Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Defensive frailties are a learning curve ...

THE Project 2013 team let in a massive 23 goals in four matches against the Australian Juniors, and the team management attributed it towards a 'learning curve'.
The juniors are on a playing tour of Australia and New Zealand to prepare for the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca next May, which also serves as a World Cup Qualifier.
Project 2013 lost their first match 9-1, second match 2-1, then drew 5-5 before being whipped again 7-2 in the final friendly.
Yes, the defence did let in a massive number of goals, but we are on a playing tour and should take it as a learning curve.
"The first match turned into a difficult one because we arrived at 2.30am and after training at 9am, we played the match at 3pm and the boys were heavy footed," said team manager K. Gobinathan.
They subsequently played better in the 2-1 defeat and 5-5 draw but collapsed in the last game.
"We are fielding Under-18 players, while the Australian side is made up of Under-23 players so the maturity gap was there.
"We will play another match against a senior league side, which has many national players, and after that the team will travel to New Zealand," said Gobinathan.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Perak sweat for 4-2 win

PERAK were given the run-around before they managed to subdue Project 2017 4-2 in the Central Zone Razak Cup Qualifiers at the Ministry of Education stadium yesterday.
The Project 2017 team, made up of under-16 players, shocked Perak 2-0 into the breather, but could not hold onto the lead as experience gave Perak the unfair advantage in the second half.
The Project side scored off Hanif Azemi in the sixth and Najmi Farizal in the 27th minutes. But in the second half, they missed a handful of sitters and were punished with late goals from Sabri Mohamed (45th), Haziq Samsul (54th), Haniff Saidin (65th) and Faiz Ahmad (66th).
“For the Qualifiers, we are fielding a very young side made up of four 17-year-olds, and seven under-21 players. But still, my players have shown great determination like in the match against defending champions KL where we only lost 2-1,” said Perak coach Manjit Singh.
Perak have also released three players to the Project 2013 team which is on an Australian and New Zealand Tour.
The Project 2013 side played four matches against the Australian Juniors and lost 9-1, 2-1 drew 5-5 and then lost 7-2 yesterday.
RESULTS -- NORTH ZONE: Perlis 1 Armed Forces 3, Penang 5 Kedah 0.
CENTRAL ZONE: Perak 4 Project 2017 2, Kuala Lumpur 6 Selangor 2.



P W D L F A Pts
PENANG 3 2 0 1 9 5 6
FORCES 3 2 0 1 8 4 6
PERLIS 3 2 0 1 8 6 6
KEDAH 3 0 0 3 2 12 0


P W D L F A Pts
K LUMPUR 3 3 0 0 14 7 9
PERAK 3 2 0 1 9 4 6
SELANGOR 3 1 0 2 5 11 3
PROJECT 2017 3 0 0 3 7 13 0


P W D L F A Pts
JOHOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
NEGRI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MALACCA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

P W D L F A Pts
KELANTAN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PAHANG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Azlan Shah Cup Part III

By Zakir Hussain Syed

Malaysia has been like a second home for me ever since I was based there for three years as Cricket Development Manager Asian Cricket Council in 2002 before resigning.
I first went to Malaysia in 1975 as a TV commentator to cover the World Cup Hockey.
I have seen Malaysia grow from a small time state to one of the most important countries in Asia with an economy that is one of the most prosperous in Asia and also at international level.
Despite presence of nearly half a dozen ethnic components, the Malaysian society is so tolerant that no ethnic group feels threatened.
Former Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammad deserves credit for guiding a small nation to not only economic prosperity but making it the tourist hub of the world with tourists from Middle East and Australia thronging Kuala Lumpur.
However, this economic prosperity has brought an increase in crime rate and lawlessness.
Even FairPark Hotel in Ipoh, which had been selected by the organisers as Media Hotel was not safe. This hotel is very convenient because of its close proximity to Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Stadium.
Somebody broke into the room of Sandeep Nakai; our colleague from India and chairman AIPS Hockey Commission, and stole his laptop and camera.
The tragic aspect of this theft was the extremely valuable data in his laptop including the thesis on which he was working. The young manager of this hotel behaved more like a police officer than a hospitality manager.
I was myself nearly run over by a motorcyclist on a footpath. Extreme traffic congestion notwithstanding, quite a few roadside eating houses placed their tables on the footpaths especially in the evenings which makes it difficult for pedestrians and with the remnants of food thrown all around, the filth at many places especially in central Kuala Lampur and bazaars near World Trade Center are spoiling the surroundings.
Purse snatching is on the rise. However, despite these small irritations, the friendliness of the people is heart warming and one finds most Malaysians helpful and pleasant to talk to. Mountbatten Hotel near the central railway station in Kuala Lampur is a reminder of the colonial heritage of Malaysia.
Ipoh reminds one of Model Town Lahore in the early 1960s with large spacious houses and green areas. Model Town Lahore was one of the few settlements in Lahore which had well preserved hockey, cricket and football grounds along with badminton and tennis courts in Model Town Club.
It now has a beautiful park. Similarly Ipoh has retained its rustic beauty with large open spaces, green areas and playgrounds specially hockey and football grounds which are crowded in the evenings.
My four journalist colleagues from India included a woman who is one of the few female hockey journalists in the world, the other one who is a real professional is of course the charming Susan Edgehill from England.
The Indian girl Uthra Ganesan looks like a stern schoolteacher most of the times until she smiles and then she is different altogether. We used to have a female hockey journalist by the name of Farhana Ayaz who was doing quite well until her migration to America. I wish Pakistan had more female sports journalists.
This time Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament was one of the most fiercely contested with fairly high standard being exhibited throughout the tournament.
This is how international events should be. For Pakistan, the performance of their hockey team was encouraging but as I said at the start, they have a long and difficult climb back to the top.


(Zakir Hussain Syed is Pakistan’s internationally renowned sports administrator, sports broadcaster and sports analyst)

