Thursday, December 30, 2010

Where the money is

By S.S. Dhaliwal

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation, at its Council meeting after the AGM on October 31, decided to retain Nur Azmi Ahmad, the victorious Deputy President who retained his post at the elections, at the Chairman of the National Team Management Committee.
And true to form, as the Deputy President who is well known for ability to twist the facts and business acumen, has since created one mess after another in MHF.
It is learned that the National Assistant Coach, Nor Saiful Zaini has returned the cash incentive that was given by the MHF to the players/officials of the team that won silver at the recent Asian Games. Saiful, it is believed received a token sum, no where near the sum the other two coaches in the team received. And we salute Saiful for his stand in not accepting the money.
To determine the amount, it was the Deputy President who was responsible, and given the fact that he is the Chairman, it is only fair that he clarifies as to why Saiful has returned the cheque to MHF on December 16, the day of the Press Conference of the Charity Shield.
Fair enough Saiful was not with the team in China, but it was Saiful who trained and toiled with the rest of the coaches in Malaysia. Was the amount given reflective of Saiful's contributions to the team?
And that is not the only time that the Deputy President attempted to play god, for the national players were also short changed upon their return from the tournament in France that they won in August.
For every win, the President of MHF had set an incentive bonus of RM1,000 per player, but the Deputy President and another key administrative official reduced it to RM500, and told the President that the tournament was not sanctioned. The issue of sanction was then dispelled when a team official pointed out that the tournament was in the FIH calendar. But the players eventually received on RM500 per win, no thanks to the Deputy President.
Next we have the issue of Tai Beng Hai, the assistant coach who saw a reduction of his salary when Stephen van Huizen was roped in. Though NSC, the paymasters could only afford a certain budhet, they told MHF that the national body could assist by topping up the salary.
An appeal was made by Beng Hai, but even after the Asian Games, he received no reply on the matter, despite the National Team Management Committee having supposedly met in September.
So is there such a committee to deliberate on the matters or is it left to the whim and fancy of the Deputy President? Perhaps its time for the MHF President to take stock of the situation.
Next: Who represented MHC at the FIH meetings and do they have locus standi?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Shakeel and Butt show

By Ajitpal Singh

SHAKEEL Abbasi and Rehan Butt, both Pakistan internationals, emerged as the stars in the opening weekend of the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL), despite having only limited practice with their teams.

Shakeel, who arrived a day before Yayasan Negri Sembilan's (YNS) opening match on Saturday, turned on a mesmerising display to help his team beat Maybank 4-1 while Rehan, who was named in the World XI recently, was the strength behind Sapura's impressive 7-2 victory over ATM-Airod.
The 28-year-old Shakeel, also the captain of YNS, said he could easily adapt with his team's style of play as there were many Pakistan and India players in the side.
"I hardly trained with the team as I only arrived a day before the match. I had a shaky start in the beginning but everything went well for me once I got into the groove," said Shakeel, who scored 125 goals in 320 appearances for Pakistan, yesterday.
"I had several offers from Europe this year but could not go as I was involved in the domestic league with SSGC. I chose to play in Kuala Lumpur as the Pakistan league has ended."
Shakeel said the exposure in the MHL will help him keep fit in-preparation for next year's Champions League and the 2012 London Olympics.
"We do not play much hockey in Pakistan during off-season. My short stint here will keep me focused and fit for the challenges ahead especially for international tournaments," said Shakeel, adding that he hopes to help YNS win the league and overall titles this season.
Rehan almost single-handedly tore open ATM's leaky defence to help his Sapura teammates poach goals on Saturday.
Sapura coach I. Vikneswaran said Rehan, together with the other foreign signings, hardly trained together prior to Saturday's match.
"Rehan had one full training session but some did not even have one. For instance, national player Jiwa Mohan only arrived a few hours before the match. And so winning the match is a good booster for the team," said Vikneswaran.
In another match on Saturday, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (Unikl) were made to slog before edging UiTM 3-2, courtesy of a hat-trick by Richard Patherick, a New Zealand international.
Coach Darren Smith said his boys made mistakes and did not follow the game plan.
"Some players tend to dribble instead of making simple passes. But these things will need time to correct and while I am glad with the win, I cannot say the same for the performance," said Smith.
The MHL restarts on Dec 31.

YNS on super start

By Ajitpal Singh

YAYASAN Negri Sembilan (YNS) made a winning start upon their return to the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) by defeating Maybank 4-1 in a Premier Division match at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.

YNS, who last played in the MHL in 1995 with 11 foreign players, including six from Pakistan, were in impeccable form despite lack of training among team members prior to the match.

Most of their foreign signings only reported to the club on Friday but it did not stop YNS from notching an impressive win over the Maybank side.
Muhammad Imran, a forward from Pakistan, scored a brace for YNS in the 16th and 44th minutes while Prabjot Singh (49th) and Muhd Waqas Sharif (68th) added the other goals.
Maybank replied through Mohamad Syafiq Mohamed Zain in the 30th minute.
Shakeel Abbasi, who arrived in KL on Friday, was YNS' best player with his creative display and the Pakistan international was duly rewarded with the Man-of-the-Match award in his very first match in the league.
"Although, we lacked practice, we knew we could win as we have a stable side. I played in midfield despite being a forward but I was comfortable with my new role with the club," said Shakeel, who helped Pakistan win the Asian Games gold medal in Guangzhou at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
"I believe my team have a good mix of experienced players to make an impact in this league. Our target is to finish in the top three bracket. I believe we can win it here."
In an earlier match, former champions Sapura overcame a slow start in the first half to demolish ATM-Airod 7-2 in their opening match.
Jiwa Mohan scored a brace for Sapura in the ninth and 49th minutes. Other goals were from former national captain S. Kuhan (42nd), Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin (53rd), Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin (60th), Muhd Noor Khairul Adnan (67th) and Mohd Rodzhanizam Mat Radzi (68th).
ATM replied through Mohd Shahrul Amran (35th) and Mohd Shafiq Yaacob (54th).
Sapura coach I. Vikneswaran said victory for his team in the first match is a good sign for their campaign.
"Historically, Sapura are slow-starters. We rarely win our first match of the season in previous editions. And so earning three points today (yesterday) is a bonus," said Vikneswaran.

TNB retain TNB Cup

By Ajitpal Singh

TENAGA Nasional Berhad (TNB) retained their Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) Charity Shield title by defeating Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) 2-0 at the Tun Razak Stadium in
Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

It was a scrappy match as the heavy downpour since late afternoon made it difficult for both teams to produce a high quality performance on the soggy pitch.
TNB coach Nor Saiful Zaini hopes the victory would spur his players to regain the MHL title.
"It was a difficult match due to the rain but we won because my players kept their focus on their game," said Nor Saiful at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
"Although, we won today (yesterday), I am not too happy with my players' performance. But I am confident they will do better after a few matches."
TNB earned their first penalty corner of the match after 15 minutes but Amin Rahim's powerful trademark drag flick was brilliantly padded away by KLHC goalkeeper Kairulnizam Ibrahim.
Five minutes later, KLHC midfielder Shahrun Nabil Abdullah managed to dribble past several TNB defenders inside the semi-circle but his attempt was deflected off the stick of Amin.
KLHC, the last year's MHL champions, earned a penalty corner in the 30th minute but the attempt from Razie Abd Rahim sailed wide.
A foul in the semi-circle earned TNB their second penalty corner and Amin, this time, made no mistake by sounding the board with a low flick two minutes before halftime.
In the opening minutes of the second half, KLHC came charging into their opponents' half but were let down by poor passing.
In the 40th minute, KLHC forced a penalty corner but Razie again failed to convert by flicking the ball wide.
TNB forwards, led by Faizal Saari, were creating a lot of space for themselves in their opponents' half but couldn't find the opening.
However, they earned back-to-back penalty corners in the 49th minute but Amin failed to make it count.
KLHC pressed hard and had a couple of good chances to level proceedings but forwards Ismail Abu and Azlan Misron failed to capitalise on them..
In the 64th minute, KLHC's attempt from a penalty corner through Baljit Singh failed to beat goalkeeper S. Kumar.
TNB increased their lead through Faiz Helmi Jali, who latched onto a pass from Faizal, before sounding board past goalkeeper Khairulnizam in the 69th minute.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Chance for Selvaraju to impress

