Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Malaysia 55+ beat Italy 3-1

MALAYSIA 55+: Surinder Singh (left) in action against Italy.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team beat Italy 3-1 in Group C of the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  It was their third consecutive win, and their last group match is against Germany Wednesday.
  Currently, the 55+ have qualified for the quarter-finals, but according to team captain Sarjit Singh, they will go all out to beat Germany.
  "Even though we had qualified for the quarter-finals before entering the pitch against Italy, we never let it get into our heads.
  "And it will be the same against Germany, we will try to beat them to keep a clean record before planning for the knock-out," said Sarjit.
  Italy took the lead, but two field goals from Derek Fidelis and a penalty stroke from Raymond Tio handed Malaysia full points.
  However, the 45+ Malaysian team suffered their second defeat in Group B when they lost 7-2 to Germany, and will play Spain Wednesday. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Malaysia 55+ beat Argentina for quarters..

 THE 55+ Malaysian team
SKIPPER: Sarjit Singh exchanging mementos with Argentina skipper before the match, Malaysia won 2-0.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team beat Argentina 2-0 Monday to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  The team, coached by Olympian Sarjit Singh, had earlier beaten Ireland 9-0. They qualified for the knock-out stage with two matches in hand against Italy Tuesday and Germany Wednesday -- to try and top the group.
  V.  Chandrasegar (45th) and Derek Fidelis (51st) scored for Malaysia.
  "We achieved our target of playing in the quarter-finals and now we need to keep the momentum in the next two games to top the group.
  "We missed too many sitters against Argentina, and need to improve not only at the group stage, but to get it right in the semicircle during the knock-out as well," said Sarjit Singh, who was former national skipper.
   Malaysia are also competing in the 45+ event, and after a 2-1 win over Scotland they lost 3-0 to France.
  The 45+ play Germany next to decide their fate.

Finally -- a draw for Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian men's hockey team finally shared the spoils with Australia A, when they drew 2-2 in Perth Monday.
  However, it came at the back of three 3-2, 4-2 and 3-0 defeats, and the national side will play their last friendly on Wednesday.
  The team is in Perth for their final Asian Games preparation, and the scores are still not encouraging enough as coach Stephen van Huzien and his men have been targeted to win gold in Jakarta and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  Yesterday, Australia A took the lead in the eighth minute, and Fazial Shaari equalsied in the 21st while Razie Rahim gave Malaysia the lead off a 52nd minute penalty corner.
  However, with four minutes to end, Australia A scored to share points. Malaysia only had two penalty corners in the match, while Australia A had five.
  Van Huzien said: "The game was tight and close and we did create some good chances and showed clever individual skills but lacked in the final touch.
  "In the end, it was either poor finishing, not sharp enough, or the ball was saved by goalkeeper."
   As an example, van Huizen said: "We had a good chance towards the end with a breakaway (counter-attack) but the final execution was not good enough."
  The good part of the game with excellent invividual skills was displayed by striker Faizal.
  "We scored the equalsier when a long pass from Razie found Faisal in the semi-circle and he dummied the goalkeeper to go down, and hit into goal," said van Huizen.
  After three defeats and a draw, Malaysia will surely be looking for a winning end on Wednesday.
  For the record, Australia A is made up of state as well as retired players trying to break into the national World No 1 side.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Dharmaraj's women seal series 3-0

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysain women's hockey squad won the five-series friendlies 3-0 when they beat Queensland 3-2 Sunday.
  Queensland are the Australian Women's League champions, but they played without five of their best who are representing Australia in the ongoing World Cup in London.
  Malaysia started with 1-1 and 2-2 draws before winning 3-1, 2-1 and 3-2.
  The team is preparing for the Jakarta Asian Games where they are in Group A with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Japan and China are playing in the World Cup right now.
  Yesterday, Malaysia took a 2-0 lead, but were tied at 2-2 by the fourth quarter. Nuraini Rashid scored two goals, while Raja Norsharina scored the other.
  "Even though we lost a 2-0 lead, but still, I saw progress in their game since they arrived here. And with this series win, I believe we are ready to give our best in the Asian Games," said Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj.
  "Two years ago when we wanted to compete in the Australian women's league we were advised to play in Division Two because there were fears that we would be thrashed.
  "And today, even though they did not have their national players, we managed to win the series agaisnt the Australian champions," said Dharmaraj.

Back against the wall in cold Perth

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's back will be against the wall when they play provincial side Australia A in the fourth friendly in Perth Monday.
  For, coach Stephen van Huizen's men had lost the first three 3-2, 4-2 and 3-0 and can't afford any slip-ups in the remaining two matches.
  Malaysia are targeted to win gold in the Jakarta Asian Games, and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but their performance in Australia has been anything but good.
  And since in Jakarta they will be playing Thailand at 12 noon and Bangladesh at 2pm, the training stint in cold Perth will have to be reversed with a hot schedule upon their return.
  Malaysia are in Group B and the other teams are Pakistan, Oman and Indonesia.
  "Yes, I am aware that we will be playing two mid-day matches in Jakarta and so have planned for morning and lunchtime training when we return from Perth," said van Huzien.
  In Perth, it is now 14-17 degrees Celsius.
  On the previous three defeats, van Huizen feels even though they are playing Australia A and not the World No 1 side, they have not been up against easy opponents.
  "Australia A is made up of players who are trying to break into the main squad as well as players who are trying to make a comeback after retirement.
  "So, they give their best to impress selectors and I expect the remaining three matches to be just as tough."

