Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Belgium lesson invaluable..

BELGIUM juniors sealed a hat-trick of wins when they beat Malaysia juniors 4-2 in their final test at the Denetage Hockey Club in Antwerp on Tuesday night.
  The European champions won 3-2, 7-0 and were 2-2 in the first half in the final test, before powering ahead for a whitewash in the series.
  Malaysia, who played three matches in Poland prior to this, will now head for England to play another three matches against the Under-21 side on Aug 1, 3 and 4.
  "We held them to a draw for 35 minutes, but a few harsh decisions by the umpires in the second half made it uphill for my players.
   "Playing with 10, and then nine players most if the second half made it difficult to plan for a comeback, as they scored off counter attacks when we moved up," said juniors team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
  However, the experience was invaluable: "The three matches gave us a good insight of the Belgium side as this would be the last time we play them before the Junior World Cup in New Delhi," said Mirnawan.
  The Malaysian goals were scored by Rashid Baharom off a penalty corner rebound in the 23rd minute and off a Nor Aqmal Ghaffar penalty corner in the 28 minutes.
  The Belgium goals were scored in the 18th, 19th, 46th and 59th minutes.
  While the green cards to Malaysia were picked up by Haziq Shamsol and Kavin Khartik. The yellow cards in the second half were flashed to Azrul Hasbullah, Kavin and Azri Hassan.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Juniors suffer 7-0 hammering..

MALAYSIAN juniors suffered a sobering 7-0 hammering in the hands of European champions Belgium in their second test at the Denetage Hockey Club in Antwerp on Sunday night.
    The shocking humiliation came at the back of a 3-2 defeat in the first test, with the Belgium winner only coming in the 69th minute of play.
    However, the Belgians fielded their full Junior World Cup squad in the second match, and also recalled the two players in training with their senior squad for the European Championships.
   Malaysia were without five of their best, who are in training back home with the senior side for the Asia Cup in Ipoh.
    The juniors are on a nine-match tour of Europe to prepare for the Junior World Cup and after this, they will travel to England for another three matches.
    For the record, Belgium played England in a three-match series earlier and lost the first 4-3, and won the other two matches 4-1 and 5-2.
    Coach K. Dharmaraj’s side crumbled after missing two sitters in the first five minutes of the match, and also blew a penalty stroke which hit the post.
    At half-time, the score was 0-3 and in their haste to push for goals, saw the Belgians counter and score four more in the second half.
     “It was the worst performance ever from our players, as they kept missing sitters and hitting the bar and post during the penalty stroke and also penalty corners.
    “Sloppy defending resulted in this huge defeat, and now we will work to raise their game in the last match on Wednesday before leaving for the England series,” said juniors manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
     The England matches are slated for Aug They will next play the England U-21 squad to three test matches on August 1 , 3 and 4.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Belly Jenson Button...

 Flashing some flesh: Jessica Michibata wore a cropped top and a skirt with a revealing split as she and Jenson Button took a stroll in Hungary..

Malaysia hand win to Belgium..

Captain of the Belgium series Syamin Yusof exchanging memento before the first match. Pics by Mirnawan Nawawi.
THE Malaysian juniors lost to European junior champions  Belgium 3-2 after letting in a last minute penalty corner at  the Denetage Hockey Club in Antwerp on Saturday.
    The juniors are on a nine-match tour of Europe to prepare  for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in December.
    The score was 2-2 with one minute left on the clock, when  Malaysia gave away a penalty corner which was duly tucked  in to hand Belgium a win in the first of the three-match  series.
     However, it was a good show from coach K. Dharmaraj’s  boys, as they went to Europe without five of their stalwarts  (Faiz Helmi, Izad Hakimi, Fitri Saari, Firhan Ashaari and  Meor Azuan) who are in training with the senior side for the  Asia Cup in Ipoh next month.
    As for Belgium, they were without two of their best, as they  were in training with the senior side for the European  Championships, which also doubles up as a World Cup  Qualifier.
     The Malaysian goals were scored by Syamim Yusof off a  penalty corner rebound in the third minute, and Zulhairi  Hashim off a 38th minute penalty corners.
    The Belgians scored in the 12th, 34th and 69th minutes.
     “We started aggressively knowing that Belgium are the  best in Europe at the moment, and forced a penalty corner in  the third minute. Zulhairi’s flick was saved but Syamin was  cooly tucked in the lead.
    “And off our third penalty corner (Malaysia had a total of  five while Belgium eight), Zullhairi flicked low to place the  ball between the goalkeeper and the post man for the  equaliser,” said team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
     “Overall it was an encouraging display, as we could have  won the match but failed to convert a 66th minute penalty  corner and then let in a last minute goal instead.
     “We play another two matches against Belgium before  moving to England for another three matches, and they  players know that they must win both to steal the series from  the European champs,” said Mirnawan.
     Before Belgium, the juniors were in Poland where they  whipped the Polish juniors 7-0 and 8-2 and lost 3-0 to the  senior side.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Avoid major tournaments near Ramadan: Abbasi

NEW DELHI: Ace Pakistani forward Shakeel Abbasi, who was kicked out of the national training camp for fasting, has requested International Hockey Federation (FIH) to avoid organising major tournaments around the holy month of Ramadan.
    "I want to request FIH not to organise any major tournament during and around the month of Ramadan. Asia Cup is an important tournament and it is going to be held just after Ramadan where Muslim majority countries like Pakistan, Malaysia and Bangladesh are playing," Abbasi said.
   "There are no major hockey or cricket tournaments during Christmas, similarly they should keep Ramadan in mind while finalising the annual calendar. It is my personal suggestion and I was going to write the FIH about this. I think all national federations should urge them," said the former captain.
   Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool on Wednesday created a big controversy when he expelled Abbasi from the Asia Cup preparatory camp for fasting. Rasool said he had taken disciplinary action against Abbasi for violating instructions and policy because it affects training and drills.
   Abbasi however said that he is confident that PHF will find a solution to this issue.
   "I have been keeping fast during last 12 years of my career. I kept fast when we had foreign coaches. I can keep focus on training while keeping a fast. I will not break my fast but I hope that PHF will find a solution. I have no regrets and I am very positive about it," he said.
   Pakistan have to win the Asia cup, to be held in Malaysia from August 24 to September 1, to qualify for the World Cup 2014. Abbasi conceded that competition will be tougher this time as it is the last chance for all the participating nations.
   "Earlier WC qualifiers were held after Asia cup but situation is opposite this time and it is the last chance for all the participating teams. There is a lot on stake for India and Pakistan hence the competition will be tougher and any team can win," Abbasi said.

The Times of India

Four Muslim finalists might compete...

PETALING JAYA: The four Muslim finalists who were dropped from the Miss Malaysia World pageant may be allowed to compete following a review by the Federal Territories Islamic Department (Jawi).
     Director of Jawi Datuk Che Mat Che Ali  confirmed that he had an official meeting with Datuk Anna Lim, the pageant organiser of Miss Malaysia World 2013 yesterday to discuss the possibility of Muslim girls competing in beauty pageants.
    “I have not made a decision yet. But I will be announcing the decision to the public sometime next week,” said Che Mat during a brief phone call with the Star Online.

