Monday, August 29, 2011

And the European champions are...

BY FIH (Cloudy journalism, one has to read until the last pare to know the final score)

The men's GANT EuroHockey Championship final between Germany and the Netherlands was a fitting end to a great tournament: skillful, exciting, a fantastic showcase for the sport.
In a sold out 10.000 seater stadium full of enthusiastic supporters of the two best European teams, tension was high from the starting whistle, and there was barely a minute on the clock when Philipp Zeller tipped in a ball across from Mo Fürste.
Shocked into action, the Dutch attacked to pull even, and a fast and even game developed. With extraordinary skills on both sides, both teams had a number of opportunities, and the Netherlands were more effective, pulling level through Roderick Weusthof who beat German goalkeeper Max Weinhold with a superb reverse stick shot. The game went into frantic end-to-end play, with no advantages on either side, and stayed even until the 32nd minute, when a penalty corner for Germany yielded a penalty stroke that Mo Fürste converted without hesitation to give Germany the 2-1 halftime lead.
In the second half, both sides tried to control play better, but Florian Fuchs managed to get Germany ahead again with a great finishing touch to a ball from Thilo Stralkowski for the 3-1. The Netherlands were trying hard to make up some ground, but the German defense stood firm, and there was no passing their ranks, until the Dutch succeeded in winning a penalty corner, which the ever reliable Taeke Taekema converted with another cracking flick. At 2-3 only one goal behind again, the Dutch stepped their game up and attacked relentlessly, but could not beat the wall of the German defense. The Germans were still able to also create danger on fast breaks, and in the 68th minute, Oli Korn deflected a pass across into the goal for the 4-2 lead, and effectively, the victory for Germany. With the final whistle, the new European Champions were crowned: Germany men won their first European title since 2003.
In the other encounters, England defeated Belgium by Golden Goal to claim Bronze, and in the 5-8 bracket, Ireland wrestled down Spain to take 5th, and Russia overwhelmed France for 7th place. Individual awards went to Taeke Taekema of the Netherlands as the event's topscorer, and Mo Fürste of Germany as Most Valuable Player.
Final Ranking: 1 Germany (European Champions); 2 Netherlands; 3 England; 4 Belgium; 5 France; 6 Spain; 7 Russia (Relegation for 2013); 8 France (Relegation for 2013).

Amir & Fitri still in a daze

PROJECT 2013 players Fitri Saari, 18, and Amir Farid, 20, were shell shocked when they were named to make their senior debut in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China on Sept 3-11.
Both of them had only joined the senior side for a weeks training, and played a few minutes against Japan in the Five- Series friendlies but impressed coach Tai Beng Hai enough to seal their spots.
“I’m still in a daze as I did not expect to be selected for the Asian Champions Trophy after just one week with the seniors,” was the frank assessment from Fitri, whose brother Faizal Saari is also with the national seniors.
Amir was also equally shocked, in a pleasant way: “I too felt that I did not have any chance of playing in Ordos, but now that I have been selected, I will naturally give my best.”
Both the players, together with Faizal, will play in the Junior World Cup Qualifier in Malacca next May.
And when asked how they felt upstaging more experienced players to stake a claim in the senior squad, Amir said: “I am honoured to be selected over some seasoned players and I feel this chance to play with the best teams in Asia should give us an added advantage when we play in the Junior World Cup Qualifier.”
In Ordos, Malaysia are ranked second behind Asian Games champions Pakistan. However, the challenge to play in the final is expected to come from South Korea.
With former skipper Azlan Misron was left out due to injury, while forward Hafifi Hafiz requested not to be included because of personal reasons and Kelvinder Singh left behind to continue his fitness programme, it will be uphill all the way in Ordos.
The tournament does not offer any ranking points and this initiative by Asian Hockey Federation is some 20 years too late as Europe have progressed tremendously by playing regularly among themselves.
Malaysia are building a team for the Champions Challenge I in South Africa on Nov 26-Dec 4 which provided valuable ranking points. The national players need to finish top-five among eight teams to move up from their present 15th to 12th in the world.
For the Champions Challenge I, Malaysia are in Group B with Canada, Argentina and Japan. Group A comprises New Zealand, South Africa, Belgium and Poland.
ASIAN CHAMPIONS TROPHY: Sept 3: Pakistan v Malaysia; Sept 4: South Korea v Malaysia; Sept 6: China v Malaysia; Sept 7: Malaysia v India; Sept 9: Malaysia v Japan.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Indian stars in cold storage for two years

INDIAN hockey players Sandeep Singh (L) and Sardara Singh who have been banned for two years for indiscipline - PTI
In a development that can have serious repercussions on the Indian team’s future, Hockey India on Saturday banned senior players Sandeep Singh and Sardar Singh for two years on grounds of indiscipline.
Drag-flicker Sandeep and midfielder Sardar had left the just-concluded national camp in Bengaluru on August 23, citing “family matters”.
There was more to the players’ sudden departure though, with reports of the duo being involved in an altercation with camp co-ordinator S.S. Grewal.
Sandeep and Sardar were also part of the five “rebel” players, who had left the camp mid-way last month to attend a function pertaining to the World Hockey Series, a league by the rival Indian Hockey Federation.
Some sections believe that the two were also under pressure from the IHF for “apologising” to HI, for their conduct.
Said Hockey India general secretary Narinder Batra here on the day, “This is the third offence in six months by these two players. Hockey India took note of the happenings and decided that enough was enough.
“Sandeep and Sardar have been banned for two years from all international and national events pertaining to Hockey India. It is sheer indiscipline and if we do not act now, it will influence the juniors in the team.”
The players, however, have been given 30 days time to appeal the ban, following which a five-member committee would decide on further action. They committee would consist of a member each from the Sports Authority of India, the Indian Olympic Association, a players’ representative and two HI officials.
On the day, Sandeep and Sardar — part of the China-bound Indian team for the Asian Champions Trophy beginning September 3 — were asked to explain their actions but the duo’s contradictory statements went against them.
Sardar, it was learnt, told the committee members that he had serious family problems that had lingered since the last three weeks. Sandeep cited family problems too, while also accusing Grewal of “using abusive language and misconduct”.
Said an official, “The general view was that the players had deserted the team in the most difficult times. If they had problems, they could have informed Hockey India in advance, and not three days before the team’s departure. The priority should be playing for the country, but sadly it hasn’t been the case with these two, even in the past.
“In today’s meeting, they stood their ground and also regretted their decision to leave the camp. It was highly contradictory.”
The players refused to comment on the matter, saying they “were contemplating what to do next”.
The duo were an integral part of chief coach Michael Nobbs’ plan over the next few years.


