Monday, August 13, 2018

Asian Games: Pakistan dead serious..

KUALA LUMPUR: Pakistan arrived in Jakarta on Friday for a one-week Asian Games camp before they play Thailand on Aug 20.
  Even though the players had complained that they did not receive a cent for the past six months and wanted to boycott the Games, but cool heads prevailed and they are the earliest team to acclimatise for the Games.
  Malaysia will only travel on Aug 16, and play their first match against Kazakhstan on Aug 20.
  "I believe Pakistan and Malaysia have the same game plan -- to beat each other and top Group A. And their early arrival will give them more time to settle down and acclimatise to the weather and food.
  "For us, Jakarta does not pose any problems of acclimatisation and everything suits us just fine," said Malaysian coach Stephen van Huizen.
  The good part about the schedule is that Malaysia and Pakistan will play three other matches first before clashing head-on.
  "We will first play Kazakhstan, followed by Thailand and Bangladesh and it will give us enough time to get used to the playing surface before we play, what I expect, to be our toughest match in Group B.
  "However, we will not take other teams lightly and need to go for goals as well, because if the Pakistan match ends in a draw, we need the advantage to top the group," said van Huizen.
  India are the early favourites, and Malaysia must avoid them at all cost in the semi-finals.
  The world No 5 are in Group A with South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka Hong Kong and Indonesia.
  Malaysia are ranked 12th, while Pakistan 13th in the world.
  "Ranking wise, India are far ahead and are one of the favourites to play in the final. Pakistan is just one rung below us, and that's why they have taken extra precaution to have a week-long centralised camp at the tournament venue itself.
  "We are also prepared, as both the teams have played each other many times and we know their strengths and weaknesses," said van Huizen.
   Both the teams last met at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in Australia and the match ended 1-1. Malaysia went on to play in the fifth-sixth bracket and beat Scotland 2-1, while Pakistan played in the seventh-eighth bracket and beat Canada 3-1.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

MHC's president and deputy will resign if men's team fail to play in 2020 Olympics

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) will not only lose their president, but also their deputy if the men’s team fail to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
Shamala, who has been involved with hockey for over two decades, made the announcement during MHC’s annual general meeting (AGM) here.
"Our president has done a great job and I am very proud to be in his team.
"And so, to shoulder collective responsibility, I will also relinquish my post if the men's team fail to qualify for the Olympics," said Shamala.
The last time Malaysia featured at the Olympics was the 2000 Sydney edition where the men’s team finished 11th.
Stephen van Huizen's men have two routes to qualify for Tokyo. One is to win gold at the Asian Games, and the second is via the Hockey World Series which Malaysia will host the first part in April next year.
While it was a fresh statement from Shamala, Subahan has made his stand many times.
Shamala feels their stand will not add pressure to the team.
"We are making our stand because we believe the team have the ability to win the gold (at the Asian Games),” she added.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Terry Walsh: Kirandeep a good find..

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Thursday released men's and women's team lists for the Jakarta Asian Games, with Kirandeep Kaur stealing the limelight.
  The 15-year-old was the only 'new face' in both the men's and women's teams who will be gunning for gold and bronze in Jakarta respectively.
  MHC Technical Director Terry Walsh was all praise for the Form Three student.
  "The rest of the players, men's and women's, are familiar faces with Kirandeep Kaur being the exciting new inclusion. I have watched her in training as well as matches, and I believe she has tremendous potential at such a young age," said the International Hockey Federation (FIH) Master Coach.
  TimeSport had reported on Wednesday that Kirandeep Kaur will become the youngest hockey player in Malaysia to play in the Asian Games, thanks to visionary coach K. Dharmaraj.
  And when asked his projection on what the men and women are capable of at the Asian Games?
  "I expect both our teams to break new ground in the Games. The women should put up a good fight to qualify for the semi-finals and then chase for a medal, while the men should play in the finals," said the two-time Olympian Australian.
  The men are in Group B with Pakistan, Bangladesh, Oman, Kazakhstan and Thailand while the women are in Group A with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  Yesterday, players from both teams received shoes sponsorship from Vik Network.
  MEN -- S. Kumar (gk), Hairi Rahman (gk), Sukri Mutalib, Razie Rahim, 
Syed Syafiq Syed Cholan, Azri Hassan, Faiz Helmi Jali, Nabil Fiqri, 
Marhan Jalil, Meor Azuan Hassan, Fitri Saari, Joel Samuel van Huizen, 
Amirol Aideed Arshad, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari, Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi, Firhan Ashari, Shahril Saabah.
 WOMEN -- Farah Ayuni Yahya, Mas Huzaimah Aziz, Siti Noor Amarina, 
Juliani Din, Raja Norsharina, Nuraini Rashid, Fatin Shafika, 
Fazilla Sylvester Silin, Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti, Surizan Awang Noh, Norazlin Sumantri, Hanis Nadia Onn, Nuraslinda Said, Nur Syafiqah Zain, Nur Amirah Shakirah, Nur Zafirah Aziz, Kirandeep Kaur, Noor Hasliza Ali. 