     This year’s Miss World finals will take place in neighbouring Indonesia. Lim said that Muslim contestants in Indonesia are allowed to compete in the pageant.
   She said that Muslim contestants won’t be required to wear bikinis and instead they’ll be wearing sarongs.


Five stars for Malaysian LPGA

 Pic: Ai Miyazato
FIVE of the world’s top women golfers yesterday confirmed  their spots in the US$ 2 million Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia  which will tee-off on Oct 10-13 at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and  Country Club (KLGCC).
    Americans Stacy Lewis and Paula Creamer, Na Yeon Choi  from South Korea, Japan’s Ai Miyazato and Spaniard Beatriz  Recari ranked 2, 11, 4, 13, 18 respectively are the latest  draw-cards.
    They will join defending champion and current world No 1  Inbee Park of South Korea in the stellar line-up for the East  Course showdown.
      LPGA Player of the Year, Stacy Lewis said, “I had a good  start to the Tour in Asia this year and I’m looking forward to  getting back and competing for the Sime Darby LPGA.
   “It’s a great tournament played on one of the best courses  in Asia. It is always tough here, but I’ll approach it the way I  do all tournaments and will do my best to get my name on the  top of the leader board.”
    Na Yeon Choi, the 2011 champion, who came so close to  retaining her title in 2012, promises another stellar show.
      “The Sime Darby LPGA is certainly one of my favourite  tournaments of the year. Winning in 2011 and coming  runner up last year is a strong motivation for me to push even  harder in 2013.
   “ I know the course well and my strategy is always to put the  fairway first because if I hit the fairway well, then it presents  a lot of birdie opportunities. I always feel the pressure there,  but I try to thrive off it.”
    Another firm favourite with Malaysian fans is the ever- stylish Ai Miyazato.
   “The event has a reputation as one of the most intense  tournaments with an electrifying atmosphere. The course is  a great one to play with quite a lot of risk – reward  opportunities so I’m looking forward to getting back there to  play it,” said Ai.
    The 72-hole stroke play, no cut event is the first of four  consecutive tournaments in an Asian swing. The field will be  made up of 62 stars from the LPGA Tour and 10 sponsor  invites – including four players from the local and regional  qualifier events.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Malaysian jnrs polish of jnr Poles 8-2

THE Malaysian juniors romped away with a fantastic 8-2 win over Poland juniors in their preparation for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi at the end of the year.
    Coach K. Dharmaraj’s boys are on a nine-match Tour of Europe, and had beaten the Polish juniors 7-0 in the first match.
   The lost the second match 3-0 to the Polish senior side, who are in training for the European Championships, and bounced back in style again yesterday in Poznan.
    Haziq Syamsol gave Malaysia the lead but Poland equalised an minute before the breather.
   And after the break,  Azwar Rahman scored two field goals in the 40th and 41st minutes to give Malaysia some breathing space, but the Poles hit back to make it 3-2 in the 43rd minute.
   But the players kept up the pressure, and the goals came of Syamin Yusof (45th), Nor Aqmal Ghaffar (58th, 63rd) and Dangerous Lee (61st, 65th).
    “Poland fielded their full squad, as they brought in five under-21 players from heir senior squad, and it did make a difference in the first half.
   “But it was Malaysia’s best performance in the three matches here, as we scored seven field goals and only one off a penalty corner,” said team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
     However, even in the euphoria, Mirnawan lamented: “The dark side was that we won seven penalty corners, and only converted one.”
      Malaysia will next move to Belgium where they will play three more matches in Antwerp on from Saturday, and wrap up their fixtures with three matches against England.

German player sets up base in Rajasthan

Swati Vashishtha, CNN-IBN 

Dausa (Rajasthan): A professional hockey player from Germany has taken it upon herself to teach the sport to children in Rajasthan's Dausa district. Andrea Thurmshirn is the hockey coach for children at Garh Himmat Singh, Dausa.
    For Andrea the village was same as it was in a picture book but she had to face the language hurdle. "The village was like in a picture book... And I thought in Germany kids are so overloaded with activities and here there was nothing so I got them some hockey sticks just so they could have some fun with them... But they stood staring, they didn't know what to do with them. I couldn't speak their language and they couldn't understand English," she said. 
     She first met children when she came visiting here with her business partner as a tour operator in 2010. Since then she has come a long way and so have the children. Driven by children's enthusiasm, she has now set up a base here to work with them. 
     Besides teaching hockey, she also teaches English to children. "She teaches us doubling in the morning and tells us things like where to strike while playing. She also teaches us English. Before I began playing hockey I would do dishes at home after school and help my mother," said Shivani Sahu, one of the student.
    But it has not been easy for her. Firstly, it was not easy to convince the parents to send their children to learn hockey and then she had to discipline them who would disappear without notice especially during the harvest season.
    Andrea's family and friends also questioned her why is she doing all this and she said she is doing this for children. "My family and friends ask me everyday why the hell are you doing this but I do it for the kids. They're doing very well and that makes it worth it. They have a bright future! We'll grow a big hockey armada here," she said.
    Her next hurdle now is to convince a neighbouring village to help mount an Astroturf that Germany has donated. But she is optimistic that with some funds they will be able to lease farm land to put it up.

Hockey in Prince Edward Island

Abbey MacLellan, PAHF Local Correspondent

On the East Coast of Canada, there is a small island called Prince Edward Island. 
    PEI is known for its potatoes, seafood, and Anne of Green Gables. Although, something you may not know, is that field hockey on the island is growing rapidly. Every year, more and more athletes are picking up field hockey sticks and giving it a try.
        In Prince Edward Island, there is a junior high and high school league during the fall, and a successful summer and winter program. 
     Lately, there has been a boom in popularity of the sport among teenage athletes with over 250 students, 10 school teams and a lot of players keeping up their skills year round with the winter/summer programs.
     June 15-16 this year, many field hockey players from across the Maritimes were given the opportunity to receive a clinic from Gene Muller. Gene is the General Manager of Field Hockey Canada High Performance and in the past, has coached multiple countries’ national teams. 

     The players learned many new techniques such as advanced ball and stick positioning, different hits, etc. Clinics have been few and far between for years, but with more island players, more opportunities are happening for field hockey athletes.
     Island field hockey players have a lot to look forward to this summer. July 12-14 will be an exciting weekend here in PEI as they are hosting the U-18 Eastern Regional Tournament with teams from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and PEI. This year, PEI is also fortunate enough to send two teams to national competitions this coming summer. 

    An U-18 team will be representing PEI in Vancouver, British Columbia, and an U-16 team will be competing in Brampton, Ontario. 
     Last year, was the first in a long time (more than 5 years) for PEI to send a young team to a national tournament. They came 6th out of 9that the U18 tournament in Calgary, Alberta, in July 2012.
    Field Hockey PEI’s President and General Manager of the University of Prince Edward Island field hockey team; Barb Carmichael was asked about field hockey growth in PEI. Her thoughts were: “True field hockey in PEI is growing very quickly once again. It has been an up and down road over the last 40 years. In the 1980’s and 90’s field hockey was very strong in PEI.

