Saturday, October 31, 2009

China stamp their mark 13 times

OLYMPIC silver medallists China whipped Singapore 13-0 in Group A of the Seventh Women’s Asia Cup at the Queen Sirikit Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
And India also stamped the mark in Group A when they steam-rolled Thailand 15-0.
Malaysia, who beat Thailand 3-0 in their first match, will face mighty China today, and if they don’t tighten their defense, a double digit score can be expected.
RESULTS: Group A: China 13 Singapore 0, India 15 Thailand 0; Group B: South Korea 10 Hong Kong 0, Japan 20 Sri Lanka 0.
TODAY: Group A: Malaysia v China, Singapore v Thailand; Group B: Hong Kong v Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan v South Korea, Taiwan v Japan.

Watch out for Michael Korper

THE Malaysian hockey team left for Invercargill, New Zealand last night on a journey which is paved with more misery than joy.
For starters, their opening match against Austria on Nov 7 will depend on how many penalty corners they give away, and then how they defend it against Austrian top flicker Michael Korper.
Korper was a thorn in Malaysia’s flesh in the June Champions Challenge II in Ireland.
For those who have forgotten, Malaysia could only beat Austria 3-2. The Malaysian goals were scored by Kelvinder Singh, and two from Amin Rahim.
Korper scored both the goals for Austria off penalty corners.
And the fact that Malaysia gave away an average of nine penalty corners to Australia in the Five-Test series is itself a big worry for their fans.
In Ireland, Malaysia played Austria in the opening match, and it will be encore in Invercargill, only the score remains a mystery.
FIXTURES: Nov 7 -- Malaysia v Austria; Nov 8: Malaysia v Wales; Nov 10: Malaysia v New Zealand; Nov 12: Malaysia v Scotland; Nov 14: Malaysia v China.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Keep the score down, ladies...

The Dutch women celebrate beating China 2-0 in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
Malaysia will face the mighty Great Wall on Sunday in the Seventh Asia Cup in Bangkok.

NATIONAL women’s hockey coach Yahya Atan will adopt a defensive strategy to minimise goals when they meet China tomorrow (Sunday) in the Seventh Asia Cup at the Queen Sirikit Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
After beating the hosts 3-0, the Malaysian women will face Beijing Olympics silver medallists China tomorrow, and a win is out of the question.
In Beijing, the Chinese women were edged 2-0 by Nether lands, for their first gold after 24 years.
RESULT: Group B: Taiwan 0 Hong Kong 0.
01/11/09: Group A: China v Singapore, India v Thailand; Group B: South Korea v Hong Kong, Japan v Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan v Taiwan.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Malaysian women beat hosts 3-0

RESULTS: Group A: Thailand 0 Malaysia 3, India 13 Singapore 0.
Group B: Japan 10 Kazakhstan 0, South Korea 17 Sri Lanka 0.

THE National women’s hockey team beat Thailand 3-0 in their opening encounter in the Seventh Asia Cup in Bangkok, Thailand yesterday.

The tournament offers two berths to the World Cup in Argentina next year, while the third-fifth placed teams will play in a qualifier.
And Malaysia are looking at the fifth spot, as realistically, they do not have the depth to challenge Japan and China.
Yesterday, Norfarahana Hashim scored off a penalty cor ner in the seventh minute off a penalty corner attempt. Juliani Din then made it 2-0 with another penalty corner attempt in the 24th minute.
A field goal from Norbaini Hashim in the 53rd minute, gave Malaysia a comfortable win over the hosts.
However, the Malaysian players are expected to face a torrid time when they meet China on Sunday, after a two-day rest.
Group A: China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand.
Group B: Taiwan, Hong Kong, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Sri Lanka
Today: Group B: Taiwan v Hong Kong.
Tomorrow: Group A: China v Singapore, India v Thailand; Group B: South Korea v Hong Kong, Japan v Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan v Taiwan.
Pic of Pakistan; John Vino.

(FIH) The first Worldhockey Men’s World Cup Qualifier starts Saturday in Lille, France, with 6 teams fighting for a single ticket for the Hero Honda FIH World Cup 2010 scheduled next March in Delhi, India. While Pakistan are the overwhelming favourites to reach the winner-take-all final next Sunday, host France have prepared well for this event and could create some surprises.
France, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Poland and Russia will be trying to join the nine teams already qualified through the Continental Championships, and the last two teams who will be qualified through Qualifiers 2 and 3, in New Zealand and Argentina, later in November.
Pakistan is the top ranked team in this competition (7th in the FIH World Rankings) and they are the logical favourites. They have never missed a World Cup and have stood four times on the highest step of the podium. With a stunning average of 123 Caps per player and twelve players with World Cup and Olympic experience, they are by far the most seasoned team! If Pakistan do not qualify for the 2010 World Cup, the news would shake the hockey world as much as the non-qualification of India for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
On the other hand, since their last honours in 1994, they have slid away from the podiums and have had to battle to be considered a top contender again. In Beijing, they produced a lacklustre performance, finishing only 8th, and, at the recent Asia Cup, they lost in the final to Korea.
Coach Shahid ALI KHAN has called back legendary penalty-corner specialist Sohail ABBAS who, at 34 and with 273 Caps to his name, will aim at participating in his... 4th World Cup, since his debut in 1998 in Utrecht.
Next in the FIH World Ranking is Japan (14th). They came very close to qualifying for the 2008 Olympic Games, but were unlucky that Germany (World Cup holders and future Olympic Champions) were drawn in the same Qualifier (in Kakamigahara) after they finished a surprising 4th place at the Euro competition in Manchester.
This seemed to negatively affect the Japanese team progression, and they since have had very modest results, including a very disappointing 6th place at the Asia Cup and a 5th place at the recent Champions Challenge II, behind Poland (1st) and France (3rd), who are contenders in the Lille Qualifier. Japan will line-up in Lille as the youngest of the six teams, with an average experience of only 25 Caps and two international rookies.
France is not far behind Japan in the FIH World Rankings (17th) and have worked hard to prepare for this event at home. They openly expect to reach the final next Sunday, and then hope that the home crowd will be enough of a factor on the last day to further upset the hierarchy in the ruthless winner-take-all Final!
Coach Scott GOODHEART has put his team through an intense series of preparation matches. They finished a credible 6th at the 2009 Euro Hockey Championship, keeping their spot in the Elite category for the next European competition, and a respectable 3rd at the recent Champions Challenge II in Ireland, after beating Russia (5-3) but losing to Poland (1-3), both participants in Lille. Scott GOODHEART has selected a good mix of youth and experience. Behind veterans Frédéric SOYEZ and Mathieu DURCHON, the average number of Caps is 50 and only three players have played less than 10 international games.
Poland could very well be the dark horse in this competition. Ranked 22nd in the world, their recent results have been inconsistent. They had a superb win at the recent Champions Challenge II in Ireland, in front of 3 of the other contenders in the Lille Qualifiers (France, Japan and Russia), but soon after finished only 8th (and last) at the 2009 Euro Hockey Championship, sadly relegating them down to the European Trophy next time around.
They will line-up the oldest team in Lille (average age of 25.5) with plenty of experience despite their three international rookies. Four players were at the 2002 World Cup and eight were involved in the EHL recently with the two Poznan teams, including penalty-corner expert Tomasz DUTKIEWICZ, the charismatic, tough tackling defender who has a habit of scoring important goals for club and country, and was named Player of the Tournament at the Champions Challenge II.
The Polish players are usually extremely fit and, on a good day, can surprise any team. Their opening day match against host France could very well be a key match in the competition!
Russia, ranked just behind Poland in the World Rankings (23rd) is also another enigma for the opposition, producing irregular results but often performing well when it counts. They finished a modest 6th at the Champions Challenge II, but 2nd at the EuroHockey Trophy, winning their promotion to the top tier next time around.
At the 2008 Olympic Qualifier in Chile, they were called at the last minute to replace Bangladesh. They arrived with low expectations, having just finished their indoor season in the rough Russian winter, but, despite the intense Chilean heat and their abysmal world ranking (45th at the time), they managed to transfer their strong indoor experience to the larger field, beating the host team in a crucial game and cruising to a surprising 3rd place!
They arrive in Lille with a fairly young team, and we will need to wait for their first game against Japan to get an idea of what they are capable of producing.
Originally a reserve country, Italy were called upon after the surprise withdrawal of Egypt (ranked 21st in the world). They only finished a modest 7th at the recent EuroHockey Trophy and are coming to Lille with a very inexperienced team. Twelve players have ten Caps or less, including a total of only 4 Caps between their two goal-keepers.
The action gets underway on Saturday October 31 at the Lille Metropole Hockey Club in Lambersart. In theory, this opening day should see a predictable victory for favourites Pakistan against Italy, but the other two games, Japan vs. Russia, followed by France vs. Poland, could dictate the momentum for the rest of the competition for these four teams.

