Sunday, March 11, 2012

No need to be fussy, AHF

HOCKEY is a minority sport in Ireland, as real men and women play rugby, and also hurling.
Nobody here, save for a small group of hockey enthusiasts, know that Ireland are hosting the Olympic Qualifiers at the University College Dublin in Belfield.
But everybody is excited about the rugby six-nations tournament, and are eagerly awaiting for the Ireland-Scotland match to start.
The scots have also arrived in droves and wearing their famous kilts, were already in a party mood as early as 8am yesterday before the big match at night.
It is also surprising to note that the tournament is being held at a venue that only has one pitch. There is no second pitch for training and warm-up proposes which the International Hockey Federation (FIH) always insists when Malaysia bid to host international events.
The players dressing room is also a good five minutes walk away from the stadium, while the media centre is not facing the pitch, but a rock-climbing wall deep inside the UCD sports complex.
Back home, the Asian Hockey Confederation (AHF) are threatening to pull out the Junior Asia Cup, in Malacca from May 3-13, as they say the facilities at the Bukit Serindit Stadium are not good enough.
The Junior Asia Cup also doubles up as a qualifier for the 2013 Junior World Cup in New Delhi.
The Serindit stadium has two beautiful pitches, but still, the AHF insists that a grandstand roof must be put up, and two more dressing rooms and a media room be added.
AHF president Sultan Azlan Shah will be down in Dublin to watch the Qualifiers, and maybe, he should take an inspection of the UCD pitch and the facilities here before setting standards for AHF and also future FIH tournaments in Malaysia.