Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kiwis check into final

NEW Zealand beat Malaysia 4-1 to qualify for the final of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
    It was again a case of porous defense for Malaysia, as they have let in a total of 13 goals in five matches.
    Malaysia were a jaded side in the first half, as they gave the Kiwis too much space to roam and were punished early in the match.
     Ryan Archibald made it look easy by tucking the ball between goalkeeper S. Kumar’s pads in the fifth minute, and it was just the start of Malaysia’s misery.
    New Zealand, who beat Malaysia 2-1 in the final of the World Cup Qualifier, then hit their second when Shea Mcaleese’s 16th minute volley almost tore the netting.
  And in the 34th minute, Nick Wilson made it 3-0 and the prospect of a comeback was lost when Malaysia’s only penalty corner was also wasted.
   After the break, it was the same script, as New Zealand kept possession and attacked on counters, while Malaysia were falling and chugging along waiting for the clock to kill the match.
   However, a lucky break in the 45th minute saw Hafifi Hafiz slam in the ball between the pads of Kiwi goalkeeper.
    But that was as far as they went as Shay Neil scored the fourth goal in the 62nd minute to qualify for the final.
   Meanwhile, India re-ignited their fire with a 2-1 win over Pakistan, while Britain played to a 1-1 draw with South Korea.
   India and Pakistan were heading for a draw, but V. Sunil scored in the final minute for nine points after six matches.
     Sandeep Singh gave India the lead off a powerful flick which sailed past goalkeeper Imran Shah. It was his second goal in the tournament.
    But Pakistan never gave up and finally scored off a Sohail Abbas penalty corner in the 60th minute.
                        P  W  D  L  F  A  PTS

N ZEALAND    5   4   0    1    18      7      12
ARGENTINA   5   3    0    2     14    16     9
INDIA            6   3    0    3     12     15      9
BRITAIN         5   2   2    1      11     10     8
S KOREA        5   1    2    2      10      8      5
MALAYSIA      5   1    2    2     10      13     5
PAKISTAN      5   1    0    4     8       14      3

 RESULTS: Britain 1 South Korea 1, Pakistan 1 India 2, New Zealand 4 Malaysia 1.
  JUNE 2: South Korea v New Zealand (4pm), Britain v Pakistan (6pm), Argentina v Malaysia (8pm).


The draw opens up race for final.
 India beat Pakistan 2-1 with goals from Sandeep and Sunil.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How low can they go...


(Satwant Singh Dhaliwal)

My visitors list at my corner in the open terrace continues as the Great Britain team officials paid me a visit before their match against New Zealand.
  And after the Argentina v India match, it was the coach of the world number one team Ric Charlesworth who dropped by to say hello, stating that he had read my plight on the internet.
  That is how powerful the internet can be but trust the Malaysian Hockey Confederation and those in the Organising Committee to realise this.
   What was more sad was the fact that FIH had, finally after years of trying, put up a story on their website asking fans to visit
   Except for some SMS exchanges, no effort has been made by any party to ask me to continue with my work. The reason given is that they have appointed a Media Officer from a government agency and his boss is elated at being given the chance to go on stage to receive a souvenir from HRH Sultan Azlan Shah on Friday.
  I painstakingly produced what many are acclaiming as the best souvenir program for the SAS Cup and someone else of going on stage to claim credit.

How low can they go.

In the words of the British official - what they did to you was downright disgusting...

Australia expect better draw after protest

SYDNEY: Coach Ric Charlesworth said on Monday that he was hopeful the Australian men’s field hockey team would receive a fairer draw at the London Olympics after lodging an official protest.
   Charlesworth was furious last week when his world number one “Kookaburras” were handed three early morning starts in their group matches, while main rivals Germany avoided the early timeslot altogether in the opposite group.
   Hockey Australia fired in an official protest, along with recommendations, to the organising committee of the London Games and the International Hockey Federation (FIH).
   Charlesworth said he was optimistic of a positive outcome and expected a decision to be made this week.
   “There are 10 early starts, there are 12 teams in the tournament and we got three of them. That doesn’t make any sense and I suspect there will be an adjustment,” Charlesworth told reporters in Perth.
   “I wouldn’t have been so keen to be vociferous if I didn’t think we could change it.
   “We expect to play early games. We expect to play one or two, but we don’t expect to play three spaced over the tournament like they are.
   “That doesn’t make any sense and it’s unfair.”
   Charlesworth said the 8.30am timeslot would require players to wake up at 5am in a major disruption to their daily tournament routine.
  Australia have dominated international men’s field hockey since Charlesworth took charge of the national team in 2009 and are strongly fancied for the gold medal in London.


Jason Lee furious..

Not happy: following the defeat to Argentina head coach Jason Lee said: "If we play like that in the Olympic Games we will finish in the minor placings." Photo: PAUL GROVER

"GB will face Argentina in their opening match of the Olympics".
Great Britain coach Jason Lee criticised an "appalling performance" as his side lost 3-2 to Argentina in their third match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.
   Lee suggested such form at this summer's Olympics would leave the team well short of the medal places. Ironically Team GB will face Argentina in their opening match of the Games.
   "Quite simply it was an appalling performance," he said on Monday, three days after his team had let slip a two-goal lead to draw 3-3 with lowly Malaysia. "If we play like that in the Olympic Games we will finish in the minor placings."
   Enrique Paredes put Argentina – whose world ranking of nine is five positions below fourth-placed GB's – ahead after just eight minutes and although East Grinstead midfielder Ashley Jackson equalised just after half-time Paredes restored the South Americans' lead within two minutes.
   Lucas Cammareri swept home Argentina's third from the middle of the circle and although Jackson's late penalty corner gave GB hope, even replacing goalkeeper James Fair with an outfield player for the remaining four minutes could not force an equaliser.
   Great Britain face New Zealand, who have won all three matches, on Wednesday without the services of James Tindall as the Surbiton forward was ruled out of the remainder of the tournament after turning an ankle in Sunday's win over India.
    The Telegraph

Shakeel and Rehan fined one million rupees

The Pakistan Hockey Federation received instructions regarding Sanctioned and Unsanctioned events being staged all over the world in hockey playing countries, which were ultimately circulated to all affiliated units for strict compliance in Pakistan. Following Pakistani players have contractual obligations with M/s. NIMBUS who organised World Hockey Series in India, which was declared by the FIH as “Unsanctioned”:-
  M/s. Rehan Butt, Waseem Ahmed, Zeeshan Ashraf, Shakeel Abbasi, Imran Warsi, Adnan Maqsood, Tariq Aziz and Mudassar Ali Khan.
   It was very alarming for the PHF and PHF immediately informed FIH about these players. Over and above, PHF forwarded this case to PHF Disciplinary Committee to probe and investigate into the matter and forward recommendations for President PHF. In the meantime, PHF issue Show Cause Notices to all the players who took part in the unsanctioned event. The replies to the Show Cause Notices are still awaited.
   PHF Discipline Committee called all the players on 7th May 2012. The players appeared before the Committee are Rehan Butt, Waseem Ahmed, Zeeshan Ashraf, Shakeel Abbasi and Tariq Aziz. Imran Warsi, Adnan Maqsood and Mudassar Ali Khan did not appear before the Committee for unknown reasons.
   The Committee demanded from the players their original contract/documents with the NIMBUS and record of first payment received. All of them provided the required record except Imran Warsi being out of country.
   The recommendations of the PHF Discipline Committee have been received and President PHF has approved the recommendations as under:-
   1. M/s. Shakeel Abbasi and Rehan Butt have been fined one million rupees (US$10 711 / GB£6 825 / €8 521) each as they preferred money over the PHF and national cause, as both of them were earmarked for the national team, which is preparing to take part in the London Olympics. They not only violated PHF Constitution/FIH Bye-Laws but have brought embarrassment to the nation.
   2. Rest of the players who participated has been fined Rs. 2.5 lakhs (UD$2 677 / GB£1 706 / €2 130) each.
   3. If the players do not pay the fine imposed will be banned to participate for a period of one year in national/international hockey activities.
    According to PHF Constitution, the players have the right to appeal to President PHF within seven days from date of issue of this letter

