Monday, May 31, 2010

JHL a top-heavy success

THE Junior Hockey League (JHL) was a top-heavy success, while the middle class and Division Two teams were a total flop.
The Bukit Jalil and Bandar Penawar Sports Schools senior sides, UniKL and Petaling Jaya City Council had put in much effort and to a certain degree, promising players could be spotted in their outfits.
However, the rest of the Division One teams were a yawn to watch, and the majority of their players did not even have the basics right yet.
The top three Division Two teams -- Sabah, Pahang and Ipoh City Council in that order -- looked comfortable beating their peers with impressive margins, but when given a chance to play in the quarter-finals against Division One teams, none of them progressed into the last four.
In fact, they were turned into punching bags, with BPSS hitting Ipoh 9-1, BJSS hammering four goals past Division Two champions Sabah, while UniKL beat Pahang 4-2.
Sabah were the biggest disappointment in the last eight, as they went on a scoring spree of more than 30 goals to become the Division Two champions, but could not score a single goal against BJSS who finished third in Division One.
The standard was evident to Sabah HA secretary Aftar Singh: “We took part in our first JHL since its inception, and it was an achievement to become the Division Two cham pions.
“However, our form is still far from satisfactory, as we were lost when pitted against a Division One side.”
But Sabah deserve praise as they have started a dedicated programme, even though it is long overdue, when they camped at the Pandamaran Stadium in Klang to train for the Razak Cup, the JHL and now for the Malaysia Games in Malacca.
“We have just started our journey, and have to chase established clubs who are miles ahead. It will be difficult, but not an impossible task to go on par with Division One teams in the near future if we continue our development pro grammes,” said Aftar.
More established teams like Pahang, Ipoh City Council, Tunku Besar Secondary School, Penang Frees and Johor were beaten by Sabah in their route to become champions, and more can be expected from them if they continue playing in the JHL.
Eighteen teams competed in the JHL, with nine in each division, and the national selectors can easily form two strong Under-19 training squads as talent was abundant.

UniKL a perfect venue to play, study and work

UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran with his charges.

By Jugjet Singh

UNIKL (Universiti Kuala Lumpur) is here to stay, and with a strong backing from their Chancellor, hockey players now have another dedicated club to play, study and work for.
UniKL spent half a million this season playing in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) and the Junior Hockey League (JHL), and with Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah as their Chancellor, the sky seems to be the limit.
In their MHL debut UniKL, with an average age of 21, finished at the bottom of the six-team pool in the Premier Division. But in the quarter-finals, they held Maybank 3-3 in the first leg, but lost 2-0 in the return leg.
In the JHL, they were runners-up in the League and Overall champions.
Success did not come cheap for them, as a total of RM500,000 was spent in both the MHL and JHL, and yesterday, the management held a meeting with coaches I. Vickneswaran, K. Embaraj and Saiful Azhar -- all former internationals -- to chart the future of the newcomers.
The interesting part about UniKL is that they are the first University side to get seriously involve in the sport, and have hired four players as staff, and two more will be enrolled soon to study there.
The idea was, naturally, mooted by Tengku Abdullah, and when he presented the Overall medals to the UniKL players on Sunday, he was heard saying: “You guys have made your Chancellor very proud.”
Chief coach Vickneswaran knows it would be difficult for UniKL to hold onto some of their promising players, as richer clubs like Sapura and Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club have the resources to snatch them with lucrative contracts.
But the new club is not overly worried, because they know that if they can become a ‘breeding’ ground for young talent, they would achieve MHF’s aspirations, as Tengku Abdullah had said that he will work to elevate the standard of clubs after he was elected as president.
Much has been achieved in the first season itself, but more will be expected from UniKL in the years to come as they dethroned former Overall champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) and denied Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) Thunderbolt the double.
The fact that UniKL beat both the sports schools in the Overall title chase has also sent tongues wagging, as the schools are supposed to be the front-liners after systematic coaching and development for years.
BJSS can be excused as they relied on Under-16 players, but BPSS were a letdown as most of their players had trained, stayed and studied together for six years but still could not play as a team.
The local league season is over, and now it would be interesting to see how MHF keep the upcoming pool of players, including the Under-16 boys who finished second in a Four-Nation in Germany, busy and not lose them to the schooling system, or worse still, to other vices with come with success.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

UniKL zap Thunderbolt!

UNIKL shocked favourites Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt 2-1
to be crowned the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League Overall
champions at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
Runners-up in the league, UniKL showed great composure to wait for
the right moments to mount counter attacks, and it was their second giant
killing feat after beating Bukit Jalil Sports School in the semi-finals.
UniKL received RM20,000 while runners-up Thunderbolt RM10,000.
"It was a super display from my players, and a coach can't ask for more
from his players who finished runners-up in the League and Overall
champions in their first JHL season itselt," said UniKL coach I.
Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Rahman was disappointed with the
outcome: "We missed too many sitters and paid the price for it. However,
overall, it has been the most successful season for us."
The first half turned out to be a drab affair, with both sides missing
sitters and play was concentrated in the midfield.
Thunderbolt won two penalty corners, but both were wasted when the
stopper failed to make a dead stop, and the second one cost them a goal.
It was in the 31st minute, and Thunderbolt's bothced penalty corner was
turned into a counter attack by UniKL players, and Amir Farid tucked in
the ball from close range and then held onto the lead until the breather.
Thunderbolt were the more agressive side after the breather, and in the
41st minute, a penalty corner was turned into a penalty stroke after it hit a
defender's body.
National senior team player Faizal Saari stepped up to the spot and beat
goalkeeper Shahrul Azadin to throw a life-line to the League champions.
Thunderbolt took control of the match after that and had plenty of
chances to seal the match, but a diving Faizal and bungling forwards saw
the score remain tied.
However UniKL, who were contended with defending, finally mounted a
serious attack in the 61st minute, and Aminuddin Abu gave them the lead
again with a field attempt.
And the JHL newcomers played gallantly after that to hold onto the lead,
and become the Overall champions in their first attempt itself.
Meanwhile, in the bronze medal decider, Bukit Jalil Sports School
(BJSS) beat Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) with goals from Ahmad
Termidzi (11th, 45th), Fahed Saifulah (51st), Kavin Kartik (64th), and
Faridzul Afiq (67th).
The PJCC goal were scored by Hafiz Nawi in the 59th minute.
BJSS received RM7,000, while PJCC took home RM5,000 for finishing
ROLL-OF-HONOUR: Best player of the Tournament: Firhan Ashaari
(Thunderbolt); Best Player of the Final: Aminuddin Abu (UniKL); Best
Goalkeepeer: Hazrul Faiz (BJSS); Top Scorer: Faizal Saari (Thunderbolt,
16 goals); Fairplay: Kelantan.
FINAL: Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt 1 UniKL 2; Third-
Fourth: Petaling Jaya City Council 1 Bukit Jalil Sports School 5.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Thunderbolt set to strike second time

UNIKL supporters at the KLHA Stadium.

