Friday, August 1, 2008

A welcome break

The Blogger took some time off from hockey to welcome the latest addition to his family, Baljit Singh Randhawa on 28/07/08
The others in the family are Ranjit Singh Randhawa and Sanjit Singh Randhawa.




Ajitpal is the new boss

INDIA'S FINEST MOMENT came in Kuala Lumpur in 1975 when the team, led by Ajitpal Singh (pic) beat Pakistan 2-1 in the final.
NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s hockey bosses have fired chief national selector Aslam Sher Khan, three months after giving him the task of reviving the country’s national sport.
“We have appointed former Indian captain Ajitpal Singh as chairman of the selection panel,” Suresh Kalmadi, president of the Indian Olympic Association, said Thursday.
The IOA has been in charge of the sport since April after the men’s national field hockey body faced accusations of bribery against a key official.
Kalmadi said Singh was the unanimous choice at a meeting of the ruling five-member panel.
Singh was a member of the selection penal headed by Khan, while Khan was a member of India’s 1975 World Cup winning team that was captained by Singh. Former Indian captains Ashok Kumar, Zafar Iqbal and Dhanraj Pillay are the other national selectors.
Khan’s removal comes three weeks after leading Australian coach Ric Charlesworth quit his job as the squad’s technical director, saying the officials never specified the tasks he was supposed to perform.
Charlesworth, a former Australia captain, came to India last year as part of the “Promoting Indian Hockey” project.
India won six successive gold medals in the Olympic Games between 1928 and ’56 but has witnessed a sharp slump in recent decades, failing to qualify for the semifinals of six consecutive Olympics since 1984.
The eight-time Olympic field hockey champion India does not even feature in the lineup for this year’s Olympic competition in Beijing.

MHF welcomes input

By Ajitpal Singh

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will open its doors to relevant parties, including former national players to give ideas and feedback on measures needed to revitalise the game.
MHF secretary Hashim Mohd Yusoff said those who want to help hockey should submit their proposals to the federation."We will accept all proposals and discuss them.

"However, we are disappointed with the 102 former internationals for not speaking to us first," said Hashim at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
"We would have taken them seriously and considered their proposals.
"However, we are not holding any grudges as what's done is done and we must now look ahead.
"We are aware that several parties have received copies of the petition but as for now, we are prepared to work with these players, regardless what comes next.
"I heard they are interested to contribute through the grassroots and we welcome their ideas.
"The petition, signed by 102 former players, has already got immediate attention as Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob has ordered National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong to meet the former players.
Today, former MHF president, Sultan Azlan Shah will meet representatives of the 102 players while Sports Advisory chairman Datuk Wira Mazlan Ahmad, has scheduled a meeting with them on Monday.
Hashim said the MHF has not received any instructions from the Sports Ministry nor the NSC.
"I can't comment on the players' meeting with Sultan Azlan Shah and Mazlan. We will just wait and see," he said.
According to him, the MHF is already taking several pro-active measures to revive hockey, including the setting up of a three-man panel, headed by Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) deputy president Datuk Dr M. Jegathesan, to review the senior and junior teams performance since 2006 and also to give fresh ideas.
"All reports regarding the coaches' and players' performance and also documents on the country's coaching system since 2006 have been given to Jegathesan to review," he said.
Yang Siow Meng, a former MHF coaching committee chairman, is also on the panel while Jegathesan will decide on the third member soon.
Hashim said the panel's proposals will be tabled at the Aug 16 council meeting.Hashim also defended MHF's move to hand over the age group tournaments to the Malaysian Schools Sports Council
"What we are doing is collaborating with the MSSM. The idea is good as teachers will be more involved in coaching and umpiring.
"The former players said the situation was even more alarming as not only are the senior team struggling but also the age-group sides.
Meanwhile, Hashim confirmed that the police have not closed investigations on alleged match-fixing involving national players.
"The matter is now being investigated by Bukit Aman. We will assist the police but we have not heard from them yet."I believe several people associated with the case will be called up for questioning."

Save hockey, say 102 former greats

By Ajitpal Singh

ALARMED by the drastic decline of Malaysia's hockey fortunes, 102 former internationals have submitted a petition to Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak seeking urgent measures to check the rot.
In stressing that they are not blaming anyone for the state of the game, spokesman K. Enbaraj (pic) said all the former internationals are interested in is saving the game.
"The senior team's failure to qualify for the Olympics is bad but what makes the situation worse is that we are also struggling at the junior ranks," said former national skipper Enbaraj yesterday.
A copy of the petition, which was submitted to the Deputy Prime Minister's Office last Thursday, was made available to Timesport.
Among the 102 former players, consisting 37 Olympians, 29 World Cuppers, nine former national coaches, two former national team managers, 10 former captains, one former World XI player and 10 former Asian All-Stars players, who signed the petition were Datuk Ho Koh Chye, the Malaysian Chef-de-Mission to the Beijing Olympics.
Others include Datuk K. Yogeswaran, Mirnawan Nawawi, Nor Saiful Zaini and S. Kuhan.Copies of the petition were also handed to, among others, Sports Minister Datuk Ismail Sabri Yaakob, Sports Advisory Panel chairman Datuk Mazlan Ahmad, Olympic Council of Malaysia president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja'afar, National Sports Council director general Datuk Zolkples Embong and Malaysian Hockey Federation president Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor.
"While we agree that Malaysia has, in the past, failed to qualify for the Olympics and World Cup, the situation wasn't that severe as we always had good junior ranks."This goes back to the 1950s and 60s.
However, this is no longer the case as seen by the junior team struggling to hold Singapore to a draw (2-2 in the recent Junior Asia Cup).
"Even at the Under-16 level, we are struggling against the likes of Austria. Our fear is that if left unchecked, we could soon be struggling to win the Sea Games gold.
"Enbaraj said the major reason for this is that the grassroots have been neglected.In the two-page open letter submitted to Najib, the former internationals said this has been made worse by MHF's decision to abdicate its responsibilities in age group tournaments and the Champion Schools to the Malaysian Schools Sports Council (MSSM).
"We are willing to help revive the game and we appeal to the authorities to act quickly as while the damage is severe, it is not irreparable."

Muraleehrahan's last stand?

THE Razak Cup, which starts tomorrow, could be V. Muraleedharan's (pic) last assignment as national junior coach.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), disappointed with the juniors' performance in several recent tournaments, will sit on Aug 16 to decide on the new direction of the team in preparing for the Junior World Cup scheduled for June 7-21 next year.

MHF secretary Hashim Mohd Yusoff said pro-active measures will definitely be implemented to revive the team.
"We are not happy at all. I'm not sure if Muraleedharan's job will still be secure after the council meeting as his position as coach will definitely be discussed," said Hashim at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
"We have less than a year to prepare the players for the Junior World Cup."If new blood should be injected and coaches be replaced, then we will go ahead.
"The Junior World Cup will be co-hosted by Malaysia and Singapore.Muraleedharan, who was appointed juniors' coach last December, has been in the limelight for the wrong reasons.
Many have criticised the team's performance after the shocking defeats to Austria, Poland and Belgium in last month's Europe Tour.
The final straw came when the team drew 2-2 with Singapore at the recent Junior Asia Cup where they finished fifth overall.
Meanwhile, Hashim said Kedah, Pahang and Terengganu were fined RM500 each for pulling out from the Razak Cup.