Thursday, May 31, 2018

Difficult time in Jakarta ..

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian men's hockey team is far from ready to claim their maiden gold at the Jakarta Asian Games on Aug 16-Sept 2.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) set a lofty target for coach Stephen van Huzien and his men, to become automatic qualifiers for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  For the record, Malaysia last played at the Sydney 2000 Olympics.
  Judging by Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and the ongoing Six-Test matches against Argentina, Malaysia are in for a fight of their lives in Jakarta.
  At the Commonwealth Games, Malaysia lost 7-0 to England, lost to India 2-1 and drew 1-1 with Pakistan. They could only beat Scotland 2-1, and Wales 3-0 to finish fifth.
  And in the ongoing Argentina Tests, Malaysia lost all four (1-0, 6-1, 7-2, 2-1) and will play two more matches in the next few days.
  One of the weak department is goalkeeping, as the gap between No 1 S. Kumar and Hairi Rahman is huge.
  In the fourth Test, it was 1-1 until the fourth quarter: "We substituted Kumar to allow Hairi to play in the the last quarter and we were careless to concede an early penalty corner within 17 secs and they scored of a set-piece. We kept fighting to the end but couldn't get the equaliser. However, it was a much improved performance.," said van Huizen.
   When asked is the goalkeeping department is a problematic area when Kumar is on the bench, van Huizens said: "I think the other goalkeepers have improved and need more matches to progress further in decision making during matches.
  "Hairi and Hafiz (Hafizuddin Othman, third goalkeeper) have done reasonably well when Kumar was out (on a six-month doping ban) and we will continue to give them as many matches and exposure as possible.
  "The goals we conceded here even when Kumar was playing is not entirely the goalkeepers' fault but also the defence and team as a whole."
  So what is the problem in Argentina?
  "The matches are tough and the tempo, skill level, physical strength and standard makes it hard for our players.
  "Their ability to switch quickly and counter attack as well as their combination means that any error in marking or hesitation means they create goals coring chances. They have also scored some good penalty corner goals right at the top corner."
  Today, Malaysia will play their Fifth Test against the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympians, who are blooding 10 new players in the series.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Eight Olympians in Argies Tests...

KUALA LUMPUR: Argentina have named only eight Olympians for the six friendly matches against Malaysia in Buenos Aires.

Stephen Van Huizen’s side are using the stint to prepare for the Jakarta Asian Games in August, where his team hope to win the gold medal and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Malaysia and Argentina will play the first friendly on Friday.
"I saw several Argentina players, who played at the 2016 Rio Olympics, during breakfast at our hotel, including goalkeeper (Juan) Vivaldi. However I am not sure how may Olympians will be fielded against us tomorrow," said Van Huizen.
Argentina, the reigning Olympic champions, have also included 10 players with not more than 65 caps for the matches as stated on the International Hockey Federation (FIH) website.
The Olympians in the squad are Vivaldi, Juan Gilardi (152 caps), Perdro Ibarra (152), Matias Paredes (319), Juan Lopez (250), Lucas Rossi (199), Joaquin Menini (87) and Isidoro Ibarra (28).
Penalty corner specialist Gonzalo Peillat, who played for Terengganu Hockey Team in the recent Malaysia Hockey League, is not in the Argentina squad.
In the recent Azlan Shah Cup, Malaysia upset Argentina 2-1 in the pool round but lost 3-2 to the South Americans in the third-four classification match.
The first official match between both teams ended in a 1-1 draw at the 1968 Mexico Olympics.
"My players are slowly getting over the jet-lag and should be ready for their first match. We came here with a mission to improve our game.
"We need these matches to prepare for the Asian Games," said Van Huzien.
For the record, Malaysia last qualified for the Olympics in 2000.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Now for Asian Games bronze...