JUNIOR Hockey League newcomers UniKL know what it feels like to finish second best, and that is why their players are not ready for to preform an encore in the Overall title fight at the Tun Razak Stadium today.
UniKL were were leading 1-0, and were 30 seconds from lifting the League title, when Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt dashed their dream by scoring the equaliser, and snatching the trophy on a better goals average.
Today, both the teams will lock horns again in what is expected to be a thriller finale to the Under-19 league.
“Playing in the semi-finals was an achievement for this new outfit, but my boys rose to the challenge and beat one sports school (Bukit Jalil), and now I expect to face a tougher time against another sports school.
“The route has not been easy, but the reward that awaits us is worth fighting for until the last minute,” said UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran.
Thunderbolt have the first-11 from the 2013 Junior World Cup training squad, as well as national seniors striker Faizal Saari to bank on, while UniKL will rely on the 2013 reserves today.
Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Rahman felt that they were lucky in the League, but can’t depend on another hand-out.
“We have some of the best juniors in the country, no doubt about it, but luck also played a great part in our success so far.
“We were lucky to score the equaliser 30 seconds from time for the League title, and then lucky that my players woke up in time to beat PJCC (Petaling Jaya City Council) 5-3 in the semi-finals.
“However, I hope my players have learnt their lessons well, and show their true potential in the first half and not leave matters to the last minute,” said Wan Roslan.
In the bronze playoff, Petaling Jaya City Council were slapped with a huge handicap as four of their players were banned from playing against Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors.
PJCC goalkeeper Ahmad Syahir will sit out for man handling umpire Rosdi Pilus in the semi-finals, and he will also face the Disciplinary Board.
Three of his team mates, Shaharul Dennis Ruslan, Rashid Baharom and Fahmi Ashari, were handed one match suspension for abusing the umpires and technical officials after the final whistle of the ill tempered semis.
TODAY: Final -- Bandar Penawar Sports School Thun derbolt v UniKL (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.30pm); Third-Fourth: Petaling Jaya City Council v Bukit Jalil Sports School (Tun Razak Stadium, 3.30pm).

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thunderbolt-UniKL final

LEAGUE champions Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt came back from the dead before they beat Petaling Jaya City Council 5-3 in a highly charged MHF-Milo-NSC Junor Hockey League semi-final yesterday.
In the other semi-finals, UniKL beat Bukit Jalil Sports School 2-1 and will play Thunderbolt for the Overall title tomorrow.
Thunderbolt were leading 3-1 by the 48th minute, but lost their composure when PJCC scored two quick goals to equalise.
However, the comeback was marred when PJCC goalkeeper Ahmad Syahir ran towards umpire Rosdi Pilus and manhandled him in the 65th minute, prompting the umpire to flash the red card.
Ahmad had to be restrained by his own players and was escorted out of the pitch, and PJCC lost their scipt and then the match.
PJCC took the lead in the 13th minute through a Hafiz Nawi, but Thunderbolt equalised through Noor Faeez Ibrahim six minutes later through a penalty corner attempt.
Faeez gave his team the lead on the stroke of halftime via another
penalty corner.
Firhan Ashari then made it 3-1 for Thunderbolt in the 48th minute and the sports school thought they had the match in grips.
But PJCC fought back strongly after Rifan Azhar scored twice in as
many minutes, in the 50th and 52nd, to make in 3-3.
But after the red card, PJCC collapsed and, Faeez gave Thunderbolt the lead once again in the 61st minute before Fitri Saari made sure his team plays in the final by scoring the fifth in the 67th minute.
"It was the most difficult match for us since the JHL started and I congratulate PJCC players who were highly charged and committed. However, the red card marred the match and after that, I had to restrain some of my players and also PJCC players who wanted to have a go near the dresing room.
"But no untoward incident happened because cool heads prevailed, and now we are looking forward to winning the double on Sunday," said Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Rahman.
In the other semis, UniKL took the lead of Syamim Yusof in the 10th minute, only to see BJSS equalise through Faridzul Afiq in the 20th minute and the score remained till the breather.
However, a strike from Zulhairi Hashim in the 44th minute was enough to take UniKL into the final, and they could even afford to miss a penalty stroke in the 56th minute.
RESULTS: Semi-finals -- Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt 5 Petaling Jaya City Council 3; Bukit Jalil Sports School 1 UniKL 2.
TOMORROW: Final -- Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt v UniKL (Tun Razak Stadium, 5.30pm); Third-Fourth: Petaling Jaya City Council v Bukit Jalil Sports School (Tun Razak Stadium, 3.30pm).

Thursday, May 27, 2010

PJCC advance on sudden-death goal

Petaling Jaya City Council’s Mohd Fahmi Faiz Mad Isa scores a goal past the BPSS goalkeeper in the quarter-final of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior League at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday. — Picture by Mohd Yusni Ariffin

PETALING Jaya City Council nailed a sudden-death goal, after being tied 2 -2, against Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors to book their spot in the semi-finals of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junor Hockey League.
PJCC had the match in hand when they took a 2-0 lead, but crumbled in the second half by allowing BPSS Juniors to score the equaliser three seconds from time at the Tun Razak Stadium.
PJCC will meet Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt, while Bukit Jalil Sports School will play UniKL in the semi-finals today at the Tun Razak Stadium.
"My forwards have been consistently bungling sitters since the JHL started and today (yesterday) was no different. However, I saw a slight change in my players as they were more determined to win this match and advance to the last four, and now we can only hope for an upset against BPSS," said PJCC assistant team manager Zanal Abidin.
In the League BPSS easily beat PJCC 4-1, and the sports school should have the upper hand today.
Yesterday PJCC took a healthy lead through Fahmi Faiz in the 40th and Hafiz Nawi in the 41st minute.
However, the allowed the schoolboys to get back into the match when Firhan Ashaari scored from a penalty corner attempt in the 57th minute.
BPSS Juniors won a penalty corner with a minute left in the match, and just as Firhan's flick went crashing into the net, the full-time hooter blew and the match went into sudden-death.
PJCC won three consecutive penalty corner before nailing the winner when Fahmi delivered yet again in the 82nd minute.
Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Rahman said since there is no return leg, nothing can be taken for granted until the final whistle.
"The fact that we beat PJCC in the league is no longer relevant as this is a one-off match where my players will have to make the least mistakes to make sure we play in the final and have a chance to land the double this season," said Roslan.
RESULTS: Quarter-finals: Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors 2 Petaling Jaya City Council 3 (PJCC win on sudden-death goal).
TODAY: Semi-finals: BPSS Thunderbolt v PJCC (Tun Razak 4pm); UniKL v BJSS (Tun Razak, 6pm).

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

UniKL v BJSS on level field

LAST season's double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) will get
a second chance to salvage some pride when thy square off against UniKL
in the semi-finals of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League on Friday.
The other semi-final will be between Bandar Penawar Sports School
Thunderbolt and the winners of the delayed quarter-finals between Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors and Petaling Jaya City Council today.
The fixtures were re-drawn to acommodate BPSS Juniors as six of their
players only returned last night from a German Under-16 Four-Nation
where Malaysia finished second.
BJSS, who beat Sabah 4-0 even without four Under-16 boys who were in
Germany, will start on level terms against UniKL as in the League
encounter, the score was 1-1.
"Four of my under-16 boys played in Germany and only returned today
(yesterday) and it would strenghten the team when we play UniKL in the
"In the last eight against Sabah, I had to use some of my reserve
defenders as forwards, and were lucky as Kavin (Kartik) scored a penalty
corner hat-trick," said BJSS coach S. Prakash.
UniKL hold a slight psychological edge, as they finished second in the
league, while BJSS were third.
UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran, whose boys struggled against Division
Two outfit Pahang before winning 4-2 in the quarters, feels they will be in
for a bumpy ride in their quest to lay in the final.
"We had to come from a goal down to force a draw in the League, and I
expect another tough battle on Friday as BJSS players have been training
together for a long time and have a better understanding than my players
who only had one months training before they played in their first JHL
match," said Vickneswaran.
TODAY: Quarter-finals: Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors v
Petaling Jaya City Council (Tun Razak, 4pm).
FRIDAY: Semi-finals: BPSS Thunderbolt v BPSS Juniors or PJCC (Tun
Razak 4pm); UniKL v BJSS (Tun Razak, 6pm).

