Saturday, September 27, 2014

Odds stacked against Malaysia..

By Devinder Singh

INCHEON: Thoughts turned towards Pakistan after Malaysia overcame a potential banana skin to beat Japan 4-1 yesterday and qualify for the Asian Games men's hockey semi-finals.
  Malaysia lost 2-0 to Pakistan in the 2010 final in Guangzhou but will have the weight of history against them, having beaten Pakistan just twice in their last eight competitive meetings and just once in 15 Asian Games clashes.
  Pakistan, who beat India 2-1 earlier in the week, topped Group B while Malaysia were runners-up to South Korea in Group A after a dominating display against Japan at the Seonhak Hockey Stadium.
  “I think we played better today than other matches, so we ended up winning this match," said captain Razie Rahim, who scored twice to take his tally for the tournament to seven goals.
  "Pakistan are a better team and we must do better and reduce our mistakes. we've got to start to plan and prepare for Pakistan."
  Malaysia opened scoring with their first attempt at goal through Firhan Ashari in the second minute but Japan equalised off a penalty corner by Toshiro Tachibana 14 minutes later.
  Up stepped Razie to slam in two penalty corners of his own in the 20th and 39th minutes before Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin wrapped it up in the 42nd.
  Coach Arul Selvaraj was pleased that his team finally responded to the way he wanted them to play.
  "We had very good game as a team. I ordered the players to think about their responsibility to win as a team," said Arul, who had the unenviable task of lifting spirits after a horrible Commonwealth Games campaign.
  "The players followed my instructions very well. They did what they have to do. Fortunately, we won."
  "When I took over this team, there were two things I was looking for when selecting players.
  "First was the emotional willingness to be in a team. I selected players who wanted to be one as a team.
  "Second point was individual skills. We wanted 'sixteen players' as a team, not 'fifteen players plus one' team."
  "I stressed on maintaining a winning attitude and on positioning. I want to believe that Malaysia's system and formation was a strength to win the game.
  "Also, we had good ball control today. We did very well on penalty corners, especially Razie who did brilliant work. He showed amazing ability to score twice."

ASIAN GAMES (M): Malaysia v Pakistan semi-finals

Incheon Asian Games 2014

Fulltime: Malaysia 4-1 Japan 

Firhan Ashaari 2'min (FG) - MAS
Razie Rahim 20'min (PC) - MAS
Razie Rahim 39'min (PC) - MAS
Izwan Firdaus 42'min (FG) - MAS 

Toshiro Tachibana 14'min (PC) - JPN

NOTE: Malaysia will play Pakistan in the Semi-finals  on TUESDAY at 6pm Malaysian time.
  India beat China 2-0 and will play Korea in the semi-finals. 

Friday, September 26, 2014


Incheon Asian Games 2014
Women's Group A Match Result

Fulltime: Malaysia 1-6 India 

Nadia Rahman 41'min (PC) - MAS

Rani 4'min (FG) - IND
Jaspreet Kaur 9'min (PC) - IND
Namita Toppo 17'min (FG) - IND
Rani 20'min (FG) - IND
Jaspreet Kaur 39'min (PC) - IND
Vandana Katariya 50'min (FG) - IND

Thursday, September 25, 2014

ASIAN GAMES: Malaysia 1 Korea 2

MALAYSIA must beat Japan on Saturday to qualify for the semi-finals.
 India must beat China in Group B to qualify for semis after losing 2-1 to Pakistan.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Mas women edged 1-0 by China..

NOTE: Super show from Nasihin Nubli's Angels.

Incheon Asian Games 2014
Women's HOCKEY

 Malaysia 0-1 China
Mengrong Wu 41'min (FG) - Ch

Next match: Malaysia vs Thailand
24 Sept 2014 (Wednesday)
2.00pm Malaysian Time

Group A:
Malaysia 0 China 1 (W)
India 3 Thailand 0 (W) 

Group B:
Japan 14
Hong Kong 0 (W)
South Korea 11 Kazakhstan 0 (W)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Chapchai Nirat wins play-off

