Friday, June 20, 2014

Open Letter to the MHC...

Maninderjit Singh (Mike)
Former Hockey International (1990-2002)

As we all are aware the Malaysian Men’s Hockey Team played at the recent Hockey World Cup 2014 at the Hague and created a record of sort. The National Team lost all their matches including the classification tie and completed the event at the bottom of the heap which was the worst ever position in our world cup history since 1973.
The national team now need to play in the coming Commonwealth Games in July and also the Asian Games in September 2014. It is less than a month to the Commonwealth Games and 95 days to the Asian Games. It is also a year towards the FIH World League event which acts as qualifier for Rio 2016.
The team has set the target of winning the Gold Medal at the Asian Games in order to qualify for 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
Based on my personal view, the following were the prevailing issues faced by the team for their preparation towards the 2014 Hockey World Cup:
  • The Head Coach announced his resignation twice before a major event
  • The blending of the senior and junior players were not properly executed. The junior team finished fourth (4th) at  the 2013 Junior World Cup while most senior players played at at FIH WL Semis to qualify.
  • Salary issues raised by Coaches prior to World Cup did not augur well.
  • A foreign Malaysian born player inclusion without time-tested.
  • Low Quality of Matches for preparation.
  • Managing Players’ Discipline on and off the field was not at their best during training camps and tournaments. Lack of conviction to uphold disciplinary matters in the team.
  • Selection of National Team was not done based on fitness level, international experience (caps), versatility (could play more than one position), special skills (PC flicker, defense including first runner, stopper, pusher and deflector) and finally the players’ current performance at international arena.
  • The number of Coaches involved for the Team do not deserve justification.
The National hockey team is now at a crossroad, where changes are necessary in order to revive it from the results the team has suffered at the recent World Cup. Any improvement to the dire status quo can only be facilitated if we have a team of officials who not only love the game of hockey dearly, but who are also prepared to sacrifice their time towards the cause.
This must be done in tandem with properly planned strategy with the intention of revitalizing the National hockey team and installing the structure that can create world class players and officials.
Therefore, all relevant stakeholders need to look at the following points in order for the National hockey team to firstly survive and then for Malaysia to become a World Class hockey nation:

  • Foreign League Attachment
A minimum of seven (7) players to be attached in Europe and Australia at first class league and the players selected must be below age of 23. These seven players will be the future core of the National team and the proposition will be 1 Goalkeeper, 2 Defenders, 2 Midfielders and 2 Forwards and from this at least 2 players must be Penalty Corner Flickers. Modern hockey is all about Penalty Corners conversion and defending it.

  • High Performance Unit
Employing a qualified and experienced High Performance Director with supporting staff to re-evaluate the followings:
-       National Teams’ Program
-       Fitness
-       Training Methodology
-       Technical and Tactical
-       Supervision & Monitoring
-       Adoption of Innovation
-       Technology Implication
-       Sport Science application

  • Structure of National Teams and National Players Salary Structure
MHC needs to have four (4) National Teams in which are 2 National Senior Team (A & B) with two back up squad of Project 2016 and Project 2020 to address the next Junior World Cups.
A good National Senior Team must have internal and external pressure of players competing among themselves to make the grades. When the team has quality of 40 players, the Coaches can make proper decision and this will create “hunger” for the players to perform in training and matches.
As for remuneration, every end of the month, both these teams will play a series of best of three and after the series the Coaches will rename the players for Team A & B. In doing so, each player is able to ensure that he: 
  1. Earns as many caps by being in first team
  2. Sustains an achievable level of fitness based on scorecard
  3. Gets rewards for winning and is penalized for not performing
The National Team A will play in all the major tournaments where else the Team B will address the lower ranked events such as Sea Games and other invitational tournaments.
  • Quality of Matches for Test and Friendly Matches
From now on any matches for National team must be at least ranked 8th or better. About 30-40 matches of such quality must be arranged. It goes for Senior and all the Project Squads.
And as for annual Sultan Azlan Cup and Sultan Johor Cup, the teams that are invited must be of great credential and I suggest all teams invited must be ranked 10th and better but the participating teams must send at least 80% of first team players and not development squads.

