Saturday, January 30, 2010

Maybank held by tireless UniKL-Ibil

Nur Insafi goalkeeper Bharat Kumar Chetri (left) blocks an attempt by Sapura’s Muhamamad Marhan Mohd Jalil in their MHL Premier Division first leg quarter-final match at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday. Sapura won 4-1. Pic: OSMAN ADNAN

UNIKL-IBIL wore down Maybank with their blistering pace before snatching a 3-3 draw in the first leg quarter-final of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division at Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
The youthful side, with an average age of 22, held a 2-1 lead for 20 minutes, before almost collapsing due to lack of experience, but did just enough to stay alive for the return leg.
Maybank took the lead through Azzami Adabi in the 16th minute, but after the breather, UniKL scored two goals via Khairil Anuar in the 37th and Noor Faeez Ibrahim in the 43rd minute.
Maybank banked on their experience to draw level through Hafifi Hafiz (63rd) and Azzami (65th), but could not hold onto the lead as UniKL upped the tempo again and Noor Faez nailed the third goal in the 67th minute.
Maybank missed defender K. Gobinahan who was left warming the bench after he pulled a hamstring and will not be available for the return leg.
At the KLHA Stadium, League champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club hammered ATM-Airod 10-2 to confirm their semi-finals ticket. KLHC were in total command, and the second leg tomorrow will be purely academic for them.
Razie Rahim started the goal-count in the ninth minute, and then scored his brace in the 24th minute.
The other goals came off Chua Boon Huat (27th, 31st, 45th), Ismail Abu (28th, 45th), Harvinder Singh (52nd) and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (64th, 66th).
At the Tun Razak Stadium, Sapura beat Nur Insafi 4-1 to virtually confirm their semi-finals slot.
Sapura and KLHC will clash in the semi-final, unless their rivals pull off a miracle in the return leg.
Sapura took a 4-0 lead with goals from Jiwa Mohan (fifth), Rodhanizam Radzi (14th), Marhan Jalil (42nd) and Kazamirul Nasruddin (48th) before Sundeep Michael pulled one back for Nur Insafi in the 60th minute.
"Yes, I will be fielding my reserves for the return leg to avoid injuries and cards.
"However, I would like to congratulate ATM-Airod for playing good hockey for the first 20 minutes.
"They were even 1-1 with us after 12 minutes of play, but crumbled because they lacked experience," said KLHC coach R. Vivekanandan.
The most exciting match of the day was between youngsters UniKL-IBIL and Maybank, who also played to a 4-4 draw in the last encounter in Malacca.
"The feeling is simply great because my boys managed to hold an experienced team like Maybank to a draw twice in a row.
“The second draw was even sweeter for me, because my players did not crack under pressure, and we live to fight on," said UniKL-IBIL coach I. Vickneswaran.

RESULTS: Q-finals, first leg: KLHC 10 ATM-Airod 2, Nur Insafi 1 Sapura 4, Maybank 3 UniKL-IBIL 3, UiTM 0 Tenaga 2.
SUNDAY : Tenaga v UiTM (4.30pm, KLHA Stadium).
UniKL-IBIL vs Maybank (4.30pm), Sapura vs Nur Insafi (6.30pm), ATM-Airod vs KLHC (8.30pm).
*Matches at Tun Razak Stadium.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Nur Insafi to play after all

By Ajitpal Singh

PENANG’S Nur Insafi have decided not to withdraw from the Malaysia Hockey League (TNB Cup) two-leg quarter-final tie against Sapura in Kuala Lumpur despite threatening to do so over the past week.
According to Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Hashim Mohamed Yusof, the association received a letter from Nur Insafi coach Tatchana Murthy yesterday stating that they have agreed to play both matches away at the Tun Razak Stadium tomorrow and on Sunday.
Nur Insafi had wanted to withdraw from the knockout stage competition after MHF had rejected their appeal to play one leg at the USM Stadium in Penang.
Hashim said the MHF technical committee agreed to accept their withdrawal on Tuesday with Sapura getting an automatic spot into the semi-finals.
“We also prepared new fixtures, involving only three quarter-final matches. But we are happy that Nur Insafi had changed their mind by opting to remain in the competition,” he said.
"They spent a lot of money hiring foreign players and it will be waste if they withdrew from the competition for the overall title.
Nur Insafi are the only team featuring foreign players. But despite having 15 players from India and Pakistan, the club side finished disappointing fifth in the six-team Premier Division.

Q-Finals (1st leg)— Friday: KLHC v ATM-Airod (4.30pm; KLHA Stadium).
Nur Insafi v Sapura (4.30pm);
Maybank v UniKL-IBIL (6.30pm);
UiTM v Tenaga (8.30pm).
*Matches at Tun Razak Stadium

2nd leg — Sunday: Tenaga v UiTM (4.30pm, KLHA Sta dium).
UniKL-IBIL vs Maybank (4.30pm)
Sapura vs Nur Insafi (6.30pm)
ATM-Airod vs KLHC (8.30pm)
*Matches at Tun Razak Stadium

India, Pakistan for Azlan Shah Cup

By Ajitpal Singh

FOUR teams have confirmed their entries for this year’s Azlan Shah Cup but the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) is optimistic another three teams will accept their invitation by this Sunday’s closing date.
Defending champions India, Pakistan, Australia and Malaysia are the confirmed teams.
MHF has also invited the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, South Korea, Japan and Egypt for the tournament, scheduled at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium on May 8-16.
“We are targeting seven teams for the competition. I am confident other teams will reply by Sunday,” said MHF secretary Hashim Yusoff.
In last year’s edition, India defeated Malaysia 3-1 in the final while Pakistan finished fourth.
Meanwhile, the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy will be held at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh on April 3- 18.
Korea, Pakistan, China and Malaysia, the top four finishers in last year’s Asia Cup will compete for the title.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Forget a touring league

COMMENT by Jugjet Singh

THE idea was novel, and expensive to execute, so the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) deserve a pat for pulling it thought.
The Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division will enter the knock-out stages this weekend, but many feel the idea should be knocked out in the next season, as it has failed in many areas.
First of all, the stadia in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Johor Baru and Malacca were empty of fans, and the smattering of people that bothered to attend were more family and friends of the hockey players.
The Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, a venue which used to be filled to the brim when MHL matches were played a decade ago, only saw a handful of fans, while the rest were players, officials and not to forget the ball-boys.
Penang failed to bring in the crowd, even though they had a home side in Nur Insafi, and the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru as well as the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca will tell you a similar tale if they could talk.
So next season, MHF might a well scrape the expensive idea which involves travelling and staying in hotels, as five out of the six teams are based in the Klang Valley, and it is highly unlikely that another state-based club can afford to join in.
The reason is not because Malaysians do not like to watch hockey anymore, but because the gap among teams is so huge, that the League champion Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club should have been given the trophy and RM30,000 cash right after they submitted their team list.
The fact that 5 million viewers tuned in to watch Malaysia play against New Zealand in the World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill, indicates the fan base is still there, but they want quality matches and not run-of-the mill lop-sided tour naments.
There are not enough hockey players to go around, and former stars are still highly in demand even though their production level has dropped with the increase in their waist- line.
Only UniKl-Ibil took a chance with a young side, but it looks like many of their players might be pinched by the richer clubs, and next season they will again be doing development work.
Sponsors Tenaga Nasional made it possible with a huge contribution, but it is time more money be used for de velopment, than staging tournaments.
A discussion was held recently between the big guns of the National Sports Council and the MHF, and the whispers in the corridors say that there is still hope in the long run if the proposals become a reality.
The NSC are looking at a Primary Sports School in Pahang where Standard One pupil will be exposed to training in multiple sports, and a scientific evaluation will be made as they grow up and only then, will they be made to specialise in sports which suit their physique.
And the NSC have promised to be on the lookout for budding hockey players.
Then there are plans to send a entire age-group hockey teams to Europe for more than a month to play and train, and this will be made possible by cementing affiliation with clubs in Netherlands and Germany who will house and train the boys at minimal cost.
In the words of one NSC official: “There will be more quality training time, and less time to be tourists as is the norm right now.”
The whispers are strong and confident that both the ideas will take off next year and in the long run, tournaments like the MHL will not have to rely on old horses or low-quality foreign players, while Malaysia will also be in a better position on the International Hockey Federation standings in a decade.