THAILAND’S Chapchai Nirat holed a four-foot par putt to beat Filipino veteran Antonio Lascuna in the first play-off hole to lift the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters title yesterday.
   Big-hitting Chapchai, who is nicknamed ‘King Kong’ by his friends, held his nerve at the Seri Selangor Golf Club to secure his fourth Asian Tour victory, ending a five-year title drought in the RM1.3 million event.
    The best placed Malaysian’s were Danny Chia (74-68-73- 71) and Shaaban Husin (68-70-81-67) who ended joint 31 on a total of two over 286.
   The 43-year-old Lascuna charged into contention with a masterful 63 to tie Chapchai, who closed with a 68 which included two finishing bogeys, on 10-under-par 274. The Thai then sealed the win when Lascuna’s missed his par putt from five feet in play-off.
    India’s Anirban Lahiri settled for third place, two behind the play-off duo, following a final round 68 while Order of Merit leader David Lipsky of the United States (71) and overnight leader Cameron Smith of Australia (73) were amongst those who shared fourth place on 278.
    “I didn’t think this day would happen,” said a delighted Chapchai, who was drenched with water by Thai players who had gathered around the 18th green.
   “I didn’t think I’d have a chance to win (after five years). Golf is a game where you need to stay patient. I always talked to my caddie that if I could keep my form, I felt I could get one win again,” added the Thai, who earned US$72,670 to jump into sixth place on the Order of Merit.
   Chapchai, who holds the world scoring record of 32-under-par 256 when he won the SAIL Open in India in 2009, made life difficult for himself. With a two-shot cushion with two remaining, he hit errant drives which led to bogeys. But it didn’t matter at the end as he survived the play-off drama.

Asian Games Hockey: Mas 5 bangladesh 1

Incheon Asian Games 2014 MEN'S HOC

Fulltime: Malaysia 5-1 Bangladesh 

Razie Rahim 20'min (PC) - MAS
Marhan Jalil 46'min (FG) - MAS
Izwan Firdaus 52'min (FG) - MAS
Shahrun Nabil 59'min (PC) - MAS
Razie Rahim 60'min (PC) - MAS


Krishno-Kumar 30'min (FG) - BAN

NOTE: After 3days rest Malaysia play South Korea 

Group B: 
Pakistan 2 China 0.
India 8 Sri Lanka 0.
S Korea 12 Singapore 0

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Asian Games men's Hockey results

Smith charges ahead

AUSTRALIAN newcomer Cameron Smith snatched a one- shot lead from Thai duo Chapchai Nirat and Sattaya  Supupramai after a bruising third round at the Worldwide  Holdings Selangor Masters at the Seri Selangor Golf Club  yesterday.
   Smith, the 2013 Australian Amateur Champion, battled to  an even par 71 which included three bogeys over his closing  four holes to put himself in position for a maiden Asian Tour  victory with a three-day aggregate of eight-under 205.
    Big-hitting Chapchai, a three-time winner but not since  2009, shot a 69 while Sattaya moved into contention with a 68  which included six birdies and two dropped shots over his last  three holes at the RM1.3 million event.
   An ailing overnight leader Anirban Lahiri of India strug gled to a 76 which included two closing double bogeys and  ended a tough day three shots behind Smith.
    The best placed Malaysian’s are bunched at tied 38th, on  two over 215 total.
   Danny Chia and Hans Jamil returned 73s yesterday, while  Khor Kheng Hwai had a 72.
   Current Order of Merit leader David Lipsky of the United  States kept himself in the hunt for a second title in three  weeks with a battling 69 which left him two back alongside  Australian Jake Higginbottom andTaiwan’s Hung Chien- yao.
    The 21-year-old Smith led into the final round of the CIMB  Niaga Indonesian Masters in April before settling for tied  second place behind Lahiri. The Aussie is determined to go  one better at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters.
    “I’ve been in this position a couple of times now. Hopefully  I can close the deal. I need to stay patient and stick to my  game plan. With a bit of luck, hopefully I can win,” said  Smith.
    Two back at the start of the day, Smith looked menacing,  holing a birdie on 11 and another 25-foot eagle on 13 to surge  ahead of the pack. He three putted the 15th hole for bogey  and errant shots on 16 and 18 led to further shots.
   “I played pretty good but it was a disappointing finish.  That’s golf. It was pretty tough out there and I didn’t putt that  well ... no one to blame except myself. I’m going to relax and  do some putting in my room,” he said.
    The 30-year-old Sattaya hopes to build on his recent  victory on the Asian Development Tour as he searches for a  career breakthrough.
   “I’ve won on the ADT and I’ve gained confidence from  there. Playing on the Asian Tour is slightly different because  there are so many good players,” he said.