COOL HEAD: Farah Ayuni Yahya.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women hockey team ended fourth, but Farah Ayuni Yahya was named as the Best Goalkeeper in the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) in Donghae, South Korea, on Sunday.
  It was her second back-to-back recognition, as she was also awarded as the Best Goalkeeper in the ACT in Singapore two years back -- even though Malaysia ended last among five teams.
  The policewoman has been instrumental in the rise of women's hockey in Malaysia, and was at the centre of attention when she helped score a sensational 2-1 win over higher-ranked Italy in a sudden-death shoot-out to join Ireland in qualifying for the World League Semi-Finals at the women’s Hockey WL Round Two in Kuala Lumpur.
  Malaysia had held Italy 2-2 then, and in the shoot-out, goalkeeper Farah made super saves to take Malaysian women into their first ever World League Semifinals.
  Coach Dharmaraj's charges will next play in the Jakarta Asian Games, and Farah will be expected keep the score low again.
  The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) have yet release the fixtures, but ten teams, in two groups, will play at the Asian Games,  .
  The ten are hosts Indonesia, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, China, India, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Kazahkstan.
  Malaysia should have no problems against Indonesia, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Kazakhstan -- going by the standard displayed at the ACT where they beat a half-strength Japan 3-2, and narrowly lost to China (3-1), South Korea (3-1) and India (3-2) in the pool. In the bronze match, China could only win 2-0.
  And the mission in Jakarta is to win bronze, an achievement last seen at the 1982 New Delhi Games.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal had said in February that he believes with all the support given by MHC to to the women's team, they are good for bronze even though their Asian ranking is fifth.
  And if Malaysia do win bronze in Jakarta, it would be partly because of our strength between the posts -- Farah.
  "She has always been an asset for Malaysia in any tournament because of her daring saves which motivates the entire team. And in the Asian Games in Jakarta, we will need her to pull off upsets against higher ranked sides.
  "The MHC has set us a bronze target in Jakarta, and I believe my players are up to it. We have a fighting chance, and we will fight for the medal," said Dharmaraj.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Malaysian women narrow gap in Asia

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women's hockey team finished fourth in the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae, SOuth Korea, yesterday.
  Coach K. Dharmaraj's charges lost to world No 8 China 2-0 in the bronze battle, but gained much for the future.
  China took the lead in the 14th minute and then when Malaysia were down one player due to a yellow card infringement, they increased the lead in the 53rd minute.
  "There is nothing to be ashamed of but everything to be proud of because we played against World Cup teams in Donghae, except for Japan who did not bring their best," said Dharmaraj.
  Five teams played in Donghae, and only Malaysia were the odd one out as they did not qualify for the World Cup in England on July 21-Aug 5.
  "Considering that we played against teams who are preparing for the World Cup, I believe my charges did not disappoint the nation by finishing fourth.
  "My charges paced China all the way until we were down one player when Amirah (Nur Amirah Shakirah) was flashed the yellow card and satout for five minutes.
  "That is when China took advantage and scored their second goal while we could not go forward to find the equalsier.
  "We have learnt much from this tournament and I believe we will trouble all these teams again in the Asian Games (in Jakarta)," said Dharmaraj.
  The Malaysian women lost narrowly in Donghae and beat Japan 3-2 in the pool. 
  The had lost to India (3-2), South Korea (3-1) and China (3-1) earlier.
   Hosts South Korea beat India 1-0 for the gold medal.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Dharmaraj's charges meet China for bronze

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women's hockey team will play China for bronze in the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) in Donghae, South Korea, Sunday.
  This is a repeat of the 2013 ACT in Kakamigahara, Japan, and back then Malaysia beat China 3-1 to finish third.
  However in Korea, Malaysia lost to China 3-1 in the pool match, but that is not going to stop coach K. Dharmaraj's women from dreaming big again.
  Malaysia are ranked 22nd in the world while China eighth, while in Asia its China number two and Malaysia number five.
  And in Asia, Malaysia are the only active hockey nation which did not qualify for the women's World Cup -- while China, India, South Korea and Japan will be playing in England on July 21-Aug 5.
  "All my players have shown strong commitment in the ACT and even though the rest of the teams are higher ranked than us in Asia as well as in the world, we still gave them a fright or two.
  "And in the battle for bronze, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. We played China in the pool and know what t expect from them. It will be a tough game which can go either way," said Dharmaraj.
  He has been coaching the women's team for more than two years and his charges have shown tremendous improvement.
  In Donghae, Malaysia beat Japan 3-2 and lost narrowly to India (3-2) and South Korea (3-1).
  "The young players which I included for the ACT have shown potential, and I believe will be assets in the near future."
  Dharmaraj took a brave stand to select 18-year-olds Nur Maizatulhanim Syafi and Nor Asfarina Isahyifika for the ACT after both impressed him in the recent Asian Hockey 5s Youth Olympics Qualifier in Bangkok, Thailand.
  And they repaid his faith, by blending in well with the seniors in Donghae.
  South Korea and India will play for the gold.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Dharmaraj embraces plan to host World Cup

