Saturday, June 29, 2019

I. Vickneswaran: New KLHA deputy president

 Former International I. Vikneswaran made his entry as deputy president with a 20-12 win over incumbent S. Samson 

Megat: New KLHA president

By Jugjet Singh

DATUK Megat D. Shahriman Zaharudin (pictute) and his team made a clean sweep of the Kuala Lumpur HA elections Saturday, signalling an exciting period for grassroots development.
  Newly minted president Megat is a kick-ass kind of person who does not hide his emotions, and if one is not used to his sincere comments, one would consider him outright offensive.
  But he has not only brought a new team into KLHA, but loads of ideas as well as cash to bail out the sinking KLHA coffers.
  Megat beat incumbent Datuk Abu Huraira Yazid 21-11.
  Former International I. Vikneswaran made his entry as deputy president with a 20-12 win over incumbent S. Samson 
  The vice-presidents voted in are Faris Mustafa (26 votes), Wan Faizal Ismail (23), Hezibah Sudin (23), S. Vigneswaran (22), Meor Shahril Saarani (17).
  Incumbent vice-president K. Maheswari withdrew before elections.
  V. Muthu Kannu turned into the biggest giantkiller when he won unopposed over 30-year KLHA secretary V. Rajamanickam.
  And the new secretary did not even have to go through the ballot, as Rajamanickam withdrew minutes before the elections started.
  Treasurer Daljit Singh had won unopposed when nominations closed.
  "I would like to thank the outgoing president and his men and with this new team I hope to bring some positive chances in junior development at the KLHA Stadium.
  "And since we owe much money to DBKL (City Hall), we will meet with them soon to settle some of the issues.
  "Otherwise, we have to hold our first meeting first before I can lay out my future plans for Kuala Lumpur," said Megat.
  KLHA have the mist active league in the country but their cash flow has been horrible over the years and they are up to their eye-ball in debt.
  And the team which took over this hockey hot-seat of the nation came in with their eyes open and know what they are going to face.

V. Muthu Kannu: New KLHA secretary

MUTHU.. Giant slayer as incumbent secretary V. Rajamanickam withdrew from contesting minutes before the Kuala Lumpur HA elections.

Rajamanickam no more...

V. RAJAMANICKAM ... WITHDREW at 11th hour from contesting against V. Muthu Kannu in the Kuala Lumpur HA elections Saturday
  Rajamanickam spent 30 years in KLHA.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Injured S. Kumar confirm out...

Hockey Pre-Olympic Qualifier Kuala Lumpur April 26-May 4:
Malaysia's No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar not on list of 18 to be announced Friday.
More in the New Straits Times.

Pic: S. Kumar.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Malaysia's VR gift to the hockey world..

PIC 2008: Malaysia's Kevinder Singh Makbul Singh (C, #19) scores past Japanese goalkeeper Hirofumi Miyoshi (R, #21) during the first half of the men's hockey qualifiers for the Beijing Olympics in Kakamigahara, Gifu Prefecture on April 12, 2008. Malaysia and Japan ended a 3-3 draw. AFP PHOTO / Kazuhiro NOGI (Photo credit should read KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Not many know that Malaysia gifted the hockey world Video Referral on April 12, 2008 in Kakamigahara, Japan.
  This scribe was assigned to cover the Beijing Olympics Quallifier and was part of the history which opened the eyes of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) on the need for a third-eye.
  But sadly, the FIH shut their eyes again when Malaysia needed VR for the World Series which will be held at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on April 26-May 4.
  Malaysia, coached by Sarjit Singh, needed to beat Japan while Japan needed a draw to play in the final against mighty Germany.
  The scene was serene, as Kakamigahara stadium is surrounded by vast rolling paddy fields, but it turned out to be a day of utter havoc.
  The cool evening breeze brought along scents of sakura in full bloom, and the match started well with Malaysia taking a 3-1 lead when the late Chua Boon Huat opened scoring while Jiwa Mohan and Kelvinder Singh added more misery to the hosts and it was only 33 minutes into the match.
  But as usual, Malaysia started crumbling and Japan scored their second goal off Tomonori Ono in the 35th minute.
  And while Japan celebrated, the crowd kept shouting to the two umpires, Hamish Jamson from Britain and Australian Murray Grime, to look at the big scoreboard which kept showing an amazing replay -- at least three times before the screen went blank.
  The replay showed that Ono scored with his right thigh, as the ball missed his stick by inches, but both the umpires' views were blocked.
  Grime was standing about 10 feet exactly behind Ono, while Jamson was at the middle of the pitch and his view was blocked too.
  Grime blew for goal, while Malaysian goalkeeper S. Kumar kept asking the umpire to look up at the big screen but the Australian never did.
  That freak goal ignited a fightback which Japan needed, and they went on to score the third in the 69th minute and qualified to play Germany in the final.
  Malaysia were clearly robbed but there was no VR to lean on, back then.
  Players were in tears, while coach Sarjit was fuming mad but did not know what to do.
  But the German tournament director knew what to do and he approached Sarjit and asked Malaysia to appeal the goal inside 20 minutes, as regulation allows.
  The match had already ended 15 minutes ago and with 5 more minutes remaining to place the protest, there was panic at the Malaysian bench on who, how and what to write inside 5 minutes...
  This scribe, watching everything unfold before his eyes then stepped in by tearing off a piece from his reporters notebook, writing a two paragraph appeal with flying fingers and handed it to team manager Satish Kumar to sign.
  The German TD took the letter, with a US500 deposit, and walked away smiling.
  "I remember that faithful day clearly as it started a strong lobby for VR in Europe and the world benefited a year later when VR was used in the Melbourne Champions Trophy.
  "The TD gave us back our money (which never happened in any appeal back then) and said that nothing can be done about the goal scored with a thigh, but he will bring up this matter with the FIH to strengthen a lobby for VR.
  "Even FIH president Els (Van Breda) was sympathetic with Malaysia's plight and said something would be done soon about it, when I met her later," said Sarjit.
  And this is how the hockey world won a referral to have VR, on Malaysia's misery but it brought joy to good decision making for 11 years.

  Sadly, it would not be used in Kuala Lumpur for the Series Finals, as FIH decided to be fair to all but unkind to Malaysia.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

India coaches' behaviour reaffirms why VR needed in Series Finals

By Jugjet Singh

Published in NST 12/04/2019

NOTE: The last 7 paras strengthen reason why VR is needed in Series, after what happened in the 5th Test Mas v India women.