ASIAN GAMES: Malaysia 8 Singapore 2

Malaysia beat Singapore 8-2 in the Asian Games Hockey Group A match on Saturday and will next play Bangladesh, followed by S Korea and Japan.
   Need to beat two more teams to confirm semi-finals spot, and in cross-over, India or Pakistan the likely opponents.


Razie Rahim 2'min (PC) - MAS
Fitri Saari 3'min (FG) - MAS
Rahim Razie 17'min (PS) - MAS
Firhan Ashaari 30'min (FG) - MAS
Razie Rahim 35'min (PS) - MAS
Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin 37'min (FG) - MAS
Izwan Firdaus 48'min (FG) - MAS
Shahrun Nabil 51'min (FG) - MAS 

Enrico Marican 11'min (PC) - SIN
Silas Noor Shah 28'min (FG) - SIN 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Shaaban in the hunt..

MALAYSIA’S Shaaban Hussin slam-dunked an eagle from 120 meters as he stayed within touching reach of second round leader Anirban Lahiri of India at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters at the Seri Selangor Golf Club yesterday.
   The home hero battled to a one-under-par 70 for a two-day total of four-under-par 138 to lie in tied ninth place, six shots behind the pacesetter at the RM1.3 million Asian Tour tournament.
    After snaring successive eagles during his opening round, Shaaban, who is playing on his home course, enjoyed another memorable moment when he holed out his approach shot for a delightful two on the par four first hole, his 10th of the day, with a wedge.
   “I’m definitely happy because I’m still up there on the leaderboard. I started off slowly but luckily I came back with my eagle on the first hole. I didn’t get off to a good start and my confidence went down,” said Shaaban.
   “I tried to stay focused and I started to fight back. The turning point was the eagle on one. It was an excellent shot with my pitching wedge and my ball went straight into the hole ... there was no bounce. I thought my ball had gone over the green but I saw some scratches on the edge of the cup and then I found my ball in the hole.”
    Much to his dismay though, he gave the two shots straight back on the second hole with a double bogey but the slender Malaysian finished strongly with three more birdies over his last five holes to trail his playing partner Lahiri, who leads on 132.
    “It was a simple double bogey. I wasn’t really in any trouble but walked away with a double,” he lamented.
    Five years ago, he was also in contention at the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters before finishing tied 11th. He is fired up to improve on that showing this weekend.
   “I think I can do better. I want to finish lower than what I did previously. I think I’m in contention and anything can happen. Hopefully I can minimise my mistakes and avoid the bogeys and double bogeys,” he said.
    Ben Leong, the 2008 Selangor Masters champion, continued his comeback from injury with a second round 69 to safely make the cut with his 141 total while the other Malaysians who made the halfway cut were Hans Jamil (142), Danny Chia (142), Sukree Othman (143), Khor Kheng Hwai (143), Nicholas Fung (144) and Md Azman Basharudin (144).
    Iylia Jamil is even par for the tournament with several holes to complete while Kenneth De Silva is one-over with three holes to complete on Saturday morning following a weather delay in the afternoon.