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Aussie Goss in charge

AUSTRALIAN Oliver Goss set the pace with a four-under 68 at the 25th MPI-Saujana Amateur Championship, three shots ahead of Malaysian Amateur Open Champion Gavin Kyle Green and national player Chan Tuck Soon.
  The 18-year-old from Royal Freemantle GC, Perth, notched up 6 birdies at holes 3, 7, 11, 12, 13 and 18 but suffered a double bogey at the uphill 446-yard par-four  when his tee shot took a bad kick into a thick stand of trees.
  “I putted well. I made some long putts but missed some short ones too,” said Oliver whose drive averages 300+ yards. “I made birdies from 18 and 21 feet at holes 11 and 12 and at the par five, 13th my second shot with an eight-iron went past the pin by 18 feet where I two-putted for birdie. If you hit a bad shot in this course, you’ve lost the hole.”
   As for defending champion Gavin, it was an up and down day after posting six birdies and giving five back through bogeys. “I was grinding today, the course was playing harder,” said Gavin who is back for a short visit from the US.
  Gavin ended the last two holes with memorable birdies. At the 17th par-four, he drove well over 360 yards, about 35 yards past the green, but managed to chip to within seven feet for a birdie. At the final par five hole, he used a two-iron after driving 350 yards but ended up at the greenside bunker. He got up and down for another birdie.
  Tuck Soon posted four birdies against three bogeys for his 71 to share the second spot with Gavin.

RESULTS (Malaysia unless stated):

68 Oliver Goss (Aus); 71 Gavin Green, Chan Tuck Soon; 72 Ryan Peake (Aus), Dulal Hossain (Bang), Chieh-Po Lee (Tai), Shinichi Mizuno (HK); Afif Razif;, Arie Irawan.
73 Lucius Toh (Sing), Jean Baptiste Chaumont; 75 Marc Ong (Sing), Sajib Ali (Bang), Jonar Austria (Phil), Sean Niven, Tan Wei Chean;
76  John Kier Abdon (Phil), N. Thangaraja (S Lanka), Jerome Ng (Sing);
77 Mohamad Diab Alnoaimi (Baharin), Dennis Lim (Sing), Allan Yap.

Stuck on unlucky 13th...

MALAYSIA'S world ranking does not reflect their true strength, as the unlucky 13th came about after a string of misfortunes and near-misses at the world stage.
  Defeats in the Invercargill World Cup Qualifier to New Zealand (2-1) and against Pakistan (2-0) in the Asian Games sealed the seniors fate.
  And it was further compounded when they failed at the Dublin Olympic Qualifier as they handed the final ticket to South Korea on a 3-2 defeat.
  New Zealand advanced to the World Cup, Pakistan to the Olympics and South Korea also to the Olympics -- courtesy of Malaysia's well known hospitality on the artificial pitch.
  As a result, Malaysia will be stuck at the unlucky 13th, as only teams who play in the World Cup, Olympics and Champions Trophy can break into the top-10 ranking.
   At the ongoing Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia against showed that they have the stomach to challenge the best, but it is of no use, as the tournament does not offer International Hockey Federation (FIH) rankings as it is an Invitational which has survived 21 Editions.
   Britain, fourth, are followed by sixth-ranked South Korea, New Zealand (7th), Pakistan (8th), Argentina, (9th) and India (10th) as all of them have qualified for the Olympics and are assured of no lower than 12th after the July 27th tournament ends.
  That is why, the 1-1 draw against South Korea, and the 3-3 comeback against Britain should not be taken lightly, but as a positive sign that Malaysia are on the rise.
  The 3-2 defeat to India was also riddled with a tale of near-misses, as Faizal Saari was on his off day.
  The 20-year-old, who helped Malaysia win the Junior Asia Cup by scoring six goals, has placed more established strikers like Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Marhan jalil and Hafifi Hafiz in the shadows.
  And his brother Fitri is also showing signs in Ipoh that he will be the next Malaysian player to watch.
  Malaysia still have matches against Pakistan, New Zealand and Argentina where nine points can be harvested if they continue playing like they did against India.
  The unlucky 13th might just turn out to be their lucky charm in the Azlan Shah Cup, if the three remaining foes believe too much in rankings.
  WEDNESDAY: Argentina v India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).
  MAY 31: Britain v South Korea (4pm), Pakistan v India (6pm), New Zealand  v  Malaysia (8pm).
  JUNE 2: South Korea v New Zealand (4pm), Britain v Pakistan (6pm), Argentina v Malaysia (8pm).

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cheers for Malaysia, points for India...

MALAYSIA won the capacity crowd cheers, but lost 3-2 to India in a highly entertaining Azlan Shah Cup match in Ipoh yesterday.
     The win gave India renewed hope of playing in the final, while Malaysia stare at another bottom finish.
   It was all Malaysia for the first five minutes as they hit the post, and then Faizal Saari failed to tap in from close range twice.
    But India went ahead with two quick goals, as Danish Mujtaba stole the first in the 10th minute, while Shivendra Singh turned a botched penalty corner into goal in the 13th minute.
    Shivendra failed to stop the push-out but cooly collected the ball and shot from the top of the semi-circle past goalkeeper S. Kumar’s open pads.
   The goal was hotly disputed by the Malaysians, who felt that the hit was taken from outside the semi-circle, but the umpire stood his ground.
    The score stood into the break, but after the restart, it was all Faizal again as he kept the Indian defenders busy.
   Faizal’s 40th minute attempt won Malaysia their second penalty corner, and Amin Rahim made sure with a powerful flick.
    But even before the fans could celebrate the goal, Tushar Khandker’s volley cracked open the Malaysian goalmouth for the third time in the 44th minute.
   However, where his brother Faizal failed, Fitri took it upon himself to reduce the deficit with a super cracker in the 58th minute but India held onto the slim lead for the remaining minutes.
   In another match, Argentina played fancy hockey in an entertaining 3-2 win over Olympic hosts Britain.
     The Pan-American champions have six points from two wins and two defeats and they kept their hopes alive for a place in the final with that win.
     Argentina scored off a counter attack in the eight minute when Enrique Paredes slammed in a rebound.
    Britain equalised in the 39th minute off their third penalty corner when Ashley Jackson’s low flick sailed past goalkeeper Daniel Bermejillo.
    But Argentina regain the lead two minutes later when Agustin Mazzilli’s long cross from the centre off the field was well deflected into goal by Paredes.
     Lucas Cammareri scored from close range to make it 3-1 in the 60th minute and all Britain could do was narrow the deficit off another a penalty corner by Jackson five minutes from time.
    In the first match of the day, South Korea outplayed Pakistan 4-0 to register their first win in four matches.

                        P  W  D  L  F  A  PTS

N ZEALAND    3  3  0  0    13    4     9
ARGENTINA   4  2  0  2     11    14    6
INDIA             4  2  0  2     8     11      6
BRITAIN         3  1  1  1      8     8    4
S KOREA        4  1  1  2      9      7    4
PAKISTAN      3  1  0  2     5     9     3
MALAYSIA      3  0  2  1     6    7     2

RESULTS: South Korea 4 Pakistan 0, Britain 2 Argentina 3, India 3 Malaysia 2.
   WEDNESDAY: Argentina v India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).

Kiwis at their best..

Team Played Points
1 New Zealand 3 9
2 Great Britain 2 4
3 Pakistan 2 3
4 Argentina 3 3
5 India 3 3
6 Malaysia 2 2
7 Korea 3                                                           

 AZLAN SHAH CUP Match results

27-05-2012 20:05
Great Britain 3 : 2 India
27-05-2012 18:05
Korea 3 : 4 Argentina
27-05-2012 16:05
New Zealand 3 : 1 Pakistan      

Faizal eyes India scalp

FAIZAL Saari saved Malaysia twice, and now he aims to claim their first win against India in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh tomorrow.
   Malaysia drew 1-1 with South Korea, courtesy of a Fazial goal, and then he helped Malaysia come back from the jaws of death by scoring two goals in the last three minutes for a 3-3 draw against Olympic hosts Britain.
   The 21-year-old Terengganu-born player, with 80 caps to his name, was also instrumental in handing Malaysia their first Junior Asia Cup gold as he scored six goals to be the top-scorer in Malacca.
   "The feeling is really good going into the India game, as we have had a two-day rest, and also, the comeback against Britain was just the boost we needed in this tournament," said Faizal who also scored in the Dublin Olympic Qualifier.
   Malaysia, wooden spoonists in the last edition, must beat India at all cost to make sure they finish in the middle of the pool.
   "This tournament is very important for me as we were given a chance to play against six teams which have already qualified for the Olympics.
   "We must learn from every match, as we build a side for the (senior) World Cup Qualifier (next year)," said Fazial.
   Coach Tai Beng Hai's charges last played India in the Champions Challenge II in South Africa and lost 5-4 in the quarter-finals last year. Before that, Malaysia had beaten India 4-3 in the semi-finals of the Asian Games.
   "The plan is simple, we must beat India to have a good finish in this tournament and it is not an impossible target. We did beat them in the Asian Games, and then they beat us narrowly in the Champions Challenge," said Beng Hai.
   After India, Malaysia play Pakistan and could end up with eight points with the New Zealand and Argentina matches in hand -- if the coach plays his cards right.
   TODAY: South Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Britain v Argentina (6pm), India v Malaysia (8pm).
   WEDNESDAY: Argentina v India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan v Malaysia (8pm).