Rajpal: Controversies not a bother

Indian Hockey has been dogged by a spate of controversies in the recent past, including the pull-out of two senior players from the national camp, but captain Rajpal Singh (pic) feels that won’t affect the team’s performance in the upcoming inaugural Asian Champions Trophy.
“It is true that we have seen a lot of controversies in recent past but I can assure you that they will not affect us in the ground. All the players are in form and raring to go.
The atmosphere in the team is terrific,” Rajpal told PTI Bhasha.
The inaugural Asian CT will be played in Ordos, China from September 3 to 11.
While the team will be leaving on Sunday, Rajpal will go a day later after receiving the Arjuna Award on 29th of this month.
He also denied that the team will miss the services of seniors Sardara Singh and Sandeep Singh who left the national camp for personal reasons.
“We are not feeling any pressure due to their absence.
Their replacements (V.R. Raghunath and Vikas Sharma) are also equally talented. We have to groom the youngsters to field the best team in London Olympic qualifiers.”
Asked about the realistic goals in the tournament, he said this will be a launching pad for their preparations for London.
“Coach Micheal Nobbs has been telling us repeatedly that win or loss in this tournament does not matter. We will judge ourselves on the basis of performance in this tournament. It will tell us whether our preparations for qualifiers is on right track or not,” he said.
“We had won a bronze in Asiad, so naturally we would like to go a step further and play the final.”
Rajpal, who had a bitter face-off with previous coach Jose Brasa, described Nobbs as a good and understanding coach.
“Nobbs is a good coach. He is a disciplinarian and friendly with players as well. Being an Australian his emphasis is on attacking hockey. As fas as Brasa is concerned, there was a small misunderstanding with him. He is also a good coach,” he said.
Pakistan captain Mohammad Imran might have said that India will enjoy an edge over his team when the arch-rivals meet in Asian CT, but Rajpal is not thinking on those lines.
“We will face Pakistan in the last match. We will play four matches — against China, Japan, South Korea and Malaysia — before that. We can qualify for the final by winning first four matches and then the match again Pakistan will be irrelevant for us. We are not thinking about that match as of now.”

The Hindu

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Nur Insafi goes local

NUR INSAFI, who avoided relegation in the Malaysia Hockey league (MHL) last season by standing on the shoul ders of a foreign legion, will go local this season.
Team manager M. Thaitchana sounded disillusioned when he said: “We have yet to start a serious preparation, because the MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation) seem to be or ganising the league just for the sake or organising.”
The north-based team hired nine foreign players last season, but have scouted youth from Kedah, Perak and Penang Razak Cup sides for their challenge.
But the foreign players failed to produce desired results and they ended seventh out of nine teams in the League.
The MHL will be held on Sept 17 to Oct 23, around artificial pitches in the Klang Valley, and each team will only be allowed to register six foreign players.
“The players in training now are youth from the Kedah, Perak and Penang Razak Cup sides and I feel that since the MHF will hold the League for six weeks and in KL, it is not worth investing in foreign players for the short duration.
“I will be investing in young players, in the region of 18-21, to strengthen the youth base up north,” said Thaitchana.
The MHL clubs were in a dilemma until last week, when the council met and finally decided that national players can represent their clubs, and the MHL will be held over six weeks.
Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club, the double champions, have the lions’ share of nine national players, while Tenaga Nasional have seven.
That leaves other clubs with only a handful to select from.
“I am still the coach-cum-manager and with the young squad, I feel it will be difficult to achieve results against better prepared clubs.
“So, the main reason we are competing this season is to blood youth in the MHL and this could strengthen the player- base in the near future,” said Thaitchana.
Nine teams have registered for the Premier Division, while only four teams are expected to play in Division One when registration closes on Monday.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Beng Hai bloods Project 2013 players

NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai decided to blood two Project 2013 players when he named his side for the Inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China, on Sept 3-11.
Project players Fitri Saari, 18, and Amir Farid, 20, trained with the seniors for one week, and impressed the coach enough during the Japan friendlies to be included in the senior squad.
Former skipper Azlan Misron was left out due to injury, while forward Hafifi Hafiz requested not to be included because of personal reasons.
Prolific player Kelvinder Singh was also excluded as the coach looks toward new hands.
“Since the Asian Champions Trophy does not offer ranking points, I decided to try out two Project 2013 players and left behind those who were carrying injuries.
“It must be remembered that the KPI (Key Performance Index) is the Champions Challenge and Olympic Qualifiers and this tournament is only good for exposure,” said Beng Hai.
However, Beng Hai said those not in the squad have no reason to despair: “I have my reasons to select new players and leave out some experienced hands. However, those left out still have time to recover from injuries and improve themselves to be named for the more important Champions Challenge and Qualifier.”
Malaysia will open accounts with Pakistan on Sept 3, while the other teams are South Korea, India, Japan and China.
India will also be without their best penalty corner flicker Sandeep Singh and midfielder Sardar Singh who both walked out of training and now face possible disciplinary action.
As for Pakistan, who beat Malaysia 2-0 in the Asian Games final, both the goal scorers Rehan Butt and Sohail Abbas as well as Salman Akbar has been dropped from the Ordos team.
Meanwhile Malaysia will find their Olympic Qualifier journey much tougher now as one of the hosts, Belgium, beat Spain 3-2 in the EuroHockey Championship on Thursday.
EuroHockey semifinalists Belgium, England, Geroamy and Netherlands have qualified for the Olympics, leaving Malaysia to contend with Spain if we are placed in the European group.
Goalkeepers: S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin; Defenders: Razie Rahim, Baljit Singh, Madzli Ikmar, Amin Rahim, Azreen Rizal; Midfielders: Marhan Jalil, Nabil Fiqri, Azammi Adabi, Shahrun Nabil, Shukri Mutalib, Fitri Saari.
Forwards: Faizal Saari, Tenngku Ahmad Tajuddin, Izwan Firdaus, Firhan Ashaari, Amir Farid.
Coach: Tai Beng Hai; Assistant coach: Nor Saiful Zaini; Manager: Stephen van Huizen.