     Our Senior Provincial Team placed 4th at Senior Nationals in 1983, two players from that team went on to be National and Olympic players (Donna Phillips and Kathryn MacDougall). The Canada Games team placed 6th in 1993, and even though the sport was slowly dying, our Canada Games Team placed 5th in 2005 (the highest placing of any Island team at those games). 
     Our field hockey pride and joy lately, has been Katie Baker as she has played/captained the National Women’s Team until 2012.”
    She reassures that “Although our sport was on the down slide after 1999 and being dropped from Canada Games in 2009 (which PEI was hosting) we survived!  We survived because we had a small group of players and former players that were determined to be at the top once again.  One thing is for sure; we are growing and climbing up that curve!”

Field Hockey Canada media release

Shakeel Abbasi removed from camp for fasting

LAHORE: Shakeel Abbasi was called off from training on Wednesday at Hockey Camp owing to the fact that he was fasting, Express News reported.
Abbasi plays center-forward for the Pakistan’s hockey team.
“The hockey coach said that missing a fast can be made up for but not training,” reported Express News correspondent Yusuf Anjum.
Hockey coach Akhtar Rasool said that he had forbidden players from fasting while they were supposed to be training.
Earlier, Pakistan’s failure at the Hockey World League (HWL) had triggered calls for the removal of Rasool as head coach.
One of the players Shahnaz Sheikh had warned that even though the team’s performance was disappointing, the coaches should be retained so that the players don’t lose focus.
“Both the new coaches and the outgoing officials will not admit failure in case Pakistan does not qualify for the World Cup,” Sheikh had said.

The girls behind the Miss Malaysia World controversy

 Kathrina Binti Ridzuan
 Miera Sheikh
 Sara Amelia Bernard

Wafa de Korte

PETALING JAYA: The four Muslim contestants who were disqualified from the Miss Malaysia World pageant have been subject to media scrutiny after their dropping due to the ruling that states Muslim girls are not allowed to compete in beauty pageants.
The Star Online spoke to three of the four girls who told us they joined the competition to give them a chance to show Malaysia who they are and why they are proud to be Malaysians.
The fourth finalist, Kathrina Ridzuan could not be contacted for an interview

Wafa de Korte
City girl Wafa de Korte is 19-years-old and grew up in Kuala Lumpur. Her father is Dutch and her mother is Malay.
    Wafa got an early start in the industry. “I started runway modelling when I was 16-years-old and I've done television commercials since I was five-years-old,” she said.
Wafa says that her mother is her role model. “She's been through a lot and she is a very strong woman. She's my best friend and she has supported me in whatever I've done in my life,” she said.
“I joined the Miss Malaysia World Pageant because I wanted to represent my country and to showcase how beautiful Malaysian woman can be. I would be honoured to represent my country. To showcase my intelligence, poise and inner beauty,” said Wafa.
Wafa admires how we as Malaysians “still stand together” through the ups and downs. She also loves the diversity of our cultures and how Malaysians come from different races and backgrounds.
“Everyone lives peacefully and it's amazing to see us living in harmony,” she added.

Sara Amelia Bernard
20-year-old Sara Amelia Bernard was born and raised in Ipoh and attended convent schools for her primary and secondary education.
Her mother is half British and half Malay, while her father is half Iban and half German.
Sara had a later start to modelling, beginning her career only when she started college in Kuala Lumpur where she studied at Taylor’s College Sri Hartamas.
Sara looks up to iconic model and actress Michelle Yeoh. “She has proved that a girl from a small town like myself can be so successful. She's not only a great actress, but has a very loving and kind personality,” said Sara.
Sara said that she joined to show the world what true Malaysian beauty is.
“I saw it as an opportunity to promote intellectual women as well as participate in various charities worldwide and help the underprivileged,” she added.
“In school, I had friends of every race and had the opportunity to learn about their customs and beliefs. I also love the variety of food in Malaysia, my favourites being popiah, banana leaf and ayam masak merah!” she said.

Miera Sheikh

Miera Sheikh will turn 19 in a couple of weeks. She spent her younger years in Singapore before moving back to Malaysia with her parents.
She is of Malay-Arab decent with ancestors deriving from Melaka, Arab, Australia, Pakistan and Java.
Miera shared how she dived into modelling when she was in Form 3. She sees her father as a role model.
“He is a father with strong will, strength, perseverance and endurance to patiently see me pass through what I want in life,” she says.
“He supports me as my father, friend and advisor and consultant. He has sacrificed his time and attention just to see that I am okay,” Miera adds.
Miera says that Miss Malaysia World is not the first pageant she has taken part in.
“Last year I won the Miss Malaysia Kebaya 2012 (1st runner up) and then followed by Miss Malaysia Tourism 2013 (where I was one of the finalist),” she said.
She shares how through pageants, she has learnt the important lessons of being punctual, committed, sincere and working towards a mission.
Meira appreciates the gift of being a Malaysian citizen.
“Malaysia has gifted me the most expensive gift of being a citizen of Malaysia and being a Bumi Malaysian,” she said.
“I am trying and hoping someday I could be a role model to the youngsters not only in Malaysia but the whole world,” she adds.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Poland Seniors side win experience battle..

THE national juniors hockey team lost 3-0 to the Poland senior side in their second match in Warsaw yesterday.
  The juniors are on a Tour of Europe for nine matches, and they whipped the Polish juniors 7-0, but found the senior side difficult to crack.
  They next play Poland juniors again today before heading for Belgium for three matches, and complete their tour in England with another three matches.
  The Poland senior side are in their final phase of training for the European Championships in three weeks time, which also serves as a World Cup Qualifier for Europe.
  "They scored the first goal when a penalty corner was turned into a penalty stroke after the ball hit Kavin Kartik's body, and it remained until the half-time breather.
  "In the second half, we paid the price for missing sitters and also penalty corner attempts which hit the bar, and also were well saved by their goalkeeper. The Polish scored two more late counter attack goals when the players pushed forward in numbers," said team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
  Overall, said Mirnawan, his charges managed to compete with the Polish senior side on skills and tactics, but lost out to a more experienced set of players.
  The Malaysian juniors, an under-21 side, are preparing for the New Delhi Junior World Cup in December.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Malaysian juniors whip Poland 7-0..

THE Malaysian Junior World Cup trainees whipped Poland Under-23 7-0 a day after landing on Warsaw on their Tour of Europe.
  Coach K. Dharmaraj's boys will next play the Polish senior squad today.
  Next on their iteanary, in preparation for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in December, is another match against he Polish under-23, and then travel to Belgium for three more matches against their under-21 side.
  After that, it is three more matches against England's under-21 side.
  In the first match, Zulhairi Hashim top-scored with four penalty corner goals in the 12th, 23rd, 32nd and 43rd minutes.
  The other goals were scored by Rashid Baharom (17th), Dangerous Lee (25th) and Nor Aqmal Ghaffar (30th).
   Malaysia had a total of 10 penalty corners, while Poland three.
  Team manager Mirnawan Nawawi said: "We tested two different strategies in both halves, and the 50 per cent penalty corner rate made all the difference.
 "Overall, it was a satisfying match, as barely 24 hours after arriving, we took to the pitch for the match."
  The early casualty was Redzhwan Jaafar who twisted his ankle and will be out for the next two matches in Poland.

