Wednesday, June 29, 2011


India appointed Australia's Michael Nobbs as men's national team coach, handing him a five-year contract that will see him in charge up to the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India said that committee members were unanimous in choosing 57-year-old Nobbs, who played for his country at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.

"The selection was based on several factors: his experience, organising capabilities and the presentation he made before us," SAI director-general Deepak Kumar told reporters in New Delhi.

"What weighed in his favour is the fact that the Australian style of hockey is similar to ours and we have decided to continue with that."

Nobbs, who said he was "very excited, honoured and privileged" at the appointment, beat top Dutch former players Roelant Oltmans and Jacques Brinkman for the position.

India has been looking for another foreign coach since Spaniard Jose Brasa's contract expired after last year's Asian Games and national coach Harendra Singh failed to deliver results at last month's Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia.

Nobbs will be paid $Aus 10,000 ($10,500) a month with a 10-percent increase if the team qualifies for next year's London Olympics and a further hike if the team does well there, the SAI said.

Eight-time Olympic champions India failed to qualify for Beijing in 2008, ending their run of playing in every Games since 1928.


Malaysia defeated Atletic Terassa Hockey Club 6-2 up register their second win in successive days in their Europe Playing Tour.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Malaysia registered their first win in their playing tour in Europe after defeating Real Club de Polo 4-2 in Barcelona yesterday.

Goals by Nabil Fiqri Mohd Nor, Hafifihafiz Hanafi, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and Azami Adabi ensured the win in a match where Malaysia took a 2-0 lead only for Real de Polo to draw level through the efforts of Roger Padros who scored twice for Real Club de Polo

Malaysia were very much in control for much of the match but allowed their opponents to come back from 2-0 down to 2-2 but lifted their game in the last 15 minutes to score two goals.

"If we had capitalized on our lead and chances we would have been able to give more rest to our starting players and more playing time to our bench instead of having to put in more energy and effort to get the win," said stand in manager Stephen van Huizen.

Malaysia opened scoring in the 9th minute when Tengku Ahmad stole the ball on the right goaline and passed it to Hafifi who drew the goalkeeper and made a pass to Nabil for a tap in.

The second goal came in the 29th minute as Izwan took a reverse hit shot at goal but was saved by the goalkeeper. The ball fell to Firhan who kept his composure to set up pass to Hafifi to score.

Real de Polo reduced the deficit in the 30th minute. The Malaysian players were expecting a free hit for a foul but it not given and off a counter and long pass that was not trapped cleanly by Mohd Madzli Ikmar, the Spanish forward Roger Padros had a clean run into the semi circle the pull to S. Kumar's right in 1 v 1 situation and hit into goal.

And it was 2-2 in the 55th minute for despite dominating play and well in control Malaysia conceded the equalizer.
A high hit into semi circle was well trapped by Baljit Singh but the advantage given to the opponents and as a result we lost possession resulting in reverse hit by Roger Padros from the top of the semi circle that beat Kumar.

Malaysia went 3-2 ahead in 58th minute after a long pass from Madzli found Tengku Ahmad who dropped back to collect after some good running from the midfielders created the opening in the centre.

Tengku Ahmad went on a run to left side of the semi circle evading two defenders and hitting a reverse hit shot that goalkeeper padded but not cleanly and the ball crept into goal.

In the 67th minute Izwan received pass , cut in from the right flank and played a square pass to left side to Hafifi who pushed a hard ball to the far post for Azami to score.

Monday, June 27, 2011


The Razk Cup used to be a premier hockey tournament , a fact that many are aware of, even those running the Malaysian Hockey Federation currently.

And there was this so-called effort to re-brand the tournament, with a major sponsor brought in as well as changing the format to a zonal qualifying system.

But events over the last two months have shown that it has failed on both fronts.

The fixtures have been changed so many times that one needs a diary to keep abreast with the latest happenings as so far as the fixtures ate concerned. And the main stream media too seem fed up with the constant changes that they do not carry news.

There is an official website for the Razak Cup as there is an official MHF website. But both are not updated regularly.

Remember the botched up Southern Zone qualifier between Negri Sembilan and Malacca that never took place in Batu Pahat?

Well that match has now been played at the Tun Razak Stadium last Saturday with Malacca registering a 6-2 win.

But one will not find any mention of the match on the website, similiar to the fact that nothing of the various national teams progress or participation are mentioned in the official MHF website.

Rather MHF takes pride in advertising for a golf event!

Moving on to the fixture confusion, the North Zone qualifiers will be played on the weekend of July 8-10 and not as stated in the website.

And the East Zone has now suddenly re-appeared as Terengganu want in.

But aren't there two Terengganu players, namely Mohd Shahrun Nabil and Fitri Saari already representing Kuala Lumpur?

So what will become of them now? What about the fact that they played the qualifiers for KL and can Terengganu lay claim on them?

Confused? Well we are all....

Sunday, June 26, 2011


It was a bad day at the office for Malaysian hockey as the two teams, the Project 2013 and Nat U18 teams suffered defeats in Moscow and Singapore respectively.