YNS sign six Pakistan players

YAYASAN Negri Sembilan (YNS) have secured six Pakistan players, and also a better local stock than last season for their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) challenge this year.
YNS coach K. Rajan yesterday confirmed that two former Pakistan players and three from their national training pool and a goalkeeper will represent the club in the MHL which is from Sept 17 to Oct 23.
“We could not sign Pakistan national players, like last season, as they are in training for the London Olympics. However, the six are quality players and I feel they will provide the spark in the MHL,” said Rajan, a former national juniors coach.
YNS signed 11 foreign players last season, but the MHF have placed a six-player cap for this season’s MHL.
And they also have signed better local players: “Com paratively, our local pool is better than the last and I am only waiting to sign up one more experienced player.”
Tenaga Nasional stalwart M. Kaliswaran found the door shut on him, and YNS is ken to sign him.
“Kaliswaran is an experienced hand and his style of play would compliment with the Pakistan imports.”
With the team all ready to play, Rajan still has one more thorny issue to solve before the MHL begins.
He has been told to choose either YNS, or the 1Mas Programme to coach.
Kuala Lumpur HA secretary V. Rajamanickam clarified yesterday that it was not 1Mas officials who had asked Rajan to choose where to coach, but KLHA were the ones.
“Rajan is KLHA chief coach for the 1Mas Programme and we feel that since it clashes with his club duties, he should choose one and not take on both,” said Rajamanickam.
Rajan said he will wait for a black-and-white request, before taking a stand.
“I have not received any letter on the matter (to choose) either YNS or 1Mas. So, I will continue training both sides until I receive one.
“The 1Mas training is 3-5pm, while MHL duty is 8pm onwards and I feel I can juggle both with ease,” said the experienced club coach.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Belgium encore

LEAST WE FORGET: Belgium beat Germany in the 2007 EuroHockey Championship...
“The 2007 EuroHockey Nations Championship for men is the 11th edition of EuroHockey Nations Championship. It was held in Manchester, England from August 19 to August 26, 2007. Netherlands defeated Spain to win their third title, while Belgium upset Germany to secure the last automatic berth for 2008 Summer Olympic Games.”
Germany 'HAD' to play in an Olympic Qualifier in Kakamigahara, Japan. Of course they beat Japan in the final, and surprise, surprise Germany went on to win the 2008 Beijing Olympics gold medal.
As for Belgium, they finished ninth, yes, 9th, when they beat Canada in the Olympic playoff.


Schedule and Results

# Info Time Teams Score Status Match Sheet
April 5th, 2008

1st Round 7:00am Malaysia MAS - POL Poland 2 - 1 (0 - 1) Final

1st Round 9:00am Switzerland SUI - JPN Japan 1 - 2 (0 - 0) Final

1st Round 12:00pm Germany GER - ITA Italy 8 - 0 (4 - 0) Final
April 6th, 2008

1st Round 6:00am Switzerland SUI - GER Germany 0 - 10 (0 - 5) Final

1st Round 8:00am Japan JPN - POL Poland 6 - 1 (2 - 1) Final

1st Round 10:00am Italy ITA - MAS Malaysia 4 - 4 (1 - 1) Final
April 8th, 2008

1st Round 6:00am Poland POL - SUI Switzerland 3 - 2 (0 - 2) Final

1st Round 8:00am Japan JPN - ITA Italy 5 - 1 (3 - 1) Final

1st Round 10:00am Germany GER - MAS Malaysia 3 - 0 (1 - 0) Final
April 10th, 2008

1st Round 5:00am Malaysia MAS - SUI Switzerland 4 - 3 (2 - 1) Final

1st Round 7:00am Italy ITA - POL Poland 0 - 6 (0 - 3) Final

1st Round 9:00am Germany GER - JPN Japan 4 - 0 (1 - 0) Final
April 12th, 2008

1st Round 6:00am Poland POL - GER Germany 0 - 5 (0 - 3) Final

1st Round 8:00am Japan JPN - MAS Malaysia 3 - 3 (2 - 3) Final

1st Round 10:00am Switzerland SUI - ITA Italy 4 - 0 (2 - 0) Final
April 13th, 2008

Final 5-6 2:00am Switzerland SUI - ITA Italy 2 - 3 (0 - 1) Final

Final 3-4 4:30am Malaysia MAS - POL Poland 3 - 0 (1 - 0) Final

Final 1-2 7:00am Germany GER - JPN Japan 4 - 0 (1 - 0) Final

Another Belgium show...

The final round of pool matches in the men's GANT EuroHockey Championship saw England crush France and Germany outclass Russia before the encounter between Netherlands and Ireland turned into a 7-4 goalfest. The day ended with the day's highest stakes game, in which Belgium narrowly defeated Spain for their place in the semi-finals and ticket to London.
The day ended with the day's biggest game, the direct clash for second place in Pool A: it was London or qualifier time for Spain and Belgium. Once more cheered on by the largest and loudest group of supporters, Belgium started hungrier, more aggressive, and more dangerous than the Spaniards. Against the run of play however, it was Roc Oliva who found the net first for the Iberians with a brilliant reverse stick mid air swing. With the Belgians visibly disheartened, the Spaniards started gathering steam, and added their second ten minutes later, at the hands of Juan Fernandez. Belgium recovered fast, and began playing with more structure and effectiveness, and finally became able to put pressure on their opponents - for the moment without being able to make it count however, and the teams went into half time at 2-0 in Spain's favor.
Belgium were far from done however, and five minutes into the second half, a fantastic reverse stick shot by Max Luycx from the edge of the circle put the Red Devils back in hot pursuit. A controversial penalty corner little later saw Tom Boon put a powerful ball into the bottom left corner for the equalizer which saw the stands erupt in celebration - a draw would already have been enough for Belgium to secure their ticket to London. Nonetheless, Jérôme Dekeyser added one more for a clean victory, sealing Spain's fate and slip into the relegation pool.
The semi-finals in the men's tournament will thus see Belgium take on their neighbours from the Netherlands, while Germany clash with England. In the relegation pool, Spain are at the top thanks to their 5-0 win over Russia, followed by Ireland who take their 2-0 against France with them into pool C.

YNS feel their coach victimised

YAYASAN Negri Sembilan (YNS) feel their coach K. Rajan is being victimised when he was told to choose either the club or the 1Mas Programme.
YNS team manager M. Gobinathan, who is also the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and Negri Sembilan HA vice-president, is perplexed as to why his coach has been placed in a limbo.
“We have signed up Rajan to coach YNS, but have now been placed in a spot as 1Mas Project Director Lim Chiow Chua has told Kuala Lumpur HA secretary that Rajan cant coach both sides, but must make a choice,” said Gobinathan.
Rajan, a former Tenaga Nasional coach, is coaching the Kuala Lumpur 1Mas players.
“I strongly object to the ultimatum, as it is not only unfair, but also a double standard. Chiow Chuan should lead by example as he has been coaching the national Under-16 team since April, also also was the coach when the boys went to Germany in June.
“Rules must be enforced on all, not not select few who have been doing a great job in coaching clubs and also children,” said Gobinathan.
Datuk R. Yogeswaran, Independent Member of the MHF, had also voiced out his reservations on Chiow Chuan coach ing the National Under-16 team as well as managing the 1Mas programme in minutes of the steering committee meeting in July.
In the minutes, Yogeswaran was noted as saying: “Datuk Yogeswaran reiterated that the Project Director’s main re sponsibility should be with the 1Mas Programme. He is concerned that his role as the coach for the Project 2017 team will effect his main job and wants better planning in the future to avoid any clash of programme.”
“I am also perplexed as to how when the Chairman of the MHF Development Committee (Ken Pereira) had only nice things to say about the 1Mas Programme Camp held in Negri but the report to the MHF Council had some nasty things to say about it.
“However, since we have not received any written request from 1Mas for coach Rajan to choose his field, but only a verbal message to KLHA from 1Mas, our coach should be allowed to wear two hats as both his responsibilities to don’t clash,” said Gobinathan.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Target set for Ordos

