Thursday, May 4, 2017

41 days to buck up...

FORTY-One days to the matches of their lives, but the hockey team is still half-baked.
  And the way Malaysia has been playing in the Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh, they will not qualify for the 2018 World Cup in India, unless there is a major attitude change.
  For, Stephen van Huizen's men blew hot-and-cold when they drew 1-1 with Japan, lost 6-1 to Australia and 1-0 to both Britain and New Zealand.
  Doomed to play in the fifth-sixth placing on Saturday, Malaysia complete their fixtures against India Friday.
  In the World League Semifinals in London from June 15-25, Malaysia are in Group A with Olympic champions and World No 1 Argentina, England, South Korea and China.
  Group B is made up of India, Pakistan, Scotland, Netherlands and Canada.
  In London, Malaysia must finish top-four in the group stage to play in the quarter-finals, and then try and finish in the fifth-sixth bracket to book their spot in the World Cup.
  It looks easy, as they only need to beat China and avoid heavy defeats in the hands of the other teams.
  Van Huizen will have the toughest opener against Argentina (June 16) followed by England (June 17), South Korea (June 19) and the do-or-die against China (June 20),
  In Ipoh, other than the Australian drubbing, Malaysia had higher number of penalty corners and 60 to 70 percent ball possession but bungled at the last pass.
  A classic case was the 1-0 defeat against New Zealand, as Malaysia had five penalty corners and 70 percent possession but failed to score. The Kiwis only had one penalty corner and made it count.
  Penalty corner flickers Razie Rahim, Shahril Saabah, Faizal Shaari and Najmi Jazlan were blunt as a butter knife, and Malaysia only scored two goals in four matches.
  One by Razie and one by Faizal. 
  Least Malaysia forgets, they were held 2-2 by China in the final of the World League Round Two in Dhaka before winning gold in penalty shoot-out.

  So China, with master coach Kim Sang Ryul as their consultant, will be looking to beat Malaysia as well in London as their ticket to the World Cup.
  Van Huizen knows his team might meet India, if they make the crossover quarter-finals in London.
  "We need to win the next two matches (against India and possibly Japan in the fifth-sixth) because India might just be our quarter-finals opponents in London," reasoned van Huizen.
  And India will be gunning to beat Malaysia for a possible final slot on Saturday in Ipoh.
  Time is against Malaysia, for 41 days, is all they have to change their mindset from losers to World Cup material.

Home and Away League

Lausanne, Switzerland: The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has today announced that 15 National Associations have advanced in the selection process for the forthcoming global Home and Away League, which is due to begin in 2019.
13 National Associations remain part of the selection process for the women’s League, with 12 still in contention for places in the men’s League. With a maximum of nine teams taking part in each League when it commences, the process remains particularly competitive going into the final assessment stage for this ground-breaking competition.
Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England, Germany, India, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand and Spain submitted applications for both their men’s and women’s teams. 
   China, Japan and USA for their women’s teams and Malaysia and Pakistan for their men’s teams.
The latest phase of the application process required the National Associations to complete an extensive online questionnaire before the deadline of the 30th April 2017. This provides the FIH Event Portfolio Implementation Panel (EPIP) with in-depth information based on various aspects of their hosting and participation capabilities. This included information about financial sustainability, commercial vision, legal compliance, proposed venues, organisation and personnel, event delivery and presentation, team performance history, marketing strategies, motivation for participation, the proposed legacy impact and any added value they can bring to the competition.
The FIH has also been undertaking extensive discussions with broadcasters regarding exposure and media coverage of hockey within each of the nations as well as working collaboratively with the selected National Associations on all aspects of the application process including, but not limited to, match scheduling, player welfare and commercial terms.
The online questionnaires completed by the 15 National Associations will now be evaluated by the FIH EPIP, who will finalise their recommendations when they meet in Lausanne on 27- 28 May 2017. The Panel consists of Ken Read (Chair); FIH Chief Executive Officer Jason McCracken; FIH Executive Board Members Alberto Budeisky and Marijke Fleuren and FIH Athletes’ Committee Co-Chair Annie Panter. The panel will also be joined by Josh Smith as the selected independent member. A former international hockey player having represented Wales, Josh is currently the Director of Television Services with FIFA and adds extensive experience in media, broadcast and commercial to the panel discussions.
Leading professional services firm, Deloitte LLP, will advise the FIH EPIP on the important aspect of financial sustainability,  one of several experts working on assessing the various elements of the application submissions.
The recommendations of the FIH EPIP will then be submitted to the FIH Executive Board for ratification when they meet in Lausanne on 9-10 June 2017, with the launch event being planned in the months following ratification.
“To have 15 National Associations still in the running at this stage of the assessment process is fantastic news for the Home and Away League, a game-changing competition that is central to our 10-year Hockey Revolution Strategy”, said FIH CEO Jason McCracken. “The depth of information that we required the National Associations to provide was extensive and the quality of submissions received was outstanding. I congratulate and thank the National Associations for their work ahead of what will be a very thorough and competitive assessment process. The FIH continues to work in close collaboration with the National Associations as the sport looks forward to taking advantage of the growing interest, excitement and engagement in this competition from fans, broadcasters and commercial partners.”
More information about the Hockey Revolution, the new Event Portfolio and all other international hockey news and events is available on whilst other updates are posted via FIH TwitterFacebook and Instagram.