Europe warm-up for World Cup

THE National juniors are in Europe today to play nine Test matches in preparation for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi on Dec 6-15.

Team manager Mirnawan Nawawi said: "Two matches will be against Poland Under-23, and one against the Polish senior side.
"Then we will move to Belgium for another three matches with their Under-21 side.
"After that, we travel to England to play another three matches with their Under-21 side."
Belgium are the emerging power in Europe, as their senior side beat Australia in the final of the World League Semi-finals to secure their World Cup berth.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has yet to release the groupings for the Junior World Cup, but the 16 who will feature are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Egypt, France, Germany, India, South Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Russia, Spain and Malaysia.
For the tour, coach K. Dharmaraj will not have the services of five national players - Faiz Helmi, Izad Hakimi, Fitri Saari, Firhan Ashaari and Meor Azuan -- as they are preparing for the Asia Cup in Ipoh.
SQUAD: Hazrul Faiz, Hafizzuddin Othman, Kavin Kartik, Zulhairi Hashim, Nor Aqmal Gaffar, Aminuddin Zain, Azri Hassan, Haziq Samsul, Shazril Irwan, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Syamim Yusof, Rashid Baharom, Shahril Saabah, Azwar Rahman, Dangerous Lee, Faridzul Afiq, Redzhwan Jaafar, Azrul Hasbullah.
Manager: Mirnawan Nawawi; Coach: K. Dharmaraj; Assistant coaches: K. Gobinathan, Nor Azlan Bakar.

Monday, July 22, 2013

1Mas moving to eite level

LAUNCHED and initiated by Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad  Shah in December 2010, the 1Mas Hockey Programme is now  moving from grassroots into an elite phase.
    As the end target is to produce players who will win the first  Asian Games gold medal for their country.
    Currently, there are about 1,500 under-16 boys and girls  who are training at 14 centres nationwide and, it will soon  move from its big base to identifying the best and taking them  to a higher level.
   1Mas Hockey Programme steering committee deputy  chairman Datuk R. Yogeswaran said yesterday, even though  some of the centres are not as active as they would like them  to be, and the participation of other than Malays are lacking,  work is being done to remedy this areas.
    “After almost three years some of the centres have become  less active as the number of players dwindled and we are also  having some problems attracting the Chinese, Indians, Punjabis and other races to our programme.
    “What we have done is to hit these centres where it hurt  most by cutting their allocation until their report card shows  better marks.
    “The name of the programme itself suggests that we  welcome all races, but to date the participation of the Malays  has been great, but the other races shy away,” said Yo geswaran.
    And the programme coordinators in some states like  Penang have taken their own initiative to move into Tamil  schools to get a bigger pool.
    “Some of the states like Malacca, Johor and Penang have  started their own initiatives to attract other races and we  welcome this initiative as we want the participation of all  races.
    “And now, from a wide base, we have started programmes  like goalkeepers centralised training with professional  coaches as well as other camps to bring the best players from  around the country to play and train under coaches who can  take them to a higher level,” said Yogeswaran.
    Funded by the government money is not a problem for this  unique programme, which aims to have a standard national  training curriculum so that when players are ready to knock  on the various national age-group teams, they will have the  same style of play.
      The 1Mas under-16 team tasted their first success when  they won the FHE Cup held in Perth, Australia in 2011, and  then silver this year.
     And now, they have even been entrusted to train and field  a team in the Four-Nation in Mannheim, Germany.  Malaysia’s under-16 side won silver medal in 2010 when they  lost to Germany but they did beat Holland and Belgium  then.
   But over the last two editions, haphazard selection saw  them getting whipped by the European sides.
    “We have been entrusted to train the next side to  Mannheim, and after 50 years on the job, I can safely say that  I have spotted many interesting talent in this 1Mas elite side  and we will have a strong side for the Germany Four-Nation  next year,” said Yogeswaran.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The ‘Malaysian way’ syndrome

by Tony Mariadass
WHAT is it with foreign coaches and Malaysian sports associations?
The latest to experience Malaysian “in-hospitality” is national hockey coach Paul Revington, who, after having resigned before the World League semi-final in Johor Baru, has agreed to stay for the championship.
And on Tuesday, Revington was persuaded to fulfi l his contract which ends in August next year.
Revington is not the fi rst foreign coach to face problems working in Malaysia, as many others in various sports had had similar encounters and either left in a huff , terminated their contracts or were amicably dismissed by the sports associations.
I can remember as far back as 1986 when national soccer coach from England, Frank Lord, left with a game in hand in the pre-World Cup tournament in Seoul after the FA of Malaysia management decided not to entertain his request to extend his contract before the match.
Malaysia had defeated Korea 1-0 at home and needed only a draw in the away match to qualify for the next round, but FAM decided that they could do it without Lord. They named Mohamad Bakar as the coach and recalled the late Datuk Mokhtar Dahari from retirement for the match.
Malaysia lost 2-0 to Korea. To this day, I believe Malaysia would have got a draw in Seoul and qualified for the next round with Lord at the helm.
Lord had this to say about working in Malaysia before he left: “Malaysia is a beautiful country, warm and friendly people, great food and places to visit, but defi nitely not a place to work in sport.”
The list of foreign coaches who exited the Malaysian coaching scene, frustrated at not being given a free hand or forced out by the associations, is indeed long.
Among the notable ones are badminton’s Morten Frost (Denmark), Park Joo Bong and Yoo Yong Sung (Korea), Li Mao (China) and Rexy Mainakay (Indonesia), soccer’s Trevor Hartley (England) and George Knoble (Holland), Claude Le Roy (France) and the late Bertalan Bisskek (Hungary), and athletics’ Daniel St Hilaire (Canada).
Revington was quoted as saying: “I never experienced such situations when coaching in South Africa and Ireland. So it came as a culture shock and the fact that something that should have been resolved in about three weeks took five months was also a bane for me.”
Granted, foreign coaches have to understand the local culture and make adjustments, but when this means compromising on work ethic, it is indeed baffling.
Why must Malaysian sports associations or the National Sports Council hire foreign coaches, pay them well, with perks thrown in, only to tell them to do things the Malaysian way? How then will they be able to impart their expertise to the players and local coaches?
The associations should just hire local coaches, who come much cheaper, and get them to work the way the administrators want them to.
If Revington or other foreign coaches had problems working in Malaysia, it probably had to do with their personality, but when we have a string of them crying foul for the same reasons — interference from the administrators, lack of support from the local coaches, revolting players, the unfulfilment of the terms of contract, among others — we have to take a hard look at ourselves.
Is there something wrong with our sports officials? Are local coaches intimidated by foreign coaches? Are players shying away from regimented training and playing politics?
Foreign coaches are not here to stay. They will leave when their contracts end. So shouldn’t we tap their experience and knowledge so that local coaches can become better?
It is time the authorities who hire these foreigners acted more professionally.
More often than not, they do not take the trouble to understand what makes these coaches tick and how they work.
By the same token, the foreign coaches have to respect our culture. There have been cases where they were problematic, but we have to follow procedures when dismissing them. If local sports officials had dealt with matters, however trivial, properly, they would not have run into problems.
Why ruin it when we have a good thing going for Malaysian sport?
Local sports offi cials should stop playing politics, taking the side of players or officials and promoting their own agenda.
REVINGTON: Not the first foreign coach to be facing problems working in Malaysia
At the end of the day, sport is bigger than any individual.
With mutual respect, working towards a common goal and leaving politics and bickering out of the equation, Malaysian sport will surely see better times.
Let us not tarnish our image in the eyes of foreign coaches.

