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).