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Hockey Confederation competition manager Brian Fernandez Friday confirmed that the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is treating their video referral appeal as an urgent matter.
  The FIH held a meeting Friday, and will let the MHC know in a day or two.
  "It's an urgent matter and the FIH are holding a meeting today (yesterday) and will let us know early. We at the MHC strongly believe that as hosts, we need video referral for the Series," said Brian.
  The controversy cropped up when the FIH denied Malaysia the right to use video umpiring for the FIH Series Finals which will be held at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil on April 26-May 4.
  In a brief statement FIH competitions committee secretary Martyn Gallivan said: "Following protracted discussions with the different host broadcasters in Malaysia, India, France, Ireland, Spain and Japan it would not be possible to provide the appropriate television feeds in several of the tournaments. 
  "FIH has therefore decided that the Video Umpire will not be provided at any of the FIH Series Final."
  A video referral will not only benefit the hosts, but all teams.
  "Lets say another teams calls for a referral and then scores a goal against Malaysia, it works for every team and not only the hosts.
  "It was a requirement in the bid paper, and we followed it to the dot and have arranged for the facilities.
  "To tell us now that we can't use it because other countries can't have the same set-up is injustice to MHC.
  "The last Test match between Malaysia and India (women) is a clear example on why we need video umpiring.
  "India claimed the ball hit a leg after the hooter and so there should not be a penalty corner. But the umpires saw otherwise. Video umpiring could have solved the problem and India would not have to walk out without defending the penalty corner," said Brian.
  It was an FIH recognised Test but still, hosts Malaysia let India off the hook by not pressing the umpires and Technical Desk to penalise India for not defending the penalty corner.
  Instead, an accommodating Malaysian coach K. Dharmaraj called out his charges after a prolonged standoff, as a gracious host.
  India coach Sjoerd Marijne also used vulgar words during the standoff, but still, Dharmaraj and the Technical Bench let him go off the hook.
  For the record, it was Malaysia 0 and India 1, when Dharmaraj's charges won a penalty corner seconds before the hooter.
  A video referral might have drawn the game, but nobody will know the real outcome now: "And this could happen in the Series Open if the FIH do not allow the use of Video Umpire," said Brian.

Monday, April 1, 2019

Azlan Shah Cup: Pressure turned them into bronze...

By Jugjet Singh

IPOH: Pressure turns charcoal into diamond, and so some 'inspirational words' from Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal turned a losing side into bronze medalists.
  After winning against Poland and Japan, Malaysia took a slide when they were beaten by South Korea and India and lost a chance to play in the Azlan Shah Cup final.
  Subahan did not mince his words, or his disappointment, when he lambasted the players and officials, saying that the MHC had given them everything possible and its payback-time.
  After the South Korea and India defeats, Subahan had said: "No more excuses, no more statistics to back up a defeat, no more 'we played well but lost'.
  "I don't want to hear all this from the coach (Roelant Oltmans) when we play in the Series Finals in KL.
  "I want results. And it should start on Friday when we play Canada, and again on Saturday if both teams qualify for the bronze medal bracket," said Subahan.
  His prodding saw Malaysia beat Canada 3-2 and 4-2 to win a rare second bronze in the Cup.
  However, everybody expected Malaysia to play in the final of the Azlan Shah Cup, and the MHC even had hoped of finally breaking the gold medal jink since 1983.
  But it turned out to be just another tournament for the generous hosts, as South Korea claimed their third Azlan Shah Cup gold, India silver and Malaysia bronze.
  In the beginning, the hosts beat Poland and Asian Games champions Japan with easy, setting the fans salivating for a miracle.
  But this bunch cracked when it mattered most against India and South Korea, and this has been happening for ages.
  When Malaysia are under no pressure to deliver, they will even beat the best in any tournament, like they did against Canada in the last pool match.
  But when it matters most, the Malaysian team always falters.
  But inspired by the warning from Subahan, the failure script was thrown out of the window, and it became a success story, albeit on a smaller scale.
  Hopefully Mr President will be on their minds again when they start their pre-Olympic Qualifier, the FIH Series Finals in Kuala Lumpur on April 26 to May 4.
  The other teams in this pre-Olympic Qualifier are not big guns and Malaysia even has the advantage as hosts.
  Group A is made up of Canada, Austria, Wales and Belarus.
  Malaysia are in Group B with China, Brazil and Italy.
  An appearance in the final against Canada, and a possible gold medal by beating them for the third straight time, is what MHC and Malaysia needs going into the final Olympic Qualifier in November.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

28th Azlan Shah Cup: Gold for Smart Korea...

By Jugjet Singh

IPOH: South Korea played smart hockey to take the Azlan Shah Cup final into shoot out and then a stylish goal from skipper Lee Nam Young saw them lift the Azlan Shah Cup for the third time.
  The match ended 1-1, just like the pool stage, but in the end South Korea won the shoot-out 4-2.
  Nam Young took the final shoot-out, and charging in, he lifted the ball over the goalkeeper for victory.
  India took an early lead off Simranjeet Singh in the 9th minute, and held onto dear life until the last quarter.
  Korea never stopped presing, while also keeping India in check, and they were finally rewarded in the 47th minute, when they won a penalty stroke and Jang Jung Hyun almost tore the netting for the equaliser.
  The lucky strike took Korea into a shoot out.
  For the record, before the final, India had won four golds and shared one with South Korea (1985, 1991, 1995, 2009 and shared 2010 because of rain), while Korea had won in 1996 and shared the 2010 gold.
  PLACING: South Korea, India, Malaysia, Canada, Japan, Poland.
  Fairplay (Raja Ashman Shah Trophy): Japan.
  Man-of-the-Final: Jang Jung Hyun (Korea).
  Top Goal Scorer: Mandeep Singh (India) and Jang Jung Hyun (seven goals each).
  Best Goalkeeper: Kim Jae Hyeon (Korea).
  Player-of-the-Tournament: Surender Kumar (India).

Azlan Shah Cup: Malaysia win rare bronze..

By Jugjet Singh

IPOH: Malaysia won a rare Azlan Shah Cup bronze when they beat Canada 4-2 Saturday.
  It way way back in 1996 when the first bronze was wrestled away from Great Britain in a 4-3 penalty stroke competition, after the match ended 2-2.
  The second bronze should inspire Malaysia to do much better in the FIH Series Finals in Kuala Lumpur on April 26 to May 4.
  When Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans was asked what positives his team will take into the pre-Olympic Qualifier, he was short and sharp.
  "Wait and see, wait for the tournament to answer your question.
  The other teams in this pre-Olympic Qualifier are not big guns and Malaysia even has the advantage as hosts.
  Group A is made up of Canada, Austria, Wales and Belarus.
  Malaysia are in Group B with China, Brazil and Italy.
  And it looks like Malaysia will play Canada again, if both teams enter the final.
  Mark Pearson scored a field goal in the 14th minute, and the capacity crowd went silent for a few minutes, until Nik Aiman Nik Rozemi equalised off a 23rd minute penalty corner.
  From then onwards, local boy Azrai Aizad Abu Kamal (29th), Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin (30th) and Faizal Saari (45th) made sure the bronze did not slip out of their grasps.
  James Wallaca narrowed the gap in the 59th minute, but the clock died on Canada's comeback aspirations.
  Malaysia failed against South Korea and India, but retained some pride when they beat Canada twice in a row.
  Penalty corners were a big letdown in both the crucial matches to take Malaysia higher up in the tournament.
  "We did have a good conversion rate in the other matches, but could have done better in the Korea and India matches. 
  "We will work on it, and Taeke Taekema (former world class Dutch flicker) will be back with goalkeepers coach Martijn Drijver (also from Netherlands) a week before the Series Finals," said Oltmans who also brought down both the Dutch legends for the Azlan Shah Cup.
   RESULTS: Final -- South Korea x India x; Third-Fourth: Malaysia 4 Canada 2; Fifth-Sixth: Japan 6 Poland 1.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Jittery Malaysia blow their chances...