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia played the waiting game on rest day in the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae, South Korea, Friday while coach K. Dharmaraj pondered about the future of his charges.
  The Malaysian women's hockey team has closed the gap with their Asian counterparts and are no longer punching bags for India, China, South Korea and Japan.
  Dharmaraj's charges, ranked 22nd in the world and fifth in Asia, gave a tough fight to all four teams in the ongoing ACT, and if China beats Japan  Saturday -- Malaysia will play for the bronze medal.
  India and South Korea have qualified for the finals.
  Malaysia started with 3-1 defeat to South Korea, lost to India 3-2, beat Japan 3-2 and lost to China 3-1.  
  "The margin of defeat is very close and I believe we have narrowed the gap with our Asian counterparts. Everybody here, India, China, Korea and Japan coaches feel we are the team to watch after being 'whipping boys' for more than 20 years," said Dharmaraj.
  And all the teams have brought their best players: "Every team here came with their World Cup squad except Japan who have three players in the Netherlands League and another five back home.
  "In 2016 ACT we also beat Japan who brought their full squad, and this indicated consistency."
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Thursday announced that they are planning to bid for the 2022 women's and men's World Cups and Dharmaraj embraced the news with open arms.
  Infact, the coach who had rebuilt the women's squad from ashes inside two-and-a-half years even said that his charges could be groomed to finish 7th or 8th if Malaysia host it in 2022.
  "It's easier to move up in women's hockey than the men's and if we get to host the 2022 World Cup, it would be dream come true for our ladies (who have yet to play at that level).
  "That is the right booost for us to prepare for the next four years instead of going through the pressure of trying to qualify. 
  "With proper planning, we can finish 7th or 8th as hosts," said Dharmaraj.
  This prediction came from a coach who trained a bunch of no hopers, and took them to a silver medal finish at the Kuala Lumpur World League Round Two last year.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Fazilla now a Fire Superintendent

Fazilla, right.

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's midfielder Fazilla Sylvester Silin scored another goal when she graduated as a Fire Superintendent with the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia yesterday.
  The 30-year-old from Sarawak has played for Malaysia in three Commonwealth Games (2010, 2014 and 2018) and coach K. Dharmaraj only had praise for her.
  "She is one amazing las who has exceptional fighting spirit in whatever she makes up her mind to do. I am the least surprised, and very proud of her, for achieving this milestone in her life," said Dharmaraj after his charges lost narrowly 3-2 to India in the Women's Asian Champions Trophy in Donghue, South Korea, yesterday.
  Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHC) deputy president Datuk Dr S. Shamala said: "The Malaysian women’s hockey team has very special players and each with their own special ways! One of them is most definitely Fazilla Sylvester more fondly known as Zilla.
  "She has sacrificed a great deal the nation, and thanks to the Fire and Rescue Department of Malaysia who has been very supportive and instrumental in allowing Zilla to represent malaysia at the recent Commonwealth Games."

MHC keen to host both World Cups in 2022

From Left: Terry Walsh, Stephen van Huizen, Subahan Kamal, Shamala.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia are keen to host the 2022 men's and women's hockey World Cups.
  This was revealed by Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal Thursday.
  Subahan said the confidence to bid arose because the International Hockey Federation (FIH) approached Malaysia to host the final of the Hockey Series, which is a qualifier for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  "I will meet members of the MHC Executive Board soon to get their approval to host the Hockey Series finals in Kuala Lumpur next year.
  "And I will also put forward to the EB the idea to host both the men's and women's World Cups which will be held in 2022.
  "I have spoken to Terry Walsh (Technical Director) on these matters, and if the EB approves, we will officially write to the FIH on our intention to host both the World Cups."
  Malaysia last hosted the men's World Cup in 2002 and finished eighth among 16 teams.
  "And if this plan becomes a reality, our women will experience playing in the World Cup for the first time.
  "I believe Malaysia will have no problems hosting both the World Cups, and I also believe our men's and women's teams will be ready to put up a good challenge by then," said Subahan.
  Meanwhile, national coach Stephen van Huizen yesterday released the names of 20 players who would head for Argentina to play in a series of friendlies on May 25-June 2.
  Van Huizen included No 1 goalkeeper S. Kuamar who has served his six months FIH ban for being tested positive with sibutramine during the Asia Cup in Dhaka last year.
  "Kumar has been training very hard since the ban was lifted, and that's one of the reasons I believe he should be given a chance to play in the Argentina friendlies," said van Huzien.