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Thunderbolt hammer 9 past Ipoh

BANDAR Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt, as expected, steamrolled Ipoh City Council 9-1 in the quarter-finals of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
Thunderbolt will have to wait until Thursday to find out their opponents in the semi-finals, because the quarter-finals between Petaling Jaya City Council and Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors had to be delayed to wait for six BPSS boys who went to Germany for a Four-Nation.
In the other Quarter-finals yesterday, Bukit Jalil Sports School beat Sabah 4-0, while UniKL beat Pahang 4-2.
Bukit Jali will meet UniKL in the semi-finals on Friday.
The Bukit Jalil hero was Kavin Kartik who scored a hat-rick in the 16th, 32nd and 51st. The other goal was scored by Dangerous Lee in the 43rd minute.
Thunderbolt, the newly crowned League champions, took 15 minutes to settle down before routing Ipoh CC, who finished third in Division Two.
Thunderbolt got their goals off Faizal Saari (19th, 31st, 57th), Firhan Ashaari (15th, 68th), Fitri Saari (16th), Faiz Helmi Jali (24th), Shaiful Nizam Aswan (46th) and Fahmi Zainal Abidin (52nd).
The Ipoh consolation was scored by Azrul Fazri in the 50th minute.
As for UniKL, their goal-getters were Nor Hizat Sumantri (58th, 65th), Sabri Mohamed (second) and Manraj Singh (19th).
Fahmi Abdullah (10th) and Zulhannan Mazlan (67th) scored for Pahang.
Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Rahman was surprised with the big win, as he expected a tough fight.
"I had planned for a tougher encounter, but surprisingly, Ipoh collapsed like dominoes after we scored the first goal in the 15th minute.
"It was a good show, and also a good warm-up for my players and now we will have to wait until Thursday to know our opponents."
However, the coach prefers to meet BPSS Juniors, who are also his boys.
"I hope the six BPSS Junior players overcome their jet-lag fast, as they will return tomorrow (today) and only have one rest day before playing PJCC. It would be great if BPSS Juniors advance to the semi-finals," said Roslan.
RESULTS: Quarter-finals: Bukit Jalil Sports School 4 Sabah 0; Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt 9 Ipoh City Council 1; UniKL 4 Pahang 2.
THURSDAY: Quarter-finals: Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors v Petaling Jaya City Council (Tun Razak, 4pm).
FRIDAY: Semi-finals: BPSS Thunderbolt v BPSS Juniors or PJCC (Tun Razak 4pm); UniKL v BJSS (Tun Razak, 6pm).

Monday, May 24, 2010

They don't make teachers like Cikgu Siva anymore

By Jugjet Singh

THE don’t make teachers like V. Sivapathasundram any more.
Cikgu Siva, as he was fondly called, died on Sunday at the age of 68, leaving behind a hockey legacy which will be hard to match by others in Tunku Besar Secondary School (TBSS) in Tampin, Negri Sembilan.
I know it for a fact, as I played for him in the Under-15 and Under-18 squads in TBSS, where I studied from 1981 to 1987.
Siva joined TBSS in 1963, after graduating from Brinsford in the United Kingdom, and stayed put for the next 32 years until his retirement, making the store-room next to the school field as his second home.
His ‘room’ only had a squeaky fan, an old type-writer and a can full of cigarettes which he chain-smoked behind the closed door, and plotted the downfall of two Seremban hockey powerhouses.
St Paul’s Institution, who had hockey Gurus Lawrence Van Huizen and William Fidelis, and the late Datuk Ho Koh Chye in King George the Fifth (KGV) was just the right tonic that Negri Sembilan needed in those days to spur the growth of hockey.
The rivalry among the three schools was so intense, that the Seremban Town Field used to be packed to the brim, with even the sidelines encroached, when there was a match between TBSS and either KGV or SPI.
His first success in hockey was N. Palanisamy, who played in the 1971 and 1975 World Cups, and also the 1976 Montreal Olympics.
There were many others after that who were coached to become the best in the country, with the likes of brothers Lee Sien Lam and Lee Sien Hock, his son Dr Brian Jayhan Siva, Nishel Kumar; and 1982 Junior World Cup goalkeepers Azhar Epi and Mohamed Fadzil so name some.
His last product is current national No 1, and among the best in the world, goalkeeper S. Kumar.
Siva has also worked his magic as assistant secretary to S. Satgunam in the Malaysian Hockey Federation, the MHF Umpires Board Chairman, Secretary of the Negri Sembilan HA, and various positions in the Tampin District HA with the last being its deputy president.
He was also the hockey team manager for the 1995 Chiangmai Sea Games team, which was skippered by current national coach tai Beng Hai.
The list of umpires an hockey officials produced under his administration in Negri Sembilan is also impressive, and many were touched by his demise.
Siva made it a culture for hockey players in TBSS to have a stick with them at all limes, as the sport was played during Physical Education periods, and in the evenings from 4pm to 6pm.
He was also a visionary who saw the need to build a miniature cement hockey pitch in TBSS in the early 80s, so that his boys could train in an artificial pitch like atmosphere, and not be left out when they headed to Kuala Lumpur to play in tournaments.
After his retirement, TBSS took a beating from schools which they used to hammer earlier, and Datuk Taha of Gemencheh, rose to become the best school in the State after they received half an artificial pitch from the National Sports Council.
However, TBSS crawled back in the last few years, when a full artificial pitch was laid in the school and Siva’s former students returned to their alma matter to coach.
Siva was actively involved in developing youth in Tampin as recent as two months ago, but stopped when his health took a turn for the worse. A true coach until the end.
Hockey lost a great man, who worked in the shadows to elevate its standard without expecting to be rewarded, and he was never rewarded when he was alive, but received brickbats for being a disciplinarian.
He is also the reason why the MHF started Yayasan Hoki to help players who wanted to further their studies.
It came about when his son Brian scored straight As and wanted to pursue his ambition to become a doctor but scholarships were scarce.
Siva approached the then MHF Deputy President Tan Sri P. Alagendra for a solution, and in Alagendra’s own words: “If not for Siva, we would not have started Yayasan Hoki with Brian as its first recipient.”
After that, Yayasan Hoki came to the aid of many players who now hold degrees in numerous fields.
They don’t make teachers like Siva anymore, as he gave more than he took from everyone that he knew.

Sure death in Commonwealth Games

By Ajitpal Singh

MALAYSIA have been drawn in the 'Group of Death' for the New Delhi Commonwealth Games men's hockey competition. The team are in Pool A alongside world champions Australia, India, Pakistan and Scotland.
England, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Trinidad & Tobago make up Pool B for the event scheduled to be played at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium on Oct 4-14.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has said that the New Delhi Commonwealth Games should be treated as nothing more than a build-up towards the Guangzhou Asian Games (Nov 12-27) where the gold medallist earns a place in the 2010 London Olympic Games.
National coach Stephen van Huizen picked a pool of 30 trainees early this year with the intention of mixing and matching his players for both tournaments.
"Of course, the Guangzhou Games is top priority for all Asian teams including India and Pakistan who both are also competing in the Commonwealth Games," said Van Huizen yesterday.
"I have 30 players in my training squad. We will threat both tournaments with equal importance but the Asian Games will be given extra emphasis.
"We have not decided on the squad for either tournament. It will decided after a few international matches and the availability of players."
Malaysia have one confirmed tournament in Dahlian, China in July. Van Huizen is also looking at playing international matches in either Australia or Europe ahead of their two major assignments.
On the Commonwealth Games, Van Huizen said Malaysia are ranked fourth in Pool A behind Australia, India and Pakistan.
"No doubt it is a tough group. However, the other group is equally tough and so it does not matter where we are placed," said the coach.
"I am not in the position to set a target for this competition. It will be decided by MHF."
Malaysia have returned with medals on the two occasions they competed in the Commonwealth Games.
Hockey was included for the first time in the 1998 Kuala Lumpur edition, and the national team surprised with a silver medal.
Malaysia did not qualify for the 2002 Manchester Games but four years later took bronze at the Melbourne edition. In New Delhi, Malaysia will open accounts against India on Oct 5 followed by Pakistan (Oct 6), Scotland (Oct 8) and Australia (Oct 10).
THE GROUPINGS -- Men's Pool A: Australia, Pakistan, India, Malaysia, Scotland; Pool B: England, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago.
Women's Pool A: Australia, South Africa, India, Scotland, Trinidad & Tobago; Pool B: England, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia, Wales.

