Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Semis and classification fixtures


FRIDAY: Semi-finals: Australia v Germany (8pm, Johor), Netherlands v New Zealand (8pm, Singapore); Fifth-Sixth: Argentina v Pakistan (5.30pm, Singapore); Seventh-Eigtht: Spain v South Korea (5,30pm, Johor); 15th-16th: England v South Africa (5pm, Singapore).

SATURDAY: Nine-10th: India v Poland (8pm, Johor); 11th-12th: Malaysia v Belgium (5.30pm, Johor); 13th-14th: Japan v Egypt (5pm, Singapore); 17th-18th: Russia v Chile (8pm, Singapore).

RESULTS 17/06/09

RESULTS -- Group E: Spain 1 Argentina 4, Netherlands 1 Germany 1; Group F: South Korea 1 Pakistan 5, Australia 2 New Zealand 0; Group G: Belgium 6 Japan 2, India 9 England 0; Group H: Malaysia 2 Egypt 2, South Africa 4 Poland 5; Group I: USA 1 Chile 2, Singapore 3 Russia 4.




(1st to 8th Placing)

P W D L F A Pts
Holland 3 2 1 0 7 2 7
Germany 3 2 1 0 9 5 7
Argentina 3 1 0 2 6 7 3
Spain 3 0 0 3 4 12 0

P W D L F A Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 11 2 9
New Zealand 3 1 1 1 7 7 4
Pakistan 3 1 0 2 8 11 3
South Korea 3 0 1 2 5 11 1

(9th to 16th Placing)

P W D L F A Pts
India 3 3 0 0 20 2 9
Belgium 3 2 0 1 8 6 6
Japan 3 1 0 2 6 14 3
England 3 0 0 3 1 13 0

P W D L F A Pts
Poland 3 2 1 0 8 6 7
Malaysia 3 1 1 1 6 6 4
Egypt 3 0 3 0 5 5 3
South Africa 3 0 1 2 7 10 1

(17th to 20th Placing)

P W D L F A Pts
Russia 3 2 0 1 11 9 6
Chile 3 2 0 1 9 8 6
USA 3 2 0 1 8 7 6
Singapore 3 0 0 3 8 12 0

The Terry Walsh story

By S.S. Dhaliwal

Terry Walsh was a terror on the pitch during his days when playing for Australia. Having coached over the last two decades, Walsh is in a position to provide insights on the state of hockey at present. I caught up with Walsh during his stay in Johor Bahru for the Junior World Cup.

Question: Having seen some of the matches, what is your opinion on the quality of play in the JWC?

Terry Walsh: Due to the 2 venue format I have not seen all the teams play but as expected there is a significant variation in the level of play teams are exhibiting. For me the cultural variations exhibited by teams is more pronounced at the U/21 age group level than at senior level. The top level teams are producing performance levels which are impressive.

Question: Do you agree on the increased number of teams and the format of play?

Terry Walsh: There is no doubt that the overall growth of the game improves with 20 teams. However the complexities involved would seem to increase with 2 separate venues, naturally. The exposure for the teams outside the top 8 is a key issue for the development of our game globally. As we move forward the ability to see how a 2 pitch venue can handle this number of teams, or even more, is interesting to contemplate. Obviously the format for this tournament was driven significantly by climate parameters.

Question: The autoplay rule is to help speed up play, so does it really help?

Terry Walsh: This rule requires umpires to have a significant feel for the game as interpretation of appropriate usage is diverse. The physiological implications of this rule will gradually unfold but my sense is that this will become a key tactic in creating major tempo changes in matches. Ultimately this could lead us beyond the present physiological preparations for a tournament as teams endeavour to take a further advantage in the physiological edge. It is clearly an addition to the power options available to teams.

Question: What rule changes will you suggest to make the sport more spectator friendly?

