Saturday, July 30, 2011

Malaysia will welcome Qualifier...

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) might just get their wish to host a leg of the Olympic Qualifier next year, as the International Hockey Federation (FIH) handed India an ultimatum on Friday.
The FIH said in a statement that it would withdraw the rights for India to host the Champions Trophy and the Olympic Qualifier if an ongoing row between two hockey bodies is not resolved.
“The FIH recognises Hockey India (HI) as the governing body for hockey in India, responsible as a member of the FIH for running Indian hockey in accordance with the objects of and subject to the rules and regulations set out in the FIH Statutes. The FIH does not recognise the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) and has not done so since 2000.
“The FIH Executive Board is obliged to uphold the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes. The FIH President has there fore written to the Indian Sports Minister, calling for an urgent meeting, involving the Presidents of HI and the IOA, to discuss the FIH’s concerns and the ramifications of the current proposal for India’s role in world hockey.
“In the meantime, the FIH Executive Board has decided that it is neither possible nor appropriate to continue with the discussions with HI to host tournaments in India over the next 4 year cycle, particularly the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy (December 2011), and the FIH Men’s & Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments (February 2012),” read the state ment from FIH.
MHF secretary Maninderjit Singh said if the FIH ap proaches Malaysia, the Qualifier will be welcomed with open arms.
“It has always been our aspiration to host a leg of the Qualifier and we did put in a bid for it. But we lost, because FIH had wanted a host country which can accommodate both the men’s and women’s tournaments but we had only bid for one.
“And if the FIH approach us to host a leg, and India can’t resolve their issues, we are ready to grab it, and also host the women’s leg if that if what FIH wants,” said Maninderjit.
The National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil is also ready to host the tournament, as refurbishment work has been completed.
“The national stadium is ready and will host a series of matches between Malaysia and Japan (on Aug 7-15),” said Maninderjit.
The only problem to iron out now is the merger between the men’s and women’s hockey bodies in Malaysia into the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF).
“We have received a letter from the FIH to merge by the end of this year, and we are confident to achieve the given deadline.”

Terengganu, Pahang the surprise packages

THE Razak Cup, which is the country's second oldest hockey tournament, saw some exciting results in its 49th edition with champions Kuala Lumpur tested to the limit before claiming their 19th title with a golden goal on Thursday.
Division One runners-up Pahang and third-placed Terengganu were the revelations of the tournament, as they came close to creating history.
Pahang were spearheaded by former national player Ismail Abu, who was aptly named the Division One Player of the Tournament, and he is now looking forward to receiving a national call-up.
"The feeling is mixed as I was named Player of the Tournament, but I failed to help Pahang win their first Razak Cup title.
"We were close, very close, and now I hope to don national colours again. It has been a while since I was in the national team and I hope to get my place back. The national coaches and selectors were here, so hopefully my performance will help my cause," said Ismail.
He was dropped from the national team in October 2009 before the World Cup qualifiers in Invercargil, New Zealand, after playing truant during centralised training.
Ismail also scored 17 goals for Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club in the Malaysia League.
Pahang, void of national players, will host the Malaysia Games next year and have nine Razak Cup players eligible to spearhead their challenge.
Terengganu also paraded youngsters, and will have 12 players from the Malacca tournament eligible for the Malaysia Games.
In Division Two, Negri Sembilan's title effort came with promotion to Division One next year, and their coach S. Chandran hopes the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will do away with qualifiers next year.
"First of all, national players always have a tight calendar and this year they were unable to help some teams during the second leg of the qualifier. This resulted in some of them dropping to Division Two.
"I hope MHF will do away with the qualifier which was not only a waste of time but also made the Razak Cup more expensive to compete in," said Chandran.
Negri spent RM35,000 and received RM5,000 for the gold medal.
The tournament saw teams play five matches in six days and it did look like KL and Pahang players could have done much better if they had been given a rest day after the semi-finals, and not forced to play another highly charged match the next day.

FIH threatenens India..

NEW DELHI (AP) — The International Hockey Federation threatened Friday to strip India of the right to host this year’s Champions Trophy and February’s Olympic qualifiers following a row between two Indian hockey bodies.
The FIH, hockey’s international body, said it did not recognize the settlement brokered on Monday of a turf war between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation. The two groups agreed to form a joint executive board until the end of 2012 following mediation by India’s sports ministry.
However, the FIH said a country could only have one ruling body for the sport, and that it only recognized Hockey India.
“It is a fundamental and non-negotiable requirement of the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes that there can only be one governing body for a sport in each country with exclusive authority and responsibility to govern, organize national competitions and to enter national teams in international competitions,” it said in a statement.
As a result, the FIH announced it was halting all discussions about tournaments in India, including the men’s Champions Trophy (Dec. 1-12) and both the men’s and women’s Olympic qualifiers (Feb. 15-26).
“The FIH Executive Board has decided that it is neither possible nor appropriate to continue with the discussions with HI to host tournaments in India over the next four-year cycle, particularly the FIH Men’s Champions Trophy and the FIH Men’s & Women’s Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.”
The FIH also said it has written to Indian Sports Minister Ajay Maken, calling on him to have an urgent meeting with Hockey India and the Indian Olympic Association on the issue.
Eight-time Olympic gold medallist India failed to qualify for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and is yet to ensure a place for London 2012.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

KL champions for 19th time

A LETHAL combination from Kelvinder Singh and Nabil Fiqri handed Kuala Lumpur their 19th Razak Cup title when they edged a fighting Pahang 1-0 at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
KL were lost in the wilderness during regulation play as they failed to break a stout Pahang defense, and the match went into extra-time.
Pahang, who had yet to lift the title after 49 editions, were deadly off Ismail Abu counter-attacks during the first seven minutes of sudden-death play.
However, KL gained control of attack in the next half as Kelvinder Singh came back onto the pitch after taking a breather.
Kelvinder’s first pass to Nabil in the 80th minute went to waste as the latter failed to connect home.
However, a second reverse stick attempt from Kelvinder 82nd minute found Nabil facing an open goal-mouth and he had the easiest task of tapping the ball in end KL’s misery.
“It was our toughest match of the tournament but still, I’m proud of my players who kept their composure and never stopped playing hockey until they nailed the winner,” said KL coach I. Vickneswaran.
Meanwhile, Negri Sembilan were crowned Division Two champions when they edged Selangor 1-0.
The solitary goal by Azraie Azizan, off a penalty corner attempt in the 48th minute, was enough to promote Negri into Division One next year.
“Selangor are a good team and they have speedy forwards. We knew we had to stop them especially down the middle if we are to have a chance.
“And it worked. I am happy for players. We have worked very hard in the entire tournament to emerge champion.
“In doing so we prove that being in the second division doesn’t mean we have to give up hope. We fought all the way through and today's win is ample reward,” said coach Negri coach S. Chandran.
RESULTS -- Div 1, Final: Kuala Lumpur 1 Pahang 0; 3rd- 4th: Armed Forces 3 Terengganu 4.
Div 2, Final: Negri Sembilan 1 Selangor 0; 3rd-4th: Perlis 0 Kedah 3.