Sapura not keen to play away

SAPURA wrote a two-page letter to the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) yesterday, and it had ‘No’ in every para graph to Nur Insafi’s request to play one leg of the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division quarter-finals in Penang.
Nur Insafi club president S. Thaitchana, who is also their coach, had said that if MHF deny their request to play one leg in Penang, they will stage a walkover.
“I have been following this new development in the press, and on Sunday, I received a call from the MHF asking me if Sapura are wiling to play one leg in Penang, and I replied in writing today (yesterday).
“First of all, Nur Insafi manager attended the team managers meeting where it was decided that all the knock- out matches will be held in Kuala Lumpur.
“None of the team managers, including Nur Insafi’s, protested then, and Sapura’s view is that the MHF stick to that decision,” said Sapura team manager Abdulah Yunus.
Abdulah also said it will be too taxing for his players to travel to Penang immediately after the first leg, and this will be a disadvantage against them.
In the letter, Abdulah also pointed out that eight of his players, and two of his coaches celebrate Thaipusam, and travelling to Penang on Jan 30 is out of the question.
“The first leg is on Friday, while Thaipusam is on the next day. And we play the return leg on Sunday.
“The religious festival is a public holiday and my players have made plans to celebrate it with their families so travelling on Saturday is out of the question,” said Abdulah.
Sapura feel the request to play in Penang is a of personal nature, and not binding.
“We had also made a personal request to MHF to postpone our Jan 16 match in Johor Baru to Jan 17 because our player Jiwa Mohan was getting married on the 16th.
“All my players and support staff wanted to attend the wedding in Kuala Lumpur, but MHF turned it down saying it is personal in nature. We lost two players, including his brother Jivan for that match.
“However, we respect the decision taken by MHF then as it was a personal matter, and now I feel the MHF should also take a similar stand in Nur Insafi’s request.
“In short, we want to play both the matches in KL, as agreed in the team manager meeting,” said Abdulah.
Nur Insafi are expected to turn up for the first leg, and boycott the return leg if MHF deny their request, even though the consequences will be severe on the club.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

MHF: Competition rules do not side Nur Insafi

THERE is only a slim chance that Nur Insafi will be allowed to play one leg of their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division quarter-finals match in Penang.
Nur Insafi coach, who is also the club president, S. Thaitchana had said on Saturday that if the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) do not allow them to play one match in Penang, he will withdraw the team from the MHL.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Hashim Yusoff said yesterday that Nur Insafi complicated matters because they did not protest during the three team managers meetings, and also did not submit an official request to play one leg of the quarter-finals in Penang.
“First of all, I would like to say that the MHF held not one, as the norm, but three team managers meeting before the MHL and it was pointed out clearly in the slide presentation that all the quarter-final matches will be held in Kuala Lumpur.
“None of the team managers protested then, and the MHF took it in good faith and made it part of the tournament regulations,” said Hashim.
Hashim is also baffled on why Thaitchana is harping on the issue this late in competition.
“If they had any problems or suggestions, it should have been brought up during the managers meetings, and not this late. Also, I have not received any written request from Nur Insafi regarding their wish to play one home match,” said Hashim.
However, on goodwill, MHF will approach Nur Insafi’s opponents Sapura and seek their views before making an official stand on the matter.
“We are here to promote hockey and so, purely on goodwill, we will ask Sapura if they are agreeable to play one match in Penang.
“But if Sapura refuse, and say that we should follow tournament regulations, we can’t force them,” said Hashim.
Nur Insafi fielded 16 foreign players from India and Pakistan, but still ended second from the bottom in the League.
Thaitchana has said that the club spent about RM500,000 for the league and had also hit out at the umpires for being bias.
The club president has also said that he will only field a team next year if MHF bring in foreign umpires, and now, Nur Insafi are willing to suffer the consequences of being banned if their request if not met.
An MHF official said MHF had bent backwards on the many Nur Insafi requests, but it looks like the club hav ehit a dead end this time.
“The MHF have spent close to RM40,000 on transport and accommodation on Nur Insafi alone. Then, we also stepped in to help the club secure visa for their players when the Immigration department refused.
“We also have records of providing Nur Insafi with ad ditional hotel stay when they played in Johor Baru and Malacca. But I don’t think Sapura is going to agree to play in Penang, and if Nur Insafi withdraw, they will have to suffer the consequences.”
Jan 29: Quarter-finals (first leg): Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club v Airod; Tenaga Nasional v UiTM; Maybank v UniKL-Ibil; Nur Insafi v Sapura.

Nur Insafi bombshell

Unbridled joy: MHL Premier Division champions KLHC players celebrate with the prizes yesterday. — A. MALEX YAHAYA / The Star

NUR Insafi of Penang beat Sapura 4-1 at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday, and then threw a bombshell when their coach S. Thaitchana said he will withdraw the team from the quarter-finals if the Malaysia Hockey Fed eration (MHF) say no to his home-and-away request.
The MHF plan to hold all the quarter-final matches, starting on Jan 29, in Kuala Lumpur, but Thaitchana feels it will rob him of home ground advantage.
“My stand is clear, if the MHF do not allow us to play in Penang in the two-leg quarters, I will withdraw the team. It does not make sense as the MHF said they are keen to promote hockey at states, and then deny us the chance to play in front of our crowd,” said Thaitchana.
Thaitchana also said that he has made his request known to MHF, but they said they will not budge from their decision.
“If they are not willing to budge, I am also not willing to budge, and I am prepared to face the consequences of being banned.
“We can live with that as it has become pointless playing in the MHL if it is run unprofessionally,” said Thaitchana who is also the club president.
UniKL-Ibil also dished out a surprise when they held Maybank 4-4 in the final Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division league match.
It was actually a full dress rehearsal for the quarter-finals, as both teams will square off again in the last eight on Jan 29.
And the other set of quarter-finalists will also see Nur Insafi and Sapura squaring off again.
However, both the results can’t be taken as a yardstick for the knock-our stage, as it has no bearings on the standings.
K. Gobinathan set the tone for Maybank with a fifth minute penalty corner goal, but Nor Faeez Ibrahim equalised in the seventh minute, and the match went into high gear.
Nor Faeez then gave Unikl-Ibil the lead in the ninth minute, and Taufik Hamid made it 3-1 in the 27th minute.
Maybank came back strongly with goals from Gobinathan (28th), Hafifi Hafiz (40th) and Suhaimi Ibrahim (52nd).
But in the final minute, Amir Farid scored a field goal to give the young side a well deserved draw.
In another match, Nur Insafi scored off Vinod Kumar (10th, 66th), Kul Bushan (15th) and Nur Hrsikesa (56th). The Sapura goal was scored by S. Kuhan in the 34th minute.
RESULTS: Sapura 1 Nur Insafi 4, UniKL-Ibil 4 Maybank 4, Tenaga Nasional 4 KL Hockey Club 3.

