Sunday, September 2, 2012

Is Paul Lissek Hockey India's HPM choice?

By Uthra Ganesan Chaturvedi

Hockey India has announced the appointment of a High Performance Manager by the end of next month. Even though they have insisted that they are yet to shortlist the candidates – the person appointed would be responsible for development of a complete structure for hockey in India with all the coaches, including national coach Michael Nobbs, reporting to him -- sources claim that German Paul Lissek is a clear favourite.
    Lissek spent almost a decade in Malaysia as their technical director with mixed results. Though Malaysia won their first-ever bronze in Asian Games and Commonwealth Games when he was the coach, subsequenty he could not produce much as a coach.
  Lissek may have been assistant to Ric Charlesworth for London Olympics but his contribution to modern hockey and the teams he has been with has been nothing of note. In fact, he came on Ric’s team only in the final year of preparation, by which time the Australian team was almost settled for the Games. Lissek was also considered and rejected by the Pakistan Hockey Federation, mainly because of his inability to understand the subcontinental style.
  It will also have to be seen whether his defensive style would gel with Nobb’s preference to play attacking hockey. A strong personality like Ric may have been able to get his way, mainly because Ric was in charge in Australia. Here, Lissek will be in charge, which means more tussles.
  Most importantly, the concept of a high performance manager (HPM) itself is tricky. Countries that have the position – like Germany, Holland or New Zealand – have a proper structure in place, clearly-defined roles and a set hierarchy, with the federation not interfering in sporting matters. The technical director handles technical and management issues, including stuff like getting technological support, laying the turf and other such logistical matters. In these countries, he doesn’t interfere with the coaching or selection issues.
  Here, Nobbs will be answerable to Lissek with the latter having final say on contentious issues. The only time that happened was when New Zealand Cricket appointed Charlesworth as HPM – and they had to end the association abruptly in less than a year after the players protested against his high-handedness!
  Under these circumstances, it looks Indian hockey is in for more churning.

Sapura bounce back...

Having been whitewashed in their opening match, Sapura bounced back with a gusty display to defeat UniKL 3-1 in a Premier Division match of the TNB Malaysian Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium.
Barely 24 hours earlier Sapura suffered the humiliation of a 5-0 defeat at the hands of KL Hockey Club. But they showed resilience to subdue a largely ineffective UniKL side who also lost their opening match 3-2 against Nur Insafi-Perak.
The defeat casts serious doubts on the ability of UniKL to make the grade as they played without any zest normally accustomed with their previous teams.
Sapura took the lead against the run of play in the 4th minute through Azreen Rizal Nasir. But their midfield failed to take grasp of things and allowed UniKL back into the game.
Though UniKL were awarded three consecutive penalty corners, they failed to make much headway with Mohd Noor faeez Ibrahim opting to go for direct attempts instead of side stepping the first runner.
However he made amends in the 15th minute and UniKL grew in confidence.
Sapura were undeterred and were awarded a penalty stroke in the 30th minute when a penalty corner attempt by Pakistan's Muhammad Imran struck a defenders body on the goal line.
But South Korea's Lee Jung Seon made a hash of things as his stroke was easily saved by UniKL keeper Shahrul Azaddin Auskarzie.
Though Sapura forced another three penalty corners in the closing stages of the first half, they failed to capitalise and at half time both team were evenly match with a scoreline of 1-1.
Mohd Marhan Jalil made it 2-1 in the 41st minute before Mohd Razali Mohd Zulkipli extended the advantage with a reverse stick goal in the 58th minute.

Fazial saves TNB, again...

