Sunday, September 29, 2013

Malaysia lost to a better side...

MALAYSIA gave their best, but it was not enough, and they went down 3-0 to a much more matured India in the final of the Third Edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium yesterday.
   However, the tournament has served its purpose, as Malaysia prepare for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi on Dec 6-15 with a better understanding of their strength and weaknesses.
   "There is no shame in this defeat as my boys gave their best but it was not enough against a much more matured India side.
    "However, this tournament has shown me what I need to do in the remaining days leading to the Junior World Cup, and that is the most important lesson we will be taking from the Third Edition silver medal," said Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj.
   The Taman Daya Stadium was filled to the brim with hardly any space to swing a cat, as 10,000 fans swamped the 3,500 capacity stadium to cheer coach K. Dharmaraj's charges.
    They were all around the stadium, which only has seating on one side, while the rest of them sat under trees, and stood around the perimeter fence.
    The match progressed slowly, and only in the 12th minute it actually started with a penaty corner won by India. Malaysian runners took the corner apart, and a swift counter attack almost landed Malaysia the first goal but eight-goal hero Shahril Saabah missed a reverse stick attempt.
    India drew first blood when Amon Mirash Tirkey's field attempt sailed into the goalmouth in the 22nd minute, and the match went into higher gear as Malaysia went looking for the equaliser.
   India were the better side in the first half, as Malaysia had to defend deep and the match almost went into half-time but all hell broke loose when United States umpire awarded India a penalty corner a few seconds after the half-time hooter had blown.
    Malaysia protested, but the umpire said he did not hear the hooter as the crowd were too noisy. There consecutive penalty corners were awarded after that, but  the Malaysian runners took all three apart.
    However, Azri Hassan was flashed the yellow card in that moment of mayhem and Malaysia will re-start with 10 players after the break.
   India pressed hard to increase their lead, but even after a total of eight penalty corners by the 45th minute, they could not score as Malaysain goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman brings out saves after saves.
    Malaysia finally get their act together and win their first two penalty corners of the match in the 46th and 50th minutes, but the ball refused to go in.
    And even though Malaysia were the better side in the second half, a mistake in the 55th minute saw Yousuf Affan converting a one-two with Ramandeep Singh for a 2-0 lead.
   India skipper Manpreet Singh nailed the third goal in the 64th minute and it was all over for Malaysai.
   RESULTS --  Final -- Malaysia 0 India 3; Third-Fourth: Pakistan 0 Argentina 0 (Argentina win shoot-out 3-0); Fifth-Sixth: South Korea 6 England 0.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Malaysia 3 India 3

IT was purely an academic match to complete the fixtures, but still, the stadium was packed to the brim when Malaysia played India in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
   Malaysia came back from two goals down to take the lead at 3-2, but in the end, both the teams shared the spoils at 3-3.
   India and Malaysia remained unbeaten after five matches and it looks like the  final today is going to be a sizzler, with very little separating both the sides.
   The Malaysian hero was Shahril Saabah who scored in the 62nd and 67th minutes to take his tournament tally to eighth. The other goal was scored by Rashid Baharom in the 63rd minute.
   The Indian goals were scored by Satbir Singh (10th) and Ramandeep Singh (33rd) and Yousuf Affan (69th).
    Coach K. Dharmaraj also fielded his second goalkeeper Hazrul Faiz, and rested top-form Hafizuddin Othman, and Malaysia played at low gear for 60 minutes before showing their true form in the last 10 minutes.
    The coach even benched himself, to give his assistants the feel of handling a match without his presence.
    "It was a good avenue to rest some of the key players and allow others more playing time in preparation for the final tomorrow (today). The score does not matter, as I now have a better understanding of the Indian side for the final push," said Dharmaraj.
    Malaysia won the inaugural title in 2011 by beating Australia 3-2 with a sudden-death goal, but finished last the very next year.
    Today it is important for Malaysia to show what they are made up, as they prepare for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi on Dec 6-15.
    "We are the underdogs, but my players are not afraid of India, and will play for the title, that is an assurance to all the fans that have been supporting this team," said Dharmaraj.
   India coach Clark Gregg summed up Malaysia: "They have fast players who can overturn any match if the opponents go into sleep mode, and I believe they have a side that can challenge for the top-eight positions in the World Cup."
    First choice goalkeeper Hafizuddin is an example of late bloomers, as he was dropped from the Junior Asia Cup side that won gold to take Malaysia into the Junior World Cup, but has since clawed his way back with sheer determination.
    "Hafizuddin is the kind of fighters that any coach would like to have by his side. I had to drop him earlier because there were two more goalkeepers better than him, but he slowly overtook them over the last two years and is now my first choice. I have a team of fighters, and they are not afraid to take on any side including tournament and World Cup favourites India," said Dharmaraj.
                                P  W  D  L  F  A         Pts
INDIA                       5   4   1  0  18  7     13
MALAYSIA               5   4   1  0  19   9     13
PAKISTAN                5   3   0  2  15  11    9
ARGENTINA              5   1   1  3  10  13   4
S KOREA                   4   0   1  3  4    16    1
ENGLAND                 4   0   0  4  4    14    0

   RESULTS -- Argentina 1 Pakistan 4, India 3 Malaysia 3, South
Korea x England x.
   TODAY --  Final -- Malaysia v India (8.35pm); Third-Fourth: Pakistan v Argentina (5.05); Fifth-Sixth: South Korea v England (3.35)

Lovely battle...

THERE will be no love lost between India and Malaysia in the final group match of the Sultan of Johor Cup today, but love is on the air on the sidelines.
    For India skipper Manpreet Singh, 21, has fallen head-over
heels with a Malaysian girl and has even made plans to marry her after the 2016 Rio Olympics.
    "We met during the second Sultan of Johor Cup (2012) and after exchanging numbers, we kept in touch and love blossomed. I plan to marry her after the Rio Olympics," said the youth with 79 international caps as he is also a regular with the senior side.
    He even took the girl to Punjab, India, last year, and she stayed and enjoyed village life in Lahore.
    "My parents like her very much and approve of our relationship, and she also liked my village very much," said Manpreet.
     Even though he is high on love with a Malaysian girl, his feet are firmly on the ground to rally his men to beat Malaysia today,
and again in the final tomorrow.
    "I love this country, but will plan for a victory for India in both the encounters because I and my mates want to land our hands on the title," said Manpreet.
    Malaysia won the Inaugural title in 2011, Germany claimed the next title, and it will be a tussle between Malaysia and India in the Third Edition.
    "We will be playing India twice, and I will use the first to give more playing time to my fringe players. We will be going for wins in both the encounters, but I will caution my players to play safe and try to avoid injuries and cards because the Sunday match is what matters most," said Malaysain coach K. Dharmaraj.
     From champions, Malaysia turned to chumps by finishing last in last year's edition: "We will be playing with tournament favourites and also one of the strong contenders for the World Cup title.
    "The match will not be an easy one, but I am looking forward to it because it will give me a super chance to test my players against one of the top junior teams in the world," said Dharmaraj.
   This Indian junior side plays hockey until the strikers reach the opponents semicircle, and then change to cricket by slamming in loose balls like they were looking for Sixers.
    The Indian strikers have shown killer instincts which has netted 15 goals in four matches. They have only let in four goals.
    Malaysia has scored 16 and let in six: "We won an average of eight penalty corners in every game, but the scoring rate has been very poor.
   "This is one of the departments that I need to strengthen before New Delhi," said Dharmaraj.
   The Junior World Cup will be held in New Delhi on Dec 6-15, and all six teams in the Sultan of Johor Cup have qualified.
    Malaysia are in Group D of the World Cup, and have England, Pakistan and South Africa for company. In Johor, Malaysia beat England 3-1 and Pakistan 4-2.
                                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
INDIA                       4   4   0  0  15  4   12
MALAYSIA               4   4   0  0  16  6   12
PAKISTAN                4   2   0  2  11  10   6
ARGENTINA              4   1   1  2  9   9     4
S KOREA                   4   0   1  3  4  16    1
ENGLAND                 4   0   0  4  4  14    0

   TODAY -- Argentina v Pakistan (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), South Korea v England (8pm).
    Sept 29: Final -- Malaysia v India (8.35pm);

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Malaysia to play India in final..