Malaysia 45+ lose to France

The Malaysian veterans 45+ team lost 3-0 to France at the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  After a 2-1 win Over Scotland, the veterans found France to be a tough nut to crack, as they wasted too many sitters.
  They will meet Germany next on Tuesday.
  Team manager Manjit Majid Abdullah said: "Even though France was a strong side, but we also had many chances to score but the strikers fumbled inside the semi-circle.
  "We play Germany next and I expect another difficult match."
   Malaysia is also playing in the 55+ event, and after a 9-0 win over Ireland, the team will meet Argentina on Monday.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Masters World Cup: Malaysian teams start well..

KUALA LUMPUR: Both the Malaysian veterans teams got off to a great start in the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  The 45+ team beat Scotland 2-1, while the 55+ team hammered Ireland 9-0.
  In the 45+ tournament, Malaysia are grouped with Germany, Spain, France and Scotland; while in the 55+ tournament Malaysia are with Argentina, Germany, Ireland and Italy.
  Team manager Manjit Majid Abdullah said: "In the 45+ match, we missed numerous scoring chances and it was a hard-fought win. However, in the 55+ we totally dominated and outclassed Ireland in every department.
  "Sarjit Singh (former Olympian) marshalled the 55+ well in this big win."
  Malaysia 55+ will next play Argentina on Monday, while the 45+ take on France next.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Kannagi denies sidelining Kirandeep...

Kirandeep Kaur scores winner against Queensland...

Kirandeep Kaur (file pic), who turned 15 during the ongoing Tour in Australia, scores the winning goal.

THE Malaysian women's hockey team beat Queensland 2-1 Friday. They were losing 1-0, but Nuraini Rashid scored the equalsier and a minute before the game ended, Kirandeep Kaur scored the winner.

By Saiful Affendy Sapran 

KUALA LUMPUR: Fifteen-year-old Kirandeep Kaur scored a last minute winner against Queensland for a well deserved 2-1 victory leading towards the Asian Games in Jakarta. 
 Kirandeep made her national team debut in the Singapore Hockey Series Open end of June, where she scored her first international goal in Malaysia's 6-0 win against Thailand in the final. 
 It was coach K. Dharmaraj's team's second win in four matches as they won 3-1 in the third frienly and drew 2-2 and 1-1 in the others. 
 The Malaysian women were losing 1-0, but Nuraini Rashid scored the equalsier off a penalty corner and with 30 seconds remaining on the clock, Kirandeep nailed the winner off a penalty corner rebound. 
 Dharmaraj was all smiles, and praised his charges fighting spirit. 
 "Queensland started aggressively as they wanted their first win and took the lead. We had many chances to equalise off field attempts but their goalkeeper was in top form. "
  In the third quarter Nuraini finally equalised off a penalty corner which we won after mounting several waves of attacks, and it made my charges more determined. 
 "And with 30 seconds to end, Kirandeep scored off a penalty corner rebound to seal victory," said Dharmaraj. Malaysia will play their final friendly against Queensland on Sunday. 

Malaysian men go Down Under yet again..

KOOKABURRAS PIC: FULL-TIME | Australia A wins 3-0 over in game 3 at PHS

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian men's national hockey team lost 3-0 to a provincial side, Australia A, in their third consecutive defeat in gloomy Perth Friday.
  Malaysia had lost 4-2 and 3-2 in their earlier matches, leading towards the Asian Games in Jakarta next month.
  Coach Stephen van Huizen's men are targeted to win gold in the Games, and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but their performance in Australia has been very cold.
  Before the match started, Hockey Australia had tweeted: "Warm-up time on a gloomy Friday in Perth for Australia A who take on Malaysia soon."
  Malaysia will play two more matches against the same side before Van Huizen selects his final 18 for Asian Games.
  Yesterday, the other news from Perth was gloomy as well when Nabil Fiqri caught fever, while Meor Azuan Hassan picked up a hamstring injury.
  No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar was rested as well, and Australia A scored in the 29th, 44th and 58th minutes to seal the series with two matches in hand.
  Van Huizen said: "It was another tough game which yielded disappointing results.
  "My players worked very hard but were punished for making mistakes at crucial moments even though we were tighter and more patient in defence."
  The seasoned coach said they have to regroup for the remaining two games.
  "We conceded a goal one minute before half-time, and we worked hard to get the equalsier but could not find it. We need regroup for the remaining matches."
  In Jakarta, Malaysia are in an easy Group B with Bangladesh, Oman, Thailand and Indonesia and their only tough opponents should be Pakistan.
  Reaching the semi-finals is not difficult, but van Huizen and his men must finish tops in their group to avoid meeting early favourites India from Group A in the knock-out.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

captain Shukri still cool...

By Saiful Affendy Sapran

KUALA LUMPUR: Back-to-back defeats to Australia A in the ongoing five-match series would make anybody else push the panic button, but not national skipper Shukri Mutalib.
  Coach Stephen van Huizen's team is Down Under to prepare for the Jakarta Asian Games, where they aim to win gold and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  Australia A is made up of provincial and some former national players, and are not the world No 1 side.
  Malaysia has lost 4-2 and 3-2 so far, and will play again Friday.
  Shukri is not to worried, as he feels they lost because of silly mistakes.
  "We need to avoid silly mistakes in the next three matches, because in hockey one only needs a lapse of a few seconds to change the teams fortunes from leading to losing or the other way around," said Shukri.
  In the second match, Malaysia were leading 2-0 before Australia came back and won.
  "We also need to be consistent in defence, and the midfield must also be alert enough to make sure the ball does not easily breach the middle.
  "We are working to tighten these areas, and even though the results do not favour us yet, I believe we will amend all these silly mistakes by the end of the Australian Tour," said Shukri.
  Van Huizen will select his final 18 for the Games at the end of the Tour.