Pahang in KL's path to glory

NATIONAL No 1 penalty corner flicker Amin Rahim blew a penalty stroke, but then delivered the winning goal to take defending champions Kuala Lumpur into the Razak Cup final at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
KL will now play Pahang, who beat Armed Forces 3-1 in the other semi-final, to decide who is crowned the 49th champion.
KL received a penalty stroke in the 28th minute when Terengganu were leading 1-0 off a Faisal Saari penalty corner in the 26th minute.
But Amin's weak attempt was saved by Terengganu goalkeeper Mohamed Hafizuddin.
However, the defending champions kept pressing and drew level in the 32nd minute through Nabil Fiqri, who broke free on the right and sent home a reverse stick attempt into goal.
Amin then made up for his penalty stroke blunder by converting a penalty corner in the 57th minute.
"I salute Terengganu as they made us work hard to play in the final. But we missed a handful of early sitters which made matters difficult," said KL coach I. Vickneswaran.
For Terengganu it was the end of a super tournament. "There is no shame in losing to the defending champions. We will now have to work harder for the bronze," said Terengganu team manager Saberi Salleh.
In Division Two, Selangor will play Negri Sembilan for the title, after they beat Kedah 3-1 and Perlis 3-2 respectively.
RESULTS -- S-finals, Div 1: Pahang 3 Armed Forces 1, Kuala Lumpur 2 Terengganu 1; 5th-6th: Perak 11 Penang 3; 7th-8th: Malacca 2 Johor 3.
Div 2: Negri Sembilan 3 Perlis 2, Selangor 3 Kedah 1; 5th-6th: Sabah 6 Kelantan 1; 7th-8th: Project 2017 1 Sarawak 0.
TODAY -- Div 1, Final: Kuala Lumpur v Pahang (6pm, Picth I); 3rd-4th: Armed Forces v Terengganu (5pm, Pitch II).
Div 2, Final: Negri Sembilan v Selangor (4pm, Pitch I); 3d-4th: Perlis v Kedah (3pm, Pitch II).

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Pahang stun Perak to make last four

PAHANG stole the thunder in Division One of the Razak Cup when they whipped silver medallists Perak 4-1 in their final Group B match at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
Coach Izwan Suhardi will now guide Pahang against Armed Forces in the semi-finals while Terengganu will meet Kuala Lumpur .
Pahang do not have any national players in their side, and only former international, Ismail Abu, powered them into the semi-finals by playing a sterling role in all three group matches. Perak, on the other hand, had plenty of national players but they were a jaded lot yesterday.
Ismail gave Pahang the lead from a brilliant solo run in the second minute to give his team a dream start. The other goals came from Hafiz Zainul (43rd), Ahmad Kazamirul (54th) and Aminuddin Abu (63rd). Former national skipper Azlan Misron scored Perak's consolation in the 57th minute.
"We were the underdogs, so I told the players to be more defensive and rely on counter-attacks, and they scored four," said Izwan.
In Division Two, Negri Sembilan kept their winning streak intact when they beat Sabah 6-4 in Group B and will play Perlis in the semi-finals. Perlis had lost to Selangor 3-1. In the other semi-final, Selangor will meet Kedah, who beat Sarawak 2-1 yesterday.
Negri, the early favourites in Division Two, feel they have a 50-50 chance of beating Perlis.
"We are a young side and only skipper Marhan Jalil and midfielder Madzli Ikmar are the two players with any experience so I fear inconsistency in the knockout stage," said Negri coach S. Chandran.
"Perlis, on the other hand, are a hardworking side and in Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, they have a reliable goal scorer and match winner."
Project 2017 ended last in Group A after their 3-2 defeat to Kelantan and will play Sarawak, the bottom placed team in Group B, for the seventh-eighth spot.
RESULTS -- Division One (Group A): Johor 1 Penang 4, Armed Forces 2 Kuala Lumpur 3; Group B: Pahang 4 Perak 1, Malacca 2 Terengganu 2; Division Two (Group A): Project 2017 2 Kelantan 3, Perlis 1 Selangor 3; Group B: Sarawak 1 Kedah 2, Sabah 4 Negri Sembilan 6.
TODAY -- S-finals: Division One: Pahang v Armed Forces (6pm; Pitch II), Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu (8pm, Pitch I); Division Two: Negri Sembilan v Perlis (5pm, Pitch II), Selangor v Kedah (4pm, Pitch I).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Project 2017 the spark in Razak Cup

THE Razak Cup has proven to be a tough tournament, even for early favourites, as only Perlis in Division Two has qualified for the semi-finals after two days of close battles at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca.
However, the silver lining of the tournament are Project 2017, made up of 16-year-olds, but are in the running for a spot in the semi-finals in Group A of Division Two after they narrowly lost 2-1 to Perlis and drew 2-2 with Selangor.
In Division One, defending champions Kuala Lumpur have the best penalty corner battery on the country, but drew 2-2 with Johor and will now have to beat a physically fit Armed Forces to reach the semi-finals in Group A. Forces, Penang and Johor also are in the running for a last-four spot.
In Group B, the surprise charge to the top came from Terengganu, but hosts Malacca, Pahang and Perak are all knocking at the knock-out door, and today’s matches are crucial for every team.
“Yes, mathematically we are in the running for a semi- finals spot, but we shot ourselves in the foot in the earlier matches which I feel should have given us full six points,” said Project 2017 coach Lim Chiow Chuan.
The coach injected seven new players after the Qualifier and feels his charges should have easily beaten Perlis and Selangor if not for intimidation and rough play which gave his charges stitches.
“I am not complaining about the rough tackles as my players are not afraid to take on of the older state players. However, the umpires should be more vigilant to stop direct hits to the face as two of my players had to be stitched up after being hit with hockey sticks on the face,” lamented Chiow Chuan.
For the coach, the Razak Cup has provided all that he was looking for to make his charges more confident.
“This is a team for the future and I am proud of their commitment and fighting spirit. We will strive to beat Kelantan tomorrow (today) and hope Perlis beats Selangor by a big margin, as our goals average is not that good and we might just miss the semi-finals this time, but in the future, I see a very strong side in this set of players,” said Chiow Chuan.
TODAY: Division One (Group A) -- Johor v Penang (6pm, Pitch I), Armed Forces v Kuala Lumpur (8pm, Pitch I)
Group B: Pahang v Perak (4pm, Pitch I), Malacca v Terengganu (5pm, Pitch II).
Division Two (Group A): Project 2017 v Kelantan (7.30am, Pitch I), Perlis v Selangor (9am, Pitch I).
Group B: Sarawak v Kedah (7.30am, Pitch II), Sabah v Negri Sembilan (9am, Pitch II).



P W D L F A Pts
K LUMPUR 2 1 1 0 6 3 4
FORCES 2 1 1 0 4 2 4
PENANG 2 0 1 1 5 8 1
JOHOR 2 0 1 1 0 2 1

P W D L F A Pts
TERENGGANU 2 1 1 0 5 3 4
PERAK 2 1 0 1 6 5 3
PAHANG 2 0 2 0 3 3 2
MALACCA 2 0 1 1 3 6 1


P W D L F A Pts
PERLIS 2 2 0 0 8 3 6
SELANGOR 2 1 1 0 12 4 4
PROJECT 2017 2 0 1 1 3 4 1
KELANTAN 2 0 0 2 4 16 0

P W D L F A Pts
NEGRI 2 2 0 0 8 2 6
SABAH 2 1 0 1 5 4 3
KEDAH 2 1 0 1 4 6 3
SARAWAK 2 0 0 2 2 7 0

Larissa's naked pledge a jinx for Paraguay..

