Sunday, November 13, 2011

Malaysia to play in Ireland?

THE International Hockey Federation (FIH) have decided to stick to India as one of the Olympic Qualifier hosts in and executive board meeting in Lausanne yesterday.
India hockey have been embroiled in a power tussle between two bodies, and the FIH had earlier snatched the Champions Trophy from them and awarded it to New Zealand isntead.
And it was also reliably learnt that the other two hosts are Ireland and Japan.
The Malaysian team, going by their 14th ranking in the World, should play in the Ireland Qualifier which is also expected to have South Korea in it.
India's only hurdle in the Qualifier is likely to be Canada, while In the Japan leg, Spain will be the major powerhouse.
The FIH will make an official stand soon, but it was reported in the Hindustan Times: "The decision (to allow India to host) to this effect was conveyed to sports minister Ajay Maken by FIH president Leandro Negre on phone from Lausanne, Switzerland. The Olympic qualifiers are scheduled from February 15 next year."
The FIH also, said the Hindustan, will recognise Hockey India (HI) as the national federation for the sport, as rival bodies have gone to court to stake their claim.

Olympic Qualifier stays in India

Ending the suspense over India's future in international hockey, the game's world governing body FIH on Saturday decided to conduct the Olympic Qualifiers in India next year and continue to recognise Hockey India (HI) as the national federation for the sport. In a major decision, the
FIH's executive board in Lausanne unanimously decided to conduct the Olympic Qualifiers and other major hockey events in India, a move which is bound to come as a relief for hockey lovers.
The decision to this effect was conveyed to sports minister Ajay Maken by FIH president Leandro Negre on phone from Lausanne, Switzerland. The Olympic qualifiers are scheduled from February 15 next year.
Maken expressed satisfaction at the decision to conduct the Qualifiers and termed it as a “suitable and logical conclusion” to the efforts that were made by the ministry, HI and the FIH.
With time running out for India to save the hosting rights of next year's Qualifiers, FIH had summoned HI to present its case before the world body's executive council on Saturday.
Paying the price
India had already paid the price for the long-standing power tussle between HI and Indian Hockey Federation over the governance of the game, with the FIH taking away hosting rights of Champions Trophy.
The FIH had also warned that India could be banned from international hockey if the issue of governance was not sorted out. HI was represented in the Lausanne meeting by its secretary-general Narinder Batra and vice-president Rajeev Mehta.
The FIH had made it clear that it was not in favour of two bodies.

Malaysia good for more gold

MALAYSIA ripped the form-book apart when they became champions of the inaugural Sultan of Johor Cup without two of their best strikers, and are now looking to romp away with the Junior Asia Cup title in Malacca in May.
The Project 2013 players made do without Faizal Saari and Firhan Ashaari, both in training for the Champions Challenge I in South Africa -- but will have them for the Malacca tournament which doubles up as a Junior World Cup Qualifier.
And after snatching the gold from Australia in a thrilling match, the Project boys now are in demand.
"Australia, India and Pakistan have requested for five matches each, and I will have to plan a schedule to fit their requests in the run-up to the Junior Asia Cup," said Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
And how does he see his side with the inclusion of Faizal and Firhan?
"It will be a much stronger side to complement my first-11 because in Johor, we did not have depth in the bench and I had to use some of my strikers and defenders for 70 minutes in most of the matches," said Dharmaraj.
And what went right in Johor?
"Malaysia had always had exciting forwards but were told to perform midfield as well as defensive duties as we tend to hold back in matches.
"All I did was told my players to go ahead and play their game, and the strikers did their job, and the same went for the midfielders and defenders.
"There was no need to fall back too much and chase the ball, which in the end tend to tire the strikers who had to double up as defenders like in basketball," said Dharmaraj.
And the goalkeeping department, which was a thorn in the side during their Tours of Europe and Oceania?
"Both my goalkeepers (Hazrul Faiz and Hafizuddin Othman) were well below the standard of goalkeepers in teams which we played in Europe and Australia and New Zealand during our Tours.
"However, they learnt by watching those goalkeepers play and also, more emphasis was placed on them in the last month and it paid off handsomely."
Hazrul was even named as the Man-of-the-Match Final as well
Best Goalkeeeper of the Tournament, and that speaks for itself.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahamd Shah went into the pitch and hugged the boys after they beat mighty Australia, and it should be inspiration enough for them to win more gold medals in tournaments to come.

Roll of Honour
Champion: Malaysia
Runners-up: Australia
Third: South Korea
Fourth: India
Fifth: Pakistan
Sixth: New Zealand

Man-of-the-match (final): Hazrul Faiz (Malaysia)
Best player of tournament: Fitri Saari (Malaysia)
Best goalkeeper: Hazrul Faiz (Malaysia)
Top scorer: Noor Faeez Ibrahim (Malaysia) – seven goals.
Fairplay Trophy: New Zealand