By Jugjet Singh

IPOH: Malaysia fought bravely, but did not use their brains and South Korea shut the Azlan Shah Cup final door on them with a 2-1 win.
  South Korea and India will play in the final on Saturday, while Malaysia will have to battle with Canada for a third-fourth placing ticket.
  Eleven penalty corners were won, but only one scored, showed how jittery were coach Roelant Oltman's men.
  Malaysia were too eager to win the match in the early stages, and paid dearly for it.
  They missed many chances, and even a goal scored, as jittery fingers saw them falter in front of the goalmouth.
  Korea kept their cool even though the stadium was packed with their rival's fans, including Ultras Malaya who never stopped singing and beating their drums.
  However, it was Korea who danced to the drum-beat as Lee Nam Young scored an opportunist goal in the 31st minute and Jang Jong Hyun made it 2-0 off a penalty corner attempt in the 35th.
  Malaysia kept up the fight, never giving up, but a goal scored by Firhan Ashaari was disallowed as the umpire and video referal said it was a back-stick attempt.
  However, a fightback was inspired by Razie Rahim when he scored off Malaysia's eighth penalty corner in the 48th minute.
  And in the 57th minute, there was dramatic moments when Malaysia scored another goal, but the umpire turned it into a penalty corner.
 But still, the Koreans held on tightly to the lead.
  And in the end, 
Malaysia fought bravely, but did not use their brain but only brawn.
  "If the umpires had kept their whistle in the pocket a little longer we would have won the match. The players showed a world class performance today and even though they lost, I am still very proud with their display," said Oltmans.
  And the Dutch hotly disputed when asked if his charges were jittery.
  "Did you watch the game? Did you see the correct match? They were world class," said Oltmans.
  When pushed that they played well but were jittery at crucial moments, Oltmans hit the table and said "'No more, next question."


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
INDIA           4  3  1  0  14 6  10
S KOREA         4  3  1  0  12 7  10
MALAYSIA        4  2  0  2  12 10 6
CANADA          4  2  0  2  12 14 6
JAPAN           4  1  0  3  7  8  3
POLAND          4  0  0  4  3  15 0

  RESULTS: Poland 0 Japan 3, Canada 3 India 7, Malaysia 1 South Korea 2.
  FRIDAY: India v Poland (4pm), South Korea v Japan (6pm), Malaysia v Canada (8.35pm).

From vision to reality, Sabah next...

By Jugjet Singh

Pic: Anil, Sabah HA president

IPOH: Malaysia is host to two of the only invitational hockey tournaments in the world, and are working to realise another one soon.
  The Azlan Shah Cup and the Under-21 Sultan of Johor Cup is world renowned and even the International Hockey Federation (FIH) is in awe on how Malaysia can consistently organise both flawlessly.
  Now, Sabah is planning to host a women's invitational, and newly minted Sabah HA president Datuk Seri Anil Jeet Singh, when met recently, said all they want is more synthetic pitches to be built around the Kota Kinabalu Sports Complex, and the tournament will become a reality.
  Anil said they need about RM1 million for the additional pitch, and another RM200,000 to make some minor upgrading works to the current pitch.
  And Sabah will have a women's invitational moulded to the Azlan Shah Cup.
  The Azlan Shah Cup was also born on a simple note, but now it is the most sought after tournament in the world, as all teams need to do is fork out fight tickets and the hosts will provide food, lodging and transport to and from the KLIA.
  Nowhere else in the world can one find such generous hosts who have been doing it since 1983, and never missing a beat into its 28th Edition this year.
  It all started when the late Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) secretary S. Satgunam was having a difficult time sourcing for funds to travel to Europe and other parts of the world to expose layers.
  It was an expensive affair as food, board and transport in Europe costs a bomb, but the late Sultan Azlan Shah was breathing down his neck to expose national players as he knew that was the only way to become better.
  Satgunam then came up with an idea to host an invitational in Malaysia, as it would be cheaper to bring six or seven teams down, than flying and playing in seven different countries.
  The rest, they say, is pleasant history.
  Sultan of Johor Cup is another success story which is partly because of the hard work of MHC vice-president Datuk Manjit Majid Abdullah.
  And now, Anil is in the picture to host a women's tournament in Sabah which has direct flights to-and-fro Kota Kinabalu to international destinations.
  Malaysia is a wonderful destination for hockey, and all because some people had a plan, and turned it into a vision.
  Over to you Anil, to realise another tournament in beautiful Sabah.

Canada tame fighting Japan

IPOH: Canada pulled off an upset of sorts when they edged Japan 2-1 in an epic Azlan Shah battle Monday.
  Eventough ranked 10th in the World, Canada did not look impresive but did just enough to claim full points.
  Japan were all over them, but man-of-the-match goalkeeper Antoni Kindler brought of some super saves in the fourth quarter.
  "I hate hockey, days like this, I really hate hockey," said Japan coach Seigfried Aikman.
  "Actually, I really hate losing and not hockey, and Canada are not an impressive team but my players made them look good by missing too many sitters.
  "Well, my players also made Canada goalkeeper man-of-the-match by taking poor shots at goal," said Aikman.
  Canada took the lead off Balraj Panesar in the 10th minute, but Ryosel Kato equalised in the very next minute, signalling another epic battle.
  However, James Kirkpatrick's 41st minute goal ended up being the decider, even though Japan tried every trick in the book to draw level but failed miserably in front of a towering Kindler.
  Canada coach Paul Bundy stuck to his learning curve: "It doesn't matter if we had won or lost this match. We can finish tops, or at the bottom of the pool, it does not matter because we came here to learn about ourselves and get ready for the FIH World Series in Kuala Lumpur in April.
  "That is where we want results," said Bundy.
  In the other match, Poland let slip a famous draw when a last minute blunder of a pass saw South Korea win 3-2.
  Poland twice took the lead, but in this haste to win, they threw away three points.
  The Poland goals were scored by Joseph Hillyer (28th) and Jacek Kurowski (40th), while the Koreans got their off Lee Namyong (40th), and Jung Manjae (56th, 60th).