BUENOS AIRES: The kindest thing fans could say about Argentina and Brazil after this year's Copa America ended in a 3-0 romp for Uruguay in the final againstParaguay would be that both South American giants remain a work in progress.
However, fans will be disappointed with Praguay's defeat for another reason as South American model Larissa Riqueime had promised to run naked if Paraguay wins.
This is the second time she was spared to strip, as she also made a pledge to run naked on the streets if Paraguay wins the 2010 World Cup.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

KL shoot themselves to open Group A

JOHOR delivered the upset of the day in Division One when they held Razak Cup defending champions Kuala Lumpur to a scoreless draw in Group A at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
In another Group A match, Armed Forces were held to a 2-2 draw by Penang, and the semi-finalists in this group will only be decided on Tuesday.
In Group B, Perak placed themselves in contention for a spot in the last four when they outclassed hosts Malacca 4-1.
“Against Armed Forces (where Johor lost 2-0) my players were overconfident and paid the price. But against KL today (yesterday) they played to their true form and now we have a slim chance of playing in the semi-finals,” said Johor coach Gurmit Singh.
The Johor toast was their goalkeeper Hairi Rahman, who saved five penalty corners which were executed by the country’s No 1 Amin Rahim and No 2 flicker Razie Rahim.
“Johor played a solid defensive game and that’s why we ended up sharing points. Their player of the day was goalkeeper Hairi who made some crucial saves during play and penalty corners.
“Now, we will have to wait for the Johor-Penang match at 6pm on Tuesday, as we play at 8pm against Armed Forces. It will be a difficult match against the Army men, who have proven that they are a fit bunch,” said KL coach I. Vickneswaran.
in the Penang-Forces match, the Army men took a sixth minute lead when Zulkifli Abdullah scored, but the Islanders drew level four minutes later through Izwan Firdaus.
Forces regained the lead in the 46th minute when Azri Hassan slipped the ball between the pads of the onrushing Penang keeper Nazih Nawang.
However, Penang never gave up and in the 60th minute Rashid Bahrom scored to share the spoils.
In Division two, Perlis were the only team from Division two which qualified for the semi-finals when they beat Kelantan 6-2 in Group A.
RESULTS: Division One (Group A) -- Armed Forces 2 Penang 2, Kuala Lumpur 0 Johor 0.
Group B: Malacca 1 Perak 4, Terengganu 1 Pahang 1.
Division Two (Group A): Perlis 6 Kelantan 2, Selangor 2 Project 2017 2.
Group B: Sabah 2 Kedah 3, Negri 4 Sarawak 1.
TODAY: Rest day.
TOMORROW: Division One (Group A) -- Johor v Penang (6pm, Pitch I), Armed Forces v Kuala Lumpur (8pm, Pitch I)
Group B: Pahang v Perak (4pm, Pitch I), Malacca v Terengganu (5pm, Pitch II).
Division Two (Group A): Project 2017 v Kelantan (7.30am, Pitch I), Perlis v Selangor (9am, Pitch I).
Group B: Sarawak v Kedah (7.30am, Pitch II), Sabah v Negri Sembilan (9am, Pitch II).



P W D L F A Pts
K LUMPUR 2 1 1 0 6 3 4
FORCES 2 1 1 0 4 2 4
PENANG 2 0 1 1 5 8 1
JOHOR 2 0 1 1 0 2 1

P W D L F A Pts
TERENGGANU 2 1 1 0 5 3 4
PERAK 2 1 0 1 6 5 3
PAHANG 2 0 2 0 3 3 2
MALACCA 2 0 1 1 3 6 1


P W D L F A Pts
PERLIS 2 2 0 0 8 3 6
SELANGOR 2 1 1 0 12 4 4
PROJECT 2017 2 0 1 1 3 4 1
KELANTAN 2 0 0 2 4 16 0

P W D L F A Pts
NEGRI 2 2 0 0 8 2 6
SABAH 2 1 0 1 5 4 3
KEDAH 2 1 0 1 4 6 3
SARAWAK 2 0 0 2 2 7 0

Perak back in the running..

PERAK put themselves back in the running for a place in the semi finals of the Division One when they defeated hosts Malacca 4-1 at the MPMBB Stadium Bukit Serindit in Malacca.

Still smarting from their 4-2 defeat at the hands of Terengganu the previous day, Perak turned on their power to score three goals in the second half to out a dent the aspirations of Malacca, who now have to defeat Terengganu in their final preliminary round match on Tuesday.
Perak have three points while Malacca have one point, courtesy of their 2-2 draw against Pahang on Saturday night.
And all eyes will be on the final match of the day where Pahang take on Terengganu in the east coast derby. A win for Terengganu will assure them of a spot with Perak, Malacca and Pahang battling it out for the final berth.

KL held 0-0 by Johor

DEFENDING champions Kuala Lumpur were held to a scoreless draw by Johor in the Group A match of the Tun Razak Cup at the MPMBB Stadium in Bukit Serindit thus evening.
The result throws the group wide open as all four teams, KL, Johor, ATM and Penang can make the cut for the semis.
This us due to the fact that Armed Forces were held to a 2-2 draw by a fighting Penang side.
KL hold the edge as they have 4 points, the same as ATM while Johor and Penang have a point each.
Johor adopted a defensive strategy, having almost the entire team behind the ball for most part of the match.
But KL could not even find a way through via penalty corners despite having the nations two top strikers from that department in the likes of Mohd Amin Rahim and Mohd Razie.
And KL were guilty of being too hasty thus muffing several good build ups that fizzled in the last quarter of the pitch.

Nur Hrsikesa star for Kedah

KEDAH bounced back from their opening match defeat in the second division of the revived Tun Razak Cup when they scored in the final minute in their 3-2 win over Sabah.
And on the adjacent pitch of the MPMBB Stadium in Bukit Serindit, minnows Perlis were the first team to book a place in the last four of Division Two when they hammered Kelantan 6-2.
Kedah had to win against Sabah following their 4-1 defeat at the hands of Negri Sembilan yesterday.
And they got off to a great start when Nur Hrsikesa Mohd Murni converted a penalty corner in the 15th minute.
But Sabah were on level terms in the 33rd minute through Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin.
Kedah surged ahead when Nur Hrsikesa found the target off a second penalty corner in the 41st minute. Sabah fought bravely to once again draw level through Larry Lian who picked up a penalty corner rebound to score eight minutes before time.
But Nur Hrsikesa had the final say as his completed his hattrick in the 70th minute but more importantly ensured Kedah stayed in the hunt for a semis spot.
Kedah will play Sarawak on Tuesday while NS takes on Sabah.
For Perlis , the toast of the team was Mohd Siful Hafiz Jaafar who scored four goals to book his team's spot in the semis.
Having defeated Projek 2017 with a 2-1 scoreline, Perlis were in their element as they dominated the match.
Siful was on target in the 5th, 8th, 42nd and 48th minutes while the other two Perlis goals were scored by Azroy Azeman (4th minute) and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin ( 65th minute).
Kelantan, who lost 10-2 to Selangor on Saturday, got their goals through the efforts of Shahrul Anuar Ibrahim (39th and 59th minutes).