Malaysian women give India a fright

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian women's team gave India a run for their money before losing 3-2 in the Asian Champions Trophy (ACT) in Donghae, South Korea, Thursday.
  Now, they will have to wait for the China-Japan match Saturday to see if they have a chance of playing in the third-fourth bracket.
  The ACT is played in a pool of five teams, and Malaysia has three points as they had beaten Japan 3-2.
  Japan are at the bottom of the pool with only one point.
  Yesterday, Gurjit Kaur (17th), Vandana Katariya (33rd) and  Lalremsiami (40th) scored for India, and Malaysia's super fight-back came from Nuraini Rashid (36th) and Hanis Nadiah Onn (48th) 
  For the record, Malaysia are ranked 22nd in the world while India are number 10th.
  "We went into the match knowing India's strength and had to rely on counter-attacks to trouble them. And I am proud to say that we did cut down their domination for long periods in the match.
  "Now, we have to wait for the China-Japan match (today) to see if we will be playing in the third-fourth or end fifth in this tournament.
  "And we have a good chance to play in the higher bracket, because it wil not be easy for Japan to beat China."

Monday, May 14, 2018

Malaysia stand proud..

KUALA LUMPUR: Coach K. Dharmaraj's women held their heads high even though they lost 3-1 to world number eight China in the Asian Champions Trophy in Donghae, South Korea, Monday.
  Malaysia, ranked 22nd, will now play Japan on Wednesday.
  Hanis Nadia Onn scored for Malaysia in the 22nd minute while the China goals came off Zhang Jinrong (third), Li Hong (20th) and Cui Qiuxia (53rd).
  Dharmaraj was pleased with his charges, who gave world beaters China a great fight.
  "Our opponent is among the top teams in Asia (silver medal in the 2017 Asia Cup) and ranked much higher than us. And so, my charges exceeded my expectations and I am very happy to see their progress," said Dharmaraj.
  Malaysia were down 2-0 but still fought back to score, and China's third goal came off a penalty stroke.
  "In the fourth quarter, skipper Siti (Noor Amarina Ruhani) made a rough tackle and China asked for a video referral which resulted in a penalty stroke. We had a good chance to narrow the gap, but missed a penalty corner attempt.
  "We play Japan next after a days rest and I expect it to be another tough encounter."
  Japan held South Korea 1-1 Monday, while Malaysia had lost to the Koreans 3-1 in the curtain raiser.

Malaysian Tigress lose opener

By Jugjet Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Skuad hoki wanita negara tewas 3-1 kepada Korea Selatan pada perlawanan pertama Trofi Juara-Juara Asia di Donghae, Korea Selatan (Ahad).
  Jaringan pertama skuad negara disumbangkan oleh Nurul Nabihah Mansur minit ke-32, namun Korea Selatan berjaya menyamakan kedudukan dua minit kemudian.
 Korea terus mengukuhkan kedudukan dengan menambah dua gol lagi menerusi Kim Hyunji minit ke-43 dan Kim Bomi (m-55).
 Esok, skuad negara akan bertemu China.
 "Kami mendahului 1-0 pada suku ketiga tetapi Korea Selatan menjadikan kedudukan 2-1 selepas menyempurnakan dua pukulan sudut penalti.
 "Pada suku keempat kami berjaya meraih pukulan sudut penalti tetapi terkena tiang gol. Korea berjaya menambah gol ketiga selepas itu.
 "Pemain beraksi dengan baik sepanjang perlawanan. Bagi saya yang penting ialah mereka dapat memberikan saingan," kata ketua jurulatih, Muhammad Dhaarma Raj Abdullah.
 Mengenai perlawanan dengan China, Dhaarma berkata: "China sangat kuat seperti pasukan lain yang membariskan pemain terbaik untuk ke Piala Dunia.
 "China tidak beraksi hari ini, jadi adalah sangat baik sekiranya pemain saya dapat mempamerkan aksi yang sama seperti ketika bertemu Korea," katanya.
 Satu lagi perlawanan menyaksikan India menewaskan Jepun 4-1.