The Daily Times

Azlan Shah Cup Part II

By Zakir Hussain Syed

On the basis of Australia’s performance in the pool matches, especially against Pakistan, everybody rightly took Australia’s title victory for granted.
However,it was a totally different Pakistan on the day of the final. They mounted attacks from the word go and twice stormed into the Australian striking circle in the first ten minutes missing easy scoring chances.
Their defensive strategy was solid and for the first time in the tournament, one saw Australian coach Rick Charlesworth looking worried and pacing up and down near the team bench. In the pool match, Pakistan had looked very vulnerable against speedy Australian forwards but in the final Pakistan’s defence was very well organised giving few openings to the Australians.
They were held in check until the 43rd minute when Christopher Ciriello scored through a penalty corner. Shortly afterwards, Sohail Abbas equalised for Pakistan by converting a penalty corner in the 51st minute.
Australia’s second goal came through Glenn Turner in the 44th minute. Rehan Butt scored the second goal bringing the large Pakistan supporters to their feet. With the match two all during normal time extra time was taken to decide the champions.
Pakistan missed an easy chance in the first half of this extra time. In the second half of extra time Australia scored the match-winning goal through Ciriello who scored off a penalty corner.
There were two extremely refreshing aspects of Pakistan’s performance in the final.
They proved to be as physically fit and speedy as the Australians and fought until the very last minute with the same energy as the Australians.
The second key element was Pakistan’s different match plan which was totally different from their pool game against the Australians. I noted this element during the final of the Asian Games in Guangzhao last year and it was very obvious in the final in Ipoh as well.
This one element can make a difference between defeat and victory as all top teams of the world have different strategies for different teams depending on their strength and weaknesses. Such decisions are made on the spot and obviously Dutch coach Michel Van Heuval and Khawaja Muhammad Junaid had done their home work for which due credit must be given to them.
Another important factor was the performance of youngsters like Syed Kashaf, Tauseeq Ahmad and Imran Junior. They justified their inclusion with their performance.
However, the most worrying aspect of Pakistan’s performance was the missing by the Pakistan forwards and one could count at least half a dozen missed chances which should have been converted.
Such a high percentage of missing can prove disastrous in any tournament. Kh Junaid with whom I raised this issue agreed but is confident of sorting out this deficiency during the European tour.
I also had a long discussion with Charlesworth whom I have known since his days as Australia’s captain. He is always honest and frank in discussing issues.
He is the best hockey coach in the world on the basis of his achievements, having first taken the Australian women team to world titles and now having achieved the same for the Australian men’s team.
He told me that he had a hard core base of 52 players from which to pick the Australian team while we barely have a base of just thirty players. We also need to have a second penalty corner option.
Sohail Abbas may till be scoring but his missing percentage is now progressively increasing. Without a second specialist option, Pakistan are without the element of surprise which all teams invariably have. India’s new specialist Rupinder Pal Singh was as deadly as Sandeep Singh. It just shows how every team works on these key areas.
The standard of umpiring in the 20th Azlan Shah Tournament was unbelievably poor and all those in the press box agreed on this together with team coaches some of whom were very vocal.
But more of it later. For Pakistan, Azlan Shah Tournament was a good step forward. As I wrote earlier, the climb back in the elite league of top teams is not going to be easy. However, Pakistan’s progress has so far been encouraging.
For me the most memorable moment of this tournament was a truly spectacular run by Shakeel Abbasi who, after having collected the ball near Pakistan’s striking circle weaved past the entire opposition denfence in the style of great Shahbaz Junior.
It was no wonder that he won the best player of the tournament award which he so richly deserved. He was the only Pakistan player in the Sultan Azlan Shah Tournament eleven which was announced after the tournament.

to be continued

(Zakir Hussain Syed is Pakistan’s internationally renowned sports administrator, sports broadcaster and sports analyst)

The Daily Times

Azlan Shah Cup Part 1

By Zakir Hussain Syed

I was Ipoh once again for the 20th edition of Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey Tournament, the only regularly organised international hockey event in Asia.
After the 19th Azlan Shah Tournament, I had written that this event was losing its appeal because of the participation of second grade teams like Egypt, and also even the stronger teams that did compete used this event as an experimental platform.
Fortunately, the 20th edition was different as it was participated by seven of the top teams in the world ranking. Australia are ranked No.1, Great Britain No.4, Korea No.6, New Zealand No.7, Pakistan No.8, India No.9 and hosts Malaysia No.15.
More importantly, every participating team, except Malaysia, took it as a first step towards London Olympics in 2012.
This was Pakistan’s first international commitment after a gap of nearly 6 months since the Asian Games in November 2010. Pakistan team had also included 4 young players in the national team to blood them for future. I will give a brief review of Pakistan’s matches in this tournament before analysing the overall performance of the team.
Pakistan’s first match was against New Zealand at 4:00 pm which happened to be the hottest period of the day.
Pakistan won this match comfortably by a margin of 4-2. Pakistan were never really tested in this match with Pakistan goals coming in through Rizwan Senior, Haseem Khan, Syed Kashif Shah and Umar Bhutta.
Pakistan’s second game was against highly rated South Korea. This match again was played at 4:00 pm. Until half time it was 1-1 but then Pakistan played very well in the second half scoring 3 goals in the last 12 minutes, a proof of Pakistan’s domination and superiority.
Next game against Great Britain was lost by a margin of one goal with final result being 3-2 in favor of Great Britain. However, Pakistan should have won this game by a margin of at least 3 goals as they completely outclassed Great Britain in the second half.
There was unbelievable missing by all the Pakistan forwards including experienced Rehan Butt. Pakistan played their fourth match against Australia once again at 4:00 pm. This was Pakistan’s worst performance in the tournament as Australia completely dominated this match with a stunning 5-1 victory.
For the first 15 minutes of the match, Pakistan remained confined to their own half and hardly made an attacking move. The Australian forwards were too speedy for Pakistan defense and literally weaved circles around them.

Then came the crunch game against India and once again Pakistan played superbly coming from behind to beat India 3-1.
This match showed Pakistan’s potential as a team and the victory was well merited. Pakistan’s last match against Malaysia was perhaps the easiest of the entire tournament and Pakistan’s victory in this match was never in doubt which though the final victory was only by a single goal.
Pakistan thus qualified on merit for the final of the tournament which they had won thrice in 1999, 2000 and 2003 while India and South Korea, last year’s finalists were left fighting for 5th and 6th place. It just showed how international standings can change so quickly.

To be continued...

(Zakir Hussain Syed is Pakistan’s internationally renowned sports administrator, sports broadcaster and sports analyst)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

KL survive early Project 2017 scare

KUALA Lumpur survived an early scare to beat Project 2017 6-4 in the Central Zone Razak Cup qualifiers at the Ministry of Education stadium yesterday.
The Project side, an under-16 outfit, were level at 2-2 by the 26th minute, but a second half blitz saw them crumbling like a house of cards.
The KL goals were scored by national penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim (third, 43rd, 54th), Kelvinder Singh (18th), Faizal Kamaruddin (36th, 38th).
The Project boys scored off Najmi Farizal (24th), Hafif Elkan (26th, 50th) and Firdaus Omar (66th).
“We could have done better but the team lacks high level matches and missed sitters up-front. However, the match against KL is what I was looking for as I wanted to see how they face pressure when playing against national and also established players,” said Project 2017 coach Lim Chiow Chuan.
The Project team will head for Germany in the middle of the month to play in a tournament: “I have many talented players in the squad, and it would be interesting to see how they face in an international tournament in Germany,” said Chiow Chuan.
The Project side play Perak, and they are not expected to cause an upset.
RESULTS -- NORTH ZONE: Penang 3 Armed Forces 2, Perlis 4 Kedah 2.
CENTRAL ZONE: Kuala Lumpur 6 Project 2017 4, Selangor 0 Perak 4.
FIXTURES -- NORTH ZONE (all matches at the USM Stadium) Today: Perlis v Armed Forces (5pm), Penang v Kedah (7pm).
CENTRAL ZONE (All matches at the Ministry of Education Pitch) -- Today: Perak v Project 2017 (6.30pm), Kuala Lumpur v Selangor (8.30pm).



P W D L F A Pts
PERLIS 2 2 0 0 7 3 6
FORCES 2 1 0 1 5 3 3
PENANG 2 1 0 1 4 5 3
KEDAH 2 0 0 2 2 7 0


P W D L F A Pts
K LUMPUR 2 2 0 0 8 5 6
PERAK 2 1 0 1 1 6 3
SELANGOR 2 1 0 1 3 7 3
PROJECT 2017 2 0 0 2 5 9 0


P W D L F A Pts
JOHOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
NEGRI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MALACCA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

P W D L F A Pts
KELANTAN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PAHANG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Friday, May 27, 2011

KL edge Perak 2-1

RAZAK CUP Division One defending champions Kuala Lumpur struggled to beat Perak 2-1 in the Central Zone Qualifier at the Ministry of Education pitch yesterday.
And in the Northern Zone, Penang were surprisingly beaten by Perlis 3-1. The Qualifiers will be held over two legs, with the top-two teams in each zone playing in the Division One tournament in Malacca on July 20-30.
The other teams will play in Division Two in Malacca.
Yesterday, national player Nabil Fiqri saved the blushes for Kuala Lumpur by scoring a brace in the first and 61st minutes.
The Perak goal was scored by Riduan Nasir in the sixth minute.
However, Kuala Lumpur had released eight players to the Project 2013 squad which is on a Tour of Australia and New Zealand.
The Project boys have played three matches against the Australian Juniors and were hammered 9-1, then lost 2-1 before holding the Australians to a 5-5 draw. Their fourth match is on Sunday.
“Yes, KL missed the young legs which we released to the Project side. That is why we lacked speed, especially in attack,” said KL assistant coach K. Embaraj.
The Razak Cup Qualifiers will also see national players skipping the second round, because they will be involved in a Four-Nation in Moscow from June 20-26 which involves Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine and South Africa.
However, fresh registration is allowed for the Division One and Division Two tournament in Malacca, and the best juniors and seniors will be able to represent their states there.