P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 10 8 1 1 34 13 25
TENAGA 10 8 0 2 27 11 24
MAYBANK 10 4 4 2 20 15 16
SAPURA 10 3 2 5 17 17 11
NUR INSAFI 10 2 1 7 14 34 7
UNIKL 10 0 2 8 9 30 2

Saturday, January 23, 2010

New Straits Times rule hockey and netball

NST hockey and netball players with their medals.

A SHAHIR OTHMAN field goal was enough to seal victory for the New Straits Times editorial team in the NPC-Milo Inter-Media 9-a-Side Hockey and Netball Championships in Kelab Aman, Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
The NST “B” team made it a double for the newspaper when they emerged champions in the netball tournament after edging the National Press Club team 4-3 in an intense final.
The hockey final saw NST “A”, which was the side representing the editorial department, face-off with NST “B”, a combined team of staff from all other departments.
NST “B” led by news editor MK Megan were the hot favourites entering the final, but were pinned back for most of the 20-minute final, until the point when goalmouth melee in the 15th minute was settled by Shahir, who hit the board from close range.
The Malay Mail finished third in the round-robin five-team competition, while Bernama finished fourth.
Champions of both competitions went home with a RM1,200 cash prize, while the runners-up took home RM1,000, RM800 for third and RM500 went to the fourth placed team.

Friday, January 22, 2010

UniKL-Ibil makes good investment

UNIKL-Ibil ended-up at the bottom of the pool, but their coach I. Vickneswaran and sponsors are more than happy with their young side’s debut performance in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division.
The team has an average age of 22, and they met their more experienced opponents head-on. Their only heavy defeat was a 5-1 drubbing against Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC), which is made up of national players.
UniKL can hold their heads up, as they only lost 1-0 to Sapura, and 2-0 to Tenaga Nasional.

“Our position on the standings does not look good, but I as well as our sponsors and University are happy with the maturity shown by the young players in their
debut MHL,” said Vickneswaran, a former International himself.
The youngest in the team is 16-year-old Taufik Hamid, who started jittery, but is now a regular in the side.
“Taufik was a bundle of nerves when I first fielded him, but he has shown tremendous improvement, and is now a regular on the starting list. I see a bright future for the lad, and his start was made possible by the faith placed by the University, and our sponsors.
UniKL staff make it a point to watch the boys play, while Ibil is an IT company whose other sporting interest is Rallying in Felda areas.
The boys scored a total of five goals and let in 26 in nine matches, and as comparison, second from the bottom Nur Insafi who have 16 foreign players from India and Pakistan scored 10 and let in 33 goals.
Today, the six teams will be playing their final league match before the quarter-finals begin on Jan 29. However, all six positions have already been cemented last weekend, and the matches will be purely warm-ups.
League champions KLHC will pocket RM30,000, Tena
ga RM20,000 and Maybank RM15,000.
Prize money for Division one will also be presented today with champions UiTM receiving RM20,000, ATM Airod RM15,000 and Malacca City Council RM10,000.
In the quarter-finals, KLHC will square off against Division One runners-up Airod, while Tenaga Nasional will meet Division One champions UiTM.
The other quarter-final, first-leg matches, will see May bank playing UniKL-IBIL and Sapura squaring off against Nur Insafi.

TODAY: Sapura v Nur Insafi (4.30pm), UniKL-Ibil v May bank (6.30pm), Tenaga Nasional v KL Hockey Club (8.30pm).
All matches at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 9 8 1 0 31 9 25

TENAGA 9 7 0 2 23 8 21
MAYBANK 9 4 3 2 16 11 15

SAPURA 9 3 2 4 16 13 11
NUR INSAFI 9 1 1 7 10 33 4
UNIKL 9 0 1 8 5 26 1

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Kumar holds the Trump Card

THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) has been reduced to a prize presentation ceremony in Malacca this Saturday, but Tenaga Nasional will be on a mission of their own.
League champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Tenaga will square off in a match of little importance as the positions were decided last weekend itself.
But the runners-up want to prove a point by smashing KLHC’s unbeaten run before the quarter-finals start.
“Win, draw or lose will not chance our fortunes, but there is pride to play for. And my team will give their best for the sake of hockey, and we will also be looking to break KLHC’s unbeaten run in Malacca,” said Tenaga coach Manjit Singh.
KLHC could only edge Sapura 1-0 for the title, and in an earlier League encounter, Tenaga only lost 3-2.
“We were narrowly beaten by KLHC, and I see this return leg as a great opportunity to boost the moral of my players before the knock-out stage.
“We lost one title, and will be out for the Overall title, and that is why a winning start in Malacca is important for us,” said Manjit.
Tenaga have been kept alive by national goalkeeper S. Kumar, and his form will play a crucial role in their quest to beat KLHC who have more strikers than defenders in their side.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) Umpires board chairman Amarjit Singh has been appointed by the International Hockey Federation to officiate at the New Delhi World Cup next month.
And there is more good news from the umpires section as Eric Khor Kim Lai, 23, from Malacca and K. Illango, 24, from Penang have been promoted to International status by the FIH.
Penang finally can lay claim to an International umpire after a 23-year hiatus, as the last to hold the stature was Yap Guan Keat.
On another note, Petaling Jaya City Council will be holding a two-day trials to select players for the Junior Hockey League.
The trials will be held at the PJMC stadium this weekend from 4pm-7pm. For details, contact coach Paul Raj 017- 3715428.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 9 8 1 0 31 9 25
TENAGA 9 7 0 2 23 8 21
MAYBANK 9 4 3 2 16 11 15
SAPURA 9 3 2 4 16 13 11
NUR INSAFI 9 1 1 7 10 33 4
UNIKL 9 0 1 8 5 26 1

