Thursday, January 7, 2010

Tenaga target second spot

TENAGA Nasional aim to complete their remaining Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division fixtures without dropping a point, while at the same time keep their fingers crossed that Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club fumble.
KLHC top the standings with 15 points after five matches, while second placed Maybank are five points adrift, and Tenaga a further six points behind.
And it looks like KLHC have all but sealed the League title, but Tenaga are looking for the second spot, if not the title itself.
“It is still a possible dream, provided we win all out matches, and KLHC’s winning streak is snapped by Maybank, and then Sapura,” said Tenaga coach Manjit Singh.
Tenaga and KLHC square off again in the last match of the League on Jan 23 in Malacca.
Manjit laments the missed sitters which saw them lose six crucial points.
“My players have been giving their best but we are in this situation (third) because of poor shooting in the semi-circle. Somehow, we missed many sitters in crucial matches which could have made a big difference.
“On our part, we will strive to win all the remaining matches and even if KLHC do not drop points, we can still finish second in the League,” said Manjit.
KLHC, virtually the Malaysian national side, will square off against Nur Insafi today at the Tun Razak Stadium, and are touted to win with ease.
The leaders then play Maybank the next day, and if there is going to be a hiccup, it will be against the Tigers.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) coaching committee chairman Dr Balbir Singh confirmed yesterday that the hunt for a foreign coach is still on.
“We will have a meeting on Jan 17 in Kuala Lumpur to discuss about the foreign coach, and will give you more details after that.
“At the moment, we are still looking at Roelant Oltmans (Dutch coach). Tai Beng Hai still remains as an interim coach for the next six months, as he has been given a letter by the MHF to continue scouting for plays,” said Dr Balbir.
Roeland was initially expected to watch the MHL matches and identify his players: “That was the initial plan, but we have no confirmation yet that he wants to watch the re maining MHL matches.
“I will submit a plan of action to the coaching committee and if my members agree to it, it will be made public. All I can say is that, to date, the MHF management had a discussion with only one foreign coach.”
TODAY: KL Hockey Club v Nur Insafi (4.30pm), UniKL v Tenaga Nasional (6.30pm), Sapura v Maybank (8.30pm).
TOMORROW: KL Hockey Club v Maybank (4.30pm), Nur Insafi v Tenaga Nasional (6.30pm), UniKL v Sapura (8.30pm).
Note: All matches at the Tun Razak Stadium.


P W D L F A Pts
KLHC 5 5 0 0 18 3 15
MAYBANK 5 3 1 1 11 6 10
TENAGA 5 3 0 2 11 6 9
SAPURA 5 2 1 2 12 8 7
NUR INSAFI 5 0 1 4 7 18 1
UNIKL 5 0 1 4 2 16 1

India struggle on and off pitch

Comment by Jugjet Singh

INDIA last won the hockey World Cup in Malaysia, and the magical year was 1975, when Malaysia also had a super outing and finished fourth.
But both the countries have been struggling to find their footing in the World Cup, with India qualifying as the host nation, while Malaysia failed in their attempt in Invercargill, New Zealand.
India will host 11 countries from Feb 28-March 13, and as added spice, the hosts have chosen to battle arch-rivals Pakistan in the first day itself.
India, Pakistan, Australia, England, South Africa and Spain are in Group B. In Group A are Argentina, Canada, Germany, South Koreaa, Netherlands and New Zealand.
A win in the explosive India-Pakistan battle is more for moral than anything else, as both the Asian sides will find it difficult to reach the semi-finals stage, as Australia are the hot favourites for one berth from Group B, while England and Spain will be the teams to beat for the other spot.
That is, if the hosts can get their house and their players in order in two months time.
The India players, training at a camp in Balewadi, have reportedly said that they will hang their sticks from Jan 8, if Hockey India does not give them the cash they were promised after winning a bronze at the Champions Challenge tournament in Argentina last month.
Wait, that is the least of the teething problems faced by India in the run up to hockey's biggest sporting event.
Security fears have been voiced by many countries since India were named as hosts, and with Pakistan and India playing the opening match, security will have to be ultra-tight to convince other nations to play there.
New Zealand, who beat Malaysia 2-1 to qualify for the World Cup, will assess the situatiuon before making a commitment, and then, they will use the World Cup as a guinea pig to decide if they will field a team for the October Commonwealth Games, also to be held in New Delhi.
NZ Olympic Council president Mike Stanley confirmed New Zealand would also be watching the World Cup closely and have asked Black Sticks officials to provide a comprehensive post-tournament report.
"That will be fed into our decision-making process, in regards to how we manage our athletes at the Games," Stanley told Sunday News.
"If any issues come out of it they¡ll go back into the process and we¡ll respond accordingly.
"The message from us is that security is very important. Our position is that we¡re planning to be at the Games but we¡re constantly monitoring the situation through various agencies and if more information comes to light, we¡ll reassess."
England are the other team that has voiced its concern over security.
And the security concern will only be a concern, if Hockey India can get their elections off the ground on Jan 29.
Indian Olympic Association (IOA) are the ad-hoc masters right now, and the among the conditions set by the International Hockey Federation to enable India to host the tournament is to have fair elections.
However, voting rights is now a big issue, with many states claiming IOA have left them out in the cold from the votiong process.
Punjab, where the majority of the 1975 winning players came from, are saying that they have been left out of the voting process and will fight tooth-and-nail to have the ballot papers in theit hands.
Looks like the tournament has already started for India, and the score is 3-0 against them hosting at the half-time stage.