S. Selvaraju will lead UniKL-TRC against UITM on Saturday.

UNIVERSITI Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) TRC, who made their debut in the Malaysian Hockey League last season, are counting on a mix of experience and youth to win honours when the new Premier League season starts tomorrow.
The team, who have hired New Zealand assistant coach Darren Smith and four foreign players to boost their chances, have been training hard since last month in preparation for the tournament. UniKL-TRC will have the services of two New Zealand players -- goalkeeper Steve Graham and defender Richard Patrick -- as well as Germany's Philip Stahr and Kevin Lim, whose father is Malaysian.
They, together with local senior players S. Selvaraju (captain), Robert Alcantara and Herwan Pami, and several members of the Project 2013 squad, are expected make it tough for front-runners Sapura, Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB) in the league.
"There are some intelligent and skillful youngsters in the squad and my aim is to build their confidence so that they can take on the more experienced opponents without fear," said Darren yesterday.
"My immediate aim is to forge an understanding between the youngsters and some of the more experienced players in the squad. "Hence the past month has been spent correcting mistakes and building on our strengths."
On the team's target, the coach said he was confident his side could spring a surprise or two.
"KLHC, TNB. Sapura and Maybank are still the league favourites but I believe my side have the ability to upset the form book," Darren added.
However, UniKL-TRC must do without the services of Stahr for six weeks after the German suffered a broken rib in a friendly against TNB on Tuesday.
Team manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim said Stahr is receiving treatment at Pantai Medical Hospital.
"His absence will affect the team's strategies but we have other capable replacements," said Amir.
UniKL-TRC take on UiTM in their opening match on Saturday.

BJSS boys beaten up for training

The five students showing their injuries from the assault, during the press conference yesterday. - NST picture by Osman Adnan

By Ajitpal Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Five Form Three students of the Bukit Jalil Sports School were allegedly assaulted with hockey sticks and a hose by their seniors after hockey practice on Tuesday.
The victims -- T. Athitsha, Zizi Azwan Harun Basri, Muhd Fitri Jasni, Hashim Harun and Ahmad Ashraf Alias -- were taken to the Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Medical Centre by their parents, who later lodged a report at the Sungai Besi police station.
The assault allegedly took place twice after the five returned from training at the nearby National Sports Council (NSC).
The boys' parents claimed that the senior players, some of whom were in the Project 2013 squad, were instigated by a school official.
According to them, the official was unhappy with the younger players training outside the school.
Athitsha's father, S. Tamilchelvam, said the parents would also lodge complaints with the Youth and Sports Ministry, Education Ministry and the NSC.
"We want to see those concerned punished accordingly. If guilty, these students must be expelled," he said at a press conference at the KLHA Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Tamilchelvam claimed that his son and the other victims had received consent from school principal Marina Chin to train on their own during the school break and on weekends.
"Although they were given permission, the (official) did not like the idea and had even threatened them twice before.
"Bukit Jalil Sports School is a premier school for national junior athletes. My son's dream is to represent the country one day and he joined the school in the hope of achieving this. Stern action must be taken."
Tamilchelvam said he rushed to the school after receiving an anonymous call from a student. "My son and the other four were in pain in their rooms. I even questioned one of the assailants and he admitted to the assault. In anger, I slapped him."
Fitri said the group was summoned by one of the seniors to a room about 9am on Tuesday and were assaulted.
"Ahmad Asyraf and I were their main targets. We were punched, kicked and hit with hockey sticks and a rubber hose in the legs and on the back for almost an hour.
"We were spared at 10am as we had an appointment with a teacher, but they warned us not to complain.
"But on returning, we were abused again. It stopped around 1.30pm."
Chin and other senior assistants declined to comment on the matter, but acting Cheras police chief Superintendent Abdul Rahim Hamzah Othman confirmed that a police report had been lodged.
He said the case had been classified as causing hurt.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Big Boost for 1Mas Project

PRIME Minister Datuk Sri Najib Tun Razak yesterday officially launched the
1Mas Hockey Project and injected fresh hope into the sport by increasing
its grant by another RM1 million.
The Prime Minister's department had earlier handed out RM2 million per
-year for the 1Mas Project, but upped it with another million at at the
official launch at the Tun Razak Stadium.
And there was more good news, as the Prime Minister had no objection
to the Malaysian Hockey Federation's (MHF) request to utilise the Tun
Razak Stadium free of charge.
The 1Mas programme had started at the middle of the year, and its
objective is to strengthen the base of hockey at state level. Fourteen states
were represented, with their young players, at the launch yesterday.
"Hockey is a sport which is close to the hearts of Malaysians as we have
played at world cups and Olympics. I remember very well the year 1975,
when I just returned from overseas and was a youth with much more hair,
the nation was hosting the World Cup and we were in the semi-finals.
"My late father was the then MHF president and the joy on his face was
obvious when we qualified for the last four. The whole country was in a
celebration mood, and I hope with this 1Mas programme, the sport will
slowly climb up the ladder again," said Najib.
The national players, who won silver in the Asian Games, were also
present at the function.
MHF president Tengku Abdulah Sultan Ahmad Shah then requested the
Prime Minister's support to secure a home base for the Federation: "I have
no problem with the request, work with the Sports Ministry to achieve the
goal," was the reply from Najib.
"This stadium was opened in 1982 by my father, who was the King then,
and he named it the Tun Razak Stadium. It is very close to my heart, and
since the Prime Minister has given his support, we will work with the
relevant agencies to secure it as a home base for MHF and training venue
for the national teams (junior and senior).
"The MHF do not want to own it, because the cost to maintain the
stadium is out of our league. All we will request, is to use it for free, as we
are currently paying a hefty sum to rent the national stadium (at Bukit
Jalil)," said Tengku Abdullah.
The 1Mas Project started in July with 840 players in 14 states from the
ages of 13-18. Next year, the programme will include under-12 players, and
the targeted number of players to undergo the programme is 2,100 by
There is a standard nationwide training curriculum: "The RM3 million
pledge is for the next three years, with an option for review. The system
should strengthen the base, like a pyramid, and then, the nation can be
assured of quality players to represent the country at major international
events," said the Prime Minister.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Malacca the inaugural champions

Hosts Malacca emerged as champions for the inaugural Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji Under-21 Tournament held at the Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium in Malacca on Saturday.
In the final, Malacca almost blew their chances as they led twice in regulation time but ended up drawing 2-2 and in the ensuing penalty stroke competition, Major Inderjit Singh (pic) scored the decisive flick in sudden death to give Malacca a 6-5 win. Singapore Khalsa finished third in the four team event as Seremban failed to show up. -- By S.S. Dhaliwal

Fun-filled day with Jojo Struys

JOJO: Played to raise funds for children.

THE fun-filled CEO and Celebrity Charity Tennis event saw captains of the industry and celebrities rubbing shoulders, and the idea was well liked by Unites States Ambassador to Malaysia Paul W. Jones.