The U18 side lost 3-1 in the final of the AHF U18 Tournament to South Korea.

The Koreans too a 2-0 lead in the first half but Malaysia pulled one back just before the break.

However Korea added the third to condemn Malaysia to a second runner-up finish as they did in the inaugural tournament in Myanmar two years ago.

In Moscow, it was slightly a different script as the Project 2013 side came back from 0-2 down to hold Ukraine to a 2-2 draw in the 3/4 placing playoff, thanks to two penalty corner goals by Mohd Nor Faez Ibrahim.

However lack of experience in the penalty shootout cost the Malaysians dearly as the lost the ensuing shootout 3-0 to finish last.

For the record they had beaten Ukraine 3-2 in the group match on Saturday.

Russia emerged champions when they edged Azerbaijan 3-2 in the final.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


The National Under 18 squad participating in the AHF U18 Junior Asia Cup have a chance to create history when they take on South Korea at the Sengkang Sports & Recreational Centre in Singapore on Sunday.

With defending champions Pakistan sent packing by the Koreans, the path to the top of the podium is clear for the young Malaysians who have done well despite not having the best of the U18 players here.

Malaysia defeated Singapore 2-1 in the semifinals on Saturday and were given a tough time by a team that showed tremendous tenacity and good technical skills.

Only their lack of experience and somewhat strange tactical play cost them the opportunity to create an upset.

Malaysia relied solely on the brilliance of skipper Mohd Fitri Saari, who is easily one of the outstanding players in the tournament.

The fact that Malaysia were at sea when Fitri was yellow carded five minutes from time would have given the Singapore bench food for thought as to why they opted not to mark Fitri out of the game in order to stand a fair chance of upsetting the Malaysians.

And going by what Malaysian coach K. Gobinathan had to say after the match, it was clear that Malaysia are over relying on Fitri.

"We may have made the final but we are still way off in performing at the required standard at the international stage," said Gobinathan.

"We lack players that can think while the match is in progress and today was one our worst performances.

"The players just froze as for most of them it was the first time they were playing in a major tournament at such a crucial stage. So they were tensed throughout the match."

Malaysia were awarded four penalty corners but failed to get a single shot on goal from the penalty corners.

"We have players who cannot push, stop or flick properly so how can we take advantage of the set piece situation," was the curt reply from Gobinathan.

"It is obvious that we will have a tough time against the Koreans in the final but I am optimistic that we have what it takes to win the title.

"We drew at the group stage but having played them once, our players will be more confident in the final."

Malaysia scored in 10th minute through Fitri who capitalized on poor clearance by the Singapore defence off an initial penalty corner attempt to send a reverse stick shot into the corner.

And in the 51st minute Malaysia went 2-0 ahead when Muhammad Haziq Samsul went on a darting run on the right before his reverse stick hit went into goal through the pads of Singapore custodian Samudra Ong.

And Singapore reduced the deficit through Nur Ashriq Ferdaus Zulkepli with 45 seconds remaining.

For the record two years ago Malaysia lost 4-3 to Pakistan in the final in Myanmar.


The Project 2013 squad registered it's first win in the Four Nation Invitational in Moscow when they defeated Ukraine 3-2 in their final preliminary stage match today.

The Malaysian win denied Ukraine a place in the final as Azerbaijan held Russia to a 5-5 draw that enabled both teams to make it to the final tomorrow.

Malaysia, who scored through Syamim Yusof and Mohd Sabri ( two penalty corners ) will play Ukraine again on Sunday to determine the 3/4th placing.

In their earlier two matches, Malaysia lost 2-7 to Azerbaijan and 3-7 to Russia.


Malaysia defeated Singapore 2-0 to make the final of the AHF Under 18 Tournament in Singapore.

In the first semi final, South Korea sent favourites and defending champions Pakistan crashing out, inflicting a 2-1 defeat at the Sengkang  Sports & Recreational Complex in Singapore.

The match was played in scorching heat and that affected the performance of the Pakistanis, who sailed through the group stage without conceding a goal.

Pakistan took the lead in the 24th minute through Waseem Abas of a penalty corner.

But Korea hit back in the 48th minute through Hwang Weon Ki, also through a penalty corner.

And the fitter Koreans netted the winner five minutes from time through Kim Ji Woon.

Pakistan’s task was made even more difficult when they had two players yellow carded, Umair Muhammad (68th minute) and Hassan Mansoor (69th minute).


Semi Finals

South Korea 2
Pakistan 1

Malaysia 2
Singapore 1

7/8th Placing

Brunei 0
Sri Lanka 5

Fixtures (Sunday)

3/4th Placing

3.30pm - Pakistan v Singapore


6.00pm - South Korea v Malaysia

Friday, June 24, 2011


The Project 2013 Squad, who are in Moscow in place of the senior side, were defeated in their two matches in the Four Nation Invitational Tournament.

