Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gold dare...

AFTER playing bridesmaid for the last two years, Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah wants a golden farewell before he vacates his seat on May 13.
  However, with Australia and India sending their best players, Malaysia might even struggle to play in the final of the Azlan Shah Cup which starts on Sunday.
  The other challenges for the title are New Zealand, South Korea and Canada.
  Malaysia lost to Australia in both the finals, with 3-2 and 8-3 scores respectively. The tournament, incepted in 1983, has yet to see Malaysia lift the trophy but have finished second five times in 1985, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014.
  "Sadly, we have yet to win this title but this time, we are looking forward to lift the Azlan Shah Cup for the first time. I truly hope we can win this year," said Tengku Abdullah who will not seek re-election in the May 13 elections.
  Coach Tai Beng Hai named 20 players with two to be dropped after the New Zealand friendly. The prominent name missing from the list was Fitri Saari, who has some personal issues to sort out.
  World champions Australia, with eight Azlan Shah Cup titles under their belt, are almost sure bets to claim the ninth as well.
  The Kookaburras' squad is a combination of new and senior players while seeing the return of some of the injured.
  Captain Mark Knowles will return to the international fold after recovering from an ankle injury he suffered in the Commonwealth Games.
  Two of the Kookaburras’ most experienced players, Jamie Dwyer and Glenn Turner will return after being out since the World Cup.
  Kookaburras Head Coach Graham Reid said: "What I love about the Azlan Shah Cup is that it’s one of the toughest places to play hockey. With high humidity and heat conditions it tests our players both physically and mentally. Our opponents will be tough to play and it will be a great competition to be a part of.”
  As for India, midfielder Sardar Singh will lead a full side, with just three changes from the last December's Champions Trophy in Bhubaneswar. 
  MALAYSIA: Goalkeepers: Roslan Jamaluddin (191 caps), S. Kumar (242); Azreen Rizal (51), Baljit Singh (164), Marhan Jalil (139), Izwan Firdaus (82), Haziq Shamsul (11), Faizal Saari (138), Shahrun Nabil (218), Sukri Mutalib (211), Firhan Ashaari (64), Azlan Misron (336), Nabil Fiqri (140), Razie Rahim (167), Faiz Helmi (51), Meor Azuan (23), Tengku Ahmad Tajudin (192), Ahmad Kazamirul (27), Ramadan Rosli (39), Izad Hakimi (46).

Monday, March 30, 2015

Faizal's fitness places him among last 20...

Future in his hands.. Faizal with the Best Player and Top Scorer awards won at the World League Round Two in Singapore.. After which he went absent from training without notice...

FAIZAL Saari was among 20 players short listed for the Azlan Shah Cup, based on his fitness level which is much more higher than that of his team-mates.
  But based on attitude, his team-mates are miles ahead of the Kelantan-born player.
  This came as a surprise as the rest of the team went into centralised training immediately after the Singapore World League ended on Jan 25, and even went for a Tour Down Under, while Faizal skipped training for two months.
  Faizal is no stranger to controversy, as he went Awol without as much as sending a text message to coach Tai Beng Hai and team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.
  And when he finally returned to training on March 23, he was again embroiled in controversy as he played in the Hong Kong League on March 22, while awol from training and no release letter from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation.
  Nur Azmi had a chat with Faizal on the sidelines of the National Under-16 finals on Sunday and said the player is ready to give his full commitment.
  "Even though he missed training for months without notice, he is still fitter than many of his team-mates. He passed the fitness test with flying colours, and will be among the 20 heading to Ipoh for a final selection," said Nur Azmi.
  Malaysia will play a friendly against New Zealand on Thursday, after which two players will be dropped.
  "It is the choice of the coach (Beng Hai) to select Faizal or drop him. When I met him (Faizal) Sunday, he was quite remorseful and said he had many personal problems which made him do what he did.
  "On the other hand, his team-mates have been training hard since the World League, and even went for a Tour of Australia.
  "My take is that if the coach wants to utilise him for the (World League) Semi-finals in Belgium, Faizal needs to play quality matches and the Azlan Shah Cup is our last sparring chance, as Japan have cancelled a series of friendlies after Ipoh," said Nur Azmi.
   The other teams who will be in Ipoh are world no 1 Australia, South Koreas, Canada, New Zealand and India.
  The WL Semi-finals are Malaysia's last chance to play in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, and Beng Hai's charges are in Group B with Belgium, Great Britain, Ireland and China. In Group A are Australia, India, Pakistan, Poland and France.
  "We need to show results in Ipoh, as the possible knock-out stage opponents in Belgium could turn out to be Australia or India," said Nur Azmi.
  In the last edition of the Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia were whacked 8-3 by Australia in the final.
  On Sunday, Faizal was invited to give away The Most Promising Players (Boys and Girls) awards to National Under-16 players at Bukit Jalil.
  Naturally, the recipients Mohamed Izham of Pahang and  Selangor's  Siti Nur Akiah were in awe with his presence. But its time Faizal sheds his cry-baby attitude and fight like a man when problems come crashing on his shoulders.. for, good or bad, he is a role model for youth.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Nat U16: Pahang Boys lift maiden title

PAHANG lifted their first Boys' National Under-16 title when they beat Malacca 2-0 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
  The Pahang goals were scored by Mohamed Kamil (seventh) and Mohamed Idris (55th).
  In the Girls final, Selangor edged Kuala Lumpur 1-0 and the star of the day was P. Revathi, who scored a penalty corner goal in the 32nd minute.
   "I am very proud of my girls who played good hockey in the entire tournament to become champions in this age-group tournament. There are some very good players in this team and this augurs well for the future of women's hockey in the country," Mohamed Jadwi.
   Selangor girls won all five of their Group B matches by scoring 21 goals and only let in four. For the record, it was match winner Revathi's first goal of the tournament.
   RESULTS: Boys' Final: Malacca 0 Pahang 2; Third-Fourth: Perak 3 Johor 1.
   Girls' Final: Selangor 1 Kuala Lumpur 0; Third-Fourth: Penang 4 Kedah 2.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Nat U16: KL Girls stun Penang...