RESULTS -- NORTH ZONE: Penang 1 Perlis 3, Armed Forces 3 Kedah 0.
CENTRAL ZONE: Perak 1 Kuala Lumpur 2, Selangor 3 Project 2017 1.
FIXTURES -- NORTH ZONE (all matches at the USM Stadium) Today: Penang v Armed Forces (5pm), Perlis v Kedah (7pm).
Tomorrow: Perlis v Armed Forces (5pm), Penang v Kedah (7pm).
CENTRAL ZONE (All matches at the Ministry of Education Pitch) -- Today: Kuala Lumpur v Project 2017 (6.30pm), Selangor v Perak (8.30pm).
Tomorrow: Perak v Project 2017 (6.30pm), Kuala Lumpur v Selangor (8.30pm).



P W D L F A Pts
FORCES 1 1 0 0 3 0 3
PERLIS 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
PENANG 1 0 0 1 1 3 0
KEDAH 1 0 0 1 0 3 0


P W D L F A Pts
SELANGOR 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
K LUMPUR 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
PERAK 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
PROJECT 2017 1 0 0 1 1 3 0


P W D L F A Pts
JOHOR 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
NEGRI 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
MALACCA 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

P W D L F A Pts
KELANTAN 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
PAHANG 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Negri's hopes on youth

NATIONAL defender Madzli Ikmar, who fractured his cheekbone during the recent Azlan Shah Cup, is looking good to represent Negri Sembilan in the Razak Cup South Zone Qualifier on June 3-5.
Malacca and Johor are their opponents, and only two teams from this group will play in Division One, while the third will be relegated to Division Two.
"We have a tough group as all three are Division One sides and last year we lost 2-1 to Johor and drew 0-0 with Malacca.
"However, this year, we will be parading many Under-21 players and hopefully their young legs will keep us in Division One," said Negri coach S. Chandran.
"Our national players are goalkeeper S. Kumar, Marhan Jalil and Madzli Ikmar.
"And the former players are S. Kuhan and Suhaimi Ibrahim.
"The rest will be junior players as we plan for the future and stop relying on old hands like in previous years," said Chandran.
Madzli, who was injured in the face against Australia in the Azlan Shah Cup, has started training with Negri.
"He said he wants to help Negri in the Qualifier as there is still time for him to fully recover from the injury," said Chandran.
Meanwhile, the Negri Under-21 trials will be held tomorrow at the Seremban II Stadium from 7pm.
For details, contact Tamil Selvan at 019-3650303.

New shine for Razak Cup

By K. Kandiah

THE Razak Cup North and Central Zone Qualifiers will kick off this weekend with the top two teams from each zone qualifying for Division One action, while the others will play in Division Two in Malacca on July 20-30.
Penang HA secretary V. Jayanandhan said the Razak Cup will take a different format this year where the competition's first round will be played on a zonal basis.
"The Razak Cup tournament is the premier hockey competition in the country, but sadly it is slowly losing importance and popularity.
"So the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has come up with this format to make the competition relevant and also popular among hockey enthusiasts, state associations and players.
"The competition is divided into five zones and will be held on a two-leg format, after which the top two from each zone will play in Division One while the other teams will play in Division Two at the national level tournament in Malacca in July," he said.
Jayanandhan said MHF will pay a subsidy of RM1,000 per game for every game played at the zone level and also an additional incentive of RM5,000 and RM3,000 for teams who qualify for Division One and Division Two respectively.
This is the first time MHF is making a two-tier payment to teams competing in the Razak Cup.
The north zone comprises Penang, Kedah, Perlis and Armed Forces while the central zone will have Perak, Kuala Lumpur, Selangor and the National Under-16 team.
The south zone is made up of Negri Sembilan, Malacca, Johor and Singapore while the east zone has Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Police.
The East Malaysia zone has Sabah, Sarawak and Brunei.
Armed Forces and hosts Penang are expected to top the table in the north zone tournament.
The hosts will open their campaign against Perlis while Armed Forces will play their opening match against Kedah at the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hockey Stadium in Penang.
The return leg will be held at the Sultan Abdul Halim Shah Hockey Stadium in Sungai Petani on June 24-26.
FIXTURES -- NORTH ZONE (all matches at the USM Stadium) Today: Penang v Perlis (5pm), Armed Forces v Kedah (7pm).
Tomorrow: Penang v Armed Forces (5pm), Perlis v Kedah (7pm).
Sunday: Perlis v Armed Forces (5pm), Penang v Kedah (7pm).
CENTRAL ZONE (All matches at the Ministry of Education Pitch) -- Today: Perak v Kuala Lumpur (6.30pm), Selangor v Project 2017 (8.30pm).
Tomorrow: Kuala Lumpur v Project 2017 (6.30pm), Selangor v Perak (8.30pm).
Sunday: Perak v Project 2017 (6.30pm), Kuala Lumpur v Selangor (8.30pm).

Project 2013 hold Australia Juniors

It started with a 9-1 drubbing, then a 2-1 defeat, but the third friendly between Project 2013 from Malaysia and Australian Juniors ended in a 5-5 draw.
The fourth and final friendly in Perth will he held on Sunday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

9-1 hammering, then 2-1 defeat Down Under

The Malaysian Project 2013 squad were hammered 9-1 by Australian Under-21 side in their first match in Perth.
However, in the return match, Malaysia narrowed the defeat margin to 1-2.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

National Press Club hockey

NPC Six-a-side media Hockey championships CALLING FOR ENTRIES send to Jugjet@hotmail.com

Date: June 25

Time: Start time 8.30am. (Final slated for 4.00pm)

Venue: KL Hockey Stadium, Jalan Pantai.

Eligibility: All media organisations.

Teams: Two/three teams per media organisation

Players: Nine players per team (Six plus three)

Endorsement: Media organisation to ratify names of players concerned. (No outsiders allowed)

