leading 5-4, the match was far from over.
Redza saw to it with a goal from an almost impossible angle which caught everyone by surprise and KL were back on terms.
But the day did not belong to KL.
Alex Hardman ensured the title went to Australia with a 68th minute
field goal.
ROLL OF HONOUR - Fairplay Award: New South Wales AIS, Top Goal Scorer: Tajol Rosli (KL) 10 goals, Most Promising Player: Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi (Pah), Best Player in the Tournament: Azlan Misron (KL), Man of the Match: Engku Abdul Malek (KL).

KL face AIS in showdown


KUALA Lumpur were lucky to scrape through their semi-final match against
Pahang and will now meet New South Wales AIS in the final of the National
Under-21 tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
While KL could only beat Pahang 3-1, NSW AIS humiliated Perak 10-2 in
the second semi-final to signal their intention of taking the cup to
But KL coach Nor Saiful Zaini, although admitting that they were lucky
to beat Pahang yesterday, said he aims for the cup to remain on Malaysian
"We were very lucky to win today (yesterday) because Pahang played one
of their best matches and almost over-ran us in the first half. Even our
second goal was a lucky break as the Pahang goalkeeper dived in the wrong
direction, thinking that Fairus Hamsani was going to make a cross.
"But saying all that, I still have confidence in my boys to keep the
title in Malaysia after the final horn is blown tomorrow (today)," said
Nor Saiful Zaini.
KL struggled to score their first goal but Tajol Rosli kept running
circles around the Pahang players and in the 31st minute his pass was
deflected in by Azlan Misron for the first goal.
When asked why he played Tajol for the entire 70 minutes, Nor Saiful
Zaini said: "Look at the bench, I do not have anyone capable of replacing
him. And even though Tajol was only playing to 45 percent of his true
capabilities in the last 10 minutes due to exhaustion, he was still
playing better than any bench-warmer was capable of," said Nor Saiful.
Tajol and the rest of the KL players were jeered and booed for the
entire 70 minutes of play because they were accused of throwing away the
match against Perak 3-1 on Monday to deny Johor a chance to play in the
It was no surprise that the jeering was led by Johor players with some
of the other coaches joining the chorus.
Every time Tajol or Azlan received the ball, they were booed and to a
certain degree it did disrupt their game. But in the end, Tajol kept his
cool and was instrumental in planning all three KL goals.
Pahang equalised in the 48th minute off a Zulkifli Abdulah field goal
and the match looked like touch-and-go at that moment.
But Pahang, who were defending well until the final 15 minutes, opened
up their game looking for the winner and were punished by the speedy KL
This time, Tajol's cross found Fairus Hamsani and KL went ahead again to
the dismay of the 200-odd fans at the stadium.
The goal, coupled with Pahang's top defender Megat Azrafiq being sent to
the sin bin in the 59th minute, killed off Pahang's fightback and it was
easy for Kamarudin Abdul Rahman to slot in the third in the 65th minute.
Pahang deserved a standing ovation for their determination, as only
their inexperience let them down.
"I am very happy with the way my boys have grown up since the first
match in the Under-21, but they need more time to mature into players who
can fight back from grim situations."
"The mistake we made today (yesterday) was defending for far too long.
My plan was to defend in the first half and attack in the second, but the
boys only started coming out in the 50th minute and by then it was too
late to salvage the game," said Pahang coach Izwan Suhardi.
Perak, who beat KL 3-1 in the last pool match to deny Johor the semis
ticket, were overwhelmed 10-2 by the Aussies.
NSW AIS player Brendon Booth scored in the first minute and by the 12th
minute of play, NSW AIS were 5-0 up and everyone who walked into the
stadium were wondering aloud whether the scoreboard was functioning
NSW AIS practically camped in the Perak semicircle and today against KL,
they will be hard to stop.
"We will not give up, KL have the cream of the country and it will not
be good for the development of junior hockey if we lose tomorrow (today).
So the fans can expect my boys to give their all in the final to keep the
trophy in Malaysia," said Nor Saiful, the former Malaysian skipper.
Today - 3rd-4th placing: Perak v Pahang (3.30pm); Final: Kuala Lumpur v
NSW AIS (5.30pm).
KUALA LUMPUR ............3 PAHANG ................1
Azlan Misron (31st) Zulkifli Abdullah (48th)
Fairus Hamsani (58th)
Kamaruddin A Rahman (65th)
NSW AIS................10 PERAK .................2
Brendon Booth (1st) Riduan Nasir (58th, 65th)
Dane Petit (6th, 23rd)
Eli Matheson (8th)
Joel Reeves (10th, 12th)
Alex Hardman (38th, 68th)
Mathew Naylor (44th)
Darryn Booth 46th)