KUALA Lumpur stunned defending champions Penang 3-2 in the semi-finals of the Girls National Under-16 at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
  In the other girls semis, Selangor beat Kedah 3-0. KL and Selangor will now play for the title today.
  Hazatul Huzra (22nd and 29th) started the goalcount while Siti Nur Arfah made sure the final ticket when she scored in the 60th minute.
  Hur Maizatul Hanim scored both the goals for Penang in the 36th and 63rd minutes.
  As for Selangor, Felyya Amanina scored a brace in the 17th and 30th minutes while the third was scored by Dayang Nuramirah in the 47th minute.
  RESULTS: Boys' Semi-finals: Malacca 5 Perak 0, Johor 0 Pahang 1.
  Girls' semi-finals: Selangor 3 Kedah 0, Penang 2 Kuala Lumpur 3.
  TODAY: Boys' Final: Malacca v Pahang (6pm, Pitch II; Third-Fourth: Perak v Johor (5pm, Pitch 1).
  Girls' Final: Selangor v Kuala Lumpur (4pm, Pitch II); Third-Fourth: Penang v Kedah (3pm, Pitch I).
  (All matches at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil)

Friday, March 27, 2015

Dharmaraj: More average than exceptional in Boys U16

THERE are many average, but only a few exceptional players in the ongoing National Under-16 hockey tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
  And goalkeepers are well below par in all the 13 states competing in the boys section.
  This observation was made by National Sports Council (NSC) development coach K. Dharmaraj who is tasked with selecting at least 40 boys from this tournament for the 2020 Junior World Cup.
  Commenting on the boys event Dharmaraj said: "Compared to the last edition, which had many exceptional players, this year there are more average players in every state while the goalkeeping department needs more attention.
  "I am supposed to select 40 players, of which four would be goalkeepers, but since the standard of goalkeeping is very poor, I might make a suggestion to have separate training for them by selecting 10 as this department is quite weak in the national under-16," said Dharmaraj who coached Malaysia to win their first Junior Asia Cup gold medal and then took the team to finish fourth in the New Delhi World Cup.
  Meanwhile, in the Girls' Group B, Kuala Lumpur moved into the semi-finals when they edged Negri Sembilan 1-0 with the winner coming from Nurul Syahirah in the 30th minute. The slim wins saw them finish second in the group.
  KL will play Group A champions Penang in the semis today.
  In the Girls Group B, Selangor emerged champions without dropping a point when they beat Pahang 6-0 yesterday. 
  RESULTS Boys' Group B: Kelantan 1 Sabah 6, Perak 3 Kedah 0, Negri Sembilan 2 Kuala Lumpur 3.
  Girls' Group B: Negri Sembilan 0 Kuala Lumpur 1, Terengganu 4 Sabah 4, Selangor 6 Pahang 0.
  TODAY: Boys' Semi-finals: Malacca v Perak (6pm, Pitch I), Johor v Pahang (6pm, Pitch II).
  Girls' semi-finals: Selangor v Kedah (4pm, Pitch II), Penang v Kuala Lumpur (4pm, Pitch I).
  (All matches at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil)

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Nat U16: Penang Girls on course for hat-trick..

PENANG Girls are on course to winning the National Under-16 title for the third consecutive year when they beat Malacca 2-0 to top Group A with maximum points at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil Thursday.
  Mimie Zulaikha Zaini gave the champions the lead with a 49th minute penalty corner, while Nur Hafizah Maznan scored the second off a field attempt in the 61st minute. Penang did not drop a single point in five matches and will meet either Negri Sembilan or Kuala Lumpur in the semi-finals.
  Penang beat Negri Sembilan 3-1 in last year's final, with Mimie scoring a brace while Nur Hafizah scored the other goal. Mimie was aptly named as the Best Player of the final then.
  Negri and Kuala Lumpur square off in the final girls Group B match today, and while KL, on nine points, need an outright win, Negri have 10 points going into the match and need only a draw to advance.
  Selangor girls top Group B on 15 points, and their match against Pahang today is just a warm-up before they face Kedah in the semi-finals on Saturday.
  Penang coach Leo Vincey have taken his charges to two titles, and is looking forward to a hat-trick: "We have yet to drop any points and the confidence among my players is very high as we look forward to claiming our third consecutive title. We have to wait another day to see who we meet in the semi-finals (Negri or KL) but it does not matter who we play, as long as my girls play their normal game, our chances of playing in the final are there."
  RESULTS: Boys' Group A: Perlis 1 Penang 1, Johor 4 Terengganu 1, Selangor 0 Malacca 1; Group B: Kedah 5 Sabah 1, Negri Sembilan 1 Pahang 5, Perak 5 Kuala Lumpur 2.
  Grils' Group A: Perak 2 Kedah 4, Penang 2 Malacca 0; Group B: Pahang 1 Negri Sembilan 6, Terengganu 1 Selangor 3.
  FRIDAY: Boys' Group B: Kelantan v Sabah (4pm, Pitch I), Perak v Kedah (4pm, Pitch II), Negri Sembilan v Kuala Lumpur (6pm, Pitch II).
  Girls' Group B: Negri Sembilan v Kuala Lumpur (7.30am, Pitch I), Terengganu v Sabah (8am, Pitch II), Selangor v Pahang (9.30am, Pitch I).
  (All matches at National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Pahang boys whip KL 4-0

NATIONAL Under-16 Boys' silver medallists Kuala Lumpur were whipped 4-0 by Pahang at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil Monday.
  KL, who had edged Sabah 4-2 in their first match, went crashing to a hat-trick of penalty corners executed by Muhammad Idris in the 
35th, 44th and 54th minutes. The other Pahang goal was scored by Nazrey Din off a field attempt in the 18th minute.
  RESULTS: Boys' Group A: Penang 1 Malacca 3, Terengganu 2 Perlis 2, Selangor x Johor x; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 0 Pahang 4, Kedah 5 Negri Sembilan 5, Perak x Kelantan x.
   Girls' Group A: Penang 7 Johor 2, Kedah 3 Malacca 2; Group B: Pahang 1 Kuala Lumpur 4, Sabah 0 Selangor 2.
  TUESDAY: Boys' Group A: Perlis v Selangor (4pm, Pitch I), Malacca v Johor (6pm, Pitch II), Terengganu v Penang (8pm, Pitch II); Group B: Perak v Negri Sembilan (4pm, Pitch II), Kuala Lumpur v Kelantan (6pm, Pitch I), Pahang v Sabah (8pm, Pitch I).
  Girls' Group A: Perak v Penang (7.30am, Pitch I), Malacca v Johor (7.30am, Pitch II); Group B: Sabah v Pahang (9.30am, Pitch I), Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu (9.30am, Pitch II).
  Note: All matches at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Something smells rotten...

