Thursday, March 31, 2016

Dhanraj Pillay's take on Azlan Shah Cup...

NATIONAL coach Stephen van Huizen will name his 18 players Friday, for an uphill battle in the 25th Edition of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on April 6-16.
  Four Olympic teams Australia, New Zealand, India and Canada will battle for the Silver Jubilee title alongside Pakistan, Japan and the hosts.
  For the record, Malaysia have never won gold in this home-grown tournament, and only have five silver medals (1985, 2007, 2009, 2013 and 2014) to show.
  The tournament has seen all the best teams in the world competing over the years. Australia are the regulars, while Germany, Netherlands, India, Argentina, New Zealand and South Korea are among the nations who have stood tall on the podium.
  Former India skipper Dhanraj Pillay summed up the importance of the tournament in the world Hockey calendar when he said: "An international hockey players resume is not complete if he has not played in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup."
  Dhanraj, who played in the Cup from 1989 to 1999, captained his side to two titles in 1991 and 1995.
  "This is truly a world class tournament, and every Hockey player should have played it it to claim they have done it all in the sport," said Dhanraj.
  "I was privileged to have played in this tournament from 1989 to 1999 and enjoyed all the experiences. For me, its a truly a world class event and only steps behind  the Olympics, World Cup and Champions Trophy.
  "I feel proud that Malaysia has kept the tournament going for 25 editions as it provides an opportunity for players to showcase their talents."
  Dhanraj said that he had many bitter sweet memories of the tournament but said that getting a chance to meet the late Sultan Azlan Shah was priceless.
  "Sultan Azlan will watch all the matches and plays a perfect host as he was very friendly and had the interest of hockey at heart," added Dhanraj who had also played for several teams in the Malaysian Hockey League.
  The national team went on a recent 10-match Tour in New Zealand and Australia to prepare for the Azlan Shah Cup, but are not expected to make an impact.
  They will open accounts against defending champions New Zealand on April 6.

Monday, March 28, 2016

WJHL: UniKL just want to have fun...

UNIKL Young Guns have been told by their coach R. Vivekanandan to 'have fun' in the Women's Junior Hockey League quarter-finals against Kuala Lumpur Wipers tomorrow.
  For, the experienced coach knows that his charges are not expected to beat Group B champions KL Wipers. UniKL finished fourth in Group A, barely making the quarter-finals cut.
  "We only had six days of training for this inaugural WJHL and I am very proud of my girls because they made the quarter-finals. On the other hand, KL Wipers have been training and playing together for many years and I expect them to have the upper hand.
  "That is why, I told my my charges to have fun, and don't worry too much about their much superior opponents," said Vivekanandan.
  From Group A, League champions SSTMI Thunderbolts are the team to beat. They won all six matches with convincing scores, and will play fourth played Group B team MSNT-SMKPM.
  Fourteen teams competed in the inaugural WJHL.



                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
SSTMI T'NDER    6  6  0  0  36 1  18
SOUTHERN GIRLS  6  3  1  2  12 7  10
SABAH SS        6  3  1  2  12 9  10
UNIKL           6  2  3  1  9  10 9
SELANGOR GIRLS  6  2  2  2  8  8  8
SMK ZA'ABA      6  1  1  4  4  20 4
SMK HUSSEIN ONN 6  0  0  6  1  27 0


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
KL WIPERS       6  5  1  0  35 6  16
MUTIARA IMPIAN  6  4  1  1  21 9  13
MSN KEDAH       6  4  0  2  33 13 12
MSNT-SMKPM      6  4  0  2  25 12 12
HIGHLANDERS     6  2  0  4  14 20  6
YP-MSP-PHP      6  1  0  5  9  22  3
SULTAN IBRAHIM  6  0  0  6  0  55  0

  TOMORROW: Quarter-finals: SSTMI Thunderbolts v MSNT-SMKPM (Pitch I, 6pm), Mutiara Impian v Sabah Sports School (Pitch II, 6pm), Southern Girls v MSN Kedah (Pitch I, 8pm), Kuala Lumpur Wipers v UniKL Young Guns (Pitch II, 8pm).
  FRIDAY: MSNT-SMKPM v SSTMI Thunderbolts (Pitch I, 6pm), Sabah Sports School v Mutiara Impian (Pitch II, 6pm), MSN Kedah v Southern Girls (Pitch I, 8pm), UniKL Young Guns v Kuala Lumpur Wipers (Pitch II, 8pm).

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Priceless friendlies in Changzhou...

THE Malaysian women's hockey team ended their five-match series with a 2-0 defeat to China Juniors in Changzhou Sunday.
  The closest they came to beating the China team was a 2-2 draw, but lost the other four 4-0, 2-1, 2-1 and 2-0.
  The Malaysian women's team have played in two World Leagues but always fail to progress into the Semi-Finals. Their campaign always ends at Round Two.
  "The China friendlies has shown that the team is dedicated and disciplined even though I have only had a short stint with them.
  "The girls progressed in every match after starting with a 4-0 defeat, after which, they did not let China score more than two goals in each match," said women's coach K. Dharmaraj.
  Dharmaraj's charges are preparing for the World League Round Two which Malaysia will host at the end of this year. The International Hockey Federation (FIH) have yet to confirm the dates.
  "I believe these girls have potential to move into the WL Semi-finals, and with more training matches, they can break the ceiling and move higher on the world rankings," said Dharmaraj.
  "Youngsters like Hanis Nadiah and Wan Norfaezah were fantastic here. They have the talent and tenacity required to carve a name for themselves internationally. This provides much promise for the future", added Dharmaraj.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have finally started to recognise women's hockey by hosting the inaugural Women's Junior Hockey League this season.
  And taking another step, MHC will also hold a Women's Razak Cup, alongside the men's tournament, for the first time this year. The Raja Noora Ashikin Cup will no longer be held.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

China Tour: Malaysia 2 China Juniors 2

THE Malaysian women's hockey team progressed another step when they held the China national juniors 2-2 in a fourth friendly at Changzhou Saturday.
  This came at the back of 4-0, 2-1 and 2-1 defeats, as coach K. Dharmaraj prepares his charges for the World League Round Two which Malaysia will host at the end of the year.
  China took the lead off a third minute penalty corner but Siti Shahida equalsied a minute later off a field attempt.
  China again took the lead in the 10th minute, and this time Siti Noor Amarina scored a penalty corner attempt in the 19th minute and the score stool until the end.
  Malaysia will play their fifth and final friendly today.
  "This was our best game of the series, and we missed out on a win when a beautifully crafted Siti Rahmah goal was disallowed by the match umpire.
  "We were very competitive in this match and in my opinion, we played a really good game and controlled the pitch for large spells of the match.
  "The players are beginning to believe in their abilities, shoulder-to-shoulder against what was, a only few days ago, a much superior team.
  "We had one goal disallowed, which probably would have given us the win. More importantly, the goal (a well-timed deflection) came off a brilliant reverse stick pass. We are improving, but there is still much to be done," said Dharmaraj.
  Meanwhile, Negeri Sembilan Hockey Association will conduct Open trials this Sunday from 4pm-7pm at the Seremban II Hockey Stadium to select players for the Sarawak Malaysia Games.
  Players who are below 21-years-old are encourage to attend this trials. For more information, call coach S. Chandran at 016-3157113  or NSHA secetary P. Tamilselvam at 019-3650303.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Negri Sembilan: Malaysia Games Open trials ...

Negeri Sembilan Hockey Association will conduct Open trials this Sunday (27/03/16) from 4pm to 7pm at Seremban II Hockey Stadium to select players for this year's Malaysia Games 2016 in Sarawak  .
  All players who are below 21-years-old are encourage to attend this trials.
 Please call Coach Chandran at 0163157113  or NSHA Secetary Tamilselvam at 0193650303.

Dharmaraj's women show improvement...

