Saturday, November 21, 2009

Pakistan can be beaten

MALAYSIA are expected to face a tough time against Pakistan in the final of the Under-18 Asia Cup in Myanmar, but coach K. Dharmaraj is ready with a few tricks to claim the gold medal.
Dharmaraj said his players are eager to bury the 4-3 defeat to Pakistan in a Group A match: “Pakistan players are taller and more matured than the Malaysian boys, and for the first time, I am seeing a robust approach from them.
“But the defeat in the group match cannot be taken as a yardstick, as I rested many key players, including my goal keeper then,” said Dharmaraj.
And with Faizal Shaari, who scored three goals in the World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill, spearheading the attack, it is expected to be an explosive final.
“Fizal arrived in time to play Pakistan and scored three goals in our 4-3 defeat. But then, he did not have his shoes and hockey stick which just arrived last night (Saturday).
“With his gear back, and all my players fired-up for a re- match with Pakistan, I expect the boys to claim the ticket to the Youth Olympics in Singapore next year,” said Dhar maraj.
Malaysia, according to Dharmaraj, were shell-shocked when Pakistan players played a robust game and had every man behind the ball in the earlier encounter.
“This is a new look Pakistan, and looked more like a European side. However, I have analysed the match, and there are a few loopholes which can lead to goals,” said Dharmaraj.
In the route to the final, Malaysia beat India 3-2 and then South Korea 3-2 in the semi-finals.
Indian Hockey Federation, for the first time, had conducted wrist tests on all their players to determine their age before selecting them for the Asia Cup.

Sarawak the Indoor surprise

THE First National Under-16 Indoor hockey tournament saw a surprise package in Sarawak upstaging established hokey playing states at the National Sports Council indoor pitch.
Sarawak held Kuala Lumpur 0-0, beat Johor 3-0, beat Sabah 3-0, and their only set-back is a 2-0 defeat to Malacca.
The tournament, which offers the NSC Director General’s Challenge Trophy, saw the participation of all states and will continue with the pool matches today, before the semi- finalists are decided.
And Sarawak will be up against Perak, and Penang and look good for a semis slot.
RESULTS: Group A -- Kuala Lumpur 0 Sarawak 0, Malacca 0 Sabah 1, Penang 2 Perak 1, Johor 0 Sarawak 3, Kuala Lumpur 1 Sabah 0, Malacca 0 Perak 1, Johor 0 Sabah 0, Kuala Lumpur 1 Perak 3, Malacca 0 Penang 5, Johor 1 Perak 4, Kuala Lumpur 0 Penang 2, Sabah 0 Sarawak 3, Johor 0 Kuala Lumpur 3, Malacca 2 Sarawak 0, Penang 1 Sabah 0.
Group B: Kedah 2 Terengganu 2, Kelantan 0 Selangor 2, Negri Sembilan 2 Plice 1, Pahang 2 Perlis 0, Kedah 0 Selangor 2, Kelantan 1 Police 1, Negri 3 Perlis 0, Pahang 3 Terengganu 2, Kedah 0 Police 0, Kelantan 2 Perlis 1, Negri 1 Pahang 2, Selangor 2 Terengganu 0, Kedah 0 Perlis 0, Kelantan 0 Pahang 3, Negri 3 Terengganu 2, Police 1 Selangor 3, Kedah 4 Negri 2, Kelantan 0 Terengganu 1.

The rot started at schools

By Harban Singh
(Hockey enthusiast)

I watched the hockey World Cup hockey qualifier game between New Zealand and Malaysia held in New Zealand live over TV on Sunday, Nov 15 and I thought we played our hearts out and it was definitely one of our better games of late.
Congratulations to coach Tai Beng Hai and his boys. However, it was not good enough for Malaysia as we lost to the most consistently unbeaten side 2-1 . namely New Zealand .
What intrigues me is the inefficiency of Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) in hiring a foreign coach. Tai Beng Hai was only supposed to be an interim coach. Why couldn ' t we hire a foreign coach in time? It could have made all the difference!
Even if his salary demands were high, had we qualified, it would have brought gross returns to our economy, branding and more tourists inflows. In these days of ' outsourcing ' , did not the Malaysian Hockey Federation think of hiring a ' headhunter ' to help in this specialised job of recruiting a world class hockey coach?
Recruitment headhunters are efficient and reliable. The opportunity is lost now and this when we have to prepare for the Olympics and the World Cup in advance. We also need the Malaysian Hockey Federation officials to have strategic intent and common sense on the need to develop hockey to a new level.
There must be political will and a paradigm shift. We cannot apply yesterday's solutions to tomorrow's problems. We need to look ahead. I have been following some of the national-age group competitions involving the youths and I must say the standards are pathetic.
MHF should address this problem in the bud and make it a national issue so that there is political will for the schools to have the incentives to develop this world-ranking sports for Malaysia .
The decline of our hockey ' s standards should be brought to Parliament where it can receive the attention it deserves. This happened in India and Pakistan .
I am afraid if MHF continues to operates the way it has been done, we will soon follow the negative path of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM). FIH ' s international hockey rankings as of Sept 1, places Malaysia at 16th place.
How come we are behind nations like Canada , China , South Africa and Belgium when our infrastructure in terms of stadium facilities and support by the government are either the same or ahead of them?
The problem lies in developmental measures and the mechanisms. This infrastructural weaknesses have not been tackled for decades. We are not producing enough good players continuously which results in our national team lacking consistency as the same players know that even if they don ' t train hard, they will still don national colors.
We need competitiveness. Wake up, MHF! By the next World Cup, I am certain we will be relegated further behind the US , France and Ireland if no serious action is taken now. Forget about qualifying and look at the developmental measures immediately.
It is at the schools where the future Sarjit Singhs, Poon Fook Lokes, Khairuddin Zainals and Mahendrans lie. Spot them young, nurture them and ensure the processes are in place in the system to produce quality players.
Collaborate in partnership with the Education Ministry and emulate the ' best management hockey practices ' of Korea and Japan . From the statistics of missing the last two World Cup tournaments and several Olympics, it appears MHF is bankrupt of ideas and needs far-reaching focus and ambition.
Even the respective state hockey associations have followed into and continued in this rut where even the state league championships are non-existent in certain states. Let's face reality and check the rot. Please don't let Malaysians give up on hockey as they totally have on soccer.