Negri move closer to semis

NEGRI Sembilan inched closer to a place in the semis for Division Two of the revived Razak Cup when they defeated Sarawak 4-1 at the MPMBB Stadium in Bukit Serindit in Malacca.

And on the adjacent pitch, Projek 2017 put themselves back in contention for a last four place when they held fancied Selangor to a 2-2 draw in a match the youngsters really should have won.
With six points from the two wins registered thus far, NS had defeated Kedah 4-1 in their opening match on Saturday, they need a draw in their final group match against Sabah on Tuesday to seal their spot.
Had it not been for a last minute goal by Kedah in their 3-2 win over Sabah earlier, NS would have already qualified.
But with a healthy goal difference of plus 6, NS can afford to lose their last preliminary round match and still make the last four.
NS scored their goals through Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam ( 8th and 60th minutes), Azraie Mohd Azizan ( 18th minute) and M. Rageshsawaran ( 33rd minute) while Sarawak hot their consolation through the efforts of Jadiel Saidi ( 50th minute).
The Selangor v Projek 2017 match was a thriller as both teams created enough chances to win the match.
But hasty finishing coupled with the heat denied both teams in a match that the youngsters showed why their future was bright as they matched their more fancied opponents.
Selangor took the lead against the run of play when Noor Mohammad Othman converted a penalty corner in the 24th minute.
But within a space of two minutes the tide turned against Selangor as the young Projek side not only drew level but took the lead.
In the 33rd minute skipper Nor Azrul Abdul Rahman scored off a penalty corner and a minute later Muhd Azwar Abdul Rahman put his team ahead.
Selangor were spared the blushes when Faridzul Afiq Mohammad scored ten minutes from time.
Selangor will now have to defeat Perlis for a place in the semis. A Selangor defeat coupled with a Projek 2017 win by six goals or more against Kelantan will send the youngsters into the semis.
The last preliminary round matches will be played on Tuesday as Monday is a rest day.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

KL cruise, Perak stutter...

DEFENDING champions Kuala Lumpur cruised to a 6-3 win over Penang in Division One of the 49th Razak Cup at the Bukit Serindit Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
However, silver medallists Perak suffered a 4-2 blow in the hands of Terengganu, while Johor were shocked 2-0 by Armed Forces.
Perak, who play hosts Malacca today, will now face an uphill battle to advance into the knock-out stage after national players Faisal Saari, his younger sibling Fitri, Shahrun Nabil and Firhan Ashaari robbed three points from them with ease.
Syafiq Nordin (21st), Ahmad Alif Nazaruddin (24th), Fitri Saari (51st) and Firhan Ashaari (65th) scord for Terengganu.
The Perak goals were scored by Amir Farid (54th) and Tajol Rosli (70th).
Perak coach Manjit Singh conceded that it will be uphill against hosts Malacca: “We did not play well at all and credit goes to our Terengganu who took their chances well. It will be tough against Malacca (today) but it is a match that we have to win in order to make the last four.”
Armed Forces shocked Johor with early goals from Zulkifli Abdullah (second) and Ahmad Ridzuan (15th) and dug in their heels after that and Johor could not find any opening in the second half.
“We created enough chances but failed to score and it was always going to be difficult when you concede two early goals against a fitter opponent,” said Johor coach Gurmit Singh, a former Armed Forces player.
And for the Army men, they will be up against Penang next, and the form book favours them as they beat Penang 5-0 in the Qualifier.
RESULTS: Division One (Group A) -- Johor 0 Armed Forces 2, Kuala Lumpur 6 Penang 3.
Group B: Pahang 2 Malacca 2, Terengganu 4 Perak 2.
Division Two (Group A): Project 2017 1 Perlis 2, Selangor 10 Kelantan 2.
Group B: Sarawak 1 Sabah 3, Negri 4 Kedah 1.
TODAY: Division One (Group A) -- Armed Forces v Penang (4pm, Pitch I), Kuala Lumpur v Johor (5pm, Pitch II).
Group B: Malacca v Perak (6pm, Pitch I), Terengganu v Pahang (8pm, Pitch I).
Division Two (Group A): Perlis v Kelantan (7.30am, Pitch II), Selangor v Project 2017 (9am, Pitch II).
Group B: Sabah v Kedah (7.30am, Pitch I), Negri v Sarawak (9am, Picth I).



P W D L F A Pts
K LUMPUR 1 1 0 0 6 3 3
FORCES 1 1 0 0 2 0 3
JOHOR 1 0 0 1 0 2 0
PENANG 1 0 0 1 3 6 0

P W D L F A Pts
TERENGGANU 1 1 0 0 4 2 3
PAHANG 1 0 1 0 2 2 1
MALACCA 1 0 1 0 2 2 1

PERAK 1 0 0 1 2 4 0


P W D L F A Pts
SELANGOR 1 1 0 0 10 2 3
PERLIS 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
PROJECT 2017 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
KELANTAN 1 0 0 1 1 10 0

P W D L F A Pts
NEGRI 1 1 0 0 4 1 3
SABAH 1 1 0 0 3 1 3
SARAWAK 1 0 0 1 1 3 0
KEDAH 1 0 0 1 1 4 0

Terengganu beat fancied Perak 4-2

TERENGGANU defeated Perak 4-2 in a Group B match of the revived Tun razak Cup tournament at the MPMBB Stadium in Bukit Serindit Malacca this evening.

Two early goals took the fight out of the silver state and raised questions over their ability to make the semi finals.
Terengganu were in their element, using the flanks to open up the Perak defence And it paid dividends as Mohd Syafiq Nordin scored in the 21st minute. Barely three minutes later the East Coast side doubled their advantage as Ahmad Alif Nazaruddin Al-Nadhri scored.
With national players Faisal Saari, his younger sibling Fitri, Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Mohd Firhan Ashaari stringing some delightful passes, it was only a matter of time before Terengganu scored again. And the third goal came in the 51st minute as Fitri found the mark.
Perak reduced the deficit through Amir Farid Ahmad Puzi scored in the 54th minute but the fightback was snuffed when Firhan scored Terengganu's fourth goal in the 65th minute. Tajol Rosli Mohammad, who was in the centre of a dispute between Peang,Perak and KL, scored the second for Perak in the 70th minute but it was a case of a little to late for Perak.
"We did not play well at all and all credit goes to our opponents who took their chances well. It will be tough against Malacca tomorrow but it is a match that we have to win in order to have a chance to make the last four," said Perak coach Manjit Singh.
Perak have experience on their side as players like Azlan and Azli Misron, Roslan Jamaluddin, Tajol, S. Bubalan, Mohd Shukri Mutalib and Hafifhafiz Hanafi can change the course of a match with their ability. But getting them to play as a unit is something that Manjit has to do.

The Force was with Army men


ARMED Forces created the first upset of the revived Razak Cup tournament when they defeated Johor 2-0 at the MPMBB Stadium in Bukit Serindit.