 WARMING UP TO Changzhou

THE National woman's senior team have played three matches against the China national juniors in Changzhou, and coach K. Dharmaraj feels his charges are gearing up well for the World League Round Two.
  The women lost 4-0, 2-1 and again 2-1 Friday; and will play two more matches in preparation for the WL which Malaysia will host at the end of the year.
  Friday, Hanis Nadiah scored off a penalty corner attempt, while in the other 2-1 defeat, Nurul Nabihah scored a field goal.
  "In the first match we lost 4-0, but it was fiercely fought, as we had four penalty corners but failed to convert while China had three corners and scored two.
  "The girls are here to learn and develop, and they did just that in the next two matches," said Dharmaraj.
  "In the second match, I fielded all my players to give them a run-in so that they could put into practice what we learned in our sessions back in Malaysia.
  "Some of them adapted to the changes quickly, while some weren't as flexible. Nevertheless, I am happy with the attitude and enthusiasm of the team."
  And on Friday's match, Dharmaraj said the team performed well and have begun to adapt to the pace and level of play.
  "The three matches have been of high standards. We have many players, like Hanis (Nadiah) for instance, who possess the potential to develop into a world class athlete.
  "We have two more matches to play and snatching a win would be great, but our focus is to improve with each match," said Dharmaraj.
  The next two matches will be played Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Sizzling hot Holla Mahala...


THE Meteorological department had predicted March 20 to be sizzling hot, but forgot to mention that they had the Holla Mahala at Kelab Aman in mind.
  The sun came out briefly, on an otherwise cool and cloudy day, to peek at about 500 participants and supporters who turned up to play a motley of games including scrabble, carom, congkak, chess, arm-wrestling, tug-a-war, soccer, hockey, netball and mini games for kids..
  Many other games like badminton, athletics and futsal had already started a week ago.
  But first lets have a look at the origin of the Holla Mahala.
  According to "Hola Mohalla" stands for "mock fight". During this festival, processions are organised in the form of army type columns accompanied by war-drums and standard-bearers and proceeding to a given spot or moving in state from one Gurdwara to another. The custom originated in the time of Guru Gobind Singh who held the first such mock fight event at Anandpur in February 1701.
  And true to the meaning, the Sikh Naujawan Sabha-organised event saw many battle-fronts being fought simultaneously and the biggest winners were the youth who turned up in great numbers to represent their Gurdwaras.
  This article will not name the various winners in each sport, but will touch on the spirit of the Games itself.
  For starters, the under-12 events were a joy to watch as Sikhs and Kaurs of every size, some athletic while some a little portly, giving their very best wearing T-shirts emblazoned with their Gurdwara names.
  Even though many of the Holla Mahala participants were not from the respective Gurdwaras they represented, it made no difference.
  Tat Khalsa, High Street, Kampung Pandan, Pulapol, Selayang, Parlimen and even Bukit Beruntung T-Shirts were proudly worn by the athletes.
  Yes, there is a Gurdwara in Bukit Beruntung, as this scribe found out after making enquiries.
  The idea, mooted by Guru Gobind Singh Ji, was the introduce a healthy sporting culture and it was evident that the Games held thousands of miles away from Anandpur Sahib were just that -- sporting and full of culture.
  But sad to say, it is being held only by Gurdwaras in the Klang Valley, while other states have yet to catch on to this great idea.
  One Sikh loudly lamented: "We have more than 40 Gurdwaras in Perak, and some are walking distance from each other. I wonder why no such games are being organised over there?"
  Right on brother.
  It is highly recommended that states which have a large Sikh population hold grand scale Holla Mahala games next year to scout for Gurdwara Cup athletes. Don't blame Klang Valley athletes if they make a clean sweep in Seremban after this.
  For, preparations for this Games started a month ago, with youth seriously training and eating right to get fit for the Big Day.
  Come rain or shine, literally, Under-21, Under-16 and Under-12 hockey boys trained at the Kelab Aman grounds for a month on Fridays from 9pm to midnight.
  Yes, ending at midnight, and reaching home at 1am only to bounce out of bed by 7am the next day for morning drills.
  The athletes, coaches, team managers, organisers, volunteers, Gurdwaras (which provided attire, food and drinks) and Kelab Aman were simply amazing in making this event a great success.
  The Games even managed to attract Sports Minister KJ, and so, all of you deserve a jaikara ... Jo Bole So Nihal... 
  Note: For over 500 pictures of the Games visit Sikh Naujawan Sabha Malaysia FaceBook.

Australia Tests: Malaysia the biggest winner...

WORLD No 1 Australia whitewashed the Three-Test series with a 4-0 win yesterday, but Malaysia were the biggest winners in the Down Under Tour.
  Australia won 7-1, 5-0 and finally the margin was reduced to 4-0 heading into the Azlan Shah Cup on April 6-16 in Ipoh.
  Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Japan and Canada will be in action in Ipoh, with four of the teams preparing for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical director, Terry Walsh, who watched the matches said: "Malaysia made some good chances in the final period of the match and have shown significant progress over the past 10 days.
  "Overall Australia were clearly too strong but when confidence was there, we had some good moments. It was a very tiring series but very good lessons were learned.
  "We turned in some good performances which is very encouraging for Malaysian hockey. The coaches and players have done well and we collectively realise that there is still work to be done."
  The team will return today and have a short break before resuming camp for the Azlan Shah Cup.
  "During the playing tour with New Zealand, South Korea and Australia we have clearly uncovered key performance areas for us to be focused upon as we progress towards qualifying for the  World Cup, Tokyo Olympics and Asian Games."

Proud day for dad Gurdip Singh..

IT WAS a proud moment for siblings Pavandip Singh and Kirandeep Kaur Gurdip Singh when they were selected for the National Under-16 Boys' and Girls' camps to be held in Ipoh alongside the Azlan Shah Cup on April 6-16.
  Pavandip, 16, and Kirandeep, 13, turned up for Kuala Lumpur in the recently concluded National Under-16 and impressed the selectors, among which was former national skipper Nor Saiful Zaini.
  "There were a number of players who showed promise in the Under-16 tournament and we have selected 30 boys (out of which five are goalkeepers) and 30 girls (four goalkeepers) to attend a training camp in Ipoh alongside the Azlan Shah Cup.
  "This is the first batch that will be groomed for the next Junior World Cup qualifier as well as the World Cup," said Nor Saiful.
  However, the players must keep improving, as those who lag will be dropped and added with fresh talent alonmg the way, added Nor Saiful.
  BOYS' -- Kamarulzaman Kamaruddin (Johor), Haridzmi Abdullah (Johor), Krishanraj Singh (Johor), Syed Lokman (Johor, GK), Pavandip Singh s/o Gurdip Singh (KL), Zulfitri Zin (Kelantan), Noor Firdaus (Kelantan), Amirul Syukri (Malacca), Muhibuddin Moharam (Malacca), Hafiz Zauri (Pahang), Arif Syafie (Pahang), Syamin Naim (Pahang), Hamiz Ahir (Pahang, GK), Faiz Danial (Penang), Solehuddin Yuzaidi (Penang), Rami Latif (Penang, GK), Amirul Hamizan (Penang), Hafizal Halmi (Perak), Danial Ahmad (Perak, GK), Akram Hakkam (Perak), Hasdar Haruna (Sabah), Clement Tsai (Sabah), Saifuddin Azli (Sabah), Granson Noel (Sabah), Faiz Aiman (Sabah), Halif Fadzly (Selangor), Helmi Fazli (Selangor, GK), Zafri Afiq (Selangor), Akhimullah Anuar (Terengganu), Syarman Mat Tee (Terengganu).
  GIRLS' -- Nur Iwana Jamaluddin (Perak), Nutafwani shukri (Perak),(Selangor), Nur Sofia Annan (Selangor, GK), Nur Izzatul (Selangor), Nur Insyirah (Selangor), Ellya Amanina (Selangor), Dayang Nuramirah (Selangor), Siti Rozailah Syuhada (Sabah, GK), Nurain Moun (Sabah), 
Iren Hussin (Sabah), Nor Asfarina Isahyifiqa (Sabah), Ennah Marin (Sabah), Nurul Faezah (Malacca), Nurul Farawahida (Malacca), Siti Zulaika (Pahang), Farah Hanim (Penang), Putri Nur Batrisyia (Penang),
Siti Nuraisyah  (Penang, GK),Nur Maizatul (Penang), Siti Nur Arfah (Penang), Siti Zalia  (Kuala Lumpur), Kirandeep Kaur d/o Gurdip Singh (Kuala Lumpur), Siti Nur Amira (Kuala Lumpur), Nur Aishah (Kuala Lumpur), Hasya Syahida (Kuala Lumpur), Nurfatin Dizana (N Sembilan), 
Hairryna Aleeza (N Sembilan), Nur Amirah Shakirah (Kedah), Nur Afiqah Syahzani (Kedah).