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Azlan Shah Cup Media Officer quits..

IN a regrettable development, Azlan Shah Cup Media officer, Satwant Dhaliwal, has quit consequent an altercation with a Malaysian coach over seating in the media box.
   The coach insisted on sitting in the reserved media area citing the chairs were unoccupied. Finding the official response indifferent to his complaint, Mr. Dhaliwal stepped down.
   With some tact the incident could have been avoided. In the end, it has left a bitter taste among the national and international media personnel, who are here for the event.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Faizal to the rescue, again...

MALAYSIA pulled off another draw when they held Olympic hosts Britain 3-3 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
  After a 1-1 draw with South Korea, Faizal Saari delivered yet again to save the hosts from a certain defeat as the clock showed only three minutes left, when he delivered two super goals.
   It was a bad start for Malaysia as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin got injured in the second minute after clashing with Richard Smith and needed stitches.
  The Kangar-born player received a cut just above his right eye after hitting into the shoulder of Richard Smith and he had to be stretched out.
  And to make matter worse, four minutes later Britain broke through the Malaysian defense to take the lead through Glenn Kirkham.
  But the national team cheered on by fans, fought back and equalised off their first penalty corner in the ninth minute when Amin Rahim's push from the edge of the semi circle was swept into goal by Azlan Misron.
  Britain who regained the lead in the 20th minute when Ashley Jackson collected a through pass from Nick Catlin before slamming the ball into goal.
   Britain, ranked fourth in the world, punished Malaysian for poor defending by scoring the third goal in 25th minute through Rob Moore from the top of the semicircle.
  Britain then opted for a high press to keep the Malaysian defenders busy. But once the ball broke away, the strikers led by Tajuddin, Faisal Saari and Marhan broke through with ease but were unable to create goal scoring chances.
   And then it was all Faisal as he reduced the deficit in the 67th minute with a stupendous reverse before leveling the match in the very next minute, also through a reverse hit.
  "We play to win in every match, but have two draws instead. It is not too bad, as we are playing against higher ranked teams," said coach Tai Beng Hai.
   New Zealand tightened their grip on the title when they beat Argentina 5-2 for full points from two matches.
  Fresh from their 5-1 win over India on Thursday, New Zealand were in an uncompromising mood, and were only guilty of muffing the penalty corners, as they scored two from the ten they were awarded.
  Argentina went ahead in the third minute off Lucas Cammareri but the Kiwis drew level in the 33rd minute when Phil Burrows turned in a cross.
   New Zealand took the lead offf Richard Petherick (44th), only to see Argentina equalise off Lucas Vila (52nd).
   The Kiwi winners were scored by Andy Hayward (59th), Shay Neal(61st) and Arun Panchia (64th).

            P  W  D  L  F  A  PTS

N ZEALAND   2  2  0  0  10 3  6
PAKISTAN    1  1  0  0  4  2  3

INDIA       1  1  0  1  3  6  3
MALAYSIA    2  0  2  0  4  4  2
BRITAIN     1  0  1  0  3  3  1
S KOREA     2  0  1  1  2  3  1
ARGENTINA   2  0  0  2  4  9  0

RESULTS: New Zealand 5 Argentina 2, Britain 3 Malaysia 3, South Korea 1 India 2.
    SUNDAY: New Zealand v Pakistan (4pm), South Korea v Argentina (6pm), Britain v India (8pm).
    MAY 28: South Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Britain v Argentina (6pm), India v Malaysia (8pm).
     MAY 30:  Argentina  v  India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan  v Malaysia (8pm).
     MAY 31: Britain v South Korea (4pm), Pakistan v India (6pm), New Zealand  v  Malaysia (8pm).
     JUNE 2: South Korea v New Zealand (4pm), Britain v Pakistan (6pm), Argentina v Malaysia (8pm).

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Faizal saves the blushes

A partnership between Faizal Saari and Marhan Jalil saved the blushes as Malaysia held Olympic bound South Korea to a 1-1 draw in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
  The Koreans had taken the lead off Seo Jong Ho in the seventh minute, and Malaysia had to wait until the 56th minute when Marhan fed Faizal who slammed int he equaliser.
  Faizal was also instrumental in Malaysia winning the Junior Asia Cup gold in Malacca recently.
  Six of the seven juniors who featured in the victorious Junior Asia Cup in Malacca were fielded in the match against the 
   Only Fitri Saari was not named for the match while Three juniors Rahmadan Rosli, Noor Faeez Ibrahim and Norhizzat 
Ibrahim earned their first international caps for the national team.
  Malaysia then survived a 10-minute onslaught, and even saved Korea's penalty corner won in the last minute of the match 
to share points.
  The national players next play Olympic hosts Britain today, and the juniors proved against South Korea that they should 
be given more playing time in the Azlan Shah Cup by coach Tai Beng Hai.
  In another match, New Zealand were in a mean mood when they hit a high-five over India to put a dent in their title 
  It was a super start for the Kiwis, considering they only had only 16 players available for the match as Blair Hilton was 
ruled out for appendicitis while his replacement Shay Neal was still on the way coupled with the fact that Hugo Inglis 
could not play due to illness.
 The New Zealand goals were scored by Simon Child (first minute), Andy Hayward (34th), Nick Wilson’ (59th), Stephen Jenness 
(61st),  Matt L’hullier (65th). The India goal was scored by Shivendra Singh in the sixth minute.
    In the first match of the day, last year’s silver medallists Pakistan beat Argentina 4-2 with goals from Muhammad Irfan 
(33rd minute), Sohail Abbas (46th), Haseem Khan  (65th) and Muhammad Waqas (69th).
   The Argentina goal was scored by Gonzalo Peillat (53rd) and Mathias Parades (62nd).
   RESULTS: Pakistan 4 Argentina 2, New Zealand 5 India 1, South Korea 1 Malaysia 1.
    TODAY: New Zealand v Argentina (4pm), Britain  v Malaysia (6pm), South Korea  v India (8pm).
    SUNDAY: New Zealand v Pakistan (4pm), South Korea v Argentina (6pm), Britain v India (8pm).
    MAY 28: South Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Britain v Argentina (6pm), India v Malaysia (8pm).
     MAY 30:  Argentina  v  India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan  v Malaysia (8pm).
     MAY 31: Britain v South Korea (4pm), Pakistan v India (6pm), New Zealand  v  Malaysia (8pm).
     JUNE 2: South Korea v New Zealand (4pm), Britain v Pakistan (6pm), Argentina v Malaysia (8pm).