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) has set a top- four target for the Inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China on Sept 3-11 as they look to build a world class outfit.
And for the Champions Challenge I in South Africa from Nov 26-Dec 4, the target is top-five so that Malaysia are not relegated to the lower Challenge tournament.
“The MHF are always serious when we send a team for any tournament. The target is always semi-finals, and to try their best after that.
“This is in line with our mission to break into the top-10 bracket in the near future,” said MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
Malaysian finished second behind Pakistan in the Asian Games, and would be fighting more epic battles when they play in the Asian Champions Trophy.
The confirmed teams are Pakistan. South Africa, India, Pakistan, Japan and China.
However, Pakistan will be hard-pressed to retain their Asian crown as selectors retained Mohammad Imran as captain while they axed the experienced trio of Rehan Butt, Sohail Abbas and Waseem Ahmad,
It is ironic, as when Malaysia lost the Asian Games gold to Pakistan 2-0, Sohail and Rehan were the scorers.
Malaysia open accounts in the Asian Champions Trophy against Pakistan.
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.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have confirmed that the top teams in the tournament will be promoted to Champions Trophy, while the following four teams will remain in the same bracket.
However, both the tournaments are just seen as a warm-up before Malaysia plays in the Olympic Qualifier next March, where a gold medal will not only see them play in London, but also see them breaking into the top-10 bracket in the world.

National players can play in MHL

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) council decided yesterday to allow national players to play in the Malaysia Hockey League from Sept 17 to Oct 23.
However, the council included certain conditions so that national players attend training with Tai coach Beng Hai from Monday to Thursday, and club duty will be during weekends.
"We decided on this win-win situation because it will look into the welfare of the players, clubs, and also the nation simultaniously," said MHF president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahamd Shah.
The decision would have come as a relief to double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) who have nine national players on their payroll.
"The agreeement on who is responsible if national players get injured has also been made. And the conditions will be strictly followed, and if a player is injured and can't attend national training, he also can't play in the MHL the next weekend," stressed Tengku Abdullah.
Coach Tai Beng Hai wanted the MHL either to be postponed to next year after the Olympic Qualifier or to run withour national players.
His main fear was injuries to his charges, and fitness problems which arise when they break camp.
"And we planned the MHL in such a way that the coach will have six weeks to train his charges for the Champions Challenge I in South Africa," said Tengku Abdullah.
The national team's next assignment is the Inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos next month.
Malaysia will be up against Asian Games champions Pakistan, South Korea, Japan, China, India and Pakistan in the tournament.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Double champs KLHC waiting for Godot

MALAYSIA Hockey League (MHL) double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) might just find their backs against the wall if a decision is taken today to bar national players from the league.
The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) council will meet today, and the most eagerly awaited decision is whether they are going to listen to coach Tai Beng Hai, or support the club structure.
MHF, due to an indecisive competitions committee, have placed MHL clubs in a dilemma as they keep them guessing about the tournament date, the availability of national players for club duty and the structure of the MHL.
“KLHC has not made any preparations for the MHL, as we are still waiting for a concrete answer on whether national players will be allowed to play for clubs or not.
“We also have not decided on the coach yet, as K. Dhar maraj is now fully involved with the Project 2013 squad,” said KLHC team manager George Koshy.
The champions have nine national players out of 22, and if the MHF decide to bar national players from the MHL, they will be left with only 13 players.
“We will be hard-pressed to defend our titles if the nine are not allowed to represent their club. That leaves us with nothing on the bench, and at this stage, it would be difficult to find replacements as well,” said Koshy.
Beng Hai is of the opinion that the MHL should be postponed to after the London Olympics Qualifier which is slated for March next year.
And if the MHF decide to hold the tournament this year, Beng Hai is of the opinion that national players should not be released to clubs as he fears fitness and injury problems.
The national team will play two tournaments this year, starting with the Inaugural Asian Champions Trophy next month and then the Champions Challenge in November.
Sapura and Yayasan Negri Sembilan have also expressed their disappointment on the inability of the competitions committee to come to a conclusion earlier in the year, because they were unable to sign on quality foreign players to beef up their challenge.

MHF place Sapura in a tight spot

THE Malaysian Hockey Federation’s (MHF) indecisiveness have placed clubs in a tight spot, as they are unable to plan for the Malaysia Hockey League (MHF).
The MHF have left it to the 11th hour, this Saturday, to decide when they will hold the league, its format, and also if national players will be allowed or barred from the MHL.
Sapura, Overall champions in 2005, 2006 and League champions in 2004 and 2005, are one of the hardest hit clubs.
“When the MHF leave it to the last minute to decide matters ion the MHL, clubs are placed in a bind because we cant plan ahead.
“Sapura still has not signed any foreign player for this year, simply because the MHF have yet to decide when to hold the League, and we can’t simply sign a blind contract,” said Sapura team manager Abdullah Yunus.
Sapura are also waiting to see if the MHF allows national players to play in the League before they can plan their local players list.
“To be fait to clubs, we need to be informed early if national players will be allowed or barred from the MHL so that we can approach quality local players, or just concentrate on the youth that we have,” said Abdullah.
The planning for this season’s MHL has been chaotic as the MHF can’t seem to make up their mind on how appease both the clubs as well as their national coach Tai Beng Hai.
Beng Hai is of the opinion that the MHL should be postponed after the Olympic Qualifiers next year, possibly in march, so as not to disrupt his training module.
However, clubs who rely on national players and sponsors are of the opinion that the MHL should be held this year, and national players must be allowed to represent their pay masters.
A workshop was held, and those who attended decided that the MHL be held on Sept 23 minus national players. However, the decision will only be endorsed, or refined when the council meet on Saturday.
Sapura finished third in the League and second in the Overall title with help from foreign signings last season, but they have yet to get off the starting block in preparing a team for this season.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Japan matches give valuable insight for future