Terry Walsh: Playing the ball above the shoulder is confounding. Why not permit danger to be the key factor in the receiving or playing of high balls? Conjecture as to the ball being above shoulder height at the point of reception in field play compared to legally saving a high ball from a goal shot seems unnecessarily confusing. My view is that our rules have moved away from black and white – indeed many are extremely ‘grey’. Creating ambiguity is confusing not just to spectators but also to players and I sense also for the umpires.
For the very top level I think we need to have a semi professional circuit of umpires.

Question: Having coached in Malaysia, and having kept abreast with its developments, where would you place Malaysian hockey 15 years after you left?

Terry Walsh: My sense is that Malaysia is now further from the top level of International performance. This is not enhanced with a disjointed approach to development. Quite frankly there needs some very tough administrative decisions made if there is to be success. There is a lot to be said for planning and implementing effective processes...but it won’t happen overnight. One wonders where the coaching development programs implemented in the early 90’s are today.

Question: Who do you pick to win the JWC or your pick for the last four?

Terry Walsh: Somehow I sense the New Zealand group will make it through. In the end I think they will join Holland , Australia and Germany. From there my reading of it would be that Australia’s exhibited power will be difficult to maintain in the end against Holland. Having said that the finals will bring something special. One thing is for sure, it will be very tight.

Question: What is your role in Fieldhockey USA?

Terry Walsh: My role is ‘USAFH Technical Director of High Performance’. My responsibilities are primarily to the direction and guidance of the International Programs at senior, junior and development level for both the women’s and men’s programs. USA hosts the Junior World Cup for Women in Boston during August this year while our senior National Teams vie for positions at the World Cups next year. We are pleased with our progress but the road in front of us is a very long one. However I see that USA can be a major contributor in the International scene, especially in the women’s program. We have plenty of numbers on the women’s side but it is clear our numbers must build on the men’s side as we only really have less than 30 players to choose from for the present Junior World Cup challenge.

Question: Will you consider a coaching position if approached for the 2012 Olympics?

Terry Walsh: My focus is now not in coaching a specific National Team. My role with USAFH is all encompassing and extremely challenging. Assisting to bring USAFH to the Olympic arena as a regular and consistent competitor in both the Women’s and Men’s programs is challenging and somewhat daunting. Our progression to date has been encouraging. I do understand this is a long term project but 2016 should see us be able to realistically assess our development. But in the end this project will continue to evolve.


MALAYSIA HOLD EUROPEAN CHAMPIONS SPAIN IN THE EARLY ROUND, with player No 10, Faizal Shaari, the hero...Malaysia has only lost 2-0 to South Africa and 2-1 to Poland so far, but still, will be playing in the 11th-12th classification match.

MHF must go clubbing

COACH S. Chandran, with 20 years standing in the sport to back him, has called for the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) to fast forward its plans to revive the club structure before an obituary is written for hockey.

MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah had, immediately after being elected, said in his speech that clubs would receive more attention, with even premises and hockey pitches thrown in, but not much has moved.

Chandran and Joseph de Silva pioneered the formation of Old La Sallian Association of Klang (OLAK) which went on to produce national players Amin Rahim, Redzuan Ponirin, Syayrim Uda Karim and Shaiful Azli.

And Electrical Switchgears Automation (ESA), under K. Kali Kavandan nurtured national players Jiwa Mohan, Jivan Mohan, Chua Boon Huat, K. Keevan Raj and K. Logan Raj.

And these are some of the players who took Malaysia into the final of the 1998 Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games.
While Olak are still in the fray but stuggling with funding, ESA folded up a long time ago, and with it, the talent support pool also dried up.

Chandran watched the Malaysia-South Africa match at the Taman Daya Stadium on Monday and is of the opinion that our best juniors are far behind the rest, even among Asian teams.

"I feel that after Bandar Penawar and Bukit Jalil Sports Schools were formed, hockey at club and state levels took a severe beating. Clubs were the backbone and Malaysia have the distinction of finishing fourth twice in the Junior World Cup, but in the last 12 years, we have been among the also-rans."