MALAYSIA showed class to hammer Pakistan 4-2 and qualify for the final of the Sultan of Johor Cup with a match in hand at the Taman Daya Stadium yesterday.
   And they will play India in the final, as the Indians had beaten South Korea 6-1 in an earlier match to also remain unbeaten in the tournament.
   India and Malaysia will play again on Saturday to complete their final pool match, but it will be purely academic and a warm-up to Sunday's final.
   It was the second time Malaysia made the final after three editions of the Sultan of Johor Cup, and they claimed the inaugural title in 2011 by beating Australia 3-2 in the final.
   The Malaysian heroes were Zulhaimi Hashim (28th), Shahril Saabah (39th), Fitri Saari (60th) and Syamim Yusof (64th).
   "This is a memorable win as we beat a side which had Olympian and senior World Cup players. The match also showed my players composure, as they had to come back from a goal down for the first time in this tournament to claim the ticket to the final," said coach K, Dharmaraj.
    And the most outstanding player was again goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman, who made some daring and gallant saves.
   However, it took Malaysia 20 minutes to settle down, as poor co-ordiation and stopping suddenly crept into the their normally fluent hockey.
   And they even bungled the first penalty corner in the 10th minute, and gave Pakistan too much of space to mount counter attacks, but the match remained scoreless after 25 minutes of play.
    The stadium was packed to the brim, as supporters turned out in full force to cheer on the juniors, but still, the drumrolls and constant singing and cheering failed to raise coach K. Dharmaraj's charges spirits in the first half, but the tide turned after the breather.
    Pakistan, who relied heavily on counter attacks as Malaysia had them pinned in their own semi-circle for long periods, finally got their act together in the 26th minute.
    Muhammad Dilber connected a cross for the lead, but Malaysia immediately launched an attack after the restart and won their third penalty corner.
    This time, Zulhaimi Hashim made sure with a sizzling flick in the 28th minute, to re-ignite the Malaysian fire.
    Malaysia were more composed after the break, and barely four minutes into play, they won a crucial penalty corner and tournament top-scorer Shahril Saabah nailed his sixth goal to give Malaysian the lead.
    But Pakistan came back into the match again when they converted a penalty corner in the 48th minute into a penalty stroke, and Muhammad Tousiq beat Malaysian goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman.
    Team skipper, Fitri Saari, who gave away the penalty stroke to Pakistan earlier made ammends when he scored the third goal off a penalty corner rebound in the 50th minute.
    There was plenty of time to score more, and Malaysia looked the more dangerous side as they kept possession and made dangerous breaks.
    Syamim Yusof then took off the intense pressure off the Malaysian shoulder with a stunning field goal in the 64th minute and made sure Malaysia played in the final.

                                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
INDIA                       4   4   0  0  15  4   12
MALAYSIA               4   4   0  0  16  6   12
PAKISTAN                4   2   0  2  11  10   6
ARGENTINA              4   1   1  2  9   9     4
S KOREA                   4   0   1  3  4  16    1
ENGLAND                 4   0   0  4  4  14    0

   RESULTS -- England 0 Argentina 3, South Korea 1 India 6, Malaysia 4 Pakistan 2.
    Sept 28: Argentina v Pakistan (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), South Korea v England (8pm).
    Sept 20: Final and placing matches.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Malaysia 3 England 1; India 4 Pakistan 0

MALAYSIA beat England 3-1 for their third consecutive win in the Sultan of Johor Cup at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
    But it was not a comprehensive win, as coach K, Dharmaraj's boys dominated every department except the final killer touch to score goals when presented with sitters.
   Goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman was the player of the match as he bought out some super saves to hand Malaysia the win.
   The team received a standing ovation from the full stadium, as they warmed down.
   Everybody was happy with the win, but Dharmaraj is still looking for more from his charges.
    "It is good that we won our third consecutive match, but I am still not happy with the overall performance of the team as my players missed too many penalty corners and also sitters.
   "This is our team which is going to play in the (New Delhi) World Cup and they can't continue playing like they did today," said Dharmaraj.
    The coach also said their real test starts today against Pakistan and India on Sunday.
    "We have nine points, but the real test for my players is gainst India and Pakistan who both have matured players and even before the tournament started we knew that we need to beat these two teams to indicate our preparations for the World Cup," said Dharmaraj.
   It was a first half full of zest and determination, but Malaysia only had one goal to show after 35 minutes as the forward-line kept bungling their chances.
   Malaysia had three penalty corners, against England's one, and scored off their third attempt in the ninth minute.
   Shahril Saabah's whole-body drive went crashing into the back of the net, and the crowd expected more goals to follow, but the game turned robust instead, with Kavin Kartik receiving a blow to his jaw which drew blood.
   But the score remained as they trooped into the dressing room, with a slim lead.
    After the breather, England were as robust as ever, and the smaller built Malaysians went tumbling all over the pitch when push-came-to shove.
    In the 41st minute, Malaysia's Firhan Ashaari and England's Rhys Goodfield were flashed the yellow card as the game turned physical.
   Malaysia started to look more dangerous as the game progressed, and off the fifth penalty corner in the 43rd minute, Kavin Kartik's push was deflected in by Izad Hakimi for a 2-0 cushion.
    There was never any doubt after that goal, that Malaysia would not nail full points, but Shahril Saabah made sure with another sizzling penalty corner drive which almost tore the netting in the 56th minute.
    England tried to make a comeback into the match, and scored their consolation in the 60th minute when their skipper Peter Bull perfected a penalty corner, but the comeback was too late as the clock died on them.

                                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA               3   3   0  0  12  4   9
INDIA                       3   3   0  0  9  3   9
PAKISTAN                3   2   0  1  9  6   6
ARGENTINA              3   0   1  2  6  9   1
S KOREA                   3   0   1  2  3  10   1
ENGLAND                 3   0   0  3  4  11   0

   RESULTS -- Argentina 2 South Korea 2, Malaysia 3 England 1, India 4 Pakistan 0.
    Sept 26: England v Argentina (4pm), South Korea v India (6pm), Malaysia v Pakistan (8pm).
    Sept 28: Argentina v Pakistan (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), South Korea v England (8pm).
    Sept 20: Final and placing matches.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

That nagging feeling...

MALAYSIAN juniors are on a roll in the Sultan of Johor Cup, but coach K. Dharmaraj has a nagging feeling that bothers his mind.
   His charges beat Argentina 4-2 and South Korea 5-1, which would have made any other coach satisfied, but not Dharmaraj.
   "I am proud of their achievements, but I have a nagging feeling that is disturbing my mind. I can't say what it is now, but will use the rest day today (yesterday) to sort it out," said Dharmaraj.
   When asked if his charges display was identical to the Junior Asia Cup squad which won gold: "Not there yet, that was a magical moment created by magical players. This batch of players are slowly getting to that level of display, and before the end of the Sultan of Johor Cup, I will know for sure."
    Malaysia play England today, and coach Jonathan Bleby is confident his side will rise from the 6-2 drubbing their received from Pakistan. The English also lost their first match against India 2-1.
    "Even in the huge defeat against Pakistan, the positive side is that we created nine penalty corners and there were many circle penetrations. This indicates that our attacking statistics are healthy.
   "Every team is using this tournament as a learning curve for the World Cup, and we will take home valuable lessons to prepare for New Delhi.
   "As for Malaysia, we played them recently when they came to England for a playing tour, and I must say that there are some very good players in the team.
   "However, we hope to rise from the two defeats starting with the Malaysian game," said Bleby.
   One Malaysian player, 20, and with 38 senior caps has not been impressive in the last two matches but he has his reasons.
   Firhan Ashaari, who had a fantastic Asia Cup in Ipoh recently, has been in the shadows: "When we played Argentina, it was my first match after a long time with the juniors, as I was training and playing with the senior side.
   "I was a little lost, and also very tightly marked in the second match against Korea. But after two matches, my game is opening up and there is more understanding with my team-mates.
   "I believe I will get back my striking form against England tomorrow (today)," said Firhan.
    Malaysia must beat England to make sure they avoid playing in the fifth-sixth bracket, as their next matches are uphill battles against tournament favourites Pakistan and India.