Punjab replies

NEW DELHI: Hockey Punjab on Wednesday replied to the letter sent by Hockey India relating to its formation. In response to Hockey Punjab seeking affiliation, Hockey India had raised certain queries regarding the election process followed by the former. Hockey India had demanded the names of the persons who had attended the Hockey Punjab elections.
According to Hockey Punjab secretary general Pargat Singh, all demands have been met and a reply was sent promptly. “We have done our job. We have submitted the list of persons who had participated in the elections. As far as we are concerned, the entire process was democratic.”
Pargat insisted that there was no effort on the part of Hockey Punjab to adopt shady means. “We have always believed in promoting hockey and there is no way we would adopt unfair methods. We have not denied anyone his right.”
Apart from Hockey Punjab, some other prominent states awaiting clearance for affiliation are Mumbai, Jharkhand, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi.
On Sunday, Hockey Punjab had alleged that it was being denied affiliation on flimsy ground and had called the entire issue a “scam.” Hockey India had responded the next day asking for details of the election process. “There are complaints from different quarters raising doubts about the authentication of the formation of Hockey Punjab,” Hockey India had informed to Hockey Punjab.
Hockey Punjab had indicated that it would be forced to take legal help if it was not granted affiliation before the Hockey India elections scheduled to be held on January 29. The government-appointed election observer S. K. Mendiratta has also asked both the factions to solve the issue within two days. “We have sent our reply. It is now for Hockey India to take a decision” said Pargat.

The Hindu

Hockey India ask for Punjab proof

New Delhi: Hockey India (HI) has certain objections to the election procedure adopted by Hockey Punjab (HP), and that is the main reason for not granting affiliation to the state unit straightaway.
HI president Ashok Mattoo has written to former India captain Pargat Singh, who is the secretary-general of the Punjab unit, clarifying the position of the national body.
“There is an affiliation committee to look after the affiliation of the state units after the members are fully convinced about their unification. HP is not the only case. Many states are yet to be granted affiliation due to certain queries raised by the committee,” Mattoo wrote in his letter to Pargat.
HI chief’s reply came after the HP officials, headed by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, claimed that they were not being granted affiliation despite fulfilling all norms, terming it a ‘politically motivated scam’.
“When you met Mr Narinder Batra (treasurer), he apprised you about the complaints which have been received from different quarters who (sic) have raised doubts about the authentication of the formation of Hockey Punjab,” Mattoo clarified in his letter.
“You are required to submit the minutes of meeting of election in which Hockey Punjab was formed along with the list of persons who attended the meeting for us to consider your request for affiliation,” he added. HI elections are scheduled for January 29.


Revolt is brewing in hockey camp

New Delhi: Indian hockey players have threatened to pull out of the ongoing national camp in Pune if they are not paid their match fees for the recently-concluded Champions Challenge I tournament in Argentina.
The senior players are unhappy with the delay in payment and have written to Hockey India president A.K. Mattoo demanding that their dues be cleared within seven days.
The letter says nothing about pulling out but sources say that the players have actually decided to withdraw from the camp if they do not receive their money in a week’s time.
When contacted, Mattoo confirmed he had received a letter from the players.
“I have received a letter from the players. We are looking at the possibilities for making the payments early,” Mattoo said.
The players said that while on previous occasions they have been paid in advance, this time the remuneration has not come even after the conclusion of the tournament.
“We would like to be paid for the Champions Challenge in Argentina. For the last three years, we were paid Rs 25,000 each for every tournament before we left India. We would like our payments for this time (the Argentina meet) and, as for future tournaments, please make arrangements to pay well in advance,” the players have demanded in the letter.
India won bronze in the tournament, held in Salta, Argentina last month. They lost to archrivals Pakistan in the semi-finals and beat Argentina in the third place playoff, overcoming a two-goal deficit to eke out a 3-2 win.
This is the second time in recent history that Indian hockey finds itself in troubled waters due to players’ grievances and not only that, the last crisis to rock the sport, too, came out of the camp in Pune.
In November last year, the players had written to Mattoo accusing chief coach Jose Brasa of acting in a high-handed manner.
Sandeep Singh had been dropped as captain by Brasa for the seven-match series against Canada and, led by the drag-flicker, most of the players who couldn’t find a place in the team for the Champions Challenge tournament turned against the Spanish coach.
Brasa had named Rajpal Singh captain and told reporters that Sandeep would not be part of the Indian squad for the December 6-13 tournament due to a back strain.
That crisis had seen Mattoo rushing to Pune to douse the flames and in an apparent snub to the head coach the president denied Rajpal’s appointment as captain for the Champions Challenge.
However, it ended with Brasa having his way and Rajpal confirmed as captain for the meet in Argentina. Sandeep, it was announced, would take three week’s rest for his back injury.

Telegraph, India

FIH calls off Four-Nation in India

New Delhi - Confusion reigns supreme as to what led to the cancellation of the four-nation tournament in the capital but it now appears that the International Hockey Federation denied a go-ahead for the event because it had apprehensions about the preparedness of the National Stadium.
In his e-mail to Hockey India officials in which he explained why the world body did not give permission for the event, FIH Umpires Development Manager Richard Wilson said they had concerns about the venue.

"At the moment we are reluctant to grant approval, since it is not clear to us whether there will be a pitch ready to play the tournament on and whether the other associated facilities (such as pitch watering, goals/nets, changing rooms and other infrastructure) will be in place in time," Wilson said. At the same time, FIH was also apprehensive of the availability of top teams for the event.
"We also have concerns as to whether the teams you indicate that you will invite to play will be available at this late stage in their preparations for the World Cup," Wilson said.
Hockey India president AK Mattoo yesterday did not give any reasons for the cancellation of the tourney which was expected to be a Test event before the hockey World Cup and merely said that they were trying to pencil in a bilateral Test series against France.

Players demand dues, threaten to leave camp
The Indian hockey players have threatened to pull out of the ongoing national training camp in Pune if they are not paid their match fee for the recently concluded Champions Challenge I tournament in Argentina.

The Tribune