Jones was sworn in three months ago, and said the event gave him an opportunity to mingle around with the who-is who in Malaysia.
“I am not a serious tennis player but took up the offer to get to know more people in Malaysia as I have only been in the country for three months.
“This is a very good idea, and I enjoyed myself on and off the court,” said Jones.
Among the celebrities, Jojo Struys was a chirpy was when she is on air.
“Wonderful day today. I enjoy competing in this event as it is casual and you get to know some very interesting captains of the industry.
“My tennis is a little rusty, but I enjoyed myself so much that I am going to start training from tomorrow itself for the next event!,” said the celebrity, who had acted in the Chicken Rice War.
The other TV presenters who attended the event were Azura Zainal, Tengku Firhad, Adriana Aris, Abbas Saad, Angeline Chong and Seelan Paul.
Corporate bigwig Yvonne Chia, the Hong Leong Bank Group managing director, was the best women finisher on 19 points and said she makes it a point to attend the event.
“This is my second time playing in this event as I make it a point to play when I am in town. I enjoy the company, and the stress-free environment is among its draw-cards,” said Yvonne.

Cardiologist with a good heart

CONSULTANT Cardiologist Datuk Dr Devan Pilay (pic) was the runaway winner in the CEO and Celebrity Charity Tennis event at the National Tennis Complex in Jalan Duta yes terday.
The event, organised to garner funds to help children in need of medical care, saw 44 entries and in the end, collected a total of RM61,160 for the worthy cause.
Ling Hee Kiat, director of SHH Resources, and Paul Poh Yang Hong, the Managing Director of Corporate and Private Equity Group Investment, ended tied for the second spot on 22 points.
The third spot also saw Television personality Soo Kui Jien and Chief Operating Officer of GO Communications Peter de Kretser sharing the honours on 21 points.
The tournament ran on a different format, as each player played in five doubles matches where they changed partners after each match.
The top five winners received a trophy each while every participant received a framed caricature of themselves in tennis attire.
“The event is getting bigger each year and every par ticipant that I spoke to today only had good things to say about it. They had fun in the sun, and at the same time, contributed for a good cause.
“Our target was to collect RM60,000 to help children in need of medical care and we achieved it. The biggest contribution came from Bursa Malaysia, who chipped in RM20,000,” said New Straits Times Press Chief Executive Officer Datuk Anthony Bujang.
Datuk Devan keeps himself fit by playing tennis twice a week, but his first love was badminton.
“I used to play badminton in Victoria Institution and was the doubles partner to Razif (Sidek) in the national juniors those days.
“I loved the sport but my father told me to forget about it and concentrate on my studies. So, instead of becoming a national sportsman, I turned into a cardiologist,” said De van.
But he picked up tennis and actively keeps himself fit: “I have played in all three editions of this tournament, and you could say that I am third-time lucky,” quipped Devan.
And among the celebrities former Malaysian Idol host Soo Kui Jien was the only one who ended up with a trophy when he finished joint third.
Jien, who got his big break when he became a host on the Disney Channel in 1997, was the Emcee yesterday and kept the event lively.
RESULTS: 1 Datuk Dr Devan Pillay (25 points), 2 Ling Hee Kiat (22 pts), 3 Paul Poh Yang Hong (22 pts), 4 Soo Kui Jien (21 pts), 5 Peter de Kretser (21 pts).

Saturday, December 11, 2010

And ..Rehan Butt for Sapura

SAPURA coach I. Vickneswaran, a former international, predicts a revival in the Malaysia Hockey League this season, based on the early effort pumped in by Premier Division teams.
The Premier Division Starts on Dec 17, and the nine teams competing are Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, Armed Forces- Airod, Maybank, Nur Insafi, Sapura, Tenaga, UiTM, UniKL and Yayasan Negri Sembilan.
“I am amazed with the effort put in by many teams to prepare strong sides for the Premier challenge. I feel this season is going to see a revival of the MHL, back to what it used to be like in the 80s,” said Vickneswaran.
The MHL had taken a beating in the last 10 years, as it turned into a mediocre tournament where teams were just competing to complete the fixtures.
“That is no longer the situation, as many talented foreign players have been roped in to make it more exciting, and the standard will surely be higher than last year.”
As for Sapura: “We have signed three foreign players in Pakistan’s Rehan Butt (who scored the second goal against Malaysian in the Asian Games final), Welsh goalkeeper David James Kettle and Korean Junior World Cup player Lim Woo Geun.
“Rehan is still not here, and Jiwa Mohan is also still in Australia. We have played some friendlies, but not with the full side yet,” said Vickneswaran.
Vickneswaran, who coached UniKL last season, also feels the University side will impress this season.
“UniKL have signed some impressive foreign players, and with their local young talent, I believe they will also be a team to watch this year.”
Sapura, who lost the Overall title to Tenaga Nasional after a penalty shoot-out, will be looking to end their barren run this season.
SAPURA: Rodzhanizam Radzi, Noor Khairul Azrain, M. Vizayan, Marhan Jalil, Ahmad Kazamirul, Lim Woo Geun (GP), Redzuan Ponirin, Jiwa Mohan, Rehan Butt (GP), Nasihin Nubli (GK), Faisal Kamarudin, Izwan Firdaus, Joel Samuel Van Huizen, Razi Ismail, Jivan Mohan, Azreen Rizal, David James Kettle (GK, GP), Faizal Daud, Norhanfpe Omar, Izzat Rahim, Craig Joseph Fernandez, S. Kuhan.
Team Manager: Abdullah Yunus
Coach: I. Vikneswaran
Asst Coach: K. Balakrishnan

Shakeel in foreign legion for YNS

MEN IN GREEN: Shakeel Abbasi (right) will be turning out for YNS in the Malaysia Hockey League.

FORMER Malaysia Hockey League supremos Yayasan Ne gri Sembilan will parade 11 foreign players and a coach from India in the Malaysia Hockey League, not for want, but because there are not enough local talent to go around.

The MHL Premier Division will start on Dec 17, and the nine teams competing are Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, Armed Forces-Airod, Maybank, Nur Insafi, Sapura, Tenaga, UiTM, UniKL and Yayasan Negri Sembilan.
YNS former double champions in 1994 and 1995 will be making a comeback after a long hiatus and have hired Pakistan and India players to beef up their challenge with the notable names on the list are Pakistanis Muhammad Rashid, Muhammad Waqas and Shakeel Abbasi.
Waqas and Abbasi played in the Asian Games, and helped beat Malaysia 2-0 in the final. Rashid, 17-years-old, made his debut in the last Azlan Shah Cup.
The India players with strong credentials are Deepak Thakur and Prabjoth Singh. The outfit will also be coached by India’s women’s coach P. Madhu Karan.
“It is not that we want to field so many foreign players, but after all the top teams snapped up the local talents, we were left with little to select from.
“That is why we opted to sign up 11 foreign players, and our target is to reach the semi-finals, first,” said YNS Assistant manager P. Tamil Selvan
But they might face a major problem in team-work, as their foreign players are only expected to arrive next week.
Our foreign signings have obligations back home now, and will only be arriving next week. This gives us little time to train together, but with the vast experience the players have, I believe it is not going to be a major problem,” said Tamil.
YNS: Hafifi Baharom (Gk), Mohamed Imran (GP), Vivek Gupta (GP), Muhammad Raashid (GP), Deepak Thakur (GP), Meor Shahril, Muhammad Waqas (GP), Yazid Yusof, Shakeel Abbasi (GP), Fitri Abu Bakar, Prabjoth Singh (GP), Zulfadli Mas Isa, Redza Maadun, Razlee Amree, Tarun Thammannah (GP, GK), M. Rageswaran, Sabri Mohamed, Mosiur Rahman (GP), S. Sarvaswaran, Arvind (GP), Muppidi Nagaraj (GP).
Coach: P. Madhu Karan.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Inaugural Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji tournament

IF you are in Malacca for the weekend and have some spare time on your hands, then please head out to the Bukit Serindit Hockey Stadium.
The Inaugural Sant Baba Sohan Singh Ji Under-21 tournament will be held at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium in Malacca on Dec 11 will see teams from Malacca, Singapore , Batu Pahat, Ipoh, Klang and Seremban competing..
Only Sikh players, with names ending with Singh are eligible to compete and it is hoped that the organisation of such a tournament will revive interest amongst Sikh youths to participate in a sport that they once dominated.
The organizing committee has extended an open invitation to those in the hockey fraternity to watch the tournament. -- By S.S. Dhaliwal.