SOMETHING is very wrong with the grassroot development of hockey.
  Schools, states, clubs and 1Mas development programmes have failed to unearth even a single Sikh, Chinese or Indian to represent Malaysia in the 2016 Junior World Cup which will be held in New Delhi.
  Yes, the only good news when the April training squad of Project 2016 was released yesterday by team manager Mirnawan Nawawi was Sabah-born Maxhans Christi.
  The other 24 players were all Malay.
  And the ongoing National Under-16 tournament is no better, as even though 13 states are competing and there are a total of 234 players, there is only one Sikh boy playing for Kuala Lumpur and six Indian boys -- three from Negri Sembilan, two from Kedah and one from Perak.
  In the Girls' Under-16 where 11 states are competing, there are only four Indian girls -- two from Kedah, and one each from Pahang and Selangor.
  The Chinese are nowhere to be seen, while Sabah has 18 boys and 18 girls competing.
  Former national coach K. Dharmaraj, who is attached with the National Sports Council now, is the main scout for the Under-16 tournament where he plans to select 30 to 35 players and form Project 2020.
  This will be the start-up to Dharmaraj's personal dream of winning the Junior World Cup in 2020, after he and his charges claimed the fourth spot in the 2013 New Delhi World Cup.
  Coming back to the Project 2016 which will play at the Kuantan Junior Asia Cup in November, which is a Junior World Cup qualifier, Mirnawan said there are no excellent players of other races coming out of the current development programme.
  Mirnawan, who has played with a multi-racial team in World Cups as well as the Olympics, said he would like to see other races coming out of the woodwork, but it is too late for the next World Cup.
  "I would love to see all the races representing Malaysia like a decade ago, but at the moment, not many non Malays play hockey. Even at the ongoing Under-16 one can count the number of non-Malays with one hand.
  "My wish is that in Project 2020, we need to develop more excellent players from the other race group. Curently, from the 25 playuers in training in Project 2016, only Maxhans is the odd one out."
  Six new players were added to the Project 2016 after the conclusion of the Junior Hockey League, and the scouts could not even find one Sikh, Indian or Chinese from the 30 teams, comprising a total of 540 players, which competed in the two JHL divisions.
  Something is really wrong with the development of the sport in the country.
  Clubs like UniKL Young Guns are doing the right thing by having open training sessions every weekend where everybody is invited to join in, and even those who can hardly hold hockey sticks properly are coached with patience by former and current national players.
  But something must be very wrong at the schools as well as the 1Mas programme at the state levels, which has funding to the millions, when they can't even produce one Chinese to replace the late Chua Boon Huat.
  Baljit Singh is the last Sikh, while S. Kumar is the last Indian standing at the senior level, and going by current form, there will be none in the 2016 Junior World Cup, while 15-year-old Pavandip Singh Gurdip will most likely be the only non-Malay in the 2020 Junior World Cup as he has shown form in the ongoing National Under-16.
  Something is very wrong at the grassroot as suddenly, non-Malays are no longer interested in a sport which they used to excel in, at World Cups and Olympics.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Tengku Abdullah endorses Subahan..

THE Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Extraordinary General Meeting (EOGM) went smoothly yesterday, and the only big news was that the secretary general will be replaced by a Chief Executive Officer.
  Elections have been set for May 13, and the delegates amicably voted minor changes to tighten up their constitution in the EOGM.
  The amended constitution followed International Hockey Federation (FIH) guidelines, and there will be two deputy presidents' -- one a woman and the other a man.
  MHC were embroiled in a constitutional crisis with the FIH when their earlier amended constitution was rejected because it was not gender friendly.
  "The EOGM went smoothly and there will be two deputy presidents' (one woman and one man) and the person which receives the highest vote will be known as the senior deputy president," said MHC outgoing president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah.
  Tengku Abdullah will not seek re-election on May 13: "In the earlier nomination, only Subahan (Datuk Sri Subahan Kamal) was nominated for the president's post and I believe it will be the same when nominations closed."
  When asked if Tengku Abdullah endorsed Subahan as president: "Well I endorse him as he was the only candidate earlier and the best person to replace me. However, if the delegates feel otherwise and nominate a challenger, may the ballot decide who is the best."
  The front-runner to be elected as the men's deputy is Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad, while incumbent deputy president Raja Puan Sri Noora Ashikin Raja Abdullah is set to take charge of the women's section.
  On another issue, controversial national striker Faizal Saari will return to training today, after boycotting it due to unsolved bonus payments. If Faizal does show up, it will be his first day of training since he went missing right after the Singapore World League Round Two.
  "Faizal is a good player, but his destiny is in his own hands. It is what he wants in life, and nobody should force him to return because then he will not give his best. If he feels he does not wan't to represent the country any more, lets move on and concentrate on the players who show up for training," said Tengku Abdullah.  

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Nat Under-16: Perak edge Sabah 3-1

PERAK beat Sabah 3-1 in Group B of the Boys' National Under-16 tournament at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil Saturday.
  Defending champions Selangor, in Group A, open their campaign against Terengganu today.
  RESULTS: Boys' Group B: Perak 3 Sabah 1, Kedah 1 Pahang 7, Negri 2 Kelantan 0.
  Girls' Group B: Negri 1 Sabah 1, Pahang 1 Terengganu 6.
  SUNDAY: Boys' Group A: Selangor v Terengganu (4pm, Picth II), Penang v Johor (4pm, Pitch II), Perlis v Malacca (8pm, Pitch II).
  Group B: Perak v Pahang (4pm, Pitch I), Kuala Lumpur v Sabah (6pm, Picth I), Kedah v Kelantan (8pm, Pitch I).
  Girls' Group A: Kedah v Johor (7.30am, Pitch I), Perak v Malacca (7.30am, Pitch II); Group B: Selangor v Kuala Lumpur (9.30am, Pitch I), Negri Sembilan v Terengganu (9.30am, Pitch I).

Coach Dharmaraj's sacrifices recognised...


To date, K. Dharmaraj's top coaching moments have been with the Malaysian National Junior Men's team, when he was in charge of the team that won the 2012 Junior Asia Cup to become Asian Junior champions. 
This is only time to date that a Malaysian team has been Asian champions. Dharma went on to become national coach for the senior Malaysian national men's team but, after leaving that post last year, Dharma is looking to take the national junior team one step further in 2020, by becoming Junior World Cup winners.
Since he finished his coaching contract with the men's senior squad, Dharmaj has been working as a youth development officer, working with grassroots level hockey players and potential internationals across Malaysia.
While much of his work is general hockey coaching with youngsters, Dharma also heads a project, Target2020, which has a very clear target - preparing the national junior team in readiness for the 2020 Junior World Cup.
Dharma enhances his own coaching ability and experience by bringing in former and current internationals to help run coaching clinics across the country. Explaining his role, Dharma says: "With my prior experience in coaching grassroots and children of different age groups, I am able to recognise the requirements needed to develop and promote hockey in my country. To date, I have conducted 18 clinics throughout the different states of Malaysia. In each clinic, there are approximately 200 players, both girls and boys, ranging in age from eight to 16-years-old."
During the course of a coaching clinic, Dharma involves teachers and local coaches in the programme so that they can update and improve their coaching skills. In this way the local teachers and coaches are empowered to continue to develop hockey in the area.
While the coaching clinics introduce and promote hockey to hundreds of young Malaysians, the Target2020 programme has a far more specific ambition. While the programme is still in its early stages, Dharma says that his team of coaches and selectors will be looking to form pools of about 30 players for each age category. The over-riding qualities the players must demonstrate are "dynamism and an openness to competitiveness and progress."
Players who will be invited to attend the Target2020 training camps are talent-spotted through local and area competitions and other tournaments. Dharma says that he is hopeful of producing a high quality team for 2020 where the bulk of the players will be 21-years-old.
"Our target, via this programme, is for both the national junior men's and women's teams to win a medal at the Junior World Cup," says the energetic coach.
Many of the coaching clinics run by Dharma and his team are free for attendees, while others are funded through the National Sports Council as part of its development programme. Target2020 is an initiative funded completely by the National Sports Council.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Belgium is Last Chance Saloon..