  • Competitiveness of Malaysian Hockey League and Junior Hockey League
Both these events need to “rejuvenate” with -
  • New Purpose
  • New Ideas
  • New Structure
  • New Mindset
  • New Image and Branding
  • Updated Rules and Regulations

When organizing the calendar, the importance of setting of the dates for such events will allow high class foreign players to ply their trade in MHL and JHL. The best period for MHL is always from November to January and JHL from February to April. And 4 years of calendars (2014 till 2018) must be established to comprehend the quality of the tournaments.
This high level competition will provide the National Coaches the chance to gauge and undertake talent scouting for National teams. Therefore, all National Coaches must not be allowed to coach club teams and they must be doing selection and parting knowledge to club hockey coaches and ratifying national players’ mistakes from time to time. This is to avoid any conflict of interest at both levels and its effect on National Team program and quality of selection made by Coaches.

  • Benefit and Burden of Rule Not Equitable
The system in place only seems to reward the players. This is being done in the hope that players perform. More often than not, the system of just paying and rewarding seems not to levy a great burden to perform. A system of penalty must be imposed to ensure that “benefit and burden” rule has an equitable role in the teams’ performance. A code of conduct must be established to curb the disciplinary and absenteeism issues.

  • National Coaches
-       Must have minimum qualification of FIH Level 1
-       More than 10 years of Coaching experience
-       Must handled one of the National Team (minimum period of 4 years)
-       Quality Success Profile with a list of achievement with the various national teams and at least has coached a Olympic or World Cup team and attain results.
-       List of know-how and experience on Technologies related to sport of hockey.
-       Latest training methodology taking into account of changing phases of modern hockey.
-       Manner of experience and interaction with supporting team such as sports science, fitness, physiology, strength, dietician and psychologist.
My intention is to ensure that the standard of hockey is returned to its former glory, so that some day it may even surpass it. It is a matter of national pride that Malaysia re-attains her position as one of the top teams in the world.
This appeal is done for the love of the sport and country and in the hope that the nation’s flag is always hoisted high to fly proudly at international arenas.
And I will end with this phrase – “The price of excellence is discipline and the cost of mediocrity is disappointment”.

Thank you

Hockey to rise from the ashes?

HOCKEY has been among the elite sports in Malaysia and is recognised as world class.
However, after the dismal performance in the recent 13th World Cup in The Hague, Holland, where they finished last, the sport will come under the microscope.
There was a lot buzz after Malaysia finished fourth in the Junior World Cup in New Delhi under coach K. Dharmaraj.
However, the commendable performance of the Junior World Cup team, including having finished fourth in 1979, 1982, 1985 and 2013, has not continued at senior level.
The senior team went to The Haque with false hopes and expectations were running high.
It was forgotten Malaysia were back in the World Cup after missing the last two tournaments.
All was not well in the run-up to the World Cup when national coach Paul Revington resigned due to stress-related illness — the second time he tendered his resignation. He had come back the first time to help Malaysia qualify for the World Cup finals.
When Dharmaraj was appointed as his replacement, together with K. Gobinathan and Nor Azlan Bakar, there was a whole lot of controversy.
The selection of players was also hotly debated while in the backroom, the intrigue and heavy politicking the sport is known for continued.
In short, things were simply not right, but everyone chose to ignore them.
Then, seeing Revington as a consultant raised further questions. What was he doing there when he had already made it clear that he could not handle the team?
So, was Dharmaraj there to be made the scapegoat for the team’s failure? Why did he accept Revington’s presence? Was it because he was not confident of handling the job and needed guidance?
With due respect to Dharmaraj, he got carried away with the junior team’s performance. The World Cup stint was definitely too soon for him.
The World Cup is the mecca for hockey gurus with the best brains behind the teams. Was Dharmaraj on a par with those coaches in the Hague? Was he intimidated?
Now, whether Malaysian hockey can bounce back in the next four years is left to be seen.
After having finished 11th in 1973, Malaysia clinched their best-ever placing in the World Cup — fourth — in 1975. The World Cup was then held biennially.
But home advantage — Malaysia hosted the 1975 World Cup – had a lot to do with it.
With the present set of players, all indications are that we have to work overtime to raise our standard to qualify for the next World Cup.
Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah can bring in the money to manage the association and for its programmes, but if things are not handled professionally, it is all going to be wasted.
With Tengku Abdullah having to divide his attention between the MHC and the FA of Malaysia, as its newly elected president, “little napoleons” will try to wield their power, which is only going to be detrimental to hockey.
Without doubt MHC and its affiliates need new blood who have the game at heart.
For far too long, hockey has been entangled in internal bickering and interference from outside parties.
Several ex-internationals have commented on Malaysia’s performance.
They have valid points, but surely it would do better if they were actively involved instead of just doling out criticism? In short, put your money where your mouth is.
It makes no sense to keep on talking about our fourth placing in 1975 because many things have changed since then.