Since the official MHF Website does not carry the reports nor results of the various national teams progress in overseas tournaments, be it the Europe Tour by the senior squad, the Moscow Tournament by the 2013 squad or the U18 team at the AHF Cup just across the causeway in Singapore, this blog will attempt to keep hockey lovers abreast with the happenings all over the globe as so far as Malaysian hockey fortunes are concerned.

Lets start with the Moscow Invitational Tournament. In the first match, the 2013 squad were beaten 7-2 by Azerbaijan.

Mohd Nor Faez Ibrahim scored the two Malaysian goals via penalty corners.

The Project 2013 Team lost their second match 7-3 with Faez scoring twice through penalty corners while the other goal was scored by Azlan Misron, the senior side discard.

"The players played their hearts out but were let down by poor defending and goalkeeping," said manager Mirnawan Nawawi when contacted in Moscow.

"We have a problem in goalkeeping and need to work on it. It looks like our goalkeepers are just too weak.

"We hope that the team will bounce back in the two remaining matches."

Malaysia will take on Ukraine in their final preliminary round match on Saturday before playing in the 3/4th placing match on Sunday.

Other results : Russia 6 Ukraine 1: Azerbaijan 3 Ukraine 4.

Meanwhile a blunder by those responsible for booking the senior side flight tickets resulted in the team having to fork out over 800 Euro for their trip from Amsterdam to Barcelona.

Regulations in place allow each passenger one piece of luggage weighing not more then 23 kilos and the team had 15 pieces of extra luggage. So was it the MHF or NSC to blame? And word has it that the cost of each ticket for the Europe Tour was around RM12,000 per player.

Moving on to the National Under 18 Squad who made the semis and will play Singapore tomorrow, a match where this blogger will be present.

Coach K. Gobinathan has lamented on the fact that his players are tired after playing non stop hockey, from the MJHL to the Down Under Tour to the National Under 21 Tournament in Johor Baru last week.

But who is to blame for a calendar that is so jam tight? And why was there no planning? And has anyone forgot that there is such a word as periodisation?

It all points to one place - those who make decisions in MHF for they have obviously failed.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Malacca emerged champions of the National Under 21 Tournament when they defeated Kuala Lumpur 2-1 in the final played at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

Although six regulars in total missing from both teams from the final, as a result of playing in the AHF Under 18 Tournament in Singapore, the match lived up to the expectations of a final as both Kuala Lumpur and Malacca played fast attacking hockey.

A late goal by Kuala Lumpur ensured a grandstand finish after Malacca had taken a 2-0 lead but the city side have only themselves to blame as they created enough chances to win the match.

KL were without four regulars, in the likes of Mohd Fitri Saari, Mohd Shahril Saabah, Mohd Taufik Abdul Hamid and Mohd Aslam Mohammad. Only Mohd Amirul Aideed Arshad was released to play for KL in the final.

"We sorely missed the players as they were our midfielders. Still I am proud of the performance of the team who did give Malacca a fight right to the final whistle," said KL coach K. Embaraj.

"We need to finish chances in order to win matches and that was not there today. But we lost to a better side."

For Malacca they missed two players, Mohd Hazrul  Faiz and penalty corner ace Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam.

"It is indeed a great honour for Malacca hockey as we have always done well in age group tournaments in the past. Winning this tourney shows that we have talented players in the state," said Malacca coach Chua Boon Huat who made his debut as a coach.

"Our game plan was simple, absorb the early pressure and get them on the break. And it paid dividends with the two goals."

Malacca were awarded a penalty corner in the eight minute but failed to get a shot on goal.

Kuala Lumpur were made to work hard by the Malacca and it took them 16 minutes before they had a first look at goal, that too through a penalty corner. But they could not get a decent attempt on goal.

Amirullah Zainol almost gave Malacca the lead in the next minute but muffed the chance with only the KL keeper Shahrul Azaddin Auskarzie to beat.

But he was on target in the 19th minute as his shot beat Shahrul and on hand was Ahrujunan Panir Chelvam at the far post to guide the ball into goal and give Malacca a 1-0 lead.

With KL only having three reserves on the bench, coach K. Embaraj did not have much options left to him in making changes.

Malacca had a dream start in the second half as Amirullah burst in from the right to slip the ball past Shahrul in the 37th minute to put his team 2-0 up, and a firm grip on the final.

The goal boosted the confidence of the Malacca players as they kept harassing the KL players for every ball, not giving them room to display their abundance of skills.

Malacca keeper Mohd Ridzuan Azmi kept Malacca in the game pulling off a double save in the 58th minute to deny Mohd Zulhairi Hashim and Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof.

KL were on the top of things in the final ten minutes, but they sorely missed the presence of the key players and in the process were a beaten side.

Zulhairi finally scored from a penalty corner in the 65th minute to reduce the deficit to 2-1 but it was too late for KL.


