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