Monday, May 7, 2018

JHL: The Good, Bad and UGLY...

 SSTMI won the men's TNB CUP.
PENANG won the women's aTNB CUP.

By Jugjet Singh


KUALA LUMPUR: The Junior Hockey League (JHL) ended with a bang on Sunday, but together with the good there were also the bad and the very ugly on display.
  Lets start with the ugly.
  A team official picked a fight with a Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical official, who was on duty, and then went on to make a police report accusing the MHC official of many silly things.
  The team official was let off with a warning, but he ruined the good name of his team.
  Then the bad.
  Some teams have been competing in the JHL for decades, but still could not get it right but keep on harping on their past records while doing nothing to improve the current situation.
  Owners of these kind of clubs need to break free from these officials, and hire new blood if they want to become present champions or play in the knock-out stage more consistently. 
  If not, they can forever bask in their past glory, while other teams leave them miles behind.
  Thankfully, good was plenty.
  Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts, Anderson Thunderbolts, Pahang Sports School (AHP-SSP) Thunderbolts and SMK Datuk Bentara Luar-UniKL (SMKDBL-UNIKL-PHJ) -- to name a few.
  SSTMI lifted their seventh Overall JHL title, Anderson finished second in the League for the first time, Pahang made back-to-back TNB Cup finals and Datuk Bentara Luar became the team to watch next season.
  Datuk Bentara Luar, from Batu Pahat, beat Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolts 2-1 in the quarter-finals -- to deny a Thunderbolts monopoly in the semifinals.
  Datuk Bentara started as a Division Two outfit in 2013, and gained promotion to Division One in 2016 when they finished second behind Nur Insafi.
  With funding from Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) Datuk Bentara ended eighth in 2016, sixth in 2017 but were knocked out of the quarter-finals by SSTMI Thunderbolts with a 5-0 hammering.
   And with solid financial and coaching backing from UniKL, Datuk Bentara Luar will again be expected to break Thunderbolts' monopoly in the JHL next season.
  The best news this season was undoubtedly SSTMI's backbone Akhimullah Anuar Esook's consistency.
  He top-scored with 18 goals, last year it was 17, while in 2016 when he was only 16 he scored 11 goals. And in the recent Asian Youth Olympics Qualifier in Bangkok he scored 16 goals to become tournament top-scorer. 
   And Akhimullah can still play for SSTMI next year.
   Teams which want to excel in the near future, take the good and sack the bad and ugly from their management team. Or, forever live in the past.

Sunday, May 6, 2018

TNB CUP: SSTMI and Penang champions

KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts beat Pahang Sports School (AHP-SSP) Thunderbolts 4-0 to lift the men's Junior Hockey League (JHL) TNB Cup Sunday.
  And as promised on the eve of the final, Akhimullah Anuar Esook scored in his third consecutive finals for SSTMI. Akhimullah delivered in the 25th and 34th minutes, after Izham Azhar opened scoring in the 23rd minute. The other goal was scored by Amirul Hamizan Azahar in the 52nd minute. 
  Wearing jersey No 10, the lanky Akhimullah has also scored in the 2016 and 2017 finals, and became the JHL top-scorer with 18 goals for the second consecutive year.
  Last year, he top-scored with 17 goals.
  And in the recent Bangkok Asian Youth Olympics Qualifier, a five-a-side tournament, Akhimullah scored 16 goals to hand Malaysia the silver and a ticket to the Buenos Aires, Argentina, Youth Olympics on Oct 6-18.
  In the women's TNB Cup final, a solitary goal from Nurmaizatul Hanim Syafi in the 23rd minute was enough for Penang side MSSPP-PSHA to beat Kuala Lumpur's WIPERS-KLSS.
  Penang women's coach Leo Vincey, when asked what's the magic, said: "No magic, just hard work and unity which saw my players win the TNB Cup."
  Except for one girl, the rest of the players are all from Mutiara Impian School in Penang.
  "This is a long term effort from the school, as well as the management of the team. Three of my girls were also good enough to be selected for the Bangkok Asian Youth Olympics Qualifier (where Malaysian women finished third) and the good news is that all my players are also eligible to play in next year's JHL, as they are 18 and below right now," said seasoned coach Leo Vincey.
  RESULTS -- TNB CUP Final: Men -- Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts 4 Pahang Sports School (AHP-SSP) Thunderbolts 0.
   Women -- Penang (MSSPP-PSHA) 1 Kuala Lumpur (WIPERS-KLSS) 0.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