Monday, May 23, 2011

BPSS exert revenge in Overall chase

BANDAR Penawar Sports School-TNB won the Junior Hockey League Overall title when they beat UniKL 3-2 in penalty strokes at the Tun Razak Stadium yesterday.
The match ended 2-2, and even extra-time sudden death could not separate the teams, who went to penalty strokes to decide the outcome.
Shahril Saabah scored from the fifth flick to give BPSS the title and revenge over their league defeat.
The final started 75 minutes after its scheduled start due to heavy rain, but the cold and slippery conditions failed to dampen the spirits of players from both teams who played attacking hockey.
And it was UniKL who managed to settle down faster as they attacked BPSS-TNB from the middle and almost had reason to celebrate in the third minute itself, when Taufik Hamid deflected the ball into goal.
Although umpire Mohamed Suhaironizam signaled for goal, he changed his mind after consulting fellow umpire Nor Azhar.
UniKL was awarded their first penalty corner in the ninth minute and instead of a direct attempt by Zulhairi Hashim, the ball was relayed to Azri Hassan who made no mistake with his attempt to put UniKL 1-0 ahead.
BPSS-TNB hit back right away and were awarded a penalty corner in the 10th minute but UniKL keeper Shahrul Azaddin Auskarzie did well to save the attempt.
Howver, Fitri Saari put BPSS-TNB on level terms in the 21st minute as he dribbled several defenders on the right and sent in a reverse stick shot from the edge of the semi circle that caught Shahrul off guard in the UniKL goal.
But UniKL was undeterred with the setback as Zulhairi scored off their second penalty corner in the 28th minute to put his team 2-1, into the breather. It was his 18th goal of the tournament.
However, just as the match restarted, Shahrushdan Basri nets the equaliser for BPSS, and the goal was enough to take the match into extra-time sudden-death.
In the bronze playoff, Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors beat Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors 4-1.
It was the perfect execution from penalty corners that gave BJSS JUniors the third spot and RM7,000 while BPSS Juniors received RM5,000.
The BJSS Juniors goals were scored by Zizi Azwan Hassan (10th), Norshafiq Sumantri (42nd), Zulhaziq Hashim (55th) and Hafifi Elkan (61st).
M. Saravanan scored the BPSS Juniors consolation in the 15th minute.
RESULTS -- Final: Bandar Penawar Sports School 2 UniKL 2 (BPSS win 3-2 on penalty strokes); Third-Fourth: Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors 4 Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors 1.

Saved from being a side-show..

THE RAZAK Cup hocky tournament was saved from being just another side-show, when the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) agreed to release national players to play for their respective states in the Qualifying zones, which will begin on May 27.
MHF deputy president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad said chief coach Tai Beng Hai has agreed to allow 25 national players to play in the qualifying zones of the Razak Cup.
“However, the national players will be only released on weekends to play for their respective states in the qualifying zones. But on week days they will train with the national team,” said Nur Azmi.
The national team, who finished last in the seven-nation Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, will start their second phase of training for the Olympic Qualifiers today.
Their next assignment is a Four-nation in Moscow on June 20-26 which involves Malaysia, Russia, Ukraine and South Africa.
For the Razak Cup, the East zone will only have Kelantan and Pahang in the qualifying rounds as Terengganu and Police withdrew.
“Even though there are only two teams in East zone but both Kelantan and Pahang will still feature in the qualifying round,” said Nur Azmi.
This year’s tournament enters a new era with introduction of five new qualifying zones where 17 teams will play in a qualifier which ends on July 3.
The top two teams from five zones will qualify for Division One while the bottom two will play in Division Two.
The final round of the tournament will be held at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium in Malacca on July 20-30.
The teams in Northern zone are Perlis, Kedah, Penang and Armed Forces while Division One defending champions Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Selangor and National Under-16 team will feature in the Central zone.
Negri Sembilan, Malacca and Johor will compete in Southern zone while Sabah, Sarawak, Labuan and Brunei will lay in the West zone.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Over in 70 minutes...

TWENTY-SIX Project 2013 players will be involved in the Junior Hockey League (JHL) Overall title final at the Tun Razak Stadium in Kuala Lumpur today.
And who better to know their strengths and weaknesses, than Project 2013 coach K. Dharmaraj.
Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) have 11 while UniKL have 15 Project players in the JHL final today.
UniKL sealed the League title narrowly on a four-goal margin over BPSS after both sides ended tied on 25 points, and their earlier clash ended in a 1-1 draw.
“If one looks back to the Myanmar Asia Cup Under-18 tournament (where Malaysia ended second behind Pakistan in 2009), UniKL only have two while BPSS have eight players from the silver medal winning side.
“However, out of the 15 Project players in UniKL, none of them were first choice material in the Under-18 tournament, while out of the 11 in BPSS, eight were core players in Myanmar,” reminded Dharmaraj.
But the 15 in UniKL have shown great determination, and marked improvement in the JHL.
“The strong point for UniKL is that all their players are of the same standard, and that makes their bench strong for substitution without breaking the match rhythm.
“As for BPSS, their eight Project players are of higher standard than the rest, and this could pose a problem when the coach decides to rest some of them. The bench is BPSS’ biggest weakness,” said Dharmaraj.
The coach, who will select the best to play in the World Cup Qualifier to be held in Malacca next May, predicts that penalty corners could well seal the match inside of 70 minutes.
“UniKL defender Zulhairi Hashim has really bloomed in the JHL and is the leading scorer with 17 penalty corner goals in 10 matches. He is a hitter, not a flicker when training with the Project side.
“On the other side, BPSS’ Shahril Saabah (14 goals) and Firhan Ashaari (10 goals, and played in the Azlan Shah Cup) could well turn the tide for the sports school.
“I predict a close final, and the winner would be decided in 70 minutes of play,” said Dharmaraj.
As for Zulhairi: “I have scored in all matches except against BPSS-Thunderbolt in the league. The team were banking on me to score then, but I failed to do so.
“The match ended in a 1-1 draw. Fortunately, we had the better goal difference than them to lift the Division One title for the first time.”
Zulhairi, who scored only three goals for UniKL last year, said that he was putting extra effort in training on his execution of the penalty corner drag flicks and hoped to get it right in the final.
“This is my last outing in the junior league and I want it to be a memorable one. I want to score in the final to help UniKL win the double for the first time,” he said.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Too close to call..

BANDAR Penawar Sports School (BPSS) and UniKL will square off in a classic Junior Hockey League (JHL) final, which will be too close to call, at the Tun Razak Stadium tomorrow.
BPSS and UniKL drew 1-1 in the League match, and the university side went on to lift the League title only on a four- goal average.
For the record, UniKL won the Overall title and finished second in the League last year behind BPSS, and this season won the League title and are chasing a double in only their second JHL season.
“We have two strong reasons to wrest the Overall title from UniKL because they dethroned us as League champions, and now we would like to return the favour in the Overall final.
“The second reason is that the final will be the last time we will be playing under the BPSS banner, as next year the school’s name will be changed to Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School,” said BPSS coach Wan Roslan.
As for UniKL, they want to claim a double, and also prove to the hockey fraternity that their players have been groomed for the senior league.
“Of course we will be playing for the double on Saturday as it will be a feather in our cap as we are only two seasons-old in the JHL.
“However, the our bigger aim is to show that fielding players in the JHL has made them matured enough to play and make an impact in the Malaysia Hockey League next season, as that is the bigger picture that we have been planning for,” said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
UniKL have fifteen Project 2013 players, while BPSS have 11 Project players -- making it really difficult for the coaches to plan for a surprise.
“Both the teams are basically made up of Project 2013 players and they know each others strengths and weak nesses.
“That is why I believe the team which comes up with a jolt, a surprise set-piece in the penalty corners, could land the title,” said UniKL coach S. Velappan.
UniKL have yet to be beaten since they started playing in the JHL, and they want to keep the proud record.
“We have some draws, but we never lost a match since making our debut in the JHL. And we would play to keep that record and hopefully achieve the double in style,” said Amir.
BPSS have scored a total of 59 goals, with 44 coming from field, 13 from penalty corners and two from penalty strokes. Their top scorer is Shahril Saabah who six field and eight penalty corner goals.
As for UniKL, they also scored a total of 59 goals with 30 coming from field, 27 from penalty corners and two from penalty strokes.
The university side’s top scorer is Zulhairi Hashim who tucke in a massive 17 penalty corners into the net.
SATURDAY -- Third-Fourth: Bandar Penawar Sports School Juniors v Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors (Tun Razak Stadium, 6pm).
Final: Bandar Penawar Sports School v UniKL (Tun Razak Stadium, 8pm).