MALAYSIA will have world champions Australia for company in the World League Semi-finals in Antwerp, Belgium, from June 20 to July 5.
  But all is not gloom as Malaysia enter the final hurdle to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, as finishing fifth might just do the trick.
  The other teams in Belgium are the hosts, Great Britain, India, Pakistan, Ireland, France, Poland and China.
  The World League semi-finals offers three tickets from each of the two tournaments, but there are bound to be double qualifiers and fifth is worth its weight in gold.
  India have already qualified for the Olympics as Asian Games champions, while Australia are the favourites to qualify via the Oceania qualifier while Belgium and Great Britain have the European qualifier to play yet.
  "It looks like we have a good chance to qualify for the Olympics, as the semi-finalist are surely assured, while finishing fifth might open another door to Brazil," said Malaysian team manager Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.
  Malaysia faced the same script when Johor Baru hosted the World League Semi-finals which was a World Cup qualifier then. The hosts finished fifth, and went on the play in the Netherlands World Cup -- where they finished last without winning a single point.
  "We have started early preparations, and the Azlan Shah Cup (April 5-12) will give us a better platform to gauge our strength as Australia will also be in Ipoh. We will also get a chance to spar with India in Ipoh, and they will also be another team to beat in Belgium if we want to play in the semi-finals," said Nur Azmi.
  The other WL Semi-finals will be held in Buenos Aires on June 3-14, and World Cup bronze medallists Argentina will be up against Olympic champions Germany, World Cup Silver medallists the Netherlands, New Zealand, South Korea, Spain, Japan, Canada, Egypt and Austria.
  "The Argentina WL Semis looks to have a stronger selection, but then, if we want to play in the Olympics again, we must not fear any team in the world," said Nur Azmi.
  For the record, Malaysia last played in the Stdney 2000 Olympics and finished 11th by beating Poland 3-2 with an extra time winner scored by S. Kuhan in the 73rd minute. The other two goals were scored by Mirnawan Nawawi and Nor Saiful Zaini.

National Under-16: Selangor the team to beat..

NATIONAL Under-16 defending champions Selangor are confident of making an impact in the tournament starting Saturday as they have eight players from last year's gold winning side.
  The tourament, at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, will see 13 states in the boys' and 11 states in the girls' section battling for honours.
  Selangor will start their campaign tomorrow (Sunday) when they face Terengganu: "We have had a very productive five-day camp to get ready for this tournament and of course we will try and defend our title," said Selangor coach S. Thangeswaran.
  Selangor held and Open selection last weekend and about 100 hopefuls turned up at the Ministry of Education pitch in Kuala Lumpur.
  "Eight players from last year's team are still eligible to play and we picked some promising players from the Open selection. I believe we can make an impact this year as well," said Thangeswaran.
  Selangor beat Kuala Lumpur 2-0 for the title, and the City State has also been busy preparing a side with former national coach K. Dharmaraj giving a helping hand.
  In the girls' event, defending champions Penang are the team to beat.
  Boys' -- Group A: Selangor, Penang, Perlis, Malacca, Johor, Terengganu; Group B: Kuala Lumpur, Perak, Kedah, Negri Sembilan, Kelantan, Pahang, Sabah.
  Girls': Group A: Penang, Kedah, Perak, Malacca, Johor; Group B: Negri Sembilan, Pahang, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Terengganu, Sabah.
  Saturday: Boys' Group B: Perak v Sabah (4pm, Pitch I), Kedah v Pahang (4pm, Pitch II), Negri v Kelantan (6pm, Pitch II).
  Girls' Group B: Negri v Sabah (8am, Pitch I), Pahang v Terengganu (8am, Pitch II).

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Seven Tiger Cubs head to Netherlands...

 Pic: Maxhan Cristhi (gripped fist) celebrates after scoring for UniKL in the JHL
SEVEN juniors will be heading for a 10-day stint in the Netherlands, as preparations start early to defend Malaysia's Junior Asia Cup gold medal, which comes with a ticket to the 2016 Junior World Cup.
  Malaysia were champions in the last tournament in Malacca, and went on to finish fourth in the last Junior World Cup which was also held in New Delhi.
  The Junior Asia Cup will be held in Kuantan, and is slated for Nov 12-22.
  "Three goalkeepers and four penalty corner flickers will head for Netherlands on March 25th and return on April 1. They will train under goalkeepers' specialist coach Martijn Drijver and penalty corner coach
Toon Siepman," said Project 2016 team manager Mirnawan Nawawi.
  The three goalkeeepers are Ridzwan Azmi, Adi Fazri and Amirul Afiq Azhar. The budding penalty corner flickers are Aminuddin Zain, Najmi Farizal, Syed Shafiq Cholan and Sabahan Maxhan Cristhi who was named as the best player in the recently concluded Junior Hockey League.
  Maxhan played for UniKL Young Guns in the JHL, and the 18-year-old promising lad is from Keningau.
  "Our best junior penalty corner flicker Shahril (Saabah) will remain home and train with the senior side which is preparing for the Azlan Shah Cup. Former internationals Amin Rahim and Jivan Mohan will accompany the seven to Netherlands," said Mirnawan.
  The Project 2016 side will then head for Australia on April 16-26 to play a series of friendlies against the WAIS side.
  "We decided to send goalkeepers and penalty corner flickers for specialist training as these are the two main departments that can determine if a team performs or fails in major tournaments. The seven will be coached by experts and hopefully they pick up pointers which will will help Malaysia win gold in the Junior Asia Cup, which is a qualifier for the Junior World Cup," said Mirnawan.