Lahiri shows his class

INDIAN star Anirban Lahiri enjoyed a birdie binge en route to a seven-under-par 64 for a two-shot lead after the first round of the Worldwide Holdings Selangor Masters at the Seri Selangor Golf Club yesterday.
The 27-year-old Lahiri, currently second on the Asian Tour’s Order of Merit, sank 10 birdies against three bogeys to put himself in prime position for a second win of the season.
Countryman S.S.P. Chowrasia carded a 66 to share second place with Taiwan’s Chan Yih-Shin while another Taiwan golfer, Hung Chien-Yao carded a 67 for fourth place in the RM1.3 million Asian Tour event.
Malaysia’s Shaaban Hussin emerged as the best home player, firing a 68 to share fifth position with, amongst others, Australian rookie Cameron Smith, Thailand’s Sattaya Supupramai and Chapchai Nirat and American Berry Henson.
Shaaban, who played alongside Lahiri and David Lipsky of the United States, made the most of his home course knowledge, firing successive eagles on the fifth and sixth holes.
“Making those two eagles was unbelievable but on the next hole, I pulled my tee shot and then made double!
“I was trying to go for a third straight eagle,” said Shaaban, who was in contention at the event in 2009 before settling for joint 11th place.
An in-form Lahiri, who finished tied fourth in Taiwan last weekend and was runner-up here last season, was delighted with his blistering start.
“I’m really happy with how I played. I got off to a good start and made a couple of good putts.
“It could have been even better. I missed some short putts but I hit it really good,” said Lahiri, who is a four-time Tour winner.

Arul: Four quarters fine with us..

By Devinder Singh

INTERIM national hockey coach Arul Selvaraj believes the new four-quarter format to be used for the Asian Games will play to Malaysia’s strengths.
The national team are looking to win the men’s hockey gold for the first time which also brings with it qualification for the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Olympics.
The new game duration — four quarters of 15 minutes each — compared to the usual two halves of 35 minutes will place a greater premium on speed.
Arul said that could work to Malaysia’s advantage as they look to press the opposition for shorter periods.
“It’s a format that is gaining acceptance in Europe though it is still new to Asia,” he said upon arriving in Incheon yesterday.
“We have tried it out a few times and the game I think will see more attacking play and goals.
“You will certainly see more opportunities and with 15 minutes in each quarter, you can go all out and send your subs in more often, unlike the 35-minute halves where the pace can be slower.”
With each team limited to a roster of 16 players, Arul decided to pick just one goalkeeper in S. Kumar.
“I don’t think of ‘ifs’ in making the choice or you will never be able to make a decision,” he said of the risk in bringing a solitary goalkeeper.
“The players are aware of their roles and they know they have to protect the goalkeeper. Hockey goalkeepers are the most protected anyway with all their padding.
“In this format, I need legs to win matches and the players know what they are capable of doing.”
Malaysia open against Singapore tomorrow before facing Bangladesh, South Korea and Japan in Pool A.
The national team won silver four years ago in Guangzhou, after a 2-0 defeat by Pakistan in the final, in their best finish at the Asian Games yet.

Guan Tianlang for CIMB Classic

THE CIMB Classic will also welcome its first Chinese national after 15-year-old Guan Tianlang (pic) accepted a sponsor’s invite to compete at the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) on Oct 30 to Nov 2.
    Malaysia will have two representatives - Danny Chia who won the SapuraKencana National Qualifier, and the other spot going to the highest ranked local golfer in the world rankings as at Oct 20.
   Guan Tianlang, China’s golf prodigy, is considered one of the best amateurs in the world and will play at the CIMB Classic under a sponsor’s invite.
  Guan made global headlines when he became the youngest ever player to play and make the cut at last year’s Masters Tournament, earning rave reviews along the way.
     The other exciting confirmations are from Major champions, the reigning FedExCup champion, Ryder Cup team members, CIMB Classic past champions and fast rising Asian stars.
   Leading the early commitments is World No 3 Sergio Garcia of Spain, and he is joined by 2014 FedExCup champion Billy Horschel (US), as well as Asia's leading golfers Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa from Japan.
  Defending champion Ryan Moore (US) will return to KLGCC to defend his CIMB Classic title, and also returning to the country is Malaysian Open Champion Lee Westwood (Eng).
   Americans Jimmy Walker and Patrick Reed, who will join Garcia and Westwood at the 2014 Ryder Cup in Gleneagles, Scotland -- will also be in the exciting field.
   The Classic, now into its fifth year, will feature a 78-player elite field, comprising 60 from the PGA Tour, 10 from the Asian Tour and eight sponsor’s exemptions.
   “In just 5 years, the CIMB Classic has taken its place among the largest tournaments in the world and the stage is once again set for some world-class golf,” said Effendy Shahul Hamid, Group Chief Marketing & Communications Officer of CIMB Group.
    “If these early commitments are anything to go by, come October, Malaysia will once again showcase a stellar collection of the best players from across the globe."
   Garcia had three runner-up finishes on the 2013-14 PGA Tour season including the Open Championship and the World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational. Garcia finished tied 11th at the 2013 CIMB Classic and finished the season ranked No 13 on the FedExCup standings.
   Also returning to the Classic is Horschel, the newly minted FedExCup champion. Despite missing the cut at The Barclays, Horschel rallied and delivered one of the best closing stretches in PGA TOUR history, finishing tied-second at the Deutsche Bank Championship and winning both the BMW Championship and TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola, becoming the youngest FedExCup champion in history.
  Horschel’s win at East Lake moved him into the top-15 of the Official World Golf Rankings.
   Hideki Matsuyama and Ryo Ishikawa are two of the PGA Tour’s young and rising international stars and two of Japan's most recognised sportsmen.