Monday, March 21, 2016

Second Test: Another Australian lesson...

WORLD No 1 Australia beat Malaysia 5-0 in the Second Test in Perth Monday, on the back of a 7-1 drubbing.
  The national team are preparing for the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in April 6-16, where they will face Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Canada and Japan.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical director Terry Walsh said: "Malaysia were much more competitive in this match and had two penalty corners in the second half.
 "One of which hit the post. On the offset, we had three soft goals scored against us which could have been avoided.
 "It was a much more even performance throughout the match as the players had more confidence to play passes and build out of defence.
  "However, we still make careless decisions during critical moments but are progressively getting better," said Walsh who is with the team.
  On the First Test drubbing, Walsh was more supportive of the Malaysian team.
  "The final score (1-7) was a little flattering to the Australians, but the reality is we are a only several steps behind the best team in the world.
  "Their dominance was fairly evident throughout the match. Malaysia only controlled six to seven minutes of the first quarter and small parts of the fourth quarter. 
  "The players will need to believe that they can compete against the best teams in the world. We are still developing as a team and a result like this, albeit painful, will allow us to constantly identify weaknesses in our system of play and training programmes. The objective is to keep improving, in every possible way," said Walsh.
  Third and final Test on Thursday.

Azlan Shah Cup: India selects 18..

By Hockey India

New Delhi, 21 March, 2016: Hockey India today announced the 18 member Indian Hockey team led by Sardar Singh that will take part in the 25th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia from April 6-16.
  Besides India, defending New Zealand, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, Australia, Pakistan, Japan, Canada and hosts Malaysia will be taking part in the annual tournament.
  While Sardar Singh will lead the team as Captain, SV Sunil will be supporting him as the Vice-Captain. Besides two goalkeepers- Harjot Singh and Akash Anil Chikte, the squad will have five defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Jasjit Singh Kular, Kothajit Singh, Surender Singh, Harmanpreet Singh. The midfield will be under the leadership of skillful Sardar Singh and he will be assisted by Danish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh, Manpreet Singh, S K Uthappa, Harjeet Singh. While, Vice-Captain SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah will form India’s forwardline.
  With the 2016 Rio Olympics few months down the line, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will serve has as a barometer to measure the team’s preparation for the most important sporting event of the year, the 2016 Olympic Games.
  “India has a good record in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and we would like to keep it that way. Being an Olympic year, this tournament assumes special importance as it will give us an idea where we stand. Playing against good teams like Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan and not to forget hosts Malaysia will give the team critical competition exposure. It will be a good opportunity trying out new things and new combinations in the tournament to see if they work,” said Sardar Singh, Captain of the Team
  In preparation for the tournament, the Indian men’s team is currently undergoing a training camp that started on 7 March 2016 at the SAI Centre in Bangalore.
  “The boys have been working hard as a unified unit and are geared up for the tournament ahead. Azlan Shah will be good testing ground for us right before the Rio Olympics and will be very crucial for the team. We are focused on improving the game technically and implement the right strategies.” said Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans.
  One of the concern areas of the Indian team has been the tendency to concede late goal. The team has been working on plan to eliminate this flaw.  “In the past we have conceded late goals that have taken away the games from us. We want to eliminate that particular weakness. We have been working on it for some time now, which we will be able to put to test in the tournament,” he added.
  Indian has enjoyed a good run in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup since it started as a biennial tournament in 1983 before becoming an annual affair since 1994. India has won the prestigious tournament five times in 1985, ’91, ’95, 2009 and 2010, while it earned bronze on six occasions and finished runners-up once in 2008. However, it won’t be easy for the men in blue to counter the likes of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Malaysia. Host Team Malaysia will be eager to make an impact under their new Coach Stephen van Huizen.
  The round-robin format of the tournament will help the team to get decent amount of competition exposure under its belt. It will also give them an opportunity to gauge the fitness level, since the conditions in Ipoh around this time of the year will be extremely hot and humid. The Indian team has shown considerable improvement in the fitness levels in the past couple of year.
  The Indian Men Hockey Team for the Sultan of Azlan Shah Cup:


1.     Harjot Singh
2.     Akash Anil Chikte


3.     Rupinder Pal Singh
4.     Jasjit Singh Kular
5.     Kothajit Singh
6.     Surender Singh
7.     Harmanpreet Singh


8.     Danish Mujtaba
9.     Chinglensana Singh
10.   Manpreet Singh
11.   Sardar Singh (C)
12.   S K Uthappa
13.   Harjeet Singh


14.   Talwinder Singh
15.   Mandeep Singh
16.   SV Sunil (VC)
17.   Ramandeep Singh
18.   Nikkin Thimmaiah

Dharmaraj's ladies start journey of a million miles...

NATIONAL women's coach K. Dharmaraj selected two juniors in a squad of 20 for a five-match series against the China national team in Changzhou, from Tuesday.
  He is preparing a team for Round Two of the World League which Malaysia will host at the end of the year.
  "I have just taken over the women's team but have seen great potential in the short span. The aim is to break into the next round of the World league, and I believe Malaysia can achieve it," said Dharmaraj.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Datuk Sri Subahan Kamal is determined to ensure that both the men and women are provided the best possible opportunities to develop.
  "China is one of the best teams in the world. Even their Junior Squads are formidable. We take this as an opportunity to learn and gauge ourselves after undergoing 70 days of training.
  "I am pleasantly surprised by the talent we have, but a lot of work is required if we are to progress", Dharmaraj said.
  The two juniors are defender Nurul Najah and striker Nuraslinda Said.
  WOMEN: Goalkeepers: Farah Ayuni, Mas Huzaimah; Defenders: Juliani Din, Siti Noor Amarina, Siti Shahida, Raja Norsharina, Nurul Safiqah, Nurul Najah Farhani.
  Midfielders: Nur Aisyah, Noorain Arshad, Norazlin Sumantri, Noor Hasliza, Norbaini Hashim, Fatin Shafika; Forwards: Nuraslinda Said, Wan Norfaiezah, Hanis Nadiah, Norhidayah Ahmad, Nurul Nabihah, Siti Rahmah.

National Under-16: A shambolic scam..