THE Five-Series Friendlies against Japan proved an in valuable insight into the Malaysian hockey team as they prepare to qualify for the Olympics after a lapse of 12 years.
The last time Malaysia played at that level was in Sydney 2000, where they ended 11th after beating Poland 3-2 in the 11th-12th classification match.
Amazingly, in the five Group A matches, Malaysia drew four and lost only one.
In the Japan friendlies, Japan won 2-1 in the first two matches, before Malaysia won 4-1 and 3-2. The last match ended 2-2, and the series ended in a draw.
“I tried out many combinations, especially in the forward- line and some of the pairings produced results while others still need work.
“In the end, the series had shown some promise in the team and we need to improve further when we play against Asia’s best in Ordos next month,” said Malaysian chief coach Tai Beng Hai.
Prolific striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin was rested for the five matches, after he picked up an injury during the Razak Cup in Malacca -- and that made a big difference in sharpness up-front.
Ordos will host the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy on Sept 3-11, and Malaysia will be up against Asian Games champions Pakistan, South Korea, India, China and Japan.
The two glaring mistakes which have yet to be rectified are the inability of our forwards to nail sitters, and then the mentality of losing matches in the last 10 minutes of a match.
The most evident was in the fifth friendly, where Malaysia took a 2-0 lead and then allowed in two soft goals in the last 10 minutes of play to allow Japan to share the series.
“I used the friendlies to test some new players, and when we took a 2-0 lead, I fielded some of the hopefuls to give them a fair chance.
“Also, after we took the lead, Faizal Saari had a bad fall and I thought he twisted his knee and rested him and also a few seniors so that they do not get injured in a friendly.
“I need the players to be ready and fit for not only the Asian Champions Trophy, but also the Champions Challenge (in November) and the qualifier, so three was no need to push them too hard against Japan,” said Beng Hai
Malaysia will most likely play in the Belgium Qualifier and would have to beat the hosts, as well as likely opponents Poland and Ireland.
However, if India fail to solve their domestic problem involving two hockey bodies, the International Hockey Fed eration (FIH) will take away their Qualifier hosting rights and Malaysia is highly touted to be the replacement venue.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Malaysia draw series with Japan

MALAYSIA drew the Five-Series friendly against Japan when they collapsed to a 2-2 draw after taking a 2-0 lead at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
Japan won the first two matches with identical 2-1 scores, but Malaysia won the third 4-1, then 3-2 and threw away the match yesterday.
Malaysia played their best match in the series, but still could not break the Japanese determination in the first half, as they defended stoutly.
Japan had one penalty corner, while Malaysia had none as the national strikers took goalbound shots, instead of trying to win penalty corners.
And they almost took the lead, when Faizal Saari beat three defenders to set up Azlan Misron, who was facing an open goalmouth, only to see the former skipper shooting wide.
In the second half, after some superb defending by goalkeeper S. Kumar denied the Japanese, Izwan Firdaus received a long pass and he beat one defender and sent a reverse stick shot which went crashing onto the board.
The goal opened up the match, and in the 55th minute, it was Faizal Saari's turn to score off a field goal to increase the lead.
Japan narrowed the lead in the 66th minute when Toshiro Tashibanu and then drew level in the 67th minute off Kenta Tanaka to force a draw.
The national team's next assignment is the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy on Sept 3-11 at the Mongolian city or Ordos.
Asian Games champions Pakistan, South Korea, India, China and Japan have confirmed for the tournament.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

FIFTH FRIENDLY: Malaysia 3 Japan 2

MALAYSIA beat Japan 3-2 in the fourth friendly at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
The series is now tied 2-2, as Japan won the first two friendlies with identical 2-1 scores while Malaysia won the third 4-1.
Today Malaysia will play their final friendly and need a win to seal it.
"We are slowly getting there but need to tie up some lose ends to make the team stronger. Today (yesterday) the midfield made some mistakes which allowed the Japanese to score two easy goals.
"However, the series is still tied 2-2 and we need to play much better in the last match tomorrow (today)," said national coach Tai Beng Hai.
Lanky Izwan Firdaus gave Malaysia a solid start, when he sidestepped a defender and slammed in the first goal in the 13th minute.
And Malaysia took control of the match but failed to increase the lead until they won a penalty corner in the 23rd minute.
Radzi Rahim's attempt was saved by the goalkeeper but the ball came back to him, and this time, Radzi slammed in a grounder for a 2-0 lead.
However, instead of silencing the Japanese, Malaysia collapsed by letting in two soft field goals which were scored by Hiroki Sakamato in the 26th and 28th minutes to share the spoils into tthe breather.
Malaysia played much better in the second half, and had plenty of chances to score but muffed sitters and the score remained tied.
However, in the 68th minute a pass from Faizal Saari found his brother Fitri who scored the winner to the relief of the Malaysian camp.

Friday, August 12, 2011

YNS: Difficult to sign top-flight foreign talent

YAYASAN Negri Sembilan (YNS) are having difficulties to source for foreign players for their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) challenge, as all the top-flight players have a packed schedule in the coming months.
YNS registered three Pakistanis, five Indian players as well as one a Bangladeshi last season, but the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have limited the number of foreigners to six this year.
“Even looking for six quality players, from the Indian continent, is a tough task as Pakistan and India players have commitments in the Asian Champions Trophy and other tournaments,” said Negri Sembilan HA secretary P. Tamil Selvan.
But even with the best foreign players from Pakistan like Shakeel Abbasi and Mohamed Imran, YNS still finished fifth in the League and lost 2-1 and 4-2 to double champions Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the two-leg semifinals.
“We had the best then, but it looks like we will have to make do with some budding players from India and Pakistan for this season.
“And with the best local players also tied up with other clubs, we will make do with some home-talent to make up the numbers,” said Tamil.
The MHF will make a concrete stand on the issue of national players during their Aug 20 meeting. The MHF have three choices, starting with postponing the MHL to after the Olympic Qualifiers next year, allowing national players to represent their clubs, and the third is to bar national players and start the MHL on Sept 23.
“We do not have any national players, and I am of the opinion that the MHL will be more balanced if MHF decide to abide by the decision taken during a workshop to discuss the issue.”
YNS will hold MHL trials at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil at 8.30pm tonight, after the national team plays their fourth friendly against Japan at the same venue.
National coach Tai Beng Hai would is preparing a side for the First Asian Champions Trophy in China on Sept 3-11 and prefers that the MHL is held after the Olympic Qualifiers next year so that his training schedule will not be disrupted.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Beng Hai clears the air, again...

NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai has made his stand clear on the issue of national players competing in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL), but many had misunderstood his reasons.
Yesterday, at a joint management committee meeting between the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) and the National Sports Council (NSC) Beng Hai made it clearer for all again, as two clubs had written in an appeal on the matter.
“From the very beginning I had never insinuated that national players should be banned from the MHL. I was always of the opinion that the MHL should be postponed after the Olympic Qualifiers next year.
“However, during a workshop on the matter, those present took a stand that the MHL must not be postponed, but national players should not be allowed to play in it so that I can carry on with my programme uninterrupted,” said Beng Hai.
The workshop’s decision is pending an approval stamp from the MHF Council, which will meet on Aug 20.
And yesterday, he again told the MHF-NSC joint meeting that he stands by his three proposals put forward before the workshop, to MHF deputy President (Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad) during a joint senior-junior team management committee meeting.
“I could not attend the workshop because it was postponed twice and when the new date was announced, I had already bought seven tickets for an overseas vacation with my family on the said date.
“However, I had stated three scenarios. The first was that the MHL be postponed after the Olympic Qualifier which is possibly in March next year.
“The second was to continue the MHL being held in mid-week and national players come back for training with me during weekends.
“And the third was to go ahead with the MHL minus the national players.”
However, Beng Hai had his reservations on the second proposal as history has proven that is a bad idea.
“The proposal to play midweek and then show up for national training during weekends has been tried many times before and it has never worked.
“From experience I know that many players will use numerous excuses, like tired or injured, to skip national training.
“And also, in the past, some clubs had refused to allow players to attend national training after they started losing matches in the MHL. Also, the players always return to camp unfit at the end of the MHL, and I have to start all over again,” lamented Beng Hai.
The coach is still of the opinion that the MHL should be postponed but if the MHF Council takes a strong stand against players who play truant or fake injuries, then he is all for releasing his charges to clubs.
“It is still in the hands of the Council, whether they want to postpone the MHL or carry on with national players. But my request to the Council is that if they choose to release the players to clubs, it must come with a warning that players who fail to turn up for national training by making excuses and faking injuries will be dropped from the squad,” said Beng Hai.

Finally, Malaysia 4 Japan 1


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia put up a strong first-half display to chalk up a convincing 4-1 win over Japan in a friendly match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
Despite starting the match at 6.10pm – more than an hour before the breaking of fast – the Malaysians still managed to grab their first win in their third friendly, having lost the first two matches with identical 2-1 scorelines on Sunday and Monday.
The Malaysians, especially the Muslim players, began aggressively to take a 12th minute lead when forward Faizal Saari sent in a high flick past Japan goalkeeper Shunsuke Nagaoka off a penalty corner setpiece.
But Malaysia’s joy was shortlived. Three minutes later, the Japanese equalised through Katsuyoshi Nagasana — also off a penalty corner.
Coming through: Malaysia’s Hafifihafiz Hanafi and Malaysia dominated the game after that and surprised the Japanese by scoring three goals in 10 minutes.
First, they regained the lead in the 21st minute when Hafifihafiz Hanafi’s cross from the right was deflected into goal by forward Izwan Firdaus.
Three minutes later, Faizal was on target again for his second and the team’s third goal off another penalty corner.
Defender Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, who was the top scorer in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) with 27 goals last season, made it 4-1 in the 30th minute off another penalty corner.
National coach Tai Beng Hai praised his men for a job well done despite them having to play the match before the breaking of fast.
“We lost the first two matches because the Muslim players were still adapting to playing before the breaking of fast. But after more than a week of fasting they are used to playing before (buka puasa),” he said.
Meanwhile, Japan will play a friendly against the Project 2013 squad today before they play two matches with the national senior team on Saturday and Sunday.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Japan win 2-1, again...

MALAYSIA went down to Japan 2-1 again on the second friendly at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
The national players played to the same script as the first friendly on Sunday, as they continued to play in patches.
Malaysia only showed some grit in the first 15 inutes of the match and there were plenty of action infront of the Japanese goalmouth before they took an early lead.
Izwan Firdaus scored in the fifth minute off a field effort, but that was the only good attempt in the first half.
Japan won the equaliser when Nabil Fiqri's rough tackle in the 25-yard area landed him a yellow card in the 18th minute, and Japan a penalty corner.
Katsuyoshi Nagasama flicked high into the net to beat goalkeeper S. Kumar for the equaliser.
During the breather, the Malaysain players also broke fast and when they returned to the pitch, the Japanese took total control of the match -- like they did in the first friendly.
And in the 56th minute, they won their fourth penalty corner and this time Toshiro Tachibana flicked high to beat goalkeeper Kumar to retake the lead, which also turned out to be the winner.
"I am not too worried with the results in theis series, as we are not only testing players but also their endurance during the fasting month," said national coach Tai Beng Hai.
Today is a break, while both teams will square off again on Wednesday at 6.10pm.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Japan 2 Malaysia 1

THE national hockey team looked lethargic as they lost the first friendly 2-1 against Japan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil last night.
Coach Tai Beng Hai has four more matches against the Japanese during the fasting month, to test their endurance as the London Olympics will also be held during the fasting month.
Malaysia played in patches and the second minute goal was a defensive blunder which made Toshiro Tachibana's task of tucking in the ball past goalkeeper S. Kumar like a text-book drill.
Japan were on top of Malaysia most of the firsthalf, but were denied a bigger lead as Kumar stopped a handful of point-blank shot.
However, Malaysia scored the equaliser off a rare attack in the 23rd minute of the match, when Faizal Saari sounded the board.
After the breather, Malaysia kept losing the ball while the Japanese had a field day again, and Ryuji Farusato made it 2-1 with a deft field goal in the 47th minute to retake the lead.
And the Japanese kept the lead for the remainder of the match and won the first friendly with ease.
The second friendly will be held today at 6.50pm.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

How India's hockey federations cheated nation

By Sundeep Misra
— The author has written on hockey for over 20 years. His fiction based on hockey. Blood on the Turf is releasing in October.