                                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
PAKISTAN                2   2   0  0  9  2   6
MALAYSIA               2   2   0  0  9  3   6
INDIA                       2   2   0  0  5  3   6
ENGLAND                 2   0   0  2  3  8   0
ARGENTINA              2   0   0  2  4  7   0
S KOREA                   2   0   0  2  1  8   0

   TODAY -- Argentina v South Korea (4pm), Malaysia v England (6pm), India v Pakistan (8pm).
    Sept 26: England v Argentina (4pm), South Korea v India (6pm), Malaysia v Pakistan (8pm).
    Sept 28: Argentina v Pakistan (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), South Korea v England (8pm).
    Sept 20: Final and placing matches.

FIH CEO Fairweather inspects JB for 2018 bid..

INTERNATIONAL Hockey Federation (FIH) CEO Kelly Fairweather visited the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru on Monday as a  prerequisite to Malaysia's bid to host the 2018 senior World Cup.
   Four countries have placed their bids for the men's tournament, and Malaysia are one of the stronger contenders going by past hosting records.
   And if the FIH choose Malaysia, it would be the third time the country will host the World Cup with the first being in 1975 and the second was in 2002 where 16 teams competed.
   "I am in Johor to look at the bid venue, after which I will head for the other countries that have placed bids to host the men's and also the women's world cups," said Fairweather.
   For the men's World Cup the four countries that have placed bids are Malaysia, previous hosts India, Australia and New Zealand.
   And for the women's tournament England, Australia and New Zealand have been shortlisted.
   And there was more good news for Malaysia's bid as Fairwether said: "Since the 2018 World Cups will be 16-team events, the FIH would be looking at different hosts for the men's and women's tornamants as we want to package them separately and not cramp up the hosts venue."
    Malaysia have only placed the bid to host the men's event, which will be jointly held in Johor Baru and Malacca.
    Plans are also afoot to enhance the Taman Daya and Malacca stadium's seating capacity, pending the final decision by the FIH Executive Board in Lausanne, Switzerland, on Nov 7.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Malaysia hammer Korea 5-1

MALAYSIA continued their super run in the Sultan of Johor Cup when they beat South Korea 5-1 at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
    The win came after an impressive 4-2 start against Argentina, and Malaysia now have full points after two matches going onto the rest day of the tournament.
    Malaysain Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah walked onto the pitch after the win and gave a pep talk to the players.
   "I am impressed with your performance today (yesterday), and there are only minur adjustments that need to be made like more swifter counter attacks, and also don't waste too many opportunities in the semi-circle.
    "You guys are the Asian champions (Junior Asia Cup title holders) and now we must win this tournament to show our strenght going into the Junior World Cup," said Tengku Abdullah.
   Skipper Fitri Saari led by example when he opened accounts with a deft hit in the 13th minute to give Malaysia the lead.
   And cheered on by a full house with drums and constant singing, Malaysia mounted a series of attacks to increase their lead.
   But the second goal never came, as Malaysia kept missing in the semi-circle, and even bungled their only penalty corner in the 25th minute.
  The one-goal lead did not look impressive, as the players trooped into the dressing room to receive instructions from their coach K. Dharmaraj.
   And it was a deream re-start as Malaysian won their second penalty corner a minute into the match, and Shahril Saabah made it 2-0 by scoring his fourth goal of the tournament in the 37th minute.
   Malaysia mounted a series of attacks after that goal, and increased the lead off their seventh penalty corner in the 48th minute.
   This time, it was the turn of Zulhairi Hashim to flick in the third goal, and the Koreans looked like they were heading for a drubbing.
   And the fourth goal came off a lovely combination when Shahril beat two Koreans and made a pass to Syamim Yusof to slam home in the 64th minute.
    The Korean consolation was scored in the 67th minute off a field attempt by Seo in Woo.
    But Rashid Baharom returned the favour in the 69th minute with an attempt from an acute angle and Malaysia beat the Koreans 5-1.
    Pakistan came back from a  goal down to hammer England 6-2 to strengthen their quest of playing in the final. The thumping win came at the back of a 3-0 drubbing of South Korea on Sunday.
   The Pakistan goals were scored by Muhammad Tousiq (11th, 20th), Muhammad Umair (35th, 69th), Ayub Ali (54th) and Muhammad Suleman (62nd).
   Richard Gall (fifth) and Luke Taylor (15th) scored for England.
   In another match, India came back from the dead to edge Argentina 3-2. The match belonged to Argentina until the 60th minute when they were leading 2-1, but team manager Orozco German started abusing the umpires and was removed from the bench.
   The Argentinian players looked rattled by the incident and let in two goals in two minutes to hand the three points to India.
   The India winners were scored by Affan Yousuf (23rd) and Ramandeep Singh (60th, 62nd).
   Both the Argentina goals were scored by Carlos Ibarra in the 16th and 42nd minutes.


                                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
PAKISTAN                2   2   0  0  9  2   6
MALAYSIA               2   2   0  0  9  3   6
INDIA                       2   2   0  0  5  3   6
ENGLAND                 2   0   0  2  3  8   0
ARGENTINA              2   0   0  2  4  7   0
S KOREA                   2   0   0  2  1  8   0

RESULTS -- England 2 Pakistan 6, Argentina 2 India 3, Malaysia 5 South Korea 1.

    Sept 25: Argentina v South Korea (4pm), Malaysia v England (6pm), India v Pakistan (8pm).
    Sept 26: England v Argentina (4pm), South Korea v India (6pm), Malaysia v Pakistan (8pm).
    Sept 28: Argentina v Pakistan (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), South Korea v England (8pm).
    Sept 20: Final and placing matches.


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Malaysia beat Argentina 4-2

MALAYSIA started their Sultan of Johor Cup campaign with a 4-2 win against Argentina with Shahril Saabah claiming a hat-trick at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru yesterday.
   The scoreline indicated an easy win, but in fact it was that Malaysia's penalty corner battery that saved the day by delivering three goals, as the Argentinians also displayed some impressive hockey but were blunt in the semi-circle.
    "We went in looking for a win, and my players rose to the ocassion by beating Argentina comprehensively. This is the kind of attitude and performance I will be expecting from them in the remaining matches," said an elated coach K. Dharmaraj.
   Malaysia play South Korea today: "Even though Pakistan outclassed the Koreans (3-0) they cannot be taken lightly and we will be looking for early goals to make sure of another win," said Dharmaraj.
   Malaysia started on a flying note when in the seventh minute itself, Shahril Saabah converted a penalty corner with a low flick past Argentina keeper Tomas Matias Santiago and postman Nicolas Ciclleo.
   But another penalty corner in the 11th minute was squandered as the push out by Firhan Ashaari way way off and Argentina were let off the hook.
   However Argentina were fortunate to score their equaliser in the 18th minute as a hit by Fredico Lionel Monja struck the stick of Kavin Karthik and sailed past goalkeeper Ahmad Sobri for an own goal.
    Malaysia kept fighting for possession, and off their third penalty corner, they were forced to play a variation when the push out was again off tandem.
   The ball was played back to Fitri Shaari whose goal bound shot was neatly deflected in by Shahril for a 2-1 in the 23rd minute to take a slim lead into the breather.
   Shahril again proved his mettle when Malaysa won their fourth penalty corner three minutes after the restart, and he sent the ball crashing to the top of the net for his hat-trick.
   Syamim Yusof then brought more cheers to the Malaysia side in the 48th minute when he beat three Argentinians before tapping the ball goal-bound and Rashid Baharom made sure by guiding the ball into the goalmouth to get his name on the scoreboard.
   With a 4-1 lead, Malaysia hit a home run for their first three points even though there was still 20 minutes to play.
   Argentina scored their second goal in the 64th minute off Isidoro Carlos but it was too late to douse the Malaysian celebrations.
   In an earlier match Pakistan, powered by their skipper Olympian Umar Bhutta, beat South Korea 3-0.
   The goals were scored by Muhammad Dilber (48th, 63rd) and Muhammad Umair (53rd).
   The Green Shirts play England today: "It took a little time to adjust to the pitch as it was slippery, but the winning start should put us in good stead against England in our next match," said Umar.
  India edged England 2-1 in the second match with the goals coming from Ramandeep Singh in the sixth minute and Talwinder Singh in the 50th.
  The England goal as scored by Stanley French in the 66th minute.