The humid conditions worked against the southerners as the fitter ATM side scored two goals in the first half to deal a severe blow to the hopes of Johor to make the last four.
ATM opened scoring in the 2nd minute through Mohd Zulkifli Abdullah who converted a penalty corner. And they went 2-0 up in the 15th minute through Ahmad Ridzuan Zainal Abidin.
Despite fielding an experienced side, with the likes of national players - Mohd Faiz Helmi, Muhammad Azammi Abadi, and former internationals Baljit Singh, S.Shanker and Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi, Johor lacked the killer instinct within the semi circle.
"We created enough chances but failed to score and it was always going to be difficult when you concede two early goals against a fitter opponent, " said Johor coach Gurnit Singh, an ATM stalwart during his days with the Army.
For ATM, the win has brightened their chances if making the semis as they will be up against Penang in their next match on Sunday.
"It was a spirited performance and we will take it one step at a time. Playing a tournament with a tight schedule has it's advantages for us but then again we do nit have skillful players but they make it up with a determined performance on the pitch," said ATM team manager Lt. Col Azlan Shah Dato Aziz.
The Army side will go into the match against Penang with confidence having blanked the islanders 5-0 in the zonal qualifying tournament two weeks ago.

Negri rocks with four goals


Negri Sembilan opened their Division Two campaign in the revived Razak Cup with a 4-1 win over Kedah in a Group B match at the MPMBB Stadium in Bukit Serindit this morning.

Missing former national skipper S.Kuhan who is in India, NS opened scoring when Mohd Marhan Jalil converted a penalty corner in the 8th minute.
But Kedah were on level terms in the 18th minute via Nur Hriseka Mohd Murni.
However NS scored the next three goals, through Mohd Asraf Zulzali ( 24th minute), Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam ( 33rd minute) and Kavin Kartik ( 48th minute).
The Project 2017 squad however lost their opening match 2-1 to Perlis.
In a match where all goals were scored by players donning the number 3 jerseys, the Project Squad were expected to do much better.
Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin scored in the 16th minute before Muhd Fahmi Asri Amir put his team on level terms in the 49th minute. But Tengku Ahmad endured the northerners collected full points by scoring six minutes later
In the East Malaysia derby, Sabah defeated Sarawak 3-1.
Meanwhile in another Group B match former champions Selangor went on a rampage when they defeated Kelantan 10-2.
Selangor opened scoring in the 2nd minute through Noor Muhammad Othman and doubled their advantage in the 15th minute through Norhisham Shaari.
Norhisham was on target again six minutes later before Kelantan reduced the deficit through Shahrul Anuar Ibrahim in the 26th minute.
Selangor regained their three goal advantage when Faridzul Afiq Mohamad was on target in the 32nd minute but a minute after the breather Kelantan scored via Abdul Laziz Ghani to reduce the deficit to 4-2.
But that was a temporary respite as the floodgates opened with Selangor scoring through Mohd Syakir Hamzah (50th), Noor Muhammad Othman (54) Muhammad Amerullah Abdul Aziz ( 55,64) Mohd Faisal Kamaruddin (60th) and Faridzul (69).

Negri off to good start

Division Two (Group A): Project 2017 1 Perlis 2, Selangor 10 Kelantan 2. Group B: Sarawak 1 Sabah 3, Negri 4 Kedah 1.

Malacca (July 23): Negri Sembilan got off to a flying start in their bid to capture the Division Two crown of the 100PLUS Tun Abdul Razak hockey tournament at the Bukit Serendit stadium here today.
With the help of three penalty corner conversions, Negri Sembilan beat Kedah 4-1 in their opening Pool B match today and the warning from them is loud and clear.
They are a side packed with enough experience and in their skipper Mohd Marhan Mohd Jalil, Negeri have a reliable anchorman who can steer them to safety, when needed.
In fact it was Mohd Marhan who put Negeri on the road to victory with an eighth minute penalty corner conversion which gave the team the inspiration to lift their game to the required heights.
Although Kedah equalised in the 18th minute via a penalty corner conversion from Nur Hrsikesa Murni, it was Negri Sembilan who sailed through comfortably to add three more goals for a comfortable win.
Mohd Asraf Zulzali's field goal in the 24th minute; and penalty corner conversions from T.Ganeisha and G.Kavin Kartik in the 33rd and 48th minutes respectively, sealed Kedah's fate.
"It's always important to start off with a win but it will get tougher. I believe Sabah and Sarawak, our two other opponents will not make things easy for us. And neither am I thinking it would be any easier against them.
"But I happy that the experienced players in the team are showingt the way and helping the younger ones settle down," said Negri's coach S.Chandran.
In the other Pool B match of Division Two, Sabah beat their neighbours, Sarawak 3-1. Jadiel Sadi scored a field goal in the second minute and Mohd Shariffini Muhammad and D. Michael Plani added penalty corner goals in the fifth and 11th minutes respectively.
Sarawak's solitary goal came from Mero Muhammad Ridwan in the 58th min via a field goal.
In a Division Two Pool A match, Perlis beat the Project 2017 team 2-1 with their goals coming from ex-international Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Jalil in the 16th and 49th minutes while the Project 2017's scorer was Muhammad Fahmi Asri Amir in the 49th minute.
Selangor also got off to a heartwarming start with a 10-2 thrashing of Kelantan in their Division Two Pool A match.
They led 4-1 at the break with their goals scored by Noor Mohammad Othman in the second min via a penalty corner and then Norisham Shaari added two more in the 15th and 21st minutes and Faridzul Afiq Mohammad in the 32nd minute.
Kelantan got their only goal of the first period from Sharul Anuar Ibrahim in the 26th minute.
The second half goal scorers for Selangor were Mohd Syakir Hamzah (50th), Noor Mohamamd Othman (54t); Muhammad Amerullah Abdul Aziz(55th and 64th); Faisal Kamaruddin (60th) and Fadrizul Afiq Mohammad(69th). Kelantan's Abdul Laziz Ghani scored the team's second goal in the 36th minute.


Friday, July 22, 2011

Double trouble from KL

DOUBLE FLICK: Amin Rahim (left) and Razie Rahim, will represent KL in the Razak Cup in Malacca starting tomorrow.

EIGHTEEN-Time Razak Cup champions Kuala Lumpur have the best penalty corner flickers in the country, but still, they are not good enough to be tagged as the favourites in the 49th edition which starts today in Malacca.
The tournament was incepted in 1963 and Singapore were the inaugural champions, while Kuala Lumpur only came into the picture with a win in 1982 under the Federal Territory banner.
And even though they have No 1 penalty corner flicker Amin Rahim and No 2 Razie Rahim, KL coach I. Vick neswaran does not feel too comfortable to be called the favourites.
“As the defending champions, we would again play to be in the final, however this year the team composition looks more balanced and some serious preparations have been done by states.
“I feel this edition will be tough to call, unlike previous years when the winner could be picked from the team list itself,” said Vickneswaran.
Perak and hosts Malacca, according to Vickneswaran, are some of the teams to watch our for.
“Both Perak and Malacca have good players and are capable to upset any team which looks down at them. The Razak Cup, I believe, has been re-vitalised as states are now more serious in their build-ups unlike previous years,” said Vickneswaran.
KL are in Group A with Johor Armed Forces and Penang, while in Group B are Pahang, Terengganu, Malacca and Perak.
Malacca were champions in 2005, third last year and semi- finalists in the previous six tournaments. Their trump card in the Qualifier was former international Chua Boon Huat, while they can also rely on nine players from the Under-21 squad who won the National title two months ago in Johor Baru.
TODAY: Division One (Group A) -- Johor v Armed Forces (4pm, Pitch I), Kuala Lumpur v Penang (6pm, Pitch I).
Group B: Pahang v Malacca (8pm, Pitch I), Terengganu v Perak (5pm, Pitch II).
Division Two (Group A): Project 2017 v Perlis (7.30am, Pitch I), Selangor v Kelantan (9am, Pitch I).
Group B: Sarawak v Sabah (7.30am, Pitch II), Negri v Kedah (9am, Pitch II).