RM100,000 from Gary Player tourney

By Jugjet Singh

THE Charity Golf In Honour of Gary Player at the Mines Resort and Golf Club yesterday raised RM100,000 even though it was cut short by torrential rain.

The Gary Player Foundation received RM20,000 from the total, while RM80,000 will be distributed to selected rural schools in Sarawak.
New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd CEO Datuk Anthony Bujang, Datuk Shahril Shamsuddin, the president and CEO of the Sapura Group, and former Inspector General of Police Tun Hanif Omar were the privileged trio who played with the golfing legend.
New Straits Times Press contributed RM25,000 to the Foundation.
"It was a great feeling to be on the same flight with a legend like Gary Player. His foundation has raised a lot of money for the underprivileged children of the world," said Anthony.
"The man is full of energy at 74, and he spoke mostly about good values, health and many other topics which mesmerised our flight."

(From left) New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd CEO Datuk Anthony Bujang, Mines City founder Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew and golfing legend Gary Player pose with a mock cheque after the Charity Golf In Honour of Gary Player at the Mines Resort and Golf Club yesterday. — Pic: Mohd Yusni Ariffin
(From left) New Straits Times Press (Malaysia) Bhd CEO Datuk Anthony Bujang, Mines City founder Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew and golfing legend Gary Player pose with a mock cheque after the Charity Golf In Honour of Gary Player at the Mines Resort and Golf Club yesterday. — Pic: Mohd Yusni Ariffin

A total of 57 golfers took part in the nine-hole event, and after the prize presentation two drivers, autographed by Player, went under the hammer and another RM25,000 was collected for the Foundation.
Initially, only one driver was auctioned off but keen bidding by Freiberg (Malaysia) managing director Lim Chai Huat and Shahril, took the starting bid of RM2,000 to RM12,000.
This was when Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, the founder of the Mines City, came up with a brilliant idea to double the donation.
"I see that two people are very interested in the autographed driver, so we will give another autographed driver for RM10,000 to Datuk Shahril (his last bid), and one to Lim for RM12,000. And to round matters up, I will donate another RM3,000 to take the total to RM25,000," said Kim Yew.
Player said: "It is indeed a great day for charity, and my favourite question in functions that I attend is to ask people if their children go to school by car? Have a house to live in? A clean sheet to sleep on? And three meals a day?
"And then I tell them that millions of children around the world do not have any of the above. My small foundation has raised US$25 million (RM86 million) to date to help the poor children to have some basic amenities."
"My great dream, after winning all that can be won in golf, is to try and effect the lives of 200 million youth worldwide. With help from the media, I want to get the message across to them that the body is a holy temple, so look after it and you will be able to contribute more to the country and society," Player added.

Nicklaus predicts boom in Asia

By Jugjet Singh

LEGENDARY golfer Jack Nicklaus feels that the game in Asia has received a tremendous boost after it was included in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.

Nicklaus, in Malaysia for the Asia Pacific Golf Summit, said while he missed out on an Olympic medal, the present generation will benefit from its inclusion.
"I see a great movement in China and India, as well as Russia who are traditional gold medallists in Olympic sports," said Nicklaus yesterday.
"Now, there will be more government funding for golf in these countries which have large populations but a small golfing fraternity. And I see more people taking up the sport with the funding, and ultimately, golf will be the winner."
The movers and shakers of the golf industry are in Kuala Lumpur for a two-day conference on how to spur the growth of the sport in the Asia Pacific region.
While the selection process is yet to be announced by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Nicklaus hopes it will not eliminate the fun by selecting only the top-60 in the world.

Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus is in Malaysia for the Asia Pacific Golf Summit. — Pic: Aizuddin Saad
Legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus is in Malaysia for the Asia Pacific Golf Summit. — Pic: Aizuddin Saad

"The idea now is to have 60 men and 60 women golfers in the Olympics but how they will be selected has yet to be decided," added Nicklaus.
"I guess rankings will play a big role, but to take the top 60 in the world and play another tournament will not serve the purpose of developing golf around the world.
"My opinion is that the top 30 in the world should be selected, while the remaining 30 will be qualifiers from regional tournaments.
"This way, outsiders will also have a chance to play for an Olympic gold."
Nicklaus holds the distinction of winning 18 major titles in his career, the last being the 1986 US Masters at the age of 46, thus becoming the tournament's oldest champion.
"Today, I am more into designing golf courses than playing as I don't like scores of 75-80. Also, my grandchildren post better scores than me now," quipped Nicklaus.
But on a more serious note, Nicklaus said Asian golfers will catch up and soon may have five players in the world's top-10.
"I see a major growth here (in Asia) and my business of designing courses is basically 90 per cent in this continent," he said.
"In the near future and with the push that the Olympics provide, I believe Asia will have maybe five players in the top 10 bracket."

Malaysia set sights on No 5

7th Women’s Asia Cup
Bangkok, Thailand – 29 October to 8 November 2009

Pool A: China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand.
Pool B: Chinese-Taipei, Hong Kong, China, Japan, Kazakhstan, South Korea, Sri Lanka


Date Match No Time Pool Pitch Match
Thu 29 Oct 2009 1 14:00 B 2 Japan v. Kazakhstan
2 16:00 B 2 Korea v. Sri Lanka
3 16:30 A 1 Malaysia v. Thailand
4 18:30 A 1 India v. Singapore

Fri 30 Oct 2009 5 09:00 B 1 Chinese-Taipei v. Hong Kong.

