Monday, December 5, 2011

Negri Sembilan veterans the best

NEGRI Sembilan emerged champions of the National Veterans Hockey Tournament when they edged Perak 1-0 in the final held at the Hijau Kuning Sports Complex in Alor Star on Sunday
A total of 10 teams, a record of sorts for the championships participated in the tournament that was organised by the Kedah Hockey Association.
Prior to the final, a friendly match between Mahkota United, led by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation President Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah and a Kedah Veterans XI was held. The match ended in a 2-2 draw.
In the final a goal by former RMR player Balbir Singh in the 14th minutes was enough to seal the title for Negri who had the services of Mohamed Nor Hussain, Surinder Singh, Derek Fidelis and MHF vice president K. Gobinathan.
In the match for the bronze medal, Kuala Lumpur trashed Police 6-1 with goals from Prem Singh, Lt Col Inderjit Singh, Satvinder Singh, K. Murali and Harbinder Singh who netted a brace.
Police got their consolation via Adzli Abu Shah.
Negri had defeated Police 1-0 in the semi-final while Perak edged Kuala Lumpur 3-2 on penalty strokes after the match ended in a 2-2 draw.

Three months to rectify three problems..

By Jugjet Singh

The three elements needed now for the Azlan Shah Cup in February, and then the Olympic Qualifier on March 11-18 in Dublin are a strong minded-skipper who can rally his men to hold onto a winning lead, make sure with sitters, and don’t give away unwarranted penalty corners.

AFTER a roller-coaster show in the Champions Challenge I in Johannesburg, the Malaysian Hockey team will be in for the ride of their lives when they play in the Olympic Qualifiers in March.
In Africa, Malaysia played like they were in holiday in the first three group matches which saw them lose 3-1 to Canada, draw 2-2 with Japan and got clobbered 5-2 by Argentina.
But it could be due to the format of play, which guaranteed a quarter-finals slot for all eight-teams, irrespective of their group matches.
Malaysia placed all their hopes in that one quarter-finals match, and lost 5-4 to India after letting in a golden goal.
There was more classy play after that which saw them beat Japan 2-1, and then Poland 3-0 to finish fifth and claim the next ticket to the Champions Challenge I.
The most promising display was from 25-year-old Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, a product of the 2005 Junior World Cup coached by former skipper Sarjit Singh.
But sadly most of Tengku’s mates from that era have mostly vanished from the scene, and among those who are still donning national colours are Baljit Singh, Shukri Mutalib and Razie Rahim.
And to be fair, all three of them were only impressive in patches, and did not display their true potential, like Tengku, in any on the matches.
The biggest disappointment was defender Baljit, who has never failed to impress in all the previous tournaments with his never-say-die attitude, but in Africa, he was just going through the motions -- and gave away many easy turn-overs which troubled goalkeepers Roslan Jamaluddin and S. Kumar.
Amin Rahim, always can be relied to score off penalty corners in every tournament, was also not his usual self. He gave away more penalty corners as a flat-footed defender, than the three goals he scord in the Challenge.
Maybe in the Azlan Shah Cup in February, coach Tai Beng Hai should inform Amin to stay above the 25-yard line at all times, as his skills as a defender is surely lacking for him to be present in the semi-circle and give away penalty corners on a platter.
From the younger 2009 Junior World Cup brigade, Faizal Saari missed many crucial sitters in the early matches, but made up with three goals which helped Malaysia beat Japan and Poland.
The coach should train the immensely talented youngster with powerful drives, reverse and front, to hold back a little when he aims for the goal-mouth, as he lacks accuracy.
In the Dublin Qualifiers, which only offer one ticket to the London 2012 Olympics, missing sitters and giving away penalty corners should be at the very minimal level, unlike in Africa where the two crucial elements were aplenty.
If not, South Korea and Ireland as well as Russia, Chile and Ukraine would suddenly turn into unbeatable sides in the Olympic Qualifier.
The three elements needed now for the Azlan Shah Cup in February, and then the Olympic Qualifier on March 11-18 in Dublin are a strong minded-skipper who can rally his men to hold onto a winning lead, make sure with sitters, and don’t give away unwarranted penalty corners.
If this three elements can be nurtured in the next three months, this batch of players will not only qualify for the Olympics, but finish among the top-six in London next year.
But sadly, easier said than done...