Hanif lashes out at PHF after sacking

KARACHI: Pakistan's sacked hockey coach Hanif Khan is seething after being made the scapegoat for the national team's poor performance in the recent World Hockey League held in Malaysia where it failed to secure a qualifying place in the next World Cup.
    The Pakistan Hockey Federation this week sacked Hanif while retaining former captain Akhtar Rasool as manager and head coach and appointing former Olympian Tahir Zaman to the team management as coach.
   Hanif's sacking was on the cards after reports that he was unhappy with the manner in which his powers had been curtailed and Tahir Zaman, who is coaching consultant with the PHF, was sent to Malaysia and interfered in team meetings, selection matters and planning ahead of matches.
   "I say today that no self respecting person will ever associate himself with hockey in this country again after the way the federation has managed things in the last few years," Hanif said.
   "We need to learn a lot from how hockey is being managed in other Asian countries particularly in Malaysia, China and Japan. This federation needs to learn how to respect its former players," he complained.
   The former Olympian said he had tried his best with the team since being appointed the coach last year.
   "But I knew things were wrong when all of a sudden Tahir Zaman was brought into the picture by the PHF and Akhtar Rasool also started giving him importance," he said.
   Meanwhile, the PHF has recalled its senior players for the Asia Cup training camp and there are also indications that veteran goalkeeper Salman Akbar might be drafted back into the side after some very poor performances from the current two goalkeepers in the national team Imran Shah and Imran Butt.
   The players invited for the training camp include: Imran Butt, Imran Shah, Mazhar Abbas, Muhammad Imran, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Ateeq, Kashif Ali, Khalid Bhatti, Rizwan Junior, Muhammad Tousiq, Waseem Ahmed, Rashid Mahmood, Fareed Ahmed, Aamir Shahzad, Waqas Sharif, Shafqat Rasool, Zohaib Ashraf, Abdul Haseem Khan, Rizwan Senior, Shakeel Abbasi, Ali Shan, Muhammad Umar Bhutta, Muhammad Dilber, Muhammad Zubair and Muhammad Salman Hussain.

The Times of India

Draw confirmed for Oceania Cup

The Black Sticks Men and Women will face Australia, Samoa and Papua New Guinea in the Oceania Cup in Taranaki from the 30 October to the 3 November.
     The Oceania Hockey Federation has approved the draw that will see four matches played every day across the four days of the tournament, with Friday scheduled as a rest day.
   Trans-Tasman rivalry will be strong with the Black Sticks Women looking to retain their 2011 Oceania Cup title while the Black Sticks Men will take on World Champions Australia for a chance at Oceania Cup victory.
    The women’s final will be played at 2pm and the men’s final will be at 4.30pm on Sunday 3 November.
   The Oceania Cup is one of the five Continental Championships which is played every two years as part of the FIH qualification process for the World Cup and Olympic Games. With Australia and New Zealand’s Men’s and Women’s teams already qualified for next year’s World Cup, it will be ranking points and the chance to take home the Oceania Cup that all teams will be playing for.
   The last time either of the Black Sticks teams played in Taranaki was in 1963 when the men played Australia in New Plymouth and lost 2-3.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Juniors off to nine matches in Europe..

THE National juniors will depart for Europe today to play nine Test matches in preparation for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi on Dec 6-15.
    Team manager Mirnawan Nawawi said: “Two matches will be against Poland Under-23, and one against the Polish senior side. Then we will move to Belgium for another three matches with their under-21 side.
   “After that, we travel to England to play another three matches with their under-21 side.”
    Belgium are the emerging power in Europe, as their senior side beat Australia in the final of the Netherlands World League Semi-finals to secure their World Cup berth.
   The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have yet to release the groupings for the Junior World Cup, but the 16 who will feature are Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, England, Egypt, France, Germany, India, South Korea, Holland, New Zealand, Pakistan, Russia, Spain and Malaysia.
     For the tour, coach K. Dharmaraj will not have the services of five national players – Faiz Helmi, Izad Hakimi, Fitri Saari, Firhan Ashaari and Meor Azuan – as they are preparing for the Asia Cup in Ipoh.
    “The five will re-join the junior side after completing their Ipoh assignment, and it is actually a blessing, as we get to test some of the bench-warmers in the Europe Tour,” said Mirnawan.
    MALAYSIA: Hazrul Faiz, Hafizzuddin Othman, Kavin Kartik, Zulhairi Hashim, Nor Aqmal Gaffar, Aminuddin Zain, Azri Hassan, Haziq Samsul, Shazril Irwan, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Syamim Yusof, Rashid Baharom, Shahril Saabah, Azwar Rahman, Dangerous Lee, Faridzul Afiq, Redzhwan Jaafar, Azrul Hasbullah.
   Manager: Mirnawan Nawawi; Coach: K. Dharmaraj;   Assistant coaches: K. Gobinathan, Nor Azlan Bakar.

Work to strenghten goalkeepers...

Kumar in action against Australia in the Azlan Shah Cup group match. He was in top form to help Malaysia hold the Aussies 1-1.

ASIA’S best goalkeeper S. Kumar was not in his element  during the World League Semi-finals, where Malaysai let in  20 a whopping 20 goals in six matches.
    But remedial work has already started, as goalkeeper  coach M. Nadarajah wants Kumar back at his best in the Asia  Cup on Aug 24-Sept 1 in Ipoh.
     The worst was a 6-0 drubbing in the hands of Germany in  the quarter-finals, and they came off seven shots at goal in  the first 18 minutes of the match.
   Then there were four in the 4-4 draw against Pakistan, and  four in the 6-4 win against South Africa.
   “The statistics are damning, but taking a closer look, most  of the goals against Malaysia came off rebounds from Kumar,  and even though they looked like soft goals, it is always difficult  to predict where a rebound try will head in the heat of play.
    “However, Kumar is not one to give in easily, and that is  why he started training earlier than the 10-days break given  to the national team after Johor,” said Nadarajah, a former  national goalkeeper himself.
   In the Asia Cup, the stakes are high as only the champions  advance to the World Cup. And with none of the Asian teams  having made the grade on merit, South Korea, India, Pakistan and Japan will be firing on all cylinders.
   “I will intensify penalty corner training for Kumar and  Roslan (Jamaluddin) as India and Pakistan normally do the  damage via drag flicks.
    “It is important for the goalkeepers, as well as the penalty  corner runners, to be at their best in Ipoh, so that there will  not be too much of a pressure for the forwards to keep  chasing for goals,” said Nadarajah.
     And even though the second goalkeeper Roalan did not see  any action in Johor Baru, Nadarajah believes he is just a step  behind Kumar.
    “There is very little that separates Kumar from Roslan and  there is a healthy competition among the duo in training and  this keeps both of them on their toes.
    “I believe, if the goalkeeping department and the back-line  play at a higher level than in Johor Baru, our forwardline will  have no problem winning matches for Malaysia,” said  Nadarajah.
   In the Asia Cup, Malaysia are in Group A with Taiwan,  Pakistan and Japan, while Group B consists of South Korea,  India, Bangladesh and Oman.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No medal for University boys..