Sat 31 Oct 2009 6 14:00 B 2 Korea v. Hong Kong,
7 14:30 B 1 Japan v. Sri Lanka
8 16:00 A 2 China v. Singapore
9 16:30 A 1 India v. Thailand
10 18:30 B 1 Kazakhstan v. Chinese-Taipei

Sun 1 Nov 2009 11 14:00 A 2 Malaysia v. China
12 14:30 B 1 Hong Kong, China v. Sri Lanka
13 16:30 B 2 Kazakhstan v. Korea
14 16:30 A 1 Singapore v. Thailand
15 18:30 B 1 Chinese-Taipei v. Japan

Mon 2 Nov 2009 Rest Day

Tue 3 Nov 2009 16 14:00 B 2 Hong Kong v. Kazakhstan
17 14:30 B 1 Sri Lanka v. Chinese-Taipei
18 16:00 A 2 India v. China
19 16:30 B 1 Japan v. Korea
20 18:30 A 1 Singapore v. Malaysia

Wed 4 Nov 2009 21 14:00 B 2 Sri Lanka v. Kazakhstan
22 14:30 B 1 Chinese-Taipei v. Korea
23 16:00 B 2 Japan v. Hong Kong
24 16:30 A 1 China v. Thailand
25 18:30 A 1 Malaysia v. India

Thurs 5 Nov 2009 Rest Day

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Weaknesses identified in Aussie Test series

THE five test matches against Australia exposed major weaknesses in the Malaysian defence, and there seems to be no leader to take control of the midfield.
The forwards are as blunt as ever and this could spell disaster at the World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand on Nov 7-15.
Malaysia are in the same ship with New Zealand, China, Austria, Wales and Scotland in the Qualifiers, and only the gold medallists advance to the New Delhi World Cup next year.
And if Malaysia and China fail to win the gold in Invercargil, and Pakistan and Japan fail in Lille, France, then only South Korea and India will represent Asia in the World Cup.
“I have selected the best in the country, and we have been working to achieve the gold target set by the MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation).
“The five matches against Australia have shown me what my team are capable of.
“It will not be easy playing New Zealand at home, and also the other European teams but we have as good a chance as the other five teams,” said coach Tai Beng Hai.
Australia scored a total of 16 goals, while Malaysia were on target eight times in the five matches.
And considering that both Australia and Malaysia were experimenting with their teams, the statistics are not too bad, but the penalty corners and shots at goals will surely give the coach sleepless nights in the weeks leading to Invercargill.
Australia won an average of nine penalty corners in every match, while their shots at goal averaged to about 20.
“We missed many penalty corners because the runners were fast and Malaysia had a good defence battery, but against a team with a good flicker, the scores would be disastrous,” said Australian coach Richard Charleswor th.
Malaysia were guilty of giving away penalty corners too easily, and Beng Hai has very little time to rectify this problem.
“I experimented by rotating defenders and trying out new combinations and probably that is why the defence was porous because of this.
“But it also showed me the best combination, and that is what the five matches were held for in the first place,” said Beng Hai.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pakistan fly out to Lille on a prayer

If Pakistan and Japan fail in France; China and Malaysia fail in New Zealand, then only South Korea and hosts India will represent Asia in the 2010 World Cup.

By Khalid Hussain.

KARACHI: Hopes were high as Pakistan’s hockey squad flew out of Lahore for Paris in the early hours of Sunday to launch its campaign in the World Cup Qualifiers getting underway in the northern French city of Lille from October 31.
Pakistan — record four-time world champions — who have never missed a World Cup since its inception in 1971 are facing a do-or-die situation after coming agonisingly close to winning a direct berth for the 2010 World Cup to be played in New Delhi from February 28-March 13.
The Greenshirts could have made the cut for the World Cup by winning the Asia Cup in Malaysia last May but lost in a close final against Korea, who won a ticket to New Delhi.
Now the Pakistanis will have to win the six-nation Qualifiers in Lille which feature Japan, Poland, Russia, France and Italy to confirm a World Cup spot.
Pakistan won the inaugural World Cup in 1971 (Spain) before clinching three more titles in 1978 (Argentina), 1882 (Bombay) and 1994 (Australia).
Their preparatory plans for the Lille assignment received a major blow when they had to cancel a warm-up tour of Europe last month due to visa delays. They had planned to play eight matches in Poland, France and Belgium but had to scrap the tour after being told by the French authorities that they will take their time before processing the team’s visa applications.
However, there was finally some good news for the Lille-bound squad, when the French authorities issued a visa to young forward Abbas Haider on an urgent basis.
Pakistani officials were left looking for a replacement when it was learnt that Abbas — who returned home after playing professional hockey in Europe — needed a visa for the Lille assignment. Abbas’s German visa was due to expire on October 30, a day before the start of the Qualifiers.
Team officials had spotted Sibtain Raza as a possible replacement for Abbas but were relieved when the youngster was issued a French visa.
“It’s quite a relief for us,” Shahid Ali Khan, the Pakistan coach, told ‘The News’ on Saturday. “Abbas is a pretty good player and we will need him in Lille,” he added.
Pakistan are scheduled to arrive in Paris early afternoon and would be leaving for Lille right away.
“We will be in Lille tomorrow evening and will be carrying out a series of training sessions there over the next five days,” he said.
According to the training schedules provided by the organisers, Pakistan will train daily from October 26 till their tournament opener against minnows Italy next Saturday.
Shahid said that the team officials will try to line up a couple of warm-up matches with some of the participating teams.
“Our biggest task is to acclimatise with the cold conditions in Lille,” said Shahid, a former Olympian who has been told that northern France is already freezing under an early winter this time of the year. “That is why we really want to play a couple of practice matches before the start of the tournament.”
Shahid said that his team is confident of winning the title in Lille and confirm a place for the World Cup. “We are leaving with high hopes and I’m confident that the team will not disappoint hockey fans back home,” he said.
A total of 15 players left for Paris from Lahore early Sunday while the other three — Wasim Ahmed, Rehan Butt and Salman Akber — will join their teammates directly in Lille Sunday night. The trio has to feature in their league matches in Holland on Sunday and will leave for Lille after featuring for their respective clubs.
PAKISTAN: Zeeshan Ashraf (captain), Salman Akbar, Nasir Ahmed, Sohail Abbas, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Irfan, Waseem Ahmed, Sajjad Anwar, Fareed Ahmed, Mohammad Rashid, Rehan Butt, Shakil Abbasi, Haseem Khan, Abbas Haider, Akhtar Ali, Waqas Sharif, Shafqat Rasool, Mohammad Zubair. Asif Bajwa (manager), Shahid Ali Khan (coach).

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tampin-born Kumar gets Ric boost

Malaysian reserve goalkeeper S. Kumar (right) hugs Nasihin Nubli after Malaysia beat England to win bronze in the 2006 Melbourne Commonwealth Games. Today, Kumar is among the best in the world. Photo: Getty Images.

THE Malaysian hockey team drew 2-2 with Australia in their final Test yesterday, and coach Tai Beng Hai named three Junior World Cup players for the World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand.
Faizal Saari 18, Marhan Jalil 19, and Ahmad Kazamirul 21, will be representing Malaysia in the Qualifier on Nov 7- 15.
Malaysia lost three matches 3-1, 5-1 and 3-1, and drew 3- 3 and 2-2 in the Five Test series which was used by Beng Hai to name his final-18 for the Qualifier.
Leading the charge will be 30-year-old Madzli Ikmar, who was named as skipper, and 30-year-old goalkeeper S. Ku mar.
Kumar, a seasoned campaigner, received a timely boost when Australian coach Richard Charlesworth said: “Kumar is among the best goalkeepers in the world, and his ex perience will count in the Qualifier.”
“I am among the handful of experienced players in the team, and the Australian coaches’ encouraging words is surely a boost leading to the Qualifier.
“What I am today, is a product of hard work put in by former national coach Paul Lissek. It will not be easy in New Zealand, but I will give my best,” said Kumar.
Beng Hai played five Junior World Cup players in the final Test yesterday, and surprisingly, the youthful squad man aged to match the Australians.
Australia took the lead off B. dancer in the 11th minute, only to see Malaysia level the score in the 14th minute off an Amin Rahim penalty corner flick.
Beng Hai’s men then took the lead off Azlan Misron, who tucked in the ball off a penalty corner set-piece in the 47th minute.
However, D. Guest nailed the equaliser in the 53rd minute to deny Malaysia their glory hour.
However, while praising the Malaysian goalkeeper, Charlesworth also sent in a warning: “We has 25 shots at goal, and 12 penalty corners (in the Fifth Test) and only scored two goals.
“But in the Qualifier, Malaysia can’t afford to give away so many chances to their opponents, especially those who have good penalty corner flickers.”
MALAYSIA: Goalkeepers: S. Kumar (30 years old), Khair ulnizam Ibrahim (25); Defenders: Madzli Ikmar (30), Amin Rahim (29), C. Baljit Singh (22), Jiwa Mohan (29), Ahmad Kazamirul (21).
Midfielders: Shahrun Nabil (24), Sukri Mutalib (23), Kelvinder Singh (24), Nabil Fiqri (22), Jivan Mohan (26), Marhan Jalil (19).
FOrwards: Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (23), Razie Rahim (22), Faizal Saari (18), Azlan Misron (26), S. Selvaraju (24).