Sabah are Division Two champs

DEBUTANTS Sabah emerged Division Two champions of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior League when they beat Penang Frees 4-1 at the Pandamaran Hockey Stadium in Klang yesterday.
Sabah opened accounts in the fifth minute through Eldon Lemery before Harmesh Singh added a second in the 25th. Dick Chany Waili scored in the 50th minute to make it 3-0 but Penang reduced the deficit in the 58th minute through Mohd Shafirul Mohd Noor.
Ahmad Kafeel Ahmad Rashidi added the fourth three minutes from time to ensure Sabah the title and the winner's cash prize of RM7,000.
Sabah and Pahang finished on 21 points but the former won the title on goal difference.
The victory is a morale booster for the Sabah players ahead of next month's Malaysia Games in Malacca.
Team manager Azman Salleh said his team competed in the league for exposure purposes ahead of the Games.
"Winning the title is a bonus. It will definitely give my players the confidence for the Malaysia Games," said Azman in yesterday.
"We will face Bukit Jalil (Sports School) in the second stage and it will be a tough match."
FIXTURES -- Tomorrow, Q-finals: BPSS Thunderbolts v Ipoh City Council (Tun Razak Stadium, 4pm); UNIKL v Pahang (KLHA Stadium, Pantai, 4pm); BJSS v Sabah (Tun Razak Stadium, 6pm); Thursday: PJCC v BJSS Juniors (Tun Razak Stadium; 5pm).

Under-16 boys upset Dutch

THE national Under-16 team created a major upset in the Mannheim Four-Nation Championship when they edged favourites the Netherlands 4-3 in their opening match in Germany on Saturday.
Malaysia were down 2-0 after 14 minutes before Shahril Saabah reduced the deficit off a penalty corner conversion in the 16th minute.
Eight minutes later, Muhd Azrul Hasbullah converted a penalty corner set-piece to level proceedings.
In the second half, Malaysia pinned their opponents in their half and were rewarded with another penalty corner set-piece goal by Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin in the 38th minute.
The Dutch fought back and found the equaliser in the 51st minute before Muhd Azrul scored the winner for Malaysia seven minutes later.
Team manager Johari Abd Aziz said his players showed grit and determination to comeback from two goals down to win the match.
"A win over the Netherlands is a good result for them. I hope my boys will fight on in this tournament," said Johari via an e-mail yesterday.
In another match, Germany were held 4-4 by Belgium.
Malaysia were playing Germany in a late match yesterday.

Lucky break for Ryder...

PERKS COME WITH WINNING... Ryder Hesjedal of Canada and riding for Garmin-Transitions celebrates as he crosses the finish line to win Stage Eight of the 2010 Tour of California on May 23, 2010 in Westlake Village, California. Phot by AFP.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Thunderbolt strike paydirt

BANDAR Penawar Sports School-Thunderbolt snatched the MHF-Milo-NSC
Division One title from the grips of newcomers UniKL when they scored
the equaliser with 30 seconds remaining in the match.
The title-battle ended 1-1, but Thunderbolt had 22 points from eight
matches, while UniKL had only 20 to show.
It was the first Division One League title for Bandar Penawar, who made
their debut in 2004.
"I can't ask for more from my players, as we controlled the match but
just failed to score. It was a great show from my boys, who trained for
only one month, against a sports school outfit," said UniKL coach I.
Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Rahman said: "We only came to live in
the last five minutes, and it was a lucky goal scored 30 seconds from time.
However, a win is a win, and now we look foward to the knock-out stage."
The first half was a drab affair, as most of the play was centred around
midfield and players from both sides could not even trap the ball properly.
UniKL had a handful of chances, but poor shooting saw them entering
the dressing room without scoring.
BPSS-Thunderbolt won the only penalty corner of the half in the 32nd
minute, and all eyes were on national player Faizal Saari. However, the
chance was wasted as the stopper failed to trap the ball.
Faizal got his chance in the 40th minute, when Thunderbolt won their
second panalty corner, but his powerful drag-flick hit the post and went
crashing out.
UniKL upped the tempo and received their first penalty corner in the
45th minute, but the flick by Sabri Mohamed sailed over the bar.
There were plenty or near misses after that, but no goals to show as the
clocked showed eight more minutes ramaining for Thunderbolt to be
declared as the new champions.
However, the game suddenly came to live in the last five minutes of the
match, as UniKL went looking for the elusive goal.
And in the 67th minute, Hizzat Sumantri connected home a cross and
suddenly, the title looked like it belonged to the newcomers.
But tragedy struck, with 30 seconds to regulation time, when
Thunderbolt went on the attack and a cross from Nazrin Yahya was
connected home by Fariq Saadon and the southern sports school players
finally hit paydirt.
RESULTS: Division One -- Bukit Jalil Sports School 5 MWHA 1, UniKL 1
Thunderbolt 1; Division Two: Ipoh City Council 2 Pahang 3, Datuk Taha 4
Penang Frees 4.
SUNDAY: Division Two: Sabah v Penang Frees (Pandamaran, 5pm).


P W D L F A Pts
THUNDERBOLT 8 7 1 0 37 6 22
UNIKL 8 6 2 0 33 8 20
BJSS 8 5 2 1 24 7 17
PJCC 8 4 1 3 20 15 13
BPSS JUNIORS 8 3 1 4 12 16 10
ANDERSON 8 3 1 4 14 28 10
KELANTAN 8 1 3 4 11 34 6
BJSS JUNIORS 8 1 1 6 5 25 4
MWHA 8 0 0 8 8 25 0


P W D L F A Pts
SABAH 7 6 0 1 32 7 18
PAHANG 8 7 0 1 33 14 21
IPOH CC 8 5 2 1 24 8 17
TBSS 8 4 2 2 23 11 14
MATRI 8 3 1 4 14 14 10
FREES 7 2 3 2 19 18 9
DATUK TAHA 8 1 2 5 13 30 5
SELANGOR 8 1 0 7 6 45 3
JOHOR 8 0 2 6 12 29 2

Mines on a Tiger hunt

By Jugjet Singh

THE Mines Resort and Golf Club might see the return of Tiger Woods, whose last sighting there in 1999 earned him the World Cup stripes together with Mark O’Meara.

The Tiger bait is US$6 million CIMB Asia Pacific Classic, which is part of the US PGA Tour.
Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, founder of the Mines City, was optimistic yesterday that the World No 1 might make a comeback to Malaysia.
“Woods is on the trail of making a comeback, and I feel he would be among the 40 golfers who will be at the Mines. Anyway, I would be personally writing to him soon because I am sure his fans in Asia would want to watch him play here again,” said Lee.
And the good part is, according to Lee, sanctioning fee would be out of the picture.
“The last time we had to pay a sanctioning fee to get him here, but with the tournament being part of the PGA Tour, if he comes, it will purely be on merit. And another good news is that we will be hosting the tournament for the next seven years, and if not this year, I am sure Tiger will come in the near future,” said Lee.
The tournament will be held on Oct 28-31 with no halfway cut as only 40 golfers will be involved.
The top 25 available PGA Tour players from the FedExCup standing, the top 10 from the Asian Tour and five sponsor exemptions will make-up the cast.
Yesterday Steve Wenzloff, the PGA Tour vice-president Design Services and Player Liaison, visited the course to start some minor changes to the Mines.
“The overall appearance and conditions of the golf course is good. However, a few minor adjustments are being recommended to restore aspects of the original design with the intent of making it more interesting and elevate the stature of the facility,” said Wenzloff.
Other than the World Cup, the Mines has hosted the 2000 Women’s World Cup and the 2003 Malaysian Open.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Faizal or Sabri...

