Monday, March 21, 2016

Second Test: Another Australian lesson...

WORLD No 1 Australia beat Malaysia 5-0 in the Second Test in Perth Monday, on the back of a 7-1 drubbing.
  The national team are preparing for the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh in April 6-16, where they will face Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, Canada and Japan.
  Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) technical director Terry Walsh said: "Malaysia were much more competitive in this match and had two penalty corners in the second half.
 "One of which hit the post. On the offset, we had three soft goals scored against us which could have been avoided.
 "It was a much more even performance throughout the match as the players had more confidence to play passes and build out of defence.
  "However, we still make careless decisions during critical moments but are progressively getting better," said Walsh who is with the team.
  On the First Test drubbing, Walsh was more supportive of the Malaysian team.
  "The final score (1-7) was a little flattering to the Australians, but the reality is we are a only several steps behind the best team in the world.
  "Their dominance was fairly evident throughout the match. Malaysia only controlled six to seven minutes of the first quarter and small parts of the fourth quarter. 
  "The players will need to believe that they can compete against the best teams in the world. We are still developing as a team and a result like this, albeit painful, will allow us to constantly identify weaknesses in our system of play and training programmes. The objective is to keep improving, in every possible way," said Walsh.
  Third and final Test on Thursday.

Azlan Shah Cup: India selects 18..

By Hockey India

New Delhi, 21 March, 2016: Hockey India today announced the 18 member Indian Hockey team led by Sardar Singh that will take part in the 25th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup to be held in Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia from April 6-16.
  Besides India, defending New Zealand, 2012 Olympic bronze medalist, Australia, Pakistan, Japan, Canada and hosts Malaysia will be taking part in the annual tournament.
  While Sardar Singh will lead the team as Captain, SV Sunil will be supporting him as the Vice-Captain. Besides two goalkeepers- Harjot Singh and Akash Anil Chikte, the squad will have five defenders: Rupinder Pal Singh, Jasjit Singh Kular, Kothajit Singh, Surender Singh, Harmanpreet Singh. The midfield will be under the leadership of skillful Sardar Singh and he will be assisted by Danish Mujtaba, Chinglensana Singh, Manpreet Singh, S K Uthappa, Harjeet Singh. While, Vice-Captain SV Sunil, Talwinder Singh, Mandeep Singh, Ramandeep Singh, Nikkin Thimmaiah will form India’s forwardline.
  With the 2016 Rio Olympics few months down the line, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup will serve has as a barometer to measure the team’s preparation for the most important sporting event of the year, the 2016 Olympic Games.
  “India has a good record in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and we would like to keep it that way. Being an Olympic year, this tournament assumes special importance as it will give us an idea where we stand. Playing against good teams like Australia, New Zealand and Pakistan and not to forget hosts Malaysia will give the team critical competition exposure. It will be a good opportunity trying out new things and new combinations in the tournament to see if they work,” said Sardar Singh, Captain of the Team
  In preparation for the tournament, the Indian men’s team is currently undergoing a training camp that started on 7 March 2016 at the SAI Centre in Bangalore.
  “The boys have been working hard as a unified unit and are geared up for the tournament ahead. Azlan Shah will be good testing ground for us right before the Rio Olympics and will be very crucial for the team. We are focused on improving the game technically and implement the right strategies.” said Chief Coach Roelant Oltmans.
  One of the concern areas of the Indian team has been the tendency to concede late goal. The team has been working on plan to eliminate this flaw.  “In the past we have conceded late goals that have taken away the games from us. We want to eliminate that particular weakness. We have been working on it for some time now, which we will be able to put to test in the tournament,” he added.
  Indian has enjoyed a good run in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup since it started as a biennial tournament in 1983 before becoming an annual affair since 1994. India has won the prestigious tournament five times in 1985, ’91, ’95, 2009 and 2010, while it earned bronze on six occasions and finished runners-up once in 2008. However, it won’t be easy for the men in blue to counter the likes of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan and Malaysia. Host Team Malaysia will be eager to make an impact under their new Coach Stephen van Huizen.
  The round-robin format of the tournament will help the team to get decent amount of competition exposure under its belt. It will also give them an opportunity to gauge the fitness level, since the conditions in Ipoh around this time of the year will be extremely hot and humid. The Indian team has shown considerable improvement in the fitness levels in the past couple of year.
  The Indian Men Hockey Team for the Sultan of Azlan Shah Cup:


1.     Harjot Singh
2.     Akash Anil Chikte


3.     Rupinder Pal Singh
4.     Jasjit Singh Kular
5.     Kothajit Singh
6.     Surender Singh
7.     Harmanpreet Singh


8.     Danish Mujtaba
9.     Chinglensana Singh
10.   Manpreet Singh
11.   Sardar Singh (C)
12.   S K Uthappa
13.   Harjeet Singh


14.   Talwinder Singh
15.   Mandeep Singh
16.   SV Sunil (VC)
17.   Ramandeep Singh
18.   Nikkin Thimmaiah

Dharmaraj's ladies start journey of a million miles...