                                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
PAKISTAN                1   1   0  0  3  0   3
MALAYSIA               1   1   0  0  4  2   3
INDIA                       1   1   0  0  2  1   3
ENGLAND                 1   0   0  1  1  2   0
ARGENTINA              1   0   0  1  2  4   0
S KOREA                   1   0   0  1  0  3   0

RESULTS -- South Korea 0 Pakistan 3, England 1 India 2, Malaysia 4 Argentina 2.
TODAY -- England v Pakistan (4pm), Argentina v India (6pm), Malaysia v South Korea (8pm).

    Sept 25: Argentina v South Korea (4pm), Malaysia v England (6pm), India v Pakistan (8pm).
    Sept 26: England v Argentina (4pm), South Korea v India (6pm), Malaysia v Pakistan (8pm).
    Sept 28: Argentina v Pakistan (4pm), India v Malaysia (6pm), South Korea v England (8pm).
    Sept 20: Final and placing matches.

False Gharial...

This sports blog was started in January 2007, when blogging was at its infancy and the only rage was Rocky's Bru and Stephen Francis' Shanghai Fish. Both the blogs were born and also constantly updated from the National Press Club premises.
   The political scene in the country was changed by blogs and bloggers active the NPC premises around 2006-07.
  Rocky and Stephen then suggested that I open a Sports Blog because there was none in Malaysia then, asking me to post my daily stories that were published in the New Straits Times.... as a start.
   I started this blog at the NPC and uploaded my first story on Jan 6, 2007. It was started as an archive for myself to refer, and was never intended to make money.
   The same principles apply today, and the sole ad belongs to a friend who runs the Sports Olympic Hotel. 
   This blog's date of birth is documented by GOOGLE and its displayed under ' View My Complete Profile'.
   So those who want to make false claims about this and that and everything else under the sun and moon, check your facts and do not mislead the public.

Malaysia o China 3

Malaysia's Raja Norsharina Raja Shabuddin (left) tries to get to the ball before Mengrong Wu of China in the Women’s Asia Cup. Malaysia lost the match 3-0.


KUALA LUMPUR: Wang Menyu starred for defending champions China in their 3-0 win over Malaysia in the opening Group A match of the Women’s Asia Cup at the National Hockey Stadium Saturday night.
Menyu was on target from the penalty corner in the 15th minute.
She added the second, also from a penalty corner, in the 50th minute. Liang Meiyu completed the scoring with a field goal in the 68th minute.
The Malaysians’ strategy was to absorb the Chinese attack and then launch fast counter-attacks.
Malaysian coach Mohamed Nasihin Nubli said their plan worked, especially in the first half.
“The scoreline was 1-0 at half time and that was good for us. We had a few good counter attacks after the break but our finishing was poor. China capitalised on our open play and scored twice late in the second half.
“It was a good opening match for the team. We must now focus on the game against Hong Kong tomorrow.
“We need to win big and set us up for the final group match against India,” added Nasihin.
Earlier in Group B, South Korea outclassed Kazakhstan 12-1.
Kim Da-rae was the hero for the Koreans, who have already secured their World Cup place. She contributed four field goals in the 36th, 38th, 39th and 41st minutes. Cheon Seul-ki notched a hat-trick with goals in the 25th, 49th and 53rd minutes.
Kim Jong-eun (19th), Han Hye-young (35th), Cheon Eun-bi (45th) and Park Mi-hyun (52nd and 55th) were the other scorers.
Imangaliyena Gulnara netted the Kazakhs’ sole goal from a penalty corner in the 63rd minute.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Noor Faeez gets second life...


FORMER National juniors skipper Noor Faeez Ibrahim was  given a second hockey life when chief coach Paul Revington  named him in the training squad for three tournaments and   a Tour this year.
    Noor Faeez skippered the Junior Asia Cup side which won  gold in Malacca and took Malaysia into the New Delhi Junior  World Cup, but his attitude as well as form saw him being  booted out of camp in May.
   He missed the chance to play in the World League semi- finals and also the Asia Cup, and will now have claw back into  the national senior side.
    “I have noticed some changes in his attitude since he was  dropped from the training pool, and with the assurance of  one of our coaches that Noor Faeez can be turned into a  valuable player, we included him back into the training pool  for three tournaments and a Tour until December 31,” said  Revington.
   The 22-year-old Noor Faeez played a pivotal role to take  Malaysia to the Junior World Cup when he was under the care  of juniors coach K. Dharmaraj.
   The other surprise inclusion was Madzli Ikmar, 33, who  retired after the Dublin Olympic Qualifier in March last  year.
    “Madzli has over 300 caps and has shown good discipline  and form playing for his state and club and he has also agree  to come out of retirement and join the training pool,” said  Revington.
    The first assignment will be the Perth Super Series in Oct 17- 20, followed by the Asian Champions Trophy in Kakamigahara, Japan, on Nov 1-10.
   Then there is a Tour to South Korea on Nov 20-Dec 3, and  ends with the Myanmar Sea Games on Dec 11-22.
    Also recalled was S. Selvaraju, 28, and Engku Malek, 29,  who were team-mates in the 2005 Junior World Cup in  Rotterdam -- probably for the Sea Games gold medal quest.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Coach Nasihin Nubli with his angels...

RM500,000 boost for Malaysian women..

 PIC: Semai Ria Chief Executive Officer Lim Ee Keong (second from right) and MHC deputy president Noora Ashikin.

THE Malaysian women’s hockey team received a  RM500,000 boost yesterday from construction development  company Semai Ria ahead of the Asia Cup challenge starting  on Saturday.
    The tournament, to be played at the National Hockey  Stadium in Bukit Jalil, also offers the champion a berth to the  Women’s World Cup next year in the Netherlands.
   Present at hand to receive the cheque was Malaysian  Hockey Confederation (MHC) deputy president Raja Puan Sri  Datuk Noora Ashikin Raja Abdullah.
   “We will be hosting the Asia Cup (seniors) for the first time,  and that itself is a milestone for women’s hockey in the  country. The team used to be a whipping side many years  ago, but today, we can hold our heads high as we have even  made the grade to play in the Asian Champions Trophy this  year,” said Noora Ashikin.
    Eight teams will feature in the tournament and Malaysia  are in Group A with defending champions China, India and  Hong Kong.
    Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Kazakhstan are in Group  B.
    China and South Korea have qualified for the World Cup via  the Women’s World League.
    “We have set a target of playing in the semi-finals of the  Asia Cup, and I believe it is achievable after all the hard work  put in by the players and coaching staff,” said Noora  Ashikin.
    Semai Ria Chief Executive Officer Lim Ee Keong said: “We  hope that our sponsorship will spur the women’s hockey  team to perform beyond their capabilities. The men have  qualified for the World Cup, and We hope the women will  emulate the men as well.”
    However, Malaysia will find the going tough in the Eight  Edition of the Asia Cup as Korea have won three titles in 1985,  1993 and 1990; China twice 1989 and 2009; while India won  it in 2004 and Japan in 2007.
   The best placing for Malaysia was third in 1985.