Coach Dharmaraj admitted to hospital

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's coach K. Dharmaraj (pic) was admitted to a hospital on Wednesday for indigestion problems, but Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are not ready to push the panic button.
  After returning from the Australian Tour, Dharmaraj had complained about his stomach becoming bloated after every meal.
  He has undergone blood tests, ultra sound as well as many other tests: "The doctors have done many tests on me but my condition is still the same as they can't seem to find the cause. All the tests indicate nothing is wrong with me, but everytime I have a meal, I become bloated and come down with a fever," said Dharmaraj.
  Subahan said: "I have received the latest news about Dharmaraj from team manager Lailin (Abu Hassan). Tests are still being done to find the cause of his discomfort, but the early indications are that he might recover in time for the Asian Games."
  The women's squad will play their first Group A match against Hong Kong on Aug 19.
  "The entire coaching staff as well as players are praying for Dharmaraj's speedy recovery. The girls' are really worried, as they are very attached to him and hope he will be in Jakarta to guide them.
  "There are a few more tests to be done, and hopefully he recovers soon," said Lailin.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Kirandeep Kaur, 15, selected for Asian Games

KUALA LUMPUR: Kirandeep Kaur (pic), at 15, will become the youngest hockey player in Malaysia to play in the Asian Games, thanks to revolutionary coach K. Dharmaraj.
  There were many obstacles in her way to gaining the historical spot, and a last minute frantic appeal had to be made to include her in the 'long list'.
  (Long List is names of athletes submitted by the respective National Sports Associations in January and it can contain as many names as the associations want).
  Kirandeep Kaur was only called up for training by Dharmaraj in May, and the Form Three student of SMK Bukit Bandaraya in Bangsar was promptly included in the World Series in Singapore a month later.
  She played in all six matches and scored a goal in the final against Thailand, which Malaysia won 6-0.
  She was then selected for the hockey playing tour in Brisbane recently, where Malaysia drew two matches and won three -- Kirandeep Kaur also scored Down Under.
  However, since she was not listed in the Long List sent to the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) had to make an appeal for her inclusion.
  And after a few days of Red Tape and some bungling, the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) finally agreed to give her accreditation Wednesday.
  She will not only be the youngest Malaysian women, but also the youngest among the men who made their international debut at the age of 14 in Singapore, celebrated her 15th birthday during the Brisbane Tour, and now representing the country at an Olympic Qualifier.
  However, the lanky lass did not have it easy, as she did not even play in the National Under-16 in March due to various reasons, but in the end, she beat the odds and coach Dharmaraj's brave break deserves a standing ovation. 
  MHC are expected to name the women's and men's squad on Thursday. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Malaysian veterans' 55+ best finish...

PIC: Datuk Manjit.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team earned their best finish ever when they ended sixth among 15 teams in the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  Malaysia beat United States 4-1 in the fifth-eighth classification but then lost 4-2 to Australia for sixth position.
  Harcharanjit Singh, who also scored against Australia yesterday (Sunday), was the 55+ tournament top-scorer with six goals.
  "This is the best ever finish for 55+ Malaysia in the veterans World Cup, but still, it was a little disappointing because I believe we were good enough to play in the semi-finals this time around," said team manager Datuk Manjit Majid Abdullah.

Friday, August 3, 2018

Malaysia 55+ beaten by Dutch..

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team finally hit a brick wall when they were beaten 6-2 by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  Netherlands took a 5-0 lead by the 36th minute before Raymond Tio scored off a penalty corner. But the Dutch scored their sixth, before Raymond made it 6-2.
  In the other quarter-finals, England beat the United States 7-0, Germany and Australia drew 1-1 but Germany won 3-2 on shoot-out, Spain and Italy drew 1-1 but Italy won 2-0 on shoot-out.
  Malaysian skipper Sarjit Singh said: "Even though we lost in the knock-out, it was still a wonderful tournament for us because we did target to at least make the quarters in this edition."

Dharmaraj dares to dream..

MEN AT WORK.. Dharmaraj under the spotlight.

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's hockey coach K. Dharmaraj has taken up the Malaysian Hockey Confederation's (MHC) challenge for a podium finish at the Jakarta Asian Games.
  In the Games where only the gold medallists qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Malaysia are in Group A with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while in Group B are South Korea, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
  "If I had been asked to deliver a medal in the last Asian Games, I would have said its not possible because we were not ready yet back in 2014.
  "But after three years with the team, and watching them grow in confidence during the five friendlies in Australia, I can now say that we are ready to take up the challenge of a podium finish," said Dharmaraj.
  In Brisbane, Dharmaraj's girls started with 1-1 and 2-2 draws before winning 3-1, 2-1 and 3-2.
  "In all my years with the girls' team, they have no been consistent, meaning there was never a time that they did not have one or two bad days in a tournament or friendlies.
  "But in Brisbane, where we played with the Australian League champions minus five of their national players who are competing in the London World Cup, my players grew in confidence after each match.
  "Now I can say they are ready for the Games, and we will go for a podium finish.
  "I will now adapt the same policy with these girls which I held when coaching the men's national juniors team.
  "People never gave us a chance at the beginning but we won gold at the Sultan of Johor Cup and Junior Asia Cup and then fourth in the Junior World Cup.
  The women will be travelling to Jakarta on Category B, where they must win a medal to be reimbursed.
  In the last Games, Malaysia ended fifth.
  For the record, the only medal ever won by Malaysian women at the Asian Games was a bronze in New Delhi 1982 when there were no playoffs as it was a round-robin tournament.