Women's Hockey: Malaysia 3 Queensland Academy 1

By Naqib Nor Said

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's penalty corner flicker Nuraini Rashid finally found her touch when she scored two goals and assisted in the other in the 3-1 win against Queensland Sports Academy in Brisbane Thursday.
  The first two friendlies ended in 2-2 and 1-1 draws against the same team.
  Coach K. Dharmaraj's charges are preparing for the Jakarta Asian Games next month.
  The other goal was scored by Hanis Nadiah Onn, off a penalty corner set-piece created by Nuraini, who had failed to score in the first two friendlies.
  "I am relieved to finally score after missing five and 11 penalty corners in the first two matches. The Academy players are no pushovers and are almost same level with us and so its a moral boost for me to score aginst them," said Nuraini when contacted.
  "This is our best performance in the series so far as we defended well and then mounted counter-attacks and won five penalty corners and tucked in three goals.
  "And in the fourth quarter we did not give them any open chances or penalty corners and this is a big achievement because my girls normally let the opponents score after taking a lead.
  "I am especially happy with the performance of several players namely Wan Norfaiezah (Saiuti), Hanis Nadiah, Nuraini, Siti Noor Amarina (Ruhani) and Raja Norsharina (Raja Shabuddin).
  "Youngster Kirandeep Kaur (15-years-old) also gave a good account of herself,” said Dharmaraj.

Ministry explains why payment was held back to Sea Games contractor


PUTRAJAYA: The sports ministry has held back a final RM40,000 payment to contractor Kuckreja & Co because they did not remove the rubber surface used for the indoor hockey event at last year’s Kuala Lumpur Sea Games (KL2017).
  Sports ministry chief secretary Datuk Lokman Hakim Ali said Kuckerja & Co were given a contract to install and later remove the indoor hockey pitch after the Sea Games at the Malaysia International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MITEC).
  "They refused to do it and asked that the final payment of RM40,000 be paid first," said Lokman.
  "The sports ministry did not do so as the final payment is only to be made once all work has been done in a satisfactory manner."
  Lokman pointed out that Kuckerja & Co's failure to clear the indoor hockey mat has also led to other contractors unable to remove their own equipment from MITEC. The ministry thus has no choice but to let other contractors remove the pitch.
  "As a result, six of the 28 rolls of the rubber surface were damaged. The remaining 22 rolls are in good condition and in storage at the ministry," added Lokman.
   "The ministry will deduct a part of the final payment to Kuckreja & Co as compensation."
   KL2017 Malaysian Organising Committee chief executive officer Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong declined to comment on the issue.
   Zolkples said the equipment and facilities used for KL2017 came under the purview of the facilities committee chaired by Lokman.
   On a separate note, Lokman explained that the delay in final payments to certain contractors for KL2017 was due to insufficient documentation from them.
   "The contractors have been asked to submit the documents. The payments will be made as soon as we receive them."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

MHC confirm indoor hockey pitch is damaged

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have confirmed that six pieces of indoor hockey mat, ripped by unskilled foreign workers after last year’s Kuala Lumpur Sea Games, have been damaged.
  This was disclosed by MHC deputy president Datuk Dr S. Shamala today.
  However, MHC's hands are tied in this matter as they are still discussing with the KL Sea Games organisers (MASOC) regarding the indoor pitch handover.
  Because of ongoing auditing and uncompleted accounts, the artificial pitch is still locked up in a store in Balakong, Selangor.
  "Yes, six pieces of the indoor pitch are damaged but the rest of the surface is still playable,” said Shamala.
  "We have been in communication with MASOC regarding the issue but they informed MHC that several auditing measures have yet to be resolved and they can't hand it over to us," said Shamala.
  When asked if the nearly one-year delay in handover could further damage the mat (due to heat and rats), Shamala said: ‘We hope nothing happens to it during storage, but when we get it, we will probably lay it at a university hall or somewhere to promote the indoor sport.
  After the pitch was laid as a temporary measure to host the 2017 KL Sea Games at the Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre, it was thoughtlessly ripped off the floor.
  Contractor Kuckreja & Co spokesperson Allan Netto had said the RM250,000 pitch was damaged, and is no longer in playable condition, as chairs and tables were also placed on it during a chess tournament.
  Allan said MASOC still owe them more than RM40,000 for additional work done leading up to the Sea Games.
  The contractors spokesperson also had said: “Initially we were told to rush the job because a VIP wanted to visit MITEC, and we had to cut corners to get it ready. And after the visit, the pitch did not meet specifications because it was bumpy.
  MASOC Chief Executive Officer Datuk Seri Zolkples Embong did not respond to calls and messages earlier today.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Damaged Indoor mats at the MITEC


Sea Games Indoor hockey pitch ruined...