Marked out of the match

By Jugjet Singh

IPOH: Malaysia played with a handicap as three regulars were tightly marked, and lost 4-2 to India in the Azlan Shah Cup.
  Confident and commanding, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Faizal Saari and Firhan Ashaari were taken out of the match by tight marking shadows.
  India looked fitter and controlled the match for long periods, resulting in goals from Sumit (17th), Sumit Kumar 27th, Varun Kumar 36th and Mandeep Singh (58th).
  Malaysia's goals were scored by Razie Rahim in the 21st minute and Firhan Ashaari in the 57th.
  "We played a fast and very entertaining game for the crowd but I am not happy with the end result. There are many positives to take from this game and now I know what to prepare for the (FIH World Series) Olympic Qualifier in April.
  "We had the game  in our hands at one point, but let it go, and after scoring the second goal we pressed harder but were punished with the fourth,"
  "Against Korea tomorrow (today) we need to make sure the players get a good rest and recovery work is very important," said Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans.
  Malaysia next play South Korea today, and when asked about his opinion on the match, South Korea coach Shin Seok-kyo shook his head.
  "Next time I receive an invitation from Malaysia to play in the Azlan Shah Cup, I will throw it away," said a smiling Shin.
  Seriously: "Malaysia in his tournament is at their best, and will be difficult to beat. With the backing of their fans, it will be a very difficult match.
  "I love coming to the Azlan Shah tournament, as this is the best platform for us to test our players ahead of our FIH Series Finals in France (in June)," said Shin.


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
S KOREA         3  2  1  0  10 6  7
INDIA           3  2  1  0  7  3  7
MALAYSIA        3  2  0  1  11 8  6
CANADA          3  2  0  1  9  7  6
JAPAN           3  0  0  3  4  8  0
POLAND          3  0  0  3  3  12 0

  RESULTS: Japan 1 Canada 2, Poland 2 South Korea 3, Malaysia 2 India 4.
  WEDNESDAY: Poland v Japan (4pm), Canada v India (6pm), Malaysia v South Korea (8.35pm).
  FRIDAY: India v Poland (4pm), South Korea v Japan (6pm), Malaysia v Canada (8.35pm).

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Aikman picks Malaysia over India..

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: So who will win today? India or Malaysia?
  When this question was posed to Japan coach Seigfried Aikman as well as Fitri Saari, two opposite reactions were received.
  Aikman picked Malaysia, while Fitri was cut short in his answer as coach Roelant Oltmans guarded him like a mother goose.
  Even though the question was asked in Bahasa Malaysia to Fitri, Oltmans was quick to jump in: "Ay, no such nonsence questions to my team. I understand what you asked, and the answer is 'No' to such questions. We have our own plans and programmes in this tournament and the question will answer itself at the end of the tournament!."
  "They say India is a young team (Minus their injured seven World Cup players) but still, 90 per cent of them have played in the Junior World Cup as well as other high ranking tournament and so you can't say they are inexperienced.
  "They are fast and skilfull, we just have to play our own style and the result will come," said Oltmans.
  Aikman picked Malaysia based on counter attack, fitness as well as Faizal Saari's form in the tournament.
  "Malaysia are fast on counter attack and they keep doing it the entire match (against Japan and Poland) because their fitness level is high. They are in the final stages in preparation for the FIH Series Finals and naturally, this is to be expected.
  "Also, the way the team feeds balls to Faizal, and his finishing, I believe Malaysia have the edge over India to win," said Aikman who never shies away from any question.
  Faizal has nailed a hat-trick against Poland and two goals against Japan and will be a guarded man today.
  India skipper Manpreet Singh, Asian Hockey Federation Player-of-the-Year 2018, did not mince his words as well.
  "We are here to win the tournament, and to do that, we have to first beat Malaysia. It was disappointing to lose two points to South Korea (drew 1-1) and we can't afford to lose any more points," said Manpreet who is the livewire and mastermind of India.

Malaysia alive and kicking ...

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian hockey came back to life in the Azlan Shah Cup, when they beat Japan for the fourth straight time since the Jakarta Asian Games nightmare.
  This match could be the turning point to not only advance to the final in Ipoh, but stamp their mark in the FIH Series Finals which Kuala Lumpur will host on April 26 to May 4.
  Japan coach Siegfried Aikman had said a day before the sizzling match that Malaysian hockey had died in Jakarta when we lost the shoot-out and also the gold to Blue Samurai.
  He meant a mental death, but four straight wins against Japan showed that the Asian Games was a one-off summer for the Samurai, and not the death of hockey in Malaysia.
  Starting with the Darwin International 4-0 win, Malaysia went on to beat Japan twice in the Asian Champions Trophy.
   Malaysia won 3-0 in the pool stage, and then held them to a 2-2 draw before winning the bronze 3-2 on shoot-out.
  And now the Azlan Shah Cup..
  Aikman had requested Malaysian fans to show up in force to resurrect their team's mental death, and the people of Ipoh took up the clarion call and it was a match to cherish for a long time.
  However, Malaysia need to keep their feet on the ground as they next play three strong teams in India, South Korea and Canada.
  These three have shown that they have the heart, desire and legs to play in the final, and Malaysia need to play much better than their previous two matches to shut the door on them.
  "The fans in Ipoh are really great and they made the difference. However, Malaysia did not win the match, but we gave it to them by making three silly passes which resulted in three goals," said Aikman a Dutchman of Surinamese origin.
  A win is a win, by hook or crook...


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA        2  2  0  0  9  4  6
S KOREA         2  1  1  0  7  4  4
INDIA           2  1  1  0  3  1  4
CANADA          2  1  0  1  7  6  3
JAPAN           2  0  0  2  3  6  0
POLAND          2  0  0  2  1  9  0

  TUESDAY: Japan v Canada (4pm), Poland v South Korea (6pm), Malaysia v India (8.35pm).
  WEDNESDAY: Poland v Japan (4pm), Canada v India (6pm), Malaysia v South Korea (8.35pm).
  FRIDAY: India v Poland (4pm), South Korea v Japan (6pm), Malaysia v Canada (8.35pm).

