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.