Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Argentina, Chile and US in 2009 Junior World Cup


Argentina maintained their stranglehold over hockey in the western hemisphere on Sunday night with a 3-0 win over Chile in the 2009 Junior Pan American Hockey final at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua.
The Pan-American qualifiers for the 2009 Junior World Cup, which Malaysia and Singapore will co-host are Argentina, Chile and USA.
As officials signalled the end of the contest, Argentine players whipped off their tops and waved them overhead and danced on the turf before setting off on a lap of honour. They capped their celebrations with a slide on their chests-not a trick for the fainthearted on Astroturf. And yet, despite their exuberance, they have only ever known success at this level. There have been nine Pan American under-21 tournaments and Argentina won every one. Their obsession with winning, matched with their technique and ball movement, should not be quickly forgotten by the host nation, whose own representatives finished seventh.
Chile were second in the past two successive tournaments and looked worthy contenders but they struggled to match the fluidity of their South American neighbours and, by the second half, were clinging on grimly.
Chile restricted Argentina's penalty corner opportunities and then swarmed specialist Leandro Tolini when he did get a chance from the set piece. But they could not stem Argentina's flow from open play as Augustin Mazzilli scored in either half and Santiago Montelli chipped in one, four minutes before the interval.
Earlier, the United States won their first medal in the history of the competition as they shocked Canada 6-5 on penalty strokes after a 2-2 draw in regulation time.
The US, who beat Trinidad and Tobago to a semi-final spot, will now advance to the Singapore 2009 Junior World Cup alongside Argentina and Chile.
Canada scored first through a Taylor Self penalty corner in the 14th minute but the US replied, four minutes later, with a Will Holt penalty corner. Holt put US ahead, four minutes from time, only for Sebastien Scheurer to equalise within seconds to send the game into extra time. In the end, it was the "Yankees" who held their nerve from the penalty spot.
In the showcase fixture, Chile had the first opportunity as Argentine goalkeeper Federico Bermejillo produced a brilliant save to deny Martin Rodriguez. But the Chilean defence became increasingly stretched by their opponents' movement and Mazzilli eventually broke clear to finish after a return pass from Alan Andino in the 29th minute.
It was 2-0, two minutes later, as playmaker Montelli ventured forward to finish after a quickly taken free hit from Nahuel Salis.
Argentina were winning penalty corners by then but Tolini, who was adjudged the tournament's best player and top scorer with 14 goals, could not find a way past Chile custodian Alfredo Mella who was well protected by his ball attackers. But Mazzilli gave the defending champions further insurance after another forward charge.
It was the prelude to a party.
Earlier on the USA clinched the crucial World Cup spot, with a hard fought 4-3 penalty-strokes win over Canada after both teams battled to a 2-2 draw at the end of regulation (70 minutes) and extra-time (15 minutes).


Final: ARGENTINA 3 (Alejandro Mazzilli 29th, 66th, Alan Gabriel Andino 66th) vs CHILE 0.

Third Placed: CANADA 2 (Taylor Self 14th, Derrick Norton 67th) vs USA 2 (Will Holt 18th, 66th field goal). USA won 4-3 on penalties.

Final placings: 1. Argentina; 2. Chile; 3. USA; 4. Canada; 5. Mexico; 6. Barbados; 7. T&T; 8. Puerto Rico; 9. Brazil; 10. Jamaica; 11. Guyana.

Player of the Tournament: Leandro Tolini (Argentina)
Most Goals: Leandro Tolini (Argentina) 17 goals -16 penalty corners)
Best Goalkeeper: Kevin Segeren (USA)
Fairplay Trophy: Guyana

Big battle for deputy president's post

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) deputy pres ident’s post will see a keen four-corner fight on Nov 1, as there were no withdrawals when the deadline ended yes terday.
In fact, two deputy president nominees pulled out their vice-president’s nominations to concentrate on the number two position.
Tengku Majid Sultan Iskandar, the incumbent deputy president, will be challenged by three-term vice-president Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema, two-term vice-president Nur Azmi Ahmad and newcomer Ken Pereira.
Azmi and Ken Pereira, however, will be going for broke as they withdrew their veep nominations, while Dr Cheema still holds his veep card.
Former international Poon Fook Loke also pulled out of the veep race, which will now see eight candidates battling for four positions.
“Although the deadline for withdrawing from elections is today (yesterday), candidates can still pull out on the day of the elections,” said MHF secretary Hashim Yusoff, who was also not challenged for another term.
Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah became the new MHF president when nominations closed on Nov 25, and incumbent Tan Sri Admiral (rtd) Anwar Mohd Nor withdrew, leaving no challengers for the No 1 post.
Penang HA secretary Ranjit Singh chipped in with advise for the delegates when casting their votes on Nov 1.
“I hope the delegates will select the best available, and keep in mind that some incumbent made many promises before the last elections but delivered nothing.
“Keep in mind the funds promised, sponsorship of hockey sticks, RM5,000 to each state, and subsidies if elected which were used as carrot to win votes, but in the end, nothing was delivered and the MHF is in worse state than before,” reminded Ranjit.
The MHF have only RM20,000 in their coffers and are in debt to a tune of RM1.1 million. The hockey team is also a lowly ranked 15th in the world, and those elected for the next term have their work cut out right after they are declared winners on Nov 1.
Then there is the 2009 Junior World Cup which Malaysia and Singapore will co-host, which is still at an infant stage of planning.
NOMINATIONS -- President: Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ah mad (13).
Deputy President: Tengku Majid Sultan Iskandar (incum bent, 5), Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema (1), Nur Azmi Ahmad (6), Ken Pereira (1).
Vice-Presidents: Datuk Sri Che Khalib Mohamed Noh (incumbent, 12), Datuk Dr S.S. Cheema (incumbent, 7), Datuk Rahim Mohamed Ariff (incumbent, 10), Datuk Salamon Selamat (3), M. Gobinathan (5), Johari Abdul Aziz (1), DSP Mohinder Singh (1), Majid Manjit Abdullah (2).
Automatic Vice-presidents: Sabah -- Datuk Ramilee Mara haban; Sarawak: Datuk Bustari Yusof.
Secretary: Hashim Yusoff (12).
Treasurer: S. Sanjilatheeban (incumbent, 11), Abdul Rah man Shariff (1).