By Ajitpal Singh

JONAS Fuerste's goal two seconds before the final hooter ended Malaysia's gallant performance as Germany won 4-3 for the men's hockey bronze medal at the World University Games yesterday.
Germany opened accounts through Matthias Kneupfer in the third minute before national player Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Abdul Jalil levelled proceedings a minute before half-time.
In the second half, penalty corner specialist Razie Rahim netted in the 49th minute for his fourth goal in the tournament to give Malaysia the lead.
However, Anton Ebeling equalised in the 56th minute before a lapse of concentration in the Malaysian back-line allowed Germany to take the lead through Tim Haase two minutes later.
Not to be deterred, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin sounded the board in the 65th minute but just as Malaysia were preparing for a shoot-out to decide the outcome, Fuerste netted the winner two seconds from time.
Despite the defeat, Malaysia should be proud of their achievement as they finished ahead of other Asian teams at fourth in the tournament.
National junior trainee Dangerous Lee emerged as Malaysia's top scorer with five goals followed by senior international Razie on four.
Coach Nor Azlan Bakar said his players could not hold on in the final minutes.
"We let the bronze slip away due to mistakes in crucial moments. Anyway, we should not be too disappointed as performance wise, we played well but it could have been better," said Nor Azlan in Kazan yesterday.
In the final, Russia beat France 2-1.

TM: Support Revington

By Ajitpal Singh

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has reminded those in the hockey fraternity to give undivided support to national coach Paul Revington ahead of next month’s Asian Cup, which is a World Cup Qualifier.
The South Africa coach decided to serve out his two-year contract after having a heart-to-heart talk with Tengku Abdullah in Ampang on Tuesday.
Revington had threatened to quit before the recent World League Semi-Finals in Johor Baru after claiming that "outside interference," and a threatening email had made his stay in Malaysia uncomfortable for the past six months.
He had received the email from 1Mas project director Lim Chiow Chuan on March 23, while he claimed that Juniors coach K. Dharmaraj have been interfering in his job scope.
However, Revington relented and continued to coach the team for the World League but refused to commit his future not before the meeting on Tuesday.
“I hope everyone will cooperate with Revington as he is determined to see Malaysia qualify for the World Cup,” said Tengku Abdulllah after the FA of Malaysia executive council meeting in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
“Revington did not state conditions. He will continue with no added clause. It proves he is totally committed to his job.”
Tengku Abdullah now hopes everyone will forget about the issue and focus on the future.
“What is important is that Revington has decided to stay on and is focused on his job. Everyone is happy including the national trainees,” he said.
Under Revington, Malaysia have made progress in the game and may not even have to win the Asian Cup to qualify for next year’s World Cup in the Netherlands if those, who have qualified through the World League win their respective continental competitions.
His service is crucial as the team are likely to make their first appearance in the World Cup since 2002. Malaysia last played in the Olympics in the 2000 Sydney edition.
“Revington is confident with his team. He felt, if he had left, it would be tough for the team to prepare for the Asian Cup,” Tengku Abdullah added.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Revington: Forget past for better future..

PAUL Revington wants to put the past five months in cold storage, as he looks forward to working hand-in-glove with his coaching staff to hand Malaysia the Asia Cup gold medal.
  At a meet-the-press session yesterday, the South African attributed his decision to quit, then return to the fold, to culture shock.
  "I had a fantastic working relationship with the coaching set-up here until the Champions Challenge (in Argentina last December) but after that, like in any marriage, problem after problem arose for the next five months.
  "I never experienced such situations when coaching South Africa and then Ireland. So it came as a culture shock and the fact that something that should have been resolved in about three weeks took five months, was also a major bane for me," said Revington.
  And now that the 'marriage' is back on track, he did not want to dwell on the past.
  "To do that (talk about those who gave him problems), will only make the problem bigger. And now that all the matters have been put to rest, I again look forward to working with the other coaches and officials, and win the Asia Cup gold in Ipoh," said Revington.
  He also pledged to see through his contract, which will expire in 13 months. The South African was hired in August last year after Malaysia failed in their bid to qualify for the Olympics in Dublin.
  "I will not leave, no matter what happens until I see through my contract, as I am much wiser to the coaching scenario here. The focus will be fully on the job at hand, and if any problems arise along the way, I now have a better understanding on how to solve it.
  The contract is for two years, with another option to renew for another two years.
  In the Asia Cup, on Aug 24-Sept 1 in Ipoh, Malaysia are in Group A with Taiwan, Pakistan and Japan, while Group B consists of South Korea, India, Bangladesh and Oman.
  None of the Asian teams have qualified for the World Cup and so, the single ticket in Ipoh will see an intense battle.
  As for Malaysia the coach, like always, has a winning mentality which will hopefully rub onto his charges in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Revington to stay on..

SOUTH African Paul Revington has agreed to stay on as national coach until his two-year contract expires.
  After meeting Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah yesterday in Kuala Lumpur, he walked out smiling.
  "I cant say much right now, as the MHC will send out release on the meeting soon," was all he said.
  And the MHC release by secretary Johari Aziz, two paragraphs in all stated: "The Malaysian Hockey Confederation are pleased to inform that Paul Revington will remain as national coach as stipulated in his contract.
  "The MHC is delighted with his decision to carry on, and look forward to Revington taking Malaysian Hockey to a greater height."
  He started work on August 22 last year, and has a two-year contract, with an option to renew for another two years.
  Also at the meeting yesterday were team manager George Koshy, MHC deputy president Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad and National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Zolkples Embong.
  The South African almost quit two weeks before the start of the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru, after he was embroiled in a "multi-cornered battle" off the pitch since the Azlan Shah Cup.
  It is said that some meddling officials had made his job uphill and that is why he took suck a drasic stand.
  After helping Malaysia to finish fifth in the World League, Revington will see no rest as the focus is now on the Asia Cup in Ipoh on Aug 24 to Sept 1, as the gold medalists will play in the World Cup on merit.
  Malaysia are third reserves for the World Cup and their fate in that path to the World Cup rests with the Continental Qualifiers.
 In the Asia Cup, the battle for gold is expected to be intense, as none of the Asian teams have qualified for the World Cup on merit yet.
  In the Asia Cup, Malaysia are in Group A with Taiwan, Pakistan and Japan, while Group B consists of South Korea, India, Bangladesh and Oman.
  The MHC are arranging for a press conference today, so that Revington himself can answer to some buring questions which need attention.

Ironing out issues..

In the New Straits Times today..