KLHC bank on locals for titles

DOUBLE FLICK: Amin Rahim (left) and Razie Rahim, will represent Tenaga and KLHC respectively in the MHL Premier Division.

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) will be banking on a strong local outfit to defend their Malaysia Hockey League (MHF) Premier Division League title from Dec 17.
KLHC won the League title with a match to spare, but they finished with a bronze in the Overall battle.
And as a curtain raiser, KLHC will square off against Overall champions Tenaga Nasional in the Charity Shield on Dec 17.
“On paper, we have a strong local line-up with players who won silver in the Asian Games and also former internationals who are intent on making a comeback.
“However, looking at the player list of the other teams, especially those with foreign players, I feel it is going to be a very challenging tournament this year,” said KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj.
Some of KLHC’s notable national players are Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Shahrun Nabil, Razie Rahim, Azlan Misron and goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin.
“In today’s game, good flickers and goalkeepers are an asset to win titles and I believe Tenaga Nasional have the best in the country. With (S.) Kumar in goal and Amin Rahim as a flicker, I believe Tenaga will be one of the early title contenders,” said Dharmaraj.
Last season, Tenaga won the Charity Shield as well at the Overall title and Kumar was named as the Best Goalkeeper, while Amin was the Tournament Top Scorer with 15 goals.
KLHC will also be fielding Ismail Abu, Megat Azrafiq, Kelvinder Singh and Chua Boon Huat who will be attempting to impress the national selectors again.
“Among all the former national players, I see Megat as the most improved and his dedication in training is excellent. I hope he will perform in the League, as he is still young and can make a come-back if he works hard enough.
“Kelvinder is still bogged down with injuries, while Ismail is a little rusty after a long lay-off,” said Dharmaraj.
Kelvinder, Ismail and Megat were team-mates in the 2005 Junior World Cup and went on to represent the national team but lost their touch to injuries and weight as well as disciplinary problems.
The nine teams in Premier Division are KLHC, Armed Forces-Airod, Maybank, Nur Insafi, Sapura, Tenaga, UiTM, UniKL and Yayasan Negri Sembilan.
KLHC Team: Roslan Jamaluddin (Gk), Kairulnizam Ibrahim (Gk), Baljit Singh Sarjab, Chua Boon Huat, Noor Faeez, S. Shanker, Shahrun Nabil, Harvinder Singh, Fitri Saari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Azli Misron, Ismail Abu, Amerullah Aziz, Ahmad Anuar Sham, Azlan Misron (C), Nabil Fiqri, Razie Rahim, Sukri Mutalib, Kelvinder Singh, Megat Azrafiq, Sufian Mohamad, Hairulnizam Maizan.
Officials: Team Manager: George Koshy; Coach: K. Dhar maraj; Asst Coach: R. Vivekanandan.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Johor HA boot out Tunku Majid

By JJ Shah

JOHOR scored a first in Malaysian hockey by becoming the first state to bring the men’s and women’s hockey association under one roof and take the sport to new heights.
The merger between the two associations was a unanimous decision taken at the Johor Hockey Association’s (JHA) 32nd biennial general meeting in Johor Bahru over the weekend.
This is in line with the FIH’s rule that all countries must have only one national association, for both men and women, which has not been strictly enforced by some countries, including Malaysia.
Putting that aside, the biggest surprise at the BGM was when state executive councilor for youth and sports Jais Sarday was voted in uncontested as the new JHA president, replacing incumbent Tunku Abdul Majid Idris Sultan Iskandar, who did not show up.
Tunku Majid, the Bendahara of Johor and former MHF deputy president, recently, lost his bid to make a comeback to the national body which is headed by the Tengku Mahkota of Pahang Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
With his exit as the JHA president, Tunku Majid has severed his links with hockey at both state and national level
Recently elected MHF vice-president Majid Manjit Abdullah, relinquished his post as secretary and moved up the ranks in JHA as one of the two deputy presidents. The other is A. Harbhajan Singh. Both won uncontested.
The four vice-presidents elected are Ledang district officer Amran Abdul Rahman, Putri Wangsa state assemblyman Datuk Abdul Halim Sulaiman, Customs Superintendent A. Parmjit Singh and former Batu Pahat district officer Datuk Awang Mohamad.
Shahabudin Royani was unanimously elected the new secretary while entrepreneur Idris Othman is the treasurer. The appointment of assistant secretary is left to the president.
The six elected as committee members are R. Balakrishnan Nair (JB), Jai Prakash (Segamat), Malek Khiew (Kluang), Murugan Nair (JB), Zahari Othman (Batu Pahat) and Fakharudin Abdul Kadir (Muar).
The new Royal Patron is the Tunku Mahkota of Johor Tunku Ismail Ibrahim while Mentri Besar Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman is the patron.
At the BGM, the delegates also unanimously agreed to change the JHA constitution with the JHA Congress as the ultimate authority governing the association.
“Of late, Johor hockey has taken a slide. But we aim to stop the rot and take the game to new heights and make Johor a hockey powerhouse in the country,” said Majid Manjit.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

BJSS hammer USM 5-1

RESULTS: Ipoh City Council 3 Malacca City Council 2, Bukit Jalil SS 5 Universiti Sains Malaysia 1, Bandar Penawar SS 3 UniTen 1.

BUKIT Jalil Sports School (BJSS) salvaged some pride when they beat Universiti Sains Malaysia 5-1 in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League yesterday.
BJSS, who lost to Armed Forces Juniors 2-1 on Friday, were still not impressive, but did just enough to score five against a weak USM side.
The MHL is just into its second fixtures, but two red cards have been flashed. On Friday, Ipoh City Council player Mohamed Rasyid was shown the red, while yesterday, USM player Nor Azami Zani picked up the red for an off-the-ball incident.
The BJSS’ hero was G. Kavin Kartik who notched a hat- trick with goals in the 10th, 50th and 67th minutes. The other goals were scored by Dangerous Lee (16th) and Faridzul Afiq (38th).
The USM goal was scored by Azwar Rahman in the 22nd minute.
Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) got off to a winning start when they beat UniTen 3-1 in their first match yes terday.
BPSS got their goals off Shahril Saabah (11th) and Nor Hafiq Gaffar (43rd, 64th). The UniTen goal was scored by Abbas Nekmat in the 56th minute.
“I am happy with the margin, but not with the way the boys played today (yesterday). They have played much better in friendlies, and their penalty corners were also impressive during training, but in real match temperament, they just seem to lose focus,” said BJSS coach S. Prakash.