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Fourth Test: Mas 1 Aust 3

Jason Wilson (pic), 21, a Queensland Blades open striker, scored 13 goals at the 2009 AHL tournament.

Malaysia 1 -- Mohamed Amerullah (36th, FG)

Australia 3 -- Glen Turner (16thPC, 35th FG), Jason Wilson (41st, FG).

MALAYSIA blew four sitters, while Australia scored three gift goals to snatch a 3-1 win in the Fourth Test at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Malaysia are involved in a Five-test series with Australia to prepare for the World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand on Nov 7-15.
The score now is Australia with three 3-1, 5-1 and 3-1 wins, while Malaysia held them to a 3-3 draw in the Third Test.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Winning combination, not win

NATIONAL hockey coach Tai Beng Hai is looking for a winning combination, rather than a win in the five test series against World No 2 Australia.
Malaysia lost the first test 3-1, the second 5-1 and held the Aussies 3-3 in the third test in Kuantan on Thursday.
Today, the Australians will be looking to seal the series with their third win at the Tun Razak Stadium, while Beng Hai will continue experimenting leading to the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand on Nov 7-15.
The shifting of players' positions and trying out younger aspirants are necessary, as Beng Hai shuts the door on the experienced players that he dropped from the training squad.
"I am happy with what I have and will not recall players who have withdrawn and those who have been dropped from the training squad for the qualifier.
"We must look forward as there is not much time leading to our most important target which is the qualifier," said Beng Hai.
The coach's stand has firmly closed any avenue for appeal from Ismail Abu, who withdrew from training after he was caught playing truant from weights training.
"I will place my trust on those who have been training diligently for the qualifier, otherwise I will be sending the wrong signal, by condoning indiscipline," said Beng Hai.
Australia are in the midst of preparing for the Champions Trophy in Melbourne on Nov 28-Dec 6. However, they are in Malaysia without nine first choice players, and out of the 22, 12 have less than 20 caps.
"I know that the fans are looking for a win but I can't afford to push my players to the limit so close to the qualifier.
"I am worried about players picking up injuries, and as I have said before, the five matches are a great avenue for me to test borderline cases, and if we secure a win in the process, it will be an added bonus," said Beng Hai.

FOURTH TEST 24/10/09: Malaysia v Australia (5.30pm, Tun Razak Stadium).
FIFTH TEST 25/10/09: Malaysia v Australia (5.30pm, Tun Razak Stadium).

Pakistan confident of Lille gold

PIC: Pakistan players at the 15th Doha Asian Games in 2006.

The Squad selected for Lille is: Zeeshan Ashraf (captain), Salman Akbar, Nasir Ahmed, Sohail Abbas, Mohammad Imran, Mohammad Irfan, Waseem Ahmed, Sajjad Anwar, Fareed Ahmed, Mohammad Rashid, Rehan Butt, Shakil Abbasi,Haseem Khan, Abbas Haider, Akhtar Ali, Waqas Sharif, Shafqat Rasool, Mohammad Zubair.

ISLAMABAD: National Hockey team coach Shahid Ali Khan as well as two other former stars Wednesday sounded confident of record four-times winners Pakistan’s chances in the upcoming World Cup qualifying tournament in France, though all three of them cautioned the national team against repeating past mistakes.
The three of them—Shahid, Shehnaz Shaikh and Hassan Sardar- -said the team would need to produce its best form to win the qualifying tournament and thus seal a place for the final round of the World Cup to be played at New Delhi, India in February-March next year.
Only the winner of the October 31-November eight qualifying tournament at Lille , France will win a ticket for the final round for which nine teams have already qualified.
International Hockey Federation is holding qualifying tournaments in France and also in New Zealand and Argentina with winner of each competition to advance to the final round in New Delhi.
Coach Shahid Ali Khan said that a sound strategy has been devised for the upcoming qualifying round, adding the team will adopt an aggressive style.
Talking to media, he said, ‘I see no reason for our team not to win the tournament, but there is no room for mistakes.’
Shahid Ali Khan said, ‘our performance in matches will show how much we have succeeded in checking our mistakes,’ adding that focus is also being laid on strong defense and variation in penalty corner drills during the training session.
Meanwhile, former Olympian and coach Shehnaz Sheikh expressed his optimism about the performance of team in the qualifying round.
He told APP that competition is pretty tough in qualifying round as each team will want to join top 12 teams for the World Cup.
Shehnaz Sheikh said that both physical and mental strength will be necessary as the team will play in freezing temperature of around 4°C.
‘Historically we haven’t performed well in colder climates so it will be a real test of endurance.’
‘The Pakistani players attack in ‘diagonal’ fashion—a style which not only yields goal scoring opportunities for opponent teams, tends to exhaust the players faster.’
Chief Selector Pakistan Hockey team, Hassan Sardar said his team has capability to easily win qualifying round and thus book a berth for the World Cup.
‘It is a talented team with a combination of senior and young players, and has the potential to overcome any team,’ said the leading goal-scorer of his time.
He said, teams like France, Russia and Poland play in conventional European style which, ‘can create problems, but Pakistani team can beat them.’
It may be recalled that Pakistan failed to seal an automatic place for in the final round of the World Cup after it lost to South Korea in the final of Asia Cup earlier this year.
Pakistan have won record four World Cup titles—1971 in Spain, Buenos Aires, Argentina (1978), Mumbai (1982) and Sydney (1994).


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Malaysia hold Australia 3-3

By T.N. Alagesh

AFTER conceding three goals in the first half, Malaysia staged a late comeback to hold Australia 3-3 in their third Test at the Indera Mahkota Hockey Stadium in Kuantan yesterday.

The heavy downpour during the match did not dampen the players' spirits as Malaysia pushed forward in the final minutes and Jivan Mohan scored off a goalmouth melee in the 68th minute to draw level.
The national team, who lost the previous two matches, looked to be heading for a third defeat when Australia captain Liam De Young gave the Champions Trophy bound side the lead in the 13th minute when he scored from close range.
Two minutes later, C. Ciriello scored off a penalty corner setpiece with a rising flick and Fergus Ravanagh, who collected a long pass from the centre of the field in the 31st minute, scored past Mohd Abdul Hakim, who was making his debut in the Malaysian goal.

Malaysia’s Mohamad Sukri Abd Mutalib (left)   tries to stop Australia’s C. Ciriello  in their third test at the Indera Mahkota Hockey Stadium in Kuantan yesterday. The match ended 3-3.   Pic:  HALIM MAT ALI.
Malaysia’s Mohamad Sukri Abd Mutalib (left) tries to stop Australia’s C. Ciriello in their third test at the Indera Mahkota Hockey Stadium in Kuantan yesterday. The match ended 3-3. Pic: HALIM MAT ALI.