3/4th Placing
Johor 2
Pahang 2
(Johor won 3-2 in penalty shootout)

Malacca 2
Kuala Lumpur 1

Roll of Honor:

Champion: Malacca
Runner-Up: Kuala Lumpur
Third: Johor
Fourth: Pahang
Fifth: Perak
Sixth: Selangor
Seventh: Negri Sembilan
Eight: Penang

Man of the Match (Final): Amirullah Zainol (Malacca)
Most Outstanding Player: Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof (Kuala Lumpur)
Top Scorer: Mohd Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghafar (Johor) – 6 goals
Best Goalkeeper: Mohd Hazrul  Faiz (Malacca)
Fairplay: Malacca


Johor took third place in the National Under 21 Tournament when they edged Pahang 3-2 in the nations first penalty shoot-out to determine a winner of a match.

The two teams were tied 2-2 at the end of regulation time and extra time of 15 minutes failed to break the deadlock.

The shootout was a confusing affair as the teams and match officials failed to comprehend the regulations and it was only to be expected given the fact it was the first time such a situation arose.

In the initial shootout, the teams were also tied 2-2 forcing a sudden death where Mohd Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghaffar scored the winner.

Johor took the lead in the 34th minute when Mohd Nor Hafiq  converted a penalty corner. But Pahang was on level terms in the 46th minute Zulhanan Mazlan scored.

Zulhanan was on target again in the 54th minute to give Pahang a 2-1 lead but Mohd Nor Hafiq forced the match into extra-time by equalizing for Johor in the 63rd minute, through a penalty corner.


Malaysia were given a lesson in hockey when they lost 9-1 to Holland in their second Test match played last night.

The defeat, one of Malaysia's worst in recent time, came a day after Malaysia lost 5-1 to Holland in the first Test match on Friday.

Netherlands 9
Malaysia 1

Halftime: 3-1

Minute Score. Scorer
1. 1-0. Jeroen Hertzberger
3. 1-1. Tg Ahmad Tajuddin
5 2-1. Quirijn Caspers
21. 3-1. Quirijn Caspers
39. 4-1. Jeroen Hertzberger
42. 5-1. Valentin Verga
51. 6-1. Roderick Weusthof (pc)
53. 7-1. Taeke Taekema (pc)
56. 8-1. Wouter Jolie (pc)
61. 9-1. Wouter Jolie (pc)

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Malacca came from a goal down to qualify for the final of the National Under 21 Tournament when they edged Pahang 3-2 in the semi finals at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

But Malacca will be without two players, keeper Mohd Hazrul  Faiz and match winner Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam as the duo left for Singapore after the final to join the National U18 team for the AHF Cup Tournament.

"Making the final is a great achievement as not many gave us a chance but I always had the confidence in these players," said Malacca coach Chua Boon Huat.

"Missing the two players will make it difficult to match Kuala Lumpur in the final but we will give it our best shot."

Pahang went ahead in the 4th minute when Mohd Hafizuddin Mat Isa converted a penalty corner.

But their joy was shortlived as two minutes later Malacca equalized. Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam muffed the initial attempt but the ball fell to Amirullah Zainol who had no problems scoring.

Pahang were awarded two penalty corners but failed to score while Malacca were content with counter attacking hockey.

Pahang went ahead in the 39th minute when Aminuddin Abu was the first to the ball after the initial penalty corner attempt by Hafizuddin was saved. He displayed calmness to sidestep the keeper Mohd Hazrul Faiz to score.

However Malacca hit back in the 41st minute when Wan Luqman Haziq Wan Mahadi scored after being put through by Dedi Aryandi to make it 2-2.

Both teams played very cautiously and tried to win penalty corners but to no avail.  

Dedi could have become the hero when he went past the Pahang keeper in the 65th minute but sent his reverse stick attempt out.

Malacca were then awarded a penalty corner in the 67th minute but they muffed the attempted set piece. And a minute later Dedi missed another sitter which would have sealed a place in the final for Malacca.

But Ganeisha found the target in the 69th minute of a penalty corner to send Malacca into the final where they will play Kuala Lumpur.


Semi Final
Johor 1
Kuala Lumpur 4

Malacca 3
Pahang 2

5/6th Placing
Selangor 2
Perak 8

7/8th Placing
Negri Sembilan 1
Penang 0

Fixtures – Sunday

3/4th Placing
1600H – Johor v Pahang

1800H – Kuala Lumpur v Malacca


Kuala Lumpur qualified for the final of the National Under 21 Tournament when they defeated Johor 4-1 in the semifinals at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

The city side recovered from a goal down and scored three goals in a space of four minutes in the second half to deny the hosts of a place in Sunday’s final.

However they will be without the services of five players for the final as they left for Singapore to join the national U18 team participating in the AHF Cup.

The five are Mohd Fitri Saari, Mohd Shahril Saabah, Mohd Taufik Abdul Hamid, Mohd Aslam Mohammad and Mohd Amirul Aideed Arshad. However Aideed is expected to be released to play for KL in the final.

“This was our best performance as the forwards took their chances well,” said KL coach K. Embaraj.

“However we will sorely miss the services of the four players and it will be a tough task playing the final with only 14 players. But this is something we knew before the tournament and have accepted the fact that national duty comes first.