Monday, March 16, 2015

WL RD2 Bronze: Malaysia 3 Thailand 0 in FIH pictures

WL RD 2 semis: Malaysia 0 Poland 1 in FIH pictures

Explosive Selangor HA 5s..

Pic: SSTMI Cobra

THE Selangor Open Hockey 5s was a huge success as 66 teams battled for honours in four categories over the weekend at the Ministry of Education pitch in Kuala Lumpur.
   Hockey 5' is an explosive short format played on a
half-regulation size pitch and Selangor Hockey Association is the first state to organise it.
  In the Men's category, JLJ Army team edged Dolphins on a solitary goal scored by Shafiq Yacob. And in the women's category SSTMI beat SUKMA KL to emerge champions.
  Selangor HA also plans to organise a League as well as introduce an indoor hockey league to help promote the sport.

  Roll of Honor: 

School Boys':
Champion: STAR Klang (RM 1,000)
Runner-up: St John B (RM 500)
Third: Bandaraya Boys (RM 250)
School Girls':
Champion: SSTMI Red (RM 1,000)
Runner-up: SSTMI BlueRM (RM500)
Third: KL Sports School A (RM250)
Women's Open:
Champion: SSTMI Cobra (RM1,500)
Runner-up: SUKMA KL (RM1,000)
3rd Place: KL Ladies (RM500)
Men's Open:
Champion: JLJ Army (RM1,500)
Runner-up: Dolphins (RM 1,000)
Third: Majlis Bandaraya Ipoh (RM500)

Best Goalkeepers:
Boys: Haziq Hairul (St John B)
Girls: Nor Sophia (SSTMI Red)
Women's: Priyanka Jayaraja (SSTMI Cobra)
Men's: Razain Ramli (JLJ Army)

Best Players:
Boys: Mohd Nizam B. Mohd Isa (STAR Klang)
Girls: Zarifah bt Abdul Aziz (SSTMI Blue)
Women's: Nor Aslinda bt Zaid (SSTMI Cobra)
Men's: Shafiq Yacob (JLJ Army)

Thundering clap for JHL clubs..

A RECORD 30 teams competed in the just concluded MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League, and Tenaga Nasional are already planning to add two more next season.
  JHL, since its inception in 1995 by the then National Sports Council director general Datuk Mazlan Ahmad and the late secretary of the now defunct Malaysian Hockey Confederation S. Satgunam, is the most successful junior development programme in the country.
  There were only 11 teams in 1995, and it has seen tremendous growth with clubs clamouring to prepare teams and scouting for next season players in mid-season itself.
  Thunderbolts, a product of Tenaga Nasional, fielded two teams this season and both entered the semi-finals of the Milo Cup. SSTMI Thunderbolts became the double champions for the fourth consecutive season, while their sister club SSP-MSP Thunderbolts finished fourth.
  Former national skipper and now in charge of the Thunderbolts development programmes, Nor Saiful Zaini is planning to field two more Thunderbolts next season.
  "You can see the progress made by both the Thunderbolts and we are in the midst of planning for two more for the next season because there are so many good players out there who are in need of support to shine," said Nor Saiful.
  The other successful club is UniKL Young Guns, who have a sound development programme but have been unlucky at the final hurdle for five seasons.
  UniKL ropes in national players and coaches every weekend to train, at least a hundred youth below 16, every weekend at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil under collaboration with the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC).
  No fees are charged, and everyone is welcome to attend. There is even a goalkeepers' clinic conducted by national goalkeepers coach M. Nadarajan, who uses the latest techniques to teach children as young as 12.
   Formed in 2010, UniKL have surprisingly played in six JHL finals todate because of the tiring efforts of a group of dedicated coaches and support staff led by their general manager Amir Azhar Ibrahim.
   Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) are another solid example of dedicated coaches like Azlan Saufi Ahmad and and team manager Zainal Abidin who keep pushing their players to new levels, but were unlucky to finish third in League and Milo Cup.
   The JHL will not be complete without the mention of Olak-PKT, a team which has only missed one season because they lacked financial support, but team manager Joseph de Silva passed the hat around and found a loyal supporter in  PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd.
  The funding force behind Olak is PKT CEO Datuk Michael B.Y. Tio: "With his support we have managed to secure some good players this season, but have bigger plans for next year as PKT also provides study scholarships for our players," said De Silva who is planning to rope in players from Division Two outfits Nur-Insafi PHA and Tunku Besar Secondary School, for next season.
  The man who started the JHL Datuk Mazlan is proud that his legacy is now the talk of town: ""I think JHL is continuously serving it's purpose. One simple reason is that it attracts more teams. It's very encouraging to see junior teams, states, and schools expose their players at this platform."
  "Competition, not just training, is an important ingredient in development. Fortunately JHL has very loyal sponsors who believe in youth. It made aspirations possible.
   MILO have been the title sponsor of the JHL since its inception, and their commitment towards the tournament has increased over the years with significant funding made available not only for the JHL but also other age group tournaments such as the National Under-14 and Under-16 for boys' and girls'.
   "JHL is an important component in grassroot development. There are always new faces who shine every season, and it offers a chance to Primary School children to watch competitive matches and aspire a bigger group to take up the sport," said Ng Ping Loong, Sports Sponsorship Manager of Nestle Products.
    From the organisational aspects MHC did a great job as the JHL ran without hitches.
  "We are grateful to the Technical Committee led by Jusvir Singh and Secretariat managed by Hashim Yusof for managing the tournament well," said MHC Competitions Committee Chairman M. Gobinathan.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Its Thunderbolts again..

SSTMI Thunderbolts lifted their fourth consecutive MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey Legue double when they edged UniKL Young Guns 4-1 in a penalty shoot-out at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
  Tied at 0-0 after regulation time ended, SSTMI showed maturity in the shoot-out with steady nerves to lift the Milo Cup but shared the combined prize money of RM25,000 for champions and RM15,000 for runenrs-up with the University side.
  In the bronze playoff, Petaling Jaya City Council beat SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 3-1. The PJCC goals were scored by Haikal Zamri (4th)  Faid Farhad (16th) and Faiq Razin (69th). The SSP-MSP goal scorer was Haziq Fawwaz (26th).
  PJCC received RM12,000 while SSP-MSP RM10,000.
  "We are of course happy to win our fourth consecutive JHL double but it was not easy this time around as UniKL put up a great fight and only that we were better in the penalty shoot-out. My players deserve credit for giving their all," said SSTMI Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman.
  SSTMI have the best players in the country and some of them have been together for the past five years: "There are many quality players who shone this season in many other teams as well and the gap is slowly closing down on us. But I see this as a positive outcome as the country will benefit in the long run with a bigger pool of players," said Wan Roslan.
  As for UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran, there was no shame in defeat.
  "When I took charge of this team in January, the players were a motley crew which came from all obver the country, and I am proud of them because they managed to click together and share the prize money with SSTMI.
  "I see this as a big achievement for my players, as many of them will have a brighter future in hockey if they continue playing like this," said Vickneswaran.
  AWARDS: Most Outstanding Player (Chua Boon Huat Trophy): Maxhans Christie (UniKL, RM1,500); Fairplay: MSSD Larut Matang and Selama (RM4,000); Player-of-the-Final: Adi Fazri (uniKL, RM1,500); Best Goalkeeper: Syafifuddin Zain (SSTMI Thunderbolts, RM1500); Top-Scorer: Najme Ahmad 19 goals(Ismo-PHA, Division Two).  

