Saturday, July 4, 2009

A revamp from Revington

IRELAND players ready for battle.


(In Pool B, based on two warm-up matches with the Irish this week Malaysia should prove a big draw for neutral supporters. A 2-1 loss and a 2-2 draw belied some of the technical ability at hand and their penchant for a dramatically two-tempo game.
Their initially languid style tends to explode into life when the mood takes them with stick-skills which are a joy to behold. Seasoned internationals such as Boon Huat Chua and Kumar Subramaniam, but also includes eight players under the age of 23, two of which are teenagers).

AFTER six months in charge, Irish men’s coach Paul Revington is relishing the chance to finally get his charges into competitive action next week as hosts of the inaugural Champion’s Challenge II event.

Since officially taking the reins in January, Revington has been at the helm for Glendwyr and Celtic Cup successes but now gets his first opportunity to test his new side’s mettle on a fully-fledged ranking event.

His squad has changed dramatically from the one Dave Passmore took to New Zealand for the Olympic qualifiers 15 months ago - the last ranking event Ireland participated in.

With five senior retirements and two players looking into the possibility of playing for Great Britain seven of the changes are enforced ones while Phelie Maguire effectively ruled himself out due to his sojourn in Palestine.

Karl Burns, as such, is the only major name from the OQT panel to miss out in what is a new-look back four. Conor Harte and Joe Brennan’s ability to pick 70-metre passes has seen them elevated to their first major tournament while the immaculate Johnny Jackson should continue his progression, most likely at left-back.

Andy McConnell and Geoff McCabe are the newcomers in midfield, joining the experienced quartet of Shaw, Butler, Hobbs and Jermyn while up front young Leinster stars Alan Sothern (left) and Mitch Darling join the more established firepower of Mikey Watt, Eugene Magee and Timmy Cockram.

Japan are expected to be the front-runners in Ireland’s Pool A, although Poland – captained by Tomasz Dutkiewicz, their drag-flicking kingpin – could well be in the mix. Their side, many of whom are indoor experts, will aim to transfer their superb close stick skills to the outdoor form of the game. Chile complete the group, with 137-game veteran Felipe Montegu the man to watch.

Hockey India Chasing Shadows?

By S. Thyagarajan

Chennai: It is clear now that the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) is yet to receive any official communication from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) or any authorised unit about the creation and functioning of Hockey India.
Although there was a discussion among the top brass during the junior World Cup final at Johor Bahru, officials in the AHF are in the dark about the happenings here; apart from receiving details of the meeting held at Aamby Valley by units representing men and women State associations.
The consensus during the meeting, which included the FIH president Leandro Negre and vice-president, Tony von Andorza, was to wait and watch without reacting to the developments. The AHF’s viewpoint at that juncture was to treat the whole issue as India’s ‘internal matter’.
This being the scenario, the AHF secretary general, Tan Sri Alagendra, has expressed surprise over a fax message sent by Madhavan, secretary, Competitions Committee in the AHF, which the latter had as an email from advisor Anupam Ghulati.
The e-mail says “This is to inform you that Hockey India is the new national body for Men & Women hockey in India. You are requested to send all communications in future to us only.”
This e-mail has been forwarded to Mr. Alagendra and M. Ueda, chairman, Competitions Committee, by Mr. Madhavan with a terse note “Please see e-mail from Hockey India.”
Mr. Alagendra notes that “apart from this I have not received any official notification.”
He is understandably surprised why the e-mail was sent to the Competitions Committee and that too by an individual claiming to be an advisor and not by the secretary-general if HOCKEY INDIA has the sanction to function as the official unit to represent the nation in the FIH.
While the much publicised visit to India by Mr. Negre did not come through — the FIH sources claim there was no programme of his travel from Johar Baru to New Delhi — officials travelled to Melbourne to call on the secretary, Peter Cohen, reportedly indisposed.
Yet to happen
The meeting sought by IOA president, Suresh Kalmadi, with J.B. Roy and Armit Bose on the eve of the hockey units’ meeting in Aamby Valley is yet to take place despite the fact that the two had accepted the invitation and intimated the IOA chief to indicate the date and time for a discussion.
The duo, however, had a long meeting with the Union Minister of Sports and Youth Affairs, M.S. Gill, and detailed him on the meeting of the hockey units from across the country and the sentiments expressed during the meeting at Aamby Valley on June 15.
Is not everything getting curiouser and curiouser?

The Hindu