Monday, September 8, 2014

US3m purse for Malaysian Open

THE Maybank Malaysian Open returns to the Kuala Lumpur Golf and Country Club (KLGCC) on Feb 5-8 with a flushed purse of US3million.
   The increase, from US$ 2.75 million this season, is the first part of an integrated multi-platform plan to mark Maybank’s 10th anniversary as the title sponsor.
   “It fills me with great pride that Maybank has done its part to elevate our National Open to a world class tournament that is respected on both the European and Asian Tours.
  “Next year marks the 10th year that Maybank will bring the Malaysian Open to its fans. And in highlighting our nations sports tourism destinations, we are thrilled to celebrate this historic milestone” said Tan Sri Megat Zaharuddin Megat Mohd Nor, Chairman of Maybank.
   “Over the past nine years we have strived to make it better and stronger. Leading world major championship winners like Rory Mcllroy (Ire), Martin Kaymer (Ger), Louis Oosthuizen (S Africa), Charl Schwartzel (S Africa), and multiple-time winners like Lee Westwood (Eng), Thongchai Jaidee (Thai) and K.J Choi (S Kor) have graced the tournament over the years.
  “Next year, with its February schedule, will see the list of golfing luminaries display a similarly exciting performance and the quality of play that will thrill spectators from around Asia,” said Megat Zaharuddin.
   The Malaysian Golf Association (MGA), a long time partner to the event is also focused on ensuring that the National Open continues to be a tournament to watch out for.
    “The Malaysian Open will celebrate its 54th edition next year, making it the country’s longest standing golf tournament. It’s a reflection of how far golf has developed in Malaysia and how this tournament has played a part in shaping the history of the game locally.
   “In addition, the Open’s ability to consistently attract world-class golfers to our shores has deeply inspired our local professionals to raise the level of their game and also inspire a new breed of young talents to learn the finer aspects of competing on the international arena,” said MGA president Admiral (R) Tan Sri Mohd Anwar Mohd Nor.
    The KLGCC will host the National Open for the seventh time in its history at the challenging West Course.
   “Once again we have been chosen as the venue for our historical National Open. We regard it as an honour and are looking forward to shoulder the responsibility as the venue for the Open's 54th edition,” said KLGCC’s General Manager, Steven Thielke.
   Prize money earned at the Maybank Malaysian Open 2015 will go towards the Asian Tour Order of Merit and will also count towards European Tour’s Race to Dubai at the end of 2015.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

KLHC claim underdogs tag..