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Only one win to show

THE Project 2013 players played five matches against England Juniors and won one, drew one and lost three.

First Match - Drew 2-2
Second Match - Won 3-2
Third Match - Lost 1-4
Fourth Match - Lost 2-5
Fifth Match - Lost 2-5

Perak gunning for Razak Cup

PERAK last won the Razak Cup in 1992, and 19 years later, they are hoping to lay their hands on the Division One title in the 49th Edition starting in Malacca tomorrow.
The tournament will see eight teams in Division One and the same number in Division Two gunning for glory.
Perak, the reigning silver medallists, are in Group B with Pahang, Terengganu and Malacca.
Defending champions Kuala Lumpur are in Group A with Johor, Armed Forces and Penang.
“We have the players to reach the final, where the likely hurdle awaiting us will be Kuala Lumpur. However, even after playing KL in the Qualifier, we only have a vague idea of their true strength,” said Perak coach Manjit Singh.
This is because in the Qualifier, KL were without their national player in the first leg, while in the return leg, KL did not have their national juniors with them.
The same situation plagued Perak: “We have the full squad now, but have never trained together because most of them were called up for national duty.”
The four senior national players with Perak are goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, Azlan Misron, Shukri Mutalib and HafiFi Hanafi,
And they can also rely on five Project 2013 players who returned yesterday from a Europe Tour where they played Netherlands and England.
“We will only leave for Malacca tomorrow (today) and the full squad will assemble for a day before we play Pahang. That should be three points for us, while the second match on Sunday will decide who tops Group B,” said Manjit.
Manjit was speaking about hosts Malacca, who had a roller-coaster ride during the South Zone Qualifier.
Meanwhile, in Division two, Group A is made up of Project 2017, Selangor, Perlis and Kelantan. In Group B are Sarawak, Negri Sembilan, Sabah and Kedah.
The Razak Cup, incepted in 1963 where Singapore won the title, has been unkind to Perak who have only lifted the trophy in 1966, 1973, 1985, 1987 and 1992.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Finally, a win for Dharma's boys

MALAYSIAN Juniors finally won their first match in the tour of Europe when they beat England Juniors 3-2 on Tuesday.
The team, preparing for the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca next year which is a qualifier for the Junior World Cup, had lost 5-1 and 6-0 to the Netherlands last week.
And on Sunday, they drew their first test 2-2 with the English.
The first goal was scored by Syamim Yusof in the 25th minute. He received a pass from Amir Farid, controlled it well before ficking the ball to the roof of the goalmouth.
The English equalised in the 17th minute, but Amir Farid gave Malaysia the lead again in the 29th minute when he beat a defender and scord off a reverse stick attempt.
Mohamed Nor Faeez consolidated the lead with a 39th minute penalty corner attempt, while ENgland narrowed the gap with a 55th minute penalty corner goal.
Malaysia had only taken one goalkeeper for the tour, and according to team manager Mirnawan Nawawi, he played a big role in the win.
"We registered our first win of the tour after a brilliant display from goalkeepeer Hazrul Faiz Ahmad in denying the English, especially during penalty corner attempts," said Mirnawan.
However, Mirnawan lamented the fact that his charges seem to lose possession after taking the lead: "We need to arrest this situation, and be more consistent in the remaining two matches against England."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Epic battles in Genghis Khan's backyard

THE inaugural Asian Champions Trophy will provide Malaysia with strong sparring partners from Sept 3-11 at the Mongolian city or Ordos.
The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) mooted the tournament to give their member countries another chance, outside the Asian Games, to improve the standard of the sport in this region.
Asian Games champions Pakistan, newly crowned London Cup holders South Korea, India, China and Japan have confirmed for the tournament.
“It is another avenue for Asian teams to play in a highly competitive environment, and more importantly, it will give my players a chance to prepare early for the Champions Challenge I,” said chief coach Tai Beng Hai.
The Champions Challenge I will be held on Nov 26-Dec 4 in Johannesburg and Malaysia will be up against Canada, Argentina and Japan in Group B. Group A comprises New Zealand, South Africa, Belgium and Poland.
Malaysia finished second in the Asian Games, when they lost 2-0 to Pakistan in the final, and will now have to go through a qualifier early next year for the London Olympics.
“The Asian Champions Trophy and Champions Challenge will provide us with the matches needed to try and qualify for the Olympics,” said Beng Hai.
Meanwhile, the Malaysian Juniors were held to a 2-2 draw by England in their Tour of Europe on Sunday.
Malaysia led the English twice, but let in a last minute goal to share points.
Syamin Yusof scored off a field attempt in the 20th minute, while the second goal was scored by Noor Faeez Ibrahim off a 45th minute penalty corner.
“We took the lead twice, but caved in, in the 69th minute as we failed to defend the slim lead. However, It was a better performance than against Netherlands (where Malaysia lost 5-1 and 6-0),” said Juniors team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
For the record, England Juniors played Netherlands Juniors two weeks ago in a three-Test series and the Dutch won twice 3-1 and 2-1 before they drew 2-2.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The show will go on..

THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) is set to be played over 13 weeks from September, and national players will not be allowed to play for their clubs.
This was the consensus reached at a seminar organised by the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF), which was attended by interested parties in the MHL.
“Four clubs attended the seminar while two clubs sent in their proposals with apologies for not being able to attend. And in the end, it was agreed by all those present that the MHL show must go on, even without national players who have other obligations during the period,” said MHF assistant secretary Hashim Yusoff.
The consensus attained during the seminar will now be put forward to the MHF Council, who is expected to endorse it without much ado because stakeholders in the MHL had made up their mind.
The MHL is slated to be held from Sept 13 to Dec 31, and national players will be involved in the Asian Champions Trophy on Sept 3-11 in China and the Champions Challenge I in Johannesburg from Nov 26-Dec 4. Their most important assignment is the Olympic Qualifiers early next year.
MHL clubs Sapura, Maybank, Bukit Jalil and Armed Forces attended yesterday’s brainstorming session, while Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Nur Insafi had written in their thoughts on the matter.
However, last season’s double champions KLHC, who wrote in their stand, are of the opinion that the MHL should be held after the Olympic Qualifiers next year so that national players can represent their clubs.
In their proposal, KLHC said that if the MHL is held before the Qualifier and national players are banned, they might withdraw their team.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Dutch hit sixer against Malaysia Juniors