Perak's 21-yer wait is over

The Perak team celebrate after winning the 51st edition of the Razak Cup after beating Kuala Lumpur 3-0 in the final in Kuantan yesterday. Pic by Luqman Hakim Zubir

 PERAK won the Razak Cup after 21 years at Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan yesterday.
    Led by international Azlan Misron, Perak notched their seventh Cup title by overcoming favourites Kuala Lumpur 3-0 in the final.
    KL, despite dominating play, were toothless in attack and failed to convert five penalty corner set-pieces in the absence of international Razie Rahim and Amin Rahim.
   Muhd Najib Abu Hassan netted the opening goal in the 12th minute before international Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi added a second off a penalty corner set-piece in the 54th.
  A desperate KL attacked in numbers late in the second half and paid dearly for leaving their back-line unattended. Mohd Noor Khairul Azrain made it three for Perak five minutes from time.
   Perak coach Kulwant Singh said his team played their hearts out to bring back the trophy to the state after 21 years.
   "My team, comprising a mix of seniors and juniors, played to instructions. Frankly, we did not have centralised training as some players were with the national team for the Asia Cup," said Kulwant yesterday.
   KL coach K. Rajan said his team did everything right except score.
   "We also did not have a flicker for penalty corners. We should not have conceded the first goal and the move to attack in the second half failed to pay off," said Rajan.
    Former champions Malacca recorded a comprehensive 4-1 win over Negri Sembilan for third place.
    In the Division Two final, former international Muhd Noor Faez Ibrahim led Selangor to an impressive 3-1 win over Armed Forces to earn promotion to the main tier division next season.
  Faridzul Afiq Mohd (10th) and Muhd Amerullah Aziz (34th) gave Selangor a 2-0 lead at half-time before Noor Faez added a third 10 minutes before the final hooter. It was Noor Faez's 11th goal in the competition.
   Tuan Abdul Walid Tuan Aziz replied for Forces off a penalty corner set-piece in the 46th minute.
   "We have finally made it to Division One after five years. Everyone played to instructions," said Selangor coach S. Sivabalan.
   ROLL OF HONOUR -- Division One: 1 Perak, 2 Kuala Lumpur, 3 Malacca, 4 Negri Sembilan.
   Fairplay: Penang; Most Valuable Player: Muhd Shukri Abdul Mutalib (Per); Best Player of Final: Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi (Per); Top scorers: Mohd Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghaffar (Joh), Ahmad Kazamirul Nasaruddin (Pah), Izwan Firdaus Tajuddin (Pen) -- seven goals
   Division Two: 1 Selangor, 2 Armed Forces, 3 Police, 4 Perlis.
   Fairplay: Armed Forces; Most Valuable Player: Kevinder Singh (Police); Best goalkeeper: Adriel Ang (Sab); Best of Final: Saiful Azhar Mohd Affandi (Sel); Top scorer: Muhd Noor Faeez Ibrahim (Sel) -- 11 goals.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tengku Abdullah wants answers...

NewStraitsTimes By T.N.Alagesh

OFFICIALS involved in giving the green light for a 22-year-old hockey player, who is currently serving a two-year suspension, to feature in the ongoing Razak Cup in Kuantan could find themselves in trouble as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation wants to get to the root of the matter.
MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah wants those responsible, including from the Pahang Hockey Association (Pahang HA) and MHC who may have turned a deaf ear in allowing the respective player to register for the tournament, to come forward and explain. Clearly upset over the matter, Tengku Abdullah said such an incident, which displayed the weaknesses of certain officials, will only tarnish the image of the game in the country.
"This is the problem with the officials. We have to take action against those responsible for allowing a suspended player to register himself and take to the field in the opening fixture.
"To be fair I hope to hear from both parties (Pahang HA and MHC) on the incident. I hope those responsible will provide an explanation on the matter," Tengku Abdullah told reporters in Kuantan yesterday.
On Tuesday, the Pahang team were ordered to turn up for their remaining matches with only 17 players after Mohd Aminuddin Abu, who is serving a two-year suspension, was barred by tournament director Brian Fernandez.
Aminuddin, suspended in 2011 for failing a dope test, is due to complete his suspension on Oct 12 but Pahang fielded him for their opening match against Perak on Saturday.
However, since Pahang lost that match, it is learnt that there were no changes to the outcome other than barring Aminuddin from the tournament.

Malaysia game for their second title..

NATIONAL juniors coach K. Dharmaraj has set his eyes on the Sultan of Johor Cup title, as he finally has his full squad for the assault at the Taman Daya Stadium from Sept 22-29.
    Malaysia were the inaugural champions in 2011, but ended at the bottom last year, and with the Junior World Cup just around the corner, Dharmaraj wants the title as an early boost.
    Malaysia are in Group D of the Junior World Cup, in New Delhi from Dec 6-15, together with Pakistan, England and South Africa.
   And in Johor, the other five teams are England, Pakistan, India, Argentina and South Korea.
    “I believe with the inclusion of the four players who were with the senior side, the team has the potential to win the title again.
    “And with England and Pakistan in our World Cup group, it is time we win morale boosters on home soil,” said Dharmaraj.
    South Africa were also supposed to play in Johor, but pulled out due to lack of funds.
   The four who played in the Asia Cup with the senior side and will be back with Dharmaraj are Fitri Saari, Faiz Jali Helmi, Izad Hakimi and Firhan Ashaari.
    And even though Malaysia will parade their best available, India and Pakistan are expected to be the teams to beat.
    “Looking at the team list, Pakistan will be fielding the same side which we beat in the final of the Junior Asia Cup, while India also have many players who have seen action at the senior side in recent major tournaments.
   “But that is the challenge we gladly accept, because my players need to beat both this two teams to prepare for the Junior World Cup semi-finals target,” said Dharmaraj.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Women shoot for the stars..

THE Malaysian women’s hockey team for the Asia Cup will  attempt to scale new heights, as a fourth-placed target has  been set for them.
    The tournament, which is also a World Cup Qualifier, will  be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil from  Sept 21-27.
    Malaysia are Group A with defending champions China,  India, and Hong Kong while South Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan  and Taiwan are placed in Group B.
    “We need to beat India and Hong Kong to play in the semi- finals, and take matters from there,” said women’s coach  Nasihin Nubli.
    The 18-strong squad, with an average age of 24, will also  see 18-year-old Fatin Shafika playing in her third big tournament after featuring in the World Hockey League Round  One and Round Two.
    The other notable youngster is 20-year-old Nor Azlin  Sumantri.
    Malaysia will open accounts against China on Sept 21,  followed by Hong Kong the next day and their last group  match is against India on Sept 24.
    The women’s junior and senior side received an attire  boost to the tune of RM200,000 from GS Gill.
   “This is the 11th year of sponsorship from GS Gill and we  are grateful to the undying support,” said Nasihin.
    MALAYSIA -- Goalkeepers: Farah Ayuni Yahya, Siti Noor  Hafiza.
   Defenders: Julaini Din, Siti Shahidah Saad, Raja Noor Sharina, Nuraini Rashid, Norhashikin Halim, Siti Nor Ama rina.
   Midfielders: Nadia Rahman, Rabiatul Adawiyah, Noor  Hasliza Ali, Fatin Shakira, Nor Izaidah Ibrahim.
   Forwards: Norbaini Hashim, Siti Rahmah Othman, Fazilla  Sylvester Silin, Nurul Nabihan Mansor, Nor Azlin Sumantri.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Five nations battle for 2018 World Cups

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is delighted to announce that it has received seven high quality bids from five nations who are all vying for the chance to host Hockey’s marquee events.
Four official proposals to host the men’s World Cup have been made, with a further three submissions being made for the women’s equivalent. The National Associations of Australia, England, India, Malaysia, and New Zealand have all put extremely strong cases forward in an attempt to lure the sport’s top properties to their territory. 
As part of the bidding process, the FIH requested that official bid questionnaires were submitted before the 31 August deadline. The FIH received official submissions from five of the original six nations that initially expressed interest earlier in the year. The next phase of the process will feature the detailed evaluation of each bid which will be followed by further discussions and clarifications with NAs as well as site visits to each country.  The final decision will rest with the FIH Executive Board in Lausanne, Switzerland, with the winning bids being announced on 7 November 2013.

Pahang soldier on..

