Monday, July 13, 2009

Autopsy, not postmortem needed...

POLES celebrate their golden haul. -- Pic By Pic: Adrian Boehm

UNOFFICIALLY, Malaysia are now number 18 in the world after finishing fourth in Division Three of the world hockey league.
So Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will surely not see his boys break into the top 10 in his tenure.
Champions Trophy has six teams, Champions Challenge eight teams, and since Malaysia finished fourth in the Champions Challenge II, it means we are 18th among 22 teams who actively play hockey in the world.
So many postmortems have been done in the last decade, after a string of failures, that another one will be a waste of time. For a fact, an autopsy is what the dead body of hockey needs right now to find the source that finally led to its demise.
Poland gained promotion to the Champions Challenge when they beat Ireland 5-4 on penalty strokes after a 3-3 deadlock.
The Poles remained unbeaten in this lowly ranked tour nament, and emerged as the best among the worst.
And this is what the Polish have back home --- even though they are ranked 20th in the world, they are number two in Indoor Hockey in Europe.
And they only have two men’s senior leagues, with 10 teams in Division One and seven teams in Division Two, with only two towns, Poznan and Siemianowice Slaskie, playing hockey.
In Malaysia, the national team is virtually together in camp or playing tournaments, and international friendlies for at least 300 days a year, and the results show effective this system is.
The juniors are 12th in the world, and this shows that even after this batch of seniors retire, at least in five years time, the replacements will not be able to dig themselves out of the grave that they have dug for themselves.
There are eight under-23 players in the present senior squad, but all of them have more international exposure than many players in the Polish team which won gold.
This only shows that the present system of concentration too much on the national team, until not even allowing them to play in the local leagues months ahead of any international tournament, has killed off club hockey which is the source of excitement, and pride of European countries.
This year alone we have played in four tournaments, and only have the Azlan Shah Cup silver medal to show. The Asia Cup was a fourth placed disaster, the Junior World Cup 12th, and now fourth again.
Even in Asia, Malaysia are ranked fourth, so the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) can forget about winning gold medal in the November World Cup Qualifier, as it has never been done since Malaysia played in its first Olympics in 1956 in Melbourne.
The only podium finishes are at the Sea Games, and it looks like we will only be best among the ASEAN teams for another decade.
RESULTS: Final -- Poland 3 Ireland 3 (Poland win 5-4 on penalty strokes); Third-Fourth: France 3 Malaysia 3 (France win on golden goal); Fifth-Sixth: Japan 9 Russia 2; Seventh- Eighth: Austria 4 Chile 2.
Final Ranking: 1 Poland, 2 Ireland, 3 France, 4 Malaysia, 5 Japan, 6 Russia, 7 Austria, 8 Chile.

Poland gain gold and promotion

Champion's Challenge II: Ireland denied on strokes

Poland 3 (Marcin Strykowski 2, Dariusz Rachwalski) Ireland 3 (Mikey Watt 2, John Jermyn); Poland win 5-4 on penalties
Ireland let the inaugural Champion’s Challenge II title slip through their fingers at Belfield this afternoon as they let a commanding lead and performance come unstuck in the closing stages of a pulsating final battle against Poland.