THE indoor hockey artificial pitch used for the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games last year is now lying in a store somewhere in Balakong, Selangor, damaged and abandoned.
After the pitch was laid as a temporary measure to host the 2017 KL Sea Games at the Malaysia International Trade & Exhibition Centre (MITEC), it was thoughtlessly ripped off.
     Contractor Kuckreja & Co spokesperson Allan Netto said yesterday the pitch was damaged, and is no longer in playable condition.
On top of it, the Sea Games organisers still owe the contractor more than RM40,000, almost a year after the Malaysian men’s team won gold while the women’s team took bronze on the artificial pitch.
“Initially we were told to rush the job because a VIP wanted to visit MITEC, and we had to cut corners to get it ready. And after the visit, the pitch did not meet specifications because it was bumpy.
“We laid it again and finished the job just days before the Games started. It was in good condition and nobody complained.
“However, after the Games we asked for the balance of the money owed to us before removing it professionally. But instead of paying us, they hired unprofessional foreign workers who ripped it off and sent the pitch to a store in Balakong.
“This is a delicate surface and needs skilled workers to remove and lay it at another venue, but sadly, unprofessional hands have made it unplayable now,” said Allan.
The total cost to lay the indoor pitch was RM250,000 with the additional cost of hasty laying and re-laying for the VIP’s visit.
Kuckreja & Co has till now, yet to receive the RM40,000 owed.
“After the Sea Games, the venue was used for the Paralympics followed by a chess tournament where tables and chairs were arranged on the mat.
“This, itself, destroyed some parts of the mat, and with unprofessional removal and storage, it has just sadly gone to waste,” said Allan.
Right after the indoor Sea Games prize giving ceremony, NST Sports had asked National Sports Council (NSC) director general Datuk Ahmad Shapawi Ismail what they planned to do with the indoor court, and he could not provide an answer.
Shapawi had said then: “This artificial pitch needs to be moved to another hall because MITEC was just a temporary venue. But I can’t think of any place that is available right now.
“All our (NSC) halls are fully utilised for other sports. We will have to think of something fast.”
When contacted, Malaysian Hockey Confederation Deputy President Datuk S. Shamala said she needs more time to investigate before making a statement.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Rodhanizam: Need more commitment from MHC for indoor game

MATADOR HOCKEY CLUB players with former national juniors coach Balbir Singh. 

MATADOR HOCKEY CLUB players with former national juniors coach Balbir Singh and Olympian Maninderjit Singh. The team only had one practice session on the indoor surface but held three teams to a 0-0 draw and only lost one match 1-0 in Group C in the inaugural C. Sivasubramaniam Cup .

KUALA LUMPUR: KLANG Crows HC hosted the inaugural C. Sivasubramaniam Cup Under-12 indoor hockey tournament on Sunday where 180 boys in 20 teams had fun as well as underwent a learning curve which can't be explained in a classroom.
  Indoor hockey rules and surface are different from field hockey, and many of the youngsters had trouble adapting to the surface, shoes as well as indoor hockey sticks.
  But once they mastered it after a few games, it was a joy watching them making deft short passes as well as using the 'side iron bars' as a team-mate in one-two situations.
  Former national field hockey player Rodhanizam Mat Radzi was at the Real Sports Arena in Klang to witness the tournament as well as play an exhibition match between veterans to show the youngsters how the indoor game is played.
   But he was an unhappy man after the match.
  "I believe there is great potential in this indoor game which has yet to be fully tapped in Malaysia. Just look at the players present today, they adapted to the rules and surface within an hour of playing.
  "But to make it big like field hockey, the indoor game needs more commitment from the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC). We hosted it at the KL Sea Games and played in the Asia Cup last year, but after that indoor hockey is no longer active," lamented the former national player.
  Malaysia had hosted three consecutive Indoor Asia Cup tournaments in Ipoh in 2008, 2009 and 2010 where the men won three silver medals -- lost all three finals to Iran.
  However, Malaysian women were champions in 2008 and bronze medallists in the next two years.
  Rodhanizam felt Malaysia could do well in the indoor World Cup: "I believe is we start with the under-12 like today, and have serious backing from the MHC, Malaysia can excel in the indoor World Cup."
  For the record, in the last Indoor Asia Cup in 2017 Doha, even though the men were not impressive, Malaysian women only lost 2-0 to Kazakhstan in the final.
  And at the Under-12 tournament in Klang Sunday, Kuala Lumpur Boys A lifted the inaugural C. Sivasubramaniam Cup, which was wholly managed by amateur officials who made many blunders, but all was forgoten in the spirit of learning  .

■Joint 3rd
■Joint 5th

■Best Goalkeeper
Mohamad Farham Idan
■Man of the match
Fahmi- KL Boys A
■Best player of the tournament
Haziq- La Salle Panda
■Top Scorer

Mohamad Hakim - Trigger HT

Sunday, July 22, 2018

New Razak Cup dates clash with ACT -- so no national players

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee yesterday said it was an oversight, and have brought forward the Razak Cup one week before Deepavali,
  But now, the new dates of Oct 26-Nov 3 clash with the Oman Asian Champions Trophy and so, 26 national players will not play in the Cup.
  The ACT will be held in Oman on Oct 18-28.
  "When we sent out letters to states, stating that the Razak Cup would be held on Nov 3-11 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, it was an oversight as Deepavali is on Nov 6," said competitions committee manager Brian Fernandez.
  And when pointed out that the new dates clash with the ACT: "We are aware of that, but a decision was made earlier this year that national players will not play in local tournaments because of a hectic international schedule."
  But when Brian was asked when and who made the decision, he could not remember.
  After the MHC competitions committee sent out the invitation which clashed with Deepavali, Negri Sembilan HA were he first so reply that they will withdraw if the dates are not changed.
  And when Brian was asked about a code-of-conduct letter which the new committee members had to sigh, he said it was a normal procedure to make sure statements come from one source and do not conflict.
  The new committee, eight in all, are now not allowed to make statements to the Press.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Negri HA: Change date or we withdraw from Razak Cup