AFTER seven years, the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League will see a new Division One champion emerge at the Kuala Lumpur HA Stadium today.
Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), who have been dominating the JHL since 2003, will end third irrespective of how they fare against the Malaysian women’s hockey team (MWHA) in their final pool match today.
The title toss this season will be between newcomers UniKL and Bandar Penawar Sports School-Thunderbolt.
And both teams have vital cogs to depend on for the goals, as Thunderbolt’s Faizal Saari and UniKL’s Sabri Mohamed (pic) have scored 13 goals each in the JHL.
Faizal also has the advantage of having played and scored goals at the World Cup qualifier last year, and the recent Azlan Shah Cup.
The interesting fact about the goal-machines is that Faizal is a striker who is also deadly during penalty corners, while Sabri is a defender who converts through penalty corners. Sabri will have to work extra hard to stop Faizal, and then score when his mates win penalty corners.
UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran believes the encounter will be played at a punishing paced from the first whistle.
“We are the new kids in JHL, and I am proud of my boys who are within touching distance of the Division One title.
“It will not be easy, as my defenders will have be be extra careful as Faizal was in super form in the Azlan Shah Cup, and has experience scoring playing in a highly charged atmosphere,” said Vickneswaran.
Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Rahman said: “We have the players, and with a right attitude in this crucial match, I believe my boys will not disappoint our fans.”
The quarter-finalists have been decided and they are Thunderbolt, UniKL, BJSS, Petaling Jaya City Council and BPSS Juniors from Division One while from Division Two, the teams are Sabah, Pahang and Ipoh CC.
The knockout stage will begin on Tuesday, and the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have done away with the initial plan to play home-and-away because of the Malaysia Games.
The knockout stage will be held for six days from May 25- 30. The quarter-finals will be played on May 25, the semi- finals on May 27 and the final on May 30.
TODAY: Division One -- Bukit Jalil Sports School v MWHA (Tun Razak Stadium, 5pm), UniKL v Thunderbolt (KLHA Stadium, 5pm); Division Two: Ipoh City Council v Pahang (Azlan Shah Stadium, 5pm), Datuk Taha v Penang Frees (Tampin, 5pm).
SUNDAY: Division Two: Sabah v Penang Frees (Pandama ran, 5pm).


P W D L F A Pts
THUNDERBOLT 7 7 0 0 36 5 21
UNIKL 7 6 1 0 32 7 19
BJSS 7 4 2 1 19 6 14
PJCC 8 4 1 3 20 15 13
BPSS JUNIORS 8 3 1 4 12 16 10
ANDERSON 8 3 1 4 14 28 10
KELANTAN 8 1 3 4 11 34 6
BJSS JUNIORS 8 1 1 6 5 25 4
MWHA 7 0 0 7 7 20 0


P W D L F A Pts
SABAH 7 6 0 1 32 7 18
PAHANG 7 6 0 1 30 12 18
IPOH CC 7 5 2 0 22 5 17
TUNKU BESAR 8 4 2 2 23 11 14
MATRI 8 3 1 4 14 14 10
FREES 6 2 2 2 15 14 8
DATUK TAHA 7 1 1 5 9 26 4
SELANGOR 8 1 0 7 6 45 3
JOHOR 8 0 2 6 12 29 2

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Save Azlan Shah Cup from becoming sideshow

Comment by Jugjet Singh

GERMANY, the Netherlands, Spain, Australia .... these were some of the teams that used to play in previous editions of the Azlan Shah Cup with full-strength sides.

But sadly, the past few seasons saw this prestigious tournament becoming a blooding ground for their young players, and the organising committee is actually condoning it.
I have witnessed this Invitational meet turn from an exciting world class event, which was almost on par with the Champions Trophy, to what it is today -- an avenue for experiment.

And the experiment does not stop at the players alone, as it looks like the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is also using it to train foreign officials and umpires, with the latter making a mess of the tournament.

When the late Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary S. Satgunam was alive, India had wanted to send their second team to play in the Azlan Shah Cup a year after the Kuala Lumpur Commonwealth Games in 1998.
After reading the faxed team list, this scribe was fortunate to witness Satgunam pick up the telephone and give an ultimatum to the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) secretary Jyothi Kumaran.

Satgunam had then said: "You have given me a list of your second team and this is very unbecoming of IHF. Fax me your best in one hour, or I am pulling the plug on India and inviting the reserve team instead."
Inside 30 minutes, IHF faxed the names of their their best 18.
Egypt, the whipping boys, were invited specially by Sultan Azlan Shah and that is his prerogative.

However, allowing world champions Australia to field only four players who helped them win the title in New Delhi is unbecoming.
Pakistan had 12 Junior World Cup players, while India fielded 11 World Cup players, South Korea and China also took this opportunity to try new hands.
Malaysia, with many players on the injury list, also had a diluted team for the 19th edition.
From the outside, it looks like the proximity to the World Cup, and being held in May instead of earlier in the year, has taken the glamour out of this edition, but the organising committee should take this as a lesson, and if they have to, hold it later in the year so that the best players can represent the invited teams and return the glamour that was conspicuously missing.

Perfect balance in the wings

Players of joint champions India and South Korea celebrate with officials. — Picture by Ikhwan Munir

MALAYSIAN players set a new benchmark in the just-concluded Azlan Shah Cup, and with re inforcement from the injury list and those playing abroad, a well-balanced side is expected to play in the Commonwealth and Asian Games.

Three young players who were given the chance by coaches Stephen van Huizen and Tai Beng Hai also rose to the occasion, and should make it more difficult for other aspirants to join the national side.
Marhan Jalil, 20, Izwan Firdaus, 21, and Azreen Rizal, 21, were given ample time in the seven matches, and they were a joy to watch.

"I believe new standards were set by the young players and now, those who are recovering from injuries and playing abroad would have to fight for their spots in the national team," said chief coach Van Huizen.

Among those on the injury list are brothers Kelvinder Singh and Harwinder Singh, while Jiwa Mohan is playing in Australia and S. Selvaraju in France.
"It was a fruitful tournament, and we missed the distinction of being named as joint-champions just on goals scored. Now, the focus will be on playing international friendlies, and then the Commonwealth Games before the all-important Asian Games," said Van Huizen.

The Asian Games will offer one ticket to the 2012 London Olympics, and South Korea, India and Pakistan would be the main hurdles.
Malaysia held South Korea to a 1-1 draw, Pakistan to 3-3, beat India 5-2 and China 2-1.
"However, the results will have no bearing when we play in the Asian Games as all three Asian stalwarts fielded experimental and young sides.

"A better picture will emerge when we play against Pakistan and India in the Commonwealth Games. Malaysia should also have the best available then, and after that I would be able to plan for the Asian Games," said Van Huizen.
The oldest Malaysian player was S. Kumar, but the 31-year-old showed great agility and was named as Goalkeeper of the Tournament.
"Kumar is among the best in the world, but we do not have a pool of back-ups who can take his spot in the future.
"Also, I do not have depth on the bench to rest my four defenders during matches, and they had to play for 70 minutes in most matches and that's when the mistakes crept in."
Defenders C. Baljit Singh, Madzli Ikmar, Amin Rahim and Razie Rahim were in super form, but made many mistakes in the closing minutes of matches as they had to play for 70 minutes without rest in most matches.
And among the strikers, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, 24, finally found his touch while 19-year-old Faizal Saari indicated that he has the potential to become the deadliest striker for Malaysia, in a few years' time.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

India-Korea joint champions

THE India-South Korea final could only be played for seven minutes, as
torrential rain stopped play until 10 pm, and the organising committee
decided to award both the teams as joint-champions.
This is the first time in the history of the Azlan Shah Cup, incepted in
1983, that a final was rained off and joint-champions declared.