Brasa livid over stadium delay


New Delhi: Indian hockey coach Jose Brasa will have to wait for at least 15 more days to get his squad to train at the National Stadium here — venue for the World Cup beginning February 28.
On Tuesday, Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi said the venue was "almost ready" and would be made available to the national squad from the first week of February.
"The stadium is in the final lap. I hope the Indian team can start training here in the first or second week of next month," Kalmadi said.
The announcement comes a month after the IOA chief had set December 15 as the "final date" for completion of work at the venue.
Brasa, on the other hand, is livid and wants his squad to shift from Pune to Delhi at the earliest. "I do not understand why there is a delay in sending the team to Delhi. The turf has been laid, the floodlights are ready... they can complete the rest of the stadium side by side. We just need the turf to begin training. The players have to acclimatise to the facilities as we are playing the World Cup here," Brasa said.
Meanwhile, International Hockey Federation (FIH) president Leandro Negre, along with several other officials, visited the National Stadium on the day.
Said Negre, "The FIH had a lot of concerns that things were not organised properly in one of our member countries. But now we are very happy with how things are moving here. The stadium is coming up nicely, and will be one of the most important hockey stadiums in the world."
Incidentally, there won’t be any tournament to test the facilities at the venue before the World Cup following the cancellation of the four-nation event earlier this month. But the FIH president said a test event was not mandatory for a hosting nation.
"It is not mandatory but we had recommended it as the stadium is a new one. As far as I know a few matches will be played here before the World Cup," he said.
Sports ministry objects to Mander’s appointment
Meanwhile, the sports ministry on Tuesday objected to G.S. Mander’s appointment as the returning officer for next month’s Hockey India elections, saying no one from either HI or the Indian Olympic Association could be part of the electoral process. "GS Mander heads the Wrestling Federation of India and is also an IOA vice-president and the government has already made it clear that no one from either Hockey India or IOA should be part of the electoral process," said S.K. Mendiratta, government-appointed observer to HI elections.

The Asian Age

Monday, January 18, 2010

Lets stick with the locals

National Sports Council Director Datul Zolkeples Embong (left) with Tai Beng Hai.

Comment by Jugjet Singh

THE foreign hockey coach issue has been dragging for more than a year, with no end in sight, prompting the coaching committee to yet again rely on local manpower.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have been look ing for a coach ever since Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah became the president, but there has been no luck in landing a creditable coach.
The idea is noble, but only a stop-gap measure which is unlikely to produce results, or even confirm that Malaysia will qualify for the 2012 London Olympics by winning the Asian Games gold medal.
That is why the MHF should just forget the expensive gesture to go ahead with their plans to hire a Dutch coach and his assistant, which will cost they about RM100,000 a month including fringe benefits,
History has shown that Asian teams are at their best when coached by Asians. Malaysia, India and Pakistan have tried many times and failed just as many times when they banked on foreigners who walk into the team, and start changing the playing style, which eventually causes the players to revolt, and do badly in tournaments.
South Korea, on the other hand, are doing much better with local coaches, while Japan is also slowly catching up with local power.
The coaching committee will finalise their national, Project 2013 and Under-16 coaches by next week, and they will be tapping from their pool of locals.
Many of the preferred names have gone through the grind, from development to clubs to national sides and know the players better than the players’ parents.
This is a plus point which no foreign coach in the world can master, especially if he is given a short-term target, to do the impossible like handle a 15th ranked team for a few months and then turn them into Olympians.
The Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division is testimony of the sagging state of the sport, as out of the six teams, only three have quality players while the rest are still relying on old horses.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club have nine national players, while Tenaga Nasional the other half of the national team and both finished 1-2, as expected.
Maybank, Sapura and Nur Insafi are just making up the numbers, while UniKL-Ibil are the most exciting side in the MHL.
Exciting because the team has an average age of 22, and are budding Project 2013 players.
Exciting because the management took the challenge to foot the bill not for medals, but for the future of the country. These are the players who will be around to carry our challenge in the next decade, and spending a tidy sum on them is an excellent idea.
Banking on 16 foreigners has proven to be a disaster for Nur Insafi, as they are second from the bottom and could only beat local youths UniKL-Ibil 2-1 in Johor Baru last week end.
The MHF have left the foreign coach issue solely in the hands of their president, and being a wise man, he is expected to make a wise choice.
On another note, the Asian Hockey Federation website is finally running again after hibernating for eight months, but the MHF website is still in a comma, that is went into in the middle of the Junior World Cup last year.

FIH Observer Ondorza should resign


Monday, 18 Jan. 2010

Why FIH ‘Observer’ Ondorza should also resign?

We in India are in an embarrassing, unusual, unfortunate and uncomfortable situation of demanding resignation of an FIH official. This plea bears consideration to issues and facts that came up last week on the Indian soils, which centers around the personality in question.

Case for this is made out on two counts: One, he unnecessarily interfered in what is pure a domestic affair for which we hope he had no mandate from the FIH.

Two, except two States, all 31 State Units that had been given affiliation by the Hockey India has no women as Secretary or President. He failed to 'observe' gender equality, which is definitely his mandate.

Let us now go into the details.

Now that Hockey India’s nominated president AK Mattoo has tendered his resignation, it is appropriate Ontonio van Ondorza, the FIH vice president also do the same, for the simple reason his articulated views were not accepted by the authorities here. In public offices, credibility and image are things of importance.

Ondorza exceeded his brief and has taken stand on certain domestic issues on which we feel he should have no say or right, to start with.

His outbursts – that we all saw with wide eyes in a nationally ‘Live’ telecast program -- do not behove of a visiting dignitary of a global organization.

He has come here as Hockey India election Observer.

But went to Pune, where the players stopped practice sessions demanding their grievances. We feel he should not have gone there in the first place.

When this demand started and practice session stopped, Indian Olympic Association president Suresh Kalmadi was in the same Belewadi complex along with Maharashtra Chief Minister to inaugurate a State level departmental sports meet. But he did not go to hockey players, perhaps he thought it is a developing situation, it is the duty of Hockey India. Whatever, it was his position.

However, this gentle man chose to go with the Hockey India officials to Pune, and shared the dais on a matter that is totally domestic in character. He openly took sides was dragging the FIH’s name in every sentence he spoke.

He also went further in a ‘Live’ television show in the same night. He authoritatively asserted that the present lot of players will not get any sympathy from FIH community and all the visiting teams of the World Cup; he even advocated selection of another team. When the anchor, a renowned television personality, Arnab Goswami, posed him straight forward ‘is it not interference from the FIH in Indian team selection, is not the FIH bring pressure on the players’, he simply ducked, un-plucked his earphones, saying he is pulling out of the show.

This was in bad taste, and don’t think anybody in the FIH would like their own top official behaving in this distasteful fashion in a national television show – in country where the FIH is organizing the World Cup on its own for the first time.

His views on many matters (hockey is not a professional sports, hockey does not have money, no country pays for their players) looked academic, outdated and completely out of sync with the reality that exists in this part of the world. Anybody who heard his views would have easily made to believe the FIH is living in a time warp. Those issues he spoke had no contextual application as the point here in India was credibility of the administrators, rest were only details.

Ondorzo, quoting himself as a player who never demanded money for playing the country, (we appreciate this, and the whole lot of Indian players are also dong the same) have put the Indian players on bad light. Indian players a system of payment to come up, and demanded an assurance in writing. The issue here is, where does the money that comes to the Federation go. It is a question of credibility. Ondorzo’s views therefore appeared premature, unacceptable to anybody who watched the week long drama in India.

A player from New Zealand recently withdrew from World Cup because it affects his new job he got as a teacher. What will Ondorza have to say on this? Will he doubt the players’ patriotism? He did not ask money, but stayed away from World Cup due to monetary issues. Will Ondorzo now go to New Zealand and belittle the Kiwi player? That player has chosen his job than playing for the country, after all.

In India players are employed, which means they are professional. Leading clubs in Europe, Australia and even in Bangladesh pay for the player’s toil. India in the past had a monthly salary for the India players and the same is in vogue in Pakistan.

