Thursday, August 14, 2014

Men appeal for First Class..

By Devinder Singh
 (Note: This is the first time OCM has done this to hockey in the Asian Games)

MEN’s hockey may earn a reprieve should the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s (OCM) selection committee reverse its decision to place the sport under Category B for the Incheon Asian Games.
  Along with all team sports who have been approved for Incheon, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation would have had to foot the bill to send the men’s hockey squad to the Asian Games.
  However, hours after the OCM selection committee made its decision on Wednesday, MHC submitted an appeal to be allowed to travel under Category A.
  OCM president Tunku Imran Tuanku Ja’aafar said men’s hockey would likely be allowed to travel under Category A, subject to the outcome of a postal ballot of the selection committee members.
  “We took a look at their performance at the Commonwealth Games and other tournaments in coming to a decision to put them in Category B. They have been abysmal, put it that way, and they put in an appeal last night (Wednesday),” said Tunku Imran yesterday.
  “A point the selection committee may have missed out is the fact that they were silver medalists last time (in 2010). We are sending a postal ballot (to the members) to decide on any changes.
  “Category B, honestly, is only for them to pay in advance and if they get to the semi-finals, they would be reimbursed completely. They have to accept that they have performed abysmally.”
  The national hockey team have been in turmoil following their poor performance at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games which follows hard on the heels of the World Cup debacle, where they lost all their matches for the first time in history.
  National coach K. Dharmaraj was this week relieved of his duties amidst claims of a players’ revolt while juniors coach A. Arul Selvaraj was installed in the hot seat.
  Tunku Imran left out little hope for other team sports including football of being included in Category A though women’s rugby have made an appeal on the basis that they stand to lose an International Rugby Board grant if they do not play in Incheon.
  “Football has always been in Category B and we can’t really say that they are up there,” added Tunku Imran. “They are no longer kings of Southeast Asia and if they had won the Sea Games gold then it would have been a different matter.”
  The FA of Malaysia would only be reimbursed if the men’s Under-23 team reach the quarter-finals and the same goes for men’s cricket.
  Kabaddi, men’s rugby, women’s cricket, women’s badminton and beach volleyball would have to reach the semi-finals of their respective events to get their money back.
  OCM have identified diving, track cycling, bowling, karate, squash, sailing and wushu as medal contributors among the 24 sports Malaysia will take part in Incheon.

Razak Cup starts...

DIVISION One champions Perak will play hosts Pahang in the Razak Cup at the Kuantan Stadium on Sunday.
   The tournament, into its 52nd Edition, will start Friday with action from the Division Two teams for the curtain raiser.
   Fourteen teams will compete, with eight in Division One and six in Division Two.
   The only change from the last edition is that Kelantan will return to the fold while Sabah, who competed last year, did not send a team.
    Perak will head Group A in Division One with Negri Sembilan, Pahang and newly-promoted Selangor. Group B is made up of former champions Kuala Lumpur, Malacca, Johor and Penang.
   Terengganu, who finished last in Division One last season, will play in Division Two with Armed Forces, Kedah, Perlis, Police and Kelantan.
   FIXTURES -- Today: Division Two: Kedah v Perlis (6pm, Pitch 1); Police v Perlis (6pm, Pitch II); Armed Forces v Kelantan (8pm, Pitch I).
    Tomorrow: Division Two: Terengganu v Armed Forces (6pm, Pitch I); Kelantan v Kedah (6pm, Pitch II); Perlis v Police (8pm, Pitch I).
   Sunday: Division One B: Penang v Kuala Lumpur (6pm, Pitch I); Malacca v Johor (6pm, Pitch II).
    Division One A: Perak v Pahang (8pm, Pitch I); Selangor v Negri (8pm, Pitch II).

Tengku Abdullah eyes AHF top post..

THE Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) nominations close on Aug 20, but there will be five Malaysian’s battling for positions in the Merdeka Day elections.
   With the demise of long-serving president Sultan Azlan Shah who had served from 1990, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah will try to keep the AHF throne in Malaysia.
   The likely candidate to challenge Tengku Abdullah is said to be from Pakistan.
   MHC senior vice president Nur Azmi Ahmad will stand for the vice-president’s post, while MHC vice presidents’ Manjit Majid Abdullah; and AHF incumbents S. Shamala and Datuk Rahim Ariff will go for the council members post.
   For the record, Shamala received the second highest vote four years ago, while Rahim will be defending his seat.
   Incumbent secretary general Tan Sri P. Alagendra will vacate his post as the new AHF constitution only allows for those below 70 to stand for elections.
   “Malaysia has been the driving force in AHF with Sultan Azlan Shah at the helm, and I believe the best replacement would be Tengku Abdullah. I and three other Malaysian’s are standing for election to help Tengku Abdullah to administer the Asian body and take hockey to a new level in this region,” said Nur Azmi.
   Asian hockey are now whipping boys at the international scene, as even Pakistan, India and South Korea are struggling at the world level against second level Europen teams.
   “There has been a big slide in Asia and after the elections, AHF must work much harder to develop hockey not only at the grassroots, but also at the higher level as we used to be a power-house but now struggling to beat teams from Europe,” said Nur Azmi.
   And if Tengku Abdullah does not have a challenger by Aug 20, the other hopeful Malaysia’s will also be big winners on Merdeka Day.