TONY MARIADASS is a sports
journalist with more than three
decades of experience and is
passionate about local sports. He
can be reached at Twitter handle:

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Total humiliation for Malaysia..

MALAYSIA created history of sorts when they lost 6-2 to South Africa to finish last for the first time, without a single win or draw, in the World Cup.
   Firhan Ashaari injected early hopes when he finally scored his first World Cup goal after dribbling the defence and placing the ball between the legs of South African goalkeeper Rassie Pieterse for the lead in the 26th minute.
    However South Africa, 12th in the World, equalised in the 43rd minute off a penalty stroke executed by Justin Reid-Ross.
   And in the 48th minute South Africa won their first penalty corner of the match and Reid-Ross perfected it with a high flick.
    Reid-Ross snatched his hat-trick in the 50th minute, off their second penalty corner.
   Lloyd Jones (50th), Austin Smith (64th), Jean Pierre (69th) nailed the Malaysian coffin shut.
   Shahrun Nabil scored the consolation in the 70th minute.

Malaysia vs South Africa - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague 11...

Too close to call..

SA men's hockey team head coach Fabian Gregory will be looking for more cohesion in the World Cup playoff for 11th and 12th places against Malaysia. Photo: STANISLAS BROCHIER

at The Hague

The Tale of Two Teams might be the book title when describing South Africa and counterparts Malaysia’s fortunes at men’s Hockey World Cup 2014 here in Holland.
   They face-off in the 11th/12th place playoff match at 1.30pm (7.30pm Mas time) in the Kyocera Stadium Thursday and it is a difficult one to call.
   Both finished bottom of their Groups, both are winless, and both have suffered similar ailments. Unforced errors in defence and attack, leaking soft goals and blowing chances in the strike zone have been the themes.
   Linked to this – and possibly the central theme – far too much ball has been given away - or turned over by their sharper opponents.
  Head coach Fabian Gregory’s SA side were desperately unlucky not to beat world number seven South Korea in their 0-0 draw in Group B and victory there would have guaranteed at least a 9th/10th playoff match – not bad for a side that only got together as a group of 18 two weeks before the opening match.
   Yet there have been moments of sublime hockey from the African champs, none more so than University of Johannesburg midfielder Clint Panther’s wonderful goal against semi-finalists Argentina in Tuesday’s last Group B match for the men in green and gold.
   Malaysia can also point to a 3-2 defeat by India and a 2-0 loss to world number four England as two Group A matches that saw relatively close scores.
  There are other similarities. Both sides have beaten and lost to each other in the recent past - and SA and Malaysia are 12th and 13th in the world rankings respectively.
    Apart from wanting to avoid bottom place at the four-yearly showpiece, there are valuable world ranking points at stake.
    Cleaning up their mistakes and sharpening the rapier in the strike zone will serve both sides well in what is a vital match for each.
   Gregory, who is director of hockey at Glenwood High School in Durban in his day job, and his players have bravely faced an uphill battle against professional teams with full-time, paid players - and countries that boast national programmes and training centres.
   But as he has said at post-match Press conferences, South Africa is a proud nation of eternal optimists. The Malaysians are also fiercely loyal to their homeland – and it that common characteristic - pride - found in both sides that might make the difference in what is shaping up to be an intriguing battle of wills that not even the most seasoned observers here dare put money on.

Belgium vs England - Women's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague 11th/1...

Monday, June 9, 2014

Consistent display from malaysia...

MALAYSIA were very consistent, as they lost their fifth straight match in the World Cup by going down 5-2 to Spain at the Hague, Netherlands yesterday.
    Now, they will play in the 11th-12th classification match, as Spain play in the seventh-eight, while India in the ninth-10th bracket.
   Malaysia did not look like they were playing to win, as the defenders kept giving away penalty corners by making silly mistakes in the semi-circle.
   A total of six penalty corners were handed to the Spanish in the first half, and in the 13th minute, Gabrial Dabanch finally perfected for the lead.
   Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin was then handed a sitter, which he cooly slotted in the equaliser in the 24th minute, but there was no drive to take the lead after the goal.
   Instead, Spain took a 2-1 lead into the breather when Marc Salles’ powerful drive beat goalkeeper S. Kumar in the 33rd minute.
   And just after the re-start, Spain won their seventh penalty corner and Santi Freixa nailed the third goal with a high drive in the 37th minute.
   Dabanch then snatched his brace in the 46th minute to hand Spain a sure victory, as Fitri Sari scored off a penalty stroke in the 51st, but Sergi Enrique made it 5-2 in the 68th minute.

