Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sarjit Defends His Boys

Malaysian skipper Azlan Misron (yellow) attacking the India goalmouth during the Azlan Shah Cup in May in Ipoh. India won 2-1.

NATIONAL hockey coach Sarjit Singh believes his players are innocent, and not involved in any match-fixing or bribery scandals as alleged by some quarters.
That is why Sarjit has also lodged a police report on Tuesday, after the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) lodged theirs.
Allegations of match-fixing, bribery, betting in the English Premier League and money-lending activities have been thrown at his players via anonymous e-mails, and then picked up by a local English daily, prompting MHF and Sarjit Singh to lodge police reports.
"First of all, I believe in my players and I’m confident that they are not involved in illegal activities. That is why I have lodged a police report (on Tuesday) against the news paper, the reporter, and also for the police to find out who sent the damaging e-mails," said Sarjit yesterday.
And until yesterday, the police have yet to call Sarjit or any of his players to investigate the matter.
"I and my players are open to investigation, and we will co-operate with the police when they need our help. There is nothing to hide, and nothing to fear.
"My only concern is to clear MHF’s and my players’ name, and bring to book those who have thrown these wild allegations to tarnish the good name of the sport," said Sarjit.
It is believed that police have started their investigations, as match-fixing and bribery are criminal offences.
"Three-quarter of this team has been training with me since before the (2004 Rotterdam) Junior World Cup, which means they practically grew from boys to men under me.
"I know all of them like the back of my hand, and that is why it saddens me when some quarters have thrown bad light on them.
"They (Players) are family, and are equally disturbed with the allegations, and eagerly await for the police investigation to reveal names of those who are out to tarnish their reputation," said Sarjit.

India deny fixing match

Two Sardars chasing Malaysian skipper Azlan Misron in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in May. Malaysia lost 2-1.

NEW DELHI (AFP): India’s field hockey coach Ajay Bansal yesterday played down reports that Malaysia deliberately lost a recent international, saying his team had won fair and square.
Malaysian police are investigating allegations that India’s 2-1 win during the Azlan Shah tournament in Ipoh in May was fixed following online betting by some members of the Malaysian team.
A newspaper said earlier this week that up to six Malaysian players wagered between 1,000 ringgit (313 dollars) and 10,000 ringgit on the outcome of match.
Bansal, whose young Indian team went on to play the final, said he was surprised at the allegations and refused to believe hockey matches could be fixed.
“When we played Malaysia, they had already lost three games and it was expected we would win the match,” Bansal told local media.
“It was a well-contested match and I never felt then that some of their players were under-performing. I don’t think anybody would play to lose a hockey match for the sake of money,” he added.
Indian field hockey official Aslam Sher Khan said he had not been contacted by either the International Hockey Federation (FIH) or the Malaysian authorities in regard to the allegations.
“We have got nothing to do with it,” said Khan. “It is quite clear that India or Indian players are (in) no way involved with whatever the allegations are.
“It is an internal matter of Malaysian hockey and I believe an inquiry has been ordered. I sincerely hope the truth comes out.”
The match, played on May 17, saw Malaysia miss several scoring chances after India led 2-0 by the 15th minute, the second goal coming through a penalty stroke.
The Malaysians scored their only goal in the final seconds of the match with a penalty corner.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation lodged a police complaint following a series of news reports which said some national hockey players were involved in match-fixing, gambling and money-lending activities.
This is not the first time an India-Malaysia hockey match has come under the scanner.
During the 1996 Olympic qualifiers in Barcelona, Canada cried foul after their hopes for a berth at the Atlanta Games were dashed when India and Malaysia split points in a key game.
The draw helped Malaysia edge out Canada, whose official complaint to the FIH was rejected.
India, eight-time Olympic champions, failed to qualify for this year’s Olympics for the first time. Malaysia also did not make the grade. -- AFP

E&Y A Defend Satgunam Cup

The late Satgunam’s wife Sarojini Devi presenting The Most Promising Player Award to Tenaga Nasional's S. Selvaraju.

ERNST & YOUNG ‘A’ (E&Y A) defended their title at the Second Satgunam Cup Six-A-Side Hockey Tournament at the Seremban Two Stadium on June 21-22.
The champions edged Tenaga Nasional 1-0 in a close fought final. E&Y A’s Chua Boon Huat scored the solitary field goal in the third minute to lift the cup.
In the semi-finals E&Y A beat E&Y B 3-2 while TNB edged Bandar Penawar Sports School 2-0. In the inaugural final last year E&Y A trounced TNB Thunderbolt A 4-0.
E&Y As coach, team manager and player Khairuddin Ghani said: “We have six players from the national team and we had targeted both our A and B teams to reach the final, but unfortunately met each other in the semis."
In the third placing play-off E&Y B defeated BPSS 4-1 for the bronze medal.
Negri Sembilan Hockey Association (NSHA) secretary Tamil Selvan Ponniah said, “This meet is held to remember the late S. Satgunam (former Malaysian Hockey Federation secretary) who passed away in 2004 at the age of 60.
“He was a teacher in SMK Seri Ampangan, SMK St Paul and SK Methodist ACS in Seremban.
“He was the former secretary of Negri Sembilan HA, MHF and Asian Hockey Federation who received the Federation of International Hockey (FIH) President’s Award in 2003.
“He mooted the national Junior Hockey League 14 years ago, which has produced countless internationals for Malaysia.
A total of 53 local as well as three teams from Indonesia’s West Papua competed in the Second Edition. The late Satgunam’s wife Sarojini Devi and daughters Malini and Dashini were the invited guests.