Pic: Competitions manager Brian Fernandez

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee is like a magnet for controversies, and this time, has riled the feathers of states, officials, umpires and players by organising the Razak Cup smack on Deepavali.
  In a short letter sent to their affiliates, competitions committee manager Brian Fernandez said the men's and women's Razak Cup will be held on Nov 3-11 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
  Deepavali is on Nov 6.
  And in a prompt reply to the competitions committee email, Negri Sembilan HA said they will withdraw from the Razak Cup if the dates are not changed.
  "The Negri HA has already sent an email to the MHC competitions committee stating that if the dates are not changed we will withdraw from the tournament.
  "It is not fair to hold it during the Deepavali period as I have players who celebrate the event. I am sure there are also many officials, umpires and players from other states who want to balik kampung during that period," said NSHA secretary P. Tamil Selvam.
  Negri have Malaysia's No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar, former national player K. Keevan Raj and former national juniors G. Kavin Kartik in their Razak Cup squad this year.
  NSHA coaching chairman S. Chandran echoed his secretary's sentiments.
  "We have four players who celebrate Deepavali and they are the backbone of Negri. I am sure they will not want to play during that period so the MHC can hold it a week before or a week after the celebrations," said Chandran.
  Tamil Selvan also said he has heard from a member of the competitions committee that during their last meeting the Razak Cup date was not blocked.
  "So if the committee did not set the date, who is responsible for this gaffe?," questioned Tamil Selvam.
  Lasy year, the competitions committee only held one meeting and then they removed its eight members when their term expired in February and only appointed new members in June.  
  And all the new members had to sign a 'code of conduct' letter.
  "I can't say anything about the latest issue because I have signed a code of conduct document. Sufficient to say, we have been receiving brickbats after the dates were announced (Thursday)," said a member who can't even reveal his name because of the regimental rules.
  The committee has recommended to do away with Division One in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) next season, leaving about 10 clubs in jeopardy.
  The plan is to host only the Premier Division, and this has not gone down well with many states who run clubs as well.
   Phone calls and messages to Brian were not answered.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Malaysian men sure bets for Asian Games semis

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian men's hockey team are confirmed to play in the semi-finals of the Asian Games on Aug 19-Sept 1.
  For, they only have to 'fear' Pakistan in Group B while Bangladesh, Oman, Thailand and Indonesia should receive hammerings.
  Group A has three heavy-weights in India, South Korea and Japan.
  "Yes, the grouping is very kind to us as we need to beat Pakistan to top the group but having said that, we will not take the other teams lightly as Bangladesh and Oman play very hard and determined hockey.
  "And if we top the group, I believe we will avoid India in the semi-finals as they are the favourites of the tournament (ranked no 6 in the world)," said Malaysian coach Stephen van Huzien.
  China's absence has also made it easier for Malaysia: "China have qualified for the World Cup but are not in the Asian Games and it has also actually made our group much more 'easier' to play in," said van Huizen.
  In the women's events, Malaysia are in Group A and need to beat Japan and they can even afford to lose to China but make the semi-finals as their other opponents are Hong Kong and Taiwan -- who should be easyly beaten.
  The winners of the Men’s and Women’s categories will book their place in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. All matches will be played at the Gelora Bung Karno (GBK) Sports Complex, Jakarta, Indonesia.
  China are conspicuously missing from the men's tournament, as their government had placed them on ice after they performed badly in a recent tour of Canada, a source in the Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) confirmed.
  Interestingly, China men have qualified for their first even World Cup in India pn Nov 28 to Dec 16.
  China qualified for their first World Cup thanks to a super performance from Malaysia in the Asia Cup in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  China's spot was confirmed when Malaysia held South Korea to a 1-1 draw, a result which put the Malaysians into the final against India as well.
    This edition of the Games will be the first Asian Games to have Video Referral system for all matches on Pitch I, and that's why the men's and women's matches are being held on alternate days. 
  MEN -- Group A: India, South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong; Group B: Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, Thailand, Indonesia.
  WOMEN -- Group A: China, Japan, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Taiwan; Group B: South Korea, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Indonesia.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Kirandeep closing in on Asian Games dream

By Saiful Affendy Sapran

KUALA LUMPUR: Promising player Kirandeep Kaur is ready to fight for a slot in the Jakarta Asian Games, even though she konws it will not be easy.
  She will only turn 15 on July 22, but showed promise at the Hockey Series Open in Singapore earlier in the month, and even scored a goal in the final where Malaysia hammered Thailand 6-0.
  National women's coach K. Dharmaraj is willing to give her a break as he had said that he might include her in the Australia Tour starting on July 21.
  It will be the coaches' final selection for the Asian Games.
  "If I am selected for the Australian Tour it would be a dream come true because I will get closer to playing in the Asian Games.
  "But even if I am not selected this time, I will keep trying for future tournaments."
  Kirandeep said the experience of playing in Singapore was an eye-opener, even though she was nervous during the early matches.
  "I was nervous at the beginning and so could not score any goals until I settled down in the final match against Thailand. That goal really means much to me, and my hockey career."
  Dharmaraj had made an out-of-the-box selection when he named a 14-year-old for the Singapore tournament, but his gamble paid off and now, Kirandeep might even help Malaysia in the Asian Games.