By T.N. Alagesh

LOSING a player for the rest of the Razak Cup tournament did not affect the morale of the Pahang players as they thrashed Penang 5-2 in a Division One Group B match while 19-time champions Kuala Lumpur beat Perak 4-3.
    Last year's finalists Pahang will have to play their remaining matches with only 17 players after Mohd Aminuddin Abu, who is serving a two-year suspension, has been barred by Tournament Director Brian Fernandez.
   Aminuddin, suspended in 2011 after failing a doping test, is to complete his suspension on Oct 12 but Pahang had fielded him for their opening match against Perak on Saturday.
   Brian said he has suspended Aminuddin from the tournament and the player has been referred to the disciplinary board.
  Not affected by the off-field issue, Pahang took the lead in the seventh minute at Kuantan Hockey Stadium when Ahmad Kazamirul Nasaruddin scored through a powerful drag-flick before Penang drew level in the 20th minute through Izwan Firdaus Tajuddin.
   Hardworking Ahmad Kazamirul completed his hattrick through penalty corner efforts in the 45th and 49th minutes before Rahimi Iskandar Baharom reduced the deficit for Penang in the 61st minute.
   Five minutes later, former national player Rodzhanizam Mat Radzi made it 4-2 for Pahang before Fahmi Abdullah wrapped up the score in the 69th minute.
   Kuala Lumpur, who finished third last year, got their goals through Nor Hizzat Sumantri (13th), S. Selvaraju (19th and 42nd) and Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor (50th).
    Perak, who upset Pahang on the opening day, scored through national player Azlan Misron (27th), Najib Abu Hassan (62nd) and Sabri Mohamad (64th).
   In a Division Two match, Police failed to extend their winning run after going down 3-2 to Armed Forces, succumbing to a last gasp goal in the 69th minute off a penalty corner.
   Armed Forces' Razali Mohd Hazemi got a hat-trick, firing two first half goals, before notching the last minute winner.
   Police, who had earlier beaten Sabah and Perlis 3-2, replied through midfielder Jivan Mohan (39th) and Baljit Singh (56th).
 RESULTS -- Division One, Group B: Pahang 5 Penang 2, Kuala Lumpur 4 Perak 3.
Division Two: Selangor 4 Perlis 2, Police 2 Armed Forces 3, Sabah 5 Kedah 4
TODAY -- Division One, Group A: Negri Sembilan vs Johor (6pm), Terengganu vs Malacca (6pm)
Group B: Pahang vs Kuala Lumpur(8pm, Pitch I), Perak vs Penang (8pm).
Division Two: Armed Forces vs Selangor (4pm). *Matches at Kuantan Hockey Stadium.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Kelvinder Singh salvages draw for Police

FILE PIC of Kelvinder Singh in action ..

FORMER national player Kelvinder Singh saved a point for  Police when he delivered the equaliser in their 3-3 draw  against Selangor in Division Two of the Razak Cup at the  Kuantan Stadium yesterday.
   The draw took Selangor to the top of the standings on seven  points after three matches, and they look good for the title  this season after being boosted by new recruits.
   Kelvinder and national player Jivan Mohan joined the  Police force training this year, and together with former  national juniors Baljit Singh Sarjab Singh, they have  strengthened the side.
    “It was not an easy match as even though we took a 2-0 lead  (by the 12th minute) Selangor came back strongly and  fortunately I managed to nail the equaliser to share points,”  said Kelvinder.
    All three Selangor goals were scored by former juniors  skipper Noor Faeez in the 34th, 53rd, 63rd minutes. Noor  Faeez was the skipper of the national juniors who won the  Junior Asia Cup which booked Malaysia’s spot in the New  Delhi World Cup.
    The other Police goals were scored by Baljit Singh (18th)  and Azinorzilan Hamid (12th).
    “We won two earlier matches and with this hard-fought  draw, we hope keep up the momentum when we play Armed  Forces tomorrow (today),” said Kelvinder Singh.
   Armed Forces were also on fire as they hammered Kedah  7-0. Armed Forces and Selangor have played one match less  as their opening day encounter was washed away by rain.
   Both the teams will square of again on Friday.

Division Two

                      P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
POLICE           3  2  1   0   9     7   7
FORCES          2  2  0   0   11  0  6
PERLIS            3  2  0   1   8   4   6
SELANGOR      2  1  1   0   12  4  4
SABAH           3  0  0   3   2    8  0
KEDAH           3  0  0   3   2  21  0



                         P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
JOHOR              1   1   0  0  5  4   3
TGGANU           1   0   0  1  4  5   0
NEGRI               1   1   0  0  2  1   3
MALACCA         1   0   0  1  1  2   0


                        P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts

K LUMPUR       1   1   0  0  3  1   3
PERAK             1   1   0  0  3  2   3
PAHANG           1   0   0  1  2  3   0
PENANG           1   0   0  1  1  3   0

   RESULTS: Division One A: Malacca x Johor x, Negri  Sembilan x Terengganu x.
   Division Two: Kedah 0 Armed Forces 7, Perlis 1 Sabah 0,  Selangor 3 Police 3.
    TODAY: Division One -- Group B: Pahang v Penang (8pm,  Pitch I), Kuala Lumpur v Perak (8pm, Pitch II).
    Division two: Selangor v Perlis (4pm, Pitch I), Police v  Armed Forces (6pm, Pitch I), Sabah v Kedah (6pm, Pitch  II).

Sunday, September 8, 2013

KL start on rusty note..

KUALA Lumpur started their Razak Cup Division One campaign on a rusty note when they could only edge Penang 3-1 at the Kuantan Stadium yesterday.
   The 19-time champions were blunt in penalty corners, as they could only score one rebound off the handful that came their way.
   “Not a very bright start, as the team were a little rusty in attack and also in penalty corners. We had many more chances to increase the score, but failed,” said Kuala Lumpur coach K. Rajan.
   However, Rajan is not overly worried with the slow start in Group B.
   “I am confident that as the tournament progresses, my team will become better with each match as we aim to win our 20th title in Kuantan,” said Rajan.
    The KL goals were scored by Nor Syafiq Sumantri (third) and Harvinder Singh (16th, 60th).
    And the Penang attempt was made by Azren Rizal in the sixth minute.
    In another Group B match, hosts Pahang fell 3-2 to Perak. The Perak goals were scored by Harmeet Singh (15th), Harris Fadilla (29th) and  Hafifi Hafiz (66th).
    Robert Alcantara (30th) and Ahmad Kazamirul (38th) scored for Pahang.


Division Two

                      P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
POLICE           2  2  0   0   6  4  6
SELANGOR      1  1  0   0   9  1  3
FORCES          1  1  0   0   4  0  3
PERLIS            2  1  0   1   7  4  3
SABAH           2  0  0   2   2    7  0
KEDAH           2  0  0   2   2  14  0



                         P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
JOHOR              1   1   0  0  5  4   3
TGGANU           1   0   0  1  4  5   0
NEGRI               1   1   0  0  2  1   3
MALACCA         1   0   0  1  1  2   0


                        P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts

K LUMPUR       1   1   0  0  3  1   3
PERAK             1   1   0  0  3  2   3
PAHANG           1   0   0  1  2  3   0
PENANG           1   0   0  1  1  3   0

   RESULTS: Division One A: Terengganu 4 Johor 5, Malacca 1 Negri Sembilan 2;  Group B: Perak 3 Pahang 2, Kuala Lumpur 3  Penang 1.
    TODAY: Division One A: Malacca v Johor (8pm, Pitch I), Negri Sembilan v Terengganu (8pm, Pitch II).
   Division Two: Kedah v Armed Forces (4pm, Pitch I), Perlis v Sabah (6pm, Pitch I), Selangor v Police (6pm, Pitch II).

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Negri 9 select 9 young, 9 old guards...

NEGRI Sembilan listed nine juniors and nine retired  players in their quest to reach the Division One semi-finals of  the Razak Cup at the Kuantan Stadium.
    And although they also listed national goalkeeper S.  Kumar, he is not expected to see action as he is still  recovering from the Asia Cup fatique.
    The Division Two matches started on Friday, while the  more challenging Division One will see action from today.
    “We listed a balanced team as I feel that the juniors still  need guidence from former internationals like S. Kuhan,  Madzli Ikmar and Suhaimi Ibrahim,” said Negri coach S.  Chandran.
    Negri will meet Malacca in their opening Group A en counter.
    “We reached the semis last year and finished fourth, and  hope to play in the knock out stage again but finish higher,”  said Chandran.
    Negri are drawn in Group A with defending champion  Terengganu, Johor and Malacca while last year’s losing  finalist Pahang are in Group B with Kuala Lumpur, Perak and  Penang.
    Kuala Lumpur are holders of 19 Razak Cup tittes, with the  last one won in 2011. Last year, they only had a bronze to  show after being knocked out of the semi-finals by eventual  champions Terengganu.
   But Terengganu is also expected to limp around in Division  One this year, as their goal poachers Firhan Ashaari, and  brothers Faizal and Fitri are not available.
    Faizal left for the German League where he will play for  Berlin Hockey Club, while Fitri and Firhan are in training  with the national juniors for the Sultan of Johor Cup.
    RESULTS - Friday: Division Two: Armed Forces Selangor  (match abandoned), Police 3  Sabah 2, Kedah 1 Perlis 5.
    Saturday: Sabah 0 Armed Forces 4, Perlis 2 Police 3, Kedah  1 Selangor 9.
    FIXTURES: Today: Division One A: Terengganu v Johor  (8pm, Pitch I), Malacca v Negri Sembilan (8pm, Pitch II);  Group B: Perak v Pahang (6pm, Pitch I), Kuala Lumpur v  Penang (6pm, Pitch II).