NATIONAL women's coach K. Dharmaraj selected two juniors in a squad of 20 for a five-match series against the China national team in Changzhou, from Tuesday.
  He is preparing a team for Round Two of the World League which Malaysia will host at the end of the year.
  "I have just taken over the women's team but have seen great potential in the short span. The aim is to break into the next round of the World league, and I believe Malaysia can achieve it," said Dharmaraj.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Datuk Sri Subahan Kamal is determined to ensure that both the men and women are provided the best possible opportunities to develop.
  "China is one of the best teams in the world. Even their Junior Squads are formidable. We take this as an opportunity to learn and gauge ourselves after undergoing 70 days of training.
  "I am pleasantly surprised by the talent we have, but a lot of work is required if we are to progress", Dharmaraj said.
  The two juniors are defender Nurul Najah and striker Nuraslinda Said.
  WOMEN: Goalkeepers: Farah Ayuni, Mas Huzaimah; Defenders: Juliani Din, Siti Noor Amarina, Siti Shahida, Raja Norsharina, Nurul Safiqah, Nurul Najah Farhani.
  Midfielders: Nur Aisyah, Noorain Arshad, Norazlin Sumantri, Noor Hasliza, Norbaini Hashim, Fatin Shafika; Forwards: Nuraslinda Said, Wan Norfaiezah, Hanis Nadiah, Norhidayah Ahmad, Nurul Nabihah, Siti Rahmah.

National Under-16: A shambolic scam..

 TERENGGANU ...Boys champions.
CHAMPIONS ...Selangor girls and runners-up boys

THE 1MAS-Milo National Under-16 Boys' and Girls' tournament concluded on Sunday with Terengganu and Selangor winning the respective categories in a 9s tournament which saw many flaws from the very start.
  First of all, there were no schools tournaments in states leading to inter-district for fairer selection. The reason was because the Education Ministry did not have funds for hockey tournaments at schools.
  So, selections were based on who the respective coaches knew and who were on the radar of team managers and state secretaries. 
  Those who played in the Junior Hockey League (JHL) were of course more visible and picked over others who never had a chance to show their skills at schools level.
  This being an Under-16 tournament, fresh faces should have been preferred, instead of relying on the same old faces who play in the JHL, especially in Division Two.
  But states were looking for results more than a bigger pool of players, as Open trials were held, but selection were already done weeks before trials were called.
  Those who walked in for trials never had a chance in their lives to play in the National Under-16.
  Some trials were called for a period of two days, but after just one day, those who walked in were told not to turn up for the second day trials as the coach already had in mind players from last year, and players from sports schools which he wanted to pinch.
  This practise shrunk the pool for national selectors  --- 1MAS director Tai Beng Hai, Nor Saiful Zaini, Mohamed Suffian, S. Vellapan and Amin Rahim.
  This group was tasked to select boys for the Four-Nation Under-16 tournament in Mannheim, Germany, on May 13-16.
  Injustice was done to many who were not selected by states in their haphazard Open trials, and not the best in the country will now head to Mannheim.
  These are the players who will represent the country in the next Junior World Cup, provided they play well and qualify.
  The 9s tournament also did not serve the purpose it was intended for -- more goals and more open space to run and throw the ball. As players were lost playing this format for the first time.
  And a week before its start, no indepth planning was done before the 9s rules were drafted.
  The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) competitions committee had sent out forms for 15 names to be registered from the normal 18.
  All 13 boys and 13 girls teams promptly dropped one goalkeeper each -- sidelining 26 goalkeepers in a blink.
  And two more players from each state, 26 boys and 26 girls, were also left out in the cold because the MHC changed the format.
  When pointed out that a total of 26 goalkeepers and 52 players, totalling 78 overall, will not play in the National Under-16, competitions committee chairman George Koshy finally realised the folly they were heading into.
  Credit to Koshy, he immediately instructed his charges to amend the rule and sent a email to all states to save 78 boys and girls from the agony of missing out the chance of their lives.
  But still, in the end, the tournament did not serve its purpose as a selection base for raw and promising talent. It was actually a waste of time, because even the national selectors already had selected their Mannheim Four-Nation team from JHL players who they watched earlier.
  The saving grace would be if the MHC selects another two teams, one each for boys and girls, from raw and promising talent and watch them grow and fight for a spot with the Mannheim team.
  If not, might as well scrap the Under-16 it from next year's calendar.