Malaysia to host, but tougher route..

KUALA LUMPUR: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) Friday announced that Malaysia has won the bid to host the Hockey Series Finals at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on April 23-May 1.
  This opens another door for Malaysia to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but its a tougher route compared to winning the Asian Games gold medal in Jakarta.
  For, Malaysia must play in the final of the Hockey Series Final to qualify for the Olympic Qualification -- a stage that decides the last six or seven slots, depending on if Japan wins the Asian Games gold.
  "The Asian Games gold medal will remain our primary target as it's also a Podium Programme requirement and we have been planning for it for a long time.
  "But still, hosting the Hockey Series Finals opens another 'in case' door for us and hosting it has many benefits," said Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen.
  The FIH wrote: "Hockey Series Finals marks the return of FIH competition to the passionate hockey nation for the first time since the Men’s Champions Challenge in 2014.
  "With vast experience in hosting major international events at some of the world’s best hockey stadiums, including the annual Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and Sultan of Johor Cup, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation know how to deliver successful global events."
  van Huizens said: "Playing at Bukit Jalil will give us an added confidence, as well as not having to worry about food and weather accalimatation."
  At the Asian Games, Malaysia's chances all depend on the grouping, which the Asian Hockey Federation have yet to release.
  In the men's tournament, the qualifiers are hosts Indonesia, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia, China, Japan, Oman, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Taiwan.
  There are only 10 teams in the women's event and they are hosts Indonesia, South Korea, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Kazakhstan.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Van Huizen: Najmi no longer interested to play


Najmi has already sent a letter to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) stating that he no longer wants to play for the country.
  Coach Stephen van Huizen confirmed it:
  "After the Argentina Tour, he injured his ankle slightly but that is not the reason why he quit the team.
  "Najmi just does not want to play for the country after he got married and even though we tried to talk to him he did not want to change his mind.
  "The matter has been discussed with the MHC as well as technical director Terry Walsh and it was agreed that if he is no longer interested we can't do anything.
  "We did ask him if it was temporary or for good, but he did not want to commit himself.
  "Luckily it happened about 40 days before the Games, and we have time to train a replacement," said van Huizen.

The Yes and No of helping women...

KUALA LUMPUR: The national women's hockey team will receive specific help from foreign coaches in preparations for the Asian Games in Jakarta in August.
  Australian David Ian Bell will coach on 'tackling' while Martijn Drijver of the Netherlands will train goalkeepers for a week.
  And while national coach K. Dharmaraj said it would benefit his charges, Olympian and former Malaysian Hockey Confederation general manager Maninderjit Singh believes there are Malaysian's who can do the job just as well.
  "My players do lack in the field of tackling (stopping a player from dribbling past) and it would be helpful in our campaign at the Asian Games when we play higher ranked teams like India, South Korea, Japan and China (depending on grouping).
  "I have tried my best and even though they have improved in this department since I took over 30 months ago, having a new prespective from a different coach and approach is always welcome in my books," said Dharmaraj whose charges won the Hockey Series Open in Singapore by hammering Thailand 6-0.
  And on the world renowned goalkeepers coach from Netherlands: "He has been here many times and coached out national men as well as women's goalkeepers and is here again to help in our Asian Games campaign.
  "Some areas need a specific touch from the experts in that field, and we are lucky to get such help," said Dharmaraj.
  However, Maninderjit Singh begs to differ.
  "The main weaknesses in the men and women's team is in defence and bringing in David Bell as a consultant in that department is not conducive, because his training methods are old and not suitable with Malaysia's playing style.
  "It is a waste of time and money as we do have better local coaches and they should have been utilised instead," said Maninderjit.
  Malaysia's chances at the Games all depend on the grouping, which the Asian Hockey Federation have yet to release.
  In the men's tournament, the qualifiers are hosts Indonesia, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia, China, Japan, Oman, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Taiwan.
  There are only 10 teams in the women's event and they are hosts Indonesia, South Korea, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Kazakhstan.

Najmi's disappearance a mystery for mates...

Najmi Jazlan of Malaysia is chased by Mazhar Abbas of Pakistan during the Men's Hockey match between Malaysia and Pakistan on day seven of the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast Hockey Centre on April 11, 2018 on the Gold Coast, Australia.
(April 10, 2018 - Source: Robert Cianflone/Getty Images AsiaPac) 

By Saiful Affendy Sapran

KUALA LUMPUR: The disappearance of national defender Najmi Jazlan is not only a mystery to his fans, but it also left his team-mates with more questions than answers.
   It was made to understand that Najmi only communicated with coach Stephen van Huzien, while even his best mates in the team were not privy to the disappearance.
  National skipper Shukri Mutalib said he believes Najmi has already sent a letter to the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) stating that he no longer wants to play for the country.
  He last played in the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, and was also on the Argentina Tour for six Test matches in May.
  "As a team-mate I am disappointed with his decision to quit the sport becasue we are in the midst of preparing for the Asian Games in Jakarta.
  "And he is one of the main players in our team.
  "But then, if he really is no longer interested to play for the country, I will respect his decision," said Shukri.
  The skipper said he himself could not get in touch with Najmi after the Hari Raya break.
  "I really don't know what's the real reason behind his action. Not only I, but all the other players are also puzzled as they can't contact him anymore," said Shukri.
  The players are in their final phase of training for the Asian Games in August, with a mission to win gold and qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  Coach van Huizen could not be contacted for comments.