Friday, September 6, 2013

Ritu Rani to skipper India in Asia Cup..

New Delhi (PTI): Veteran midfielder Ritu Rani will lead an 18-member Indian women's hockey team in the eighth Asia Cup to be played in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, from September 21 to 27.
    "Hockey India Selectors BP Govinda, Surinder Kaur, Mamta Kharab, chief coach Neil Hawgood, coach IS Gill and scientific advisor Matthew Tredrea, alongwith government observer Harbinder Singh, selected the 18 players and six standbys during the trials conducted in Patiala on August 30 and 31," HI said in a press release.
   Ritu has 157 India appearances to her credit. The 18-member squad will have another midfielder Chanchan Devi Thokchom (88 caps) as the vice-captain.
   The team's training camp is has been underway in Patiala since August 8 as final preparations for the tournament. The team will depart for Malaysia on September 16.
    India are placed in Pool A with China, hosts Malaysia and Hong Kong China while Korea, Japan, Kazakhstan and Chinese Taipei are placed in Pool B.
   India will open their campaign against Hong Kong China on September 21 followed by China on September 22 and hosts Malaysia on September 24.
    The Women's Asia Cup is the continental qualification tournament for the FIH Women's World Cup 2014 to be played in The Hague, The Netherlands, from May 31-June 14, 2014.
   Squad: Goalkeepers: Rajani Etimarpu, Savita Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka, Joydeep Kaur, Kirandeep Kaur, Sunita Lakra, Deepika, Namita Toppo, P Sushila Chanu, M N Ponnamma Midfielders: Ritu Rani (Captain), Chanchan Devi Thokchom (Vice-Captain), Soundarya Yendala, Lily Chanu Forwards: Poonam Rani, Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thokchom. Standbys: Sanarik Chanu, Asunta Lakra, Monika Malik, Navjot Kaur, Lilima Minz, Anupa Barla.

Cindy, Michelle claim sponsors tickets..

MALAYSIAN’S Cindy Lee-Pridgen and Michelle Koh  claimed the sponsor’s exemptions to the Sime Darby LPGA  Malaysia which  will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and  Country Club (KLGCC) on Oct 10-13.
   The Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia is a 72-hole stroke play, no  cut event, featuring a total of 62 stars from the LPGA Tour and  10 sponsor invites making up one of the strongest fields in  Asian golf.
     They achieved the feat at the end of the Local Qualifying  Tournament, played over 36 holes, which featured nine of  Malaysia’s top female golfers fighting for the coveted op portunity with 21 regional hopefuls.
    After recording a score of par 71 on the first day, the 37- year-old Cindy clinched victory with a final round score of 75  to finish with an aggregate total of 146 on the East Course at  the KLGCC.
    Coming in four shots behind, 23-year-old Michelle Koh  claimed her opportunity to play with the big stars after  scoring two consecutive rounds of 75, wrapping up with an  aggregate total of 150.
   Cindy, who received a sponsor invite to compete in the  tournament in 2010, said: “I shot two bogies and then a  double on 9 so not a great start but then made the turn and  am just really glad I a had such a good caddy this week. He  kept saying ‘I’ll pull the club and you just hit it’ so off we went  and it seemed to work.”
     “I’ll be looking to erase some bad memories of 2010 but will  focus on trying to get a little bit more distance on the drives  and work on my alignment between now and the tour nament. But I’m just delighted to be playing,” added the US  based Cactus Tour player.
    Michelle, a graduate from the 2013 Sime Darby LPGA  Development Programme was in cloud nine.
   “I couldn’t believe it when I was told that I had qualified –  I was just speechless. I find it a really tough course so I’m just  so excited to be playing here”.
    Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of Sime Darby Foundation  said: “We are very proud to have Cindy and Michelle rep resenting Malaysia against the very best women golfers at the  Sime Darby LPGA Malaysia.
    “Their achievement illustrates the hard work and prepa ration that they have put in for the qualifying tournament. As  they continue to train for the tournament, I hope this  opportunity will spur them to work even harder and show  themselves to be the true champions they are capable of.”
    Both players are joined by Yu-Shin Chang and Pei-Yun  Chien from Taiwan who both guaranteed their places after  winning the Regional Qualifying Tournament following a  three-way play-off with last year’s winner Ssu-Chia Cheng.  All three players carded 143 after 36 holes, with Ssu-Chia  Cheng dropping one shot to her compatriots on the 18th hole  play-off.
    The tournament will also see international golf stars  China’s Shanshan Feng, Norwegian Suzann Pettersen,  American Cristie Kerr and Korean stars So Yeon Ryu and  Jiyai Shin.
    Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings No 1 and defending  champion Inbee Park will also defend her crown.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Sad state of Razak Cup..

THE Razak Cup starts today in Kuantan, and the usual  player-hunting and pinching is at its ugliest state, as the  quality pool is not big enough to cater for all states.
   And this has peeved national juniors coach K. Dharmatraj,  who feels states should just go with their youth, and not recall  old hands when there is not enough talent available.
    “My hockey career started at the Razak Cup when I was 16  years old, thanks to the vision of my late coach Razak  Leman.
    “He was brave enough to take teenagers for the tour nament, and even though Malacca did not win, but the real  winner turned out to be the country, as many youth from this  squad were noticed, and broke into the junior squad and  National B team, and eventually played for the country,” said  Dharmaraj.
   The timing of the Razak Cup is also incredible, as the  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) fixed it right after  the Asia Cup, and two weeks from now the juniors would be  involved with the Sultan of Johor Cup.
    “Luckily I named my 18 players for the Sultan of Johor Cup  early and blocked them from playing in the Razak Cup for  fear of injury and fatigue.
    “It was also a move to give other players, especially youth,  a chance to represent their states and looking at how  intensely states are chasing for players now, it is sad that  some of the teams are going to rely on players who can’t even  make the MHL (Malaysia Hockey League) teams but don’t  want to field youth.
    “Sure, the old hands can keep the tournament running, but  youth would inject hope for a better future. We need state  administrators who are brave enough to field their youth  side, as this is what the Razak Cup should be all about in the  near future.
    “Give the youngsters a break. At least the officials can then  be proud of helping hockey, and can consider themselves as  part of the success of the national team when they do well,”  said Dharmaraj.
    The Division Two, with six teams, starts today, while the  Division One matches begin on Sunday.
   Division One A: Terengganu, Johor, Malacca, Negri Sembilan; Group B: Perak, Pahang, Kuala Lumpur, Penang.
    Division Two: Armed Forces, Selangor, Police, Sabah,  Kedah, Perlis.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Malaysia qualify for World Cup 2014

Korean success at Asia Cup guarantees Malaysia ticket to The Hague

BY FIH -- Malaysia men have become the latest team to achieve qualification for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014, the International Hockey Federation’s showpiece event which takes place in The Hague, Netherlands.
The joint men’s and women’s competition takes place from 31st May to 15th June next year, with the 15,000-seater Kyocera Stadium playing host to the finest international hockey teams in the world.
Malaysia’s berth at the summer spectacular was guaranteed following Korea’s dramatic 4-3 triumph over India in the final of the men’s Asia Cup 2013 in Ipoh (MAS).
Like all of the continental championships, the big prize on offer at the Asia Cup was direct World Cup qualification to the event winner. However, with Korea having recently been promoted from first reserves to confirmed World Cup qualifiers thanks to Argentina’s victory in the Pan American Cup, the door was opened to the other reserves for the tournament. Last weekend, second reserves Spain were confirmed for the event courtesy of Germany’s success in TriFinance EuroHockey Championships, meaning that third reserves Malaysia become the team to benefit from Korea’s Asia Cup victory.
Malaysia are the tenth men’s team to qualify for the Rabobank Hockey World Cup, with two more places up for grabs at the upcoming continental championships in Oceania and Africa. Eight women’s teams have also been confirmed for the event, with the remaining places going to the winners of the Asian, Oceania, Pan American and African continental championships.
More information about the World Cup qualifiers and qualifying process can be found below.