Perak outclass KL


DEFENDING champions Kuala Lumpur finally tasted defeat when they were
outclassed 3-1 by Perak in their final National Under-21 Group A match at
the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
KL and Perak finished the preliminary round with 15 points but KL,
thanks to a better goal difference, topped the table while Perak finished
second KL will meet Pahang in the semi-final while Perak will meet New
South Wales AIS in the other tie today.
Nobody expected Perak to beat KL. And right after the match, KL coach
Nor Saiful Zaini handed his players a tongue-lashing.
Now Perak have an outside chance of repeating the feat they achieved in
1999 when they lifted the title in Ipoh.
"I am very disappointed with the way they played today (yesterday).
Nothing went right for us because they did not play to form, especially
our experienced players Tajol Rosli and Azlan Misron," said Nor Saiful.
Perak coach P. Balachandran told his boys to forget about the pressure
of making the semi-finals, and play like they were in the final itself.
"Before the match, the statistics indicated that two other teams also
had the chance of reaching the semis if we failed, so I told them to treat
this match like it was the final and it paid off," said Balachandran.
The coach paid tribute to Fazreen Ehsan Kulub, Abbas Nekmat and Riduan
Nasir who had an excellent match yesterday.
"The three players were instrumental in our win today. Our goalkeeper
Mohamed Fitri also made some spectatcular saves and I hope they play the
same in the semis," said Balachandran.
Riduan Nasir of Perak cracked the KL goalmouth with a field goal in the
sixth minute, and before KL could settle down, B. Chandramohan increased
the lead.
KL reduced the gap in the 37th minute off a Tajol Rosli field goal but
they could not get their act together - with the post coming to Perak's
aid in the numerous penalty corners they received.
And Fazreen Ehsan Kulub sealed a place in the semi-finals with a 68th
minute field goal.
Pahang beat Negri Sembilan 1-0 in the last match of the day to confirm
their semi-final slot.
Pahang played one of the worst matches of the tournament and there was
hardly any exciting moves in the entire 70 minutes.
The Pahang goal was scored by Al Fadhir Kassim in the 40th minute.
JOHOR...........................9 ARMED FORCES..................0
Baljit Singh (11th)
Abdul Hafez Razak (20th)
Hamzaid Mokhtar (23rd)
Fikri Bassir (25th, 34th)
Noor Wahi Ismail (50th, 52nd, 64th)
S. Yogeswaran (68th)
PENANG..........................5 SELANGOR......................0
Fauzi Rahim (10th, 18th, 30th, 39th)
M. Yuvaraj (63rd)
PERAK...........................4 KUALA LUMPUR...................1
Riduan Nasir (6th) Tajol Rosli (37th)
B. Chandramohan (23rd)
Fazreen Ehsan Kulub (68th)
NWS AIS.........................5 PERLIS........................1
Dane Petit (19th, 47th) Amerullah Aziz (27th)
Mathew Naylor (53rd)
Joel Reeves (69th)
Eli Matheson (70th)
SINGAPORE.......................1 KELANTAN......................2
Ishak Ismail (41st) Hafriz Aliff Zaid (23rd)
Azuan Lewi (34th)
PAHANG..........................1 N. SEMBILAN...................0
Al Fadhir Kassim (40th)