Spain vs Malaysia - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Pool A [0...

Australia vs India - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Pool A [...

New Zealand vs Australia - Women's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague ...

Speedy star Faizal Saari...(before Spain match)

 BY FIH (interview just before the Spain match)

Faizal Saari is approaching 150 caps for Malaysia. During that time he has earned a reputation as a supremely skilful attacker who regularly gets his name on the score-sheet. The 23-year-old has a potent penalty corner drag-flick, although he has yet to get his name on the score-sheet at this World Cup. 
This is Faizal's first World Cup: Malaysia last competed in the World Cup in 2002 when it was held on home soil in Kuala Lumpar. On that occasion they finished eighth. This time around, the Speedy Tigers qualified by finishing in fifth place at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Joho Bahru. The team is likely to be competing for 11th/12th place following three four losses so far in the competition: 4-0 against Australia; 6-2 against Belgium; 2-0 England; and a closely-fought 3-2 against India.
We caught up with Faizal before the team played their fifth pool match against Spain, a match that Malaysia need to win to avoid finishing bottom of the group. The Malaysian sports star was in a talkative, enthusiastic mood, despite the lack of points on the board.
Question: What are your impressions so far of this Hockey World Cup?
FS: It is brilliant, the environment all around the stadium and the hockey park is great and the daily telecast, covering all the action, has been awesome.
Question: What have been your best moments of the World Cup?
FS: Celebrating the goals scored by my team-mates have provided the best moments so far. Of course I want to get on the score-sheet but I am so happy for Razie (Abd Rahim) and Marhan Jalil. 
Question: What do you think you and your team are learning as a result of this Hockey World Cup experience?
FS: Malaysia has not participated in a World Cup for such a long time that each match is providing a heap of learning experiences. I think the thing that is most apparent is that there is no such thing as an easy game in this tournament. Even the top-ranked teams are finding that the lower-ranked teams are no pushover. Each team is well-prepared and ready to fight for every point.
Question: Which teams have impressed you and why?
FS: Australia and the Netherlands are by far the most impressive teams here. I think the thing that sets them apart is their ability to maintain a high tempo for the full 70 minutes. Even when the seconds are counting down to the end of the match, and they have a good lead, they still chase every ball and are always looking for ways to create scoring opportunities.
Question: How is hockey viewed in Malaysia?
FS: Hockey is a popular sport in the country and we are expected to produce results every time we play. This can be stressful, but we are privileged to represent our country and it is a responsibility I am glad to shoulder.
Question: What do Malaysia need to do to make the next step up in international hockey?
FS: We need to continue to qualify and participate in major tournaments such as this, if not we will be left behind.

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Korea vs Argentina - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Pool B [...

India vs Malaysia - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Pool A [0...

Last Chance Saloon...

 Pic: Malaysia lost 3-2 to India..

AFTER being left in the cold for 12 years, Malaysia have so  far dished out a pathetic performance in the ongoing World  Cup, and their Last Chance Saloon is against Spain Monday night.
   Back in 2002 when Kuala Lumpur hosted the World Cup,  Malaysia finished eighth among 16 teams, and the best they  can achieve at the Hague, Netherlands is a ninth spot.
   And that too, provided they beat Spain today, and then win  their ninth-10th classification match.
   Spain have two points, while Malaysia none after four  matches, and a draw would also be disastrous as coach K.  Dharmaraj’s men will then play in the 11-12th classi fication.
   Malaysia ranked 13th, played to their number when they  lost 4-0 to Australia, 6-2 to Belgium, 2-0 to England and 3-2  to India.
   And out of the four goals scored in four matches, Razie  Rahim delivered three off penalty corners while Marhan Jalil  scored off a field attempt.
    The defenders let in a massive 15 goals, and it could have  been 30 if not for the heroics of goalkeeper S. Kumar who was  easily the best Malaysian in every match.
    “We tried our best but we lost,” said Razie after going down  to India.
   “We played so well and we really wanted to win (against  India). We hope to finally get the three points in our next  game (against Spain),” said Razie.
   Dharmaraj said expectations were high on the team as they finished second in the Azlan Shah Cup and won bronze in the Champions Challenge 1.
   “However, both the tournaments can’t be taken as a yardstick as the standard of play in the World Cup is at a much higher level.
   “And with all the players (except for second goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin) playing in their first major tournament, some of them found the atmosphere too difficult to digest.
   “Here, one can’t make any mistakes as goals are the punishment even for a miss-trap in the middle of the field as counters are super fast.
   “However, having said that, I admit that many promising players have failed to perform at the Hague and that’s why we are still winless,” said Dharmaraj.
    The truth is that with Hafifi Hafiz out of the equation due to injury he picked up against England, and Roslan yet to play a single match, only one player has been playing to his form while 15 others have only showed flashes in the pan.
   Kumar, even though its his first World Cup, has been outstanding in every match -- and even the International Hockey Federation (FIH) match reports have consistently harped on his heroics to keep the score low.
    But with porous defending, and jittery strikers, Kumar’s efforts have gone to waste in four matches.
   Note: The Malaysian match is at 8.30pm Monday.