The national team hardly had a decent opportunity to score in the first half, and Malaysian Hockey Federation president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah must have been unimpressed.
When the match resumed, Malaysia launched several raids and their efforts paid off in the 38th minute through Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin.
The hardworking Mohd Razie Abd Rahim then scored from close range in the 53rd minute.
Jivan then completed the comeback with his effort two minutes from time. National coach Tai Beng Hai said the players had executed their tactics accordingly and managed to play their normal game after failing to do so in the previous two matches.
He said the draw was a good sign that the team were on track and the test matches are the platform for the players to prove their worth on the pitch.
"The players have another two matches to impress me and I hope the rotation system deployed for the matches gives all players, especially the young ones, an opportunity to play.
"The players were too eager to attack in the first half, and this gave the Australians the opportunity to hit three goals but they followed my instructions well in the second half," he said.

Two minutes on the bench for Green Card

(FIH release) The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has approved a variation to the rules in relation to the penalty for a green card in the forthcoming ABN AMRO Champions Trophy 2009 in Melbourne, Australia and the three Men’s World Cup Qualifiers 2009.
The following variation to the Rules will form part of Appendix 6 of the Tournament Regulations for these tournaments only:
WorldHockey World Cup Qualifier men, Lille (France) – 31 October/08 November 2009
BDO World Cup Qualifier men, Invercargill (New Zealand) – 07-15 November 2009
BDO World Cup Qualifier men, Quilmes (Argentina) – 14-22 November 2009
ABN AMRO Champions Trophy men, Melbourne (Australia) – 28 November/06 December 2009
Green Card – Two Minute Suspension
For any offence, the offending player may be warned (indicated by a green card).
Where a green card is issued the offending player is temporarily suspended for two (2) minutes.
Temporarily suspended players must remain in a designated place until permitted by the technical officer on duty to resume play.
During the period of temporary suspension of a player, the team plays with one less player.
The umpire immediately restarts the game after the issue of the green card.
The offending player must leave the field immediately. If the player interferes with play on the way to the designated place the umpire further penalises the player under the normal conduct of play provisions.
The two minute temporary suspension commences when the player is seated at the designated area.
The timing of the suspension is controlled by the technical officials on duty at the technical table.
This variation to the Rules of Hockey was approved by the FIH Office Bearers to be used at the men’s World Cup Qualifiers 2009 and the men’s ABN AMRO Champions Trophy 2009 following a proposal from a working party comprising the Chairs and Secretaries of the Hockey Rules Board, Competitions Committee, Umpiring Committee and the Chair of the Athletes Panel. In addition, the Competitions Committee at its recent meeting in Lausanne endorsed the trial of this rule variation.

Tough for Dharma's boys

FIXTURES: Nov 11: Malaysia v Sri Lanka; Nov 12: Malaysia v Taiwan; Nov 14: Malaysia v Myanmar; Nov 16: Malaysia v India; Nov 18: Malaysia v Pakistan.

MALAYSIA have been grouped with India and Pakistan in the Second Boys Under-18 Asia Cup, in Yangon, Myanmar on Nov 11-22.
The other teams in Malaysia’s group are Taiwan, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. In Group B are Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh.
Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj is perplexed with the groupings, which has made the task of reaching the semi-finals that much tougher.
“I am surprised that India and Pakistan are in the same group with us, and I believe the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have asked FIH on what basis the groupings were done.
“It will be a tough tournament for us, as India and Pakistan are well known to be strong in age-group tournaments,” said Dharmaraj.
The gold medallists in Yangon will earn a ticket to play in the Youth Olympics in Singapore next year.
India hammered Uzbekistan 7-0 in the first edition, as they were powered by a team which won the Junior World Cup in Tasmania the same year.
“We should not have any problems playing the first three matches, and I believe if India and Pakistan register under-18 players, then we will have a fair chance
India are serious about eradicating overage players and have conducted wrist x-rays to determine the age of players who turned up at their selection camp.
Interestingly, in the first selection Indian Hockey Federation sent home 48 players out of the 53 picked up for the Asia Cup camp as they were found overage when put through digital bone x-ray tests.
Dharmaraj will also field Faizal Saari, even though the player will only be available for the last match against Pakistan after finishing his obligation with the senior side in the World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand from Nov 7-15.

Ric's two-cents worth listening to

By Ajitpal Singh

AJITPAL’S World Cup Qualifiers Team: S. Kumar, Khairulnizam Ibrahim, Amin Rahim, Jiwa Mohan, S. Selvaraju, Madzli Ikmar, Faisal Saari, Sharun Nabil, Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Jivan Mohan, Razie Rahim, Kelvinder Singh, C. Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Nabil Fiqri, S. Baljit Singh, Marhan Jalil.

AUSTRALIA coach Richard Charlesworth has warned Malaysia to treat all teams, regardless of their ranking, with respect in next month's World Cup Qualifiers in Invercargill, New Zealand.
"No doubt, New Zealand will be the team to beat in the Qualifiers but Malaysia should not underestimate China, Austria and Scotland as they are very good teams," warned Charlesworth.
"Malaysia should beat Wales but they must be careful of the other teams. As from the two test matches, the Malaysians are talented and if they can convert all their penalty corners then they can beat any team in Invercargill."
Charlesworth said the Malaysian team have the ability to beat New Zealand.
"They should take each match seriously and focus on qualifying for the final. In my experience, anything can happen in a final," he said.
The Australian team played to test matches with Malaysia, winning both 3-1 (Tuesday) and 5-1 (Wednesday).
"The score line in the second test match looks overwhelming but the fact is the Malaysians made us struggle for the victory. They are fast but unfortunately they did not score goals.
"I am also quite surprised that Malaysia had scored only one penalty corner from six attempts. They are normally very strong in set-pieces. Maybe they are not using it here," said Charlesworth, who is in the midst of finalising his squad for the Champions Trophy (Melbourne, Nov 28-Dec 6).
Charlesworth also stressed that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) should look into increasing the number of teams for the World Cup.
"It is ridiculous that next year's World Cop would only have 12 teams. In my view, the World Cup should be a 16-team tournament. It's really silly to have 12 teams when there are at least 20 good teams around," he said.
"I don't like the system. Australia have qualified for the World Cup and we want to win it."
Meanwhile, Malaysia coach Tai Beng Hai has indicated that his players who played in the Asia Cup and Champions Challenge II, will be the ones most likely to make the squad for the Qualifiers in New Zealand.
A total of 19 players from the training squad of 25 were featured by Beng Hai in the recent two test matches against Australia.
The coach is expected to finalise the World Cup Qualifier final 18 after the fifth test match on Sunday.
Malaysia will face Australia in their third test match in Kuantan today.