MALAYSIAN Juniors received another thumping from Netherlands Juniors when they were outclassed 6-0 in the second test at the SCHC Utrecth Stadium yesterday.
In the first Test, Malaysia lost 5-1, and will now travel to England to play four Test matches against the English Juniors.
Malaysia were down 2-0 by 35 minutes, and could not sustain the fast pace and let in another four goals after the breather.
The Dutch scored off one penalty stroke, three penalty corners and two field goals.
The Tour is part of the team’s training schedule leading up to the World Cup Qualifier (Junior Asia Cup) which will be held in Malacca next May.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Malaysian Juniors in Europe Tour


Venue: Manheim Hockey Club
Malaysia Juniors 3 - 6 German Juniors

Venue: Manheim Hockey Club
Malaysia Juniors 1 - 1 German Juniors

Venue: Manheim Hockey Club
Malaysia Juniors 4 - 4 German Juniors



Malaysia Juniors 1 - 5 Holland Juniors

MALAYSIAN Juniors were hammered 5-1 by Netherlands Juniors in their Europe Tour match at the SCHC Utrecth Stadium last night.
The Juniors earlier played three matches against the German Juniors where they lost 6-3, drew 1-1 and then 4-4 in the third Test.
Yesterday, Nor Faeez Ibrahim scored off a penalty corner in the 35th minute off Malaysia’s fourth attempt.
The Dutch were leading 2-1 by then, but in the opening minute of the second half, the match blew up on Malaysia when they let in two field goals in 60 seconds. The fifth Dutch goal was scored in the 63rd minute.
Malaysia play the Dutch again today, before heading for England to play four Test matches against the English Juniors.

Sapura can play with out without stars

PIC: ABDULLAH YUNUS (Second from left).

By Jugjet Singh

MALAYSIA Hockey League (MHL) outfit Sapura is not overly worried if national players are not allowed to play in this season’s league, and in fact, see it as a blessing.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) will hold a seminar on Sunday, where all interested parties will get a chance to put forward their views on whether national players should or should not play in the MHL this season.
The reason is that the MHF competitions committee could not decide when to hold the MHL, because the national team’s commitment calendar is packed to the brim.
And also, chief coach Tai Beng Hai is not keen on releasing his charges to club duty before the Olympic Qualifiers next year.
“As for Sapura, we have four national players, and if the MHF decide against fielding them, I do not see a major problem for us. In fact, I feel that instead of relying on the pool of 25 national players, clubs and also the country could benefit by giving others a chance to play a bigger role in the MHL,” said Sapura team manager Abdullah Yunus.
However, Sapura feel that the MHF should stick to dates committed earlier, as clubs need to approve their budget and also source for players in advance.
“The show must go on, with our without national players, as I feel the MHF should stick to their calendar which was drawn in the beginning of the year.
“If they keep changing, clubs face a problem with their budget and also the hiring of local as well as foreign players,” said Abdullah.
The national players will be involved with the Asian Champions Trophy on Sept 3-11 in China and the Champions Challenge I in Johannesburg from Nov 26-Dec 4. Their most important assignment is the Olympic Qualifiers early next year.
“The other problem is that going by the earlier date in September, there will be a five week break in the fixtures, and this is where clubs which sign foreign players will be in a limbo either to release them or take the expensive way out by paying their full salary.
“Also, with almost all the regular countries which clubs source their foreign players from also involved in their own programes at the end of the year, it would be difficult to sign quality players and we could end up with liabilities like some clubs experience last season,” said Abdullah.
Abdullah is open for any eventualities in the seminar on Sunday: “I will go with and open mind, and the majority’s decision should be abided.”

Coach against MHL before Qualifier

NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai is all for domestic tournaments, but has put his foot down to organising the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) before the Olympic Qualifiers early next year.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) competitions committee could not come to a conclusion on when to hold the MHL this year, and have called all interested parties to submit their views in a seminar this Sunday.
Beng Hai, is of the view that the MHL will disrupt his plans to qualify for the London Olympics.
“I am a great supporter of domestic tournaments, but I strongly feel that if the MHL is held before the Olympic Qualifiers, which could be either in March or April, it would disrupt my plans to prepare a strong side for what could be the turning point, in either direction, for Malaysian hockey,” said Beng Hai.
To cite an example, the coach has declined invitation to the INSEP Hockey Challenge in France, where Malaysia are the defending champions, so that national players can play in the Razak Cup.
“We have been invited again for the INSEP tournament, but since it clashes with the Razak Cup (July 23-28) I decided against playing there because states needed their national players,” said Beng Hai.
The coach is worried that if the MHL is held at the end of the year, it would also disrupt his preparations for the Asian Champions Trophy (Sept 3-11 in China) and the Champions Challenge I (Johannesburg from Nov 26-Dec 4).
“Although the CCI is not as important as the Olympic Qualifiers, we still need to finish among the top-five there so that we are not relegated into CC II.
“I really hope that the management (MHF) will consider every avenue before making a decision on the MHL. I will abide by any decision taken, but personally speaking, I know from experience that playing with clubs and then attending national training has never worked with previous coaches.”
Beng Hai’s worries are justified, as in the past, when clubs release their players for national training, many just stayed away by giving excuses.
Then there are worries about injuries and fitness when players are released to clubs.
“We are closing the gap among our competitors, as we played in the final of the World Cup Qualifier and then the Asian Games final.
“Just give them a little more time, and I believe my players are close to winning the elusive gold.”

Youth challenging established names


By Tai Beng Hai
(chief coach)

THE long term objective of bridging the gap between Malaysia and the top six or top 10 ranked hokey teams has always been the primary focus of the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF).
And obviously, in this Tour of Europe, the key objectives were to play Netherlands and Spain and see where we stand.
Besides exposing our players to the European style and the process of creating depth or a bigger pool of talent in the team, the Olympic Qualifiers is also ingrained in our pro grammes.
And I believe, we manage to achieve these during the Tour.
We (coaches and MHF) have been rebuilding the team since 2009 and there have been improvements. But we can’t just take Malaysia back to the top overnight.
Changing back, and improving our style and concept by playing to our strong points and not going against our culture has definitely benefited us as can be seen from the silver medal at the Asian Games. And to some extent, the final of the 2009 World Cup qualifier in Invercargill, New Zealand.
We are happy that the program has managed to gradually include some young players into the national team and is beginning to show positive results at this early stage.
Leaving behind four main players from the Asian Games was difficult because of various reasons but the need to strive for the long term objectives was the reason.
And for a start,, youngsters Faisal Saari, Marhan Jalil, Azammi Adabi and Azreen Rizal can be considered to have made the grade.
Now the other new batch of four players in the pool of 25, and five players under attachment from the 2013 Project Squad will hopefully see to the long term MHF strategic plan.
The thing we take away the most is the inclusion of younger players from 2013 is their willingness to fight and there is no fear in them to play against world No 3 Netherlands and No 4 Spain.
Muhammad Firhan, Muhammad Azri and Faiz Helmi gave a good show in this Tour. Their physical condition to compete at the senior level is the only setback. But I feel through more exposure and training they will definitely make it to the national team and this is what we are trying to achieve with this batch of players with time fast running out on us.
The MHF Council has given their consensus to the national team program with the inclusion of the attachment program as one of the ways to increase the depth of national team and strengthen the 2013 team indirectly by fast tracking the four players and five attachment players (25 trainees with 4 juniors included and 5 players under attachment to national team), it is a win-win situation for Malaysian hockey in the long run.
We will be approaching the four months timeline in our programme, and the review is up after the Razak Cup.
One of the objectives is to see players playing more competitively to fight for a place in the national team. Some establish players are already stagnant as the window to perform at the highest level is already closing up on them, so the younger talented players must create a healthy com petitive environment by striving to take this opportunity to make the grade.
On the European training Tour we are very satisfied that the general results was good in Spain even though we started poorly against Holland.
This tour was beneficial to expose our players to the European style of playing. We always find it difficult to play them because of their different approach and their long reach. In order to improve at a faster rate we need to play these European teams more often.
We came close in the first match (lost 2-0) and beating the Spanish 3-2 in the second match, it has obviously injected some believe into the players that they can achieve results against the top six in the world.
The primary objective is obviously the Olympic Qualifiers in early 2012 and the next important assignment is the Champions Challenge 1 in South Africa.
Both the tournaments can improve our ranking, and that is what we are working to achieve in the next few months.