Super 4-2 show from Pakistan


LAST years silver medallists Pakistan defeated Argentina 4-2 in the opening match of the 21st Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
    They almost squandered a 2-0 lead before scoring the winner five minutes from time to take all three points.
   It was however a scrappy performance from both teams as they tried to get accustomed to the blue pitch, similar to the surface in Olympics in London this July.
   It was a rather slow start to the match as both the teams opted to hold on to the ball instead of throwing numbers forward.
   Thus it was a boring opening ten minutes as there was hardly a shot a goal, let alone a penalty corner.
   The first real opening fell to Pakistan as Shabbir Ahmad Khan was not picked up by defenders in the semi circle and his snap shot was well kept out by Argentina’s custodian Juan Manuel Vivaldi.
    Pakistan were awarded a penalty corner in the 22nd minute and although the ever reliable Sohail Abbas was on the pitch, a poor stop foiled any decent attempt on goal.
   Argentina too failed to take advantage of a penalty corner in the 29th minute when the attempt by Pedro Ibarra deflected off the stick of another Argentine player and went wide.
    But Pakistan were not to be denied as two minutes before halftime Muhammad Irfan was put through by Shafqat Rasool and his shot sailed into goal past a rooted Vivaldi.
   Argentina had an opportunity to draw level in the 46th minute when Irfan was adjudged to have fouled Santiago Montelli. But it was muffed as they failed to stop cleanly.
    A penalty corner to Pakistan in the 46th minute dealt a double blow for the South American side.  Ibarra was yellow carded for breaking the penalty corner defence and Sohail Abbas then stepped up to convert the penalty corner, giving Pakistan a 2-0 lead.
    Argentina reduced the deficit in the 53rd minute as Gonzalo Peillat scored off a penalty corner with Ibarra still on the sidelines.
    In the 62nd minute it was all square when Mathias Parades sneaked up behind the defence to slot the ball home after a through ball by Mathias Villa.
    Pakistan were stunned and upped the ante. They were duly rewarded as Haseem Khan deflected a shot by Irfan from the right in the 65th minute to put Pakistan 3-2 ahead.
    Muhammad Waqas completed the scoring, deflecting in a shot on the left by Shabbir Ahmad Khan to give Pakistan a 4-2 win.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Magnificent Seven for Azlan Shah Cup


Seven players who represented Malaysia in the victorious Asia Junior Cup were given the nod for inclusion in the squad for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
In what coach Tai Beng Hai states is a team for the future, the fusion of yoingsters and experienced players will carry the Malaysian challenge in a tournament that sees the participation of Great Britain, Argentina, New Zealand, South Korea, Pakistan and India.
“This is a bold move by the coach and we at MHC support his decision to include the younger players,” said MHC Senior Vice President Dato’ Nur Azmi Ahmad.
“It is not the end for those who are droppeds, just that they have to work harder from now on since there are several promising youngsters fighting for their places.”
Those included are brothers Faizal and Fitri Saari, Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi, Mohd Firhan Ashaari, all of whom had donned the senior team colours before.
The new inclusions are junior skipper Mohd Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Izzat Sumantri and Muhd Ramadhan Mohd Rosli.
Those who played in the Olympic Qualifier in Dublin but were dropped from the squad for the Azlan Shah Cup are Azreen Rizal and Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor.
While 17 players are already named, the final spot will be a toss up between Mohd Razie Andul Rahim and Muhammad Izzat Mohd Rahim.
Mohd Madzli Ikmar who was the skipper in Dublin had announced his retirement from international hockey in April.
“It was not an easy decision to make to drop players but the youngsters showed more hunger and desire hence their inclusion,” said Beng Hai.
“The players haver vowed to give their best in the tournament and while me may lose out on experience, we aim to make it up with determination.
“I am looking forward to an interesting tournament and I am sure those selected will be out to prove a point.”
His thoughts were echoed by Assistant Coach Nor Saiful Zaini Nasiruddin.
“We hope that the fans and media will not be too hard on the players as we need to encourage them. We seek co-operation from the media to help nuture these youngsters and encourage them and not break their confidence,” said Nor Saiful.
“Thus I appeal to the fans to come to the stadium and provide support and encouragement, Youngsters need time to prove themselves and it will be great if all are behind this team.”
Meanwhile Beng Hai said he was unfazed by the speculations on his position after the Azlan Shah Cup.
“I only have one thought on my mind – that is to ensure this team does well in the Azlan Shah cup,” said Beng Hai.
“What happens to me and Saiful is secondary as Malaysian hockey is what matters.”
The SAS Squad:

S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin, Baljit Singh, Mohd Shukri Mutalib, Muhd Razie Abd Rahim or Muhd Izzat Mohd Rahim, Muhd Noor Faeez Ibrahim, Muhd Amin Rahim, Muhd Marhan Mohd Jalil, Muhd Ramadhan Mohd Rosli, Azlan Misron, Muhd Fitri Saari, Shahrun Nabil Abdullah, Izzat Sumantri, Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Faisal Saari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tg Abdul Jalil, Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi, Muhd Firhan Ashaari.

Monday, May 21, 2012

24 hours to London hockey fixtures...

The London Olympic Organizing Committee, together with the International Hockey Federation will announce the competition schedule for the 2012 Olympic hockey tournaments tomorrow. The schedule will be released on both the London 2012 page and the official FIH website tomorrow morning.
  The teams and preliminary round groups were finalised two weeks ago after the South African men became the 24th and final team the qualify for the games. The preliminary round groups are:

WOMEN: Pool A: Netherlands, Belgium, China, Korea, Great Britain, Japan.
Women: Pool B: New Zealand, Australia, Argentina , South Africa, Germany , United States.

MEN -- Group A: Australia, Great Britain, Spain, Pakistan,
Argentina, South Africa.

Group B: Germany, Netherlands, Korea, New Zealand, India,

Condom makes Sanjay’s stick better..

By Rajni Shaleen Chopra

Condoms scale down production, but that is when it comes to humans. A Jalandhar-based manufacturer is now the largest producer of hockey sticks in the country — courtesy condoms.
   Sanjay Kohli, managing director of R K Sports, hit upon this idea a few years ago. The reason was his growing frustration with the hook of the stick, which strikes the ball. The slender, curvaceous hook is actually seven pieces of mulberry wood bound and glued through a tedious process before you get the perfect curve. For the manufacturers of hockey sticks, keeping the hook together is the biggest challenge.
    The problem started first at the factory end. The conventional way was to stick a plastic net on the hook to keep it together. On many sticks, the net would not dry properly or grip the hook, making the precious mulberry wood go to waste. “A good percentage of sticks got damaged this way and had to be shoved into the furnace. The next challenge was the playfield, where the hook split after a few hard strokes,” said Kohli.
   Thinking what will hold the hook together and also grip it right, Kohli hit upon a gem of an idea. Now, during the manufacturing process, condoms are smoothened over the stick. After the sticking net has moulded itself perfectly on the hook, it is time to slide the condom off. The result, after some smoothing and polishing, is a shiny, glossy hook to which the handle is attached. And what you have is a perfect hockey stick, ready to strike ball.
   Today, his employees might well say “What an idea Sirji”, because condoms have helped Kohli increase his production — and his annual turnover — four-fold.
   All this didn’t come without hiccups. Kohli started buying loads of condoms from the neighbourhood store. It went well for a few days, till the shopkeeper smelt a rat and asked Kohli’s worker what was going on — had a brothel opened in the area? Kohli invited the shopkeeper over to the factory and explained what was being done with the condoms. It all ended in cheer and laughter and it is Kohli who is now laughing all the way to the bank.
    When Kohli stated using condoms on hockey stick hooks a few years ago, he made 45 to 75 sticks a day, depending on the success of holding the hook together. Production is now up to about 225 sticks a day. “The condoms have improved the quality of our sticks and hence, the rising demand,” Kohli said. The annual turnover is now up to an impressive Rs 5.25 crore — from the 70-75 lakh a year he made earlier.
   Punjab is the largest producer of hockey sticks and Kohli has a clear edge over his competitors with his new technique. The condoms have helped him save significantly on mulberry wood, which is in scarce supply in the country.