Malaysia clueless and pathetic

CLUELESS and pathetic display by the Malaysian hockey team.
This best describes Malaysia's performance in their 5-1 drubbing by Australia in their second test match at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
And if the Malaysian team continue to play like this then they can forget about making an impact on the World Cup Qualifiers in New Zealand on Nov 7-15.
The only option now is for coach Tai Beng Hai to recall some of the seniors he had dropped for the Qualifiers.
Yesterday, a fragile Malaysian defence led by Madzli Ikmar Mohd Nor, let in three goals in the opening 10 minutes.
Glen Simpson gave Australia the lead in the second minute before Gleen Turner's brace in the ninth and 10th minutes.
In the second half Australia added two more goals through Mark Peterson (57th) and Simon Orhard (69th).
Defender Amin Rahim scored from a direct low flick off a penalty corner in the 66th minute for Malaysia.
Overall, the Malaysian team were in shambles and could have lost by a bigger margin if not for Australia's poor finishing.
The Malaysian team earned five penalty corners and only converted one.
Beng Hai said the heavy defeat had no bearing as it was only a simulation match ahead of the Qualifiers.
"We are testing tactics and some of the younger players. We tried out players in different positions. The game plan did not work as we let in three early goals," said Beng Hai yesterday.
The coach added that the three early goals stopped him from giving junior player Ahmad Kazamirul a chance to earn his first cap.
"The strikers did better than in the first match as they earned five penalty corners. Scoring one out of five is not bad against a good team," he added.
Malaysia play Australia in their third test match in Kuantan tomorrow.

Aussies win first Test

By Ajitpal Singh

AN under-strength Malaysian hockey team were beaten 3-1 by an experimental Australian side in their first test match at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
Malaysia started the match without first choice goalkeeper S. Kumar, midfielder Jivan Mohan and forward Kelvinder Singh who were on Deepavali break,
Their absence gave coach Tai Beng Hai the opportunity to test fringe players. Second choice goalkeeper Khairulnizam Ibrahim gave a good account of himself with several splendid saves despite playing behind a leaky Malaysian defence.

Malaysia’s T. Ahmad Tajuddin (right) is chased by an Australia player in their friendly match at Tun Razak Stadium yesterday. Australia won 3-1. Pic: MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN
Malaysia’s Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (right) is chased by an Australia player in their friendly match at Tun Razak Stadium yesterday. Australia won 3-1. Pic: MOHD YUSNI ARIFFIN

The Malaysian strikeforce, led by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin could hardly create goal scoring opportunities. They only earned one penalty corner in the match.
It was evident that the absence of Ismail Abu and Chua Boon Huat has affected the team's frontline.
Australia, without eight first choice players, were in total command throughout the match.
Glenn Turner was Australia's hero when he scored a double -- in the 16th and 65th minute. The visitors' other goal was by David Guest in the 49th minute.
Malaysia replied through S. Selvaraju's field attempt in the 32nd minute.
Beng Hai, who is using the test matches to gauge the team's performance ahead of the World Cup Qualifier in New Zealand on Nov 7-15, said: "Performance-wise, my players did well and I am confident they will improve in the next few matches.
Malaysia will face Australia in their second test match at the same venue today (6pm).

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

RM1.5 million kiss on Cheek

THE much troubled Malaysian Professional Golfers Association (MPGA) was firmly buried yesterday when Sports Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek paved the way for a new professional outfit to be established with RM1.5 million grant.

For starters, RM1 million will go towards starting a golf academy, while RM500,000 will be used to kick-start at least 12 tournaments beginning next year.
"The Sports Ministry is serious about solving the problems faced by professional golfers in the country, and we will help start the ball rolling by starting a teaching academy.
"I would personally like to see at least one tournament a month, with a prize money ranging from RM100,000 to RM300,000, being played," said Ahmad Shabery at a forum attended by more than 100 golfing enthusiasts yesterday.

Ahmad Shabery said a new professional outfit will be established with RM1.5 million grant.
Ahmad Shabery said a new professional outfit will be established with RM1.5 million grant.

The new association, yet to be named, will be modelled along the lines of the Australian PGA.

Also, the court cases and suspension of players by the previously suspended MPGA were finally put to rest.
A council will be selected soon to run the new association for three years with the Sports Ministry having a big say on appointing the chairman.
Members will be selected from touring professionals, vocational professionals, club owners, golf industry and corporate leaders and the Sports Ministry.
"The composition of the council has a two-fold purpose. Firstly, it is to reach out to the whole golf industry and secondly, to ensure the council has no one group of people who can seize control of the new body," said ad hoc committee chairman Datuk Thomas Lee.
The proposed constitution provides for the playing and vocational professionals to have their own separate divisions run by their own councils, but supervised by the main council.
After the minister left, the floor was opened for discussion, and the gist was that the pros wanted a body which can run tournaments for them, is transparent with no politicking or people with personal interests.
The resolutions were adapted at the forum, and the ad hoc committee was dissolved.
The new committee will be appointed soon and an announcement on the playing calendar for next year will be made in December.
Formed in 1975, the MPGA has been embroiled in a bitter dispute which saw local tournaments drying up, and golf became an unpleasant four-letter word in the industry."We will have to work hard to re-establish confidence among the pros, sponsors and the golf industry, as well as the public," added Lee.
"And with the direct involvement of the Sports Ministry, which is a first itself, I am sure our task has been made much easier and pro golfers can start earning a decent income from next year onwards."

Pro golf needs kiss of life

Family joy: Ben and his father N.C. Leong posing with the Worldwide Selangor Masters trophy. in 2008. MPGA has failed to provide support to players like Ben. – Pic By S.S. KANESAN

SPORTS Minister Datuk Ahmad Shabery Cheek holds the key in his keynote address today (13-10-09) to give a kiss of life to professional golf in Malaysia.
Nothing but mouth-to-mouth resuscitation is needed today from the minister to bring to life an almost dead Malaysian Professional Golfers Association (MPGA), and the ad-hoc committee are keeping their fingers crossed.
“The Sports Minister will open the forum and we hope that among others, he will pledge money from the government to kick-start the revival of the MPGA.
“We need to take a strong stand, and start afresh, the present MPGA does not have any money, assets or direction to benefit pro golfers in the country,” said The MPGA ad hoc committee chairman by Datuk Thomas Lee.
The ad-hoc committee has forwarded their suggestions to the Sports Minister and the plan is to forget all past issues, wrangles, and the dead-ends be forgotten, and MPGA starts with a fresh mandate.
All those who are interested in pro golf have been invited to attend the forum, and if the resolutions are adapted, the next step will be to is to amend MPGA's constitution, and start afresh with professionals running the show, said Lee.
Among the issues that will be discussed in the forum are to appoint, not elect the first MPGA council, to run pro golf for the first three years.
The ad-hock committee has recommended that the MPGA be run by professionals who have interest in the sport like golf clubs, equipment suppliers, professionals in the business world and playing as well as teaching professionals.
The ad hoc committee will also recommend that, since the MPGA coffers are now dry, that the government sponsors at least four tournaments, which cost RM100,000 each, to kick- start the association.
Another suggestion is that the MPGA have two divisions - one for tournament pros and the other for vocational pros. Each will have its own council, but they will be answerable to the main MPGA council.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Selangor Hockey League