KL Hockey Club and Tenaga Nasional Berhad registered comfortable wins in the Premier Division matches of the TNB Malaysian Hockey League at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
KLHC scored four in the second half to defeat Maybank 4-1 while Tenaga Nasional Berhad blanked Nur Insafi Perak 5-2 thanks to a hattrick by Faisal Saari.
KLHC forced two penalty corners in the opening minutes of the match but Mohd Razie Rahim who scored a brace against Sapura last night failed to find the mark.
in the 23rd minute KLHC created their first open play chance as a cross by S. Shanker found Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof who sent his attept wide of the post despite having all the time in the world.
And when Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin was presented with a clear shot at goal minutes later, he shot straight into Maybank keeper Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman.
Razie had another opportunity via a penalty corner in the 29th minute, but KLHC opted to play a set-piece that was easily read by the Maybank defence.
And the chances continued to go begging as Ismail Abu came close twice within the space of a few seconds. First his deflection bounced off the upright and from the ensuing cross he had a snap shot at goal that went just wide.
But all that changed within the space of two minutes in the second half. Razie converted a penalty corner with a low flick in the 40th minute and barely had the cheers dies down that Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin scored from a penalty corner to give KLHC a 2-0 advantage.
Syamim got his act right in the 56th minute to put KLHC 3-0 up but Maybank reduced the deficit in the 67th minute via a penalty corner converted by Engku abdul Malek Engku Mohammad in the 67th minute.
But Razie completed the rout scoring the fourth in the final minute of the match, via a penalty corner.
In the Nur Insafi-Perak v Tenaga Nasional Berhad clash, it was Abdul Haseem Khan who gave the northern team the lead in the 8th minute only for Faisal Saari to equalise two minutes later from a penalty corner.
TNB added another two goals via Ahmad Farid Ahmad Fuzi ( 12th minute) and Faisal ( 27th minute) to take a 3-1 lead into halftime.
But Khasif Ali then reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute, converting a penalty corner to make it 3-2. And they started pushing TNB into deep defence in search of an equaliser.
However it was a Faisal show as he completed his hattrick with goals in the 51st and 52nd minutes to extend TNB's lead to 5-2, effectively snuffing out the fightback by Nur Insafi Perak.

MHL: Awesome start

KLHC’s Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof (in yellow) and Sapura’s Jiwa Mohan tussle for the ball at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday. Pic by Goh Thean Howe.

By Ajitpal Singh

 KL Hockey Club (KLHC) got off to a blazing start in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division when they hammered Sapura 5-0 in the Charity Shield-cum-league match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
   KLHC, the double champions last season, were flawless in the first half, taking a 5-0 lead but the score-line could have been bigger if not for poor finishing.
  National striker Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Jalil opened the floodgates in the seventh minute after converting a rebound before defender Razie Rahim scored from penalty corner set-pieces in the 16th and 18 minutes.
  Former national junior Harvinder Singh and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin completed the first half rout in the 23rd and 24th minutes.
  Sapura goalkeeper Kairulnizam Ibrahim did well to deny KLHC from increasing their lead with several fine saves before half-time.
  KLHC coach K. Dharmaraj said the impressive win will put his team on a good stead towards retaining their title.
  "I am happy with the performance of my players. We controlled the first half and made use of our opportunities well but we could have added more goals in the second half," said Dharmaraj yesterday.
  "I want my boys to maintain their good form for our remaining matches. We must not take our opponents lightly."
  KLHC will play Nur Insafi-Perak, who came from behind to edge Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 3-2 yesterday for a winning start, today.
  Abdul Haseem Khan sounded the board twice for Nur-Insafi in the eighth and 39th minutes before Kashif Ali scored their winning goal in the 41st minute. UniKL replied through Muhd Noor Faeez Ibrahim in the 12th and 33rd minutes.
  In an earlier match, Faizal Saari hit a brace to help Tenaga Nasional Berhad earn a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Maybank.
  Faizal, an international, scored his first off a penalty corner set-piece in the 14th minute before helping his team avoid defeat with a splendid field attempt two minutes from time.
  Pakistan duo Shakeel Abbasi and Muhammad Waqas replied for Maybank in the 39th and 65th minutes.
  Results --Premier Division: TNB 2 Maybank 2, Nur Insafi-MBI 3 UniKL 2, KLHC 5 Sapura 0.
  Division One: Armed Forces 1 Uniten 1, Politeknik-KPT 2 Johor HA 4, BJSS 1 Thunderbolt 2.
  Today's Fixtures -- Premier Division: Maybank v KLHC (Pitch Two; 6pm), TNB v Nur Insafi-MBI (Pitch One; 6pm), Sapura v UniKL (Pitch Two; 8pm)
  Division One: UiTM v Armed Forces (Pitch One; 4pm), Thunderbolts v Uniten (Pitch One; 8pm).