   Indian Express

India batting for sixer or better in London

INDIA coach Michael Nobbs is looking for a top-six finish in the London Olympics, and the Azlan Shah Cup starting on Thursday will be a perfect test for his charges.
     The Australian, who brought down a mixed team, arrived yesterday and traveled to Ipoh with his charges via the ETS from Kuala Lumpur.
   “I am building a side to finish among the top-six in London, and the Azlan Shah Cup will provide us another test on a blue pitch against five other Olympians,” said Knobbs at the old Kuala Lumpur railway station yesterday.
    India played in a Four-Nation Invitational at the Olympic hockey venue in London early in the month, and lost 2-1 to Britain in the bronze match, while Germany beat Australia 5-2 for the gold medal.
   In the earlier matches, India lost 3-0 to Australia, 2-1 to Germany, and 4-2 to Britain.
    “And after the Azlan Shah Cup, we will be playing 10 more matches in Europe before the final selection is made,” said Knobbs.
    India’s ace penalty corner flicker Sandeep Singh, who twice became the top-scorer in the Azlan Shah Cup, hopes the pitch is much better than the one at the Olympic venue in London.
   “Hopefully the pitch is not as bumpy as the one in London. I had problems executing drag flicks (during penalty corners) and this affected the outcome of our,” said Sandeep.
    For Rupinder Pal Singh, the joint top scorer last year with six goals, the presence of Sandeep somewhat eases the load off his shoulders.
   “Obviously Sandeep will have the first bite but it also gives us more options during penalty corners,” said Rupinder Pal who was seen watching several penalty corner variations on a lap-top with Nobbs while waiting for their ETS to Ipoh.
     “We need to be consistent as the matches in Ipoh will provide the coach with valuable input that will ultimately decide who travels to London,” said Rupinder Pal.
   As for Malaysia, coach Tai Beng Hai will name his final 18 today in Ipoh. There are 26 trainees, with eight of them juniors who won gold at the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca.
     FIXTURES -- Thursday: Pakistan v Argentina (4pm), New Zealand v India (6pm), Korea v Malaysia (8pm).
    FRIDAY: New Zealand v Argentina (4pm), Britain  v Malaysia (6pm), Korea  v India (8pm).
    SUNDAY: New Zealand v Pakistan (4pm), Korea v Argentina (6pm), Britain v India (8pm).
    MAY 28: Korea v Pakistan (4pm), Britain v Argentina (6pm), India v Malaysia (8pm).
     MAY 30:  Argentina  v  India (4pm), Britain v New Zealand (6pm), Pakistan  v Malaysia (8pm).
     MAY 31: Britain v Korea (4pm), Pakistan v India (6pm), New Zealand  v  Malaysia (8pm).
     JUNE 2: Korea v New Zealand (4pm), Britain v Pakistan (6pm), Argentina v Malaysia (8pm).


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Titah Sultan Azlan Shah: Be serious Malaysia..

SULTAN Azlan Shah has, for the first time, sent out a stern message to the Malaysian hockey team not to take his tournament in Ipoh from May 24-June 3 lightly.
    The former Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) president and current Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president said this after holding a special meeting with tournament stake-holders on Saturday.
    “My message to the Malaysian team is not to treat my tournament as a practice session. Give more respect to it. The Malaysian team must be serious,” said Azlan Shah.
   He made that comment after a closed door meeting with stand-in-team manager George Koshy, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) senior vice president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad, AHF secretary general Tan Sri P. Alagendra and National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong.
    The meting, among others, discussed the composition of the team for the Azlan Shah Cup.
    When asked if he would like to see a bigger pool of juniors in the Malaysian senior team: “Yes we did discuss about that, but I can’t tell you how many juniors (from the Junior Asia Cup squad) should be included, but suffice to say that the juniors should be given a chance to play against the best in the world,” said Azlan Shah.
    The Invitational tournament will feature six Olympic teams in Britain, New Zealand, South Korea, Argentina, Pakistan and India.
     Seniors coach Tai Beng Hai has included eight juniors, who won the Junior Asia Cup gold, into his training squad and they played a friendly against New Zealand yesterday.
    “I can’t name the final squad yet because Razie Rahim (main senior penalty corner flicker) picked up an injury in training and I need a few days to find out how serious it is.
    “I will be naming the squad only after I fond out if Razie can play or not,” said Beng Hai.
    The eight juniors who might just get a chance of a lifetime to play in the Azlan Shah Cup are Faizal Saari, Fitri Saari,  Firhan Ashaari, Faiz Helmi, Nor Izzat Sumantri, Mohamed Ramadhan, Noor Faeez Ibrahim and Amir Farid.
   Malaysia, who ended at last in the seven-team tournament last year, yesterday New Zealand won 4-2 in the warm-up friendly.
     “We might name the team on Tuesday, as there are some injury problems and also we need to give more time to the juniors to assimilate before we can name the final squad,” said team manager Stephen van Huizen.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Gold is what MHC wants..

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) senior vice president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad yesterday set a sky-high target of playing in the final for the Azlan Shah Cup which will be held in Ipoh from May 24-June 3.
  His reasoning was: "The senior team need to redeem their pride after failing to qualify for the Olympics. This message was also conveyed to the team by president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah."
  Malaysia will be up against six Olympic teams in hosts Britain, Argentina, New Zealand, South Korea, India and Pakistan.
  And the prospect of playing in the final, which Malaysia did last in 2007 when under coach Sarjit Singh but lost 3-1 to Australia, is like scaling Mount Everest without breathing gear.
  However, Azmi was adamant that the team should strive to play in the final, as not only do they have home ground advantage, they have nothing to lose in this tournament.
  "There is no pressure on them at all, this is not a qualifier, and so I believe if you ask me personally, the target should be nothing but the final," said Nur Azmi.
  Yesterday Sultan Azlan Shah received mock cheques from sponsors for the tournament totaling RM1.32 million.
   Among the 21 sponsors were Astro (RM300,000), Perak State Government (RM200,000) and National Sports Council (RM100,000).
   As for the players, eight Junior Asia Cup gold medallists yesterday joined the seniors in training for the Azlan Shah Cup. And of the eight, the sure bets to be selected by coach Tai Beng Hai are Faizal Saari, Fitri Saari and Firhan Ashaari.
  The other five juniors are Faiz Helmi, Nor Izzat Sumantri, Mohamed Ramadhan, Noor Faeez Ibrahim and Amir Farid.
   "The five who had trained with the national team before are most likely to be selected as they know they style of play, other than that, it is up to the coach on who he wants to select," said stand-in-manager George Koshy.
  The team will be named after they play a friendly against New Zealand today.
  Meanwhile, Pakistan has recalled former skipper and penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas to lead their team after their parent body barred eight established players from coming to Malaysia.
  The eight Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Butt, Zeeshan Ashraf, Waseem Ahmed, Imran Warsi, Tariq Aziz, Adnan Maqsood and Mudassar Ali Khan, have been issued show cause notices by the PHF for taking part in the WHS in India in March/April despite having been warned of dire consequences by the federation for playing in an International Hockey Federation (FIH) unsanctioned tournament.

Paul Revington quits Ireland

Irish Hockey has today announced that National Men’s Coach Paul Revington has decided to step down after three and a half years. Revington commenced his position in January 2009 and since then has enjoyed great success with this squad taking them from 18th in the world to 15th over this time.
  Paul has earned great respect throughout the Irish Hockey community securing numerous trophies and successes with his large squad, most notably, taking the team to equal Ireland’s highest ever finish in a Europeans (Monchengladbach) last August where they finished 5th and more recently reaching the finals of the Electric Ireland Road To London, Olympic Qualifiers, in front of a home crowd at UCD. Paul has also garnered worldwide recognition during his tenure with Irish Hockey receiving the FIH World Coach of the Year Accolade last December.
  Revington wanted to take the opportunity to pay tribute to those whom he had worked with and the community at large “I will look back on the past few years having shared so many great moments with many players, staff and supporters involved with the Ireland Senior Men’s Team. Through an amazing collective response by players to perform for the good of a Squad we developed the Green Machine identity that has motivated and inspired so many people to support Men’s Hockey in Ireland and across the world. It has been a privilege to be a part of such an amazing Squad of people.
  There have been many outstanding contributions to our Men’s Process that I must acknowledge. My very special Management Team – Arul Anthoni, Peter Jackson, Stephen Barry, Dave Richards, Jonny Caren, Nigel Henderson, Tristan Seaton-Stedham and Brendan Carolan have all added enormous value and quality to the Squad for so many years and provided great support and structure to the Team often under challenging circumstances. What has been achieved to date would not have been possible without this Management Team. The Senior Leadership Team of Ronan Gormley, Geoff McCabe, Eugene Magee, John Jackson, Tim Cockram, Andy McConnell and John Jermyn have been an inspiration to watch as they motivate and steer the Squad at every turn. I have been very fortunate to coach with these men running the Ireland Team. All the various specialist coaches who have been part of the Squad have also provided such valuable contributions: In particular Tim Goodenough and Mike Cooper (Coaching Unity); Wouter Tazelaar, Adel Fuentes, Martijn Drijver, Robin Van Ginkel, Brendan Carolan and Lucas Piccioli. The many clubs in Ireland who have made facilities available to the Team during my period as Coach must also be acknowledged and thanked. Thank you to the various coaches of local and foreign clubs for their mutual assistance in managing the Irish players so well and believing in them.  A special thanks to the likes of Paddy Grimes, Andy Smyth and Peter Jackson for their assistance in getting Sandy and I settled on arrival in Ireland and creating a foundation to allow me to hit the ground running in early 2009. All various parties at the Irish Sports Council, Sport Northern Ireland, the Irish Institute for Sport, the Sports Institute of Northern Ireland and in particular to Gary Keegan for believing in the Ireland Men’s Team.”
   Revington continued “I am extremely grateful to everyone involved in the IHA for the support and especially for providing me with the opportunity to Coach the Ireland Men’s Team. In particular I would like to thank Angus Kirkland, Dave Passmore, Joan Morgan, Katie Roche and Fiona Mills from within the IHA and Stephen Watt representing Ulster Hockey for their many individual contributions to our Team development.
  Lastly and most importantly – thank you to the Squad of players who have represented the Ireland Green Machine with so much trust, energy and quality through my tenure as coach. I loved every minute with the Squad and each individual player and I look forward to seeing the next phase of “fast growth” as a Team and Squad.”
  High Performance Director Dave Passmore was keen to pay tribute to him "Revs’ record speaks for itself in terms of the level of play in the men's team and the number of tournament successes and notable results they have achieved in the past few years.  This reflects his own level of commitment, motivation and the ability he has to push and stretch players, management and Irish Hockey as a whole.  His departure is of great disappointment to all but he has left a legacy which must now be built upon to ensure the squad fulfil their potential in the future, a future that he has done so much to shape".
  Angus Kirkland, Chief Executive also commented on Revington’s departure saying “ Paul has been an inspirational leader to our National  Men’s squad since joining the IHA.  The success of the team has been a product of his planning, dedication and vision that the players have trusted, believed in and committed to wholeheartedly.  Thanks to this our Men’s team are now well positioned to make a  breakthrough into the Major Games in the next cycle.  Paul leaves our Men’s game in a far stronger  position then when he started and for this the IHA are very appreciative. All in Hockey will join me in wishing Paul and his wife every success in his future endeavours.”
  Paul will remain with Irish Hockey until July 2012.