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Marlena dashes Malaysian hope..

THE National women's hockey team failed at the last hurdle when they were edged 1-0 by Poland in the semi-finals of the World League Round Two in New Delhi yesterday.
  Malaysia had scored a total of 18 goals in four matches and never let in a single one, until they met Poland in the last four.
  Marlena Rybacha was the toast of the Poles, as her third minute penalty corner goal took them into the final, and also earned them a ticket into the World League Semi-finals where berths to the Rio de Janeiro Olympics are on offer.
  For the record, it was only Marlena's fourth goal of the tournament which dashed Malaysia's hopes.
  The other semi-finals late yesterday was between India and Thailand, with the hosts being hot favourites to advance to the final.
  Malaysia will now play for the bronze but it would highly likely be a Sea Games warm-up against Thailand, and the medal would not take them into the WL Semi-finals.
  The WL rules stipulate that the highest ranked bronze medallists in three of the Round Two tournaments will also advance, but Azarbaijan, ranked 19th, finished third in Montevideo and are eagerly awaiting qualification.
  Malaysia are ranked 21st in the world.

Milo Cup: Young Guns tired of firing blanks..

UNIKL Young Guns will be playing in their sixth consecutive Milo Cup finals against SSTMI Thunderbolts in the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil today.
  The University side made their debut in 2010, and lifted the Milo Cup by beating Thunderbolts who were known as Bandar Penawar Sports School back then.
  However, in the next four Milo Cup finals, SSTMI Thunderbolts were the victors and last season it was on a 2-0 scoreline.
  This year, SSTMI Thunderbolts beat UniKL 4-2 en route to lifting their fourth consecutive League title.
  That is why UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran can't wait to shed the bridesmaid tag: "Even though we have been consistently finishing second, but I believe this time around it will be different."
  "They (Thunderbolts) will enter the pitch as favourites but we can't let that affect us psychologically. In terms of experience and chemistry, Thunderbolts will have the upper hand as they not only have some of the best junior players in the country, but have also been together for many years.
  "We have planned something special for the final, and hopefully it is enough to upset the formbook," said Vickneswaran.
  SSTMI Thunderbolts have been cruising at top speed in the knock-out stage and it would be a major surprise if they do not lift their fourth consecutive double today.
   However, Thunderbolts coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman have brushed aside the favourites tag: “We may have got the better of them during the league, but I can assure you that it would not be so easy tomorrow (today). Both sides have their own strengths and it will all boil down to who can play their cards right.”
  Wan Roslan is well aware of the threat that UniKL can pose and has made some tactical re-adjustment for the big game.
  “UniKL are very dangerous when they push forward and we will also have to keep an eye on (S.) Deveandran and Norsyafiq (Sumantri), they pull the strings upfront and my defenders must neutralise them.”
  National senior team skipper Azlan Misron, who is Down Under on Tour with his men to prepare for the Azlan Shah Cup, made his prediction for the Milo Cup.
  “The final is too close to call as this rivalry has been going on for years now. But I predict Thunderbolts have the extra fire-power to come out tops, but on penalty shoot out. I predict a 2-2 full time score," said Azlan.
  TODAY: Final -- SSTMI Thunderbolts v UniKL Young Guns (National Stadium Picth II, 5.30pm).
  Third-Fourth: SSP-MSP Thunderbolts v Petaling Jaya City Council (National Stadium Picth II, 3.30pm).

Friday, March 13, 2015

SSTMI Thunderbolts v UniKL final..

UNIKL Young Guns and SSTMI Thunderbolts will clash in a repeat final for the MHC-Milo-NSC Milo Cup title Sunday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
  Yesterday, UniKL thumped Petaling Jaya City Council 5-1 for a 7-1 aggregate win, while defending champions SSTMI Thunderbolts whipped SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 7-2 for a 12-3 aggregate win.
  Last season, SSTMI Thunderbolts beat UniKL 2-0 to lay their hands on the Milo Cup, but it will be a much more balanced final tomorrow.
  The UniKL goals were scored by Maxhans Christi (5th), S. Deveandren (22nd), Norikhwas Rahman (46th), Nur Faiz Rosli (59th) and Norsyafiq Sumantri (60th). PJCC got their consolation off Hussini Abu Bakar in the 41st minute.
  SSTMI Thunderbolts got their goals off Amirul Hamizan (7th, 12th), Zainul Rusyaidi (17th, 31st), Luqman Nul Hakim (25th), Zulhamizan Awang (46th) and Azmie Othman (66th). Indris Samad scored the SSP-MSP Thunderbolts goals in the 35th and 56th minutes.
  "Out initial target was just to qualify for the semi-finals and we have surpassed it. Now, we will just go in and enjoy the final as the pressure will be on SSTMI to defend their Milo Cup," said UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran.
  Vickneswaran aslo pointed out that SSTMI have the best juniors in the country: "So, there will be added pressure for them to defend as well as attack while we have nothing to lose while everything to gain from the final.
  SSTMI Thunderbolts will be gunning for their fourth consecutive JHL double: "We played for big wins in the semi-finals to keep the momentum going, because taking it easy at this stage could disrupt our our preparations to defend the Milo Cup.
  "And now that we got the goals flowing, hopefully it will give my strikers more confidence in the final."
  RESULTS: Semi-finals Second Leg: SSTMI Thunderbolts 7 SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 2 (SSTMI win 12-3 on aggregate); UniKL Young Guns 5 Petaling Jaya City Council 1 (UniKL win 7-1 on aggregate). 
  SUNDAY: Final -- SSTMI Thunderbolts v UniKL Young Guns (National Stadium Picth II, 5.30pm).
  Third-Fourth: SSP-MSP Thunderbolts v Petaling Jaya City Council (National Stadium Picth II, 3pm).

Time to grease the Poles...