“The difference today between us and Johor was our superior fitness and the experience of the key players also was a vital factor in helping us secure a place in the final.”

Johor opened scoring in the 4th minute when no Mohd Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghaffar converted a penalty corner.

However KL were undeterred and went on attack mode to search for the equalizer. And they would have not scored had it not been for Mohd Ramadhan Rosli who missed two sitters in the 17th and 20th minutes with only the keeper to beat.

But KL were back on level terms in the 24th minute when instead of his trademark flicks, Mohd Zulhairi Hashim opted to hit and it sounded the board to make it 1-1.

Johor had several opportunities to score, with their best chance falling to Mohd Fariq Saadon who had a simple task of tapping the ball into an empty goal with all the KL players beaten but instead put the attempt wide. And that was the respite KL needed.

Mohd Shahril Saabah put KL ahead in the 56th minute through a penalty corner strike. And three minutes later Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof scored KL’s third goal.

Barely a minute later Shahril capitalised on poor defending by Mohd Amirul Syafiq and raced into the semi circle before slotting the ball past a bewildered Johor custodian Mohd Hairi Abdul Rahman.

“We lost to a better team and really the players tried their best. But where the mind was willing, the legs were not just up to it as our fitness let us down,” said Johor coach Chairil Anwar Abdul Aziz.

“There were lapses of concentration in the defence and we made silly mistakes to give the ball away in our own half. And that cost us a place in the final.”

In the match to determine the 5/6th placing, Perak defeated Selangor 8-2.


Semi Final

Johor 1
Kuala Lumpur 4

5/6th Placing

Selangor 2
Perak 8


The national hockey team lost their first match of the Europe Tour when they were defeated 5-1 by Holland at the ZSV Schaerweijde stadium yesterday.

Malaysia conceded an early goal as their defense was unable to cut out a cross from the right that resulted in a simple finish by Jeroen Hertzberger.

However Mohd Amin Rahim converted a penalty corner to put Malaysia on level terms.

Roderick Weusthof then put Holland 2-1 ahead by converting a penalty corner, for the halftime lead.

A cross field pass from defence was well intercepted by the Dutch and Hertzberger finished well to give them a 3-1 lead.

Valentin Verga scored the fourth off a penalty corner rebound before Weusthof completed the scoring off another penalty corner.

" Overall the team played quite well although we took time to adjust to the quick tempo and passing of the Dutch team who were in their element with strong passes and very penetrative," said stand in manager Stephen van Huizen.

" We were not strong in our tackling and also passing, resulting in interceptions and turnovers.

" Our quick counter and speedy forwards gave them problems but their defence were calmer and more composed in dealing with our forwards.

" Kumar made some good saves and Razie was very commanding and strong in defence with some good tackles and passes. He was easily our best player in the match.

" Of the younger players, Faiz and Firhan did quite well."

Roslan and Asri were not registered for the match.

The Schedule in Spain:

27th June 1900H
vs RC Polo Club ( 2nd in Spanish League)

28th June 1900H
vs Terrassa HC ( No 1 in Spanish League)

30th June 1900H
vs Egara Club ( No 3 in Spanish League)

2nd July 1900H
vs Spain Under 21

4th July 1200H
vs Spain Under 21

6th July 1930H
vs Spain

7th July 1830H
vs Spain

Friday, June 17, 2011


Kuala Lumpur qualified for the semi finals of the National Under 21 after subduing a fighting Perak 3-2 at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

While KL needed an outright win, Perak could have qualified had they drawn the match but the city side had striker Mohd Syamim Mohd Yusof to thank as his hattrick sunk the silver state, who at one stage came back from a two goal deficit to draw level.

And Malacca also qualified for the last four thanks to their 2-0 win over Penang.

Penalty corner strikes by Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam in the 18th minute and Mohd Huzairy Mohd Zain  in the 60th minute and  booked Malacca a semis spot where they will take on Pahang.

KL were 2-0 up by the 20th minute thanks to clinical finishing by Syamim.

His first goal in the 13th minute was as a result of a neat exchange of passes with Mohd Shahril Saabah with Syamim slipping the ball past the onrushing Perak keeper.

But the second was a gem as he deflected a hard hit into the semi circle by Mohd Zulhairi Hashim to put KL 2-O ahead in the 19th minute.

Perak were resilient as they crept back into the game with Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin scoring in the 21st minute.

Izzad Hakimi Jamaluddin had two golden chances to put Perak on level terms but muffed both sitters through his overconfidence as the ball was cleared off the goal-line by the KL defenders.

But Perak were not to be denied the equaliser when Mohd Sabri Mohammad converted a penalty corner in the 38th minute.

KL were unfortunate when the attempt by Shahril Sabah in the 50th minute hit the post.

But Syamim had the final say with his winner in the 62nd minute and KL will now take on hosts Johor for a place in the final.

Thursday, June 16, 2011


The semifinalists of the National Under 21 Tournament will only be decided when the dust settles after the completion of the preliminary rounds matches as the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru on Friday.