By Selangor HA

A total of 6 matches were played in week 2 of the Selangor Hockey ending Sunday. In the midweek Division 2 game between Selangor Polis Veteran & JUPEM, it was a closely fought battle with JUPEM edging out as 3-2 victors.
On Saturday Division 1 matches, JLJ, after their opening game hiccup, got back on the winning side trashing Selangor Sikh Association 9-0. Mohd Hanip proved to be lethal both in Penalty corner conversions as he got his hat-trick thru them, and as he raised his tally to four goals through a field goal in the 55th minute. Other scorers were Mohd Szuhairi 33rd & 37th minute Mohd Rahmie 37th, Farish 53rd & Nor Fadzeu adding the 9th goal on 70th minute.
OLAK got on to a winning streak as they came from behind to snatch a victory in a closely fought match against MBPJ. OLAK being 2 goals down at one point came back to win 3-2 and collect all 3 points. MBPJ started off strongly taking control of the match and deservedly went ahead on the 7th with a well taken field goal by Abdul Jalil.
Umpire Selvakumar and veteran Umpire K.Thillynathan, kept a tight control of the match, had flashed a total of 7 cards (4 Green & 3 yellow) in this fast paced, exciting tactical match that had the crowd on the edge of their seats.
Leading at half time MBPJ doubled their lead as Abdul Jalil once again converted a field goal to give MBPJ a 2-0 lead on the 42nd minute. OLAK battled back as Pragesh Ramachandran slammed in a well executed flowing move on the 49th minute. Both teams continued to attack each other’s goal mouth and on the 52nd minute Umpire Selvakumar awarded a penalty stroke to OLAK after a deliberate infringement by the MBPJ keeper Mohd Razali. Nur Hrsikesa was up to the task as he coolly converted the stroke to equalise the game. MBPJ paid the price when on the 62nd minute they were dealt a double blow. MBPJ keeper Mohd Razali limped out of the match injured and his replacement Abdul Rahman, had no chance to save the winning goal in the next attack by OLAK as Mohd Noor Khairul slammed in the winner from an acute angle to collect all 3 points for OLAK in the 62nd minute.
In another Division 1 tie on Saturday, RAMD showed no mercy as they whipped Selangor Polis 14-0.
On Sunday, the Division 2 matches turned out to be an exciting affair. The matches, which were played in Pandamaran Stadium, RAMD Juniors carried on their winning streak beating JUPEM 11-0, Synergy having lost their opening match beat Projek 11-B 3-1 and SIA edged out IIUM Mustang 1-0 in a fast paced match.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Faizal wanted in both worlds

HIDDEN TALENT: Japan's Hayato Goto (C, in blue) fights for the ball with Faizal Saari of Malayasia during the Sixth Men's Junior Asian Cup hockey tournament in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad July 14, 2008.

EIGHTEEN-YEAR-OLD Faizal Shaari is in flying form, and both the senior as well as Under-18 coaches want him for tournaments in New Zealand and Myanmar, which clash.
However, a compromised was reached as Tai Beng Hai will need him for the New Zealand Olympic Qualifiers on Nov 7- 15, so K, Dharmaraj will wait for him to arrive in Yangon, Myanmar for the Second Under-18 Boys Asia Cup on Nov 14- 22.
“Teams are only allowed to field 16 players for the Asia Cup, and I will also list Faizal’s name as he can fly down from New Zealand after the World Cup Qualifier ends on the 15th.
“I will have to play with 15 players until he arrives, but it will be worth the wait, as if we qualify for the semi-finals, we will have Faizal for the crucial knock-out stage,” said Under- 18 coach K. Dharmaraj.
Seniors coach Tai Beng Hai’s mission is on priority level, as Malaysia will be involved in a do-or-die in the Invercargill, New Zealand, World Cup Qualifiers.
Only the gold medallists advance to the New Delhi World Cup, and Malaysia will be pitted against the hosts, China, Austria, Wales and Scotland.
“After watching the boys play in the Hyderabad friendlies, and then winning the Sea Cup in Bangkok, I believe we have a team which can reach the semi-finals in Myanmar,” said Dharmaraj.
The winner in Myanmar will qualify for the Youth Olympics in Singapore.
Twelve teams will play in two groups, and the coach felt that India will be Malaysia’s biggest hurdle.
“I have been told that India and Malaysia are in the same group, while Pakistan and South Korea in another group. If it is true, then we should be able to reach the semi-finals, and Faizal will be an asset in the semi-finals onwards,” said Dharmaraj as the groupings have yet to be endorsed by the International Hockey Federation.
The other teams who have so far registered with the Asian Hockey Federation are Myanmar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Taiwan and Uzbekistan.
Faizal scored eight goals in the Junior World Cup, and since then, has shown great improvement when fielded in the Champions Challenge II, and the Australian and New Zealand Tours where he also got his name on the score boards.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

92-year-old Fauja Singh in Adidas ad

Ninety-two year old marathon runner Fauja Singh has signed a deal with Adidas for a major advertising campaign that also features footballer David Beckham, rugby ace Jonny Wilkinson and boxer Laila Ali, daughter of Muhammad Ali.
From this week, Fauja's face will adorn billboards in cities across the United Kingdom as part of a campaign called 'Impossible is Nothing'.
In athletic terms, Fauja admits he is a "late developer".
Fauja SinghFor the first 81 years of his life he lived on the family farm in India, jogging regularly "to get from one place to the next", The Times, London, reported on Tuesday.
Before the Second World War he took part in village sports competitions, in which, he recalls, being faster than many of his neighbours.
But at 36, family commitments took over - he now has four children, 13 grandchildren and five great grandchildren - and his running came to a halt.
After his wife's death, however, when he moved to England to live with his son 11 years ago, Fauja rediscovered his old passion.
Trying to cope with homesickness, language problem and endless hours to fill, Fauja sought an activity that would fulfill him mentally and physically. He found solace in running.
Initially he took part in short-distance races of five or ten kilometers. Four years ago, after a 53-year break from the sport, he lined up for his first Flora London Marathon at the age of 89. He took six hours and 54 minutes to reach the finish, and the following year ran the same time to set a world record for 90-year-olds.
Since 2000, Singh has persistently defied perceived wisdom about age being a barrier in sport by getting faster.
Last year, aged 92, he ran almost an hour quicker than he did on his debut at the 26.2 mile distance, finishing the Toronto marathon in 5 hrs 40 min, the fastest time yet recorded by someone of his age.
This year's London Marathon next month is his immediate focus, but his ultimate goal is "to enter the Guinnes Book of Records as the oldest ever to run the distance".
That means competing until he is at least 98.
Singh turns 93 next month and will be the oldest man ever to line up for the London Marathon.
But competition in the senior age groups is growing. Of 33,000 finishers in last year's race, 1,130 were over 60; more than 6,000 competitors take part in the biannual World Veteran Athletics championships.
Fauja Singh hopes to return in 2009 to break the record for the oldest marathon runner - presently held by a 98-year-old Greek athlete.

His profile as found in the face book
Born: 1st April 1911 in India
Former Occupation: Farmer
Running Career: Rediscovered at age of 81
Diet: Ginger Curry
Marathons: London (5), Toronto (1), New York (1)
Marathon Debut: London, 2000 aged 89
London Marathon Personal Best: 6h 2m
London Flora Marathon 2000 6 Hours 54 m
London Flora Marathon 2001 6 Hours 54 m
London Flora Marathon 2002 6 Hours 45 m
Bupa Great North Run (Half Marathon) 2002 2h 39m
London Flora Marathon 2003 6h 2m
Toronto Waterfront Marathon 2003 5h 40m
New York City Marathon 2003 7h 35m
London Flora Marathon 2004 6h 7m
Glasgow City Half Marathon 2004 2h 33m
Capital Radio Help a London Child 10,000m 2004 68m
Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon 2004 2h 29m 59s

Ismail get the boot, Azlan and Tengku fine

MALAYSIAN Hockey Federation (MHF) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, in saying "nobody is indispensable", accepted Ismail Abu's decision to resign from the national team yesterday.
Tengku Abdullah chaired the MHF management committee meeting in Kuala Lumpur and they accepted Ismail's resignation and imposed a fine on Azlan Misron and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin.
However, MHF did not announce the amount of the fine.
Azlan Misron (left) and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin had broken curfew while in centralised training (Azlan, left, and Tengku Ahmad)
for the Champions Challenge II in June.