JHL: SSTMI can bet on Akhimullah

PIC: Akhimullah

KUALA LUMPUR: Akhimullah Anuar Esook will be playing in his third consecutive TNB Cup final Sunday, and Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts can bet on him to score.
  For, the 18-year-old lanky lad scored in the final for SSTMI in 2016 as well as in 2017 and this season, he is the top-scorer with 16 goals.
  STMI will be in battle with Pahang Sports School (AHP-SSP) Thunderbolts in a repeat final, with the odds heavily favouring Akhimullah and his mates.
  In 2017, SSTMI beat AHP-SSP 4-3 on shoot-out after a 2-2 draw during regulation time, while in the 2016 final, Bukit Jalil Sports School beat SSTMI 4-3.
  "I will be playing in my third consecutive final with SSTMI and I believe I will not disappoint my school. I scored in both the previous finals, and is experienced enough to handle the final pressure," said Akhimullah.
  He is a budding player for the nation as well, as he scored 16 goals in the recent Asian Youth Olympics Qualifier in Bangkok to become tournament top-scorer.
  He is no stranger to goals, as three years ago as a 16-year-old, he scored 11 goals in the JHL, and last year was the top-scorer on 17 goals.
  "I always give my best in any match, and with help from my team-mates, I have been able to deliver the goals," said Akhimullah.
  AHP-SSP coach Sufian Mohamad played down his team's chances.
  "We lost to SSTMI 5-0 in the League (Akhimullah scored two goals), and I believe it will be uphill again in the final. We will go in as the underdogs," said Sufian.
  SUNDAY: TNB CUP FINAL -- Men: AHP-SSP-Thunderbolts v SSTMI Thunderbolts (National Stadium II, 6.30pm).
  Women: MSSPP-PSHA v WIPERS-KLSS (National Stadium II, 4.00pm).

Friday, May 4, 2018

JHL: SSTMI v Pahang SS repeat final

KUALA LUMPUR: Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thunderbolts will play in a repeat final against AHP-SSP-Thunderbolts for the TNB Cup in the Junior Hokey League tomorrow (Sunday).
  SSTMI beat SMK Datuk Bentara Luar-UniKL 3-1, while Pahang Sports School (AHP-SSP) Thunderbolts beat Anderson Thunderbolts 4-1 in the other semi-finals yesterday.
  And last season, the final went to shoot-out after both teams were tied 2-2, with SSTMI winning 4-3.
  Pahang SS coach Sufian Mohamad said Bangkok Asian Olympic Qualifier hero Noor Firdaus Rosdi was the toast of the match.
  "Firdaus, who was named as the Best Player in the Bangkok qualifier, delivered for us with a hat-trick, and that gave us some breathing space," said Sufian.
  Firdaus scored in the 27th, 55th and 59th minutes, while Syawal Abd Razak delivered the other Pahang goal in the 39th minute.
  Syazwan Syafiq Basir scored for Anderson in the 51st minute.
  SSTMI got their goals off Izzuan Ismail (11th), Arif Syafie Ishak (37th) and Fitri Khairul Ariffin (52nd). The Datuk Bentara consolation was delivered by Faiq Nazwan Azhar (55th).
  Anderson team manager M. Kaliswaran said: "We let in two early goals and had no choice but to chase back by opening up the match, but we kept missing sitters while Pahang punished us further in counter-attacks."
  However, Kaliswaran praised his charges who finished second in the League and managed to reach the semi-finals as well.
  "We had a very good team and I expected them to reach the final, but they panicked after letting in two goals. But the end result is still good, as we finsihed second in the League as well."
  RESULTS -- TNB Cup Semi-finals: AHP-SSP-Thunderbolts 4 Anderson Thunderbolts 1, SSTMI Thunderbolts 3 SMKDBL-UNIKL-PHJ 1.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Rayuan Fadzil didengari

PRESIDEN MHC, Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal.