MALAYSIA Hockey League Premier Division double champions Kuala Lumpur HC has claimed the underdogs tag, as their hunt for quality players has hit a brick wall.
   On the other hand, two-season team Terengganu are flushed with local and foreign talent, and look set to be the team to beat when the MHL starts on Oct 29.
   KLHC, the four-time back-to-back double champions, will open accounts against Tenaga Nasional in the Charity Shield.
   “I believe we will face a trough time this year, and it would be difficult to even make the top four as we have lost many players to other teams, and are also finding it difficult to source for foreign players as the Champions Trophy (13-21 Dec in India) will clash with the MHL.
   “Like last year, we are also looking for six foreign players, but have yet to sign any due to the clash of dates,” said KLHC team manager George Koshy.
   But KLHC can’t scout for top players from the eight Champions Trophy teams in India, Pakistan, Australia, Netherlands, Belgium, Argentina, England and Germany.
    In the Premier Division last season, the seven teams which  competed were KL Hockey Club, Tenaga Nasional, Maybank,  Sapura, UniKL, Terengganu and MBI-Nur Insafi.
   Terengganu, even with top local players, fared badly last season as they ended fifth out of seven teams in the league, and were also demoted to Division Two in the Razak Cup.
   However, Terengganu are said to have signed six quality foreign players as well as national players to make them the favourites this season.
   “Last year, Terengganu has the best local players but were unlucky they could not gel and play as a team. However, I believe they are ready in their second MHL season, and we can’t hope for them to hit another bad patch and hand us the titles,” said Koshy.
   The final is slated on Dec 21 to give the national  team time to prepare for the World League Second Round in  Singapore on January 17-25.
   If Malaysia fail to win gold in the Asian Games, where they  will battle South Korea, India and Pakistan, the World League  is a second chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de  Janeiro.

KLHC-Tenaga MHL curtain raiser..

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) and Tenaga Nasional  will open the Malaysia Hockey League Premier Division  curtain with a Charity Shield on Oct 29.
   The MHL Premier Division is likely to see 10 teams  competing when the entries close on Sept 24.
   “We shifted the Charity Shield date to respect Deepavali  celebrations on Oct 22. And by the time entries close, I expect  at least 10 teams in the Premier Division,” said Malaysian  Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee sec retary Hashim Yusoff.
  Each team will be allowed to hire a maximum of six foreign  players.
   “The final is slated on Dec 21, this is to give the national  team time to prepare for the World League Second Round in  Singapore on January 17-25.
   If Malaysia fail to win gold in the Asian Games, where they  will battle South Korea, India and Pakistan, the World League  is a second chance to qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de  Janeiro.
   In the Premier Division last season, the seven teams which  competed were KL Hockey Club, Tenaga Nasional, Maybank,  Sapura, UniKL, Terengganu and MBI-Nur Insafi.
    And double champions KLHC will be the team to beat again  this season.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Juniors going Down Under instead

THE National Juniors’ flight plan to Belfast has been rerouted to Perth, as they enter their final phase of training for the Sultan of Johor Cup (SOJC) on Oct 12-19.
Initially, the team were supposed to play a series of friendlies in Belfast, but team manager Mirnawan Nawawi confirmed yesterday that Western Australian Institute of Sports (WAIS) are their new sparring opponents.
“The Belfast plan was shelved because we could not confirm the playing clubs, so we will be in Perth from Sept 15-23 and play a series of matches with the WAIS side,” said Mirnawan.
The SOJC, into its fourth edition, saw Malaysia win its inaugural tournament in 2011, but finished last in the next edition. The team bounced back by finishing second behind India last year.
The confirmed teams for SOJC are defending champions India, Australia, Pakistan, New Zealand and debutants Britain.
“We will take 22 players to Perth, of which three will be goalkeepers. And the final names will probably be confirmed by the end of the month.
“We expect tough matches against WAIS, and hopefully the boys will be hardened by the time they play in the SOJC,” said Mirnawan.
The tournament, which has received RM1.7 million in sponsorship, is the only invitational under-21 tournament in the world.
The SOJC is the platform for under-21 teams around the globe to showcase their talent once a year and most of the teams use the tournament as part of their preparation for the Junior World Cup.
Malaysian juniors are being groomed for the 2016 Junior World Cup, but they need to be ready to defend their gold medal in the Junior Asia Cup in November in Kuantan, as it offers a direct entry to the World Cup.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Humbling experience on Tour