It's not a holiday, warns Selvaraju...

MAN ON A MISSION .. Selvaraju (third from left) being recognised for his role in getting clubs to hire Malaysian women.

By Naqib Nor Said

KUALA LUMPUR: Former national player S. Selvaraju warned the four women's hockey players heading to play in Germany and Italy not to take it as a holiday, but pave the way for others to follow suit.
  Selvaraju was the middleman who secured playing contracts for 
Nuraini Rashid and Fatin Syafika Sukri with Butterfly Roma in Italy while Hanis Nadiah Onn and Wan Norfaiezah Saiuti will play with German club Wespen Zehlendorfer.
  For the first time, Malaysian women will not be going overseas on National Sports Council paid-attachments, but fully paid by clubs for their services.
  Selvaraju, who has played with 13 overseas clubs to date, said: "Malaysia has many talented players in the men's and women's teams but they find it difficult to play overseas because of language, food and different playing styles becoming main barriers.
  "But these clubs were are to give our women a chance, and take my word, because I have successfully done the same with our men before.
   Three more coach K. Dharmaraj's players -- Raja Norsharina Shabuddin, Surizan Awang Noh and Nuraslinda Said -- are on the waiting list because the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) is still in discussion with Uddingston HC in Glasgow, Scotland.
  Meanwhile, Wespen Zehlendorfer's team manager said: "We are newcomers in Division One and so, I believe it was a smart move by us to have two of Malaysia's top players with us for two months.
  "It will also have a good impact on our relationship with the Malaysian HC as earlier we have fielded men's national palayers in our club (Baljit Singh Charun, Harvinder Singh, S. Selvaraju and Shazrul Imran Nazli).
  Butterfly Roma are also newcomers in Italy's Division One and will be coached by Argentine Sergio Herrera this season.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

World Cup might help Dharmaraj's girls

KUALA LUMPUR: National women's coach K. Dharmaraj feels there are positives and negatives which will effect his charges in the Jakarta Asian Games, from the ongoing World Cup in London.
  With the Games just 15 days away, Japan, China, India and South Korea played or are playing in the World Cup, and Dharmaraj said it might work against the teams mental and psychological preparations.
  In the Asian Games where the gold medallists qualifies for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Malaysia are in Group A with China, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan, while in Group B are South Korea, India, Thailand, Kazakhstan and Indonesia.
  "Japan and China are in our group in Jakarta and even though they only played three games in the World Cup and did not qualify for the quarter-finals, both the teams will still feel the strain of playing at such a big stage and then travelling home and after a few days of rest and light training, they will be off to Indonesia.
  "This might work against their players who were put under so much of pressure to prepare for the World Cup, and then have to cope with the fact that they did not live up to their country's expectations.
  "It would be difficult for players in such a situation to try and peak again at the Asian Games," said Dharmaraj.
  Malaysia need to beat either Japan or China as Hong Kong and Taiwan are out of coach Dharmaraj's teams league.
  "Not taking any team lightly, I believe my players should collect full points against Hong Kong and Taiwan and so, if we can upset either one of the World Cup teams in our group -- we will qualify for the semi-finals," said Dharmaraj.
  The positive side for both the teams is that they prepared for the Asian Games by playing tough matches in London.
  In the World Cup Japan lost 3-2 to Australia, 6-3 to Belgium and beat New Zealand 2-1; while China 
  China lost 3-0 to Italy, 7-1 to Netherlands and drew 1-1 with South Korea.
  "The fact that they played against some of the best in women's hockey could be turned into a positive element by their coaches, with the right approach."
  And the positive for Dharmaraj's girls?
  "We have a compilation of their matches in London, and the coaching staff is studying them to come out with a plan for upset(s)," said Dharmaraj.
  South Korea also went home after the group stages, and only India made it to the quarter-finals -- making them the early favoutites in Asian Games.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Malaysian 55+ vets play Netherlands in last four

MALAYSIA 55+ in blue against Germany Wednesday.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian veterans' 55+ team lost their last Group C match 2-1 to Germany, and will play Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the Masters Hockey World Cup in Terrassa, Spain.
  Germany took a 2-0 lead, before skipper Sarjit Singh scored Malaysia's goal in the 46th minute.
  However, the 45+ Malaysian team lost 7-0 to Spain Wednesday. They started with a 2-1 win over Scotland, but lost 3-0 to France and 7-2 to Germany in Group B and will play in the 9th-12th position.
  After a day's rest, the 55+ will play in the knock-out on Friday.
  "It was a good match against Germany, and even though we tried to claw back into the match, they defended well.
  "Now, we need to keep our structure and make sure we do not miss any sitters against Netherlands. I have watched the Dutch play and I believe we have a 50-50 chance against them," said Sarjit whose team ended second in Group C.
  According to Sarjit, the favourites so far in the 55+ are Australia.