KUALA LUMPUR: Ahmad Fadzil Zainal yang pernah beraksi dalam dua temasya Sukan Olimpik kini boleh menarik nafas lega selepas usahanya untuk mendapatkan bantuan bagi pembedahan pintasan jantung menemui jalan penyelesaian dengan Konfederasi Hoki Malaysia (MHC) turut menawarkan untuk membantu bekas penjaga gol skuad hoki negara itu.
Fadzil menjalani pemeriksaan di Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) baru-baru ini sebelum mendapati ada tiga halangan di saluran jantungnya.
Beliau kemudian menjalani prosedur angioplasty tetapi tidak berjaya dan memerlukan RM40,000 untuk menjalani pembedahan pintasan jantung.
Fadzil sudah mendapatkan bantuan Yayasan Kebajikan Atlet Kebangsaan (YAKEB) yang berjanji untuk menyumbang RM20,000.
Yayasan Hoki Malaysia turut memberi jaminan untuk memberikan sumbangan baki RM20,000 lagi.
"Saya bercakap dengan Ahmad dan beliau beritahu saya YAKEB sedia memberi sumbangan RM20,000 sementara Yayasan Hoki juga memberi jaminan untuk memberi sumbangan baki sejumlah RM20,000 lagi.
"Saya akan menemuinya secara peribadi apabila beliau kembali menjalani pemeriksaan di IJN minggu depan dan kemudian melihat apa yang boleh MHC bantu," kata Presiden MHC, Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal hari ini.
Fadzil mewakili Malaysia selama 14 tahun dari 1978 hingga 1992 yang menyaksikannya beraksi pada Piala Dunia 1982 di Bombay, Sukan Olimpik Los Angeles 1984 dan Sukan Olimpik Barcelona 1992 selain tiga Sukan Asia (1982, 1986 dan 1990).
Sementara itu, Fadzil berkata: "Saya tidak bekerja dan tidak mempunyai wang untuk menjalani pembedahan. Saya juga menjaga ayah yang tidak begitu sihat."

JHL SEMIFINALS: Final push for Cikgu Shahabudin

KUALA LUMPUR: Cikgu Shahabudin Royani is looking for a double celebration from SMK Datuk Bentara Luar-UniKL players in the semi-finals of the TNB Cup Friday.
  For, it is his birthday today (Thursday), and the 54-year-old Datuk Bentara team manager will be opting out on early retirement from the teaching profession in June.
  However, he has made a tall order, as his charges face League champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) Thudnerbolts in the last four.
  The other semi-finals will be between Anderson Thunderbolts and Pahang's AHP-SSP Thunderbolts.
  Datuk Bentara Luar, from Batu Pahat, beat Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) Thunderbolts 2-1 in the quarter-finals -- to deny a Thunderbolts monopoly in the semifinals.
  "I know it will not be an easy match as we face mighty SSTMI tomorrow (Friday). But I know my players will give their best for an upset, and even if they do not win, I expect them to fight like champions till the very end.
  "That is all I am asking from them as a birthday as well as a retirement gift," said Shahabudin.
  It's because of dedicated teachers like Shahabudin, that hockey in the country is the most respectable team sport.
  Datuk Bentara started as a Division Two outfit in 2013, and gained promotion to Division One in 2016 when they finished second behind Nur Insafi.
  With funding from Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) Datuk Bentara ended eighth in 2016, sixth in 2017 but were knocked out of the quarter-finals by SSTMI Thunderbolts with a 5-0 hammering.
  "This is the second time we will be playing in the knock-out TNB Cup, and our first semi-finals appearance. Coincidentally we were also paired against SSTMI in the quarter-finals last season.
  "This year, we lost to them 4-0 in the League, but that score is no excuse to play badly in the semis," said Shahabudin.
  While it will be uphill for Datuk Bentara, Anderson Thunderbolts and AHP-SSP Thunderbolts will be a clsoely contested encounter.
  FRIDAY: Semi-finals: Anderson Thunderbolts v AHP-SSP Thunderbolts (National Stadium, 4pm), SSTMI Thunderbolts v SMKDBL-UNIKL-PHJ (National Stadium, 6.30pm).