Sunday, March 11, 2012

Razie Rahim in a mean mood

PIC (By S.S. Dhaliwal) Razie Rahim (second from left) celebrates his first goal against Chile in the Dublin Olympic Qualifier. Malaysia won 5-1, with Razie scoring a brace.

No need to be fussy, AHF

HOCKEY is a minority sport in Ireland, as real men and women play rugby, and also hurling.
Nobody here, save for a small group of hockey enthusiasts, know that Ireland are hosting the Olympic Qualifiers at the University College Dublin in Belfield.
But everybody is excited about the rugby six-nations tournament, and are eagerly awaiting for the Ireland-Scotland match to start.
The scots have also arrived in droves and wearing their famous kilts, were already in a party mood as early as 8am yesterday before the big match at night.
It is also surprising to note that the tournament is being held at a venue that only has one pitch. There is no second pitch for training and warm-up proposes which the International Hockey Federation (FIH) always insists when Malaysia bid to host international events.
The players dressing room is also a good five minutes walk away from the stadium, while the media centre is not facing the pitch, but a rock-climbing wall deep inside the UCD sports complex.
Back home, the Asian Hockey Confederation (AHF) are threatening to pull out the Junior Asia Cup, in Malacca from May 3-13, as they say the facilities at the Bukit Serindit Stadium are not good enough.
The Junior Asia Cup also doubles up as a qualifier for the 2013 Junior World Cup in New Delhi.
The Serindit stadium has two beautiful pitches, but still, the AHF insists that a grandstand roof must be put up, and two more dressing rooms and a media room be added.
AHF president Sultan Azlan Shah will be down in Dublin to watch the Qualifiers, and maybe, he should take an inspection of the UCD pitch and the facilities here before setting standards for AHF and also future FIH tournaments in Malaysia.

A jittery 5-1 win against Chile

By Jugjet Singh in Dublin

Malaysia 5 Chile 1
Ireland 6 Russia 1
South Korea 8 Ukraine 2

THE national players overcame a jittery start to whip Chile 5-1 in their opening encounter of the Olympic Qualifiers at the University College Dublin grounds in Belfield yesterday.
It was a big boost for their next encounter against Russia today, where another win is expected from Tai Beng Hai's men.
However, Malaysia were a nervous wreck for 35 minutes, as they missed three penalty corners and two sitters to be held to a 1-1 draw going into the breather.
The expected early goals did not come, instead there were plenty of cards for the Malaysian players as Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari and Shahrun Nabil all picked up green cards which saw them sit out for two minutes.
And then there was the yellow card to Baljit, which saw Malaysia playing with 10-men in the dying minutes of the first half.
Malaysia took the lead off their second penalty corner in the 17th minute when Razie Rahim made a direct attempt.
But Chile shocked the 60-odd Malaysian supporters at the UCD Stadium when they equalised off Jan Richter in the 20th minute.
The second half started on a more promising note as Malaysia won a penalty corner three minutes into the second half, and as promised Faizal sent the ball crashing into the net to re-take the lead.
Faizal had promised to score two goals against Chile a day before, and he delivered the first.
Chile were never in the match after that, and were just running around wildly and it was just a matter of time before Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin made a super cross which was connected home by Hafifi Hafiz in the 49th minute and Malaysia were on their way to a winning start.
The match was sealed in the 50th minute, when Razie scored his second and Malaysia's fourth off a penalty corner attempt.
Malaysia's best flicker Amin Rahim sat on the bench for 60 minutes, but just as he came in for the first time against Chile, a penalty corner was won and Amin did not disappoint by flicking home the fifth goal in the 61st minute.