Killer blow to KLHA

By Jugjet Singh

IPOH: Kuala Lumpur Hockey Association (KLHA) received a bitter blow when they were told to vacate the Pantai Hockey Stadium by the end of the month.
  The contract between KLHA and owners Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) ended last August but the letter to vacate was only received a few days back.
  KLHA have been having their base at the stadium since 1987, and will be appealing the eviction.
  KLHA secretary V. Rajamanickam, president Datuk Abu Huraira Yazid, vice president K. Maheswari and treasurer Daljit Singh could not be contacted for comments.
  However a source close to KLHA said: "Yes, the contract between KLHA-DBKL ended last August and all these years there was no such problem as it was automatically renewed on a 3+2 basis (three years plus option for another two).
  "However, KLHA were shocked to receive the eviction notice which stated that they must move out by end of March. They only received the eviction notice a few days back and so it was surprising.
  "An appeal will follow soon," said the source.
  KLHA have been doing good development work at the stadium for ages, and if their appeal is rejected, it would be a great loss to hockey in the country.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Bollywood script in India draw...

KUALA LUMPUR: India and South Korean battled to a 1-1 draw in a match full of Bollywood style drama in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Sunday.
  India had the match in hand until the last eight minutes, but South Korea survived a barrage of green cards as well as a 40 minute break courtesy of torrential rain.
  South Korea had the better of India until the 28th minute, but three of their players were green carded and they were left only eight to defend.
  Yang Jihun (25th), Lee Namyong (25th) and Lee Seungil (28th) were green carded and sat looking from the sin-bin, as India took the opportunity to attack in numbers and Mandeep nailed the lead in the 28th minute.
  And just when India felt they had the match wrapped up, pouring rain blanketed the Azlan Shah Stadium and the match was stopped with eight minutes to end.
  South Korea came back looking fresher after the long break, and forced four penalty corners before Jung Jung Hyun scored with 20 seconds on the clock to share the spoils.
  India coach David John blamed indiscipline among his players for the draw.
  "Indiscipline is what caused us to lose three points as we gave away too many penalty corners in the last eight minutes after rain. But still, a point is still good enough," said John.
  India defenders gave away four penalty corners after the rain break, and were punished by Jang, who played for Terengganu Hockey Team in the Malaysia Hockey League recently.
  Skipper Manpreet Singh believes rain helped old legs in the Korean team to recover.
  "The plan was to run them down as we have a younger team compared to them, and we did just that. But the 40 minute rain delay helped Korea to recover their 'old legs', and so, it (rain) was a great help for them," said Manpreet.
  After a day's break Malaysia play India on Tuesday.

Canada break Poland resistance

KUALA LUMPUR: Canada had to bring out their best to beat Poland 4-0 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Sunday.
  Even though the scoreline look like it was an easy match but it took the World No 10 35 minutes to score against No 21 ranked Poland.
  Brendon Bissett scored the opener in the 35th minute, and it finally opened up the game and Canada went on to score three more off Devhon Teixera (47th, 59th) and Gordon Johnson (55th).
  "We always have difficulties when we play European teams and it was evident today (yesterday) as we needed time to start scoring.
  "But we came here with a mission to learn and grow, and that's what we did in this match.
  "The rain before our match brought some relief, and so it was much better than our first match (lost 6-3 to South Korea)," said Canada coach Gregg Clark.
  After a day's rest Canada meet Asian Games champions Japan.
  "We always look at ourselves when preparing for a match, and so, it does not matter who we play, we stick to our game plan," said Clark about the Japan encounter.
  Poland coach Karol Sniezek was not happy with the score, but praised his men for their attitude.
  "Even though we were playing a team which is way above us, my players still managed to hold them for a long period, and I believe we are slowly improving in this tournament," said Sniezek.

Malaysia survive to fight another day..

Pic: Oltmans with Fitri Saari after beating Japan 4-3.


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA        2  2  0  0  9  4  6
S KOREA         2  1  1  0  7  4  4
INDIA           2  1  1  0  3  1  4
CANADA          2  1  0  1  7  6  3
JAPAN           2  0  0  2  3  6  0
POLAND          2  0  0  2  1  9  0

  RESULTS: India 1 South Korea 1, Poland 0 Canada 4, Malaysia 4 Japan 3.

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian hockey team finally showed up in full force at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh to beat Asian Games champions Japan 4-3 Sunday.
  The match almost followed the same script as the Asian Games, where Japan came back from 5-1 to draw level at 6-6 and then win the shoot-out 3-1.
  But the players were more prepared this time, and denied Japan another famous victory.
  Faizal Saari was again the toast as he opened scoring in the third minute, and added another in the 25th.
  Kazuma Murata narrowed to 2-1 in the 17th, but Nik Aiman Rozemi scored the third in the seventh minute.
  The match was far from over as Japan kept pushing for the equaliser, but Razie Rahim gave Malaysia some breathing space when he scored off the only penalty corner in the 53rd minute.
  However, even before the crowd at the stadium could celebrate the 4-2 lead, Koji Yamasaki scored in the 54th minute.
  Faizal took his personal tally to five as he scored a hat-trick in the 5-1 win against Poland.
  In the Asian Champions Trophy last year, Malaysia won 3-0 in the pool, and then drew 2-2 but won 3-2 in shoot-out for bronze.
  Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans said: "The good thing about this match is that the players are no longer nervous when they concede a goal, and they play their normal game.
  "We knew Japan wold come hard at us and we managed to soak the pressure and that was another good point," said Oltmans.
  Malaysia only won one penalty corner in 60 minutes: "Yes, but we also scored three field goals and that was complimented by the 100 percent penalty corner record."
  Man of the match Fitri Saari said: "Now that we have gotten over two matches with full points, we are looking forward to a good tournament by taking one match at a time."

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Azlan Shah Cup: Malaysia died in Jakarta -- Aikman

Pic: Siegfried Aikman.

KUALA LUMPUR: Japan coach Siegfried Aikman said Malaysia died they day they lost  the gold medal in the Jakarta Asian Games, and the team needs all the support it can to rise again.
  The Dutch said this after India beat Japan 2-0 in the curtain raiser of the 28th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh yesterday.
  Japan next meet Malaysia today (Sunday).
  "I hope the fans turn up in full force to support their team as Malaysia need all the help they can to rise from the bottom again.
  "They (hockey) died the day we beat them to the Asian Games gold medal in Jakarta, and by saying this, I mean their mental strength died that faithful day.
  "Malaysia reached rock-bottom in their hockey in Jakarta, and this is the best chance for them to rise again," said Aikman.
  Japan played a solid defensive game against world No 5 India, who only got two shots at goal and scored both. India also could only win two penalty corners.
  "We lost 8-0, 9-0 and 3-2 to India in our last three encounters, so today's 2-0 was an improvement, and if we meet India again, we will beat them," said Aikman.
  The only difference in the match was Varun Kumar's 24th minute penalty corner, and Simranjeet Singh's diving deflection into goal in the 55th minute.
  "India are much better than Malaysia, and so I expect a better match from my players tomorrow (today). And I want the fans to show up in force, as my players would also benefit playing in an electric atmosphere," said Aikman.
  India coach David John did not attend the press conference and sent his skipper Manpreet Singh instead.
  "Japan gave us very little chances, and we took the few that came out way and won the match. I believe by the time they host the Olympics (2020), Japan would be ready to put up a good fight," said Manpreet.