THE national hockey team went on a whirlwind four-day Tour of Incheon last week for a feel of the artificial pitch, and were handed a painful lesson by club teams instead.
Coach Arul Selvaraj’s team, preparing for the Asian Games in South Korea from Sept 19-Oct 4, lost 2-0 to Incheon City and drew 1-1 with the National Korean Sports University and the two clubs did not have any national players.
Both the matches may only be friendlies, but it brought back that kind of unpleasant feelings like being beaten 4-2 by Trinidad and Tobago in the Scotland Commonwealth Games.
It was a grim and expensive (considering the money spent in going there) Korean lesson, as well as a wake-up call for the Malaysian side who won silver at the 2010 Games in Guangzhou, China, and are looking to play in the final in Incheon.
“We went on a four-day tour and played at the Games venue, as well as checked out the Games Village as part of our preparations.
“Even though we lost to club sides, but at this stage, results do not matter yet as I get the team back into playing shape,” said Arul Selvaraj.
The “new” coach found himself in the hot-seat after the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) removed K. Dharmaraj 40 days before the Asian Games.
Arul now has a daunting task of not only making sure Malaysia do not lose to Singapore in their opening match on Sept 20, and then winning three more points against Bangladesh the next day, but also taking his team into the final.
Malaysia are in Group A with Singapore, Bangladesh, Japan and South Korea. In Group B are India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Oman and China.
The good thing is that Malaysia have a three-day rest before they play South Korea on Sept 25, followed by Japan on Sept 27 after another rest day.
The formula would be to beat Singapore, Bangladesh and Japan which would be enough to take Malaysia into the semi-finals.
And if they make the semi-finals, Malaysia are highly likely to meet either India or Pakistan in the knock-out cross-over.
There are 20 players in training now, and they will only play against the National Juniors, and train on their fitness back home.
There is much at stake in Incheon, as the champions will advance to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, while the silver medallists and the rest of the Asian teams would have to qualify through the World League format, which is much more challenging.

Monday, September 1, 2014

New wind needed for limp AHF sails..


By Jugjet Singh

TENGKU Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah’s opening address as AHF President was frank, and as close to the truth as one can get.
   The multiple-hats President, who also has FA of Malaysia and Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHF) under his wings, acknowledged that AHF is a new entity, and a challenging one too.
   He is also the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Executive Board member.
   There are 30 AHF affiliates, with 27 attending the Congress in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. And Vietnam will be the 31st country that Tengku Abdullah will have to worry about soon.
   Frankly speaking, only six affiliates play good hockey but they too are being hammered into oblivion by second rung teams from Europe, Oceania and South America (Trinidad and Tobago).
   South Korea is the highest ranked Asian men’s team on number 8, India (9th), Pakistan (11th), Malaysia (13th), Japan (14th) and Oman (22nd).
   As for the Asian women China (5th), South Korea (9th), Japan (10th), India (13th) and Malaysia (21st) are the regulars who promote hockey around the globe.
   The first question that came to mind was how are Tengku Abdullah and his council members going to achieve what former AHF president Sultan Azlan Shah and his trusted lieutenant secretary general Tan Sri Alagendra failed to address in two decades of helming the Asian chapter?
    No less than FIH president Leandro Negre and CEO Kelly Fairweather were present at the AHF Congress, and Negre said this was the first time he was given a chance to address a continental affiliate.
   Negre acknowledged Asia has a big following in India, and Fairweather said the next target for fan-base is China.
   Both the FIH bigwigs were looking at Television money when India and Pakistan play, and have gone to great lengths to help the slide in both the countries.
   But Tengku Abdullah knows the score, when he said his immediate task would be to see Asian teams remain regularly among the top five, and not pummeled at the World Cup and Olympics by second rung European teams.
   Easier said than done, as it can be safely said that out of the 30 affiliates, 24 are deadwood who only contribute by organising seminars, as well as become alive in the Sea Games year only.
   Macau, Brunei, Kazakhstan, Iran, Afghanistan, Taiwan, Nepal, Mongolia, North Korea, Philippines, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates.... are the sleepers which Tengku Abdullah will have the mammoth task of waking up.
   The task of reviving the Big Six in the men’s and women’s Asian sides is daunting enough, so one can imagine how difficult it is going to be to revive, shake or awaken hockey in the second tier AHF countries.
   As a clear example, the AHF CEO is Tayyab Ikram from Macau, a country which does not play hockey and will remain a sleeper for a long time to come.
   The AHF boat will need a typhoon from Negre as well as Fairweather to make its gaunt sails flutter again, to realise Tengku Abdullah ambition of helping Asia.