All in Irish Hockey would like to wish Paul and his wife Sandy the best in their future endeavours.

Irish Hockey Association media release

Friday, May 18, 2012

KAVIN Kartik (pic right) is the last Mohican standing, as he battled all  odds to to be selected for the Junior Asia Cup, and is now  looking forward to his second Junior World Cup appear ance.
     The 20-year-old from Tampin, Negri Sembilan, played in  the 2009 Junior World Cup but after that, weight problems  weighed him down almost into the abyss.
     But he shed eight kilos just months before the Junior Asia  Cup in Malacca, and was aptly named as the Best Player of the  Final.
    That is not all, he also sacrificed one semester of his  matriculation to make the hockey grade.
    “I had to make many sacrifices and also work harder than  the rest because I was overweight, but looking back now, it  has been more than rewarding,” said Kartik after receiving  RM12,500 from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation on  Thursday.
    And the only non-Malay in the juniors outfit is ready to skip  another semester next year, as he badly wants to help  Malaysia make an impact in New Delhi November next  year.
     “I would do it again (skip studies) as training is a full-time  job, and I have the support of my parents to play first and  study later,” said Kartik.
    He was first spotted when as a 16-year-old in 2008, he  scored a penalty corner brace to beat Kuala Lumpur 2-0 in  the Razak Cup semi-finals after former skipper S. Kuhan  failed in numerous attempts for Negri Sembilan.
   K. Rajan, who was coaching the national juniors then,  spotted his talent and drafted him into training.
    “It was a dream come true to be selected for the 2009  Junior World Cup, and now that I have a second chance, I  want to help Malaysia achieve their best finish ever,” said  Kartik.
    Malaysia will not have penalty corner flickers Faizal Saari  and Noor Faeez Ibrahim for the World Cup because both will  be overage for the Under-21 tournament by then.
    “It will be a big loss as both the flickers played a major role  in winning gold in Malacca, but I am ready to fit into their  shoes if the coach wants me to,” said Kartik whose weight  problem was one of the reasons why he lost his penalty  corner touch.
     And what is he going to do with the RM12,500?
     “I will keep it for my education,” said Kartik whose father  Govindasamy and family members came in force to see him  receive the reward at a leading hotel in Kuala Lumpur.


It is with profound sadness that we report the demise of Ramamurthi, the elder brother of The Star Journalist S. Ramaguru.
    I received a call from Ramaguru at dawn informing me of the loss and am told that the funeral will be held on Saturday in Seremban.
   The late Ramamurthi was 59 and rushed to the Damai Hospital at around 3.00am as he had chest pains but succumbed to a heart attack.
  Will update funeral details later.
   My condolences to Ramaguru and his siblings as well as the rest of the family.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

RM12,500 each for Junior champions...

MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah shares a light moment with the players yesterday. Pic by Yazit Razali

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) yesterday feted their juniors to a gala dinner, and rewarded each player and official with RM12,500 cash for becoming champions in the Junior Asia Cup in Malacca.
  Malaysia not only beat Pakistan 2-1 for the gold medal, but also qualified for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi next November.
  "This is the first time such a dinner is held to celebrate everyone's effort to realising this golden dream, and not only the players but also their parents were invited.
  "I would like to say my special thanks to coach K. Dharmaraj and his coaching staff as well as team manager Mirnawan Nawawi and National Sports Council support staff who made this achievement," said MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
  But realistically speaking Tengku Abdullah reminded everybody that: "We have 18 months to the World Cup, so we need to prepare from now and realise that our mission is only half-completed.
  "I would like to introduce a report card to make sure that we do well in the World Cup as well. From tomorrow we need to take care of the boys physical fitness, as it was lacking during the India and Pakistan matches.
  "And my advise to the players is also to keep away from anything that will derail their concentration, and keep steady towards achieving a good result in New Delhi," said Tengku Abdullah.
  As for the future of hockey, Tengku Abdullah said ongoing programmes like 1Mas would be intensified.
  "And with help from parents, more effort would be placed on under-12 players and also the national league would also be revamped to make the grassroot stronger," said Tengku Abdullah.

Boy can play in girls team..

In this undated photo provided by Andrew Pilaro, Keeling Pilaro, 13, center right, plays offence as as a member of the East End Field Hockey club in New York. (AP2012)

MITHTOWN, N.Y. –  The biggest goal of Keeling Pilaro's field hockey career happened far from an athletic field on Tuesday.
   An athletics committee determined the 13-year-old boy can keep playing on the girls' varsity team at Southampton High School, at least for one more season. The decision at an appeals hearing Tuesday reverses earlier rulings that claimed Keeling's skills as a field hockey player, which he developed growing up in Dublin, Ireland, had developed to a level superior to those of girls.
   "I was jumping up and down; I was so excited when I heard," the youngster said in a telephone interview about an hour after the decision was announced by an attorney for the athletics committee. "I can play!"    Kevin Seaman, the attorney for the committee that oversees public school athletics in Suffolk County, said panelists determined that Keeling's continued participation on the team ultimately would not have "a significant adverse effect" on girls' opportunity to participate in interschool competition. That was the same criteria used earlier this year when officials for the committee said Keeling's skills had exceeded those of his female teammates and competitors.
    Reporters were not permitted into the closed meeting.
    Seaman said the vote to allow Keeling to play was not unanimous, but he declined to break it down. About two dozen officials deliberated for about 40 minutes after the youngster and his mother and their attorneys presented arguments for allowing him to continue. The boy's high school field hockey coach also attended.
    Officials previously cited the fact that Keeling was named to an all-conference team after scoring 10 goals and eight assists as an eighth-grader playing on the Southampton varsity last season. But the boy's supporters said another girl also made the all-conference team also was an eighth-grader. They noted that Keeling's skills did not earn him the more prestigious all-county honors, and also pointed out that Southampton's squad finished in fourth place in its conference last year.
    In order to play with the girls after moving to New York from Ireland, Keeling had to get permission from Suffolk's mixed-competition committee, which screens players who want to compete on teams of the opposite sex. There have been several occasions where girls have been approved to play football, wrestle or compete in other traditional boys sports, but Keeling is believed to be the first boy to play alongside girls on Long Island.
    An attorney for the Pilaro family said he considered filing a federal civil rights lawsuit had the ruling not gone in his client's favor.
    The United States is one of the rare places in the world where boys do not regularly play field hockey.
    Chris Clements, the national men's coach for USA Field Hockey, said in an interview last week with the AP that he thought the young teenager should be permitted to continue playing.
    "Maybe by the time he gets to be a senior, it could be argued that there is a difference, but I would say right now he fits in just fine," Clements said.
   Fox News

Shakeel and seven feel the heat...

