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...