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).