Seven out of the eight teams participating, with the exception of Negri Sembilan, are in the running for the four available spots in the semis and teams are using the rest day to rest some tired legs and plan their strategies.

In order to ensure that the matches are played in the right spirit, and not give unfair advantage, the Tournament Director, Murugan Nair,  upon consulting the team managers made changes to the final preliminary round fixtures.

Hence the two matches in each group will be played simultaneously so that teams will not be able to pick their opponents for the last four stage.

In Group A, table toppers Johor will take on Selangor while Pahang will lock horns with Negri.

Johor, who with Selangor, are on four points require just a draw to make the semis as they have a superior goal difference, thanks to their 5-0 win over Negri.

“Though a draw may suffice, we will not be on a defensive mode as that will give Selangor the initiative to attack and create problems for us,” said Johor coach Chairil Anwar Abdul Aziz.

“They have a good penalty corner battery and it will be foolish to defend. Besides playing for a draw will be risky. We will play our normal game but will not take unnecessary risks.

“Making the semis is our initial target and the players showed a marked improvement in the match against Negri. We hope the momentum carries on.”

Selangor can ill afford a draw as Pahang are expected to defeat Negri and can finish on five points, the same as Selangor if they draw Johor.  For Selangor have only a one goal advantage over Pahang.

“While we are confident that we can overcome Negri, my players have been warned not to be complacent,” said Pahang coach Mohd Yazid Yunus.

“We require a win, for that is our aim and the goals will come. Playing Negri has never been easy though they have lost two matches. I expect them to be fighting for every ball and make things difficult for us.”

In Group B though, the situation is rather more complex as all four teams can make the semis.

Perak will take on Kuala Lumpur while Penang play Malacca and as it stands it is Malacca that hold the advantage.

For they have the players and ability to defeat Penang and march into the semi finals.

“On paper we are better then Penang but we cannot take their threat lightly. Penang defeated Kuala Lumpur and can inflict damage on our aspirations as they have players that do not give up easily,” said Malacca coach Chua Boon Huat.

“Just look at their match against Perak as they were 0-4 down but managed to score two goals in the later stages. That shows their tenacity and we will have to be careful.”

Kuala Lumpur have been struggling in the tournament, largely due to the fact that players in their team have to attend training with the National U18 and Project 2013 teams in the mornings.

Still that is no excuse for a team that has players of caliber to fail to score, especially from the 22 penalty corners they have been awarded that resulted in a single goal thus far.

“We have not been playing well and I guess the players are just too eager when on the pitch,” said KL coach K. Embaraj.

“Our penalty corners are poorly executed but in terms of performance there is really nothing wrong as we dominate the matches.

“It is a one off match against Perak that decides our fate, a win will give us a place in the semis. But having said that our opponents have shown that they can punish slack defending. So will will thread with caution.”

Should there be no clear winners in the matches, then expect the coaches to resort to calculators or scurry for the tournament regulations to check if their team makes the cut.

And interesting day is at store at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium with everything to play for.


Group A

Pitch 1 – Johor v Selangor
Pitch 2 – Negri Sembilan v Pahang

Pitch 1 – Kuala Lumpur v Perak
Pitch 2 – Penang v Malacca


Group A

                       P    W    D    L    G    A    PTS
Johor              2     1     1     0     6     1     4
Selangor         2     1     1     0     6     5    4
Pahang           2     0      2     0    3     3     2
N. Sembilan   2     0      0     2    3     9     0

Group B

                       P    W    D    L    G    A    PTS
Perak              2     1     0        5     4       3
Malacca         2      1     0    1     3     3       3
K. Lumpur     2      1     0    1     2     2       3
Penang           2      1     0    1     3     4       3

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


Kuala Lumpur put the disappointment of the opening match defeat against Penang when they overcame a gritty Malacca 2-1 in a Group B clash in the National Under 21 Tournament at the Taman Daya Stadium in Johor Baru.

The win by the city side puts them back in contention for a place in the last four but they will have to overcome Perak in their final match on Friday.

All four teams in the group, Penang, KL, Malacca and Perak have an even chance to make the semis.

Kuala Lumpur went into the lead in the 5th minute when Mohd Zulhairi Hashim scored from a penalty corner.

That gave the city side the confidence they needed as they laid siege on the Malacca goal but failed to find the target.

Against the run of play Malacca were awarded a penalty corner in the 20th minute and KL discard Ganeisha Tamil Chelvam found the back of the net with a powerful drag flick to make it 1-1.

KL were stung and forced a series of penalty corners but Malacca keeper Mohd Hazrulfaiz Ahmad Sobri was in his element as he kept out the attempts by Zulhairi.

At one stage KL were playing with nine players after two of their players were shown the yellow card by the umpires.

Mohd Fitri Saari and Mohd Aslan Mohamed were sent to the sin bin in the 42nd minute but Malacca could not take advantage of the situation.