Sports minister Ajay Maken has missed the opportunity of a lifetime. Provided, he thinks it was a miss. In one shot, he had the advantage with no goalkeeper in sight to score the match-winner.
But like a typical Indian striker with jelly hands and trembling wrists, he shot out and settled for a draw. Never before had any sports minister sat with a sawed off shot gun; Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) in his cross hairs.
It was a moment that should have been seized by Maken to clean Indian hockey once and for all. Everybody was on the table, Hockey India’s Narendra Batra whose only role seems to be passing the buck, RK Shetty, president of IHF, who believes KPS Gill has the divine right to rule hockey and KPS Gill, who still believes hockey is a sultanate and he has acquired life-time rights.
Maken could have easily twisted them around and forced them to walk on purely one path — the growth and professionalism of Indian hockey.
That moment has passed. In the merger of HI and IHF, it is Indian sports’ biggest fraud committed. One body was formed (it still needs to be registered) but everything being done on a parallel level and in duplicates. The saving grace was they agreed on one national team at least.
The big or small question (as you want to look at it) is whether anybodyis looking at the future of the sport. Grass roots hockey is diminishing faster than the water table in Himachal Pradesh.
Sub-junior hockey is dead while junior hockey is in a comatose stage. The seniors are fighting over crumbs while the officials are engaged in a fire-fight to sell the game to the highest bidder.
The silver lining is a few people still believe that the sport can be sold and made it into the nation’s No 2 sport after cricket. But Batra, Shetty and Gill, like zillions of sports officials have no clue about the sport.
Gill was voted to power in 1994. We were still good then and to the credit of Gill, he did raise the profile. A few years later, he fell victim to what is a disease in Indian sport officialdom — the president of the IHF thought he was bigger than the sport.
Gill took decisions that professionals take when it comes to coaching and selections. He hired and fired coaches as if they were his personal property. Result — hockey slid faster than a falling comet. India for the first time failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics. Gill, finally, had managed to create history.
Now the same man wants the reins back.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is a visionless organisation. Happy at being confined to the Olympics and living of grants, the FIH has done nothing to raise the profile and make the sport professional.
The Europeans rule it and are happy with their disgustingly boring tea parties. Europe needs to rule while the FIH has understood, though late, that without India, there is no money in hockey. So this massive PR exercise with India by gifting tournaments to us.
With FIH ruling out the merger and now threatening to pull out the tournaments including the Olympic Qualifiers, Indian hockey is at the crossroads.
Maken, in so many ways, has a second chance. He can call in the warring chiefs — read out the riot act and discipline them. Bring them under one body and merge the officials.
At the end of the day, whether you work for HI, IHF or Bharatiya Hockey (proposed name for the new body), you are anyway working for hockey. It is the designation that should be important to the Batra’s, Shetty’s and the Gills.
Holding the World Series Hockey will always be a point of attrition unless the FIH agrees to it. An easier thing would be to rename it into the Indian Hockey League and hold the tournament under one body. In essence, it becomes an Indian league with foreign players.
In his answer to the Lok Sabha on FIH not recognising the joint bodies, Maken said, “FIH has expressed concern over the proposed settlement stating that it would go against their statute, which provides for a sole national governing body in each member country. The entire matter is under consideration.”
With around six months left for the Olympic Qualifiers, we are still fighting over rusted office chairs and a sport which is on life-support. Ironically, by the very people who want to cut, dice and share the spoils even now.
Even the sports ministry’s very visionary step of appointing Australian Michael Nobbs as coach for five years is in danger.
IHF president RK Shetty said after the merger that they didn’t have a problem with Nobbs as he has appointed by the sports ministry. But he did throw in a hint by saying, “We would also like Joaquim Carvalho to be a part of the coaching process.”
Carvalho who played in the 1986 World Cup team where India finished last was also the coach when India failed to qualify for the Beijing Olympics.
Indian hockey does need a strong-arm ruler; someone who understands the sport and its future. Chairman of the technical committee and a former captain, Pargat Singh, believes hockey needs to progress beyond the state politics.
“It doesn’t matter who comes,” he says. “He needs to understand the sport and its future. Hockey has been battered enough.”
Like always, Indian hockey will find a middle path and sign off with the FIH. The Olympic Qualifiers have to be held in India if we are to qualify.
It would also do well for Gill, Shetty and Batra to concentrate on the Olympic Qualifiers rather than who will occupy which chair.
Priorities are to be chalked out. Otherwise, in six to seven months time, we will have a repeat of the Chile Olympic Qualifiers. Once out of the Olympics for the second consecutive time, Gill, Batra and Shetty will really not have a sport left to fight over.

Test of faith..

NATIONAL chief coach Tai Beng Hai will test his players endurance during the fasting month, as the London Olympics will also be held during the fasting period.
A Five-Test series against Japan will start from today at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, where the coach and officials from the National Sports Institute (NSI) will get a chance to gauge the energy level of London 2012 hopefuls.
“Our matches against Japan have always been close, with the last encounter ending in a 2-2 draw (2008 Olympics Qualifier) and so I believe playing against Japan is a good option to test several players who have shown improvements in the last few months.
“Also, since the London Olympics will be held during the fasting month, the NSI officials will also conduct several tests to see the energy level of players before and during the fasting month so that we will be ready to face the challenges,” said Beng Hai.
Malaysia will play in one of the three Olympic Qualifiers next year, after they lost 2-0 to Pakistan in the final of the Asian Games.
And Malaysia’s group will only be decided after the Oceania Cup on Oct 5-9 which involves Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
The Oceania Cup offers two tickets each for the men and women’s tournament and Australia and New Zealand are the sure bets in this lop-sided Qualifier.
But each of the Qualifiers only offer one ticket to London, and Malaysia will be walking on thin ice at the host venue, which could be either in Japan, India or Belgium.
“These friendlies against Japan, and then the Asian Champions Trophy are great run-ups to achieve targets set for the Champions Challenge and also the Olympic Qualifier.
“I will be testing players, as well as other conditions during the Japan friendlies and so if we do not achieve results in the matches, there is no reason to push the panic button.
“The end target is to do well in the Champions Challenge and then qualify for the Olympics,” said Beng Hai.
Today’s match will be held at 8.45pm, after the players break fast, while on Monday the match is slated at 6.50pm to gauge how the players perform at the tail end of their fasting day.

Friday, August 5, 2011

India mulling on FIH threat

NEW DELHI: Sports Minister Ajay Maken said that the government is looking into the objections raised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on the temporary power-sharing formula between Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation to run the game in the country.
Maken told the Rajya Sabha that the government has taken note of FIH's concern over the temporary arrangement reached between the two warring bodies over running hockey affairs in the country.
"FIH has expressed concern over the proposed settlement stating that it would go against their statute, which provides for a sole national governing body in each member country. The entire matter is under consideration," said Maken.
Stating that the agreement between HI and IHF was not in compliance with the Olympic Charter and the FIH Statutes, the world body had threatened to withdraw all international tournaments, including the Champions Trophy here in December and Olympic qualifiers for men and women in February next year, until the matter is resolved.
FIH president Leandro Negre had written to the sports minister, calling for an urgent meeting, involving the presidents of HI and the Indian Olympic Association to discuss the FIH's concerns.
Maken informed the House that HI and IHF would maintain their individual legal existence and set up a Joint Executive Board comprising members of their existing executive boards "for limited purpose of holding annual national championships, selection of national team in different categories, preparation of national team and participation of national teams in FIH-approved international tournaments".
"A joint working committee shall be constituted consisting of presidents of HI and IHF as co-chairman and three members of each body. As per the provisional settlement, the government will review the position after Dec 31, 2012, and decide further course of action on the basis of guidelines for recognition as a national sports federation," Maken said.
"The annual National Championship will be jointly held by HI and IHF after holding joint selection of state teams for which appropriate selection procedure shall be put in place by the Joint Executive Board," he said.