Achtung! in semis..

DEFENDING champions UniKL and Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS)-Thunderbolts are expected to treat their in-form opponents with respect and caution in the Junior Hockey League semi-finals today.
UniKL, led by 12 players from the Project 2013 squad, face Bukit Jalil Sports School Juniors (BJSS Jnrs) while BPSS Thunderbolts play BPSS Jnrs, both at the Tun Razak Stadium.
UniKL team manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim warned his players not to be complacent.
"Our key players failed to perform in our 9-0 quarter-final victory over MSSP-USM (Friday). The two-week lay-off after the last league game affected our play as our core players were with the Project 2013 squad," said Amir Azhar yesterday.
"We, however, have a good idea of our opponents' strengths and weaknesses, having beaten them 6-0 in the league stage."
Amir Azhar also hopes his side will kill-off their opponents with early goals.
"We must also score early to open up the game. We have to play quick and score goals as soon as possible," he added.
BJSS Jnrs, marshaled by six players from the national Under-16 squad, are out to uphold their school's proud track record in the tournament.
"We will neither hold back nor play cautiously. I want my players to maintain their discipline and focus on a good result," said BJSS Jnrs coach Lokman Yahaya.
He said his players must play without fear against UniKL.
"We need to play in such a way that will limit our opponents from scoring many goals. It will be tough but my players are also in a confident mood," added Lokman.
The other semi-final between BPSS-Thunderbolts and BPSS is also expected to be a fiery affair.
BPSS Jnrs coach Mohd Fakhrulnizam Baharuddin said his team will go all out to scalp the senior team.
"We must not show them too much respect. If we can upset BJSS then doing it again against our senior team is not impossible," he said.
Semi-finals -- Today: UniKl v BJSS Jnrs (4pm), BPSS Jnrs v BPSS-Thunderbolts (6pm) -- matches at Tun Razak Stadium -- AJITPAL SINGH

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Sixth title for Australia, barely...

RESULTS -- Fifth-Sixth: South Korea 2 India 1; Third-Fourth: New Zealand 2 Great Britain 4; Final: Pakistan 2 Australia 3.

WORLD No 1 Australia were made to sweat buckets before edging Pakistan 3-2 in sudden-death play to win their sixth Azlan Shah Cup title in Ipoh last night.
World campions Australia never looked like they had the first half in hand, as Asian Games champions Pakistan ran rings around them with skilful and speedy forward Shakeel Abbasi leading the counter attacks.
However, Australia got the lucky break they were looking for when Christopher Ciriello scored off their second penalty corner in the 11th minute. It was a powerful grounder which caught the entire defense napping.
But instead of dominating, the Australians were forced to defend in numbers as Pakistan kept attacking in waves, only to miss a handful of sitters.
Pakistan could not score off their first penalty corner, and the second they received in the 31st minute also almost went to waste.
Skipper Muhammad Imran failed to trap the ball, but kept possession and made a deft pass to Sohail Abbas on his left and the penalty corner world record holder dragged in a powerful flick for the equaliser.
Australia, playing at half their capabilities, still managed to re-take the lead when Glenn Turner was given an acre of space to run in the 44th minute, and slam the ball in with ease.
But still, Pakistan kept on playing super hockey and in the 62nd minute, Rehan Butt made it 2-2 from close range, after Shakeel made another brilliant run and made a piercing pass to him to take the match into sudden-death extra-time.
Australia made it count in the sudden-death, when Ciriello nailed the winner off a penalty corner attempt in the 81st minute.
In the bronze fight, Olympic hosts Great Britain came back from a goal down to beat New Zealand 4-2.
The Britain goals were scored by Richard Mantell (34th), Robert Moore (51st), Richard Smith (59th), Matthew Daly (65th).
Stephen Jenness scored for the Kiwis in the 20th minute, while Blair Hilton's 69th minute effort was a little too late to salvage the match.
And when last year's joint finalists India and South Korea clashed in the first match if the day, the Koreans were more motivated and won 2-1.
The Korean goals were scored by Nam Hyun Woo (11th), Jang Jong Hyun (21st).
Vikram Pillay socred India's goal in the 41st minute.

Brits land Azlan Shah Cup bronze

In the bronze fight, Olympic hosts Great Britain came back from a goal down to beat New Zealand 4-2.
The Britain goals were scored by Richard Mantell (34th), Robert Moore (51st), Richard Smith (59th), Matthew Daly (65th).
Stephen Jenness scored for the Kiwis in the 20th minute, while Blair Hilton's 69th minute effort was a little too late to salvage the match.
And when last year's joint finalists India and South Korea clashed in the first match if the day, the Koreans were more motivated and won 2-1.
The Korean goals were scored by Nam Hyun Woo (11th), Jang Jong Hyun (21st).
Vikram Pillay socred India's goal in the 41st minute.
RESULTS -- Fifth-Sixth: South Korea 2 India 1; Third-Fourth: New Zealand 2 Great Britain 4; Final: Pakistan x Australia x.

Australia at the top


P W D L F A Pts
AUSTRALIA 6 5 1 0 18 8 16
PAKISTAN 6 4 0 2 17 15 A 12
BRITAIN 6 3 0 3 12 12 9
N ZEALAND 6 2 1 3 16 17 7
INDIA 6 2 1 3 15 17 7
KOREA 6 2 1 3 12 15 7
MALAYSIA 6 1 0 5 11 17 3

RESULTS -- Great Britain 1 South Korea 3, Pakistan 3 Malaysia 2, Australia 4 New Zealand 2.
MAY 15 -- FITFT-SIXTH: South Korea v India (4pm); THIRD-FOURTH: Britain v New Zealand (6pm); FINAL: Australia v Pakistan (8.30pm).

Malaysia doomed before last match

MALAYSIA were doomed to finish last in the Azlan Shah Cup even before they played Pakistan, but still gave the Asian Games gold medallists a huge scare before losing 3-2 in the Azlan Shah Cup yesterday.
It was the second consecutive time Malaysia went down to Pakistan, with the first being a 2-0 defeat in the Asian Games final.
South Korea beat Great Britain 3-1 in the 4pm match, and it made Malaysia's match academic, while Pakistan needed a win to play Australia in the final today.
However, Malaysia are solely to be blamed for the defeat, as Kelvinder Singh and the other forwards missed a handful of sitters, before Pakistan took the lead off a Sohail Abbad penalty corner in the eighth minute.
For the record, Sohail also scored against Malaysia in the Asian Games.
Muhammad Waqas made it 2-0 with a field goal in the 21st minute, before Hafifihafiz Hanafi pulled one back for Malaysia in the dying seconds of the first half.
Shakeel Abbasi doused the comaback fire with a 51st minute goal, and but by the time Radzi Rahim finally scored off a penalty corner in the 58th minute, it was too late to chase for a draw and Malaysia lost another match after playing in patches.
"We had our chances to score, but did not connect. And after Pakistan scored, we had to keep chasing and came close to pulling off a draw," said Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai.
Pakistan coach Khawaja Junaid was pleased with his side, as they had beaten all the Asian teams in the tournament.
"After losing to Great Britain and Australia, I am happy to note that we kept our Asian Games gold medal win on a high pedestral, as we beat the other Asian teams in the tournament," said Khawaja.
Korea, after losing to Malaysia 3-1 the previous day, gave Olympic hosts Great Britain a run for their money when in the 10th minute Jang Sung Hoon guided the ball into goal with ease.
And Great Britain made their second penalty corner in the 20th minute count, as Mathew Daly’s shot was too powerful for Korean keeper LeeMyung Ho, who despite getting a foot to it failed to prevent the equaliser.
However, Jang gave Korea the lead again off a field goal in the 23rd minute, and You Hyo Sik tucked away a rebound to make sure the three points.