P W D L F A Pts
Ipoh CC 2 1 1 0 4 3 4
BJSS 2 1 0 1 6 3 3
BPSS 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
Army Jnrs 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Malacca CC 2 1 0 1 3 3 3
UniTen 2 0 1 1 2 4 1
USM 2 0 0 2 1 6 0

Saturday, December 4, 2010

KL Hockey Club hunting Sohail Abbas

THE Malaysia Hockey League )MHL) Premier Division closing date for registration of players was extended to next Friday, as teams are still scrambling to secure top-flight players.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club have Sohail Abbas from Pakistan on their mind, but he is only expected to confirm or decline on Monday.
Sohail scored the first goal to dent Malaysia’s hopes in the Asian Games, where we lost 2-0 to Pakistan in the final.
Yesterday, Sapura, UniKL, KL Hockey Club and Nur Insafi confirmed their foreign players, while Yayasan Negri Sem bilan are still in talks with India players as well as their coach Harendra Singh.
Harendra quit the India national team after they could only win bronze in the Asian Games.
YNS are looking to field Deepak Thakur and Prabjhot Singh of India and Shakeel Abbasi from Pakistan.
Sapura have secured Rehan Butt of Pakistan, South Ko rea's Lim Woo Guen and Welsh second choice keeper David James Kettle.
Nur Insafi will again have a battery of foreign players as they have named India and Pakistan players Ramesh Kumar, Abdul Asim Khan, Imran Khan Yusouf Zai, Prem Kumar, Bikash Toppo, Shahbir Ahmad Khan, Khasif Ali, Vivek, Veerachamy Raja and Jitendra Saroha.
The Premier Division starts on Dec 17 and Tenaga Na sional, Maybank, Armed Forces and UiTM will rely solely on local talent.
Meanwhile, Bukit Jalil Sports School will be out to make amends for their 2-0 defeat to Armed Forces Juniors in Division One of the MHL when they play Universiti Sains Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur today.
DIVISION ONE -- Today: Ipoh City Council v Malacca City Council (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm), Bukit Jalil SS v Universiti Sains Malaysia (Pantai Stadium, 5pm), Bandar Penawar SS v UniTen (BPSS pitch, 5pm).

Army edge schoolboys

BUKIT JALIL Sports School were sent reeling when Armed Forces Juniors beat them 2-1 in the curtain raiser of the Malaysia Hockey League Division One match at the Ministry of Education Stadium in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
And even BJSS coach S. Prakash could not believe the poor performance dished out by his charges, who could have easily sealed the three points after taking the lead.
BJSS' stuttering start was salvaged when G. Kavin Kartik scored off the first penalty corner they rceived in the 19th minute, but after that, the schoolboys played only in patched.
Armed Forces were unlucky not to have ended up with a bigger winning margin, as they muffed plenty of opportunities in the second half.
Razali Hazemi snatched the equaliser off a field attempt in the 44th minute, while the winner was scored by Szuhairi Aziz in the 64th minute.
"This is surely not the school's standard, as my players can and have played at a higher level. I think they were a little nervous, and it showed when they had opportunities to seal the match after taking the lead, but muffed all," said BJSS coach S. Prakash.
Army coach Kamaruddin Misman was pleased with the victory, but did not expect the three points.
"We played with BJSS in three friendlies as warm-ups and all ended in draws (1-1, 2-2 and 3-3). So I we knew their style, and used it to our advantage. But still, it is a shocking win for us," said kamaruddin.
Malacca City Council also started with a win when they beat Universiti Sains Malaysia with the goal coming in the 33rd minute off a field attempt from Azrul Hairi.
In another match,Ipoh City Councildrew 1-1 with University Tenaga Nasional. Abbas Nekmat gave UniTen the lead in the seventh minute, but Hafiz Dolah equalised in the 67th minute off a penalty stroke.
The first day matches were marred by a red card flashed to Ipoh player Mohamed Rasyid in the 3oth minute for an off the ball incident.
RESULTS -- DIVISION ONE: Ipoh City Council 1 UniTen 1, Bukit Jalil SS 1 Armed Forces Jnr 2, Universiti Sains Malaysia 0 Malacca City Council 1.
TOMORROW: Ipoh City Council v Malacca City Council (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm), Bukit Jalil SS v Universiti Sains Malaysia (Pantai Stadium, 5pm), Bandar Penawar SS v UniTen (BPSS pitch, 5pm).

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The unofficial MHL website in play now

The battle for the MHL supremacy starts on December 17, but for UniKL coach Darren Smith, the past month has been spent on getting his soldiers primed for the arduous task ahead.
Darren, who is also the assistant coach of the New Zealand squad, arrived in Malaysia last month to prepare the UniKL side for the MHL and having spoken to him when he first arrived and after a month of training his charges, one could see the optimism he has for his bunch of youngsters.



Punjabi Women's Futsal, Inspiring

TEAM Inspire emerged champions of the inaugural Punjabi Women's Futsal Tournament at the Bandar Baru Sentul Futsal Court on Nov 21.
Inspire walked away with a challenge trophy sponsored by the family of Sardara Singh Sherpura.
Team SNSM finished second while Team Sentul were third.
Manpreet Kaur of Inspire was picked as the player of the tournament.
Ten teams, with players ranging from 12-years-old to 51, participated in the tournament which was jointly organised by Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia (Malaysia Sikh Youth Organisation), Selangor Sikh Union and Tatt Khalsa Diwan.
Organising committee chairman Gurdarshan Singh, who is also the president of Selangor Sikh Union, expressed satisfaction with the turnout.
"This is the first time we have organised this championships and we will do it annually," said Gurdarshan.
He said the main objective of the event was to encourage teamwork, socialising and sportsmanship spirit.

Seven TNB players for Thunderbolt

BANDAR Penawar Sports School-Thunderbolt will be beefed-up by seven seasoned Tenaga Nasional players in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) starting today.
Thunderbolt will be skippered by TNB employee Fairuz Hamsani, and the inclusion of experience in the schools side is expected to make them among the front-runners for the title.
“We have been training in Kuala Lumpur because of our collaboration with TNB (Thunderbolts) and with the in clusion of seven seasoned TNB employees, we hope to make an impact this season,” said Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman.
Rising from the Junior Hockey League, Thunderbolts will take on UniTen on Sunday.
In the JHL, they were denied glory when UNiKL shocked them 2-1 in the Overall final. Thunderbolts were the JHL League champions.
The Division One will see seven teams battling for honours and they are BJSS, Bukit Jalil Sports School, Ipoh City Council, Armed Forces Juniors, University Tenaga Nasional, University Sains Malaysia and Malacca City Council.
Today, BJSS will play against Armed Forces, and the schoolboys are touted to have an upper hand.
“Our target of playing in the MHL is to prepare a strong side for the JHL, and that is why we will be utilising all our players to give them maximum exposure,” said BJSS coach S. Prakash.
The Premier Division will begin on Dec 17.
DIVISION ONE -- FRIDAY: Ipoh City Council v UniTen (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm), Bukit Jalil SS v Armed Forces Jnr (Pantai Stadium, 5pm), Universiti Sains Malaysia v Malacca City Council (USM Stadium, 5pm).
SUNDAY: Ipoh City Council v Malacca City Council (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm), Bukit Jalil SS v Universiti Sains Malaysia (Pantai Stadium, 5pm), Bandar Penawar SS v UniTen (BPSS pitch, 5pm).

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hero's welcome

Pakistani hockey player Rehan Butt is pictured with his family as he arrives from the Asian Games to Allam Iqbal International Airport in Lahore late on November 27, 2010. Pakistan celebrated their first Asian Games hockey gold in 20 years beating Malaysia 2-0 in the final in Guangzhou, China. The Asian Games win -- their eighth -- is their first major achievement since winning the World Cup in Australia in 1994.

