Thursday, July 31, 2014

Malaysia 1 New Zealand 6..

COMMONWEALTH GAMES MEN'S HOCKEY ... Razie Rahim scores the consolation.. Lost 8-1 to England, lost 4-2 to Trinidad and Tobago.

Enter the Panic Room...

By Vijesh Rai

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) is in panic mode and rightly so. Losing to Trinidad & Tobago is a shocker but were it a case of one of those days, it would be acceptable.
   But if the grapevine is to be believed, there are more serious reasons for the national hockey team's struggles, both here in the Glasgow Commonwealth Games and in the recent World Cup in the Netherlands.
   MHC, it is said, is already investigating with a committee even having interviewed players for feedback.
   Coach K. Dharmaraj's position could be shaky as the MHC, based on the national team's recent form, is not going to win the Asian Games gold which would mean automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympics.
   There is no doubt that the MHC has to do something, simply because Malaysia must play in the Olympics after having missed out on the last three editions.
   This, however, is a short term target as MHC must also concentrate on the long term and that involves a revamp of its entire structure.
   Blaming coaches and players every time there is a failure is not going to help develop Malaysian hockey and the MHC must understand this.
   There is certainly no excuse for Malaysia losing to Trinidad but MHC was very much party to the decision to send a mixed squad of seniors and juniors to the World Cup.
   The reason for this was mainly because the juniors, following the Junior World Cup campaign in New Delhi last year, have been starved of competitive action as Malaysia played in the Azlan Shah Cup, Champions Challenge and World Cup prior to the Commonwealth Games.
   This meant the Malaysian Hockey League, the nation’s premier' hockey tournament, being pushed to until after the Asian Games.
   When then will the juniors, who are the reason why Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said hockey will continue to be among the core sports despite the huge cost of funding, going to play competitively?
   Certain sections also feel that Dharmaraj shouldn't have been elevated to the national coach’s job as he isn’t ready.
  Again, whose decision was this?
  It is an undeniable fact that MHC settled for Dharmaraj out of desperation following Paul Revington’s abrupt resignation.
   MHC also cannot deny that the Malaysian coaching job is not a plum position and the only way it can attract a foreigner is by paying big bucks.
   That, however, will have no effect if the talent that the foreign coach has to work with is of, at best, mediocre standard.
  And who is to blame for this? The MHC as it is the guardian of the sport, and the coaches and players are its products.
   The bottom line is MHC cannot absolve itself of blame here but the good thing is, the defeat to Trinidad could well be the catalyst for the administration of hockey to improve.
   What Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is told by his fellow office bearers may not necessarily reflect the actual scenario, and the only way out is for the MHC president to go directly to the ground, not only to unearth what is ailing hockey but to find out the cure.
   If not, not only can we expect failure at the Asian Games and missing the 2016 Olympics but more shockers akin to the one that Trinidad delivered in Glasgow on Tuesday.

Simply unacceptable

By Vijesh Rai

WITH the Asian Games looming and the national hockey squad showing no signs of being capable of winning gold in Incheon, South Korea, the National Sports Council (NSC) may ask the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) to take drastic action.
    Tuesday’s shocking 4-2 defeat to Trinidad & Tobago in a Commonwealth Games Group B match has the NSC alarmed and director general Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong said steps must be taken to ensure the team are up to the mark in the Asian Games.
   If not, Zolkples said the result will be the same as the World Cup and Commonwealth Games - failure.
   “There seems to be something wrong in the squad. The first liners failed to impress in the World Cup while the squad in Glasgow have fared even worse.
   “Defeat to Trinidad is unacceptable, considering our world ranking and the support hockey enjoys in Malaysia," said a shocked Zolkples.
   While the Commonwealth Games semi-final was always considered a stretched target for K. Dharmaraj’s second liners, defeat to an unheralded nation was never in the script.
   Assistant coach M. Gobinathan, in trying to explain the defeat, said luck had been on Trinidad’s side as they scored four times from six chances in the first half.
   “Trinidad are also a rising team as several of their players are playing in the English league. In fact, Kwandwane (Browne - Trinidad’s hat-trick hero in the win) has been playing in England for eight years.
   “I agree that we shouldn’t have lost to Trinidad but defeat was caused by several factors, one of which was we started very slowly and couldn’t recover after Trinidad had taken the 4-1 lead,” said Gobinathan.
   While the team officials may have their reasons, the MHC must be in panic mode, especially as the defeat to Trinidad comes after a hugely unimpressive World Cup where Malaysia finished last in the 12-team competition.
   “Tengku Abdullah (Sultan Ahmad Shah - MHC president) contacted me and asked me for my opinion on the defeat.
   “What I said was that the Asian Games are our priority as a gold will mean automatic qualification for the 2016 Olympics.
   “NSC is of the opinion that if something is wrong in the national squad, then drastic action must be taken.”
   Zolkples did not elaborate on what drastic action should be taken but it is learnt that a committee had been tasked with finding out what was ailing the national squad.
   Dharmaraj, elevated to national coach after the Junior World Cup side he coached finished fourth in New Delhi last year, could be in danger as certain players are said to be unhappy with him.
   Zolkples, when asked, declined to comment, only saying: “We can’t be losing to Trinidad but we have. This is an alarming result and the team have to be sorted out.”
   It will be interesting to see just how the MHC plans on doing that.