Pakistan ready for Australia

PAKISTAN lost 5-1 to Australia in the group stages, but the Asian Games gold medallis and Olympic side are not afraid to square off against the World Champions in the Azlan Shah Cup final today.
Last year's joint gold medallists India and South Korea will play in the fifth-sixth classification match.
Olympic hosts Great Britain and New Zealand will play for the bronze medal.
Yesterday Australia who had already qualified for the final, still went on to beat New Zealand 4-2 in the last pool match.
"We came here with a mixture of youth and experience, and I must say that we have played every match with the best of our capabilities.
"And even though we lost 5-1 to Ausralia, we will try and not make the same mistakes again. We are here to learn and build a team for the Olympics, and Australia will provide us with a solid match towards this purpose," said Pakistan skipper Muhammad Imran.
Australia coach Ric Charlesworth had said earlier that they are not too worried with who they will play in the final.
"Every team here is playing well, and it would not make any difference as to who we play. We came here to play in the final, and have achieved it. Now we will just have to play much better to claim the gold," said Charlesworth.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Malaysia whitewash Austria 7-0!

THE Malaysian women's hockey team whitewashed hosts Austria 7-0 in the Fifth-Eighth Classification match in the Champions Challenge II yesterday.
They will play Russia, who they held to a 2-2 draw in a Group B match, in the Fifth-Sixth Classicfication match today.
In the last Champions Challenge II, Malaysia finished seventh out of eight teams.
Yesterday, the Malaysian goals were scored by Nor Hidayah Ahmad (14th), Nadia Abdul Rahman (23rd), Noor Hasliza Ali (35th, 36th), Juliani Din (46th), Siti Shahidah Saad (69th).
It was Malaysia's first win in five matches.
RESULTS -- Fifth-Eigtht Classification: Russia 3 Canada 2, Malaysia 7 Austria 0.
Today: Fifth-Sixth -- Russia v Malaysia.

Unpredictable to the hilt

THE Malaysian hockey team never ceases to amaze its fans, and their speciality is to produce results when one least expects them to.
The 20th Edition of the Azlan Shah Cup is a classic example of how erratic the team can be.
At the Asian Games, they were never expected to reach the final, but proved everyone wrong. But after fighting like wounded tigers in the previous matches, they bowed out in the final against Pakistan like domesticated cats.
"There has been many ups and downs in this tournament probably because we lost three key defenders to injuries and I had to reshuffle some positions.
"However, I believe the team's true strength was displayed when they played against South Korea. My players are capable of playing even better than this, and that is what we need to bring out of them when we play in the Olympic Qualifiers," said Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai.
There was a show of free flow hockey, with Malaysia displaying that they can score with ease off almost flawless counter-attacks.
"That (counter-attacks) is the strength of this young side, as we have fast forwards. However, in this tournament, they have been playing inconsistently in some of the matches.
"And if you only play good hockey for 35 minutes, you will surely be punished by this world class field," said Beng Hai.
Malaysia meet Pakistan today, who are equally as erratic as Malaysia, and the match could swing either way.
However, if South Korea beat Great Britian in the earlier match, even if Maaysia beat Pakistan by a dozen goals, they will still end up last and rest on Sunday while the other six teams either play for medals, or for positions in the classification matches.

Peeved with poor umpiring

A WORLD class tournament, but with B Grade umpires is what five out of the seven coaches at the Azlan Shah Cup are peeved about.
India, Pakistan, South Korea Australia and a polite Malaysian coach have all lamented how their team was penalised because of poor decisions taken by the umpires.
South Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo, Australian coach Ric Charlesworth, India coach Harendra Singh and Pakistan coach Khawaja Junaid have never been so vocal on umpires in previous tournaments.
"It is a shame that world class teams, four of whom have qualified for the Olympics, are playing in the Azlan Shah Cup but poor quality umpires have been selected to officiate.
"Teams have spent much time and money to prepare sides, and many poorly executed decisions have led to defeats and many other problems on the field," said Harendra.
Ric, normally reserved about the umpires, was also in his element when he said: "I had praised the umpires earlier, but feel otherwise now. They seem to have their own interpretations on hockey rules and its a shame."
The Australian guided his side to the World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games gold medals and is normally reserved about commenting on the umpires.
As for Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai, he was poilte on his assessment.
"I don't like to comment about the umpires, but you can see for yourself how matches are being handled by them."
The Azlan Shah Cup is a world class tournament, and the coaches are hoping that in the next edition, the International Hockey Federation will not use it to experiment with their coaching set-up.

Malaysian women lose narrowly

THE Malaysian women's hockey team lost 2-1 to Italy in the quarter-finals of the Champions Challenge II in Vienna, Austria yesterday.
It was a close call, as the Italians only managed to score off Alessia Padalino in the 32nd minute. Alessia again scored in the 54th minute, but Fazilla Sylvester Silin pulled one back in the 64th minute.
Time ran out on the Malaysian side, and now they will play in the fifth-eighth classification match agaist hosts Austria.
RESULTS -- Q-finals: Malaysia 1 Italy 2, Belarus 4 Austria 1, Chile 3 Russia 2, Belgium 1 Canada 0.
TODAY: Classification Fifth-Eighth -- Russia v Canada, Malaysia v Austria.
TOMORROW: Semi-finals -- Chile v Belgium, Italy v Belarus.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Malaysia 3 Korea 1

MALAYSIA played brilliant hockey in the second half to beat South Korea 3-1 for their first three points in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
And now, after a day's rest, they must beat Pakistan and hope the Koreans lose to Great Britain so that they do not end as wooden spoonists.
Malaysia survived a penalty stroke, but let in a soft penalty corner instead in the first half when they again played in patches.
A seventh minute blunder by Shukri Mutalib, who shoved down a Korean in the semi-circle, led to Japanese umpire Satoshi Kondo blowing for a penalty stroke.
Jang Jong Hyun moved to the spot but his flick was well saved by Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar with the tip of his pads.
However, the golden save was shattered to pieces, when Nam Hyun Woo scores off a grounder attempt in a 17th minute penalty corner.
Both Malaysia's penalty corners went to waste.
There was more commitment in the seond half, and it produced a super goal from Nabil Fiqri in the 43rd minute.
The hard-work of racing down the flank and making a deft pass was done by Izwan Firdaus, and Nabil colelcted the ball on the reverse and with hardly an angle to score, but reverse stick shot found the gap and Malaysia were back in the picture.
And in the 58th minute, a super run down the flank Hafifihafiz Hanafi saw the ball meeting an unmarked Faizal Saari, and Malaysia finally took the lead.
Malaysia played like men possed after taking the lead, and in the 67th minute Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin set-up Izwan Firdaus for the third goal, and Malaysia colelcted their first three points of the tournament.
In another match, New Zealand came back from behind thrice, after which they went full steam ahead to humiliate India 7-3. It was the biggest win for the Kiwis in their 65 meetings against India since 1935.
Prior to this, the wins by New Zealand over India were one goal margins, except for the match in Antwerp in 2007 where New Zealand won 2-0.
The Kiwi goals were scored by Nicholas Wilson (24th), Blair Hilton (32nd, 64th), Andrew Hayward (46th, 57th), Matt L'huiller (52nd), Neal Shay (58th).

India got their goals off Sowmarpet Sunil (20th), Gurwinder Singh (26th, 41st).

First three points..