Loads of money in MHL

THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division has attracted nine teams, and with an attractive budget of about RM3.5 million, the matches are expected to be explosive.
Scheduled to start on Dec 17, the Premier Division will see regulars Tenaga Nasional, Sapura, KL Hockey Club, Maybank, Universiti Kuala Lumpur and Nur Insafi in action.
They will be joined by last year's Division One champions Armed Forces-Airod and runners-up UiTM while Yayasan Negri Sembilan (YNS) received a wild-card as they have promised to hire a string of foreign players.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Maninderjit Singh said: "The MHF will support teams by providing jerseys, transport, accommodation and we have even increased the prize money by RM80,000 this year to make the MHL more exciting."
But even with MHF providing the basics, teams must be prepared to fork out about RM500,000 if they want to be among the top four in the Premier Division.
UniKL, who made their debut in the Premier Division last year and finished last, had spent a total of RM500,000.
"We spent half a million for both JHL and MHL matches, but then, we did not have any star players or hired any foreign coach or players," said UniKL team manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim.
"The rough estimate for a team to have the bulk of the national players as well as a good coaching outfit is about RM600,000 just to play in the Premier Division." Maninderjit concurred with the estimate.
"It all depends on what the team want to achieve in the Premier Division. If you are looking at the top of the table teams who hire the best in the country and those who have foreign players, it could easily come to RM600,000 or more," he said.
"This is because some of the teams retain and pay their players for the whole year. But for those who only seal deals for the duration the league is on, it could be very much less, but then, the results are also hard to come by."
"The MHF has allowed Yayasan Negri Sembilan into the Premier Division this year because they have promised to secure at least six top foreign players.
"We have been made to understand that YNS will hire at least six foreign players but have yet to receive the final team list from them," said Maninderjit.
"The MHF should have a clearer picture when we receive the full team list on Dec 4 (Saturday) when the competition committee meets."

Monday, November 29, 2010

BJSS go for young blood

BUKIT Jalil Sports School will field a young Division One side for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) in an effort to prepare a team for the Junior Hockey League (JHL) next year.
The MHL Division One tournament starts on Friday with seven teams battling for honours.
The top two qualify for the Premier Division quarter-finals, and also gain automatic entry into the higher division.
The seven aspirants this year are Ipoh City Council, Bandar Penawar Sports School, Bukit Jalil Sports School, Armed Forces Juniors, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Malacca Municipal Council.
BJSS will also be fielding budding 16-year-old Thung Wei Chia from Kelantan.
"Basically, 18 of my 20 players will be eligible to compete in the JHL next season and that is our end target. The school will be exposing many new young players so that they will be better prepared for the junior league," said BJSS coach S. Prakash.
BJSS open accounts against Armed Forces Juniors on Friday. The League ends on Feb 25.
The Premier Division of the MHL will start on Dec 17.
"We have a relatively good side but most of them lack exposure and that is why we are eager to see them in action in the MHL.
"Also, our Chinese payer Wei Chia has proved to become a promising defender, and the MHL will better prepare him to play in the JHL, just like the others," added Prakash.
The current national senior and junior teams do not have a single Chinese player with the last to represent Malaysian was Chua Boon Huat.
Wei Chia is also the only Chinese player listed in the seven-team MHL Division One tournament.

KL retain u-14 title

The Kuala Lumpur team celebrate after defending their title yesterday. — Picture by Asman Ibrahim

DEFENDING champions Kuala Lumpur subdued an aggressive Perak 2-1 to retain the MHF-NSC-Milo-MSSM Boys' National Under-14 hockey title at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hockey Stadium yesterday.
Both sides enjoyed their share of early play without any result until in a goalmouth melee when Perak's Mohd Alif Faizal's took advantage of the situation to score past a fumbling Kuala Lumpur goalkeeper Muhd Shafie Sharom.
After the breather, KL upped the tempo and harassed the Perak defence and it paid off when Nor Syafiq Sumantri beat Perak's replacement goalkeeper Mohd Amirul Abd Halim to equalise.
Stung by the goal, Perak went on the hunt for another goal but to no avail, and even missed two sitters.
KL, after soaking up all that their opponents could throw at them, produced some thrilling play resulting in Jagveen Singh getting the winning goal two minutes from time.
KL coach Saiful Munir Mansor was thrilled with his charges' performance and said they played according to instructions.
“When we were down by a goal, I was not so worried as it has become a norm that my boys play better under pressure and always come back from behind to win," said Saiful.
"It happened twice in this tournament, in the group match we came from behind to beat Malacca and in the semi-finals we also came from a goal down to beat Selangor in the extra time."
Earlier, Selangor took third spot when they slammed Terengganu 7-0.

RESULTS - Final: Kuala Lumpur 2 Perak 1; 3rd-4th: Selangor 7 Terengganu 0.
Roll of honour - Man of the Match: Jagveen Singh (Kuala Lumpur); Top scorer: Mohd Haikal Zamri -- 13 goals (Selangor); Best goalkeeper: Mohd Amirul Abd Halim (Perak); Player of the Tournament: Nazrulmubin Zebidi (Selangor); Fair play: Perak.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

BJSS planning for JHL assault

BUKIT Jalil Sports School will field a young side in the Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), with an eye to prepare a team for the Junior Hockey League (JHL) next year.
The MHL Division One tournament will start on Dec 3, with seven teams battling for honours. The top-two will qualify for the Premier Division quarter-finals, and also gain automatic entry into the higher division.
The seven aspirants this year are Ipoh City Council, Bandar Penawar Sports School, Bukit Jalil Sports School, Armed Forces Juniors, Universiti Tenaga Nasional, Universiti Sains Malaysia and Malacca Municipal Council.
BJSS will also be fielding a budding 16-year-old Chinese player, Thung Wei Chia, from Kelantan.
“Basically, 18 out of my 20 players will be eligible to compete in the JHL next season and that is our end target. The school will be exposing many new young players, so that they will be better prepared for the junior league,” said BJSS coach S. Prakash.
BJSS will open accounts against Armed Forces Juniors on Dec 3, and the League will end on Feb 25.
The Premier Division of the MHL will start on Dec 17.
“We have a relatively good side, but most of the lack exposure and that is why we are eager to see them in action in the MHL. Also, our Chinese payer Thung has proved to become a promising defender in friendlies, and the MHL will better prepare him to play in the JHL, just like the others,” said Prakash.
The current national seniors and juniors teams do not have a single Chinese player, with the last to represent Malaysian was Chua Boon Huat.
Thung is also the only Chines listed in the seven-team MHL Division One tournament.