THE Malaysian women will play in a do-or-die match against Poland Saturday in the semi-finals of the World League Round Two in New Delhi.
  Only the finalists advance to the World League Semi-finals, a feat which the women have yet to achieve.
  The driving force for coach Nasihin Nubli's charges would be the fact that Poland have been blowing hot and cold, while Malaysia have yet to concede a single goal in their 18-goal scoring spree in four matches.
  Also, Malaysia are ranked 21 in the world while Poland are No 26: "We only have one more match to qualify for WL Semis, and my charges are not about to give it up without playing their hearts out," declared Nasihin.
  And finishing third is also not an option for Malaysia, as the WL rules stipulate that the highest ranked bronze medallists in three of the Round Two tournaments will also advance, but Azarbaijan, ranked 19th, finished third in Montevideo and are eagerly awaiting qualification.
  SATURDAY: Semi-finals: Poland v Malaysia (8.15pm Malaysian time); India v Thailand.
  Fifth-Eighth: Singapore v Kazakhstan; Russia v Ghana.

Five head for France, Germany..

PIC: Selvaraju in red..

FIVE Malaysians will be heading abroad Saturday to ply their trade in France and German leagues.
  Former national player S. Selvaraju and former national coach K. Dharmaraj help secure clubs for the players, while the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) provided the release letters.
  Funding came from the National Sports Council as well as UniKL Hockey Club.
  Selvaraju, who started his career by playing in the 2005 Junior World Cup in Rotterdam, will be playing for Wespen HC, a Division Two outfit in Germany, together with twins Shazril Irwan, 21, and Shazrul Imran Nazli.
  Locally, Shazril plays for Tenaga Nasional while Shazrul for UniKL.
  Former national player Megat Azrafiq will head for France to play for Division Two outfit PSG HC.
  Nor Aqmal Mohamed (UniKL) and Khairul Amirin (KLHC) will play for 
German club Marrindoff HC.
  "This collaboration between German and France clubs was made possible with help from many quarters, and in the end, the country will benefit by sending our youth to play in overseas leagues. UniKL and Dharmaraj played a big role in securing sponsorship and clubs for the boys," said Selvaraju.
    The five will return in June.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Malaysia v Ghana in FIH pictures

Women's World League: Malaysia in semi-finals

THE Malaysian women's team claimed a semis spot in the World League Round Two when they edged Ghana 2-0 at the Major Dhyan Chand  Stadium in New Delhi yesterday.
  Coach Nasihin Nubli's charges found the fast running Ghana players too hot to handle, even though Norazlin Sumantri scored a third minute penalty corner goal.
  The second goal only came in the 25th minute off a Hanis Onn field attempt, after which Ghana packed their defence and kept the score-line low.
  Malaysia will now play either Poland of Russia in the semis. (match later today).
  "We went in expecting a tough match after Ghana showed their resilience in the last Group A match against Poland (Poland won 4-0). And even though the scoreline is not impressive, I believe my charges will not disappoint in the semi-finals after a day's rest," said Nasihin.
  Only two teams in New Delhi qualify automatically to World League Semi-finals which is the last chance to qualify for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
  The third team will be the highest rankled side which finishes bronze medallist in the various WL Round Two.
  For the record, the Malaysian women have never qualified for the WL Semi-finals: "This is our best chance to play in the WL Semi-finals, and we are not about to give away a ticket to the semi-finals without putting up a fierce fight," said Nasihin.
  The good news for Nasihin is that his charges have scored 18 goals in four matches and have yet to let in a single goal.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Malaysian women looking good...

THE Malaysian women's team will play Ghana in the quarter-finalss of the World League Round Two in New Delhi today, with coach Nasihin Nubli's charges the hot favourites to advance into the semis.
   Malaysia have been on fire in the pool matches as they thumped Kazakhstan 8-0, Russia 3-0 and Singapore 5-0, without letting in any goals to top Group B.
   Ghana on the other hand finished last in Group A and even lost 13-0 to India.
   Anticipating a good game ahead, Malaysia coach Nasihin Nubli said: "Winning all three matches in Group B had definitely motivated the players a lot but as we enter the quarter-finals our aim is to book a berth in the finals of this tournament. We know we can beat Ghana but looking at their game against Poland yesterday (Ghana only lost 4-0), it might a little tougher than we expected. We trained on penalty corner variations today (yesterday) and hopefully early goals will make the match easier to dominate."
   TODAY: quarter-finals: Malaysia v Ghana (3.45pm Malaysian time); Kazakhstan v Thailand; Poland v Russia; India v Singapore.

UniKL 2 PJCC 0

LEAGUE champions SSTMI Thunderbolts were given an early shock, but went on the beat SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 5-1 in the first leg semi-finals of the MHC-Milo-NSC Milo Cup at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
   SSTMI Thunderbolts virtually booked a spot in the Milo Cup final even before playing the return leg on Friday.
   However, at the adjacent pitch, UniKL Young Guns had to bring out their best to edge Petaling Jaya City Council (PJCC) 2-0 to keep their hopes alive of playing in the final.
   UniKL got their goals off Maxhans Christi in the 25th minute, while the second goal was scored by Shamsul Aliff in the 58th.
   SSTMI took a 2-0 lead off Luqman Hakim (34th) and Aliff Syazwan (36th) but were shocked when their Pahang counter-parts narrowed the score off Idris Samad (44th).  But Amirul Hamizan (58th), Nik Aiman (61st) and Aliff again in the (67th)delivered for SSTMI and they look set to defend their Milo Cup title on Sunday.
    For the record, UniKL and PJCC played to a 1-1 draw in the league: "I am proud of my players because they showed great drive even though we did not have three key players today as they were out because of suspension and injuries. The bench showed that it has the strenght to contribute towards the success of the team," said UniKL coach I. Vickneswaran.
   PJCC team manager Zainal Abidin looked dejected, but said two goals is not too difficult to chase in the return leg.
   "We missed all our penalty corner chances (five in total) and this is quite unusual for my players. However, we are not giving up the final slot, as I believe my charges have the capabilities to make a comeback in the return leg," said Zainal.
    RESULTS:  Semi-finals First Leg: SSTMI Thunderbolts 5 SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 1; UniKL Young Guns 2 Petaling Jaya City Council 0.
      TOMORROW:  Semi-finals Second Leg: SSTMI Thunderbolts v SSP-MSP Thunderbolts (National Stadium Pitch I, 5.30pm); UniKL Young Guns v Petaling Jaya City Council (National Stadium Pitch II, 5.30pm).

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

World League: Malaysia 5 Singapore 0

NOTE: Malaysian men lost 6-0 to Australia national side in their Down Under Tour.