PAUL Revington will meet with Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah today to decide on his coaching future with the national team.
The South African, who almost quit two weeks before the start of the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru, has been embroiled in a "multi-cornered battle" off the pitch since the Azlan Shah Cup.
Some meddling officials are said to have made his task very difficult on many matters.
Revington was expected to pack his bags and move on by this week, but according to an official, the outcome of today's meeting should be favourable.
"Initially, there were some whispers that Revington would pack his bags by this week and leave Malaysia. However, the meeting with Tengku Abdullah is expected to iron out some crucial issues that have been hampering his training and also his long-term plans for the team.
"And as of now, it looks like we will have him until his two-year contract expires," said the official who declined to be named.
Revington was hired last September after Malaysia went on a coach-hunt when the team's Olympic Qualifier campaign in Dublin, Ireland, fell flat.
But he shocked the nation by sending in a resignation letter via e-mail just days after naming the team for the World League.
Right now, Malaysia's focus is on the Asia Cup in Ipoh on Aug 24 to Sept 1, as the gold medallists will play in the World Cup on merit.
Malaysia, after finishing fifth in the World League, have been placed as third reserves for the World Cup and their fate in that path to the World Cup rests with the Continental Qualifiers.
"The coach has had some meetings with those who are keen to see him stay on and help Malaysia make an impact on the Asia Cup," the official added.
"And if all the issues can be resolved tomorrow, he will not abandon ship when the team need him most."
With five of the national players in Kazan, Russia, for the University Games, the remaining players will undergo gym training this week to boost their fitness ahead of the plan to wrest the Asia Cup gold medal from the hands of India, Pakistan, South Korea and Japan -- as none of the Asian teams have qualified on merit yet.
In the Asia Cup, Malaysia are in Group A with Taiwan, Pakistan and Japan, while Group B consists of South Korea, India, Bangladesh and Oman.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Malaysia 3rd Reserve for World Cup..

Argentina men qualified for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup thanks to a fine display at the Hockey World League Semi Final event in Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
(Photo: FIH / Frank Uijlenbroek)

by FIH
Following the completion of the Hockey World League Semi Finals events in Rotterdam, London and Johor Bahru, The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is pleased to bring you an update on the teams that have qualified for the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup. The joint men’s and women’s event takes place from 31st May to 15th June 2014 in The Hague, The Netherlands.    
A total of 14 teams are now confirmed for next year’s showpiece event, with many others significantly improving their chances of achieving qualification thanks to strong showings at the Hockey World League Semi Finals. More information can be found below.

Rabobank Hockey World Cup – Men’s Qualifiers
  • The Netherlands
Top 3 – World League Semi-Finals
  • Germany: 1st in Johor Bahru / World Ranking: 1
  • Argentina: 2nd in Johor Bahru / World Ranking: 10
  • England: 3rd in Johor Bahru / World Ranking: 4
  •  Belgium: 1st in Rotterdam / World Ranking: 9
  • Australia: 2nd in Rotterdam  / World Ranking: 2 
  • New Zealand: 4th in Rotterdam* / World Ranking: 5 
* The Netherlands finished third in the Hockey World League Semi Final event in Rotterdam.  As they are already pre-qualified as the host, this means that the highest ranked fourth place finisher from both Semi Final events earns direct qualification to the Rabobank Hockey World Cup. This place goes to New Zealand, who were fourth in Rotterdam and currently sit fifth in the FIH World Rankings. 

World Cup Qualification - The Next Stage
The remaining places at the Rabobank Hockey World Cup for men will be filled by the winners of the five continental championships. However, if any of the above listed teams also becomes continental champion, this opens the door to the teams that finished outside the top three at the Hockey World League Semi Finals. These teams can be found below, in order of their placing in the Hockey World League Semi Finals.    
  • Korea: 4th in Johor Bahru / 1st reserve for World Cup
  • Spain: 5th in Rotterdam / 2nd reserve for World Cup
  • Malaysia: 5th in Johor Bahru / 3rd reserve for World Cup
  • India: 6th in Rotterdam / 4th reserve for World Cup

Friday, July 12, 2013

Stay but only if your heart is in it, Revington

Comment by Jugjet Singh

NATIONAL hockey coach Paul Revington is said to have packed his bags, and is ready to make an exit by next week.
    And if Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) officials fail to convince the South African to stay on until the Asia Cup in Ipoh on Aug 24-Sept 1, hockey will be in the limelight for another own goal.
   But in attempting to convince Revington to stay, MHC should also keep in mind that it would be pointless to keep the coach if he has no more heart to lead the Malaysian players.
    Revington did throw in the towel two weeks before the World League Semi-finals in Johor Baru, but after the intervention of no less than the sports minister himself, he decided to stay on and guided Malaysia to a fifth place finish.
   And the indications were there in the press conference after Malaysia beat Japan in the playoff, as Revington was in no mood to discuss about the Asia Cup.
   He bluntly said that he would not take any questions about the Asia Cup, which offers the champions direct entry into the World Cup next year.
   That was very un-Revington, as the South African is normally very accommodating to the press.
   Malaysia have lost a string of coaches before this, as Australian Terry Walsh, and Germans Volker Knapp and Paul Lissek came, trained, and left in a huff.
   They lost heart, and if this is the case with Revington, he should also pack his bags and leave.
   A good coach does make a big difference, as in the present state of hockey, all a team need is a slight edge in tactics to beat higher ranked teams.
   Rankings were torn apart in Johor Baru when World No 10 Argentina held World No 1 Germany 1-1 in Group A, only to lose by 4-2 with two German goals scored in the last three minutes of the final.
   However, World No 13 Malaysia were inconsistent, as fitness was not at the best and 60 per cent of the players, especially the strikers, were out of breath by the third match itself.
   The Asia Cup is just weeks away, and not much can be done on fitness in the fasting month. But for the long term benefit of the sport, Malaysian players must venture abroad by the droves and play in much more competitive leagues than the Malaysia Hockey League.
   The coach can only work with what he has, and at present Malaysia does not have much to offer other than a fighting side.
    And a fighting side needs a fighting coach, not one who abandons them when faced with outside problems. Revington must fight with his nemeses, if any, and not throw in the towel yet again.
    He is supposed to meet Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and after the meeting, if his heart is still with the players, he must forget about meddling outsiders and concentrate on the job at hand.
   But if his heart is elsewhere, bon voyage Revington...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Malaysia v Japan in pictures...

by Frank Uijlenbroek

England bronze..