Aussies too good for young Mas

MALAYSIA took an early lead, but then crumbled in the second half to lose 5-3 to world No 1 Australia in the fight for bronze in the 19th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh last night.
Malaysia took the match to the Australian semi-circle from the first whistle, and there was plenty of action in the first half, with most of it coming from the young national team.
Australia won a total of four penalty corners, all resulted from counter attacks, but bungled them all.
Malaysia failed to win a single penalty corner, because the strikers were more intent on taking shots at goal which were cleverly stopped by Australian goalkeeper George Bazeley.
However, in the 14th minute, a super effort from 19-year-old Faizal Saari took him to the top of the Australian semicircle, and he made a deft pass to Hafifihafiz Hanafi who, slammed it into the top of the net for a well deserved lead.
Australia were only dangerous in the final minutes of the half, and off a goalmouth melee in the 34th minute, Matthew Swann scored the equaliser off a reverse stick attempt.
Australia came out of the dressing room with guns blazing, and in a spate of five minutes they had five chances which were stopped by goalkeepr S. Kumar and also the post.
But the world No 1 inserted more pressure and Kumar finally cracked in the 43rd minute when Russell Ford sent in a cracker from the the top of the semi-circle.
And after taking the lead, Australia went on a goal hunt and found their third in the 50th minute when Kieran Govers scored off a penalty corner attempt.
Malaysia were reduced to defending after that. but still the Aussies scored their fourth goal in the 55th minute. This time, Christopher Ciriello scored from their sixth penalty corner.
And the fifth goal was scored with easy by Grant Schubert in the 65th minute, and it started to rain again.
However, Malaysia never gave up and with three seconds to go, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin scored to narrow the defeat margin.
RESULTS: Final -- India x South Korea x; Third-Fourth: Malaysia 3 Australia 5; Fifth-Sixth: Pakistan 1 China 1 (Pakistan win 6-5 on penalty strokes).

Pakistan fifth on strokes


PAKISTAN ended up in fifth place in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup when they defeated China 6-5 on penalty strokes after the two teams were tied 1-1 at the end of regulation and extra time
Pakistan had recorded a 6-2 win in the preliminary round over China and had expected another easy match, as evident from their lackadaisical approach in the early stages of the match.
China were awarded a penalty corner in the fifth minute but did not capitalize on the situation. However China were not to be denied as Na Yubo, easily their best player in the tournament, scored in the 24th minute.
Pakistan were lethargic, and missing was their fast breaks and wizardry as they took time to adjust to the humid conditions, made worse after a downpour earlier.
But try as Pakistan did, they failed to create any worthy goal scoring chances and at the break China led 1-0. The equalizer did come eventually as Shafqat Rasool was the first to pounce on a penalty corner rebound in the 43rd minute.
Though Pakistan forced a series of penalty corners after that, Chinese keeper Su Rifeng was outstanding.
The match then went into extra time but it failed to produce the golden goal. And the first series of strokes also did not produce a winner as both teams converted their five penalty strokes.
For Pakistan, Muhammad Irfan, Shafqat Rasool, Muhammad Touseeq, Mohamad Zubair and Muhamad Rizwan converted while for China, Sun Tianjun, Liu Yixian, Liu Xiantang, Dong Yang and Ji Mi were all successful in their attempts.
In the sudden death Khasif Ali missed the attempt but so did China’s Dong Yang. Shafqat Rasool scored the next but Ji Mi’s attempt rebounded of the post and Pakistan were fifth.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Malaysia play for bronze

P W D L F A Pts

INDIA 6 4 1 1 21 14 13
KOREA 6 3 2 1 20 11 11 +9
AUSTRALIA 6 3 2 1 20 12 11 +8
MALAYSIA 6 3 2 1 17 9 11 +8
PAKISTAN 6 2 2 2 24 20 8
CHINA 6 1 1 4 12 19 4
EGYPT 6 0 0 6 4 33 0

RESULTS: Australia 4 China 0, South Korea 4 Pakistan 2, India 7 Egypt 1.
TODAY: Final -- India v South Korea (8.05pm); Third-Fourth: Malaysia v Australia (6.05pm); Fifth-Sixth: Pakistan v China (3.35pm).

India-Korea Azlan Shah Final

THERE was utter confusion in the final pool matches, and the air only cleared when India beat Egypt 7-1 in the last pool match of the 19th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh last night.
India will play South Korea in the final, while Malaysia will battle for the bronze against Australia.
The day started with Australia beating China 4-0, and achieving their four goal target to play in the final, and then Pakistan and South Korea walked onto the pitch, with both sides needing to win by two goals to shut the door on Australia.
The score stood at 2-2 by the 57th minute, and there was super hockey being played by players from both sides.
However, mayhem errupted when Irish umpire Warren McCully awarded a penalty stroke to South Korea in the 66th minute, and the Pakistan team protested and there was a 15-minute stoppage as umpires and officials tried to get the Gren Shirts to resume the match.
Pakistan skipper Muhammad Imran was flashed the green, then yellow and finally the red card and sent off for protesting the stroke. Aamir Shahzad also received the red card, while two Koreans were flashed the yellow in the remaining tensed minutes of the match.
Instead of playing in the final, Pakistan will play China in the fifth-sixth classification match as they lost their cool and then the match 4-2.
"I can take mistakes in umpiring, but not blunders which left my young players in tears," said Pakistan team manager K.M. Junaid while showing the press video evidence which disputed the penalty stroke.
"We travelled thousands of kilometres and spent a lot of money for this tournament, and it is sad that we did not get to play in the final because of bad umpiring.
"We are here to play hockey, and not train umpires who are looking for an upgrade," lamented Junaid.
Malaysian team manager George Koshy, while rueing the lost chance to play in the final on goal difference, was optimistic that his charges will give Australia a run for their money.
"We only lost to them 2-1 in the pool match, and there were plenty of instances in that match where we could have even won it. So, I am confident that my players will give their best and it would be good to finish with a medal," said George.

UniKL a step away from title

NEWCOMERS UniKL further consolidated their chances of winning the Division One MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League title when they beat Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) Juniors 3-1 in a rain postponed match yesterday.
Both the teams were supposed to play on Friday, but the match was washed off by heavy rain and they completed their fixtures yesterday.
UniKL got their goals off Syamim Yusof (15th), Sabri Mohamed (23rd) and Amir Farid (62nd). Shahril Saabah (45th) scored the BPSS Juniors goal.
UniKL are just one match away from winning the title, as they have 19 points from seven matches and play their final fixtures against Bandar Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt at the KLHA Stadium on May 21.
Thunderbolt have maximum points from six matches and play the Malaysian Women's National team (MWHA) in Seremban today.
UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran said: "It’s our debut season and we just one win away from creating history. We have five days to train and will give our best against Thunderbolt."
RESULTS: UniKL 3 BPSS Juniors 1.
TODAY: Division One: BPSS Juniors v Kelantan (Bandar Penawar Stadium, 5pm); MWHA v Thunderbolt (Seremban II, 5pm).
Division Two: Matri vs Kuala Selangor (Kangar, 5pm).