New Zealand vs Germany - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Pool...

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Malaysia go down 3-2 to India

MALAYSIA’S World Cup campaign hit another low when  they went down tamely 3-2 to India at the Hague, Nether lands yesterday.
   After four matches, Malaysia have nothing to show, and  their last Group A match is against Spain on Monday, which  they need to win to avoid playing in the 11-12th classification  playoff.
   Spain also had a bad day when they were thrashed 5-2 by  Belgium yesterday, leaving them with only one point after  four matches.
   Seven penalty corners were won, but only one went in as  Razie Rahim scored his third goal of the World Cup. The other  two goals were against Belgium.
   India took the lead in the 15th minute when Jasjit Singh  salvaged a botched penalty corner, but Razie equalsied in the  46th minute to inject so hope.
   However, a brace from Akashdeep Singh in the 49th and  51st minutes made it a tall order for coach K. Dharmaraj’s  men.
   Marhan Jalil narrowed the losing margin with a 61st  minute goal, but Malaysia failed to make a comeback and will  now have another mammoth task when they play Spain.
    India had nine shots on target, while Malaysia had five and  scored two.
   The match was lost in the first half itself, as Malaysia  played like lost kittens, and allowed too much of space for  India to dominate.

India vs Malaysia - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 The Hague Pool ...

Spain vs Belgium - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 The Hague Pool A...

WOMEN -- South Korea 4 belgium 2..


Friday, June 6, 2014

India ready for Malaysia..

The Hague, Netherlands, 06 June 2014: After playing a 1-1 draw against Spain yesterday, Indian Men Hockey team is all geared up to take on Malaysia and looking forward a win against the opponents. Team India showed its determination against Spain and especially goalkeeper P R Sreejesh was commendable. Malaysia has lost all the 3 matches while India lost its first two closely contested matches and drew their third match against Spain giving them 1 point on the points table.
     Commenting for the next match against Malaysia, Chief Coach, Mr Terry Walsh said, “The performance of our team has improved significantly in their weak areas. The team is high on self confidence and is pepped up for the future challenges. We know that Malaysia is not an easy team but we are ready with our strategies to give tough challenge to our opponents”.
    Speaking on the match against Malaysia, Captain Sardar Singh said “We are continuously learning and improving with every game. We are well aware about our weakness and strengths. The team is continuously working hard to put up their best performance in every game. Our confidence is very high and we are certain to beat Malaysia to improve points tally”.

Malaysia vs England - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 The Hague Poo...

Malaysia take a nose dive..


   “It’s motivation time at the camp right now because as everybody can see, some of the players can play much better than what they have been dishing out so far.
   “We still have two more matches to look forward to and I believe there will be better all-round performance as we are still in the hunt to finish as high as number eight in the World Cup,” said Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj.
   As for Hafifi Hafiz, who received a kung-fu kick in the head from the England goalkeeper, he will be out for at least eight weeks after he went into a concussion. 