Embarassing 2-4 Defeat to TnT..


GLASGOW, July 29 (Bernama) -- The National men's hockey squad suffered an embarrassing 2-4 defeat to hockey minnows Trinidad and Tobago in a Commonwealth Games Group B match at the National Hockey Stadium in Glasgow, Scotland today.
    The defeat, Malaysia's second in a row, after having lost 1-8 to England two days ago, has virtually 'killed off' Malaysia's chances of moving into the next stage.
   Trinidad and Tobago, virtually an unknown hockey playing nation, took the lead in the 8th minute through a penalty corner strike by Mickell Peirre before Kwandwane Browne made it 2-0 three minutes later.
   Browne continued to pile on the misery for the Malaysians with his second of the night and his country's third in the 15th minute.
   Malaysia managed to reduce the deficit through Norhizzat Sumatri in the 24th minute but Browne was again on target to complete his hat-trick and score Trinidad and Tobago's fourth in the 35th minute.
   Leading 4-1 by half-time, the Trinidad and Tobago players seemed to have lifted their legs off the pedal in the second half to allow Malaysia to reduce the deficit through Muhammad Ramadan Rosli's 69th minute strike.
    Speaking of the shocking result, National assistant coach K. Gobinathan admitted that the team accepted responsibility for the defeat.
   "It was clear that Trinidad and Tobago had their own quality and were certainly the better side although they are not ranked among the world hockey powers.
   "We had a slow start and the defeat was a shocking result. Trinidad and Tobago cannot be underestimated since most of the players are playing in the English league," he said.
   Malaysia will next face New Zealand in their final group match on Thursday and based on current results, the National squad's campaign in Glasgow is as good as over as chances of making it to the next stage looks remote.


Humiliation for men's hockey team

By Vijesh Rai

GLASGOW: The national hockey team fell to a shock defeat to Trinidad & Tobago as Malaysia's high of two gold medals on Monday was replaced by gloom in the Commonwealth Games today.
    Malaysia, who were thrashed 8-1 by England after beating Canada 2-0 in their earlier group B matches, were expected to cruise to victory against a team with no known hockey pedigree.
   Instead, the team suffered what must rank as among the worst defeats in the history of Malaysian hockey.
   Kwandwane Browne scored a hat-trick of penalty corner goals while Mickell Pierre hit the other with Malaysia replying through Norhizzat Sumantri and Muhamad Ramadan Rosli.
   The match was lost after just 15 minutes as Trinidad raced into a 3-0 lead, and when the hooter was sounded for half-time, Malaysia were down 4-1.
   There was not to be a comeback as Malaysia's second goal was scored by Ramadan in the dying seconds of the match and fans must be fearful of what is to come next as the national team's final group match is against New Zealand on Thursday.
   The Kiwis showed their class by shocking England 2-1 in an earlier match and despite having sealed their semi-final spot, will be out to confirm their status as group winners to avoid Australia in the crossover semi-finals.

Trinidad beat ‘world-class’ Malaysia in hockey ..

By Aftar Singh

GLASGOW: Are the national hockey team going the way of the national football team?
    On Tuesday, the men’s hockey team went down to a shocking 4-2 loss to Trinidad and Tobago in a Group B match of the Commonwealth Games at the Glasgow National Hockey Centre.
   It was the most embarrassing defeat for Malaysia in the history of the sport. Malaysia are ranked 13th in the world while Trinidad are ranked 29th.
   The signs have been there, though.
   The team went to the World Cup in The Hague, Holland, last month and came back with their tails between their legs – finishing last in the 12-team field and failing to win any of the six matches.
   Here, at the Glasgow Common­wealth Games, they began promisingly – beating Canada 2-0 in their opening group match.
   After that, it has been downhill all the way – getting hammered 8-1 by England and then the shocking disgraceful capitulation against the Trinidadians.
   National coach K. Dharmaraj and the players must take the blame for bringing shame to the country.
  Trinidad, who hardly compete in any tournaments, stunned Dharmaraj’s team by going 3-0 up after just 16 minutes.
   Mickell Pierre gave the Caribbean team the lead in the eighth minute before Kwadwane Browne scored two penalty corner goals in the 12th and 16th minutes.
   Although Norhizzat Sumantri narrowed the deficit with a field goal in the 25nd minute, Browne was on target again for his hat-trick 10 minutes later through yet another penalty corner goal.
   Malaysia reduced the deficit through Mohd Ramadan Rosli in the 70th minute.
   Trinidad coach Francis Glenn said that it felt great to beat a strong team like Malaysia.
   “Ours is a small country and we are happy to win our first-ever hockey match in four appearances in the Games. We are preparing the team for the Olympics and this win over Malaysia has boosted our confidence,” said Glenn.
   Trinidad skipper Cowie Darren acknowledged that “we hardly get to play against world-class teams”.
    “We came into the Glasgow Games to gain experience for next year’s Pan American Games … so it’s a huge boost for us to win our first-ever match in the Commonwealth Games,” said Darren.
   The humiliation may not be over yet for Malaysia. They still have to face New Zealand on Thursday.