 TERENGGANU ...Boys champions.
CHAMPIONS ...Selangor girls and runners-up boys

THE 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 Boys' and Girls' tournament concluded on Sunday with Terengganu and Selangor winning the respective categories in a 9s tournament which saw many flaws from the very start.
  First of all, there were no schools tournaments in states leading to inter-district for fairer selection. The reason was because the Education Ministry did not have funds for hockey tournaments at schools.
  So, selections were based on who the respective coaches knew and who were on the radar of team managers and state secretaries. 
  Those who played in the Junior Hockey League (JHL) were of course more visible and picked over others who never had a chance to show their skills at schools level.
  This being an Under-16 tournament, fresh faces should have been preferred, instead of relying on the same old faces who play in the JHL, especially in Division Two.
  But states were looking for results more than a bigger pool of players, as Open trials were held, but selection were already done weeks before trials were called.
  Those who walked in for trials never had a chance in their lives to play in the National Under-16.
  Some trials were called for a period of two days, but after just one day, those who walked in were told not to turn up for the second day trials as the coach already had in mind players from last year, and players from sports schools which he wanted to pinch.
  This practise shrunk the pool for national selectors  --- 1MAS director Tai Beng Hai, Nor Saiful Zaini, Mohamed Suffian, S. Vellapan and Amin Rahim.
  This group was tasked to select boys for the Four-Nation Under-16 tournament in Mannheim, Germany, on May 13-16.
  Injustice was done to many who were not selected by states in their haphazard Open trials, and not the best in the country will now head to Mannheim.
  These are the players who will represent the country in the next Junior World Cup, provided they play well and qualify.
  The 9s tournament also did not serve the purpose it was intended for -- more goals and more open space to run and throw the ball. As players were lost playing this format for the first time.
  And a week before its start, no indepth planning was done before the 9s rules were drafted.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee had sent out forms for 15 names to be registered from the normal 18.
  All 13 boys and 13 girls teams promptly dropped one goalkeeper each -- sidelining 26 goalkeepers in a blink.
  And two more players from each state, 26 boys and 26 girls, were also left out in the cold because the MHC changed the format.
  When pointed out that a total of 26 goalkeepers and 52 players, totalling 78 overall, will not play in the National Under-16, competitions committee chairman George Koshy finally realised the folly they were heading into.
  Credit to Koshy, he immediately instructed his charges to amend the rule and sent a email to all states to save 78 boys and girls from the agony of missing out the chance of their lives.
  But still, in the end, the tournament did not serve its purpose as a selection base for raw and promising talent. It was actually a waste of time, because even the national selectors already had selected their Mannheim Four-Nation team from JHL players who they watched earlier.
  The saving grace would be if the MHC selects another two teams, one each for boys and girls, from raw and promising talent and watch them grow and fight for a spot with the Mannheim team.
  If not, might as well scrap the Under-16 it from next year's calendar.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Nat U-16: Selangor Girls and Boys in final...

SELANGOR Boys' played the game of their lives to upset Sabah 4-1 and advance to the final of the 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 hockey tournament Saturday.
  Selangor will play Terengganu for the title Sunday, after the East Coast side beat Pahang 2-1.
  Selangor Girls' also made the final after they hammered Kedah 6-1 and will play Penang.
  Selangor HA secretary P. Kuganesan was elated with his boys determination.
  "They started the match knowing well that they need a high scoring win to pip Sabah out of the final and they gave their best to achieve the target. It is not easy to socore four goals against favourites Sabah, but they achieved it with sheer determination," said Kuganesan.
  And with both the Petaling Jaya City Centre and Pandamaran pitches ready for action after years ot neglect, Selangor look like they might just gain back their glory days.
  The Selangor boys goals were scored by Halif Fadzly (10th), Zafri Afiq (27th), Rusydi Yusop (39th) and Zarreman Shamier (43rd). Sabah got their goal off Morris Ramilan in the 12th minute.
  Sabah threw away a chance to play in the final, as they started off with a better goal difference, and only needed a draw and could have even lost by a goal -- but they blew it big time.
  Meanwhile, the national seniors team were drubbed 7-1 by world no 1 Australia in their First Test yesterday.
  The Malaysian goal was scored by Marhan Jalil in the first quarter. The team will play two more Tests in preparation for the Azlan Shah Cup on April 6-16.
  RESULTS: Boys' Group X: Sabah 1 Selangor 4; Group Y: Pahang 1 Terengganu 2.
  Seventh-Ninth: Perak 2 Penang 4.
  Girls Group X: Negri 0 Penang 2; Group Y: Kedah 1 Selangor 6.
  Seventh-Ninth: Terenggnau 0 Sabah 2.
  SUNDAY: Boys' final: Selangor v Terengganu (KLHA, 6pm); Third-fourth: Sabah v Pahang (KLHA, 3pm); Fifth-Sixth: Malacca v Johor (KLHA, 8am).
   Girls' final: Penang v Selangor (KLHA, 4.30pm); Third-fourth: Malacca v Kuala Lumpur (MOE, 3pm); Fifth-Sixth: Negri v Kedah (MOE, 8am).
  NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) at Jalan Pantai.

Friday, March 18, 2016

Nat U-16: Sabah Boys on song..

Pic: Sabah HA secretary Avtar Singh

SABAH Boys demolished Malacca 5-2 in Group X of the 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 tournament to claim the favourites tag Friday.
  Sabah will now face Selangor, who lost 2-1 to Malacca on Thursday, to decide their fate. A win or a draw will see Sabah play in the final, but if Selangor wins big, they will advance on goals difference.
  In the Boys Group Y, Terengganu and Pahang will battle for a ticket to the finalSaturday, while the Girls Group X and Y champions will be decided in the final group matches.
  Sabah HA secretary Avtar Singh said: "We finished fifth last year with these same set of players, and I believe we will be able to beat Selangor and play in the final."
  Sabah have been very active for the last three years and results have started to show, as their girls and boys teams in the Junior Hockey League were also impressive.
  "We have the facilities and coaches in place now, and these (Under-16 and JHL players) are the first set of players to emerge from our development programmes. Hopefully in a few years time, we will have a few players in the national senior and junior sides," said Avtar.
  Sabah got their goals off Faiz Aiman (13th),  Saifuddin Azli (21st, 43rd), Muhajir Rauf (40th, 45th). The Malacca goals were scored by Muhibuddin Moharam (18th, 50th).
  RESULTS: Boys Group X: Malacca 2 Sabah 5; Group Y: Johor 2 Pahang 3.
  Seventh-Ninth: Kuala Lumpur 0 Perak 1; 10th-11th: Kelantan 2 Perlis 0; 12th-13th: Kedah 2 Negri 7.
  Girls Group X: Malacca 2 Negri 1; Group Y: Kuala Lumpur 4 Kedah 2.
  Seventh-Ninth: Johor 0 Terengganu 1; 10th-11th: Perak 3 Pahang 2.
  TODAY: Boys' Group X: Sabah v Selangor (KLHA, 4.15pm); Group Y: Pahang v Terengganu (KLHA, 5.30pm).
  Seventh-Ninth: Perak v Penang (MOE, 7.30am).
  Girls Group X: Negri v Penang (MOE, 4.15pm); Group Y: Kedah v Selangor (MOE, 5.30pm).
  Seventh-Ninth: Terenggnau v Sabah (KLHA, 7.30am).
  NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) at Jalan Pantai.

Malacca edge Selangor 2-1

MALACCA Boys placed a foot in the final of the 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 tournament when they edged Selangor 2-1 in Group X yesterday.
  Malacca play Sabah today, and a win would see them claim the final ticket. Selangor play Sabah on Saturday.
  Yesterday, Muhibuddin Moharam's brace in the 15th and 29th minutes gave them the full points, while the Selangor goal was scored by 
Zarreman Shamier in the 17th minute.
  Malacca coach Norhamezi Omar said: "Selangor gave us a good fight especially towards the last 10 minutes of the match but my players held on to the slim lead.
 "We play Sabah next, who are the favourites in Group X, and I believe it will be another uphill battle but my boys are determined to play in the final and will give their best."
  RESULTS: Boys' Group X: Selangor 1 Malacca 2; Group Y: Terengganu 4 Johor 2.
  Seventh-Ninth: Penang 3 Kuala Lumpur 1; 10th-13th: Kelantan 5 Kedah 1, Negri 1 Perlis 2.
  GIRLS' Group X: Penang 2 Malacca 0; Group Y: Selangor 1 Kuala Lumpur 1.
  Seventh-Ninth: Sabah 8 Johor 0; 10th-13th: Perak 6 Perlis 0, Pahang 5 Kelantan 1.
  TODAY: Boys Group X: Malacca v Sabah (KLHA, 4.15pm); Group Y: Johor v Pahang (KLHA, 5.45pm).
  Seventh-Ninth: Kuala Lumpur v Perak (MOE, 7.30am); 10th-11th: Kelantan v Perlis (KLHA, 3pm); 12th-13th: Kedah v Negri (MOE, 3pm).
  Girls Group X: Malacca v Negri (MOE, 4.15pm), Kuala Lumpur v Kedah (MOE, 5.45pm).
  Seventh-Ninth: Johor v Terengganu (KLHA, 7.30am); 10th-11th: Perak v Pahang (KLHA, 8.45pm)
  NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) at Jalan Pantai.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Nat U-16: Selangor Boys' edge Negri 2-1