He has not understood India is not Venezuela.

He also expressed profound surprise players going ‘strike’. He enlightened us nowhere in any part of the world this has happened. All the statements he made were sweeping in nature.

A national coach in the Netherlands was shunted out before the 2004 Olympics as players revolted, for instance. This has happened numerous times in India before. If Ondorzo does not know all these, we are sorry.

In view of the developments that had taken place in the last four days – Hockey India ready to pay money to players and AK Mattoo’s resignation – Ondorza also owes moral responsibility. His stated position has been rebuffed. He should take this seriously.

Ondorzo definitely has offended our sentiments, questioned the players motive for which he has no business.

If he comes for the World Cup, he has meet the same players whom he castigated. There is only one way to avoid this embarrassment for him.

His resignation will do a great deal good for the FIH’s image, which is genuinely trying to improve the lot of Indian hockey.

Further, if he continues to visit India as he has been doing now, he might unnecessarily bring bad press to the FIH. He may have to do lot of explaining to the media, which will give negative publicity to hockey in general, FIH in particular.

Now that, as rebuff to his advocated views, Hockey India is going to pay for the players and the new dispensation is going to work out a regular payment system, Ondorza must understand his views did not have any takers. He has to save his face now.

Another reason for his exit is, Hockey India electoral college. Except in a couple of cases, all the President and Secretaries of 33 State unites are men. He failed to see gender equality. What is he observing then?

This we will discuss shortly in detail.

--s2h Team


President to decide on foreign coach

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) coaching committee have chosen to remain clear of the foreign coach issue, leaving it solely in the hands of their president.
The coaching committee held a meeting yesterday, and came out with a plan to select two local caches each for the national, Project 2013 and Under-16 teams.
“We leave the issue of the foreign coach in the hands of the president (Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah). It is his prerogative to name one, when he gets a confirmation.
“The coaching committee, on its part, will suggest six names from the pool of coaches that we have for the three national teams, and forward it to the council for endorse ment,” said MHF coaching committee chairman Dr Balbir Singh.
The pool of coaches consists of Wallace Tan, Collin Sta Maria, Stephen van Huizen, Sarjit Singh,Tai Beng Hai, K. Rajan, K. Dharmaraj and many more grassroots coaches.
However, many of the above coaches are either inactive, or have opted out like Sarjit did at the meeting yesterday.
Beng Hai was the national interim coach for the whole of last year, and his contract was further extended for another six months after the New Zealand World Cup Qualifier.
And what happens to the structure when the foreign coach is hired?
“The local coaches will still remain at their spots, while the foreign coach will be the overall head,” said Dr Balbir.
The only coach MHF have been in contact with is Roelant Oltmans from the Netherlands, but his asking price of Euro10,000 and Euro 6,000 for his assistant is too steep for MHF to accept.
Malaysia will be involved in the Azlan Shah Cup, Com monwealth Games and Asian Game this year. The Asian Games in China offers a direct entry to the 2012 London Olympics.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

KLHC claim Legue title

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club played in patches yesterday, but still managed to edge Sapura 1-0 to lift the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division League title at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.
KLHC still have one match in hand against Tenaga next weekend, but it makes no difference even if they lose, as Tenaga will still be short of one point.
Sapura players, who have been struggling to find their form, frustrated KLHC by holding onto the ball for long periods, and former national skipper S. Kuhan slowed down the match to a snail’s pace.
Sapura were expected to crumble meekly as they were without two national players. Jiwa Mohan tied the knot in Kuala Lumpur yesterday, and his brother Jivan was also excused from the match.
And it was still 0-0 with six minutes remaining, when KLHC finally found the elusive goal.
Defender Razie Rahim’s penalty corner flick, a direct attempt, finally landed them the League title in an otherwise poor match.
KLHC coach R. Vivekanandan describes the first half as a disaster, and saluted Sapura for giving them a good fight.
“It was a disastrous 35 minutes which we were lucky to survive because my team lost their structure.
“However, after the half-time briefing, the team were back in action and we nailed the League title with one match in hand,” said Vivekanandan.
“I salute Sapura because they gave us a good fight even though they played without Jiwa and Jivan.”
So what next: “We will strive to maintain our unbeaten record when we play our last League match against Tenaga in Malacca. And after that, I will plan to lift the overall title in the knock-out stages,” said Vivekanandan.
KLHC’s only blemish was a 1-1 draw with Maybank.
“Maybank woke up my players at the right time, and made them hungry for the League title. Now, I believe they will not disappoint in the quarter-finals.”
The six Premier Division teams will be joined by Division One champions UiTm and runners-up Armed Forces in the quarter-finals.
RESULTS: Nur Insafi 2 UniKL-Ibil 1, Sapura 0 KL Hockey Club 1, Tenaga Nasional x Maybank x.
All matches at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 9 8 1 0 31 9 25
TENAGA 8 6 0 2 21 8 18
MAYBANK 8 4 3 1 16 9 15
SAPURA 9 3 2 4 16 13 11
NUR INSAFI 9 1 1 7 10 33 4
UNIKL 9 0 1 8 5 26 1

Tenaga keep pressure on KLHC

Sapura’s Redzuan Ponirin (left) tackles TNB’s Faizal Saari in their MHL match at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday. TNB won 2-1. — Pic: HAIRUL ANUAR ABD RAHIM.

TENAGA Nasional kept the second spot in sight when the edged Sapura 2-1 in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
The match was heading for a draw, after Faizal Shaari scored for Tenaga in the 33rd minute, but Sapura found the equaliser off Marhan Jalil in the 55th minute.
However, Amin Rahim turned hero for Tenaga Nasional when he converted a penalty corner in the 67th minute.
In another match, Maybank beat Nur Insafi 2-0 with goals from Engku Malek (50th) and Hafifi Hafiz (59th).
League leaders Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) maintained their grip when they beat UniKL-Ibil 5-1.
“The win has placed us in a good position to finish second and now we will go all out to beat Maybank to achieve the revised target,” said Tenaga Nasional coach Manjit Singh.
Manjit was being realistic, as even if they beat Maybank today, KLHC must fumble against Sapura to take the title to the wire.
“I don’t see KLHC losing points against Sapura tomorrow (today) but if they do, we will be playing them in a winner- takes-all match in Malacca next weekend,” said Manjit.
But if KLHC beat Sapura, they can claim the League title with one match in hand.
Yesterday, national goalkeeper S. Kumar played a big role in Tenaga’s win.
“Sapura has seven penalty corners and Kumar saved six of them, he played exceptionally well to hand us the win,” said Manjit.
The move to take the MHL to states has failed in its objective to attract fans, as the stadiums in Penang and Johor Baru saw only a smattering of supporters turning up.
RESULTS: Tenaga Nasional 2 Sapura 1, Maybank 2 Nur Insafi 0, KL Hockey Club 5 UniKL-Ibil 1.
TODAY: Nur Insafi v UniKL-Ibil (4.30pm), Sapura v KL Hockey Club (6.30pm), Tenaga Nasional v Maybank (8.30pm).
All matches at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 8 7 1 0 30 9 22
TENAGA 8 6 0 2 21 8 18
MAYBANK 8 4 3 1 16 9 15
SAPURA 8 3 2 3 16 12 11
UNIKL 8 0 1 7 3 24 1
NUR INSAFI 8 0 1 7 8 32 1

