Friday, September 11, 2009

Room for only one bad hair day...

MALAYSIA will open against Austria in the World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill, New Zealand on Nov 7, and there is room for only one bad day.
Six teams will be involved in the Qualifier for the New Delhi World Cup next year, and the stakes have been set at winners take all.
Malaysia have classified New Zealand and China as their biggest hurdles, and will play the Kiwis midway, while China are the team's final fixture.
"It looks like an encore of the Japan Olympic Qualifier (for the Beijing Olympics), as we only have room for one bad day, while our last match against China might just decide if we play in the final the next day.
"There are plenty of rest days in between for recovery in this tournament, and we are looking at a top-two finishing, which will give us a shot at the gold medal," said team manager George Koshy.
In the Japan Olympic Qualifier, Malaysia needed to win and Japan a draw to play in the final against Germany. After taking a 3-1 lead, Malaysia crumbled and the match ended 3-3.
Germany went on to beat Japan, and then win the Olympic gold.
Meanwhile, South Korea have declined an invitation to play against Malaysia in a Three-Nation, and the plan now is to hold Test matches against Australia.
"I spoke to Australia today (yesterday) and they told me that they can only give an answer in the next few days. It would be good to play Australia in October, as we can learn much from them," said George.
WORLD CUP QUALIFYING FIXTURES -- Nov 7: China v Scotland, New Zealand v Wales, Malaysia v Austria; Nov 8: Scotland v New Zealand, Wales v Malaysia, Austria v China.
Nov 10: Austria v Scotland, Wales v China, New Zealand v Malaysia; Nov 12: Malaysia v Scotland, Austria v Wales, China v New Zealand.
Nov 14: Scotland v Wales, New Zealand v Austria, China v Malaysia; Nov 15: Final.

Seven Indian Tests for Canada

THE INDIAN CONNECTION: Punjabi Sikh field hockey players on the Canadian field hockey team with their pagris (turbans) during the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Pictured from left to right: Assistant Coach Nick Sandhu, Bindi Kullar, Sukhwinder Gabbar Singh, Ravi Kahlon, and Ranjeev Deol.

Field Hockey Canada (FHC) announced the hosting of the Seven Test Super Series against the Men’s National Team of India, to be played between 9 and 24 October in Victoria and Surrey, British Columbia.

The Indian team has a special place in the field hockey world, with an unmatched number of Olympic and World Cup medals. Matches involving the Indian team are always eagerly awaited by the fans around the world, and the next Hero Honda FIH World Cup organized in Delhi in March 2010 will be a spectacular competition played in front of large crowds.

Canada are the current Pan American Champions and holder of the Pan American Cup, beating on both occasions their arch-rival Argentina, and are automatically qualified for the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010. This series against the prestigious Indian opponent is part of the innovative training approach designed by Canadian coach Alan Brahmst.

“A 7-test series is certainly unique”, says Alan Brahmst, “and it offers us a framework in which to test some innovative approaches to competition. There are many benefits to leverage from such a series. In particular, we feel that we can trial and advance different tactical concepts over such a duration and also focus on shaping our team's mentality. We tested a new, collaborative approach to training in February that paid dividends. As such, we are always looking for methods that allow us to think differently and shift away from the status quo”.

Veteran player Paul Wettlaufer is enthusiastic about the preparation for the Hero Honda FIH World Cup. “In the past, our training was always restricted by limited budgets”, says Wettlaufer. “The current coaching staff has reversed the equation by working hard to secure the necessary funding, in parallel to their coaching duties. I have been on the National Team for 12 years now, and this is probably the most methodical and complete approach to prepare for a major competition”.

“Hockey is the National Sport in India, like soccer is in Brazil', says Jose Brasa, Head Coach of the Indian Hockey Team. 'It is amazing the huge quantity of people who follow the Hockey National team. This long series versus Canada, seven matches within three weeks making a simulation of the seven matches to be played in the World Cup, are an important part of our approach to the World Cup. This tour to Canada gives us the opportunity to face one the most promising teams that will be one of our opponents at the World Cup. Canada will be a difficult team to beat. They were the first team getting its qualification to the World Cup and that gave them the possibility to have a longer preparation for the Delhi World Cup.'

Team Canada Captain Ken Pereira is excited by the prospect of playing the Indian team in Vancouver. “A number of the Canadian players have their family roots back in India. We grew up in Canada watching tapes of the Indian games and of some of their top players. It’s very exciting to have a chance to play a series against them at home, in front of our families and friends”.

The games will be played on 9 and 11 October in Victoria and on 14, 16, 18, 21 and 24 October in Surrey. More detail on the location and time will be made available on the Field Hockey Canada website:

After this seven-game series against India, the Canadian Team will continue its preparation for the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 with a four-game test series against the USA (finalists of the recent Pan American Cup) at the end of October in Vancouver, and will wrap-up the year mid-December in Argentina with the Champions Challenge, an elite competition organized by the International Federation for the teams ranked 7 to 14 in the world.

Source: Field Hockey Canada