MALAYSIA are in dire straits, after letting in 12 goals in  three matches, and the indications are that the will nosedive  to the bottom of the World Cup pool at the Hague, Nether lands.
   After nightmarish 4-0 and 6-2 whippings by Australia and  Belgium respectively, coach K. Dharmaraj’s men played  another listless match and lost 2-0 to England.
   Razie Rahim is the only player to have scored in the World  Cup, while promising forwards Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin,  Faizal Saari, Ismail Abu and Fitri Saari keep on shooting  blanks.
   However, they still have two more matches against India  today, and Spain on Monday to avoid the wooden spoonists  title in the World Cup.
   India, who drew 1-1 with Spain, only have one point after  three matches while the Spanish have two points, after  snatching a draw against England.
   And if Malaysia manage to pull off upsets against India and  Spain, they might just finish fourth in the group and play in  the seventh-eight classification match.
   The World Cup  format will see the top two teams in each  group play in the semi-finals, while third team in Group A will  play the third team in Group B for the fifth-sixth positions.
    The silver lining for Malaysia is that their matches against  Belgium and Australia are over, while India still has Aus tralia, while Spain have Belgium to contend with.
    The writing is on the wall, as only goalkeeper S. Kumar has  been playing to his form in all three matches, second  goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin has yet to be fielded, while all  16 other players have been playing only 50 percent of their  capabilities.
    The pathetic defensive record stands out like a sore thumb  at the Hague, as the weakest team in Group B South Africa  has only let in nine goals after two matches.
    And if Malaysia collapse against India and Spain, they are  most likely to play South Africa for the 11-12th spot in the  crossover.
    MALAYSIA’S World Cup Fixtures (Malaysian time) -- Today:  v India (8.30pm); Monday: v Spain  (8.30pm).


                      P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
AUSTRALIA   3   3   0  0  10 1   9
ENGLAND      3   2   1  0  5  2    7
BELGIUM       3   2   0  1  10  7   6
SPAIN            3   0   2  1  2  5    2
INDIA             3   0   1  2  4  6    1
MALAYSIA      3   0   0  3  2  12   0

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Another bad day at the office for Malaysia..


MALAYSIA had the chance to salvage their World Cup campaign, but played scrappy hockey to hand England full points as they went down 2-0 at the Hague, Netherlands yesterday.
   It was their third straight defeat, after being hammered 4-0 by Australia, and 6-2 by Belgium.
   Their only remaining encounters in Group A are against India and Spain.
    England also played in patches, but were lucky to take the lead in the fifth minute, when the entire defense stood rooted and Mark Gleghorne had all the time to beat goalkeeper S. Kumar with a reverse stick flick.
   For the record, Kumar was the best Malaysian player yet again, as he brought off eight point-blank shots in 70 minutes and received accolades online via the England Hockey and International Hockey Federation tweets.
    The match statistics provided by the FIH was damning as Malaysia only had one shot on target, while England had eight and scored two.
   All three Malaysian penalty corners also went to waste, while England scored one off their three. Another damning stat was that England was 88 per cent efficient, while Malaysia were a low 33 per cent.
   And while Malaysia again played erratic hockey in the last 10 minutes of the match, when they should be looking for the equaliser, Ashley Jackson’s 67th minute goal sealed their points for good.
    England, World No 4, now have seven points from three matches as they held Spain 1-1 and beat India 2-1 earlier.
   Malaysia are left with the task of beating India and then Spain, if they don’t want to end at the bottom of the pool.
   Coach K. Dharmaraj’s men have let in 12 goals, and only scored two -- indicating that the defenders have been sleeping on the job.
   “It was another tough game, and letting in so many goals after three matches is demoralising, but I always look at the bright side.
   “I believe we will not disappoint in the remaining matches,” said Kumar, whose heroics in all three games saved at least another 15 goals from being scored against Malaysia.
    MALAYSIA’S World Cup Fixtures (Malaysian time) -- June 7: v India (8.30pm); June 9: v Spain  (8.30pm).

Australia vs Malaysia - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Pool ...

Malaysia vs Belgium - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Pool A ...

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Lets do the Argentine...

MALAYSIA are ready for their first win in the World Cup, when they face England at the Hague, Netherlands today.
   Coach K. Dharmaraj's men have paid their dues, when they lost 4-0 to World No 1 Australia and then 6-2 to World No 5 Belgium.
  England, even though ranked No 4 in the World, have not been impressive at the Hague as they drew 1-1 with no 9 Spain and could only beat world no 10 India 2-1.
   "We are no longer a threat in Group A, and that is the consensus here. Its fine with me and the boys, because we knew from the start that Australia and Belgium would be tough to beat, and our focus is on England, Spain and India.
  "We need to nail our first win tomorrow (today) to set the momentum for the remaining matches," said Dharmaraj.
   England coach Bobby Crutchley complimented India for giving his team a good contest.
   "It was a tough game and I think India played well," said Crutchley, adding that his team was "sloppy in parts of the first half."
   And that slopiness is what Malaysia need to capatalise on today for a win.
  "We have done our homework against England and I have a few surprises in store for them," said Dharmaraj.
   Belgium were also shocked when Razie Rahim did not take direct flicks during penalty corners, but took a step to the left and received a pass from Faizal Saari which confused the runners -- and Razie scored two goals then,
   But Tom Boon was on fire for Belgium, and his four goals killed Malaysia's hopes.
  "Back in defense, the players made some mistakes, but after two matches I am confident they are now better prepared to face their third opponents," said Dharmaraj.
    Argentina showed that world rankings mean nothing, and determination can overcome the best when they beat world no 2 Germany 1-0 in Group B on Tuesday.
   The South American's are ranked 11th in the World, and rewrote the textbook on how to play hockey when they beat the mighty Germans.
   German skipper Maximillan Muller also has sound advise for Malaysia when he lamented the Argentina defeat: "The players only gave 87 per cent against Australia, we can't win if we do not give 100 per cent in every match."
   The Argentina skipper Lucas Ray's advise is also applicable for Malaysia: "We learnt from our first match against the Netherlands (Dutch won 3-1) on what to do in our next match (against Germany).
   Malaysia should take a leaf from the Argentine book, as England must be beaten at all cost today.
  MALAYSIA’S World Cup Fixtures (Malaysian time) -- June   5: v England (7pm); June 7: v India (8.30pm); June 9: v Spain  (8.30pm).