And KL were awarded a penalty stroke in the 50th minute after the penalty corner attempt by Zulhairi struck Malacca defender Mohd Syakir Amir Kamaruddin on the hand.

Muhammad Taufik Abdul Hamid duly converted the penalty stroke to give KL a 2-1 lead.

Meanwhile Johor went on a rampage to trash Negri Sembilan 5-0 in a Group A match to put them in the drivers seat for a place in the semi finals.

The win gives Johor four points from two matches, the same as Selangor but the hosts top the group on goal difference.

Johor had a dream start, scoring three goals in the opening 15 minutes and that left Negri shell-shocked.

It took Johor only two minutes to open scoring as Mohd Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghaffar scored off a penalty corner.

In the 9th minute it was the turn of his sibling Mohd Nor Akmal Abdul Ghaffar to find the back of the net, also through a penalty corner.

The hosts were on song and Mohd Nor Hafiq scored his second, and Johor’s third in the 14th minute to give them a 3-0 lead.

Muhammad Fariq Saadon made it 4-0 in favour of Johor in the 27th minute, leaving Negri a mountain to climb to salvage the match in the second half.

Khairul Akmar Khuzir scored in the 67th minute to make it 5-0 and give Johor a healthy goal difference going into the final day of preliminary round matches on Friday where they will take on Selangor.


Perak defeated Penang 4-2 in the National Under 21 Tournament to keep their hopes alive after their opening match defeat at the hands of Malacca at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

The win by Perak threw open the race for the semifinals for Group B as Penang had defeated Kuala Lumpur the previous day and all four teams have three points apiece. However the situation could well change as Malacca will play against Kuala Lumpur in a later match.

“We made use of the chances that came our way but lost our concentration in the later stages of the match,” said Perak coach Kulwant Singh.

“ The team is starting to play as a unit. We had a good game against Malacca too but failed to put away our chances. But conceding the two goals is something we can ill afford as it can cost us a match if the score was closer.

“Playing Kuala Lumpur will not be easy as they have a good side but we will play our usual style of attacking hockey as that wins matches and only a win can give us a place in the semis.”

Perak took the lead in the 20th minute, largely due to a defensive blunder by Penang's Mohd Khairul Naim Johari.

Khairul had saved an initial attempt by Muhammad Haziq Samsul on the goal line but sent his clearance straight to Mohd Soffian Kamaruddin, who had no problems putting the ball into the unguarded goal.

Penang could have equalised in the very next minute but national trainee Mohd Rashid Baharom failed to get the better of Perak custodian Mohd Aliff Mohd Azman in a one to one situation.

And Perak made most of the reprieve when Muhammad Sabri Muhammad converted a penalty corner in the 24th minute to give his team a 2-0 lead.

Mohd Harris Fadila Zulkifli made it 3-0 in the 31st minute and Penang were a beaten side, tired after their exploits against Kuala Lumpur the previous day.

Perak did not let off in the second half, as they realized that goal difference could well determine the final positions in the group, and added to their tally in the 45th minute, this time Mohd Heiry Pami finishing off a move from the right to make it 4-0 in favour of Perak.

Rashid managed to reduce the deficit for Penang in the 55th minute when he defected in a penalty corner, but Penang had lost the match in the first half itself.

Penang reduced the deficit through Khairul in the dying seconds and will need to defeat Malacca on Friday to stand a chance of making the last four.

Meanwhile Pahang blew their chances of netting full points in their Group A clash against Selangor when they allowed Selangor to share the spoils despite being in the lead twice.

Pahang took the lead in the 19th minute through Mohammad Aminuddin Abu only for Mohd Noor Faez Ibrahim to convert a penalty corner in the 40th minute to draw Selangor level. It was the Project 2013 player’s fourth goal in two matches, after his hattrick in Selangor’s 4-3 win over Negri Sembilan yesterday.

But Pahang was undeterred and in the 45th minute went 2-1 ahead when Nor Nashriq Farhan Nor Azmi converted a penalty corner.

Selangor scored a minute from time through Mohd Alfifi Arshad whose shot from the edge of the semi circle sailed into goal.

And Selangor could have snatched all three points as they were awarded a penalty corner in the dying seconds but Faez could not find the mark.

Pahang will have to defeat Negri Sembilan in their last match on Friday to have a chance of making the semis.

“We blew our chances of having one foot in the semis through defensive mistakes. And now our fate lies in the outcome of the other matches,” said Pahang coach Mohd Yazid Yunus.

“This is not a position that I would have wanted to be but we have only ourselves to blame.”


Group A

Pahang 2
Selangor 2

Group B

Perak 4
Penang 2


Group A

                       P    W    D    L    G    A    PTS
Selangor         2     1     1     0    6     5      4
Pahang           2     0     2     0    3     3      2
Johor              1     0     1     0    1     1      0
N. Sembilan   1     0     0     1    3     4      0

Group B

                       P    W    D    L    G    A    PTS
Perak              2     1     0     1     5    4      3
Malacca         1      1    0      0     2    1      3
Penang           2      1    0      1     3    4      3
K. Lumpur     1      0    0      1     0    1      0

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Selangor and Malacca registered opening day wins in the National Under 21 Tournament at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

While Selangor had to stave a spirited fightback from Negeri Sembilan to win 4-3, Malacca played poorly but still managed to edge Perak 2-1.