Azlan Shsh Cup: The Saari Show

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: A brotherly act help subdue a fighting Poland before Malaysia went ahead to win 5-1 in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh Saturday.
  Poland, who arrived a day before the tournament started, after travelling for 48 hours from wintry conditions, defended stoutly for 15 minutes before Malaysia finally got their bearings straight in the second quarter.
  Faizal Saari scored off Malaysia's first penalty corner in the 20th minute, while brother Fitri nailed a field goal in the 28th.
  It was Faizal again in the 30th minute to make it 3-0, before Poland scored off a penalty corner attempt five seconds from half-time.
  After the breather, Ashran Hamsani got the fourth in the 36th, and Faizal scored his well-deserved hat-trick in the 45th minute. 
  Malaysia next play Japan, who lost to India 2-0 in an earlier match.
  "It was a good start to the tournament and my three goals today (yesterday) were also because of the one week training in Kuantan under Dutch penalty corner specialist Taeke Taekema," said Faizal.
  "Everything happened well, and this is what we are looking for in this team. The structure was well organised, and nothing more or nothing less, as we have many more matches to play," said Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans.
  "Naturally we were a little tired from travelling and could not match the speedy Malaysian's. And since we were a last minute replacement (for South Africa) and so our preparation were not very good.
  "We love it here, and the tournament is very prestigious for us and even if we had received a call-up two days before the tournament, we would have rushed to make the trip.
  "We have been welcome with open arms here and we really appreciate it. This is not the full squad, some players had work obligations as well as studies.
  "We could not bring five regulars, but I am not complaining as it gives a chance for the others to show their skills," said Poland coach Karol Sniezek.


                P  W  D  L  F  A  Pts
MALAYSIA        1  1  0  0  5  1  3
S KOREA         1  1  0  0  6  3  3
INDIA           1  1  0  0  2  0  3
JAPAN           1  0  0  1  0  2  0
CANADA          1  0  0  1  3  6  0
POLAND          1  0  0  1  1  5  0

  RESULTS: India 2 Japan 0, Canada 3 South Korea 6, Malaysia 5 Poland 1.

Azlan Shah Cup: Korea snatch early favourites tag

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: South Korea grabbed the early favourites tag with a 6-3 win over Canada in the Azlan Shah Cup Saturday.
  South Korea 17th in the World, outclassed 10th ranked Canada in very department, especially fitness, until the last quarter.
  Kim Jung Hoo (14th), Lee Namyong (19th, 31st, 43rd) and Jang Jong Hyun (20th, 44th) scored for the Koreans.
  Jang had recently scored 22 goals to help Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) to win the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Charity Shield as well as TNB Cup.
  Canada made a strong comeback in the last 15 minutes with goals from Matthew Sarmento (45th), Adam Froese (45th) and Fin Boothroyd (50th), but the clock ran out on them.
  South Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo is now looking forward to erase his team's Asian Games nightmare by lifting the title.
  "We finished fourth in Jakarta which was very bad by out standards and now we are rebuilding the team starting with fitness. We want to become champions here, because our last title in 2010 (Joint champions with India after thunderstorm disrupted the final) is too long ago.
  "We need a big boost here before we plan for the FIH Series Finals in France in June (Olympic Qualifier)," said Shin.
  As for Canada coach Paul Bundy, the score did not matter, as he is here to try out some new players as well as new tactics.
  "After the Bhubaneswar World Cup, we decided that we can't continue playing our normal style if we want to progress. That's why we have brought five young players and are working on new format and tactics.
  "Credit to Korea because they scored some world class goals, and credit to my players also for trying to make a comeback, but I'm still not happy with the overhead flick decisions.
  "The rule was introduced in the World Cup, but until today, the decisions vary according to different umpires. There is no consistency, and this could lead to injuries," said Bundy.
  South Korea next play Poland at 4pm Sunday, and their recovery and fitness will be put to test after they gave their all against Canada.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

CHESS: Bronze for Baljit

BALJIT SINGH RANDHAWA claimed bronze among 101 chess players at a tournament organised by SK Taman Melawati, Ampang, Saturday.
  He will represent the school in MSSD Gombak now.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Poland keep cool in sizzling heat..

Pic: Poland coach Karol Sniezek (right) with skipper Bartosz Zywiczka.

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Poland traveled for 48 hours, before reaching Malaysia 3am Friday from a wintry climate to sizzling hot Ipoh, but still, they are cool and coy about their opening match today.
  They will open accounts against Malaysia in the 28th Azlan Shah Cup, and have placed the pressure squarely in coach Roelant Oltman's and his men.
  "Yes, we are tired and jet lagged, as we arrived from cold Poland (9 degrees) to sizzling 30 plus in Ipoh this morning (Friday), but we have nothing to lose but everything to gain from this tournament. The pressure will be on hosts Malaysia," said Poland coach Karol Sniezek.
  Skipper Bartosz Zywiczka mimicked his coach, and it looks like the Poland opener is going be as difficult as to spell their names.
  Poland were last minute replacements after South Africa withdrew, citing financial problems.
  "As a coach I am really grateful to be able to bring my team for the Azlan Shah Cup because as a player, I dreamed of playing at this stage but never got a chance.
  "We would like to thank Malaysian Hockey (confederation) for Inviting us to make our debut.
  "It will not be easy playing against Malaysia in front of their own fans, but the pressure will be on them to preform, while we will do our best," said Sniezek.
  After a training session yesterday, both the coach and captain came to the press conference with rosy cheeks, and tanned foreheads.
  For the record, Malaysia beat Poland 3-1 in the 1975 World Cup in Kuala Lumpur, and in the last encounter in 2015 in the World League Round Two in Singapore -- Malaysia hammered Poland 8-0 in the final.
  Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans was evasive when asked about his chances playing against a jet-lagged team, backed by horrendous weather.
  "No, jet-lag as well as the heat will not pose a problem to a team as dedicated as Poland and I believe they will put up a good fight and we have our own plans on how to stop them," said Oltmans.
  Skipper Razie Rahim, who trained under former world no 1 penalty corner flicker Taeke Taekema of the Netherlands for a week in Kuantan, was more optimistic.
  "I believe after a week of training and undergoing motivational sessions (in Kuantan) we are ready for the tournament. As for me, Taekema fine tuned my drag flicks and made me sharper," said Razie.
  FIXTURES: SATURDAY -- India v Japan (4pm), Canada v South Korea (6pm), Malaysia v Poland (8pm).
  SUNDAY: India v South Korea (4pm), Canada v Poland (6pm), Malaysia v Japan (8pm).

Shin: Olympics on my mind...