KL struggle to enter final

By K. Kandiah

DEFENDING champion Kuala Lumpur was almost out of the race as they struggled to beat Selangor 3-2 in a sudden- death extra time first semifinals of the MHF-NSC-Milo-MSSM Boys’ National Under-14 hockey tournament at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hockey Stadium in Minden yesterday.
Muhd Shahfirul Aqmal saved the day for Kuala Lumpur when he scored right at the stoppage time of the regular match to equalize 2-2 and again was on target six minutes into the sudden-death extra time for KL to march into the final.
Selangor drew first blood in the match when Ahmad Sarif Suhsdianto slammed into goal from the top of the `D’ in the 25th minute for them to lead 1-0 at the break but in the 47th minute Kuala Lumpur’s Danial Asyraf Ghani cancelled the deficit.
The Red Giants went into the lead again when Mohd Hafif Elkan converted a penalty corner only to see their opponents equalize through Muhd Shahfirul right at the hoot of regular time and six minutes into the sudden-death extra time Muhd Shahfirul fired the winning goal.
KL coach Saiful Munir Mansor said they have to be very cautious and be focused when facing Perak, though we beat them last year, it is not the same this year.
In the second semifinals, Perak defeated Terengganu 4-1 and earned the rights to play Kuala Lumpur in the final today. The 2009 runner-up opened accounts in the seventh minute when Mohd Alif Faizal converted a penalty corner and in the 22nd minute Mhd Husaini Husin beat goalkeeper Mohd Afif Amzar to increase the lead.
Ten minutes later M. Zainul Rusyaidi reduced the deficit for Terengganu. After the breather, Mohd Alif was on target again when he converted another penalty corner and Mohd Zulhamizan Abas rounded up the score to 4-1 when he also converted a penalty corner.
Perak coach Abdul Shukor Adam, who was pleased with his charges performance, said they respected Kuala Lumpur as they are the defending champions while Perak was still the underdog.
“However, we intend to take home the title which slipped us last year.
“Its been a long time since we won the title, and this year my boys are really serious in taking home the title.
“Though we respect Kuala Lumpur and we carry the underdog label, nothing is going to stop us from winning the title,” he told Timesport at the USM stadium yesterday.
Meanwhile, the irresponsible and unpleasant fans and parents of players marred the game, since the tournament began on Aug 20, their irresponsible name callings and unwarranted remarks angered many other fans and officials.
The fans, especially the parents should be more responsible or else their off-springs will be either like them or worst when they grow up, as normally the children will more or less follow their parents foot-steps. “Leadership through Example” this is what the parents should grill into their children and not the other way around.
RESULTS – Kuala Lumpur 3 Selangor 2; Perak 4 Terengganu 1
Today – 3rd-4th: Selangor v Terengganu (3.30pm)
Final: Kuala Lumpur v Perak (5.30pm)

Van Huizen: I love journalists

Malaysia goalkeeper S. Kumar blows out the candles on his birthday cake upon his arrival with the Malaysian hockey team at KLIA on Friday. — Picture by Osman Adnan

NATIONAL hockey coach Stephen van Huizen (with garland) has denied he was rude to a Malaysian journalist following the 2-0 defeat to Pakistan in the Asian Games final on Thursday.
Stephen said he had responded to a question before the press conference started and was told by a media officer to wait for Pakistan.
“I was asked as to what the team’s next target was to which I replied the Olympic Qualifier,” said Stephen yesterday.
The next question posed was when would the Qualifier be held to which Stephen said he replied ‘You should know’ before the media officer told him to not proceed.
“I honestly didn’t know the date of the Qualifier nor the venue. I was not being rude.
“I have always worked closely with journalists and have always taken the time to answer their questions, even when I have been criticised.
“That was the case in the Commonwealth Games but I still worked with the media. I did say that I hoped that the silver in Guangzhou would appease the press after the team did badly in the Commonwealth Games and I meant it sincerely.
“We have a major task ahead of us as qualifying for the London Olympics is going to be a tough task but I look forward to working closely with journalists.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

Van Huizen needs coaching, first

By Ajitpal Singh

'Van Huizen was rude to selected reporters and even had lambasted one during the press conference, in front of the international media and other team personnel, after the final.'

THE national hockey team played one bad game in the entire tournament and it cost them an automatic spot to the 2012 London Olympics.
And now, national coach Stephen van Huizen will need to go back to the drawing board to prepare the team for the Olympic qualifiers, which is scheduled next year.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) decided that only the Asian Games gold medallist gets a direct ticket to the Olympics, while the second to sixth placed teams play in three other qualifiers, which offers a spot each.
However, Malaysia could have avoided it if they were more adventurous with their game against Pakistan in the Asian Games final on Thursday.
The team were cautious in their approach and held back play, allowing the South Asian giants to easily win their first Asian Games gold medal since the 1990 Beijing edition.
A goal in each half from penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas and Rehan Butt ended Malaysia’s dream of Olympic qualification.
Credit, however, should be given to the team for reaching the final after being deemed no-hopers. Many had written them off after finishing eight in last month’s Commonwealth Games.
The team played well as a unit but they had their limitations. The truth is Malaysia lacked the imagination and flair, probably, because, they did not have players in their team who could to turn on the heat
The talking point here is that we have these players in our own leagues but they were left behind for various reasons including indiscipline.
National coach Stephen van Huizen and Co must seriously look into the team’s limitations before starting afresh for next year’s competitions.
“Pakistan deserved to win as they played better than us. It’s an honour to be part of the team that made it to the first Asian Games final, but now we need to go back to the drawing board and see how we could qualify for the Olympics,” said van Huizen at the Aoti Stadium on Thursday.
“Although, we lost, we got several chances in the match. It went well in the semi-final and the previous match against China. Though I am disappointed with the result, I feel very proud for my boys.
On Malaysia’s preparation for next year’s Olympic qualifiers, van Huizen said he will need to speak to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) on next year’s programme.
“Of course, the Asian Games was an easier route to qualify for the Olympics. It is not going to be easy now. The players will be released for the Malaysian Hockey League until prior notice,” said van Huizen.
Overall, the national hockey team defied the odds by doing well in Asian Games.
However, MHF should educate their national coaches to be etiquette during interviews and press conferences.

Van Huizen was rude to selected reporters and even had lambasted one during the press conference, in front of the international media and other team personnel, after the final.
It was true that the local media was critical on the team after their failure in the Commonwealth Games but as a professional coach, van Huizen should have conducted himself like a true gentleman.

Ashpal Kaur breaks new ground

Ashpal Kaur Bhogal has become the first Sikh-Briton female player to be selected in any of the England Woman's Hockey international programs.

Leeds Met Carnegie hockey Coach, Regional Performance coach and former elite player, Bobby Singh Bhogal has been single handily coaching Ashpal Kaur Bhogal, who is also his daughter, since the age of six.
Ashpal says she has "realized a dream in being selected for the England Under 16 squad to travel to Holland for the Four Nations tournament [in April]."
Ashpal, 15, is a Leeds based schoolgirl and currently a pupil at Boston Spa School Leeds. She made it through several months of rigorous assessment to earn her place in the 18-strong party. She has moved through the England Hockey's new single system process and has excelled at every age group.
Ashpal, who started playing senior Ladies hockey with Pudsey Leeds at age 9, now represents Harrogate Hockey Club Woman's 1st team and has been playing there since aged 13. She managed to retain her place in the national side after the provisional 30-strong squad was whittled down to 18 over the course of a three-month period.
Along with her 17 team-mates, Ashpal took part in a holding camp at Lilleshall at the end of March before flying out to the Netherlands on April 1. England faced Germany, Spain and hosts Holland during the five-day competition.
Coach Bobby Singh said "What she has done is inspirational and I cannot yet convey in words how proud our family is of Ashpal. To get to this point we started the journey 10 years ago and through sheer hard work, dedication, focus and commitment we are here today. Was it worth it? You bet!"
He added: "A significant part of our program was carried out using our exceptional facilities here at Leeds Met".
Ashpal's family members were originally refugees from Idi Amin's repression in Ugan. It is a family steeped in the game of hockey. She has been coached by her uncle Satvinderpal Singh Bhogal and, of course, her father - both elite players.
Bobby was an England representative at the European Indoor Hockey Championships in Prague in 2000. Today, Ashpal's father works as a hockey coach at the Carnegie Faculty of Sport and Education at Leeds Metropolitan University.
[Courtesy: Carnegie Sport and Fabian Hamilton, MP's blog]