Selangor took the lead the 3rd minute when Mohd Noor Faez converted a penalty corner.

But they failed to turn their domination into goals as the NS defence refused to be beaten for the second time.

At the stroke of halftime NS struck to draw level through Mohd Zahirul Faez who scored off a penalty corner.

NS started off the second half in similar fashion as they ended the first half, creating two chances that really should have been put away by No 3 but just lacked the final touch.

And Selangor made them pay as they scored two goals in quick succession.

First it was Faez who scored in the 46th minute, once again finding the mark from a penalty corner.

And hardly had the cheers died down when Mohd Bariq Shafie scored to make it 3-1 in favour of Selangor.

However NS were not giving up without a fight as they reduced the deficit through a cleverly worked penalty corner set piece as Muhammad Shafiq found the mark in the 51st minute to reduce the score to 3-2.

But Faez snuffed the fightback as he completed his hattrick with another penalty corner goal in the 61st minute to put Selangor 4-2 ahead.

NS reduced the deficit to 4-3 when Shafiq scored but left it too late to salvage a point.

On the adjacent pitch both Malacca and Perak were lacklusture in the opening half as they failed to create any decent goal scoring chances.

Perak held more possession and were guilty of losing the ball when in their opponents 25 yard line.

Malacca forced a penalty corner just before the halftime hooter but failed to get a shot on target.

It was the same story in the second half as Perak dominated play.

But Malacca went into the lead in the 59th minute when Muhamad Zulfaiz scored. However Perak drew level in the 67th minute when Muhammad Sabri scored from a penalty corner.

However fortune favoured the brave as Malacca launched a last ditch attack and scored the winner a minute from time through Dedi Aryandi who deflected a cross from the right.


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Johor failed to get off to a winning start in the National Under 21 Tournament as they conceded a goal 30 seconds from time to draw 1-1 against Pahang at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium.

But the shock of the day was on the adjacent pitch where unsung Penang defeated the more fancied Kuala Lumpur 1-0.

Johor coach Chairil Anwar Abdul Aziz however preferred to look at the positive side of the outcome rather then losing sleep over the two points lost.

“We did not play well and credit to Pahang as they were the better side today,” said Chairil.

“The forwards did not hold on to the ball and dropped back to defend when they really should be putting pressure on the Pahang defence after we took the lead.

“Still it was the first game and we hope to learn from the mistakes and do better against Negri Sembilan tomorrow (Wednesday).”

It was all Pahang in the opening ten minutes of the match as they had Johor pinned in defence.

And the East Coast side could have well taken the lead in the 8th minute but Mohd Ikhwan failed to capitalize despite having only Johor keeper Mohammad Hairi to beat.

Johor started playing hockey after the initial scare and in the 15th minute, Manraj Singh was put through on the left but sent his reverse stick attempt wide.

And though Johor were awarded a penalty corner in the 20th minute, the attempt by skipper Mohd Nor Hafiq was kept out by Pahang keeper Benny Anggara.

Pahang forced their first penalty corner five minutes later but Wan Muhd Syafiq failed to find the target.

Both teams trooped off all square at half time. But it was Pahang that had the better start in the second half, forcing two penalty corners in quick succession but failed to make use of the opportunities.

The Johor forwards were guilty of holding on to the ball for too long and that resulted in turnovers that put undue pressure on their defence.

Having survived another two penalty corers, Johor launched a quick counter attack that saw Nor Hafiq sending an overhead pass to Manraj and it resulted in a penalty corner.

This time Nor Hafiq opted to send a low flick into the left hand corner of the Pahang goal and it caught Benny out and Johor lead 1-0 in the 52nd minute.

Johor then went into a defensive mode and this handed the initiative to Pahang who attacked relentlessly.

Pahang never gave up and their persistence paid off in the final minute as Mohammad Riffan sent a reverse stick hit sailing into the Johor goal to share the points.

In the Group A clash, the win for Penang was unexpected, as they had to absorb pressure throughout the second half before walking away with the three points.

Penang took the lead in the 32nd minute against the run of play after absorbing early KL pressure. And they held on to register a memorable win.

Muhammad Rahimi put then finishing touches to a penalty corner to shock the more fancied city side and give Penang a 1-0 lead.

However KL had only themselves to blame as they failed to put away the dozen penalty corners and numerous chances that came their way.

For Penang coach Bob Rajendran the win was totally unexpected.

“Before the match I was thinking just how many goals we would concede. But the players were focused and once we had taken the lead their confidence grew,” said Bob.

“But KL are a good side and it is just that we caught them on one of the days where nothing went right for them. They will bounce back from this and will be stronger after this setback.”


Group A
Johor 1 Pahang 1

Group B
Penang 1 Kuala Lumpur 0