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: South Korean Shin Seok Kyo is a likeable coach, and his bubbly antics never fail to break a smile on the faces of those around him.
  But underneath, he is a deadly plotter whose aim right now is to prepare his charges to qualify for the Olympics in Tokyo.
  After a disappointing fifth in the Jakarta Asian Games, the coach is looking forward to the Azlan Shah Cup to regain their glory days.
  "It was a very bad Asian Games for us and right now we are in the mood to qualify for the Olympics, and Azlan Shah will give us a chance to prepare early for our qualifier later in the year," said an ever smiling Shin.
  South Korea whipped Malaysia 6-0 and Japan 4-1 in earlier friendlies, and when they became joint-champions with India in the 2010 Azlan Shah Cup, they had also demolished Malaysia 6-0 and Japan 4-0 in the run-up back then.
  (Note: India and South Korea were declared joint champions after a thunderstorm disrupted the final).
  "I seriously don't know how we beat Malaysia 6-0 in the (Tuesday) friendly, but we did the same when we became joint champions for the first time, and we will ride on that in every match we play here.
  "The end target is to qualify for the Olympics, and so we have brought our best for the Cup," said Shin.
  South Korea open against Canada today, and it is expected to be a cracker.
  Canada coach Paul Bundy is also looking towards the FIH Series Finals which Malaysia will host in April.
  "This is an early preparation for my players, acclimatization as well, as we will be playing in the Olympic Qualifier in KL again soon. We are second to India on world ranking here, but that means nothing if we do not play to our best capabilities as every team here is capable of upsetting the other," said Bundy.

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Shamala looking for equality

PIC: Dr Shamala (right) and her Asian buddies including AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram (centre), in Gifu recently.

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Dr S. Shamala has dedicated her life to hockey in Malaysia since her playing days, and was recently recognised for her immense contributions by the Asian Hockey Confederation (AHF).
  At the end of their AGM in Gifu, Japan, recently Malaysian delegate Shamala was called up to receive the AHF Order of Merit.
  And at the AHF website, the Order of Merit was describes as -- "This is one of the most prestigious awards given by the AHF."
  Shamala juggles many 'jobs' while rising from the ranks to become the current Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) deputy president while her bread-and-butter is Professor at the Universiti Putra Malaysia Department of Communication Technology and Network.
  "The award could not have been achieved without dedication and commitment form the MHC team, and so, I would like to thank everybody from the bottom to the top level," said Shamala.
  The AHF used to be more involved in protocols, but according to Shamala, that's history.
  "The delegates who came to Gifu were committed to shed the AHF's 'protocol image' and move towards 'action base'. This includes having more Asian teams in the next World Cup and Olympics.
  "And at the bottom half, teams like North Korea, Afghanistan and Oman are also keen to move up and are involved with many AHF activities now," said Shamala.
  She also aims to start the ball rolling for the Asian continent to earn their rights and equality of the FIH world ranking system which prefers Europe and the Pro-League more than Asian and Olympics respectively.
  For example, even continental championships provide different points as in Europe its 750 points for No 1, while in Asia it's 650 points for gold.
   "Yes, I will push for equality especially in ranking points provided for championships, as in the end, points are what matter most for a team to qualify for the Olympics and World Cup now," said Shamala.
  He other burning desire is to see field hockey played more regularly at the Sea Games level.
  "Manila (2019) will only have indoor hockey while Vietnam (next hosts) have totally take hockey out.
  "It is ok for Sea Games to include some traditional sports, but don't sideline Olympic and world level sports in the same breath. Sea countries must be realistic and move forward," said Shamala.
  And if more AHF as well as Sea country officials have the same mindset like Shamala, the continent can finally move forward and have more world beaters in their ranks.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Azlan Shah Cup: Poland to the rescue...

PIC: Azlan Shah Cup organising secretary M. Selvakumaran.

KUALA LUMPUR: World No 21 Poland politely accepted an 11th hour invitation to compete in the 28th Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh on March 23-30.
  This came about after South Africa, No 16, withdrew due to financial reasons.
  The tournament will see hosts Malaysia (13th), battle for their maiden title since 1983 with India (5th), Canada (10th), South Korea (17th), and Asian Games champions Japan (18th).
  Azlan Shah Cup organising secretary M. Selvakumaran thanked Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) CEO Datuk Tayyab Ikram for his help.
  "Poland accepted our invitation to play even though the tournament is just around the corner and we are very grateful to them.
  "This inclusion was made possible with help from AHF CEO Datuk Tayyab," said Selvakumaran.
  Malaysia has only seen silver since the inception of the tournament, but with regulars Australia, New Zealand, England and Argentina missing due to their FIH Pro-League engagements, this is coach Roelant Oltman's best hour to guide his side to the top of the podium.

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Azlan Shah Cup: Scrooge South Africa withdraw

 Sultan Nazrin with former Malaysian hockey greats.
 Selva (left) with Dr Shamala (centre).

Sultan Nazrin with Dr Shamala.

KUALA LUMPUR: South Africa players will miss the chance of a lifetime to play in the 28th Edition of the Azlan Shah Cup, because their Hockey Association (SHA) had asked them to fork out 70 per cent of the flight expenses.
  Many players naturally refused, and SHA pulled out their team a few days back.
  This is strange because the 'almost free' tournament just received RM2.06 million in sponsorship yesterday, which was handed to the Sultan of Perak, Nazrin Shah, in a gala ceremony in Kuala Lumpur.
  The organisers are now banking on Poland to make it six again, as the other confirmed teams are hosts Malaysia, India, Japan, South Korea and Canada.
  And if Poland do not confirm in two days time, it would be run as a five-team tournament.
  Azlan Shah Cup organising secretary M. Selvakumaran said: "This is the only tournament in the world which caters for accommodation, food as well as internal transport to and fro Kuala Lumpur (airport) to Ipoh for invited teams. All the teams need to do is pay for their players and officials flight tickets and show up with playing gear."
  But South Africa HA are no strangers to this, as they has also asked their players to fork out nearly RM3,000 each to play in the recent World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) deputy president Datuk Dr S. Shamala said: "This is one of the most prestigious Invitationals in the world which has stood the test of time and has seen the best in the world play and lift the trophy.
  "It's a pity South Africa could not make it due to financial problems, and so we wait for Poland. And if the tournament becomes a five-team affair, we will let the FIH (International Hockey Federation) decide its format."
  There are no plans to include a Malaysian B team if Poland does not  answer the 11th hour call-up as the Cup will be held on March 23-30.
  SOme of the sponsors are Astro RM400,000, Perak State Govermnent RM300,000, KL Teh Land and Development Sdn Bhd RM300,000, Lumut Maritime Terminal RM200,000 and many others.
  Teams and officials are even provided with water, as Spritzer has pledged 20,000 bottles.
  South Africa surely missed the freebee of their lives to expose their players by being an international scrooge.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Najmi back in training squad...

