Thursday, February 23, 2012

Izzat and Fitri included

A Sultan, a prince and a former Selangor top cop were at hand at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil to give moral support to the team which will be playing at the Dublin Olympics Qualifier on March 10-18.
Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) president Sultan Azlan Shah, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, and AHF secretary Tan Sri P. Alagendra watched the team train before 18 players were named for the Qualifier.
The only surprise was the inclusion of youngsters Izzat Rahim, 22-years-old with eight caps, and 22-year-old Fitri Saari who only has two caps.
Fitri will be playing alongside his established brother Faizal for the first time in a tournament.
Coach Tai Beng Hai decided on 16 players from the Asian Games silver medal winning side, and included the two youngsters.
Azlan Shah was the first to advise the players: "I have been watching the team closely and frommy observation, Malaysia have been very vulnarable in the first and last five minutes of previous matches.
"A good example is the Champions Challenge I where we were leading India 4-2, but collapsed in the last five minutes to let India equalsie and then win the match 5-4 on sudden death.
"This must be avoided at all cost in Dublin if we harbour hopes of doing well," said the former Malaysian Hockey Federation president.
Beng Hai said he has selected the best and even the two new blood are ready for action.
"I have selected the best and the two players were included to cover some of the regulars who are slightly injured. However, the two alsoproved themselves during the tours and friendlies and should be able to give their best," said Beng Hai.
Malaysia open acounts against Chile on March 10, followed by Russia the next day. And then it is Ukraine on March 13, followed by a rest day before playing South Korea on March 15.
Hosts Ireland are last in the fixtures on March 17, and the top two teams advance to the finals. Only one ticket is on offer for the London Olympics.
"The stakes are high and we have done our best to prepare the players. Now, they must give their best and hopefully, we will win the gold medal and Qualify for the Olympics," said tengku Abdullah.
MALAYSIA: Roslan Jamaluddin (gk), S. Kumar (gk), Izzat Rahim, Amin Rahim, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Izwan Firdaus, Madzli Ikmar, Faizal Saari, Shahrun Nabil, Shukri Mutalib, Azlan Misron, Nabil Fiqri, Razie Rahim (skipper), Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi, Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Azreen Rizal.

Easy for UniKL and Thunderbolts

THE Milo Cup Junior Hockey League quarter-finals today will see two walk in the parks, while two more knock-outs are expected to go to the wire.
League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts will play a weak Petaling Jaya Municipal Council, while UniKL Young GUns will square off against USM JUniors and both the first leg matches might end up with high scores.
UniKL beat Division One fifth placed USM Juniors 7-1 in the league, while newly crowned League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts beat PJCC 6-1 in the League.
"We did score a big win in the League against PJCC, but then again, this is a knock-out and things might turn against us if we do not show them respect.
"The plan is to secure a healthy win in the first leg, so that we do not have to worry too much about the return encounter on Sunday," said Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan.
Thunderbolts, formerly known as Bandar Penawar sports School, have an unbeaten record this season and their only blemish was the 1-1 draw in the final League match against UniKL, but they still lifted the title on a better scoring rate.
UniKL were disappointed in Johor Baru, because they ha targetted a double this season: "One title is gone, and the boys have been told to forget about it and make a strong challenge for the Overall title," said UniKL manager Amir Azhar.
Three players wil sit out the first leg quarter-finals because they have collected maximum demerit points.
UniKL's Taufik Hamid (12 points), PJCC's Saufian Othman (10 points) and Sapura's Amarpreet Singh (8 points).
TODAY: Quarter-finals (First Leg): SSTMI Thunderbolts v Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 4pm), Sapura v MBI-Anderson (KLHA, 4pm), Malacca High School v Bukit Jalil Sports School (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm), UniKL Young Guns v USM Juniors (KLHA, 6pm).
SUNDAY -- Second Leg: Bukit Jalil Sports School v Malacca High School (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 4pm), USM Juniors v UniKL Young Guns (KLHA, 4pm), Petaling Jaya Municipal Council v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Bukit Jalil Pitch II, 6pm), MBI-An derson v Sapura (KLHA, 6pm).

Sandeep scrapes India past Canada

VICTORY SALUTE: India's Sandeep Singh celebrates with teammates after scoring in the Olympic qualifiers against Canada at the National Stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday. Photo: S. Subramanium

MEN'S Standings
Team Games Wins Draws Losses Points
Pool A
India IND 4 4 0 0 12
Poland POL 4 3 0 1 9
France FRA 4 3 0 1 9
Canada CAN 4 2 0 2 6
Italy ITA 4 0 0 4 0
Singapore SIN 4 0 0 4 0

By Y. B. Sarangi The Hindu

SANDEEP Singh scores a brace, including the winner, as the host remains unbeaten
In a performance that will remain etched forever in the memory of Indian hockey fans, the host side pipped Canada 3-2 in an action-filled thriller of an Olympic qualifier match at the National Stadium here on Wednesday.
The Indian team put on an extra-ordinary show that will not only boost the players' confidence, but will also do a world of good for the future of the sport in the country.
India, undefeated so far, notched up its fourth consecutive win to gather 12 points, and has virtually booked a place in the final of the qualification event.
Sandeep Singh struck a brace while Shivendra Singh slotted in one goal in India's impressive endeavour. Mark Pearson and Scott Tupper scored for Canada.
The keenly-fought contest, packed with highly energetic performances from both the sides, really got the adrenalin flowing. For the first time in the tournament, India went without scoring in the opening 25 minutes of the match. Yet, the action was gripping.
Thanks to the enhanced fitness level of the Indians, they could withstand the pressure that was physically draining and mentally exhausting.
The skilful linkmen, led by the superb Sardar Singh, and the incisive frontline, consisting of some brilliant performers, jelled well to keep the Canadian defenders busy. When the rival strikers made their moves the Indian defenders rose to the challenge.
Indian forwards' enterprise bore fruit in the 26th minute when the young S.K. Uthappa fired in a cross from the left and Shivendra Singh shook off his challengers inside the circle to put India up.
The home side attacked with more vigour after changing the ends. Canadian goalkeeper, Antoni Kindler, came forward to prevent two fine attempts from S.V. Sunil and Sarvanjit Singh.
However, Sandeep, making the most of the team's second short corner, beat the rival custodian with a low flick.
Canada bounced back with two quick goals. Pearson banked on a defensive lapse inside the circle to reduce the margin, while Tupper made use of a penalty corner to score the equaliser.
Amid moments of heated exchanges between players of both sides, Sandeep spectacularly slammed in a fast flick along the carpet to convert India's fourth short corner and trigger wild celebrations in the stands.
France defeated Italy 3-0, while Poland outclassed Singapore 11-3 to keep their hopes alive.
Thursday is a rest day in both men and women tournaments.

The results:
Poland 11 (Szymon Oszyjczyk 9, 59, 63, Michal Nowakowski 24, Miroslaw Juszczak 35, Mateusz Poltasewski 40, 64, Bartosz Zywiczka 50, Artur Mikula 54, Tomasz Gorny 56, Waldemar Rataj 58) bt Singapore 3 (Farhan Kamsani 37, 49, Fazri Jailani 70).
France 3 (Arnaud Becuwe 43, Martin Genestet 52, Frederic Verrier 57) bt Italy 0.
India 3 (Shivendra Singh 26, Sandeep Singh 40, 61) bt Canada 2 (Mark Pearson 50, Scott Tupper 53).