Quartet out of Asian Games

By Ajitpal Singh
FORWARD Faizal Saari, Hafifi Hafiz, Ismail Abu and Kevin Lim were left out as newly appointed national hockey coach A. Arulselvaraj named his 20-member training squad yesterday for next month’s Incheon Asian Games.
Arulselvaraj, who will be assisted by Tai Beng Hai, retained 14 members from the team that finished last in the World Cup in May. Nine members from the training squad were also part of the Commonwealth Games team.
Faizal is taking a break from international hockey while Hafifi and Ismail quit the team after the World Cup. As for Kevin, the German-born who played in Glasgow was not selected.
Shahril Saabah will be groomed to take over Faizal’s responsibility as the team’s main forward.
“I will trim down the squad to 16 players for the Asian Games. I may opt to take only one goalkeeper to Incheon depending on the progress of the players in training,” said Arulselvaraj yesterday.
“I spoke to Faizal yesterday (Monday) about returning to the team but he said he would think about it first. I only need players, who still have the passion and are motivated to play for the country.
“I’ve named my training squad and there will be no late inclusions. As for Kevin, I haven’t had the chance to assess him yet.”
The trainees will likely head to Port Dickson today for a short camp before resuming training next week. The team will tentatively head to Incheon for a week-long training stint on Aug 20.
“We want to acclimatise with the conditions in Incheon. However, the trip is still tentative but I’ve written to our Korean counterparts for approval and friendly matches.
“My team may also play friendly matches with teams who are preparing for upcoming local tournaments.”
Arulselvaraj, who replaced K. Dharmaraj on Monday, is eager to prepare his team comprehensively after back-to-back failures in the World Cup and the Commonwealth Games. The Asian Games gold medallists will qualify for the 2016 Olympics.
The squad: S. Kumar, Roslan Jamaluddin, Hafizuddin Othman, Norhizzat Sumantri, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Izwan Firdaus Ahmad Tajuddin, Shahrun Nabil Abdullah, Shukri Mutalib, Firhan Ashaari, Azlan Misron, Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor, Faiz Helmi Jali, Meor Muhd Azuan Hasan, Baljit Singh, Tengku Ahmad Tajudin Abdul Jalil, Ahmad Kazamirul Nasruddin, Shahril Saabah, Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Razie Rahim.

Khairy unhappy over Dharmaraj episode

 By Fadhli Ishak
SPORTS Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has chided the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) for the way it sidelined coach K. Dharmaraj from the Incheon Asian Games on Sept 19 to Oct 4.
Khairy said he had no choice but to accept the move to replace Dharmaraj with Arul Selvaraj as interim coach and Tai Beng Hai as manager-cum-assistant coach but he made it clear he was not happy with the decision being made so close to the Asian Games.
The minister also claimed that information had been withheld from MHC president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah by certain people within the association which in turn had led to the switch in coaches.
“I have to accept this decision although his (Dharmaraj) salary is paid by my ministry. I have been told they are looking for a foreigner as a permanent replacement,” said Khairy.
“I spoke to the president yesterday (Monday) and told him that to find yourself in a situation changing your chief coach 40 days before the Asian Games is not the ideal state of affairs.
“I told him that I think they (officials) have been concealing things from you and it has resulted in this.
“From what I see, MHC officials have not been reporting the real situation and as a result he (Tengku Abdullah) has been forced to take matters into his own hands and make a unsuitable decision considering the time frame involved.
“The report presented yesterday stated that there were issues that not only happened at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games but even before that.
“There have also been reports of players not respecting him (Dharmaraj) and him having the wrong approach.
“If the problems were there before, corrective action should have been taken.
“You know that there was no target set for the Commonwealth Games but you use it to fire him. Whoever it is (behind this), and I know who they are, really need to answer for this.”
Khairy acknowledged that Dharmaraj should be made accountable for the team’s performances but expressed his disappointment with how MHC has managed its affairs.
“Dharmaraj may have to go based on his performances but this is poor planning. Poor planning that should not be replicated at other national sports associations.
“After the Commonwealth Games, there has been a lot of finger pointing and I have said the ultimate responsibility is with me but I have to crack the whip.
“I am not on the field, I am not making operational decisions and I do not want to be making operational decisions.
“But I have to now because this is the sort of management and planning that is happening today.”
Under Dharmaraj, the national team ended last of the 12 teams in the World Cup without a single win or draw to show.
The team then hit another low at the Commonwealth Games when they were beaten 4-2 by Trinidad and Tobago, giving the latter their first win at the Games since hockey was included in the 1998 edition in Kuala Lumpur.

Koshy in shock resignation

KUALA Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) president George Koshy sent in a shock resignation letter yesterday.
After having served for six years as president, Koshy’s decision came on the back of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation’s move to replace him with Tai Beng Hai as team manager to the Asian Games in September.
“My work commitments has been increasing and I cannot find enough time to devote my time as president of KLHA," said Koshy.
“I have informed the KLHA council numerous times that I do not intend to seek re-election in the AGM which is scheduled for early next year.
“This will give KLHA time to find a replacement.”
When asked if his decision had anything to do with MHC naming Beng Hai as manager for the Commonwealth and Asian Games, Koshy said: “Not at all, for they have taken a load off my shoulder by naming another manager.
“I had my ups and downs with the national team (which he had managed since 2009), enjoyed every moment and am so damn happy we finally made the World Cup, which is a small step to moving back into the mainstream of the hockey world but I guess making it to the Olympics during my term was not meant to be .
“I wish them well in the forthcoming Asian Games,” said Koshy who was not even told earlier by MHC about him being replaced as national team manager for the Asian Games.
The KLHA council is expected to meet next Monday and is said to be bent on rejecting his resignation.
But Koshy is adamant. “My time is up and let someone else take KL hockey to greater heights,” he said.