SELANGOR Boys' edged Negri Sembilan 2-1 in the 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 hockey tournament to top Group C entering into the Second Round Thursday.
  Six teams each from the Girls' and Boys' tournament, top-two teams from each of the three groups, were re-drawn for Round Two yesterday.
  They will play two more matches each in Group X and Y, and the champions of each group will then play in the final, while the runners-up in third-fourth placing.
  RESULTS: Boys' Group C: Kelantan 1 Perak 2, Selangor 2 Negri 1.
  Girls' Group C: Perak 0 Penang 3, Sabah 4 Pahang 1.
  Second Round: Boys Group X: Selangor, Sabah, Malacca; Group Y: Pahang, Terengganu, Johor.
  Girls Group X: Negri, Malacca, Penang; Group Y: Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Kedah.
  THURSDAY: Boys' Group X: Selangor v Malacca (KLHA, 4.15pm); Group Y: Terengganu v Johor (KLHA, 5.30pm).
  Seventh-Ninth: Penang v Kuala Lumpur (MOE, 7.30am); 10th-13th: Kelantan v Kedah (KLHA, 3pm), Negri v Perlis (MOE, 3pm).
  GIRLS' Group X: Penang v Malacca (MOE, 4.15pm); Group Y: Selangor v Kuala Lumpur (MOE, 5.30pm).
  Seventh-Ninth: Sabah v Johor (KLHA, 7.30am); 10th-13th: Perak v Perlis (KLHA, 8.45am), Pahang v Kelantan (MOE, 8.45pm).
  NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) stadiums at Jalan Pantai.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Nat U-16: Negri Girls' in Round Two

NEGRI Sembilan Girls beat Kuala Lumpur 2-1 to qualify for Round Two from Group B of the 1MAS-Milo Under-16 hockey tournament Tuesday.
  Negri topped the group, and KL also qualified by finishing second.
  From Group A, Selangor and Malacca made Round Two, while Penang and Kedah made the grade from Group C.
  In the Boys' matches, teams which qualified for Round Two are, Sabah and Pahang from Group A, Terengganu and Malacca from Group B, and from Group C only Johor have qualified while Perak and Selangor will battle for the other slot Wednesday.
  RESULTS: BOYS' Group A: Pahang 6 Kedah 0, Sabah 2 Penang 1; Malacca 1 Terengganu 3, Kuala Lumpur 1 Perlis 0; Group C: Selangor 0 Johor 1; Negri 2 Perak 3.
  GIRLS' Group A: Johor 0 Malacca 1, Selangor 8 Perlis 0; Group B: Kelantan 1 Terengganu 6, Kuala Lumpur 1 Negri 2; Group C: Pahang 1 Penang 4, Sabah 1 Kedah 2.
  WEDNESDAY: Boys' Group C: Kelantan v Perak (MOE, 4pm), Selangor v Negri (KLHA, 4pm).
  Girls' Group C: Perak v Penang (MOE, 7.30am), Sabah v Pahang (KLHA, 7.30am).
  NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) stadiums at Jalan Pantai.

Australia Tests next....

AFTER playing six Test matches in New Zealand, the Malaysian senior team landed in Perth Tuesday for another four matches in preparation of the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on April 6-16.
  In New Zealand, Malaysia played four Test matches against the Kiwis and lost two (4-1 and 4-2), won one (3-2) and drew one (0-0).
  And in the two Test matches against South Korea, Malaysia won 2-1 and drew 3-3.
  In Perth, coach Stephen van Huizen's team will play three Test matches against the Australian side. However, the will warm up agaisnt Western Australian Institute of Sports on Thursday, before the Test matches on 19, 21 and 24 March.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical director Terry Walsh believes this is a good opportunity to gauge Malaysia's physiological development against arguably the best team in the world.
  "We have put in a lot of work but are still nowhere near the pinnacle of our development plan, but the progress has been extremely encouraging.
  "It will be interesting to see how we fare against Australia especially after playing six very tough matches in NZ", he said.

Monday, March 14, 2016

JHL: Season of promise...

File Pic: BJSS' Arif Sabron attempt to score a goal as he is challenged by Olak's Mohamad Amirul Akmal in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League match at Tun Razak.

THIS season's Junior Hockey League (JHL) showed promise, as there were six quality teams, and the quarter-finals onwards showcased quality matches.
  And the domination of teams under the Tenaga Nasional Thunderbolts programme saw a meteoriate rise in certain teams, especially TNB Cup champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS).
  BJSS was the team to beat in the early 2000s, as collected an impressive seven League titles (2003, '04, '05, '06, '07, '08 and '09) and five Overall titles (2004, '05, '07, '08, '09) but after that, Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) took over the reigns.
  For the record, SSTMI won six League (2011, '12, '13, '14, '15, '16) and four Overall titles (2012, '13, '14, '15).
  BJSS were the whipping boys of the JHL when SSTMI took over, but just four months under the Thunderbolts programme run by ex-internationals employed by Tenaga Nasional, the sports school beat SSTMI 4-3 to lift a long-awaited TNB Cup title.
  And the fact that BJSS were down 1-3, and rose to the challenge to lift the title, shows the boys have character.
  Toast of the final was Arif Sabron, who scored four goals for BJSS, a historic feat which was a first by any player in a JHL final since its inception in 1995.
  Arif had 16 goals to his name before the start of the final, and the top-scorer at the moment was Hafiizhuddin Zaidi on 19 goals. But Arif's four saw him leapfrog to the top.
  The six teams which had quality players were SSTMI Thunderbolts, BJSS Thunderbolts, SSP-MSP Thunderbolts, Anderson Thunderbolts, UniKL Young Guns and BJSS Juniors.
  BJSS Juniors and Anderson are from Division Two, but will play in the higher division next season.
  Anderson can also be consider at the fairy-tale of the season, as they topped Group B, then won the Division Two play-off to qualify for Division One next year, and then became the first Division Two team in the JHL to advance to the semi-finals of the TNB Cup.
  Others before this could not clear the quarter-finals stage.
  Interestingly, only three Anderson players will be overage next season, and the Ipoh school will be among the teams to be watched.
  The most disappointing team of the season title went to UniKL Young Guns, who were just floating along, and even though they finished third in Division One, were bundled out of the TNB Cup quarter-finals by Division Two's Anderson.
   And with the Thunderbolts programme in the picture, regular JHL teams like UniKL, Petaling Jaya City Council and Old La Sallians Association of Klang are expected to face a troubled season next year, because they lack funding and expert coaches to rise to the Tenaga Nasional challenge.

Nat U-16: KL Girls' check into Round Two

KUALA Lumpur Girls' became the first team from Group B to qualify for Round Two of the 1Mas-Milo National Under-16 hockey tournament.
  The KL Girls play Negri Sembilan Tuesday, and its Negri's golden chance to advance as well, because if they can't win, all they need to do is keep the losing score low.
  Yesterday, KL beat Terengganu 3-1, while Negri Sembilan hammered Kelantan 8-1.
  KL have six points from two matches, while Negri have a draw and a win to be placed second in Group B. Terengganu, one point, and Kelantan, 0 points, are the other teams in the group.
  RESULTS: BOYS': Group A: Sabah 9 Kedah 0, Penang 2 Pahang 1; Group B: Kuala Lumpur 1 Terengganu 2, Perlis 0 Malacca 2; Group C: Negri 1 Kelantan 5, Perak 3 Johor 0.
  GIRLS': Group A: Malacca 2 Selangor 4, Johor 6 Perlis 0; Group B: Kelantan 1 Negri 8, Terengganu 1 Kuala Lumpur 3; Group C: Kedah 6 Pahang 1, Perak 0 Sabah 3.
  TUESDAY: BOYS' Group A: Pahang v Kedah (MOE, 3pm), Sabah v Penang (KLHA, 3pm); Malacca v Terengganu (MOE, 4.15pm), Kuala Lumpur v Perlis (KLHA, 4.15pm); Group C: Selangor v Johor (MOE, 5.30pm), Negri v Perak (KLHA, 5.30pm).
  GIRLS' Group A: Johor v Malacca (MOE, 8.45am), Selangor v Perlis (KLHA, 8.45am); Group B: Kelantan v Terengganu (MOE, 10am), Kuala Lumpur v Negri (KLHA, 10am); Group C: Pahang v Penang (KLHA, 7.30am), Sabah v Kedah (KLHA, 7.30am).
  WEDNESDAY: Boys' Group C: Kelantan v Perak (MOE, 4pm), Selangor v Negri (KLHA, 4pm).
  Girls' Group C: Perak v Penang (MOE, 7.30am), Sabah v Pahang (KLHA, 7.30am).
  NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) stadiums at Jalan Pantai.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Arif Sabron! Arif Sabron!, Arif Sabron! Arif Sabron!