Friday, January 15, 2010

Umpires Board strikes Nur Insafi

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation Umpires Board (MH FUB) yesterday strongly condemned Nur Insafi club pres ident M. Thaitchana over his statement on their umpires, calling it malicious and unprofessional.
Thaitchana had said that his team is being victimised by umpires in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division matches, and if the MHF does not bring in foreign umpires next season, he will not field a team.
“As far as the MHFUB is concerned, the umpires appointed in the Premier League are the best available in the country, with a good reputation and with International standings with the FIH.
“The statement by Nur Insafi Club President (Thaitchana) at this late stage of the tournament lacks attitude, is ma licious and very unprofessional,” saif MHFUB chairman Amarjit Singh.
Thaitchana, who is also Nur Insafi coach, has hired 16 foreign players for the MHL, but after seven matches, they have only one draw and six defeats to show.
The coach had said that he has spent RM500,000 on the foreign players but the umpires have been dictation who wins: “We have been playing against 13 players, including two umpires, who dictate which team should win the match,” Thaitchana had said.
“After discussions and feedback from the other five teams, it has been accepted that the standard of umpiring in the Premier League has been up to mark as expected.
“The issue of biasness does not arise at all as all appointed umpires are neutral and have no personal agenda or interest in any of the teams.
“As such, hiring or appointing foreign umpires in this tournament does not arise at all,” said Amarjit.
“As the President of Nur Insafi has confessed in his statement that his team played most of their matches in rain which was not favourable to his foreign singings and that his players performance has been very poor, the umpires should not be made scapegoats or victims of their failure because of nature and poor performances at this late stage of the tournament,” added Amarjit.
Meanwhile, Nur Insafi will be without Pakistan penalty corner flicker Imran Warsi for the last three matches, as he went back on Monday.
Nur Insafi will play Maybank today, and UniKL-Ibil to morrow, and it looks like another uphill exercise for them at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru..
League leaders Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, after a shock 1-1 darw with Maybank last weekend, will be looking to collect maximum points against UniKl-Ibil and Sapura.
TODAY: Tenaga Nasional v Sapura (4.30pm), Maybank v Nur Insafi (6.30pm), KL Hockey Club v UniKL-Ibil (8.30pm).
TOMORROW: Nur Insafi v UniKL-Ibil (4.30pm), Sapura v KL Hockey Club (6.30pm), Tenaga Nasional v Maybank (8.30pm).
All matches at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 7 6 1 0 25 8 19
TENAGA 7 5 0 2 19 7 15
MAYBANK 7 3 3 1 14 9 12
SAPURA 7 3 2 2 15 10 11
UNIKL 7 0 1 6 2 19 1
NUR INSAFI 7 0 1 6 8 30 1

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Player strike over, now for elections...

THIS is what India has lost, the big picture...Balbir Singh, Triple Gold Olympian. Field Hockey. India. London 1948, Helsinki 1952 and Melbourne 1956.

By S. Thyagarajan

Chennai: Those praying to see light at the end of the tunnel in the confrontation between the players and Hockey India over the payment dispute must have heaved a sigh of relief. The camp will resume on Thursday.
Six days after the players suspended training for the forthcoming World Cup — and after an avalanche of words, written and spoken, in the media — a solution emerged on Wednesday, thanks to the timely intervention of the official sponsor, Sahara Pariwar, releasing Rs. one crore to be disbursed to the campers.
All that happened during the week was unprecedented in more ways than one. Never before had the players demonstrated their solidarity over a cause with such intensity. What must probably have heartened them was the consensus across the country, triggering favourable responses from chief ministers, industrialists and, most importantly, former internationals.
Now, there is realisation that for far too long the players had been taken for granted and cheated on the promises made.
Statement made
It is undeniable that the events leading to Hockey India threatening to form a new team, or shutting down the camp, shocked many.
With only weeks left for the World Cup in New Delhi, the players should now see the bottom line. They have, quite positively, made their statement to the nation on the injustice done to them. But the time has come to get back into rhythm. Compensating for almost a week’s loss of training is not going to be easy. The task before them is gigantic, given that the expectations are now pegged at a new level than before the conflict.
The solutions found, at best, are temporary — just enough to defuse the crisis, a knee-jerk, panic reaction, so to say. The issue of payment needs to be examined in depth, and a clear-cut agreement should be in place in the quickest possible time.
The money aspect is now the focal point of players wanting to don national colours. Pragmatically evaluated, not all demands laid on the table by the players can be conceded.
The generosity of the sponsor should cover all layers of players; and a sizable proportion earmarked for development, meeting medical expenses and even creating a pension scheme to help the old and indigent players.
It is not that these are being talked about now; they have been in the air for years receiving little or no attention.
In the midst of the crisis that pushed the administration to despair, the subject of HI elections on February 7 has been relegated to the back burner. If that comes about, the new office-holders who will be in power for a four-year term will be compelled to tackle a host of problems with tact and imagination.
Double-edged sword
Seen as helpless in the face of a mounting media assault backing the players, the administration runs the risk of facing a flare up any time.
“Such demands can easily spread to other disciplines too,” warned a senior administrator. Clearly, courting players with monetary rewards is a double-edged sword. The lines of limit can easily get blurred.
In this boiling situation, it is worth debating whether the FIH observer, Antonio von Ondarza, should have got himself involved.
It was beyond his brief. This senior FIH administrator could well have maintained a neutral stance rather than air his views — as well meaning as he was — to the media.
The whole episode also makes one wonder about the expenses in flying a big delegation of officials to Pune for talks that eventually failed. Does not HI’s claim of a resource crunch sound hollow?

The Hindu

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Strike at tail end

After days of deadlock, Hockey India and players resolved their crisis today. The players have agreed to join the training camp from Thursday. On its part, Hockey India said it will pay the dues to the players.
In the morning, after team sponsor Sahara pitched in to give Rs one crore to the team, a compromise was struck between the striking players and Hockey India officials.
IOA President Suresh Kalmadi will announce the decision in Pune.

Hindustan Times

Monday, January 11, 2010

For Dummies: How to host a World Cup

Comment By Jugjet Singh

THE International Hockey Federation (FIH) must be kick ing themselves silly, as they struggle to come to grips with what is happening in India, who will host the World Cup on Feb 28-March 13.