Kirandeep might head Down Under

By Saiful Affendy Sapran

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's hockey coach K. Dharmaraj did not discount the inclusion of 14-year-old Kirandeep Kaur for the Australian Tour starting on July 21 as their final preparation for the Asian Games in Jakarta.
  Dharma said budding players like Kirandeep would inject competition in the team, and send out a warning that 'no player can take their place for granted' in the national team.
  The coach had fielded her in every match at the recent Hockey Series Open in Singapore, and she scored her maiden international goal in the final to help Malaysia beat Thailand 6-0.
  "I do not want any players to feel comfortable with their spot in the national team.
  "That is why I have added healthy competition by fielding Kirandeep and other young players in the squad. The message here is that players must continuously give their best in every match to keep their spot in the team. And so, the door is open for Kirandeep to be selected for the Queensland friendlies," said Dharmaraj.
  And the Tour would be the final platform for Dharmaraj to select 18 players for the Asian Games in August, and this chance can also be snatched by Kirandeep.
  The other youth who impressed in Singapore are 17-year-olds Nuramirah Zulkifli and Nurmaizatulhanim Syafi. 
  "Of course I will only select the best for the Asian Games after the Australian Tour, and all those who will be playing in the Queensland 
friendlies have a fair chance of making it to Jakarta," said Dharmaraj.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

AHF waiting for Indonesia..

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) are still waiting for Indonesia to confirm the number of entries in the men's and women's tournaments before they can release groupings.
  With 40 days to the start on Aug 18, the organisers have yet to confirm entries for hockey: "We are waiting for the organising committee to confirm the number of entries, and only after that can we sort out the groupings as well as the fixtures for men's and women's hockey," said AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram of Macau (pic).
  Malaysia's chances at the Games all depend on the grouping, and going by current ranking, coach Stephen van Huizen's men can expect to play against Pakistan and China and could miss meeting South Korea and India at the group stage.
  And if this happens, Malaysia's chances of making the semi-finals look bright.
  In the men's tournament, the qualifiers are hosts Indonesia, India, Pakistan, South Korea, Malaysia, China, Japan, Oman, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Taiwan.
  And there are only 10 teams in the women's event and they are hosts Indonesia, South Korea, China, India, Japan, Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Kazakhstan.
  "The Games will showcase the best of Asian hockey because at stake is a ticket to the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo," said Tayyab.
  Only the men's and women's gold medallists advance to Olympics, while the rest will play in another qualifier.
  "For teams which do not qualify for the Olympics, the Games will be a very good avenue to prepare for the Asian Champions Trophy (In Muscat, on Oct 18-28) and also the World Cup in India," said Tayyab.
  Malaysia India, Pakistan, South Korea, Japan and Oman will play in the ACT, while the Asian World Cup qualifiers are India, Malaysia, Pakistan and China.
  "At the recent Champions Trophy, silver medallists India and Pakistan played very well and I believe Asian teams are making a strong comeback against higher ranked teams.
 "And I hope the second tier of Asia will also use the Asian Games to improve and popularise the sport in their respective countries, expecially hosts Indonesia," said the Asian CEO.

Monday, July 2, 2018

IGP CUP: Briged Tenggara in semis

Briged Tenggara made a late comeback to defeat Negri Sembilan 4-1 and qualify for the Division One semi-finals from Group B in the IGP Cup Hockey Tournament at the Wisma Belia Hockey Stadium in Kuantan Monday.
   Both teams were tied on six points – three behind Terengganu before start of the game. It was a deciding match which eventually saw the much fitter Briged Tenggara capitalising on the many penalty corners.
Muhd Subri Abdul Rahman fired Negeri Sembilan ahead with a 34th minute penalty corner conversion but it was Briged Tenggara who went on to steal the show with goals from Mohd Riduan Zakaria (48th), Mohd Naim Ibrahim (55th), Wan Mohd Nazri Wan Abdullah (56th) and Muhamad Azrullah Azman (60th).
In tomorrow’s semi-finals, Briged Tenggara will meet Sabah while Terengganu, who coasted to a 2-1 win over Melaka in penalties after a 3-3 draw in regulation time, will play Briged Utara.
“I am delightred with the fighting spirit shown by the players. It was going to be a tough game from the beginnng as both teams are in the running for a semifinals berth,” said Briged Tenggara manager, Lance Corporal Jeremy Aloysious Maing.
Terengganu emerged Group B champions with 11 points followed by Briged Tenggara nine points, Negeri Sembilan (6), Melaka (4) and Perlis (0).
Suher Romzie scored for Melaka in the fourh minute  before Terengganu went to 2-1 ahead with goals from Muhamad Ashraf Abdul Halim (20th) and Mohd Syukry Ali (28th).
A rejuvenated Melaka then equalised through Mohd Faizal (43rd) and Mohd Hanif Aziman steered his side to a 3-2 lead with a field goal in the 45th minute. Terengganu avoided defeat with a 59th minute field goal via Azrul Hisham Zahari to level 3-3, pushing the match into penalties.
“Since we have already qualfied for the semi-finals much earlier I gave the reserves an opportuniy to play. It was a good game and I am happy with our performance,” said Terengganu team manager, Mohd Zailani Arifin.
Results – Group A: Kedah 1 Kelantan 0; Sabah 0 Briged Utara 0 (Sabah win 2-1 in penalties).
Group B: Briged Tenggara 4 Negeri Sembilan 1; Terengganu 3 Melaka 3 (Terengganu win 2-1 in penalties).  
                                P   W    D     L     F    A    Pts
SABAH                   3     3     0     0    5    1      8
BRIGED UTARA    3     1      0    2     4     3     5
KEDAH                   3     2     0     1     3    3      5
KELANTAN            3     0     0     3     2     7      0
                                       P    W    D    L     F      A   PTS
TERENGGANU             4     4     0    0    11     6     11
BRIGED TENGGARA    4     3     0    1    9       6      9
N. SEMBILAN               4     2     0    2    4       8      6
MELAKA                        4     1    0     3    6       9      4
PERLIS                           4     0     0    4    4        9      0