Belgium in Champions Trophy

An ecstatic Belgium side celebrated a dramatic last-gasp victory over eight-times Olympic champions India in the final of the FIH Champions Challenge 1 in Johannesburg and are set to make their first ever appearance in the prestigious Champions Trophy.
Tom Boon put the icing on the cake for Belgium when he scored a last-minute winner after his side had mounted a magnificent second-half comeback, fighting back from 3-1 down to win an absorbing final.
Both teams treated a packed appreciative crowd to a high quality contest, filled with mesmerising skills, extraordinary goals and packed with drama right up until the final whistle.
It was billed as the battle between the two Australia-born coaches with Belgium’s Colin Batch getting the better of his compatriot Michael Nobbs. There is nothing the crowd appreciates more than attacking play and plenty of goal mouth action and the famed Aussie style went down a treat.
India’s clinical precision at the penalty corner saw them take a 2-0 lead and after the Europeans pulled one back in the second-half, Shivendra Singh restored his side’s cushion jinking his way along the by-line before scoring from a seemingly impossible angle.
But you simply had to admire Belgium’s never-say-die attitude and as they pushed forward relentlessly they scored three times in the final quarter to clinch the gold medal. For their heroic first-choice goalkeeper, David van Rysselberghe, who was side-lined after dislocating his shoulder in the semi-final, it was a moment to savour.

Best Player: Sandeep Singh (India)
Best Goalkeeper: David van Rysselberghe (Belgium)
Top Goalscorer: 8 - Justin Reid-Ross (South Africa) and Tom Boon (Belgium)
Fair Play: South Africa

Malaysia send protest note to FIH

By Jugjet Singh

Note: Hopefully, the other 17 teams in Olympic Qualifier groups will also send their displeasure to FIH. Especially, Qualifier hosts India, Japan and Ireland.

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) are peeved that their parent world body International Hockey Federation (FIH) have allowed Spain an automatic ticket to the 2012 London Olympics.
This fantastic scenario emerged after South Africa failed to qualify for the final of the Champions Challenge I, when they went down 4-2 to India in the semi-finals on Saturday.
South Africa had qualified for the Olympics by virtue of being the African continent champions, but their Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee had set the team a condition of playing in the final of the Champions Challenge I if they want to play in the Olympics.
And Spain had lost their European Qualifier ticket to Belgium, and had been slated to play in the Japan Olympic Qualifier in April, but a private deal will now see them play in the Olympics, while South Africa will play in the Japan Qualifier.
“This scenario is simply mind boggling, as this private deal was never communicated or circulated to all teams who will be playing in the Olympic Qualifiers in India, Ireland and Japan,” said MHF general manager Maninderjit Singh.
And immediately after the deal was known to Maninderjit, he sent an e-mail to the FIH , whose president Leandro Negre is from Spain, asking for justification and clarification.
Part of the e-mail to FIH read: “As you remember that I also wrote an e-mail protesting why Oceania were given two slots with only two teams playing in the Oceania Cup (Fiji pulled out prior to the event).
“I suggested that second placed team in the Asian Games (Malaysia) and the second placed team in Oceania play a best of three matches to decide the slot.
“The answer I received from you (FIH) was that the mechanism is been endorsed between International Olympic Committee and FIH and any changes could not be made or else we may face legal challenges. What about this scenario now?”
MHF are of the opinion that Egypt, the second placed team in the African qualifier, should be give the ticket instead of Spain.
Also, Malaysia want answers why the slot was given to Europe, and not Pan-America or Asia. And Maninderjit also suggested, in his e-mail, that the three Olympic Qualifiers offer four tickets to the Olympics, with three going to the respective champions, and the fourth to the best placed team -- instead of handing it on a platter to Spain.

Belgium 4 India 3

Final Standing FIH MCC1: 1. BEL 2. IND 3. RSA 4. ARG 5. MAS 6. POL 7. JAP and 8. CAN.