Rabobank Hockey World Cup – Men’s Qualifiers 
Netherlands: Hosts.
Germany: Continental champions Europe
Argentina: Continental champions Pan America
Korea: Continental champions Asia
England: 3rd place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Johor Bahru (MAS)
Belgium: 1st place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED)
Australia: 2nd place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED)
New Zealand: 4th place – Rabobank Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED) *
Spain: 5th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Rotterdam (NED). **
Malaysia: 5th place – Hockey World League Semi-Final, Johor Bahru (MAS) ***

* 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.
** Spain qualified as second reserve courtesy of Germany’s victory in the TriFinance EuroHockey Championships. Spain (5th in Rotterdam) were named second reserve ahead of Malaysia (5th in Johor Bahru) courtesy of a superior placing in the FIH World Rankings.
*** Malaysia qualified as third reserve courtesy of Korea’s victory in the Asia Cup 2013.

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 final two continental championships. However, if any of the above listed teams also becomes continental champion it will open the door to the team that finished outside the top three at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals that has not yet qualified for the World Cup. This team can be found below.    
India: 6th in Rotterdam / 4th reserve for World Cup.

Fitri to skipper Sultan of Johor Cup..

NATIONAL senior player Fitri Saari has been named as skipper for the six-nation Sultan of Johor Cup, which will be played at the Taman Daya Stadium on Sept 22-29.
   Yesterday, national Juniors coach K. Dharmaraj selected 18 players, and two more reserves, for the tournament which will also serve as a Junior World Cup warm-up.
   The other teams in the Sultan of Johor Cup are Argentina, England, Pakistan, India and South Korea.
    "And with England and Pakistan in our World Cup group, it would be a valuable match to prepare for our quest to play in the semi-finals in new Delhi," said Dharmaraj.
   The other team in Malaysia's group is South Africa, but they pulled out of the Sultan of Johor Cup due to lack of money.
    The 20-year-old Fitri, from Terengganu, has 58 caps, and also played in the just concluded Asia Cup in Ipoh.
    Dharmaraj's side will also be powered by four other national players – defenders Faiz Jali and Izad Hakimi, midfielder Meor Azuan and forward Firhan Ashaari.
    All except for Meor featured in the Asia Cup team and Firhan scored four goals in the tournament.
    The national juniors, minus the four who played with the seniors in Ipoh, just returned from a playing Tour in Australia where they got whipped.
   "We lost  all four matches, but took the Aussies to the wire in our last match where we took the lead, then went down 1-3 before scoring another to lose narrowly 2-3.
   "However, in the earlier matches, we lost 6-2, 1-0 and 7-1 to the 2009 Junior World Cup bronze medallists," said Dharmaraj.
   The juniors named for the Sultan of Johor tournament in Johor will not feature in the Razak Cup, which begins on Thursday in Kuantan. 

Sultan of Johor Cup
Goalkeepers: Hazrul Faiz, Hafizuddin Othman
Defenders: Faiz Helmi , Izad Hakimi, Kavin Kartik, Zulhairi Hashim, Nor Aqmal Ghaffar
Midfielders: Fitri Saari (captain), Azri Hassan, Meor Azuan Hassan, Shazril Irwan, Haziq Samsul
Forwards: Firhan Ashaari, Syamim Yusof, Rashid Baharom,  Shahril Saabah, Azwar Abdul Rahman, Hafiz Zainol

  The two reserves: Joel Samuel van Huizen, Shazrul Imran Nazli.

Learn, or be trampled at the World Cup..

MALAYSIA'S best chance to win the Asia Cup title vanished in Ipoh over the weekend,
but Paul Revington and his men must rise from the ashes as they only have nine
months to prepare for next year's World Cup.
   The 12-team tournament will be held in the Netherlands on May 31 to June 15, and

Malaysia must prepare a decent side to better their eighth placing achieved when they
last played at the elite level at the Kuala Lumpur 2002 World Cup.
    To date, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has named nine teams which have

qualified and they are Germany, Netherlands, England, Belgium, Australia, New
Zealand, Spain, Argentina and South Korea.
    The FIH are awaiting for the completion of the Africa Cup of Nations at Nairobi on

Sept 26-Oct 5 and the Oceania Cup on Oct 28-Nov 3 before they can officially
announce the other three teams.
   However, the World League system will also see India and Malaysia qualify, leaving

the last berth which is expected to go to South Africa after the end of the Africa Cup.
   So in acuatlity, all 12 teams can be named today, and 13th ranked Malaysia  will be

the lowest ranked team in the 2014 World Cup.
   Only eighth ranked Pakistan are missing from the 12-team tournament, while the rest

 of the top-12 World ranked teams have qualified as expected.
    It was no easy feat for Revington and his men, as they battled with the best to finish

fifth in the World League in Johor Baru to achieve the feat.
    But in Ipoh, some of the players looked like they ran out of ideas and game

approach, while one looked like he had too much of outside the camp life and was
limp and listless on the picth.
   This so called Super Star in the making, was seen a few times after midnight at the

makan stalls around Ipoh with friends, as it looked like there was no curfew for him
while the rest were at the team hotel.
    Discipline must be installed early, and it is dangerous for players who are easily

recognisable to break camp curfew, because if they get into trouble, they only have
themselves to blame.
   Malaysia lost the bronze to Pakistan 3-1, who even beat Paul Revington's men in the

group stages 4-1, and the Green Shirts are only ranked eighth in the world.
   In the World Cup, Malaysia might be grouped together with Germany, Belgium and

the Netherlands and if they continue to play like they did in the Asia Cup, Malaysia re
in for a sound beating.
     Revington must shoulder some of the blame for a poor finish in Ipoh, as the more

than 30 penalty corners were direct attempts with only a single set-piece in the bronze
playoff against Pakistan.
    Needless to say, the penalty corner deflection attempt by Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin

went wrong, as he lacked practice in the group stages.
   The coach must learn, just like his players, to adapt to a match after five minutes of

play, and not follow the same regimental approach which is easily read by their
    South Korea showed that they are still the best in Asia after winning their fourth

gold in nine editions by beating India 4-3, Pakistan hold the distinction of winning three, while India have won two previously.
      Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo summed up what Malaysia need to do to improve:

"When we lost 2-0 to India in the group stages, I watched the video again and again
until I came up with a game-plan to beat them in the final. We need to constantly learn
and adapt to win matches.
    "Even though three Asian teams have qualified for the World Cup, it is not going to

be easy for us as Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), Argentina and all the
European teams are at least three steps ahead of us now.
    "We need to keep on learning after every match, if not, the Asian teams will end up as the bottom three in the World Cup next year."

Sunday, September 1, 2013

South Korea the Asian Masters..

SOUTH Korea won their fourth Asia Cup title when they beat India 4-3 and also gave the World Cup berth to Malaysia at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh yesterday.
   Now, India will have to wait for the Oceania Cup battle between Australia and New Zealand to claim their ticket, which is virtually theirs, as both the Aussies and Kiwis have also qualified and it does not matter which team wins.
    Asian masters South Korea defended stoutly for 25 minutes, before delivering two parting salvos and entering the dressing room with a comfortable lead.
   The first goal came off the stick of  Jang Jong Hyun in the 28th minute for his eight penalty corner goal of the tournament, and a minute later You Hyo Sik  delivered another field goal blow.
    Rupinder Pal Singh narrows the gap with a 48th minute penalty corner, and Nikkin Thimmaiah scores the equaliser in the 54th minute.
    But a 57th minute penalty stroke by Nam Hyun Woo gave Korea the lead again, only for Mandeep Singh to smash in the equaliser in the 65th minute.
   However, the gold was delivered by Kang Moon Kweon with a penalty corner set-piece deflection in the 68th minute.

    RESULTS -- Final: South Korea 4 India 3; Third-Fourth: Malaysia 1 Pakistan 3.
    ROLL OF HONOUR -- Man of the Match (final): Kang Moon Kweon (S Korea)
    Best Goalkeeper: PR Sreejesh (India)
    Top Scorer: Jang Jong Hyun (Korea, eight goals)
    Most Outstanding Player:  VR Raghunath (India)
    Fairplay: Japan.