England – Korea 2-1 (1-0)
A 59th minute goal from Harry Martin gave Bobby Crutchley’s young England team a 2-1 victory over Korea in the 3-4 Placement match at the Hockey World League Semi Final event in Johor Bahru, Malaysia. The victory confirmed England as third place finishers in the competition, denying Korea automatic qualification for the 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup in The Hague.
The result was good news for New Zealand, who are confirmed qualifiers for the World Cup by virtue of being the highest ranked of the two fourth place finishers from Rotterdam and Johor. The Black Sticks are ranked 6th in the world, ahead of Korea who are 8th.  However, Korea's high finish in the tournament means that they still have an excellent chance of qualifying for the event should they fail to do so at their continental championship.
Despite missing key players Ashley Jackson and Mark Gleghorne for this match through injury, England gave a good showing of themselves in the first half and took the lead in the 12th minute. Ben Arnold was the scorer, driving from left to right across the circle before firing accurately into the bottom left corner of Lee Myung Ho’s goal.  Korea’s chances in the first half were limited, but looked extremely threatening in the early stages of the second period.  
Korea came agonisingly close to levelling the scores in the 48th minute when Jeon Byung burst into the circle and tipped the ball past England goalkeeper George Pinner, only for Lee Nam Yong’s diving backhand effort to travel just wide of the unguarded net.
Moments later, Nam Hyun Woo brought another fine save from Pinner, before Korea eventually grabbed an equaliser in the 51st minute. England charged down the initial penalty corner flick, but a second effort towards goal was deflected in by Kim Seong Kyu.
The goal seemed to be something of a wake-up call for England, who once again began to take the game to Korea and scored what proved to be the winning goal eleven minutes from full time. A penalty corner variation came the way of Nick Catlin, who placed a perfect pass onto the stick of Harry Martin who could not miss from close range.
Korea had a superb chance to equalise in the final minutes of the game when they won a penalty corner, but England shot-stopper Pinner produced a fine diving save to deny the flicked effort from the top of the circle. 

German gold..

Germany are the winners of the Hockey World League Semi Final tournament in Johor Bahru after defeating Argentina 4-2 in a pulsating tournament final. Florian Fuchs scored twice to help the world number 1 side to victory, although they were given a huge test by an Argentinean team that looks capable of rapidly rising up the FIH World Rankings over the next few years.
The match brought to an end a fantastic week of top class hockey in Malaysia, which saw three teams – Germany, Argentina and England – seal their places at the 2014 Rabobank Hockey world Cup. There were also individual prizes handed out to the players who excelled during this tournament, with Germany captain Max Mueller winning the Player of the Tournament while 20 year old Argentina defender Gonzalo Peillat picked up the gong for Talent of the Tournament (U-21). The Goalkeeper of the Tournament award was given to Korea’s Lee Myung Ho, while three players – Abdul Haseem Khan (PAK), Gonzalo Peillat (ARG) and Christopher Zeller (GER) – shared the top scorer awarded with seven goals apiece.
Argentina gave as good as they got in a fiercely contested and hugely entertaining first half, twice coming from behind against the Olympic champions to go into the half time break with the scores on par. Christopher Zeller opened the scoring in the 22nd minute after brilliant build-up play from Moritz Fuerste, but Argentina’s 20 year old penalty corner expert Gonzalo Peillat rattled in a stunning leveller just four minutes later. Florian Fuchs volleyed Germany back in front in the 32nd minute only for Matias Paredes to tie the scores up on the stroke of half time.
The South Americans were arguably the better team in the early stages of the second period, but Germany grew in strength as the half progressed and netted a stunning 67th minute goal when Florian Fuchs touched home a brilliant pass from Christopher Ruehr. The win was sealed by Christopher Wesley in the final minute, who blasted a powerful backhand shot into the roof of the net via the glove of Argentina keeper Juan Vivaldi.  

Final Standings
Gold: Germany (Qualified for 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup)
Silver: Argentina (Qualified for 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup)
Bronze: England (Qualified for 2014 Rabobank Hockey World Cup)

4: Korea
5: Malaysia
6: Japan
7: Pakistan
8: South Africa

Top Scorers: 7 goals - Abdul Haseem Khan (PAK), Gonzalo Peillat (ARG) & Christopher Zeller ( GER)
Goalkeeper of the Tournament: Lee Myung Ho (KOR)
Talent of the Tournament (U-21): Gonzalo Peillat (ARG)
Player of the Tournament: Maximilian Mueller (GER)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Malaysia fifth after shoot-out..

THE national hockey team were held 1-1, then taken to a shoot-out, before they tamed Japan 4-3 to finish fifth in the World League Semi-finals at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
  And the fifth spot is priceless for the hosts as there is a big possibility that it might turn into a World Cup ticket after the four Continental championships are over.
  "It was by far the worst performance by Malaysia in this tournament, but in the end, the most important fact is that we finished as high as we could after being knocked out it the quarter-finals," said Malaysian coach Paul Revington.
  Revington, who had sent in a quit letter two weeks before the tournament started, did not want to comment on his future just yet.
  "No comments, as I will need some time to think about that and come back to you guys," said Revington.
  Malaysia lived dangerously as they toyed around with the fifth placing before finally subduing the Japanese in the penalty shoot-out.
 In the first half, Razie Rahim's penalty corner in the 10th minute saw Malaysia taking the lead, but after that, it was a tale of missing sitters.
  And Japan grew in confidence as Malaysia kept on missing, and nailed the equaliser off a confusing penalty corner set-piece in the 29th minute when Shinji Kawauchi got the last touch.
  Malaysia played in patches in the second half, and were lucky that Japan were not interested to attack, but rather park the bus and defend for at least 20 minutes and rely on counters which never came.
  And in the end, the match went into a shootout with Malaysia only failing to score one, when Faiz Helmi misjudged, while Japan's Kei Kawakami and Manabu Haatakeyaman missed to give Malaysia a 4-3 win.
  In the Seventh-Eight placing match, Pakistan beat South Africa 6-2.
  And now, coach Akhtar Rasool and his men want to forget the painful episode in Johor Baru and prepare for the Asia Cup in Ipoh.
  "We played well in almost all the matches but were unlucky, especially against Malaysia in the Seventh-Eighth. We had more opportunities and played much better than Malaysia, but the goals never came," said Akhtar.
  And if they miss the boat in the Asia Cup, Pakistan will sit out of the World Cup for the first time since it made its debut in 1971.
  RESULTS: Seventh-Eighth: South Africa 2 Pakistan 6; Fifth-Sixth: Japan 1 Malaysia 1 (Malaysia win shoot-out 4-3).
  Third-Fourth: South Korea 1 England 2; Final: Argentina 2 Germany 4.

Pakistan not in Seventh heaven..

PAKISTAN beat South Africa 6-2 to finish seventh in the World League Semi-finals.
  And now, coach Akhtar Rasool and his men want to forget the painful episode in Johor Baru and prepare for the Asia Cup in Ipoh.
  "We played well in almost all the matches but were unlucky, especially against Malaysia in the Seventh-Eighth. We had more opportunities and played much better than Malaysia, but the goals never came," said Akhtar.
  And now, iit is back to the drawing board for the Asian Games champions.
  "As Asian champions, we fear nothing in the Asia Cup as we go all out to make sure Pakistan play in the World Cup," said Akhtar.
  And if they miss the boat in the Asia Cup, Pakistan will sit out of the World Cup for the first time since it made its debut in 1971.
  The Greenshirts coped well with a spell of early South African dominance to take a 1-0 lead into half time before scoring five times in the second half, with Muhammad Waqas, Muhammad Rizwan Sr, Aamir Shazad, Abdul Haseem Khan (2) and Abbas Haider Bilgrami doing the damage.
  The final goal of the game came from Haseem Khan, who netted his seventh of the tournament four minutes from full time.