Malaysia were 12th in 2001 in Hobart, 10th in 2005 in Rotterdam, and ninth in Johor Baru.

"BJSS and BPSS have also killed off interest in the Junior Hockey League as clubs and states are reluctant to take part as they know that the sports schools will dominate as they have the best in the country with them," added Chandran.

"That is why I urge the Education Ministry to also have a re-look into its policy of having a sports school in every state. The idea was mooted many times, but has yet to take off. Only when every state has a sports school would the competition be among peers, and sport in the country will reach the desired level.

"Right now, I do not see a bright future for this present batch of juniors whose failures have always been blamed on coaches.

"Many coaches were removed before K. Rajan took over and now there is talk that even Rajan would be removed after the Junior World Cup as, the word is, MHF is keen to hire a foreign coach.

"The MHF must learn to trust its own coaches, who have been working with poor material to start with, but produced better results than the string of foreign coaches who have trained our players with little success," said Chandran.

And in summing up, he said: "The Education Ministry, states, and National Sports Council are working in different directions to nurture grassroots hockey. That is why the situation is so messy, and much money being spent with no results to show. All three bodies need to sit down with the MHF and work as a team, if not, we will soon be number seven in Asia, behind Singapore."

Goals order of the day

MALAYSIA will not only have to beat Egypt today but also go for goals if they want to play in the 9th-10th classification in the Junior World Cup.

On paper, Malaysia look the better side, but on the field, coach K. Rajan's team have been on a roller-coaster ride, and played well below their capabilities in the second round.

"They hit a bad patch against Poland, and I have a free day to work on them before playing Egypt. The African side have shown some progress, and even held Poland to a 1-1 draw," said Rajan.

"Which means we can't take them lightly, and will have to pile-up early goals to kill the match."

And even if Malaysia produce a stunning result against Egypt, they will have to rely on South Africa beating Poland, failing which, they will play in the 11th-12th bracket.
FIXTURES -- TODAY: Group E: Spain v Argentina (5.30pm, Johor), Netherlands v Germany (5.30pm, Singapore); Group F: South Korea v Pakistan (7.30pm, Johor), Australia v New Zealand (Singapore, 7.30pm); Group G: Belgium v Japan (5pm, Johor), India v England (5pm, Singapore); Group H: Malaysia v Egypt (9pm, Johor), South Africa v Poland (8.30am, Singapore); Group I: USA v Chile (7pm, Johor), Singapore v Russia (7pm, Singapore).

TOMORROW: Rest day.

Malaysia on waiting list to host 2010 World Cup

MALAYSIAN Hockey Federation (MHF) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah yesterday confirmed that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has placed Malaysia on standby to host the 2010 senior World Cup, as India is still struggling to get its federation back on its feet.

The FIH had given India an ultimatum to merge its men's and women's federations, and Hockey India was formed, but there are still teething problems to sort out.

"Yes, the FIH has placed Malaysia on standby to host the senior World Cup next year if India is unable to host it. I would like to make it clear that we are not out to steal the show from India, but if the FIH feel India can't host it, then Malaysia is ready to take over," said Tengku Abdullah after watching Malaysia beat South Africa 3-1 on Monday.

And Johor Baru has also been earmarked as a possible venue.

FIH president Leandro Negre will be in Johor to watch the final of the Junior World Cup, and he will be taken on a tour of the facilities at the Taman Daya Stadium.
"When Negre comes, we will show him around and I am sure he will agree that the Taman Daya Stadium can host the senior tournament as well. No decision has yet been made, and maybe Negre will shed some light when he arrives," added Tengku Abdullah.

It was reported in the Indian media that the Indian Hockey Federation and the newly-formed Hockey India decided to bury the hatchet and merge the men's and women's federations into Hockey India's fold on Sunday.

It is said that the two parties formed a six-member sub-committee to work out the merger within 45 days.