Real test starts with England...

MALAYSIA were never expected to beat Australia and Belgium, so their World Cup campaign “actually” begins with the England match tomorrow.

And they must also prove themselves against India and then Spain.
World No 1 Australia and World No 5 Belgium are in a different league, as both are front-runners for a spot in the semi-finals from Group A.
However, Malaysia must start playing better hockey, as Australia had scored four goals with ease, while their defenders made Belgian Tom Boon look good when he scored four in the 6-2 drubbing.
Two-time World Cup and two-time Olympian Maninderjit Singh feels there is still hope, provided teamwork and hard-work are back in the Malaysian game.
Maninderjit, a defender, played in the 1996 Atlanta and 2000 Sydney Olympics, while his World Cup appearances were in 1998 Utretcht and 2002 Kuala Lumpur.
“I have been there before, so I know how the boys are feeling after two demoralising defeats.
“Malaysia were never expected to beat Australia and Belgium, but they were also not expected to crack so easily as they did show promise in the Champions Challenge 1 (bronze medallists).
“That is why I believe if they start playing with more team-work, and put in more hardwork in defence, England, India and Spain can be beaten,” he said.
From his observation, Maninderjit feels the defenders were too slow to react and this led to goalkeeper S. Kumar becoming a shooting target.
“Luckily Kumar was at his element in both the matches, if not, the score could have reached double digits in both matches.
“This is because I do not see a commander in the back-line, who can call the shots and also, many players were in the semi-circle when the goals were scored, but all of them were mere spectators while Kumar was left on his own.
“By now, the defenders should know that the World Cup is a different league, and when one makes a mistake, recovery is almost impossible.
“So minimise damage by doing all the tackling outside the 25-yard, and also, stop playing too deep down as the midfield was almost non-existent in the two matches,” said Maninderjit.
England have beaten India 2-1 and drawn 1-1 with Spain — but they were not overly impressive.
Maninderjit’s advice to Malaysia, who only have No 2 goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin from the 2002 World Cup squad, is: “Have faith in your abilities, as you are now a World Cup player.
“The dignity must be maintained, as well as discipline on the pitch ... and the three points will follow suit.”
MALAYSIA’S World Cup fixtures (Malaysian time) — Thursday: v England (7pm); Saturday: v India (8.30pm); June 9: v Spain (8.30pm).

Perak keep their promise

THEY vowed to win the title in honour of the late Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah earlier in the tournament and that was what Perak did yesterday.

They whitewashed Negri Sembilan 6-0 in the Perlis Malaysia Games hockey competition final.
Perak were rampant from the start at the Perlis Sports Complex in Kangar and got on the scoresheet through Muhammad Haziq Samsul (fifth minute), Muhammad Akmal Md Tajuddin (11th minute penalty corner) and Mohd Ashran Awang Abas (34th) to enter the half-time break with a 3-0 lead.
Perak, who have not won the hockey gold since 1992, consolidated their lead with another three goals in the second-half from Mohamad Zulhamizan (46th), Mohd Ashran Hamsani (58th) and a penalty stroke by Syed Mohamad Syafiq seven minutes from time.
Perak coach Mohd Nizam Mohd Hashim said: “It was our intention to win this tournament in honour of the late Sultan Azlan Shah.
"Perak has been waiting for 22 years for this win and we would also like to dedicate it to the Perak people.
"More than half of this squad will still be able to play in two years’ time. Perak have also won the Malaysian Schools Sports Council championships twice in recent years, so we do have a bright future."
Defending champions Terengganu, who lost to Negri in the semi-finals, finished third after they downed Penang 4-2 in the playoff.
Federal Territories emerged victorious in the women's competition with a 3-0 win over Johor in the decider. Malacca, who lost to Johor in the last-four, clinched the bronze after defeating Terengganu 2-1.
Perak players celebrate after winning the hockey gold medal yesterday. Pic by Hasriyasyah Sabudin

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Tom Boon destroys Malaysia..

