Monday, March 10, 2014

No 1 goalkeeper Kumar to sit out Azlan Shah Cup..

COACH Dharmaraj’s Azlan Shah Cup preparations hit  another big snag as No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar  picked up an  injury before the Hockey India League (HIL) semi-finals.
    And he will be out for at least two weeks to undergo  rehabilitation, and will miss the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh from  March 13-23.
   “I am currently undergoing rehabilitation at the National   Institute of Sports and will need at least two weeks of rehab   and rest before I can pad up again,” said Kumar.
    Malaysia’s No 1 penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim also   dislocated his shoulder during the HIL and not only will he be   out for the Azlan Shah Cup, but he might not even be ready for  the World Cup in  Netherlands on May 31 to June 15.
    Dharmaraj will name his squad, to defend last year’s silver   medal, today (Tuesday), after training matches against Aus  tralia and China.
    Malaysia will be up against defending champions Aus tralia, who will be gunning for their eighth Azlan Shah Cup  title; South Africa, South Korea, China and Canada.
    Malaysia played a three-match series against Canada in  Malacca last week and won 6-2, lost 5-4 and won the third  match 5-1.
    Meanwhile, Azzami Abadi was shell-shocked when he was  dropped  from the national training squad by Dharmaraj, and   believes he gave his best and does not deserve a cold shoulder   from his coach.
    Dharmaraj had dropped Azzami, 24- years-old with 54  caps, upon returning from the Australian Tour last week.
   “I have trained under coach Tai Beng Hai, Stephen van   Huizen and recently Paul Revington and none of them had   any problems with my playing style, determination and   desire.
    “All the coaches liked me and I have represented the nation   54 times as proof,” said Azzami.
    “I always give my best in every match, training and team   activities,” added Azzami.
    He will now turn out for Tenaga Nasional in Division One of   the Malaysia Hockey League.
   Dharmaraj also cleared the air yesterday that he only said: “When I broke the news to him, I also said that you are a good boy and I have no problem with your attitude. I think it is better that you focus on your studies and you can also continue playing in Division One of the MHL.
   “I will now call up two other players and see how they progress in this ongoing selection process until the World Cup.”

Promising pool from JHL...

THE Junior Hockey League ended with a bang for SSTMI Thunderbolts over the weekend, but the rest of the teams need to do more than just soul searching.
   Division One had seven teams, while three groups in Division Two had 23 teams making the JHL into a mammoth tournament which showcased 540 players.
    But many teams had players who only went through the fixtures, and there was little improvements in their game after playing so many matches.
   Only a large number of players from Thunderbolts, UniKL Young Guns, Petaling Jaya City Council, Politeknik-KPM and Olak-PKT showed promise.
    And from the large pool, national  Juniors coach Arul Selvaraj named 25 trainees for the 2016 Junior World Cup,  with Division Two outfits Politek-KPM  and Olak-PKT providing six and three players respectively.
    Politeknik-KPM and Olak-PKT not only provided players for the national side, but also added spark to the otherwise predictable JHL.
     Politeknik went on the win the Division Two playoff title, while Olak qualified for the semi-finals, and the Division Two team finished a credible fourth and pocketed RM10,000.
   Thunderbolts, who won their third consecutive double, whacked the daylights out of every team they met, and even early season it was a well known fact that it was their title to lose.
    “This (third straight double) was a combined effort from the school as well as our sponsors Tenaga Nasional. We could not have done it alone,” said SSTMI Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman.
    Arul Selvaraj will now get his chance to train the players every Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays while releasing his trainees to play for clubs in Division One of the Malaysia Hockey League.
    Arul does not have time on his side as he prepares a side for the Junior Asia Cup, which is a qualifier for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in 2016.
    But with quality players selected from the JHL, his task has ben made easier by the club coaches who have already taught the basics, and now Arul only needs to strengthen their determination and desire to make an impact in the Asia Cup.
    For the record, Malaysia are the Junior Asia Cup champions and finished fourth in last year’s Junior World Cup in New Delhi.

Dharmaraj: No room for slackers..

NATIONAL chief coach K. Dharmaraj made a strong statement to his trainees when he dropped Azzami Abadi from the squad upon landing at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport form the Australian Tour on Sunday night.
    Malaysia had lost 5-1, 7-1, 9-0 and 4-2 to the mixed Australian national squad; and drew 3-3 with Australian Institute of Sports. 
    "I do not want players who waste government funds. Azammi lacked determination and desire and rather than he waste time and money, I dropped him,” said Dharma after the national team’s second friendly match against Canada where they lost 5-4.
  “I am sending a clear message to all players, do not feel you are indispensable,” said Dharmaraj ahead of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on March 13-23.
    With the axing of Azammi, the number of players in the national training squad has been reduced from 35 to 27.
   Four players  – Azreen Rizal, Engku Malek, Harvinder Singh and Syamim Yusof -- had pulled out earlier.
    And six other players are on the crock list – goalkeeper keeper S. Kumar, Nabil Fiqri, Razie Rahim,  Roslan Jamaluddin and Kavin Karthik.
    Roslan is expected to be named in the Azlan Shah final squad together with Hafizuddin Othman.
   Dharma has called up Haziq Samsul, Joel van Huizen, Nor Syafiq Sumantri, Nor Azrul Rahman and Firdaus Omar as attachment players to the training squad.
    Two others, Kelvinder Singh and Hafifi Hafiz Hanafi have also been called up to join the training squad and are awaiting for release letters from their employers.
     “I will name the final 18 after the two matches against Australia and China in Ipoh on Tuesday,” said Dharmaraj.