Mayhem as Korea enter final

THERE was drama, plenty of it in the Pakistan and Korea match and in the end Korea prevailed to make the final with a 4-2 win.
Both teams had to win by two clear goals to progress into the final at the expense of Australia.
Pakistan went ahead in the 31st minute when Mohamad Zubair scored after a botched penalty corner attempt by skipper Muhammad Imran. The ball was played out of the semi circle by Muhammad Touseeq who relayed it to Zubair at the far post to knock it in.
At that stage Pakistan needed another goal to progress into the final. But Korea came charging out in the second half and equalized via Lee Nam Yong in the 38th minute.
Korea were awarded a penalty stroke in the 46th minute and Nam Yong easily put the ball past Imran Shah, and now it was Korea who needed another goal to make the final.
However Pakistan came fighting back and Imran sent in a low flick off their sixth penalty corner in the 55th minute to tie the match at 2-2.
In the 66th minute the situation turned chaotic as umpire Warren McCully awarded a penalty stroke to Korea. The Pakistanis protested and in the melee yellow and red cards were shown. Pakistan players refused to continue and manager Khajawa Junaid was seen discussing the issue with Daljit Singh, the Technical Official from Malaysia.
Imran was shown all three cards, green, yellow and red by McCully and it further aggravated the situation as far as Pakistan was concerned.
Tournament Director Paul Richards then stepped in and by that time the match had been stopped for well over five minutes.
After the fracas, Nam Hyun Woo scored from the spot to put Korea 3-2 ahead and they needed just one more goal, playing against the ten men Pakistani side.
Fareed Ahmad was shown the yellow in the 67th minute after Korea were awarded a penalty corner and Hyun Woo scored with two minutes on the clock.
Korea’s Ro Jong Hwan was then sent to the sin bin with less then two minutes remaining and Aamir Shazad joined his captain on the red card list with one minute remaining.

Four enough for Aussies


AUSTRALIA defeated China 4-0 and will now await the Pakistan and Korea match to see if they make the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
Their margin of win, four goals saw them oust Malaysia from being in contention for a place in the final.
And now the Aussies will have to wait for the outcome of the Pakistan/Korea match and a win by two clear goals by either team will see Australia out.
Australia got off to a perfect start when Kieran Govers fired home a penalty corner in the 3rd minute.
They doubled their advantage in the 21st minute, with Govers netting his second of the day as the Chinese seem to be more affected by the heat then the Australians.
Govers could have completed his hattrick in the 34th minute but missed from six yards out and at the break Australia led 2-0.
China created two good chances early on in the second half but muffed them both. And Australia took full advantage to force their third penalty corner in the 43rd minute.
But Chirstopher Ciriello’s attempt was pushed out by Si Rifeng. And in the 45th minute, once again Rufeng kept Ciriello at bay with a diving save.
Ciriello finally got it right in the 50th minute when his low drive beat Rufeng all the way. And in the very next minute Grant Schubert made it 4-0 .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thunderbolt sttrikes BJSS

BANDAR Penawar Sports School Thunderbolt came back from a goal
down to beat double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) 2-1 to
top the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League (MJHL) Division One
Thunderbolt have maximum points after six matches, with two matches
to play against the national women’s team tomorrow and UniKL on May
BJSS took the lead of a penalty corner by G. Kavin Kartik in the 17th
minute, but Thunderbolt equalised in the 30th minute off a field goal by
Firhan Ashaari.
Thunderbolt scored the winning goal through Rasul Yusof in the 55th
Thuderbolt coach Wan Roslan Rahman said: "We won, but I am not
happy with my players performance. We did not have Faisal (Saari), who is playing in the Azlan Shah Cup, and this affected our performance.
"Few of my players suffered hamstring injuries in this match, indicating
that they are not fit."
We have to work on the players fitness," said Wan Roslan.
The match between UniKL and BPSS Juniors was postponed to 5pm
today because of heavy downpour.

DIVISION ONE: BPSS Thunderbolt 2 BJSS 1; MWHA 2 Kelantan 3; BPSS
niors vs UniKL (match postponed to today, because of rain)
DIVISION TWO: Penang Free 3 Kuala Selangor 0; Pahang 4 Datuk Taha 1;
Tunku Besar 4 Matri 0

P W D L F A Pts

THUNDERBOLT 6 6 0 0 33 5 18
UNIKL 6 5 1 0 29 6 16
BJSS 7 4 2 1 19 6 14
PJCC 8 4 1 3 20 15 13
ANDERSON 8 3 1 4 14 28 10
BPSS JUNIORS 6 3 0 3 10 12 9
KELANTAN 7 1 2 4 10 33 5
BJSS JUNIORS 8 1 1 6 5 25 4
MWHA 6 0 0 6 7 17 0


P W D L F A Pts

SABAH 7 6 0 1 32 7 18
PAHANG 7 6 0 1 30 12 18
IPOH CC 7 5 2 0 22 5 17
TUNKU BESAR 8 4 2 2 23 11 14
FREES 6 2 2 2 15 14 8
MATRI 7 2 1 4 10 12 7
DATUK TAHA 7 1 1 5 9 26 4
SELANGOR 7 1 0 6 4 41 3
JOHOR 8 0 2 6 12 29 2

FIXTURES: Today -- UniKL v BPSS Juniors (Bandar Penawar, 5pm).
TOMORROW: Division One: BPSS Juniors v Kelantan (Bandar Penawar
Stadium, 5pm); MWHA v Thunderbolt (Seremban II, 5pm).
Division Two: Matri vs Kuala Selangor (Kangar, 5pm).

Super Saturday for Malaysia and Razie

WHILE Malaysia's chances of playing in the final of the 19th Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hangs from a thin thread, 23-year-old defender Razie Rahim is set to score the biggest goal in his life.
As Malaysian team will watch from the sidelines. hoping that India, Australia, Pakistan or South Korea fumble and create one opening that will lead them into the final, Razie will be in Padang Serai, Kedah, getting married to Nadia Mokhtar.
Nadia, 22, is also a national hockey player who just missed the cut to the World Cup Qualifiers in Chile due to injury.
Both the players fell head-over-heels in 2003 during the Southern Skies tournament in Australia, where Razie was representing Bandar Penawar Sports School while Nadia was playing for Bukit Jalil Sports School.
Razie was given a grand send off by his team-mates after beating China 2-1 on Thursday, when his parents, Abdul Rahim Harun and Salbiah Abdullah came to pick him up from the Azlan Shah Stadium.
But it is hockey right after tying the knot, as Razie will be back to play on Sunday, irrespective of Malaysia making the final or not.
“It is a big day for me and I hope to have the best wedding present if results go our way and we make the final,” said Razie.
“I will continue playing for the nation as long as my services are needed and I believe Nadia too will play her role in the women’s team.”
Razie will have to apply some special make up though, as he suffered a cut just below his jaw in the match against India on Wednesday, when the defender scored a field goal in the 5-2 rout.
Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen will wait anxiously, as all three matches today could either see his charges play in the final, or placing match.
Australia play China first, and if the Australians score less than four goals, one contender will be knocked out.
The there is the South Korea-Pakistan match. Pakistan need to win by two goals, while South Korea by one goal to pip Malaysia.
And if both the matches fail to open the door for Malaysia, there is the India-Egypt match where India need just a win to play in the final.
Five teams will be battling for two spots in the final today, with Malaysia the only one hoping on a hand-out, which came about after they let in a goal 17 seconds from time in the 3-3 draw against Pakistan.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

India the only sure bet

P W D L F A Pts

MALAYSIA 6 3 2 1 17 9 11 +8
INDIA 5 3 1 1 14 13 10
KOREA 5 2 2 1 16 9 8 +7
PAKISTAN 5 2 2 1 22 16 8 +6
AUSTRALIA 5 2 2 1 16 12 8 +4
CHINA 5 1 1 3 12 15 4
EGYPT 5 0 0 5 3 26 0

RESULTS: Pakistan 6 Egypt 2, Australia 2 South Korea 2, China 1 Malaysia 2.
TOMORROW: Australia v China (4.04pm), South Korea v Pakistan (6.05pm), India v Egypt (8.05pm).

