Monday, November 30, 2009

Lets get the basics right first

TOP of the world, with sound development plans. FIH Pic/ Stanislas Brochier.

AFTER two days of action in the Melbourne Champions Trophy, hosts Australia have shown to the world what systematic development, and playing in the Dutch League can achieve.
The Aussies blasted South Korea 4-0 and then went on a 7- 2 rampage against the Netherlands. England Germany and Spain are next on their warpath, and if they enter the final unbeaten, Australia will be difficult to stop in the New Delhi World Cup as well.
The top six teams of the world are involved in the Cham pions Trophy, and these are the teams which Champions Challenge I cast Argentina, New Zealand, Pakistan and hosts India need to beat if they want to play in the semi-finals of the New Delhi World Cup in February.
And where does that leave 16th ranked Malaysia? We are fourth in the Champions Challenge II, which show-casts Japan, France, Austria, Chile, Russia, Poland and Ireland.
Development is on an ad-hoc basis, and the schools have forsaken sports for studies, while State HA’s are angry that whatever talent they produce, is shanghaied to the Bandar Penawar and Bukit Jalil Sports Schools.
And it looks like studying in the two Sports Schools is going to be a yardstick for hockey players to don national colours in the near future. The trend is already there, as the majority of our national under-18 players are from BJSS.
Malaysia played a series of matches with the Australians before the New Zealand World Cup Qualifier, and even won 1- 0 once only to be blasted in the other matches.
Australia were, then, not with their best, as six of their top players were in action in the Dutch League. And the amazing part is that just after five weeks of playing together, the senior, juniors and the six from the Dutch League are clicking so well in the Champions Trophy.
This is a result of playing the same style from school, clubs, age-group teams, right up to the national seniors.
Australia were also the semi-finals in the Junior World Cup, and this goes to show that they will be among the top four for years to come.
The same can’t be said about Malaysia, who have had an Australian coach in Terry Walsh, and Germans Volker Knapp and Paul Lissek but instead of moving up, and now in the Champions Challenge II group.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will announce their foreign coach, if they secure one, on December 13, and lets hope he can work with the rojak system in this country as next year, the Azlan Shah Cup, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games and the Asian Champions Trophy awaits the poor chap.

Ismail Abu for KL Hockey Club

ISMAIL Abu being chased by Bangladesh players in the Asia Cup in Kuantan. He will turn out for KL Hockey Club in the MHL Premier Division.

THE Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division starts on Dec 4, but until yesterday, three teams have yet to submit the name of their coaches.
Debutants KL Hockey Club, Maybank and Tenaga Nasional submitted their team lists to the Malaysian Hockey Fed eration (MHF) minus the coaches names.
The Premier League will start with a Charity Shield between Sapura and Tenaga Nasional at the Tun Razak Stadium which will be telecast live.
Double champions Ernst and Young withdrew this season, but it looks like a re-branding exercise as all their players are now with the KL Hockey Club outfit.
Even Ismail Abu, who was dropped from the World Cup Qualifier for playing truant, is listed with KLHC.
The some of the former and national players with KLHC are S. Baljit Singh, Chua Boon Huat, Shahrun Nabil, Harvinder singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Azlan Misron, Kelvinder Singh and Megat Azrafiq.
Nur Insafi of Penang have roped in 16 foreign players and eight locals to strengthen their challenge.
Twelve are from India, five from Pakistan and one from Egypt.
Imran Warsi, a former Pakistan junior international and budding penalty corner flicker is also with Nur Insafi. The Egyptian, a first in the MHL, is Karim Sherif.
Brothers Jiva and Jiwan Mohan are listed with Sapura, as well as former skipper S. Kuhan. However, Sapura will still be relying on former internationals, and it will be interesting to see how they stack up against KLHC and Nur Insafi.
Tenaga Nasional also have a healthy dose of national players with S. Kumar, seven-time voted best goalkeeper in international tournaments, between the posts.
Madzli Ikmar, C. Baljit Singh, Sallehin Ghani, S. Selvaraju and Amin Rahim will be the pillars in Tenaga Nasional.
And interestingly, budding striker Fazial Shaari, 18, will be making his debut with Tenaga Nasional after a good show in the Junior World Cup as well as the New Zealand World Cup Qualifier.
The cast is ready, and await the naming of the three coaches before the show gets on its way.

Perak get off to great start

DEFENDING champions Perak got off to a rousing start in the National Under-14 hockey tournament when they ham mered hosts Pahang 5-1 at the Kuantan Stadium yesterday.
However, silver medallists Kuala Lumpur went down to a shock 2-0 defeat to Negri Sembilan.
The Negri win was initiated by Fakrul Razi with a field goal in the 23rd minute, while Mohamed Izwan made sure with a 42nd minute field goal.
RESULTS: Group A: Perak 5 Pahang 1, Penang 4 Kelantan 1; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 0 Negri Sembilan 2, Selangor 1 Malacca 1.
TODAY: Group A: Perlis v Kelantan, Perak v Penang; Group B: Terengganu v Malacca, Kuala Lumpur v Selangor.
TOMORROW: Group A: Pahang v Penang, Perlis v Perak; Group B: Negri Sembilan v Selangor, Terengganu v Kuala Lumpur.