Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Van Huizen is acting chief coach

By Ajitpal Singh

STEPHEN Van Huizen (pic, right) has been appointed the new acting chief coach of the national hockey team.
Van Huizen, a former national player, will start his duties after securing his release from his employers, CIMB.
He takes over from Tai Beng Hai, who will now assist him until the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) hires a foreign coach who is expected to arrive in May.
MHF deputy president Nur Azmi Ahmad said the federation picked Van Huizen as the acting chief coach based on his experience.
"Van Huizen has been an understudy of German coach Paul Lissek and several other foreign coaches in the past. He was even chief coach once." said Nur Azmi yesterday.
"The gives him the necessary experience for the job but of course Beng Hai will be working closely with him."
Van Huizen (right) was an understudy of German coach Paul Lissek.
Van Huizen left the national squad in 2003 but has been involved in the game with club side Sapura since 2004.
In 2000, Van Huizen took the national team to the Sydney Olympics.
He also had a stint as the under-18 coach in 2003 and was appointed technical manager to the national team in 2006 for a three-month period.
On the issue of securing his release from CIMB, Nur Azmi said the federation has spoken to his employers.
"They (CIMB) have agreed but there are a few details to be worked out. He will definitely start work with the national team," he said.
Van Huizen's first major competition in charge will be the Asian Champions Trophy in Ipoh on April 13-18.
Meanwhile, several regular players have been dropped from the national squad who will start training on Sunday. Among them are Chua Boon Huat, S. Selvaraju, Ismail Abu, Sallehin Abd Ghani and Baljit Singh Sarjab Singh.
Boon Huat, who has earned 306 international caps, had wanted to represent the country once again after he was dropped from the World Cup Qualifier squad last year.
As for Ismail, he was sent home for indiscipline, also last year. Selvaraju, Ismail, Sallehin and Baljit Singh were not short-listed as they are all injured.
Nur Azmi said the door remains open to these players to make a return.

NZ delays India trip after terror threat

New Zealand said on Wednesday its men's hockey team will delay travelling to the Hockey World Cup in India following a reported threat against foreign sports people travelling to the country.
"While Hockey New Zealand still plans for the Black Sticks men's team to attend the Hockey World Cup in Delhi, it has decided to keep the team in Perth until further notice," Hockey New Zealand chief executive Hilary Poole said.
The decision follows a report on the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online news website which said it had received a warning from Al-Qaeda linked militant Ilyas Kashmiri following a deadly bombing in India at the weekend.
The Kashmir-based extremist reportedly warned international competitors against going to this month's Hockey World Cup, next month's Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket, and the Commonwealth Games in Delhi in October.
The report could not be verified.
Poole said the decision had been made to delay the team's departure scheduled for Monday from Perth, where it is due to
play two warm-up Test matches against Australia this week.
"This decision has been made in light of recent threats made against the Hockey World Cup the Black Sticks Men are scheduled to compete in next week," Poole said.
The safety of the players, coaches and team management was paramount, and further assessments would be made before sending the team to Delhi for the World Cup, which starts on February 28.
"We have been monitoring this situation all along. But the events over the past 24 hours have lead us to reassess the situation," Poole said.
The New Zealand Olympic Committee, which is responsible for the New Zealand team going to the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, said it was aware of the reported threat.
"We are seeking government advice on the nature and validity of the threat and will take action as appropriate," an NZOC spokeswoman said.
A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully said the government was closely monitoring the situation.

Hindustan News