Malaysia keep fire burning

MALAYSIA stayed afloat, just above the nose, to play in the final of the
19th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, when they edged China 2-1 in a heavy drizzle
In an earlier match, South Korea fought a hard battle to hold World No 1
Australia to a 2-2 draw which opened up the tournament.
India are an almost a sure bet to claim one ticket to the final as they
have 10 points and a relatively easy match against Egypt to collect full
That leaves Malaysia, Australia, South Korea and Pakistan to claim the
second spot.
Malaysia have 11 points and +8 goals average, while Australia play
Egypt, and South Korea and Pakistan will be locked in battle on Saturday
with goals playing a crucial role in their progress or regress.
So, the national players needed to score as many goals as possible in
their last match against China, but for the first 10 minutes, they were at the
receiving end as China won four penalty corner attempts, with one even
hitting the bar.
Malaysia came out of their shell after that but it was a tale of near mises
as the forwards were blunt with their attempts, and the score was still 0-0
after 20 minutes.
A better organised Malaysia finally broke their penalty corner duck in the
25th minute but messed up the stopping, and let China off the hook again.
The second penalty corner, in the 33rd minute, also went to waste as
Amin Rahim's push to Azlan Misron was poorly trapped.
And it was the same with the third penalty corner, won with three
seconds on the clock, which saw Amin's push hit the knee of Hafifihafiz
Hanafi, instead of his hockey stick, in yet another bungled set-piece,
The second half saw a recharged Malaysian side which went looking for
an early goal and found it off their fourth prenalty corner in the 37th
This time, Amin Rahim took matters into his own hands and a powerful
low flick beat goalkeeper Su Rifeng and his effort received a defeaning
cheer from the gallery.
The goal also brough down a heavy drizzle but the crowd did not budge
from their open-air seats, as they continued chering on the national
The heavy pitch slowed down the match to a trickle, as Malaysia looked
like they were reeling from their punishing 5-2 win against India the
previous day.
And the unthinkable happened in the 56th minute when Liu Yixian
flicked in the equaliser off a penalty corner attempt.
However, it failed to douse the Malaysian fire, and with eight minutes
remaining, Madzli Ikmar's hit from the half-line found Azlan Misron who
scored with a reverse stick attempt, and gave them a glimmer of hope.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

India still lead

P W D L F A Pts

INDIA 5 3 1 1 14 13 10
MALAYSIA 5 2 2 1 15 7 8
KOREA 4 2 1 1 14 7 7
AUSTRALIA 4 2 1 1 14 10 7
PAKISTAN 4 1 2 1 16 14 5
CHINA 4 1 1 2 11 13 4
EGYPT 4 0 0 4 1 20 0

RESULTS: Australia 5 Pakistan 5, China 5 Egypt 1, India 2 Malaysia 5.
TODAY: Pakistan v Egypt (4.05pm), Australia v South Korea (6.05pm), China v Malaysia (8.05pm).

Malaysia go on five-goal rampage

MALAYSIA played at a fast-foward pace for 70 minutes to hammer India 5-2 in the 19th Azlan Shah Cup infront of a capacity crowd in Ipoh last night.
The win boosted Malaysia's chance of a good finish, as they end their pool fixtures against China today.
Before the match started, Pakistan had already done Malaysia a favour by holding Australia to a 5-5 draw.
Australia were leading 4-1 by the 40th minute, but a determined push drew them level, and the Green Shirts could have even won the match, if not for two attempts that hit the post, and a near miss in the last three seconds of the match.
Australia ended up with seven points, and will play another tough match against South Korea, who also have seven points, today to determine their fortunes in this tournament.
Malaysia started on a confident note, and kept the ball for long periods, and waited paitently before mounting counter-attacks. And in the fourth minute, Tajol Rosli won a penalty corner after a solo run.
However, Razie Rahim's attempt was palmed away with ease by India goalkeeper Bharat Chetri.
Malaysia received an early blow when stout defender Razie went off in the 15th minute for a cut on his face.
And right after he went out for treatment, Malaysia were awarded their second penalty corner but Faizal Saari's attempt was also stopped by Bharat.
Malaysia received another chance to take the lead when Amit Prabhakar deliberately brought down Faizal Saari in the 27th minute.
This time, Amin Rahim was given the chance, and his powerfull knee-high drag-flick grazed the pads of Bharat and went crashing into the board for the much sought-after lead, which held into the breather.
India tried to get back into the match and were awarded their third penalty corner, but goalkeeper S. Kumar brought off a great save, and Malaysia immediately mounted a sizzler of a counter, and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin dribbled two defenders, and from an acute angle slammed in a reverse stick shot which went crashing into the net in the 39th minute.
The crowd went wild, and so did the Malaysian players who broke into the India semi-circle right after the re-start, and this time defender Razie Rahim slammed in the third goal, also off a reverse stick attempt, in the 41st minute.
But India refused to be broken and in the 44th minute, Danish Mujtaba pulled one back off a penalty corner attempt.
The night seemed to belong to Malaysia, who won their fifth penalty corner in the 47th minute, and Amin Rahim scored his brace and Malaysia's fourth goal with ease.
There were only 15 minutes remaining for Malaysia to pull off a great victory, and instead of defending, they went on the attack and in the 60th minute, a one-two between Azlan Misron and Azreen Rizal saw the latter slam in the fifth goal from close range and India were truly beaten.
Ravi Pal scored India's second in the 68th minute, but it was too late to salvage the match.

Pakistan hold world champs in 10-goal thriller


World champions Australia were held to a 5-5 draw at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and it makes their chances to make the final a lot more difficult now.
The Aussies had taken a 4-1 lead at one stage but Pakistan came back fighting despite being down by two goals in the last nine minutes and could have even won it in the dying seconds if not for Mohamad Zubair’s miss.
Australia was all over the Pakistan in the opening minutes but it took them 11 minutes to open their accounts via Timothy Bates.
Though Australia forced two penalty corners in the 14th and 15th minutes, Christopher Cierello failed to get the better of Pakistani custodian Imran Shah.
But some fine work by Timothy Bates opened up the Pakistani defence and the ball was relayed to Grant Schubert who put Australia 2-0 ahead in the 17th minute.
Pakistan reduced the deficit in the 21st minute when Muhamad Rizwan weaved past the Aussie keeper George Bazeley to score from an acute angle. However Australia regained their two-goal advantage when Christopher Ciriello scored off their third penalty corner in the 26th minute.
Muhamad Irfan almost reduced the deficit in the dying seconds of the match but was denied by the upright with Bazeley beaten.
Ciriello scored his second of the day in the 40th minute and Pakistan were a beaten side. Luck too was not on the Pakistani teams side as in the 45th minute Muhamad Rizwan’s attempt came off the upright.
Against the run of play, Pakistan reduced the deficit to 4-2 when Irfan and Rizwan combined well to pierce open the Australian defence in the middle with Irfan having the final touch to score in the 53rd minute.
Pakistan was awarded their first penalty corner of the match in the 58th minute and up stepped skipper Muhammad Imran to send a low flick past Bazeley to reduce the deficit to just one goal.
Then Grant Schubert struck for Australia to make it 5-3in the 61st minute but Muhamad Umar Bhutta made it 5-4 in the 64th minute. Imran scored off another penalty corner a minute from time to ensure a grandstand finish and Zubair could have won all three points in the dying seconds but it was not to be.