BUKIT Jalil Sports School Thunderbolts' (BJSS) Arif Sabron scored four goals to single-handedly beat Sekolah Sukan Tunku Mahkota Ismail (SSTMI) Thunderbolts 4-3 in the TNB Cup finals at the national stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
  Staring with a total 16 goals to his name, Arif Sabron also ended as the Junior Hockey League's top scorer with a total of 20 goals.
  Yesterday, Arif Sabron delivered two field and two penalty corner goals to deny STMI their fifth consecutive double.
  For the record, BJSS last won the TNB Cup in 2009 when they beat Bandar Penawar Sports School, which is now called SSTMI.
  "This is a very proud moment for BJSS and credit is due to the entire team for playing as a unit and never giving up even though they were down 1-3 at one point.
  "Arif Sabron's four goals were precious, and he deserved credit, for he has been consistent the entire season," said BJSS team manager K. Rajan.
  The match exploded in the dying minutes of the first half, when SSTMI's Akhimullah Anuar scored a field goal in the 34th minute.
  After the break, Luqman Hakim made it 2-0 with a 43rd minute strike.
  But just after the re-start, BJSS narrowed the gap to 2-1 with Arif Sabron scoring in the 44th minute.
  However, Arif Syafie gave SSTMI breathing space with a quick strike in the 46th minute for a two-goal cushion.
  BJSS refused to cave in, and Arif Sabron scored his second penalty corner goal in the 57th minute to lit the come-back fire.
  Arif Sabron then nailed his hat-trick, in the 62nd minute, and this time if was off a field attempt to tie to score at 3-3.
  And after after that, Arif Sabron delivered yet again with a penalty forner rebound in the 69th minute for his fourth goal of the match and it also made him the top scorer of the tournament with a total of 20 goals.
  Meanwhile, SSTMI-Thunderbolts edged Anderson Thunderbolts 2-1 in shoot-out after regulation time ended 2-2.
  Idris Samad scored a brace for SSP-MSP in the 17th, 58th minutes, but Anderson came back strongly in the second half to draw the match with goals from Nur Syahmi Zulkifli (40th) and Azrai Aizad (55th).
  However the Ipoh school, which rose from Division One, lost in shoot-out due to inexperience. SSP-MSP received RM15,000 while Anderson RM10,000.
  Meanwhile, the national seniors squad held South Korea 3-3 in the Second Test in Auckland yesterday with goals from Nik Aiman (fourth,51st) and Haziq Samsul (35th) In the First Test, Malaysia won 2-1. The team will now head for Australia for four more matches against the World No 1. 
  ROLL-OF-HONOUR -- Best Player: Alif Syazwan (SSTMI Thunderbolts) (RM1,500); Man-of-the-Match: Akhimullah Anuar (BJSS Thunderbolts) (RM1,500); Best Goalkeeper: Hafiz Ali (SSP-MSP Thunderbolts) (RM1,500); Top-Scorer: Arif Sabron (BJSS Thunderbolts, 20 goals) (RM1,500); Fair-Play: SSTMI Juniors (RM3,000).
  RESULTS: TNB CUP Final: SSTMI 3 BJSS 4; Third-Fourth: Anderson 2 SSP-MSP 2 (SSP-MSP win 2-1 in shoot-out).

NAT U-16: Selangor Boys continue to impress...

SELANGOR Boys' continued their winning ways in the 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 hockey tournament when they beat Kelantan 2-0 in Group C Sunday.
  In the curtain raiser, the Selangor Boys had beaten Perak 8-3. 
  The Selangor goals were scord by their skipper Zafri Afiq in the 15th and 33rd minutes. 
  RESULTS -- BOYS': Group C: Johor 3 Negri 0, Kelantan 0 Selangor 2.
  GIRLS': Group C: Pahang 1 Perak 3, Penang 4 Kedah 1.
  MONDAY: BOYS': Group A: Sabah v Kedah (MOE, 3pm), Penang v Pahang (KLHA, 3pm); Group B: Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu (MOE, 4.25am), Perlis v Malacca (KLHA, 3.15pm); Group C: Negri v Kelantan (MOE, 5.30pm), Perak v Johor (KLHA, 5.30pm).
  GIRLS': Group A: Malacca v Selangor (MOE, 7.30am), Johor v Perlis (KLHA, 7.30am); Group B: Kelantan v Negri (8.45am, MOE), Terengganu v Kuala Lumpur (KLHA, 8.45am); Group C: Kedah v Pahang (MOE, 10am), Perak v Sabah (KLHA, 10am).
  NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) stadiums at Jalan Pantai.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

MILO U-16: Selangor Boys and Girls off to good starts..

SELANGOR Boys' got of to a super start in the 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 hockey tournament when they hammered Perak 8-3.
  The Selangor Girls' were also impressive as they beat Johor 4-1.
  Kuala Lumpur Boys' suffered a shock 1-0 defeat in the hands of Malacca, while the City Girls' played much better to hammer Kelantan 9-0.
  Alif Salehhin gave Selangor the lead in the second minute itself, but Perak equalised off their skipper Fahmi Khalid in the eight minute and took the lead off Ariff Aiman in the 20th minute while Syazwan Syafiq scored their third goal in the 27th minute.
  But a seven-goal blitz from  Halif Fadzly (22nd, 50th), Zafri Afiq Azlan (26th, 34th, 37th, 38th), Asrullah bin Rohaizat (48th) saw them win comfortably.
  The 9s format is being played 25 minutes each half.
  RESULTS: BOYS' -- Group A: Pahang 2 Sabah 1, Kedah 0 Penang 5; Group B: Terengganu 3 Perlis 1, Malacca 1 Kuala Lumpur 0; Group C: Perak 3 Selangor 8, Johor 5 Kelantan 1.
  GIRLS' -- Group A: Selangor 4 Johor 1, Perlis 0 Malacca 9; Group B: Negri 2 Terengganu 2, Kuala Lumpur 9 Kelantan 0; Group C: Penang 3 Sabah 2, Kedah 2 Perak 0.
  TODAY -- BOYS': Group C: Johor v Negri (MOE, 8,45am), Kelantan v Selangor (8,45am, KLHA).
  GIRLS': Group C: Pahang v Perak (MOE,7.30am), Penang v Kedah (KLHA, 7.30am).
  TOMORROW: BOYS': Group A: Sabah v Kedah (MOE, 3pm), penang v pahang (KLHA, 3pm); Group B: Kuala Lumpur v Terengganu (MOE, 4.25am), Perlis v Malacca (KLHA, 3.15pm); Group C: Negri v Kelantan (MOE, 5.30pm), Perak v Johor (KLHA, 5.30pm).
  GIRLS': Group A: Malacca v Selangor (MOE, 7.30am), Johor v Perlis (KLHA, 7.30am); Group B: Kelantan v Negri (8.45am, MOE), Terengganu v Kuala Lumpur (KLHA, 8.45am); Group C: Kedah v Pahang (MOE, 10am), Perak v Sabah (KLHA, 10am).
  NOTE: All matches at Ministry of Education (MOE) and Kuala Lumpur HA (KLHA) stadiums at Jalan Pantai.