KARACHI: Former Pakistan hockey captain Shakeel Abbasi has said that he was disappointed at not being considered to play in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup.
    Eight senior players, namely, Shakeel Abbasi, Rehan Butt, Zeeshan Ashraf, Waseem Ahmed, Imran Warsi, Tariq Aziz, Adnan Maqsood and Mudassar Ali Khan, have been issued show cause notices by the PHF for taking part in the WHS in India in March/April despite having been warned of dire consequences by the federation earlier.
   “I was hoping that the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) Disciplinary Committee would have been through with its inquiry by the time the PHF announced the team and we would be a part of the squad as well but that was not the case,” he said while speaking to Dawn on Monday.
   “We are waiting to be called to play for Pakistan. I don’t know how long we will have to wait before we finally get a chance to do so. We have other offers, too, you know but we prefer to be available to play for our country. It was sad that we weren’t considered for Azlan Shah,” he said.
   “I am quite fit right now but I don’t know for how long I can maintain my fitness while sitting at home. I’ve been going to the gym regularly, but it still isn’t the same thing,” he pointed out.
    Meanwhile, the other former captain Rehan Butt who is also sitting out and hoping for a decision in his favour by the Disciplinary Committee, said that he wasn’t so concerned about not being included in the Azlan Shah squad but it was about time the PHF took a decision on them. “Well, I’ve already featured in 12 Azlan Shah tournaments so far, so not getting included there is not that big a problem for me,” he said.
   “What really is an issue for me is that when Germany, Holland and India can recall their boys who played in the World Hockey Series (WHS) for the sake of fielding a strong team in the Olympics, then why can’t the PHF also do the same thing?”
   The first hearing of the disciplinary committee looking into the matter was held on May 7.

Sohail back as skipper for Ipoh

 Pakistan’s penalty corner specialist Sohail Abbas.

KARACHI: Pakistan’s newly-appointed hockey captain Sohail Abbas believes that the forthcoming Azlan Shah Cup will be a big challenge for his young team ahead of the London Olympics.
   “If the boys play as a unit and remain consistent in the Malaysian event, it can be a big boost for the team before the Olympics,” he said in an interview on Monday.
    Abbas added that in the presence of Argentina, Belgium, India, Korea, New Zealand and host Malaysia, a huge effort is required from the young guns to make their mark in the event.
   “It will also be a new experiment for the players as they will be playing on the blue turf for the first time,” said Sohail, who holds the world record of scoring 338 goals in 367 internationals.
   “Blue turf may pose some problems because none of us have played on it. But as international players we will have to adopt to it quickly before the Olympics,” he pointed out.
   “This is a team game and a collective effort is required for better results. We need a few good wins in Azlan Shah Cup to lift the morale and spirits of the team,” he added.
   “Moreover, as the whole nation is watching you with lot of expectations, you need to play with a great deal of enthusiasm and put up your best show,” he remarked.
   Abbas thanked the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) for reposing confidence in him as captain.
   “It is a great honour for me to lead the team and I want to thank the Almighty for bestowing this honour on me,” said the 35-year-old player who featured in the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Olympics but missed the Beijing Games.
   Commenting on the outstanding youngsters in the side, he said talented players like vice-captain Waqas Sharif, Haseem Khan, Shabbir Ahmed, Shafqat Rasool, Mohammad Zubair. Mohammad Rizwan and Umar Bhutta could do Pakistan proud with their performance.
   Abbas disclosed that he will be playing both as deep defender and in the mid-field while upcoming penalty-corner strikers Mohammad Tausiq and Mohammad Irfan will support him.
   “Like always, my fitness level is good. I am looking forward to my new role to serve the country to the best of my abilities.”
   Abbas last represented Pakistan in the Champions Trophy held in Auckland in December 2011but went out of action after he broke his jaw in the second match of the event. He also missed the 4-match Test series against China at home.

Black Sticks for Azlan Shah Cup

 KIWI Arun Panchia (right)

THE Black Sticks Men’s team has been announced for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup which will be played in Ipoh, Malaysia from 24 May to 3 June. It is the last tournament the Black Sticks will compete in before the Olympic team is named in mid June.
   Other teams competing are Britain, Pakistan, Korea, Argentina and India as well as host country Malaysia, who are the only team not to have qualified for this year’s Olympics
   “This will be a great quality tournament for us and offers an opportunity to test ourselves against teams we’ll be playing against in London. Korea and India are both in our pool at the Olympics, so we are looking forward to playing them,” says captain Dean Couzins, who will likely reach his 250th test cap during the tournament.
   The tournament will be played on the same blue turf as the one at the Olympics. To ensure the Black Sticks have the best preparation in their build up, both the men’s and women’s teams have been training on the blue turf at Westlake Girls High School. Furthermore, all their upcoming test matches in Australia and Europe will be played on blue turfs also.
    Four notable inclusions in the team, who were not named in the Owen G Glenn Champions Trophy team last year, are Ben Collier (Central), Nick Haig (Canterbury), Arun Panchia (Auckland) and Richard Petherick (Midlands). Blair Hopping (Midlands) was not considered due to the birth of his baby boy recently and Steve Edwards (North Harbour) is recovering from a groin injury.
   The Black Sticks leave for Malaysia next Thursday 17 May, playing practice matches against Great Britain and Malaysia prior to the tournament starting.
    The side then returns to Auckland where the Olympic team will be announced the week commencing 11 June. They then go to Cairns for a three test series against Australia from 17-26 June, before leaving for Europe in the first week of July where they will play against Belgium and Holland.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Britan squad for Azlan Shah Cup