The Times of India

Lack of fresh talent quite telling


I WATCHED the recently concluded Razak Cup hockey inter-state tournament in Malacca, the oldest premier national hockey competition.
As expected, Kuala Lumpur (KL), with so many national players at its disposal, won again. Negri Sembilan won the Division Two championships.
The tournament was well organised by Malacca but unfortunately, the home team was last in Division One.
My congratulations to Pahang and Terengganu (and Perlis in Division Two) for playing good, exciting hockey and qualifying for the semi-finals. The experienced teams, like KL and Perak, were a letdown when it came to sportsmanship and discipline.
My daughter commented: "Why did the national players keep protesting to the referee each time something happened?"
As a qualified referee and player, I could sense that the players were "playing" with the referees to gain advantage. This is an unacceptable culture.
I was also disappointed that the news on the Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) website was not updated and I had to rely on other blogs.
What about the contribution of Sabah and Sarawak to this tournament? More can be done by MHF to promote the game there. Sabah and Sarawak have produced talented sportsmen, but not in hockey. Why?
I dread to think of the future of Malaysian hockey. The same players are in every tournament, which says that our development efforts are not producing the right players.
The MHF must accept its weaknesses and move forward by engaging with the media and dynamic stakeholders. It should emulate structures of developed hockey nations like Australia, Germany and Holland to ensure collective responsibilities are placed on all stakeholders -- with measurements of performance and progress. This is especially so for state associations.
The MHF needs to be more dynamic, resourceful and transparent.

Johor Baru,

Three new GKs for Road to London

MALAYSIA will play a Five-Test series against Japan from Sunday to kick-start their Road To London Programme, with three new goalkeepers named into the training squad.
National chief coach Tai Beng Hai, on the recommen dations of former Pakistan national coach and goalkeeper Shahid Ali Khan, included Khairul Affendy of Armed Forces, Hairi Rahman of Johor, Safiuddin Sahrom of Bukit Jalil Sports School into the training squad.
Shahid was down in Malacca for the Razak Cup, and he conducted a few training sessions for goalkeepers and the best available were included into the Road to London Pro gramme.
There will be three Qualifiers for the London Olympics, and Malaysia’s group will only be decided after the Oceania Cup on Oct 5-9 which involves Australia, New Zealand and Fiji.
The Oceania Cup offers two tickets each for the men and women’s tournament and Australia and New Zealand are the sure bets in this lop-sided Qualifier.
There were two other changes to the training list: “Rashid (Baharom) withdrew and was replaced by Fitri Saari while the injured Azri Hassan was replaced with Amir Farid,” said Beng Hai.
The coach will assess Amir in the Test matches against Japan at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
The next tournament for Beng Hai’s charges is the in augural Asian Champions Trophy on Sept 3-11 at the Mon golian city or Ordos.
Asian Games champions Pakistan, South Korea, India, China and Japan have confirmed for the tournament.
NATIONAL TRAINEES: S. Kumar (gk), Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), Razie Rahim, Baljit Singh, Madzli Ikmar, Amin Rahim, Azreen Rizal, Shahrun Nabil, Sukri Mutalib, Marhan Jalil, Nabil Fiqri, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari, Azlan Misron, Hafifihafiz Hanafi, Izwan Firdaus, Kelvinder Singh,
Azammi Adabi, Izzat Rahim, Fitri Bakar, Shahrin Mo hamad, Firhan Ashaari, Faiz Helmi.
Replacement under the Attachment Program: Amir Farid, Fitri Saari.
Goalkeepers Project: Khairul Affendy, Hairi Rahman, Safi uddin Sahrom.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Australian Sporting Visa snag for Faizal & Shukri

NATIONAL hockey players Shukri Mutalib and Faizal Saari returned from Australia yesterday, after their sojourn with Southern Hotshots was cut short due to a visa problem.
Shukri and Faizal had helped Southern Hotshots into the quarter-finals of the Australian Hockey League (AHL) before returning home to play in the Razak Cup last week.
However, when they went back to Australia on July 29, they were stopped at the Australian immigration.
“The snag here is because Faizal and Shukri only had the normal six months visa and not Sporting Visa as required under Australian law.
“This came about after their club only requested from the MHF (Malaysian Hockey Federation) a release letter and from the chief coach (Tai Beng Hai), a no-objection letter to skip a Europe Tour,” said MHF secretary Maninderjit Singh.
The club paid for their tickets, while the players obtained visas on their own.
Maninderjit also said there was some miscommunication among the players and immigration officials upon their arrival in Australia for the knock-out stage.
“The players failed to explain that they do not receive a salary from the AHL Club to play for them, but only allowance from the National Sports Council and also allowance from Southern Hotshots for coaching children there.
“However, the immigration still allowed them in and the MHF were in the process of helping them get the Sporting Visa when we discovered that it takes two weeks to apply for one.
“And since Southern Hotshots were not sure of reaching the semi-finals and finals in the AHL, MHF decided that instead of loitering around for another two weeks in Aus tralia, the players will be recalled to play in the friendlies against Japan from Saturday,” said Maninderjit.
Faizal enjoyed a good run with Southern Hotshots where he scored three goals in five matches. And while playing in the state-level Adelaide League, he scored seven goals off three matches for Forestville.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Sarjit gets 10 years and RM5,000 fine

FORMER national skipper Sarjit Singh and his son Manraj Singh received strong reprimands from the Malaysia Singapore Sikh Sports Council (MSSSC) for their involvement in a brawl during the Gurdwara Cup in Ipoh in June.
The MSSSC Disciplinary Board yesterday handed Sarjit a ban from playing hockey for 10 years and a fine of RM5,000.
His son, Manraj Singh who is a budding national juniors and club player, was banned for three years.
The incident happened during a Johor-Selangor match, and Sarjit and Manraj were playing for Johor. Sarjit and his son did not attend the MSSSC Disciplinary Board hearing yesterday.
Johor team manager Harmail Singh was banned for two years, while Selangor team manager Ragbir Singh received six months.
Selangor players Harmesh Singh and Jagwinder Singh received 18-months and six-months bans respectively.
Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary Maninderjit Singh said since the tournament is sanctioned by them, either the competitions committee or council will look into the report.
“Since the tournament was sanctioned by MHF, we will wait for the report and then either discuss it in a competitions committee or council meeting. And if it is endorsed, then the ban will encompass every MHF sanctioned tournament,” said Maninderjit.
However, Maninderjit said there is still avenue for an appeal: “Normally, the appeal should be sent in 14 days after the decision is taken and the MHF will consider every angle before we endorse the MSSSC decision, including their competition rules, which could be likely during our council meeting on Aug 20.