TNB Cup final: BJSS gunning to regain glory

SSTMI Thunderbolts will be gunning for their fifth straight double, while BJSS will be trying to regain their old glory in the TNB Cup final at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil Sunday.
   Both the teams last met in the 2009 Overall title clash, and BJSS were champions after a penalty shoot-out.
  But after that BJSS sank into the abyss, and only resurfaced this season, as SSTMI stole the limelight with convincing wins.
  However, this season SSTMI look a little out of shape, while BJSS has stronger side on paper.
  In the League, the SSTMI-BJSS clash went to the wire as the score was 6-5, and SSTMI stole the win in the 70th minute off a  Luqman Hakim penalty corner.
  BJSS have a hockey 'Messi' in their fold in Hafiizhuddin Zaidi -- who has scored a total of 19 field goals. Every season the top-scorer always scored the majority of the goals off penalty corners, but Hafiizhuddin has been deadly in field attempts.
  BJSS also have Arif Sabron, 13 goals and third on the scoring list, and he has also been amazing as he scored 12 field and one off a penalty corner rebound.
  As for SSTMI, their goal-getter has been Akhimullah Anuar on 10 goals. None were field and one off a penalty corner.
  BJSS team manager K. Rajan said: "I believe my players are ready to lay their hands on the trophy after a long absence as they have showed progress in every match. In the league clash, we were unlucky not to have won the match which we controlled."
  SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman was modest about his chances.
  "We have not been very impressive this season, and did just enough to win the League title and reach the TNB Cup final.
  "But now that we are within touching distance of the trophy, I believe we are good for our fifth conseutive double."
  Which ever team wins, Tenaga Nasional's Thunderbolts programme will emerge as the biggest winner this season, as all four semi-finals were under their Thunderbolts stable.
  SUNDAY: TNB CUP Final: SSTMI v BJSS (8.30pm); Third-Fourth: Anderson v SSP-MSP (5.45pm).
  Note: Both matches at Pitch II of the National Hockey Stadium.

RM2.1 million for Azlan Shah Cup

SULTAN Nazrin Shah yesterday received a total of RM2.1 million in sponsorship for the Azlan Shah Cup which will be held in Ipoh on APril 6-16.
  Among the sponsors were Yayasan Sultan Azlan Shah (RM300,000), ASTRO (RM350,000) and various Perak State agencies (RM650,000).
  In the Silver Jubilee of the tournament, Malaysia will be up against world No 1 Australia, defending champions New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Canada and Japan.
 Four of the teams; Australia, India, Canada and New Zealand, have qualified for the Rio de Janeiro Olympics.
  The national team are currently on a 10-test tour of Australia and New Zealand. In New Zealand, they lost two (4-2, 4-1) drew one (0-0) and won one (3-2) against the Kiwis.
  Yesterday, they beat South Korea 2-1, after trailing 0-1.
  Kim Juhun scored for South Korea in the seventh minute, while Shahril Saabah equalised off a 49th minute penalty corner and Ramadhan Rosli nailed the winner off a 55th minute penalty corner.
  National seniors coach Stephen van Huizen said: "It was a solid win, especially as the team came back from 1-0 down at half time.
  "We had problems with the dry surface in the first half as a number of skill errors were observed which included a crucial turnover resulting in a break away goal".
  Malaysia played a well composed game as they restricted the Koreans to just two shots at goal, and two penalty corners. The national team had five penalty corners and two were converted into goals.
  "Like Malaysia, Korea are in the process of rebuilding and they have a young and disciplined team. We are pleased with the result, but there is still a lot more to do," van Huizen said.

Friday, March 11, 2016


RESULTS -- Semi-finals, second leg: BJSS Thunderbolts 3 Anderson Thunderbolts 4.
  (BJSS win on 8-7 aggregate)
  SSTMI Thunderbolts 3 SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts 2.
  (SSTMI win on 5-2 aggregate).

DIVISION Two outfit Anderson Thunderbolts almost created an upset when they beat BJSS Thunderbolts 4-3 in the second leg semi-finals of the TNB Cup, but lost out on aggregate.
  BJSS, who beat the Ipoh school 5-3 in the first leg, advanced to the final on 8-7 aggregate.
  They will play SSTMI Thunderbolts for the TNB Cup Sunday, and for the record, SSTMI will be going for their fifth consecutive double while BJSS last won the title in 2009.
  SSTMI were also taken to the wire when SSP-MSP Thunderolts gave them little room, and could only edge the Temerloh school 3-2, to advance on 5-2 aggregate.
  Hafiizhuddin Zaidi saved the day for BJSS by scoring two crucial goals (20th, 38th) to take his total to 19 field goals in the Junior Hockey League.
  Anderson were 0-3 down by the 38th minute, when Rahimi Rosley was on target in the 37th minute, but Anderson put up a gallant fight to win 4-3 after a rain-delay break.
  The Anderson goals were scored by Azrai Aizad (46th), Azrul Hariez (52nd) and Fuad Zaquan (68th, 69th).
   BJSS coach Lokman Yahaya paid tribute to Anderson's fighting spirit.
   "We had the game in our hand for a comfortable win but Anderson put up a great fight to win the game. We were lucky to have a two-goal cushion from the first leg," said Lokman.
  And for the final: "We need to be sharper during penalty corners as we won seven against Anderson but only scored one. However, it is a great feeling to be back in the final of the TNB Cup after such a long absence."
    SUNDAY: TNB CUP Final: SSTMI v BJSS (8.30pm); Third-Fourth: Anderson v SSP-MSP (5.45pm).
  Note: Both matches at Pitch II of the National Hockey Stadium.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

SSTMI warming up to fifth consecutive double...

SSTMI Thunderbolts Akhimullah Anuar Essok (centre) in action against SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts during the TNBMJHL Cup 2016 first-leg semi-final match which was played at the National Hockey Stadium, in Bukti Jalil on Wednesday. SSTMI won 2-0.

SSTMI Thunderbolts will take a step closer towards their fifth consecutive Junior Hockey League double when they play SSP-MSP Thunderbolts in the second leg semi-finals of the TNB Cup Friday.
  SSTMI, who already have claimed their sixth League title this season, take a two-goal advantage after winning 2-0 in the first leg.
  In the other semi-finals, BJSS Thunderbolts also hold a two-goal advantage over Anderson Thunderbolts whom they beat 5-3 in the first leg.
  SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman said the focus will be on his own team, and not their opponent's flaws.
  "I cannot say for sure what Pahang has planned, but they will definitely try to overturn the deficit with more aggressive play. All I can do is to make sure my team is well prepared.
  "We must be more clinical in the second leg, and cannot waste any scoring chances like we did many times in the first leg," said Wan Roslan.
  BJSS will be relying on their ace striker Hafiizhuddin Zaidi who is the tournament top-scorer with 17 field goals to his name.
  Their nemesis in Anderson is Azrai Aizad, who has scored a total of 15 goals, 12 field and three off penalty corners.
  BJSS coach Lokman Yahaya is not happy with his team's lack of focus in the early stages which saw them go 2-0 down in 11 minutes, and will likely be aiming to play a tighter defence when they meet Anderson again today.
  "We now know what works and what does not against Anderson, and will be making adjustments for the second leg. After coming this far, we aim to reach the final," said Lokman.    Meanwhile, the national seniors ended their four test series with New Zealand on a 0-0 draw in Tauranga Thursday. Malaysia lost two Tests (4-1 and 4-2), won one (3-2) and drew one.
  The team will now move to Auckland to play two Test matches against South Korea.
  FRIDAY -- Semi-finals, second leg: BJSS Thunderbolts (5) v Anderson Thunderbolts (3) (National Stadium Pitch II, 5pm), SSTMI Thunderbolts (2) v SSP-MSP-Thunderbolts (0) (National Stadium Pitch II, 7pm).
  Note: First leg scores in parenthesis.

