Thursday, February 16, 2012

Indian men and women good as gold

Former Indian men's hockey team coach Jose Brasa (right) feels that the Indian men's and women's teams can make the cut for London Olympics. Sandeep Saxena

By Y. B. Sarangi

Having seen Indian hockey from so close, Jose Brasa is confident that both the men's and women's teams of the host country will make the cut for the London Olympics.
Former Indian men's team coach Brasa, who is now here for the Olympic qualifier as an adviser to the Ukrainian women's side, said the format of the tournament and the quality of the rival teams favoured the home side being coached by Australian Michael Nobbs.
“There is 100 per cent chance that they (men) can qualify. The format of pool-cum-final is designed for India. They have the tendency of losing control over easy matches. In the pool, even if you lose one match it is not going to make much difference. So, the final is important, (in fact) that is the only match (to win). I am sure India will qualify,” said Brasa during an interaction at the National Stadium here on Wednesday.
The Spaniard said the players must make the most of the fabulous opportunity of playing in home conditions. “They need the support of the whole country and they should know that they will get it. Once they qualify, the country and the government should reward them.”
“I met all the (Indian) players at the team hotel. It was nice meeting them, they are all nice human beings,” added Brasa, recalling his association with the players.
Brasa, however, refrained from assessing the change in the team after he left India almost a year ago.
“I have not seen India playing (recently). I only saw the highlights of the Champions Challenge in South Africa and I cannot really comment.”
The well-known coach also rated the Indian women players highly.
“I saw them during the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games (in 2010). Like the men, they have got good individual skills. In comparison to other teams, they are very skilful. They have improved a lot.”
Brasa was optimistic that India, backed by the home crowd, would be able to get the better of the higher-ranked South African women's squad and earn its second entry into Olympics after 1980.

The Hindu

Olak big winners off field..

PIC: PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd CEO Datuk Michael B.Y. Tio (right) and PKT Logistics chairman Datuk Jalilah Baba.

OLD La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak-PKT) did not make an impact this season, but their sponsors PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd have big plans for their players.

PKT CEO Datuk Michael B.Y. Tio yesterday confirmed that he has set aside RM500,000 for Olak players who want to further their studies.
“We finished third in Division Two (Group B) but turned out big winners when our sponsors agreed to foot food, lodging as well as fees for Olak players who want to further their studies.
“Also, PKT will sponsor a development programme for hockey players in Klang in April, where under-12 and under-15 players will be nurtured for the future,” said Olak team manager Joseph de Silva.
Olak won the Division One title in 1997 and they were double champions in 1998 and 1999, but have been struggling since.
Meanwhile, League holders UniKL Young Guns must score at least six goals against USM Juniors in Division One of the Milo-Junior Hockey League today.
Failing which, they will have to go for an outright win against Overall champions SSTMI Thunderbolts in the final league match at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru on Sunday.
UniKL are unbeaten after six matches but trail Thunderbolts by six goals, and today’s clash against USM Juniors could just make their quest to retain their League title much easier if they score more than six goals, which will see them needing only a draw in the last match.
In Division Two, the semi-finals will be held today to decide which two teams play in the quarter-finals of the Overall title.
Overwhelming favourites Sapura play Batu Pahat, while Malacca High School will meet Politeknik PKT and the finalists will advance to the higher knock-out stage.
TODAY: Division One -- SSTMI v TBSS (Taman Daya, 4pm), MBPJ v BJSS Juniors (Bukit Jalil , 5pm), UniKL Young Guns v USM Juniors (KLHA, 5pm).
DIVISION TWO: Semi-finals -- Sapura v Batu Pahat (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 5pm), Malacca High School v Politeknik PKT (Bukit Serindit, 5pm).
SUNDAY: SSTMI Thunderbolts v UniKL Young Guns (Taman Daya Pitch I, 5.30pm), SSTMI v USM-MSSPP Juniors (Taman Daya Pitch II, 3pm),

P W D L F A Pts
THUNDERBOLTS 7 7 0 0 43 7 21
UNIKL 6 6 0 0 35 5 18
BJSS 8 5 1 2 30 17 16
Anderson 8 4 1 3 28 27 13
USM Jnrs 6 3 1 2 15 15 10
MBPJ 7 2 0 5 17 20 6
TBSS 7 1 1 5 14 31 4
SSTMI 6 1 0 5 9 32 3
BJSS Jnrs 7 0 0 7 4 41 0


P W D L F A Pts
SAPURA 8 8 0 0 40 2 24
Poli KPT 8 6 0 2 20 8 18
KHA Jnrs 8 4 2 2 17 12 14
MSS Kel 8 4 1 3 20 15 13
NUR INSAFI 8 3 2 3 11 10 11
KHA-MSNK 8 3 2 3 15 9 11
ANDSON Jnrs 8 3 1 4 15 15 10
MSSPP Jnrs 8 1 0 7 8 36 3
PHNS 8 0 0 8 2 43 0

P W D L F A Pts
MHS 7 6 0 1 14 7 18
MPBP 7 5 0 2 14 9 15
OLAK PKT 7 4 1 2 16 13 13
KLSS 7 3 1 3 15 13 10
DATUK TAHA 7 3 1 3 9 11 10
PAHANG 7 3 1 3 10 12 10
SMKPM 7 2 0 5 18 18 6
TUNAS PAHANG 7 0 0 7 6 19 0

Sun and surf in Port Dickson

THE National hockey team are tapering down on physical training, and moving towards team and mental building exercises to prepare for the Dublin Olympic Qualifiers on March 10-18.
Malaysia will battle for the sole ticket to the London Olympics against world No 6 South Korea, Ireland, Chile, Russia and Ukraine.
“Most of the work has been completed and now the players will head for a relaxing weekend in Port Dickson for two days (starting today) where team building and mental strength will be the main agenda,” said national coach Tai Beng Hai.
Chile will be the first ‘hurdle’ and Beng Hai is not taking matters lightly.
“Even though the first three matches (Chile, then Russia and Ukraine) look relatively easy on paper, but we need to get maximum points and also goals to keep the fire burning.”
After that, they will meet the big boys South Korea and finally hosts Ireland, and need to win at least one match to play in the final of the Qualifier.
“We last saw Chile play in the Ireland Champions Challenge II, and their style is similar to Argentina and all their matches were close affairs,” said Beng Hai.
In the 2009 tournament, Japan could only beat Chile 4-3, while Poland edged them 3-2 and Ireland beat them 3-0 in the preliminaries.
Penalty corner flickers Amin Rahim and Razie Rahim suffered injuries during their Tour Down Under, but are recovering nicely.
“Both the penalty corner flickers suffered knocks and bruises during the Tour but should recover fully before we head for Europe. We will only be taking 18 players to we can’t afford to list any injured player on the final list,” said Beng Hai.
Malaysia will set up camp in Cardiff from Feb 28-March 5 after which they will head for Dublin.
The camp is to allow the players to acclimatise and to play at least three matches against Wales.