India players went on a strike last week because they did not receive payments promised since 2004, and after six players had a three-hour discussion with Hockey India, they agreed to resume training.
Hockey India, the ad-hoc committee governing the sport in the run-up FIH insisted elections before the World Cup, had told the six players who attended the meeting that they did not have the money to disburse.
The six , Rajpal Singh, Prabhjot, Sandeep Singh, Arjun Halappa, Tushar Khandekar and Sardara Singh then went to break the bankrupt news to their team-mates, and the agreed truce, but the rest of the team did not share their sentiments, and the team went back into strike mode.
Welcome to India, Mr president of the FIH Leandro Ne gre.
The Spaniard must be feeling quite giddy right now, as not only is the hosts’ team in a fighting mood, but also the proposed elections on Jan 29 has been postponed because Hockey India could not sort out affiliations, and time is now not on their side to send out a 21-day notice to call for elections.
FIH wrote a stern letter to Hockey India and the Sports Ministry, asking them to be above board on affiliation, and the concern is so great that: “FIH vice president Antonio von Ondarza will be present in his observer’s capacity as Hockey India goes into a huddle to sort out its affiliation mess and take stock of the government guidelines before finalising its election date,” reported
Negre had said, when met at the Junior World Cup co- hosted by Johor Baru and Singapore that a fair election is a must before India can host the World Cup. That was in the middle of last year, and the mess is still there a month before the tournament starts.
Welcome to India, Mr president, Negre.
India coach Jose Brasa, also a Spaniard said to The Hindu: “I am not from India. I am not the one to decide whether the players should be paid or not? If everybody agrees they should be paid, then they should be paid.
“The players have been waiting for a few years for this. I think the last time they were paid was in 2004.
The Spaniard then expressed his feelings for the players: “But let me tell you that the players are very sad. They have been crying. This is not a good situation for them. It is a difficult situation for all of us. It is not for me to say if they have chosen the best time to make the protest.”
The demand is simple, a graded payment system, fixed salaries, insurance cover and pending dues.
But the situation is tricky, as the players have demanded 3 lakh each before they pick up their hockey sticks, and their skipper Rajpal told PTI that they will not go back to camp until their demands are met.
Across the Punjab border, Pakistan’s Parliament fined members of its national hockey team 200,000 rupees (RM7,800) after photographs surfaced on FaceBook of them with a female liaison officer at the Champions Challenge I in Argentina last month.
Pakistan lost to New Zealand in the final, which cost them the Champions Trophy ticket, and the pictures were taken at an official players night at the end of the tournament.
The pictures are all over the Internet for the public to judge. The Pakistan officials and players are guilty of nothing more than being close to a liaison officer, nothing obscene, in Spain, but warranted a Parliamentary rap in Pakistan.
Welcome to Asia Mr President.

India back on 'no pay, no practice'


New Delhi: All the talk between Hockey India and the six senior players over the non-payment of sponsorship money came to nought on Sunday when the 22-member squad continued to boycott training at the Balewadi Complex in Pune.
Miffed over Hockey India's "false promises and overlooking of the players' grievances", the players said they will stick to their stand of "no pay, no practice".
On Saturday, skipper Rajpal Singh, Prabhjot Singh, Sandeep Singh, Tushar Khandker, Arjun Halappa and Sardara Singh had held closed door meetings with Hockey India president A.K. Mattoo at a city hotel here. The national body managed to convince those present saying it was in debt, and would need atleast 20 days to sort out the payment issue. All seemed hunky dory with skipper Rajpal even telling the media that the team would resume training from Sunday.
Things took a turn for the worse though when the players reached Pune and discussed matters with their teammates, who felt that "Hockey India had made a mockery of their demands by adopting a very convenient stance."
Team sources suggest that only two of the six players present in Saturday's meeting gave in to Hockey India's pressure tactics even as the rest stuck to their demands.
Said a senior player from Pune, "It is a fight for our rights. Hockey India says that it does not have funds, but we are not asking for astronomical amounts. A regular payment of Rs 25,000 per month is nothing after Sahara has paid it in crores."
The players have now demanded a direct meeting with team sponsors Sahara India to resolve the matter.
Sahara India paid the players a monthly salary of Rs 25,000 in 2004 only. In subsequent years, the players have been paid on a tournament-to-tournament basis (courtesy funds provided by the government), with almost no financial inputs from the erstwhile Indian Hockey Federation or the current administrators.
It is now an open secret that most fringe players prefer to play for their companies than train in the national camp, a move that has hampered Indian hockey since long.
"Playing for India is our pride, and all of us have spent many years without proper monetary gains, diet or even staying conditions. But it is high time that the authorities look into the matter. Graded systems and incentives for performances are our two demands," said striker Arjun Halappa, a sentiment echoed by the rest.
The players' tough stance has put Hockey India into further trouble, which rushed Maharashtra Hockey Association secretary Ekram Khan to help sort out the issue. Khan held a late night meeting with the players, but to no avail.
"Yesterday, we had such a meeting with them where everything was discussed and a solution was reached. Now they come out saying they are going on strike again. This is blackmail," said treasurer Narinder Batra, who was furious with the boys.
Rajpal, when contacted, said, "We are not going back to the camp unless our demands are met. It was a marathon meeting that went on and on. We returned and conveyed to our team members what HI had offered us. But they felt it was too insignificant an amount and there was no question of ending the strike."
National coach Harendra Singh refused to take sides, saying all he wanted was the players to resume training as soon as possible.
FIH observer to attend HI meeting tomorrow
Meanwhile, FIH vice president Antonio von Ondarza will be present in his observer's capacity as Hockey India goes into a huddle on Monday to sort out its affiliation mess and take stock of the government guidelines before finalising the election date.
HI elections were slated for January 29 but it got deferred after the interim national body failed to issue a 21-day notice, necessary to be given before the poll date as per its constitution, due to the pending affiliation matters.

The Asian Age

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Hockey India claim to be rupee-less

So the Hockey India does not have money, they are paupers. Factually correct. Now the questions.

...It will take time for the same players to understand how millions rupees will come into play when the question of capturing seat of power, comes. That time none of the 'paupers' the players met will seem and behave like be paupers.

s2h Team

When players and officials sit across table, we have seen umpteen number of times in the sports annals of India, officials will always come out triumphant.
Same happened now. Nothing unusual happened yesterday -- despite unusual belligerent players build up and media frenzy -- when the much hyped meeting between Hockey India officials and six players met to sort out the issues which the players raised before the media in Pune.
Utilizing a sponsors invite to be in Delhi, without spending a single pie – when players revolt came a couple of months ago at least one Indian official flew to Pune, which cost some money – from its pocket, smart Hockey India solved the problem across dinner table.
How was the ‘miracle’ happened.
The officials showed the players their bank accounts to impress upon the players that they don’t have money as the media world would have led them and teh world to believe otherwise. In fact, they convinced the players they are in debt.
So the Hockey India does not have money, they are paupers. Factually correct. Now the questions.
If you don’t have money, if you don’t know how to bring money, why don’t you bring a businessman of your choice – I certainly don’t mean JB Roy alone – not just to get money from him, but also to corporatize the sport. Then why a politicians run the show with a couple of stooges?
Here comes the question, the vexed one that the Indian sports is living with it without answers.
All politicians want to keep businessman outside, Mallays and Thapars failed in football for instance, and intentionally want to keep their sports poor.
Now the Hockey India, before that ad-hoc committee, and all are almost two years in the office. If they did not have money why can't they say sportingly, sorry, let someone competent come and manage the show.
Why in such scenario of pauperism, Kalmadi did not want to leave hockey? Why, like in the 40s, you have to take loan to run hockey when the vast corporate world is waiting for you. The FIH has done far better than the HI.
Citing Sahara case with respect to already signed a contract till 2011 won’t do beyond a point Because, team sponsorship is not the only thing available for hockey in the vast Indian market. (One thing clear here is LSM under-sold hockey, hooked it to 8 years at a throwaway price to Sahara who seem unconcerned about hockey expect seeing their logos on the players’ jerseys).
Two years since the Kalmadi group is in the power of hockey, it is faily a long period to do something.
Punjab Government wants to spend a fortune on hockey, Punjab Gold Cup was just beginning, but the cronies in the HI did not even give them affiliation.
If your attitude is not inclusive, if your attitude is to remain a permanent pauper, what else can others do?
Prepare code of conduct and be wary of opening newspapers next day, fearing a negative report on their own malfeance, and put off phones, cannot help run hockey.
Neither the players nor the HI served the cause of hockey, the whole issue is waste of time.
Players perfectly timed it on their holidays, which we in the site have already mentioned in our first report.
Society at large supported the players cause but only lip service. SRK’s tweet is another joke. Comparable only to a photograph wherein the six players and HI officials showing victory sign yesterday.
What is there to celebrate, permanent paupers?
Rajpal and Co will come to know the cost of their strike in the coming months.
It will take time for the same players to understand how millions rupees will come into play when the question of capturing seat of power, comes. That time none of the 'paupers' the players met will seem and behave like be paupers.
Money will also come if the officials have to attend a meeting -- another term for jaunt -- even if that venue is Argentina or America -- an official certainly went by executive class for the FIH congress.