P W D L F A Pts
AUSTRALIA 5 4 1 0 14 6 13
BRITAIN 5 3 0 2 11 9 9
PAKISTAN 5 3 0 2 14 13 9
N ZEALAND 5 2 1 2 14 13 7
INDIA 6 2 1 3 15 17 7
KOREA 5 1 1 2 9 14 4
MALAYSIA 5 1 0 4 9 14 3

RESULTS -- Australia 2 Great Britain 1, New Zealand 7 India 3, Korea 1
Malaysia 3.
MAY 14 -- Great Britain v South Korea (4pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (6pm),
Australia v New Zealand (8pm).
MAY 15 -- Fifth-Sixth (4pm), Third-Fourth (6pm); Final (8.30pm).

New Zealand 7 India 3


Australia claim one final ticket

AUSTRALIA booked their slot in the final with a game to spare when they beat Great Britain 2-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup yesterday.
The World Cup, Champions Trophy and Commonwealth Games holders made it look like its just another day in the office with goals from Brent Dancer in the eight minute and Christopher Cirello in the 29th minute. Britain tried to make a come-back, but could only score one off Richard Mantell in the 57th minute.
However, the win, according to Australian coach Ric Charlesworth was made much more difficult by poor umpiring.
"I made a mistake of praising the umpires earlier, because some of the decisions taken today made our match that much harder.
"I believe all the decisions to award penalty corners against us were for infringements outside the semi-circle, and they were dubious. The umpires just had their own interpretations of the rules," said Ric.
Ric also said even though they have achieved their target, they still have traditional rivals New Zealand to play.
"When we arrived, we had planned to play in the last match on Sunday (final) and achieved it. But still, there is one more match against our traditional rivals New Zealand, so there would be no rest until after the final game," said Ric.
As for Great Britain player and England skipper James Tindall, they lost the match because they gave the Aussies too much of respect.
"We lost the match in the first five minutes itself, as we gave them too much respect. We knew it would not be an easy match, as they are the world champions, but still, we did not play our usual self, and paid the price for it," said Glenn
With only one final spot remaining, Great Britain, Pakistan and New Zealand will have to bring out their best to claim it.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

India 1 Pakistan 3


P W D L F A Pts
AUSTRALIA 4 3 1 0 12 5 10
BRITAIN 4 3 0 1 10 7 9
PAKISTAN 5 3 0 2 14 13 9
INDIA 5 2 1 2 12 10 7
KOREA 4 1 1 2 8 11 4
N ZEALAND 4 1 1 2 7 10 4
MALAYSIA 4 0 0 4 6 13 0

RESULTS -- New Zealand 3 Malaysia 2, Australia 4 Korea 2, Pakistan 3 India 1.

MAY 12 -- Australia v Great Britain (4pm), New Zealand v India (6pm), Korea v Malaysia (8pm).
MAY 14 -- Great Britain v South Korea (4pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (6pm), Australia v New Zealand (8pm).
MAY 15 -- Fifth-Sixth (4pm), Third-Fourth (6pm); Final (8.30pm).

Australia in super form

AUSTRALIA stamped their dominance in the Azlan Shah Cup when they beat a fighting South Korea 4-2 to top the standings in Ipoh yesterday.
The match was not an easy one, as the Koreans were determined to stop the Australian run, but inexperience let down the Asian side.
Australia took the lead in the 8th minute off Timothy Deavin. And they doubled the advantage in the 12th minute when Mark Paterson scored.
Korea reduced the deficit through a goal by You Hyo Sik in the 15th minute and should have leveled the scores had not Andrew Charter in the Australian goal pulled off a spectacular save from Yoon Sung Hoon in the 27th minute.
However, Australia inserted their dominance by scoring the third goal off Glenn Turner in the 34th minute for a 3-1 ahead.
Korea were back in the match when Hyun Hye Sung who sent the ball between Charter’s pads in the 39th minute to narrow the gap, but Mark
Paterson scoring the fourth goal in the three minutes from time to seal three points.
In another match, Pakistan came back from a goal down to beat India 3-1.
Rupinder Singh gave India a big boost by scoring off a penalty in the 23rd minute, his sixth of the tournament, but India could not control the match even with the lead.
Umar Bhutta scored the equaliser in the 49th minute, while skipper Muhamamd Imran sent a powerful drag-flick crashing into the net in the 56th minute penalty corner.
Pakistan, inspired by their skipper's goal, won another penalty corner one minute after the re-start and this time, penalty corner world record holder Sohai Abbas made sure with his trademark drag-attempt.

Same old story...

MALAYSIA dished out another pathetic performance, as they stuck to their 35-second syndrome plot and lost 3-2 to New Zealand in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
The defeat, their fourth consecutive, have almost doomed them of finishing last in the seven-team tournament which will give them an undeserved rest on Sunday.
It was another inconsistent performance, as Malaysia only had four shots at goal, and one penalty corner to show after 70 minutes of running like headless chickens.
New Zealand took the lead in the 16th minute off a penalty corner set-piece when Nicolas Wilson deflected home from the penalty spot.
Malaysia came back in to the picture when Izzat Rahim took a cricket shot which went crashing onto the boards in the 30th minute and the score stood until half-time.
Stephen Jenness gave the Kiwis the lead again when he scored a field goal in the 57th minute but with two minutes remaining, Malaysia won their only penalty corner of the match and Faizal Shaari delivered.
And just as the match was heading for a draw the goal-scorer Izzat turned into a bad-boy when he made a deliberate clearance at the goal-line and the umpire awarded New Zealand a penalty corner.
Only 35 seconds remained when Izzat made the blunder,
and Steven Edwards punished Malaysia with a well placed
shot for full points.
"This (losing in the final seconds of the match) has been going on for almost a decade, and I don't have any answers for it.
"However, we played well against Australia, 35 minutes against India, and also for one half against Great Britain.
But if one does not play consistently at the international level, one would be surely punished.
"I'm building a team for the Olympic Qualifiers and we will work on the weaknesses identified here. So, give the boys a chance to pick themselves up," said Malaysian coach Tai Beng Hai.
The last minute losing syndrome was first spotted in the Sydney 2000 Olympics, and since then, Malaysia have lost many matches because of last minute lapses.
At the Azlan Shah Cup, this is the second time Malaysia lost the match in the last 35 seconds.
The first was against world No 1 Australia, as the match was 1-1 and heading for a draw but Australia won a penalty corner in the last 35 seconds of the match, and scored the winner.

Women face Italy in semis

THE Malaysian women's hockey team finished third in Group B of the Champions Challenge II in Viena, when they held Russia to a 2-2 draw in their last pool match.
The tournament is unique in the sense that even though there are only eight teams competing, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) decided to hold a quarter-finals after the pool matches.
Malaysia, who lost 2-1 to Belgium and 5-4 to Belarus, will play Italy today and a win would see them in the semi-finals.
Against Russia, the national side were down 1-0 by the 12th minute, but equalised off Siti Rahmah Othman in the 26th minute, and then took the lead off their skipper Nadia Abdul Rahman -- both goals were off field attempts.
However, they let in a field goal in the 66th minute to share points with Russia.
Malaysia's last eight opponents Italy finished second in Group A, and they only lost 2-1 to group champions Chile, beat Austria 4-1 and then beat Canada 2-1.
TODAY -- Q-finals: Chile v Russia, Belgium v Canada, Italy v Malaysia, Belarus v Austria.