Tauranga 4th Test: Mas 0 NZ 0

Hockey New Zealand News/ 
Photo: Planet Hockey

THE Black Sticks battled out a goalless draw with Malaysia in the fourth and final test at Blake Park in Tauranga.
  Both sides played a strong defensive game which allowed very few opportunities in the attacking circle.
  The result sees the Black Sticks take out the four Test series with two wins (4-1 and 4-2), one loss (2-3) and a draw (0-0).
  Head coach Colin Batch said it was a frustrating game on attack but the way his side defended was pleasing.
  “It was pretty tough to find a goal out there tonight, we only got one penalty corner all game so that was a bit disappointing,” Batch said.
   “It was pleasing we created some chances towards the end and it would’ve been nice to get a late winner and finish with another win but it wasn’t to be.
   “This was the type of game we need to get better at – when we’re defending well and not creating much we have to find ways to do more on attack and find space.”
   The first half which was highlighted by several crucial saves from New Zealand goalkeeper Kyle Pontifex.
   Malaysia created the best chance of the half in the second quarter after earning a penalty corner, with Pontifex making a super save diving low to his right.
  The Black Sticks earned a lone penalty corner in the third period thanks to some impressive lead up play from Simon Child, but Nic Woods’ drag flick was well defended.
  The Black Sticks now head north to prepare for four Tests against South Korea from 16-20 March at Lloyd Elsmore Hockey Stadium.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

TNB CUP Semis, First Leg: BJSS 5 Anderson 3

LEAGUE champions SSTMI Thunderbolts edged SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 2-0 in the first leg semi-finals of the TNB Cup at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
  And at the Azlan Shah Stadium, BJSS Thunderbolts came back from being two goals down to beat Anderson Thunderbolts 5-3.
  The return leg will be on Friday, and both the semi-finals are still open affairs.
  For STMI, the goals were scored by Akhimullah Anuar (48th) and Aliff Syazwan (51st).
  "We were guilty of missing too many sitters and I believe SSP-MSP will make a strong comeback in the return leg. However, I believe my players are game for their fifth consecutive JHL double," said SSTMI coach Wan Roslan Rahman.
  As for BJSS, coach K. Rajan attributed the win to a strong personality.
  "We were guilty of missing too many chances in the frist haf, but my players kept calm and rose to the occassion in the second half. We need to play consistently in both halves of the return leg to make sure our final ticket," said Rajan.
   RESULTS -- TNB CUP Semi-finals, first leg: Anderson Thunderbolts 3 BJSS Thunderbolts 5, SSTMI Thunderbolts 2 SSP-MSP Thunderbolts 0.
  FRIDAY -- TNB CUP Semi-finals, second leg: BJSS Thunderbolts v Anderson Thunderbolts (National Stadium Pitch II, 5pm), SSP-MSSP Thunderbolts v SSTMI Thunderbolts (National Stadium Pitch II, 7pm).

Third Test: NZ 4 Malaysia 2

Malaysia lost their Third Test 4-2 to New Zealand in Tauranga Wednesday.
  The national players were beaten 4-2 in the First Test, but won the Second Test 3-2. They will play their final match against the Kiwis Thursday before heading for to Auckland to play two Test matches against South Korea.
   Fitri Saari and Rashid Baharom were on target for Malaysia.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation technical director Terry Walsh watched the match and said the scoreline did not reflect the game.
  "NZ dominated the first quarter and scored a goal after two minutes. We made many careless errors and were nervy in our disposition. It was a positive decision by the coaches to switch strategies.
  "This allowed Malaysia control in the second half of the match. The players had a better mentality and approach in the last two quarters, which is one of the positives to take away from the match", said Walsh.
  "The goal is to keep developing. We believe this defeat provides many lessons and look forward to the last Test match with great enthusiasm. The matches have been of great quality, which is extremely good for player and team development".

Monday, March 7, 2016

Selangor Under-16 Boys' and Girls' selection at MBPJ Stadium

Koshy clears Under-16 confusion...

Pic: George Koshy

THE National Under-16 Boys' and Girls' tournament will be played on a 9s format this year, and teams are allowed to register 18 players but only 16 can play in a match.
  The tournament will be held at the Kuala Lumpur HA grounds on March 12-20.
  Earlier, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee had only allowed 15 players to be registered for the 9s tournament, however, they changed it to 18 yesterday after taking into account that 84 players from 14 states each for the boys and girls teams, will not get a chance to play in the age-group tournament.
  "We had sent out entries stating that only 15 can be registered per-team but after discussing with the stake-holders, we have changed the rules to accommodate more players.
  "The intention of the tournament is to expose as many players as possible, and not to deny anybody a chance to represent their state," clarified coaching committee chairman George Koshy.
  The 9s format will be used for the first time in an under-16 tournament to give more playing time, as well as more goals to make it exciting.
  "The 9s format will see more substitution and this will allow as many players as possible to play in a match. Also, it will be more exciting if more goals are scored in a match," said Koshy.
  Earlier there was some confusion on selection when only 15 players could be registered as many states started dropping the second goalkeeper.
  However, as news reached the states that 18 players can be registered, two goalkeepers were promptly selected per team, saving 28 goalkeepers from both the Boys' and Girls' events the fate of not playing in the Under-16 this season.

Tauranga 2nd Test: Malaysia 3 NZ 2

THE national seniors team bounced back from a 4-1 hammering to beat New Zealand 3-2 in the second Test in Tauranga Thursday.
  Razie Rahim, who scored in the first Test, delivered two more penalty corner goals while the third was scored by Joel van Huizen.
  Coach Stephen van Huizen said: "We started off really well as Razie scored a goal in the second minute and we pretty much had the match under our control."
  MHC Technical Director Terry Walsh believes the result indicates that the team is getting stronger, both physically and mentally.
  "They never went behind and always held a lead. NZ is not an easy team, and they are in the midst of preparation for the Rio Olympics. So to beat a team ranked higher in an environment favourable to them, clearly states that the players are now beginning to develop a sense of confidence about their ability", Terry added.
  Malaysia will play their Third Test against NZ on Wednesday.

By Hockey New Zealand

Malaysia have levelled the four test series with a 3-2 win over the Black Sticks Men in tonight’s second test at Blake Park in Tauranga.
   After coming away convincing 4-1 winners in yesterday’s opener, the Black Sticks couldn’t slow the resurgent visitors who were never behind on the scoreboard.
  Despite the result, it was a special milestone for Capital Cobras striker Blair Hilton who earned his 150th international cap.
  Head coach Colin Batch said it was a disappointing result and performance.
  “It was a very disappointing game for us. We were looking to play four good matches and as we have seen in the past we’ve had a good result and then not performed the next game,” Batch said.
  “At 2-2 we had some momentum and it was disappointing we allowed them to come back into the game with too many rushed and emotional decisions in defence. We need to improve greatly around overcoming those situations.”
  The opening quarter saw another slow start for the Black Sticks with Malaysia enjoying the majority of possession and earning a penalty corner in just the second minute. Captain Razie Rahim put his flick into the back of the goal to give the visitors an early advantage.
  The Black Sticks built some momentum in the second quarter and the pressure told in the 21st minute when they were awarded a stroke, which Hugo Inglis calmly slotted to level the score.
  With the game locked up 1-1 at half time, it was Malaysia who were next to strike when Joel van Huizen found himself in the right spot to knock in an aerial cross in the circle.
  Eight minutes from full time defender Cory Bennett created some magic to equalise again, pouncing on his own penalty corner deflection to put the ball into the roof of the net on his reverse stick.
  But Malaysia silenced the crowd in the 55th minute when Rahim scored his second goal of the game with another penalty corner flick which sealed the result.
  The Black Sticks have a rest day tomorrow ahead of the third test against Malaysia on Wednesday at 6pm.

BLACK STICKS 2: (Hugo Inglis, Cory Bennett)
MALAYSIA 3: (Razie Rahim 2, Joel van Huizen)
Halftime: 1-1