Tiny view from RM68 ticket seat

THIS is what is looks like from the RM68 seats at the National Soccer Stadium in Bukit Jalil. Cant even see jersey numbers of Arsenal and Malaysia players, wonder why they constructed such high seats which takes one closer to the moon than the pitch...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Arsenal whip Malaysia 4-0


ARSENAL gave a sneak preview of what their fans can expect in the new season of the English Premier League (EPL) when they swatted aside Malaysia 4-0 in their Tour of Asia warm-up match at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil Wednesday.
It was not the most entertaining of matches but still, the four goals were enough to send the die-hard Arsenal fans among the 60,000-odd in the stadium into ecstasy.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Malaysia 3 Spain 2

THE Malaysian hockey team ended their Tour of Europe on a high when they beat Spain 3-2 in a highly entertaining match last night.
Malaysia went in the Tour to prepare for the Olympic Qualifiers next year, and were hammered by the Netherlands, but in Spain they picked up momentum and only lost 2-0 to the Spanish senior side in the first friendly.
Yesterday, the Spaniards drew first blood off Roc Oliva in a fourth minute penalty corner which beat goalkeeper S. Kumar low on the left.
A field goal by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin in the 42nd minute was a top of the circle free-hit set-piece perfected after receiving the ball from Amin Rahim.
However, Roc Oliva again scored off a penalty corner, this time he beat goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin in the 49th minute with a left high ball.
Malaysia pushed forward and Faiz Helmi’s 54th minute effort landed Malaysia a crucial boost.
“To a certain degree, we achieved what we wanted to in Europe as there was improvement in some of the departments, especially the set-pieces,” said chief coach Tai Beng Hai.
After losing 2-0 to Spain in the last match, a strategy was hatched and the players did well to follow the script.
“Pointers picked up from the earlier match were used to stop Spain’s transfer from right to left as they used long balls to beat us.
“My midfielders kept a tight control of the centre and intercepted Spain’s build out of defense and this gave the forwards counter-attack chances and we scored twice off such occasions,” said Beng Hai.
The coach, who went to Europe without four of his regulars to play nine matches, now has more options to choose from as some of the replacements have shown good progress.
In Spain, the national players beat three top Spanish clubs – Real Polo Club (4-2), Athletic Terrassa HC (6-2) and Egara HC (2-0).
They then beat the Spanish Under-21 side 3-0 and then were held to a 1-1 draw.
In the Netherlands, the Malaysian side were hammered 9-1 and 5-1.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Malaysia 0 Spain 2

THE Malaysian hockey team lost 2-0 to world No 6 Spain in a friendly last night, but coach Tai Beng Hai felt a draw would have been a fairer result.
The team is in Europe to play a series on friendlies, and will play another match with the Spain seniors before wrapping up their fixtures.
Yesterday, the coach rested No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar and fielded Roslan Jamaluddin as he prepares a team for the Olympic Qualifiers early next year.
“We started slow as we had to fall back into our own defense because of frequent interchanging between the Spanish midfielders.
“Play for both sides mostly revolved around midfield and counter-attacks to break the deadlock in the first 15 minutes of the match. However, we had better possession in the second half and could have forced a draw but for muffed chances,” said Beng Hai.
Malaysia had four penalty corners and failed to convert any, while the Spanish had eight and scored one.
“We had a chance to draw level after Spain scored in the 29th minute, but were unfortunate that the ball bounced awkwardly in the final moment after a good transfer among four players.
“And the 66th minute penalty corner goal from Spain shut the door for at least a draw as we were keeping possession and pushing forward at that moment,” lamented Beng Hai.
The first goal resulted from a long corner where the Spanish right wing dribbled into the left side of the Malaysian circle. He them pushes a harmless ball across the goal but defender Amin Rahim left his man on the far post and tried to intercept it at the near post.
Just then an rushing goalkeeper Roslan tried to kick the ball but was blocked by Amin. The loose ball rolled past the front of the Malaysian goal to the unmarked Pau Quemada at the far post for him to stop, and then push it in.
As for the second goal, it resulted from a Spanish sideline free-hit which was taken quickly and in the two v two situation, the Spanish player crossed each other but the umpire allowed play.
Our players were slow to react and the player with the ball dribbled into the circle with erase.
Amin tackled the player and the umpire interpreted the tackle as stick check and awarded a penalty corner which resulted Jamie Dabanch scoring with a right high flick to beat Roslan.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

FIH 2012 Congress in Malaysia

2012 Congress:
It was announced that Malaysia will host the 2012 FIH Congress in Kuala Lumpur. The Congress dates are from October 31 to November 4, 2012. It is the first time that Asia has hosted a Congress since 1975.

Champions Trophy & Champions Challenge Qualification System:The qualification criteria for the 2012 Champions Trophy and Champions Challenges were announced.
For the Champions Trophy the following teams will be qualified to participate:
The host
Teams placed 1st – 5th at the 2011 FIH Champions Trophy
The winners of the 2011 FIH Champions Challenge 1
One or two places to be nominated by the FIH Executive Board. The criteria used for the basis of the Executive Board decision are; commercial advantage to sport, world rankings and development of the game.

Qualification criteria for the Champions Challenge 1 and 2 can be found on the FIH website in the Event Resources section under the Sport section.

FIH World League:
The new FIH World League will be launched in 2012. To date 62 men’s teams have entered and 51 women’s. As a result of these numbers, it is likely that there will be nine men’s Round 1 tournaments and eight women’s. The FIH Competitions Committee has proposed that the Round 1 World League tournaments should be played after the Olympics in local venues to reduce travel for teams. Round 2 will follow in early 2013. In August / September 2013 Round 3 will be held and the first World League will conclude in November / December 2013 with Round 4.

Project Brazil
The FIH is working closely with the Brazil Hockey Confederation to develop an action plan to strengthen hockey in the nation in the build up to the Olympic Games in 2016. Steps taken to date include the hiring of a High Performance Director, which is in the final stages; securing equipment support; participation in the World League and hosting the Pan American Challenge at the end of July.

Complementary Game:
The FIH is currently brainstorming with various stakeholders to develop a complementary game in time for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games. Several other sports have used the YOG to roll out complementary game formats and FIH is hoping to do the same. A proposal has been put forward to the IOC for approval at the IOC Executive Board next week in Durban.