Friday, March 15, 2013

Shahrun can feel the change..


SKIPPER Shahrun Nabil has played under many coaches since making his debut in the 2005 Junior World Cup, and feels Paul Revington has the most practical approach.
  "The coach is fast changing our mindset, which used to be a big problem in the past because many of us did not believe in ourselves.
  "Slowly, he has made us forget our rankings, as well as the rankings of the team which we will play and this has given us confidence needed to pull off upsets," said Shahrun.
  Shahrun, 28, with 190 caps, was a fighter from the start, but now looks more composed than in 2005 lad this scribe met while on his training rounds at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
  Malaysia, under coach Sarjit Singh, were just 60 days shy of the World Cup and sitting on the bench with the fingers of his right hand fully bandaged was Shahrun Nabil.
   "It is a sprain of the middle finger," said Shahrun then, but he still insisted on traveling to Europe a few days later to play against club sides, and one training match against the Netherlands national juniors at the Junior World Cup venue.
  That was the spirit he had eight years ago, but if somehow fizzled along the years as coaches came and went, but the fire is back in the skipper and his men, and they might just make the impossible possible by first qualifying for Malaysia's only fourth final, and then making a dash for the Cup which has eluded the hosts for 30 years in 21 editions.

An Australian favour?

WORLD No 2 Australia might just do Malaysia a favour when they play New Zealand in the final group match of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on Saturday.
  The equation is simple, if Australia beat or hold New Zealand to a draw (6pm start), they will also take Malaysia along with them into the final on Sunday.
  And there would be no added pressure in the 8pm Malaysia versus India match.
  However, if New Zealand beat Australia, the Kiwis will play in the final, while Malaysia need to at least pull off a draw against India to shut Australia out.
  In 22 Editions of the Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia have only made the finals in 1985, 2007 and 2009 but played bridesmate on all three occasions.
  "It looks promising, but still, there are some areas which need urgent attention in our desire to improve the world rankings of Malaysia as well as qualify for the World Cup," said Malaysian coach Paul Revington.
  That specific area is penalty corner conversions, which used to be Malaysia's strongest point in the past.
  However, the present flickers Faizal Saari and Razie Rahim have been off form lately. out of the 11 penalty corners won against Pakistan, Faizal scored one while Razie scored the other while nine went to waste and Pakistan walked away looking good with a draw.
   "I will have to look at the recording to see what happened to the other nine penalty corners, and work to improve this area for the next assignments," said Revington.
  India, languishing at the bottom of the six-team pool, will not be easy to beat but it might not come to that, if Australia play to script.
  The fans in Perak have filled the stadium during all four of Malaysia's matches, and today is expected to be no different.



               P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts

AUSTRALIA      4  2  2  0  14 7  8
MALAYSIA       4  2  2  0  8  6  8
N ZEALAND      4  2  0  2  9  6  6
KOREA          4  1  1  2  7  10 4
PAKISTAN       4  1  1  2  7  14 4
INDIA          4  1  0  3  7  9  3

  March 16:  Korea  v  Pakistan (4pm), Australia  v  New Zealand (6pm), Malaysia  v India (8pm).
  Note: All matches at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

KL Hockey Club hire six foreign guns..

 TOP OF THE WORLD: Ernst and Young players chairing their team manager George Koshy after winning the TNB-Malaysia Hockey League title at the TLDM Hockey Stadium in Lumut in 2006.

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) yesterday confirmed that they have signed five Pakistan and One Australian player to boost their Malaysia Hockey League chances.
  The double champions, who started as Ernst and Young with foreign signings but then went local in 2005, were forced to look beyond our shores after six of their players left for Terengganu.
  "Terengganu's offer of at least RM7,000 per month (12-month
contract) was simply too good to resist and I lost six players to
them. And that's why I had to secure foreign help to defend our
titles," said KLHC team manager George Koshy who is also the national manager for the ongoing Azlan Shah Cup.
  The five Pakistan players are penalty corner flicker and skipper Mohammed Imran, Wassem Ahmad, Fareed Ahmad, Akhtar Ali and Umar Bhutta. The Australian is Tim Deavon.
  The MHL starts on March 22, and the early indications are that Tenaga Nasional and Terengganu are the early favourites.
  "I believe Tenaga Nasional are the best side this season, as not
only have they retained all their players, but also included good
midfielders in Marhan Jalil and Ramadhan Rosli.
  "TNB are also an all-round side with a good goalkeeper in S. Kumar and I so, KLHC might just be fighting for the second spot this year," said George.
   The other teams in the Premier Division of the MHL are Maybank, Sapura, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) and Nur Insafi.
  And the seven teams in Division One are Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI), Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS), Uniten-KPT, UiTM, Sunday 2030, Ipoh City Council (MBI) and TNB-Thunderbolt.