Good win, but difficult to progress on this path..

OLYMPIAN MANINDERJIT SINGH: MHC need to plan to qualify for women's Junior World Cup first...

The Malaysian women's team at Bukit jalil after arriving by bus from Singapore.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian women's coach K. Dharmaraj took a big gamble by fielding young players in the recent Hockey Series Open at the Seng Kang Stadium, but returned home yesterday smelling like roses.
  Very few coaches in the world would gamble with a 14-year-old; and two 17-year-olds, and Dharmaraj is among this elite few.
  Malaysia not only won gold, but also went on a scoring spree in all six matches, including the 6-0 hammering of Thailand where the youngest player in the squad Kirandeep Kaur scored her first goal of the tournament.
  "A day before the final I told Kirandeep that even though she has yet to find her touch after five matches, she should not be too stressed out and just be her normal self and she delivered," said Dharmaraj who led his team to silver in the World League Round Two in Kuala Lumpur last year.
  Admitting that this tournament did not challenge his players, Dharmaraj said it was still a morale booster ahead of the Asian Games in Jakarta.
  "We scored 51 goals in six matches, but missed just as many. This is what we need to improve upon as in the Asian Games we will be playing against higher ranked teams and will not get as many chances in a match.
  "However, its a good boost even though my defence was never placed under pressure, we got to test our attack and penalty corners.
  "We will rest for a week, after which its back to training and then head to Queensland (Australia) at the end of the month to play some friendlies there," said Dharmaraj.
  Former international Maninderjit Singh, who played in Malaysia's last Olympic appearance in Sydney 2000, said it's difficult to progress by playing weaker sides most of the times.
  "The women's team has shown regional progress and did realise their No 1 ranking in Singapore by winning gold.
  "But I know for a fact that it will be very difficult for them in the Asian Games because their opponents are right now playing in Europe against tougher sides while we are travelling on a weaker path.
  "India, China and Japan women played or are playing in Europe right now, and they will be better prepared for the Asian Games where MHC (Malaysian Hockey Confederation) are hoping for a semi-finals appearance.
  "I believe Malaysia need to have a better plan in future and not just look towards playing club sides in Australia to improve.
  "And for the women to climb onto the world stage, like the Asian Games medal or a World Cup appearance, MHC must first plan to qualify for the Junior World Cup.
  "Our women have yet to play in the Junior World Cup, and its too much to ask for, from these seniors, to break more glass ceilings if  Malaysia can't even qualify for the junior tournament," said Maninderjit Singh.

IGP CUP: Day of the underdogs?

The underdogs will be out to throw everything  in their disposal to redeem their pride in the Premier and Division One category in the IGP Cup Hockey Tournament that moves into its final lap of the preliminary round stage on Monday.
While Bukit Aman have a steady flow of former internationals in their stable,  the Premier Division Group A matches between Perak-Johor and Bukit Aman-Briged Tengah are expected to draw interest.
At stake is pride and semi-finals berths which Perak and Briged Tengah may not want to miss out on an opportunity after underperforming in their opening matches.
Briged Tengah have three points to show and Perak two.. Both teams played to a 1-1 draw today but Perak won 1-0 on penalties.
The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Group B encounter is also expected to go to the wire. Both teams boast of experience and skillful players but the level of fitness will determine who wins the battle for a place in the semi-final.
As Kuala Lumpur team manager, DSP Jaswent Singh, observed: “There is virtually enough experience in both teams but we need to perform better to stay in the game. Fitness level is important.”
“The stakes are high and KL will need to get back on track. The 9-1 victory over Pahang was a good morale booster and we hope to play a much better game against Selangor,” he added.
Pulapol KL may not step on the accelerator against Pahang who suffered 7-2 and 9-1 defeats against Selangor and Kuala Lumpur respectively but it will be a big mistake should that happen as lurking closely behind are two teams in the form of Selangor and KL who aim to finish top of the group.
In Division One, the battle is still an open affair though Terengganu seems to have qualified much earlier from Group B with nine points from three consecutive wins. However, Briged Tenggara (6 points), Negeri Sembilan (6 points) and Melaka (3 points) are still in the running for semi-finals spot.
In Group A, Sabah are through to the last four while Kedah and Briged Utara will battle for the remaining berth.