Players convinced to practice

s2h Team

Officials of the Hockey India finally managed to convince country’s top players -- who had raised the issue of cash incentive and system of gradation -- to return camp and take up practice.
The players had even threatened to boycott the training camp if their issues are not sorted out. Their outbursts hit the headlines.
But after a marathon session today that lasted four hours in the Capital, both Hockey India and players’ representative Rajpal Singh, were on the same platform and echoed a similar views ---the issue had been settled and training will be resumed from Sunday, was all that they said. But it’s certain that things will take a different shape, in the near future, and it would depend on the attitude of the HI Officials. however, HI's interim president told the television channels that money was not the issue discussed, and the manner we approached and discussed the issues won the day.
In all probability, Hockey India, wanted to keep the minutes of the meeting under wrap -- if at all one prepared-- which was why transparency was the last thing on the mind of the those who are involved in the two-day drama.
What all they wanted was to defuse the crises that had cropped up from nowhere, disturbing the ambience projected for up coming Hockey India elections. Finally, it was managed. What is more surprising, some of the officials of the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) that had constituted Ad-hoc body--Hockey India, to run the affairs of the game in the country, were divided over the issue of cash incentives to players.
Some officials of the IOA say players should get their dues, while Mattoo & Co had termed the issue as baseless, saying it’s not for the good of the game. "Players should focus on the game and shouldn’t get involved in politics," Mattoo had said.
One has to wait and watch what happens next!
It is believed that the managment has assured incentive if team performs well in future
Players have understood our problem, we have understood their problem", said Matoo to the group of waiting media men around 10 'O' clock in the night. Uhnfortunately, the empty coffers of the Hockey India, which came to light to players today, helped to solve the problem to a large extent, though players are not going to get anything as of now.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Maybank hold mighty KLHC

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club were finally brought down to earth at the Tun Razak Stadium when Maybank held them to a 1-1 draw in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division yesterday.
It was KLHC’s first blemish after seven matches, but coach R. Vivekanandan sees it as a blessing instead.
KLHC took the lead off Amirullah Aziz in the 12th minute, but Hairul Nizam equalised for the Tigers in the 52nd minute.
The match was an interesting affair, as KLHC had 33 shots at goal but could only score one, while Maybank only had 13 shots at goal, but managed to steal a point off the leaders.
“We had plenty of opportunities in the semi-circle, and also five penalty corners but failed to collect maximum points.
“However, I believe every team has its off day, and I am glad it came at this stage. The fault was not on fitness or skills, but mental strength, and I will address this before we head to Johor next weekend,” said Vivekanandan.
Maybank coach S. Velappan attributed the draw to: “It was a burning desire to win, which saw my players come back after a goal down to hold the tournament favourites.”
The Tigers know, realistically, KLHC is too far ahead to chase, so they will be in a battle with Tenaga and Sapura for the second spot.
“The fight for the second spot is valuable, as we will have an easier quarter-finals draw, avoiding KLHC in the last eight,” said Velappan.
Maybank goalkeeper Hakim Adnan, 21, a junior World Cup player, brought off some excellent saves from shots by national forwards Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Ismail Abu and Kelvinder Singh.
Tenaga Nasional kept the second spot in sight when they blasted Nur Insafi 6-1.
The Tenaga goals were scored by Faizal Shaari (15th, 37th, 41st), Sallehin Ghani (32nd), Tajol Rosli (44th) and Fairuz Ramli (51st).
Kul Bushan scored the consolation for Nur Insafi in the 53rd minute.
RESULTS: KL Hockey Club 1 Maybank 1, Nur Insafi 1 Tenaga Nasional 6, UniKL 0 Sapura 1.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 7 6 1 0 25 8 19
TENAGA 7 5 0 2 19 7 15
MAYBANK 7 3 3 1 14 9 12
SAPURA 7 3 2 2 15 10 11
UNIKL 7 0 1 6 2 19 1
NUR INSAFI 7 0 1 6 8 30 1

Pakistan players fined for this? Come on..

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s parliament has fined members of its national hockey team 200,000 rupees (US$2,350) after photos surfaced of them hugging a female liaison officer at the Champions Challenge tournament in Argentina last month.
Player Rehan Butt was fined 100,000 rupees (US$1,175) while coach Shahid Ali Khan and manager Asif Bajwa have to pay 50,000 rupees (US$588) each.
Pakistan team members took pictures with the liaison officer during the official players’ night at the end of the tournament. The dinner was also attended by other participating teams and their officials. Pakistan lost the final to New Zealand, costing them a place in the Champions Trophy.
“It is not our culture to hug a lady,” said Jamshed Dasti, chairman of Pakistan’s lower house standing committee on sports.
“The players are ambassadors of their country and they should remember this well.”
Coach Khan said that the Pakistan Hockey Federation had already taken a serious note of the pictures which were even uploaded on the popular website
“The PHF has warned all the team players and officials to be careful in future,” Khan said.
“It was an official players’ dinner and the lady requested us to have photos taken with her.
“But I agree with the committee members that some pictures were objectionable and it should have been avoided.”
Butt, who is due to compete in the World Cup in India next month, escaped a heavier punishment, as Dasti proposed to ban the forward from the national team.
“He is our key player for the World Cup and it would deal us a severe blow if you ban him,” pleaded Irfan Khokhar, chief coordinator of the PHF.
One of the female members of the committee Nasim Akhtar Chaudhry was furious after seeing the pictures.
“We live in an Islamic country,” she said.
“We have our own traditions, our own culture which should be portrayed abroad.
“We didn’t shake hands with males when our women parliamentary delegation visited the US last year and here they are giving a hug to a lady,” she said.
Dasti warned Khan not to get involved in such activities in future.
“If I would have to take the decision you all could have ended up in a lock-up after the team returned home,” he said.
“Don’t get yourselves involved in such parties in future tournaments abroad.”
Dasti instructed director general of the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Amir Hamza Gilani to ensure the fine is paid, with receipts provided to the committee. — AP