The Great Britain men’s hockey squad has been announced ahead of the forthcoming Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, Malaysia.  The seven team invitational tournament will be Great Britain’s last competition ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
    Jason Lee’s squad contains two changes to the 18 man group that competed at the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament – the Olympic Test Event – at the beginning of the month.  Captain Barry Middleton is restored alongside Surbiton’s Beijing Olympian Matt Daly, who returns to competitive action after a six month absence through injury.
   Old Loughtonians’ Harry Martin and Loughborough Students’ Richard Smith have both been included.  The pair have been passed fit after undergoing treatment for facial injuries sustained during the Olympic Test Event.
    Matt DalyDaly (right) hasn’t played competitive international hockey since late 2011.  The 28 year old played for England at the EuroHockey Nations Championships in Monchengladbach in August, where he was part of the team that won the bronze medal, scoring against Ireland and the Netherlands.  He subsequently played in a series of practice matches before sustaining a knee injury prior to the Champions Trophy.  The Surbiton forward has an excellent goal scoring record that has seen him find the net 57 times in 142 international appearances.
   Speaking about Daly’s selection, Head Coach Jason Lee said, “It is great that Matt is back playing and potentially available for Olympic selection.  Someone with his goal scoring ability and history in international hockey should be very competitive if fit and able to come into form over the next couple of months. I’m sure he will be rusty to start with as he has only been back working with a stick and ball for a week after many months out.”
    Speaking about the tournament and how it fits into Great Britain’s Olympic preparations Lee continued, “The Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is an excellent opportunity to practice the type of tournament hockey we will experience at the Olympics and we will be approaching it with the intention of winning it - the same as our approach for the Olympics.  The tournament has seven high quality teams, six of which will be at the Olympics, and it includes a number of teams that we rarely get to play.
    “The climate of Malaysia will be testing for our athletes, although we will complete a short acclimation programme before we leave, which will hopefully make it easier for the players to cope in the first few games.
    “It is likely that the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will be used to complete the Olympic selection process, although our focus whilst there will be entirely on the team’s performance and the attempt to win the tournament.”
    The tournament will be played on a blue surface similar to that installed at the Riverbank Arena on London’s Olympic Park.  Great Britain’s men are the top ranked side for the 11 day invitational tournament that features New Zealand, Korea, India, Pakistan, Argentina and the hosts Malaysia.  New Zealand’s Black Sticks are the Commonwealth Games bronze medallists while Argentina’s men won the 2011 Pan American Games hockey tournament in October 2011.  Three of the competing teams, Pakistan, Malaysia and India, filled the three medal spots at the 2010 Asian Games and most recently India won the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Delhi in February.  Great Britain twice beat India at the Visa International Invitational Hockey Tournament. At the Champions Trophy in December 2011, Great Britain beat Pakistan 2-1 and Korea 4-3.
   Great Britain won the bronze medal at the 2011 tournament, finishing third behind winners Australia and runners-up Pakistan.  GB beat New Zealand 4-1 in the bronze medal playoff.
     Great Britain Men's Squad for Sultan Azlan Shah Cup
Name (Club) Position [Home Nation] Great Britain Caps/Great Britain Goals - Home Nation Caps/Home Nation Goals - Age
Richard Alexander (Surbiton) Midfielder/Defender [England] 52/6 - 130/13 - 30
Nick Catlin (Reading) Midfielder/Forward [England] 13/3 - 45/3 - 23
Jonty Clarke (Reading) Forward [England] 48/12 - 138/28 - 31
Matt Daly (Surbiton) Forward [England] 43/12 - 95/44 - 28
Adam Dixon (Beeston) Defender/Midfielder [England] 23/0 - 58/2 - 25
James Fair (Cannock) Goalkeeper [England] 31/0 - 87/0 - 31
Dan Fox (Hampstead & Westminster) Defender [England] 11/0 - 23/0 - 29
Ben Hawes (Wimbledon) Defender/Midfielder [England] 82/19 - 125/25 - 31
Ashley Jackson (East Grinstead) Midfielder [England] 55/20 - 71/49 - 24
Glenn Kirkham (East Grinstead) Midfielder [England] 62/5 - 145/7 - 29
Iain Lewers (East Grinstead) Defender [England] 21/0 - 15/1 - 28
Iain Mackay (Reading) Midfielder [England] 24/1 - 63/11 - 27
Harry Martin (Old Loughtonians) Midfielder [England] 19/2 - 8/0 - 19
Barry Middleton (East Grinstead) Midfielder/Forward [England] 89/30 - 159/43 - 28
Rob Moore (Surbiton) Midfielder/Forward [England] 75/20 - 148/19 - 30
Richard Smith (Loughborough Students) Defender [England] 13/4 - 64/7 - 24
James Tindall (Surbiton) Forward [England] 59/21 - 126/56 - 29
Ali Wilson (Beeston) Defender [England] 50/0 - 103/6 - 28

Blood more juniors in Azlan Shah Cup

MALAYSIAN hockey never had it so good, as not only did  the juniors achieve both their targets, but also did it in style to  lift the Junior Asia Cup title in Malacca.
    Four Asian hockey powerhouses were side-stepped with  ease as coach K. Dharmaraj’s charges qualified for the  Junior World Cup, and then snatched the gold from the jaws  of a snapping Pakistan.
     Iran (6-1), Japan (3-1), South Korea (6-3), India (2-0) and  Pakistan (2-1) was the impressive wins earned by a team  which was formed in 2009.
    Since the tournament was incepted in 1987, only three  teams had laid their hands on the title -- until Sunday that  is.
   Pakistan have three under their belts starting with the  inaugural in 1987, followed by 1992 and their hat-trick in  1996; then South Korea won one in 2000; while India were  the dominant force in 2004 and 2008.
    The 7,000-odd fans who thronged the MBM Stadium in  Malacca for the final went home singing praises, but there  were some who wondered what next?
    The voices of joy also went one step further to suggest that  instead of the seniors, this team should be fielded for the  Azlan Shah Cup on May 25 to June 3 in Ipoh.
     The seven-team invitation will have six Olympic teams in  India, Pakistan, South Korea, Argentina, Britain and New  Zealand.
     “This win by the juniors has certainly lifted our standard in  Asia and it was made possible with good team-work from the  coaching, management, parent body and the National Sports  Council.
    “Hard work for the past three years has worked wonders to  produce talented players, and now I am also looking at a  bigger pool of junior trainees for the Azlan Shah Cup,” said  seniors coach Tai Beng Hai.
    Beng Hai already had five of the players in his Road to  London programme which ended with failure at the Dublin  Olympic Qualifier.
    “I now plan to have a bigger pool of juniors in the Azlan  Shah Cup training squad and will consult the junior team  management and coaches to see who is available and also  injury free.
    “I have  a handful of injured players as well as those who  can’t get leave from their studies, and if the juniors can fit into  their positions, it would be good for hockey in the country on  the long run for them to play against Olympic sides,” said  Beng Hai.
     Malaysia also grabbed the lion’s share in honours as Kavin  Kartik was named as Man of the Final, the top-scorers award  was shared by Korea’s yang Jihun and Faizal Saari on six  goals.
    Malaysian goalkeeper  Hazrul Faiz was the Best Goal keeper, as well as Player-of-the-Tournament.
    Hazrul’s double is a rarity as goalkeepers are rarely  honoured with the best players award.
     However, the downside of this team is that six of them  including both the penalty corner flickers Faizal and skipper  Nor Faez Ibrahim as well as Izat Sumantri, Amir Farid,  Mohamed Ramadan and Dedi Aryandi will be overage for the  Junior World Cup in New Delhi in November.
    And replacements should have been scouted from the 2017  side yesterday, as tomorrow would be too  late if we want to  make an impact on the junior world stage next.
   Beng Hai should also at  least field eight from the junior  squad for the Azlan Shah Cup, as exposure is all that it will  offer for Malaysia while the other six teams warm-up for  Olympic honours.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Gold for Malaysia!

Faizal Saari celebrates his goal against Pakistan in the second minute of the match.

MALAYSIAN juniors created history when they beat Pakistan 2-1 for the Junior Asia Cup gold medal at the MBM Stadium in Malacca yesterday.
  It was the first gold medal in the tournament, which was incepted in 1987, and the Malacca crowd went wild after the final whistle by running onto the picth and even the strong presence of the Police was unable to control the thousands who invaded the pith at will.
  "This is a very proud moment for Malaysian hockey as we finally won gold after 25 years in this tournament. Full credit goes to my players and coaching as well as management staff, as this journey was started way back in 2009 and ended at the top of the podium today," said Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj.
  The MBM Stadium was already packed at 5pm, and by the time Malaysia entered the pitch three hours later, there was a full-blown carnival atmosphere.
  About 7,000 fans circled the stadium, which only had seating capacity around the grandstand, while the rest stood on the hillocks around the stadium standing 50-deep but not the least frustrated.
  And Faizal Saari did not disappoint the fans, as off the first minute attack, Malaysia won a penalty corner, and he duly converted with a sizzler which almost tore the netting.
  That set the tempo for the match, and Pakistan were all but beaten by the 18th minute, when Syamim Yusof taps in a cross which again sent the crowd into wild celebrations.
  The only danger of the half from Pakistan was in the 34th minute, when they won their only penalty corner, but Mohamed Tousiq blows it over the top.
  However, the second half saw a jaded Malaysian side as they kept making mistakes after mistakes, while Pakistan started to get more adventures in their attack.
  And in the 42nd minute, a poor clearance saw Irfan Mohamed scoring from close range to reduce the deficit for Pakistan.
  After that, Malaysia defended by numbers while Pakistan took control of the match for long periods.
  Malaysia had waited for this moment for 20 years, but the last 20 minutes of the match were agonising, as Pakistan went looking for the equaliser, and Malaysia were beaten at every turn except the goalkeeping department.
  And with three minutes remaining, Syamim was kicked in his groin, and fell down like a sack of brick. The incident almost sparked a free-for-all, and Pakistan's Mohamed Khalid and Syamim were sent to the sin-bin for five minutes, and the match was over for both of them.
  Malaysia then lost Izzat Sumantri to a yellow, but even with nine-man, they still held on to history.
  Meanwhile, India claimed the bronze in extra-time sudden death when their skipper Akashdeep Singh score in the 79th minute, after the match ended 1-1 in regulation time.
  RESULTS: Final: Malaysia 2 Pakistan 1; Third-Fourth: India 1 South Korea 1 (India win on sudden-death goal).