Pool A

P W D L F A Pts
Chile 3 2 0 1 7 3 6
Italy 3 2 0 1 7 4 6
Canada 3 2 0 1 4 3 6
Austria 3 0 0 3 3 11 0


P W D L F A Pts
Belarus 3 3 0 0 12 9 9
Belgium 3 2 0 1 8 4 6
Malaysia 3 0 1 2 7 9 1
Russia 3 0 1 2 5 10 1

Primed for misery

Malaysia’s Hafifihafiz Hanafi (left) tries to stop India’s Diwakar on Monday. — Picture by Ikhwan Munir

AFTER three straight defeats, Malaysia have another three matches to play in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, but going by their current form, they are staring at another three defeats.
The chinks were there for all to see in the match against India on Monday, where Malaysia were given a lesson in hockey in a 5-2 drubbing despite the Indians having injected many new players into their team after their Asian Games failure.
Malaysia, on the other hand, fielded the same Asian Games side which took silver minus penalty corner flicker Amin Rahim.
"We were rattled because the regular defenders were injured and I had to rotate players. This is why their performance dropped against India," said Malaysia's coach Tai Beng Hai.
Tactically and even fitness-wise, Malaysia are not too far behind the other Asian teams.
The only difference is that Korea, India and Pakistan seem to be able to rely on their back-up players when regulars get injured or retire, and their standard of play is almost the same.
A classic example is India, who left behind their best penalty corner flicker Sandeep Singh and were willing to try out Rupinder Singh for this tournament.
The 23-year-old has scored five goals so far in the tournament, one of which was in India's 1-1 draw with Australia.
However, Malaysia look like lost lambs and have not scored a single penalty corner goal after Amin Rahim was rested due to a knee injury he picked up in the Malaysia Hockey League.
"We have limited replacements on the bench, and when Amin and Madzli (Ikmar) are sidelined, the others find it difficult to fill their shoes," added Beng Hai.
Malaysia play New Zealand today, followed by South Korea and Pakistan.
In the last meeting during the World Cup Qualifier in Invercargill, Malaysia were edged 2-1 by the Kiwis in the final and missed the boat to the New Delhi World Cup.
New Zealand have also been struggling in this tournament and only have one point to show, but it won't come as a surprise if Malaysia hand them three more points.

Monday, May 9, 2011


RESULTS -- Australia 5 Pakistan 1, Great Britain 3 New Zealand 1, India 5 Malaysia 2.


P W D L F A Pts
BRITAIN 4 3 0 1 10 7 9
AUSTRALIA 3 2 1 0 8 3 7
INDIA 4 2 1 1 11 7 7
PAKISTAN 4 2 0 2 11 12 6
KOREA 3 1 1 1 6 7 4
N ZEALAND 3 0 1 2 4 8 1
MALAYSIA 3 0 0 3 4 10 0

MAY 11 -- New Zealand v Malaysia (4pm), Australia v Korea (6pm), Pakistan v India (8pm).
MAY 12 -- Australia v Great Britain (4pm), New Zealand v India (6pm), Korea v Malaysia (8pm).
MAY 14 -- Great Britain v South Korea (4pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (6pm), Australia v New Zealand (8pm).
MAY 15 -- Fifth-Sixth (4pm), Third-Fourth (6pm); Final (8.30pm).

India 5 Malaysia 2

MALAYSIA'S campaign in the Azlan Shah Cup came to a stuttering halt when they were outclassed 5-2 by India in Ipoh last night.
And the fault was a first half pathetic display, which left the national side a mountain to climb after the breather.
Malaysia played in patches and allowed India to score at will in the first half, and looked like they were in for a hiding from the start itself.
It was only eight minutes into the match when Roshan Minz sounded the board from close range, after defender Baljit Singh mis-trapped the ball.
It was the signal that India needed to push forward, and in the 18th minute it was 2-0 when Mandeep Antil caught the entire defense napping.
And the third India goal was a classic flick to the roof of the goalmouth by Rupinder Singh in the 21st minute. It was the fifth goal of the tournamen for the penalty corner replacement for regular Sandeep Singh.
Malaysia injected some hope into their game when Azammi Adabi pulled one back in the 34th minute, only to be back in the rut when Sunil Sowmarpet scored India's fourth with seven seconds remaining to the half-time hooter.
With a heavy burden on their shoulders, Malaysia came out of the dressing room charging like a bull in a China shop, and Shahrun Nabil beat three defenders before pushing in the ball in the 43rd minute for Malaysia's second goal.
But with 12 minutes remaining, penalty corner flicker Radzi Rahim was flashed the yellow card, and Malaysia's chances of a comeback were further diluted.
Gurwinder Singh scored the fifth goal in the 69th minute, and Malaysia's humiliation was comlete.
"We paid the price of giving India too much space in the first 20 minutes of the match, after which it became difficult to chase them.
"Defender Madzli's (Ikmar) absence was sorely felt at the backline (he fractured his cheekbone in the match against Australia) as I juggled players.
"We are here to learn, and build a side for the Olympics Qualifier, and we will learn from this defeat," said Malaysia coach tai Beng Hai.

Australia, Britain make their move

WORLD No 1 Australia shed their rust, and whipped Pakistan 5-1 to start their journey to a possible final slot in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh.
And if the Aussies continue their form, they are likely to meet early leaders Great Britain who beat New Zealand 3-1 to top the standings with three wins.
After a slow start, where they edged Malaysia 2-1 and drew 1-1 with India, the Australians made sure the third match belonged to them with deft goals.
"We started rusty, and are picking up momentum as the new players in the team are getting adjusted to the tournament conditions.
"As I said before, we are trying out many new players and against Pakistan today, we had a team with an average of 40 caps, while Pakistan's average was 108 caps so it is a good result," said Australian coach Ric Charlesworth.
Even with six players missing, the World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy holders have started to show awesome form as they have good depth on the reserve bench.
The Australian goals were scored by Simon Orchard (23rd, 41st), Jason Wilson (35th, 55th) and Christopher Ciriello (51st),
The Pakistan goal were scored by Sohail Abbas (28th).
Australian skipper Orchard said: "I am glad that our new players have started to get a grip in the tournament, and we did play well today, but we can even play much better than this.
"We have three more matches after the rest (today) and we will work for a good Sunday finish," said Orchard.
In the second match, Britain were great in every department as they outclassed the Kiwis with goals from Richard Mantell (14th), Jonathan Clarke (51st), Richard Alexander (55th).
Shay Neal scored the consolation for New Zealand in the 60th minute.

An academy like no other

THE Asian Hockey Federation-Malaysian Hockey Confederation Academy was launched by Sultan Azlan Shah yesterday by presenting certificates to 32 umpires who were the first batch to be trained in Ipoh.
The academy will be based at the current State Sports Council building adjacent to the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium, and it is the first of its kind in the world, as it caters for the development of hockey in a region.
"It was at the Azlan Shah Cup last year that Tuanku mooted the idea of having an institution where hockey knowledge could be distributed to hockey officials for their improvement and benefit," said AHF secretary general Tan Sri P. Alagendra.
"Today is a proud day for Asian hockey, for under the guidance and inspiration of His Royal Highness, the dream has come true.
"The Academy is now ready, and capable to serve the needs of Asian hockey. And the 32 graduates, from 12 Asian countries, of the first course held here is testimony to that fact."
A committee under the Chairmanship of MHC Vice President cum Perak Hockey President Datuk Rahim Ariff was established and met 12 times over the past year to meet the deadline of having the academy up and running before the 20th edition of the Sultan Azlan shah Cup.
"The academy will assist 32 national associations of Asia to improve the quality and increase the number of hockey officials in asia," said Alagendra.
"It will cater for coaches, technical officials, umpires and management officials. Experts in these important segments of hockey will be brought to the academy to assist Asia in achieving greater heights."
After renovation which will cost RM890,000, the academy will be able to house 100 people at any one time, and have cooking, dining, internet, recreation and laundry facilities.