MALAYSIA started off promisingly, but Belgium punished  the chaotic defense as coach K. Dharmaraj’s men went down  6-2 in the World Cup at the Hague, Netherlands yesterday.
   Razie Rahim was on fire but so too was Belgian Tom Boon  in the first half contest between world No 13 and No 5, but  Boon ended up the classier player with four goals to his  name.
   Razie scored Malaysia’s first World Cup goal off the first  penalty corner in the fifth minute, after a super set-piece pass  from Faizal Saari.
   But a moment of madness in defense handed Belgium a  penalty stroke, and Boon scored the equaliser from the spot  in the 14th minute.
   Malaysia won their second penalty corner in the 19th  minute, and again a powerful drag flick from Razie gave  Malaysia the lead.
   However, Belgium came out in force after that, and Boon  scored off a penalty corner in the 23rd minute, before nailing  his hat-trick with a field goal in the 31st minute to give  Belgium the lead into the breather.
   The other Belgium goals were scored by Tanguy Cosyns  (37th), Boon (45th) and John-John Dohmen (56th).
  RESULTS (Group A): Australia 3 Spain 0; India 1 England 2;  Malaysia 2 Belgium 6.
   MALAYSIA’S World Cup Fixtures (Malaysian time) -- June   5: v England (7pm); June 7: v India (8.30pm); June 9: v Spain  (8.30pm).

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Red Lions v Speedy Tigers..

BELGIUM are not only eight rungs above Malaysia, but also  the team to watch in the ongoing World Cup at the Hague,  Netherlands.
   The Red Lions, as the Belgium men’s team are known,  came back from being down 1-2 to beat India 3-2 in their  Group A opening match on Saturday.
   Malaysia, nicknamed Speedy Tigers, are their next op ponents, and after losing 4-0 to Australia, coach K. Dhar maraj’s men need to be more focussed in defense to thwart a  drubbing.
    For the record, Belgium also played in the 2002 Kuala  Lumpur World Cup where they lost all seven Group A  matches and ended 14th out of 16 teams.
    Malaysia, back then, finished a laudable eighth, but the  tables have been turned 12 years later as Belgium are now  the powerhouse in Europe, after finishing second behind  Germany in the 2013 European Championships.
   Belgium coach Dutchman Marc Lammers has a proud  legacy as he took the Dutch team to gold medals at Cham pions Trophy (2004, 2005, 2007), World Cup (2006) and  Olympic Games (2008) -- and has high hopes from this  Belgian side.
    “If we come in fourth, I will be a little disappointed. We  want to win a medal, but I always say that you will not win a  medal if you don’t focus on the game that is coming up,” said  Lammers.
    And he also said the “The beauty of this team is that they  haven’t won a big tournament so they are hungry.”
    The red Lions hunger was on display against India, as they  scored the winner 17 seconds from time to steal the show.
    And in the four-nation Ergo Masters tournament in Dus seldorf, just 12 days before the World Cup, the Belgians drew  2-2 with Germany and then defeated Holland 2-1 and  England 3-2 to win the title.
     As for Malaysia, coach Dharmaraj knew that it would be  uphill all the way against Australia, but before he left, he said  even though the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are  looking for his side to finish 10th among 12 teams -- his  personal target is to upset some top sides and try to finish two  steps higher.
   “Belgium, England, Spain and India will all be difficult to  play against, but we hope to steal some points along the way  and I believe my players are up to it,” Dharmaraj had said.
    RESULTS Group A: Malaysia 0 Australia 4; England 1 Spain  1; Belgium 3 India 2.
   Group B: Germany 4 South Africa 0.
   MALAYSIA’S World Cup Fixtures (Malaysian time) -- Today:  v Belgium (11.30pm); June  5: v England (7pm); June 7: v  India (8.30pm); June 9: v Spain (8.30pm).

Australia vs Malaysia - Men's Rabobank Hockey World Cup 2014 Hague Pool ...