By Ajitpal Singh
'Van Huizen was rude to selected reporters and even had lambasted one during the press conference, in front of the international media and other team personnel, after the final.'
THE national hockey team played one bad game in the entire tournament and it cost them an automatic spot to the 2012 London Olympics.
And now, national coach Stephen van Huizen will need to go back to the drawing board to prepare the team for the Olympic qualifiers, which is scheduled next year.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) decided that only the Asian Games gold medallist gets a direct ticket to the Olympics, while the second to sixth placed teams play in three other qualifiers, which offers a spot each.
However, Malaysia could have avoided it if they were more adventurous with their game against Pakistan in the Asian Games final on Thursday.
The team were cautious in their approach and held back play, allowing the South Asian giants to easily win their first Asian Games gold medal since the 1990 Beijing edition.
A goal in each half from penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas and Rehan Butt ended Malaysia’s dream of Olympic qualification.
Credit, however, should be given to the team for reaching the final after being deemed no-hopers. Many had written them off after finishing eight in last month’s Commonwealth Games.
The team played well as a unit but they had their limitations. The truth is Malaysia lacked the imagination and flair, probably, because, they did not have players in their team who could to turn on the heat
The talking point here is that we have these players in our own leagues but they were left behind for various reasons including indiscipline.
National coach Stephen van Huizen and Co must seriously look into the team’s limitations before starting afresh for next year’s competitions.
“Pakistan deserved to win as they played better than us. It’s an honour to be part of the team that made it to the first Asian Games final, but now we need to go back to the drawing board and see how we could qualify for the Olympics,” said van Huizen at the Aoti Stadium on Thursday.
“Although, we lost, we got several chances in the match. It went well in the semi-final and the previous match against China. Though I am disappointed with the result, I feel very proud for my boys.
On Malaysia’s preparation for next year’s Olympic qualifiers, van Huizen said he will need to speak to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) on next year’s programme.
“Of course, the Asian Games was an easier route to qualify for the Olympics. It is not going to be easy now. The players will be released for the Malaysian Hockey League until prior notice,” said van Huizen.
Overall, the national hockey team defied the odds by doing well in Asian Games.
However, MHF should educate their national coaches to be etiquette during interviews and press conferences.
Van Huizen was rude to selected reporters and even had lambasted one during the press conference, in front of the international media and other team personnel, after the final.
It was true that the local media was critical on the team after their failure in the Commonwealth Games but as a professional coach, van Huizen should have conducted himself like a true gentleman.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Ashpal Kaur Bhogal has become the first Sikh-Briton female player to be selected in any of the England Woman's Hockey international programs.
Leeds Met Carnegie hockey Coach, Regional Performance coach and former elite player, Bobby Singh Bhogal has been single handily coaching Ashpal Kaur Bhogal, who is also his daughter, since the age of six.
Ashpal says she has "realized a dream in being selected for the England Under 16 squad to travel to Holland for the Four Nations tournament [in April]."
Ashpal, 15, is a Leeds based schoolgirl and currently a pupil at Boston Spa School Leeds. She made it through several months of rigorous assessment to earn her place in the 18-strong party. She has moved through the England Hockey's new single system process and has excelled at every age group.
Ashpal, who started playing senior Ladies hockey with Pudsey Leeds at age 9, now represents Harrogate Hockey Club Woman's 1st team and has been playing there since aged 13. She managed to retain her place in the national side after the provisional 30-strong squad was whittled down to 18 over the course of a three-month period.
Along with her 17 team-mates, Ashpal took part in a holding camp at Lilleshall at the end of March before flying out to the Netherlands on April 1. England faced Germany, Spain and hosts Holland during the five-day competition.
Coach Bobby Singh said "What she has done is inspirational and I cannot yet convey in words how proud our family is of Ashpal. To get to this point we started the journey 10 years ago and through sheer hard work, dedication, focus and commitment we are here today. Was it worth it? You bet!"
He added: "A significant part of our program was carried out using our exceptional facilities here at Leeds Met".
Ashpal's family members were originally refugees from Idi Amin's repression in Ugan. It is a family steeped in the game of hockey. She has been coached by her uncle Satvinderpal Singh Bhogal and, of course, her father - both elite players.
Bobby was an England representative at the European Indoor Hockey Championships in Prague in 2000. Today, Ashpal's father works as a hockey coach at the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education at Leeds Metropolitan University.
[Courtesy: Carnegie Sport and Fabian Hamilton, MP's blog]