KUALA LUMPUR: National chief coach Roeland Oltmans picked 28 players to train for the Azlan Sha Cup, and four of them were young legs.
  Th tournament will be held in Ipoh on March 23-30, followed by the FIH Series Finals in Kuala Lumpur on April 26-May 4.
  The four are Akhimullah Anuar Esook, Arif Syafie Ishak, Noor Firdaus Rosdi and Azrai Aizad Kamal.
  Najmi Farizal Jazlan, who walked out of the team before the World Cup, was also included in the training squad which will head to Kuantan for a one week camp.
  Oltmans has also roped in former penalty corner great Taeke Taekema and goalkeepers' coach Martin Drijver to train the players in Kuantan.
  TRAINING SQUAD: S. Kumar (gk), Hairi Rahman (gk), 
Hafizuddin Othaman (gk), Zaimi Mat Deris (gk), Sukri Mutalib, Razie Rahim, Syed Syafiq Cholan, Faiz Helmi Jali, Luqman Nul Shukran, Najmi Farizal Jazlan, Najib Abu Hassan, Amirol Aideed Arshad, Arif Syafie Ishak, Marhan Jalil, Fitri Saari, Meor Azuan Hassan, Ashran Hamsani, Joel Samuel van Huizen, Azrai Aizad Kamal, Haziq Samsul, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Firhan Ashari, Faizal Saari, Nik Aiman Rozemi, Norsyafiq Sumantri, Shahril Saabah, Akhimullah Anuar Esook, Noor Firdaus Rosdi.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

TNB Cup: Terengganu HT dethrone UniKL

KUALA LUMPUR: Terengganu Hockey Team dethroned Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 2-1 in a highly entertaining TNB Cup final at the Tun Razak yesterday.
  UniKL, handicapped by the absence of their four foreign imports, fought gallantly and even had a penalty corner in the dying minutes to take the match into shoot-out, but Najmi Farizal Jazlan missed the post by inches.
  Terengganu were powered to the title by their two South Korean imports, Jang Jong Hyun who scored his 22nd goal of the tournament in the 25th minute, while Jang Man Jae delivered in the 40th minute -- both off penalty corners.
  National penalty corner flicker Razie Rahim gave UniKL hope with a 44th minute penalty corner, but they could not find the equalsier.
  Terengganu received RM100,000 while UniKL RM60,000 and Tenaga Nasional RM40,000 for their efforts.
  UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj saluted his charges who gave their all even though they were short of four of their best.
  "My foreign imports were sorely missed in the final but the players who took over their positions fought gallantly and I am proud of their efforts," said Arul.
  UniKL waited until the last minute for a release letter from the European Hockey Federation (EHF), to allow their players to ply their trade overseas until Feb 28, but it never came.
  This ruling saw UniKL's best players Dutchmen Valentin Verga, Robert Kemperman and Martijn Havenga as well as Irish top goalkeeper David Harte who helped UniKL win their first League title in nine years, watch the final from the stands.
   "I salute UniKL because even though they were short of players, they planned their game well and gave us a good fight. As for my players, they never gave up the fight and even though we finished third in the League, we clawed back and won the TNB Cup with pride intact," said Terengganu HT coach I. Vikneswaran.
  In the bronze battle, Tenaga Nasional hammered Maybank 7-2 with goals from Firhan Ashaari (23rd, 45th), Aiman Nik Rozemi (34th), Amirul Hamizan Azahar (39th), Aiman Nik Rozemi (41st), Arif Syafie Ishak (46th) and Amirol Aideed Arshad (54th).
   Maybank scored late off Hafiizhuddin Zaidi (57th) and Amirrullah Zainol (59th).
    RESULTS: TNB Cup Final -- Terengganu Hockey Team 2 Universiti Kuala Lumpur 1. 
  Third-Fourth: Maybank 2 Tenaga Nasional 7.

Friday, March 1, 2019

TNB Cup Final: UniKL waiting for Godot...

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) will be waiting for a miracle to appear in their inbox by today morning, ahead of their TNB Cup clash against Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) at the Tun Razak Stadium.
  Dutchmen Valentin Verga, Robert Kemperman and Martijn Havenga, as well as top Irish goalkeeper David Harte, who helped UniKL win their first League title in nine years, will only be around to help them to a double if the European Hockey Federation (EHF) bothers to reply their email request.
  This is because the four are no longer available from March 1 onwards, as they have a contract to play in the European Hockey League (EHL) knock-out stage from April 17-22.
  Even though there is ample time, the European Hockey Federation (EHF) has only allowed their players to ply their trade overseas until Feb 28 even though their tournament will only be held at a much later date.
  UniKL wrote to the EHF some time ago but have yet to get any response.
  "We are expecting a reply from the EHF by tomorrow (today) morning, and hopefully UniKL's appeal receives a positive response," said UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj.
  Terengganu HT coach I. Vikneswaran is the least bothered about the saga involving UniKL's foreign imports.
  "I will only concentrate on my team, and plan for matters which are in my hands. The availability or inavailability of UniKL's foreign players is not in my hands, so I will not think about it at all.
  "Penalty corners could decide the outcome, and that is in out hands to plan for," said Vikneswaran.
  Terengganu HT have tournament top-scorer Jang Jung Hyun with 21 penalty corner goals, while UniKL's Razie Rahim has nailed 14 goals.
  The team which gives away the least penalty corners will have the upper hand today.
  SATURDAY: TNB Cup Final: Terengganu Hockey Team v Universiti Kuala Lumpur (Tun Razak, 5pm); Third-Fourth: Maybank v Tenaga Nasional (Tun Razak, 3pm).

Dr Ramlan: There will not be another Daphne Boudville

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: There will never be another triple international in Malaysian sports, like Daphne Boudville.
  Yesterday, a book was unveiled on the athlete who died a month ago at the age of 77, and the whos-who of Malaysia's golden sports era attended the function at the Olympic Council of Malaysia.
  In her heydays, she represented Malaysia in hockey, athletics and soccer.
  Former National Sports Institure CEO Datuk Dr Ramlan Abdul Aziz, one of the invitees, said: "Yes, there will never be another triple, or even double international in Malaysia because times as well as priorities have changed over the years."
  According to Ramlan, less competition, as well as less didtraction was the key those days.
  "Competition was limited, and when an athlete excelled in one sport, she or he were also asked to play another and so they became double and triple internationals.
  "Nowdays, the competition is very keen and even though we (NSI) encourage children to play all sports lke swimming, running and ball sports -- but they must specialise when they mature to become successful.
  "Also, emphasis on studies as well as other entertainment and virtual games has made it much more difficult to excel in more than a sport at the international level," said Ramlan.
  Daphne was the only Malaysian women to become a triple international, and it looks like the title will remain with her forever.