Azlan Misron (left) and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin had broken curfew while in centralised training for the Champions Challenge II in June.
Azlan and Tengku Ahmad had broken curfew while in centralised training for the Champions Challenge II in June.
Ismail Abu, 25 and with 120 caps, came under the spotlight when he skipped weights training on Monday with the excuse of wanting to repair his car, but was seen instead at a gaming arcade.
Ismail then preempted the management's decision by sending in his quit letter to team manager George Koshy.
"We have to educate our youth, and since nobody is indispensable, we accept Ismail's withdrawal letter and place our faith on others to take his place for the (World Cup) Qualifier," said Tengku Abdullah.
Tengku Abdullah said Ismail stated in his letter that he withdrew because of personal matters, and MHF will not dwell on the matter further.
Malaysia will play in the New Zealand World Cup Qualifier on Nov 7-15, with only the winners going to the New Delhi World Cup.
The others in the group are Wales, China, Scotland and Austria.
The committee were briefed by national coach Tai Beng Hai and Koshy before reaching their decision.
“Actually, we were only briefed on the decision that was taken by the team management and we endorsed it as we felt that if the issue is allowed to drag on, it will only spoil the team's final preparation," said Tengku Abdullah.
“Every player must be able to fit into the team, and must have the desire to play for the country. It will be a waste of good talent but at the same time, we must have faith in the others who are in training."
The final 18 will be named after the Australian Test matches and the team will leave for New Zealand on Oct 31.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Be man enough to dig deeper

Azlan Misron scoring a super goal in the Hamburg Masters in 2008.THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) must not forget that ‘boys will be boys’, when they preside over the antics on Malaysia’s top strikers in the Management Committee meet ing today.
MHF office-bearers must also keep in mind that when boys are placed in a camp for a prolonged period, mischief is bound to surface.
And mischief is how this scribe would describe Azlan Misron, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Ismail Abu’s mis adventures that brought shame to their otherwise good conduct in training and tournaments.
Azlan, who had been entrusted with the skipper’s arm band before, and Tengku Ahmad are said to have broken curfew when in training for the Champions Challenge II in June.
Ismail Abu excused himself from weights training to repair his car but was found in a gaming arcade instead.
Today, the Management Committee will listen to what the coaches have to say about the three players and decide if they deserve a rap on the knuckles for being boys, or are referred to the disciplinary board for punishment.
But the discussion must not only focus how to punish the trio, but also have a look at the centralised training or camping system that Malaysia have been practicing for the past decade.
Players like Chua Boon Huat, 29, have spent the majority of their life for the last 10 years in and out of training camps, which sad to say, have yet to land Malaysia a single gold medal even in major qualifiers.
National coach Tai Beng Hai is all for centralise training, as through experience he knows that de-centralising players will see a drastic drop in fitness as Malaysian players are well-known for being a lazy lot when it comes to breaking sweat.
But even Beng Hai admits that more can be done to break the monotony of being in camp, but because of back-to-back tournaments, he never had the time to inject adventure this season, but has plans to make it more exciting next year.
Just ask him for his input and ideas, instead of punishing the coach by placing an axe near his neck, as a bizarre incentive to win gold in the New Zealand Qualifier.
Then there is confirmation from many players, after a random poll, that they are fed-up with team-mates who do not take training seriously, especially the fitness part.
The players lamented that those who do not take training seriously still get selected, and these are the players who throw in the towel in the first half of a match even though Malaysia are only losing by one goal, leaving only a handful carry their load.
They seem to feel that since there are very few talent in the reserve pool, they will be selected for the next tournament anyway.
So, while boys will be boys, the MHF officials must be man enough to look into the bigger picture on why curfew was broken and why Ismail decided to play truant, and why there is discontent among players in the final phase for an important Qualifier.
Lets take a leaf from the Disco 10 episode in 2003, which also involved Tengku Ahmad.
The Disco 10 were banned for one year by the MHF DB for breaking curfew during the FIH Under-21 tournament in Gneizno, Poland in Aug 2003.
But after an appeal by then juniors coach Sarjit Singh, they were given a life-line to play in the 2004 Junior World Cup and some of them like Kelvinder Singh and S. Selvaraju, are now pillars in the national seniors.
Lets be man enough to admit and rectify the shortcomings, and work for gold in New Zealand.

Indian Rope Trick in Hobart 2001

I had the misfortune of watching India beat Argentina 6-1 in the 2001 Junior World Cup finals in Hobart, Australia.
Together with me in Hobart were Malay Mail journalist Johnson Fernandez, Berita Harian journalist V. Ashok and Star journalist S. Ramaguru.
Ironically, there was not a single reporter from India covering the tournament in Hobart, while Malaysia had four journalists. India gold, and Malaysia 12th.
Here is what the India press wrote ...

(Hobart (Australia), October 21
Propelled by a brilliant hat-trick by Deepak Thakur (pic), India’s ‘glory boys’ destroyed Argentina 6-1 to take home the junior World Cup for the first time in the country’s hockey history.

But in reality, the Indian glory boys were actually men, some looked like they were 24-years-old, and one actually wore the number 34 on his jersey.
Naturally, the Argentine boys never had a chance in the final.
Everybody new about it, the FIH, Indian hockey officials, Asian Hockey Federation and even the janitor at the stadium who lamented 'big boys in Indeeea'.
Finally, India have started to x-ray their players, a little too late to undo the damage to their reputation.
There were also two players in the 2001 squad who warmed the bench and never played at all. When asked why bring them for the world cup, an official replied: "They are children of our sponsors."
Selection is biased, which is another well known fact, and that is what India need to rectify next to make their team stronger. Select on merit, not money...

Wikepedia: The Indian rope trick is stage magic said to have been performed in and around India about the 1800s. Sometimes described as "the world’s greatest illusion", it involved a magician, a length of rope, and one or more boy assistants.

Under-18 Indian myth

s2h team

RECENTLY, Indian hockey came in the limelight, and not too surprisingly, it was because of an unfortunate reason - overage players!
To know what happened then and to get the latest on this front, s2h talked to the coach of the U-18 team, Ajay Kumar Bansal, till recently our Junior India coach.
Recollecting those phase of over-age finding mission, Bansal said, "On Hockey India’s call, almost 100 boys turned up for the U-18 trials at Bhopal. Out of 100, 53 were shortlisted and they were made to undergo a digital X-Ray of wrist in order to confirm their age. This method is accepted world over to determine the age"
Bansal and his fellow coaches were extremely upset when 48 out of 53 shortlisted boys were overage! Many of them were even in the legally marriageable age ie over 21. So the camp was temporarily called off and Hockey India announced fresh trials after 10 days.
In the next procedure, all the boys were told to bring their wrist X-ray along with them during trials. Almost 100 boys turned up again. On the basis of the X-ray films they brought, only 35 could qualify for the selection. And those 35 were again X-rayed, this time by Hockey India on their own, and again, 14 were 18-plus.
Thus, 21 boys now and the 5 from the first trials, 26 in total, are now undergoing camp at Bhopal under coach Bansal.
Bansal believes that stern steps should be taken to solve this problem of over age, which is present in almost every sport in India. He mentioned that that the digital X-ray technique was used for the first time in India and insisted now it should be made mandatory for all future age group compettiions and trainings.
“The biggest drawback, if overage players play at the junior level, will be that their career will be shortened and that will in turn, harm the Indian hockey. This is a big problem and we are happy we did something about it” said Bansal.
The team for the U-18 Asia Cup, which will be played at Myanmar in November, will be selected in a few weeks time. Interestingly, this tournament is being held for only the second time, that too after a gap of 8 years, and India are the defending champion!