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Silver, after seven bronze

Ace drag flicker Sohail Abbas and veteran Rehan Butt helped Pakistan regain Asian Games field hockey gold after 20 years with a 2-0 victory over Malaysia in the final on Thursday.
Abbas netted a powerful push off 26th-minute short corner while Butt was brilliantly set up by Shafqat Rasool from the right side to place the ball off the second attempt in the 38th.
“With so many bad things happening in Pakistan, like terrorism and floods I think today we have given our countrymen something to smile,” Abbas, 35, said.
Malaysian players had shaved their heads to ward off evil spirits in their first Asian Games final. But their penalty corner specialist Amin Rahim could not find the target off the three short corners.
Pakistan’s last Asian Games gold came in 1990 at Beijing, and the win here was Pakistan’s first major title since winning the World Cup in 1994.
“It’s simply out of this world for me and I have no words to describe how much happy all of us are,” said jubilant Pakistan captain Zeeshan Ashraf, 33, who stood firm in the defense.
The victory also secured Pakistan a spot at the 2012 London Olympics and Ashraf said that was the other target which was achieved by senior players.
“I think it’s now the right time that more juniors should come into the team,” he said. “Twenty years is a long gap and it would be jubilation everywhere in Pakistan.”
Abbas said he had no intentions to quit and if he stayed fit he would be in London in two years.
“Age is no barrier for a hockey player, fitness is what that counts and who knows if I stay fit I will be there,” he said.
Pakistan goalkeeper Salman Akbar threw his helmet and hockey stick in the air soon after the final hooter was blown as Pakistan players rushed and hugged each other.
They even raised their coach Michel van den Heuvel and manager former Olympian Khawaja Junaid on their shoulders and chanted slogans “Pakistan Zindabad (long live)” in unison.
They carried national flags in their hands and also approached a handful of fans at the Aoti Hockey Stadium stand to thank them for their support.
Malaysia’s striker Faizal Saari was disappointed with his team’s loss, but said it was good to have its first silver in 12 Asian Games after winning six bronze medals.
“We played disappointing game today and of course expectations were high back home after we defeated India in the semifinal,” he said.
Earlier, India clinched the bronze, defeating South Korea 1-0 on Tushar Khandker’s field goal in the 39th minute.

Silver for Malaysia

Men's Final: Pakistan 2 (Sohail Abbas 26, Rehan Butt 38) Malaysia 0 H-t: 1-0
Bronze medal match: India 1 (Tushar Khandekar 39) South Korea 0

Golden boy for S. Kumar

By S.S. Dhaliwal

A month ago his father passed away while Kumar was in between the posts for Malaysia against Scotland at the Commonwealth Games.
This time around while Kumar was on the pitch, doing his nation proud by keeping at bay the Induan attack in the semis of the Asian Games, his wife went into labour and delivered their baby boy.
Indeed Kumar has put nation over self during times his family needed him. A true example of a sportsman, the best we have known in recent times.
Congrats Kumar and to the team we salute you , let's win this for the 1 Nalaysia spirit

Malaysian Hockey blogspot

India snatch bronze from Korea

FORMER champions India returned to the Asian Games men’s hockey podium after missing out four years ago when they defeated favourites South Korea 1-0 in the bronze medal play-off on Thursday.
Tushar Khandekar netted the winner four minutes into the second session as India dominated the lacklustre Koreans through the 70-minute encounter at the Aoti Hockey Centre.
India had not won an Asiad hockey medal for the first time at the 2006 Doha Games and paid the price when they failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics two years ago.
The eight-time Olympic champions had bagged Asian Games titles in 1966 and 1998.
India’s Spanish coach Jose Brasa, who contract is up for renewel after this match, said the bronze medal was not a just reward for his team.
“I think we were the best side in the competition, winning five of our six matches,” said Brasa. “I can’t say I am happy, but at least the boys will not return home empty-handed.” India, who won all their four league matches, were knocked out by a Malaysian golden goal in the semi-final.
South Korea, winners at the last two editions in Busan and Doha, were denied a hat-trick when they lost to Pakistan in a penalty shoot-out in the other semi-final.
The last time the Koreans finished fourth was in Beijing in 1990.

Rahim's super show

DESPAIR AND DELIGHT: India's Dhananjay Mahadik (right) is dejected as the Malaysians celebrate after the 'golden goal' took their team to the final.

Malaysia scripted a new page in the hockey history of the Asian Games on Tuesday. With a display that underlined the essence of fortitude, it sunk India's hopes of taking the only qualifying spot available for the London Olympics in 2012 with a 4-3 verdict that surfaced off a ‘golden goal'.
It is a pity that India should end the game at the altar of defeat. Actually, the team produced a few incandescent spells, recovered from a goal deficit, scored two brilliant field goals and led until the clock showed three minutes to the end.
In came the lethal striker, Rahim Amin, to demolish India. He pumped in a perfect grounder for the equaliser, pushed the match to extra-time, and produced another impeccable shot to send the Malaysian supporters and players into a delirium of delight.
This is Malaysia's first entry into the final where it will take on Pakistan on Thursday. Pakistan edged out the defending champion South Korea in the penalty shoot-out.
The impromptu scenes of joy by the Malaysians were well deserved for the outfit had taken on the might of the Koreans, Chinese and now the Indians to march into the final.
It was Malaysia that struck first from Tenku Abdul Jalil from a solo effort making capital out of poor defensive work. But the Indians rallied well, thanks to some fluent runs by Tushar Khandekar and Rajpal Singh utilising the wing crosses from Gurbaj Singh. Sandeep Singh produced a superbly driven penalty corner for the equaliser before half-time.
From then on, India had everything rolling for it. When Tushar Khandekar scored off a cross from Shivendra minutes resumption, it looked as though India was on the right lane, synthesising the attack and the defenders. As always, Halappa from the midfield contributed his share as did Sardar Singh at the back.
Fighting the issue tooth and nail, Malaysia exerted pressure and restored parity when Aslan Misron deflected a penalty corner push by Rahim Amin.
India surged ahead again with Rajpal Singh jabbing a rebound from goalkeeper Kumar from a penalty corner hit by Mahadik. The team had just then substituted Sandeep Singh who was not on the field for two penalty corners.
Needlessly inviting stress by allowing the ball to be rolled around, India conceded a penalty corner, three minutes before the end.
Rahim breathed life back into the Malaysian squad with a thundering penalty corner drive and came off with a spectacular penalty corner ‘golden goal' to become part of the moment that will be etched for years in Malaysia's hockey folklore.
A sombre looking chief coach, Jose Brasa, admitted that the team played very well but made mistakes at crucial stages. The players, naturally, were dejected and left the field without even moving in to the mixed zone to face the TV cameras, which they were doing with great relish till Monday.
Korea loses

Korea's search for a third gold medal in a row ended on an agonising note when Pakistan dethroned the defending champion in the sudden death. The man who shattered the dream for Korea was the veteran goalkeeper Salman Akbar.
When he blocked a flick from Yeo Woon Koon in the sudden death, the moment signalled victory for Pakistan which has not won a gold medal since 1990 at Beijing.
The teams were 1-1 at the end of the regulation time and no goal was added in the extra-time.
It was a tension packed match. Both the teams stretched the note of caution beyond an agreeable limit .The consequence was the lack of fizz in the contest. However, none can deny that Pakistan was a shade better.
Zubair Muhammad led the attack with confidence with support from Shafqat Rasool. But credit should also go to the defenders, Zeeshan Ashraff and Imran Muhammad, apart from the goalkeeper who was confidence personified in the tie breaker, and, understandably, ended as the hero of the Pakistani supporters.
The Koreans were unusually slow. The penalty corners were badly handled. In fact, a corner flunked by poor stoppage gave Pakistan a chance to counter attack. Zubair launched the move and Waqas hit the target.
Korea scored early in the second half through Kang Moonkyu who deflected a cross from Jong Janghyun.
The contest moved into extra time amidst all round excitement and then to sudden death during which Salman Akbar rose to the occasion.

The Hindu