AS Expected, the Malaysian women's hockey team beat Singapore 5-0 to finish tops in Group B of the World League Round Two in New Delhi yesterday.
  After beating Kazakhstan 8-0, the Malaysian women went on to beat Russia 3-0 and then Singapore to enter the quarter-finals stage on a high.
   Malaysian will play winless Ghana in the last eight, and are expected to breeze into the semis where they are expected to face their toughest hurdle in Poland to lay their hands on one of the two tickets to the World League Semi-finals.
   For the record, the women have never qualified for the World League Semi-finals before.
   Yesterday, Fazilla Sylvester Silin started the Singapore rout with a field goal in the 24th minute, and she went on to notch a hat-trick with goals in the 32nd and 45th minutes. The other goals were scored by Rabiatul Mohamed (26th) and Nurul Mansur (41st).
    Malaysia had whacked Singapore 10-0 in WL Round One, so naturally coach Nasihin Nubli was a little worried: "We missed many scoring chances in the first quarter and our penalty corneers were also not very sharp today (yesterday). We can't afford this in the knock-out stages, so I will use the rest day before the quarters to re-drill these areas."
   The stakes are very high in New Delhi as only the finalists get another shot at qualifying for the 2016 Rio de Janeiro, while one more spot will be made available to the highest ranked team which finishes third in the World League Round Two tournaments around the world.
   "We should beat Ghana, and our likely semi-finals opponents are Poland going by the form of teams in Group A. We did play a friendly against Poland before the tournament and won 1-0, so nothing is impossible for my charges if they put their hear in the game," said Nasihin.

Pidaus the UniKL advantage...

UniKL Young Guns skipper Zul Pidaus Mizun is eager to face his former club Petaling Jaya City Council  (PJCC) in the MHC-Milo-NSC Milo Cup semi-finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil Wednesday .
  Last season, the 19-year-old skippered PJCC to a third place finish in the Milo Cup, and he is now looking to lead UniKL into the final.
  Pidaus missed out on the league encounter with his former club which ended in a 1-1 draw as he was suspended, and hopes his presence will see a better result for UniKL.
  “It was frustrating to watch the league match (against PJCC) from the stands. But here is another chance for me to go up against my former team-mates.
  “I know every player in PJCC personally and probably that can be considered as an added advantage for us," said Pidaus.
   However, it won't be easy for the university side as they will be missing the services of two key players for the first leg of the semis as Hafif Elkan is out due to injury while Norsyafiq Sumantri is suspended.
   Pidaus added: “Both of them play vital roles in the squad, so we will have to find a way to deal with the first leg without them.”
   PJCC will have their full squad, and head coach Azlansaufi Ahmad Sufian is aiming to make the final:    “They (UniKL) have a very strong squad with the backing of eight national juniors and with that stat alone it clearly shows that they have the upper hand against us.
   “However, on a positive note we held them to a 1-1 draw in the league and my players are now more confident than before and that is the plus point I hope will take us into the final."
    WEDNESDAY: Semi-finals first leg: SSTMI Thunderbolts v SSP-MSP Thunderbolts (National Stadium I, 5.30pm); Petaling Jaya City Council v UniKL Young Guns (National Stadium II, 5.30pm).

Monday, March 9, 2015

Singapore should be a breeze...

Pic: Coach Nasihin Nubli with his angels after they beat Russia 3-0.

THE Malaysian women's hockey team are poised to top Group B of the World League Round Two in New Delhi Tuesday as Singapore have shown disappointing form in the tournament.
  And the fact that Malaysia beat Singapore 10-0 enroute to becoming champions in Round One of the World League is also a strong indicator of how the match is going to end.
  Malaysia have scored a total of 11 goals in the last two matches, and look primed to meet Ghana in the quarter-finals and should have no problems reaching the semi-finals in New Delhi.
  "So far everything is going as planned as we prepare to play Singapore. Even though we have beaten them at their own backyard by a huge margin it does not mean we will take them lightly.
  "Our target here (New Delhi) is to play in the final and qualify for the WL Semi-finals for the first time," said Malaysian coach Nasihin Nubli.
  And thats why the coach will expect his players to give their best in every match: "We will play Singapore like it is the final of the tournament. This is to make sure my charges do not lose steam heading towards the knock-out. We need to sharpen our penalty corners as well as goal scoring skills and the Singapore match will not be taken lightly."
  In Group A, India should emerge as champions after they play Thailand today, and are one of the potential finalists.
   TUESDAY: Group A: Ghana v Poland; India v Thailand.
   Group B: Malaysia v Singapore; Kazakhstan v Russia.


          P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
India  2  2  0  0  15 0  6
Poland  2  1  0  1  4  3  3
Thailand  2  1   0  1  4  5  3
Ghana  2  0  0  2  1 16 0


          P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
Malaysia   2  2  0  0  11 0  6
Russia  2  1  0  1   7 3  3
Kzkhstan  2  1  0  1   4 8  3
Sgapore  2  0  0  2   0 11 0

No brotherly love between Thunderbolts..

LEAGUE champions SSTMI Thunderbolts were merciless when they romped into the semi-finals of the Milo Cup by slaughtering 1Mas Perlis 16-1 in aggregate, and now their focus shifts towards counterparts SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts Wednesday.
  On paper, the odds heavily favour SSTMI who are gunning for their fourth-consecutive MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League double.
  But SSP-MSP Thunderbolts have also shown improvement from their league days, as they beat Bukit Jalil Sports School 8-2 on aggregate to advance to the semis.
  And for the record, when SSTMI Thunderbolts met SSP-MSP Thunderbolts in the league, SSTMI could only beat them 3-1.
  "They (SSTMI) have more seasoned players compared to us and we know what to expect when we go up against them.
  "Despite being branded as the underdogs we are ready to put up a fight to earn a spot in the final,” said SSP-MSP assistant coach Madzli Ikmar, a former international.
  SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman played down the 3-1 narrow win in the league, as he prepares his side for total domination.
  “We took the league clash a little easy as it was our last fixture before the knock-out stage and we did not want to lose any players through suspension or injury for the Milo Cup.
  “At this stage I'm sure my players would be able to keep their guards up and remain focused. We may come from the same family but I can assure you that it will be a fiercely contested affair in the two-leg semis,” said Wan Roslan.
  The second semis will see last season's Milo Cup runners-up UniKL Young Guns up against Petaling Jaya City Council. PJCC and UniKL played to a 1-1 draw in the League.
  WEDNESDAY: Semi-finals first leg: SSTMI Thunderbolts v SSP-MSP Thunderbolts (National Stadium I, 5.30pm); Petaling Jaya City Council v UniKL Young Guns (National Stadium II, 5.30pm).

World League: Malaysia v Russia in FIH pictures