Saturday, September 29, 2012

THE UNTOUCHABLES

 
This is just a introduction on a series of articles that are to be published with regards to certain personalities within the hockey fraternity that wield so much power and influence that they are appropriately deemed as The Untouchables.

From misleading to down right abusing their positions, these individuals, who cannot be named, have taken hockey to new depths.

Read on the disclosures and make your own assumptions as to who they are as they usurp the powers of other officials, all in the name of hockey, when its vested interest that's really what they are after.

Friday, September 28, 2012

LOFTY TARGET


The Malaysian Hockey Confederation has set a top five target for the national team in the Champions Challenge 1 Tournament to be held in Argentina next November.

It is truly a wonder that why all the President's men did not advise Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah that putting up such a target is indeed de-grading to the national team who are ranked 13 in the world going into the tournament.

Looking at the teams participating, South Korea is ranked 7th while hosts Argentina is 10th and South Africa is 12th in the latest FIH World rankings after the 2012 London Olympics.

Given that scenario, Malaysia should rightfully target a top four finish at the very least but realistically should target making the final of the Champions Challenge Tournament, and not be contend with a lower target then their current world ranking.

It is indeed baffling that such a lofty target has been set as it was Tengku Abdullah who said way back in 2009 that Malaysia will be in the top 12 by end of 2012.

Now lets take a look at that possibility. Argentina, who are 10th has a total of 1492 ranking points while 11th placed India has 1340 ranking points.

South Africa (12th) have a total of 1305, followed by Malaysia (13th) have 1188, and Canada (14th) 1104 while Ireland (15th) are with 1013.

Hence the difference in points between Malaysia and the other countries on either side of the current world rankings area s follows:

Argentina + 304
India + 152
South Africa + 117
Canada - 84
Ireland - 175

The Champions Challenge offers ranking points as follows:

Champion: 190
Runner Up: 170
Third: 160
Fourth: 150
Fifth: 140
Sixth: 130
Seventh: 120
Eighth: 110

Even if we finish last, Canada and Ireland will not be able to overtake our 13th spot but what Malaysia should be actually targeting is to finish as high as possible to reduce the deficit against the likes of South Africa and India, thus making a top 12 ranking a possibility by the first quarter of 2013 when the second round of the World League takes place.

So obviously some people within MHC have not done their homework to present a true picture to the President before he went out to say a top 5 target at the press conference last Sunday.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

UNDERSTANDING THE FIH RANKING

Many of us would have wondered as to why China, who are ranked higher then Poland are not in Champions Challenge 1 and why is it that Spain are not in the Champions Trophy neither are they in the Challenge.

And in order to understand better, an email was sent to FIH and this was their response:

When the next set of World Ranking for men is published, Spain will not be in receipt of any ranking points for the Champions series held in 2012.

The qualification criteria for the Champions Trophy and Champions Challenge are given on the FIH website. 

Inclusion is based on performance at the previous tournament; Poland played in the CCh1 in South Africa last year and were not "relegated" to CCh2. 

China played in Champions Challenge 2 in France but as they did not win it, they were not promoted to CCh 1.

The FIH Competitions Committee has been studying the results of World League Round 1 and details of who will play in what tournament in Round 2 will be announced next month. 

Details of the Competition for World League are also given on the FIH website.

TNBMHL PREVIEWS

MUCH AT STAKE

Though Sunday is the last day of matches for the Premier Division of the TNB Malaysian Hockey League, in reality much depends on the matches scheduled to be played tomorrow (Friday) at the National Hockey Stadium.

KL Hockey Club is set to seal the league title and they could do it by defeating UniKL and not put pressure on themselves by waiting till Sunday where they will take on Tenaga Nasional Berhad, the only team that can deny them from retaining the league title.
 

FORCES A WIN AWAY FROM DIVISION ONE TITLE


Armed Forces are a win away from bagging the Division One title of the TNB Malaysian Hockey League which will see teams battle it out to win not only a place in the last four but also prize money that comes with the top two placings.
 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

SIX MATTERS

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation had their council meeting after almost six months, and after discussing for well over two hours, the press conference lasted just six minutes.

And at the end of the press conference, these issues were revealed:

1) That Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was offering himself as a candidate for the FIH Executive Board, the venue which shall be in Kuala Lumpur on November 2 & 3.

2) That the national team will play in the Asian Champions Trophy in Doha from December 21 to 27 and the composition on the team will be determined by the coach.

3) That the national team has been set a target of a top five finish in the Champions Challenge ! in Argentina next month.

4) That the womens hockey team will play in the AHF Indoor Championship in Bangkok from Oct 3-10 and the Lanco 9 Series in Perth in late October.

5) That the teams in the Razak Cup will receive RM4,000 each in subsidy but Kelanatan and Sarawak may not participate.

6) That the Sultan Johor Cup for 2013 will be held from October 3-13 so that the national juniors can prepare for the Junior World Cup in New Delhi in December next year.

So there you have it, a sixer from MHC, and these people actually care about hockey.

Recalled


Several players, discarded under the old coaching regime are expected to be given a second lease when the national team resumes training on October 11.

Currently six names are being considered for a recall by Paul Revington and approaches are said to have been made to them by way of fitness programs being disseminated to them by the national set-up.

Though there is no confirmation, as this blogger will never be privy to this kind of information, it is learnt that Mohd Madzli Ikmar and Mohd Amin Rahim who last played for the country at the Dublin Olympic Qualifiers and Sultan Azlan Shah Cup have been asked to come out of retirement.

Also expected to mark a return is Ismail Abu who last donned the national jersey at the 2009 Champions Challenge 1, ironically also in Dublin, and Chua Boon Huat, both who were omitted from the national squad prior to the World Cup Qualifiers in Invercargill.

And that is not all, for also on the recall list are the Mohan brothers-Jiwa and Jivan.

Virtually all the players in the Olympic Qualifiers training squad to be included, the list of 25 - 30 trainees that Revington was to release is a done deal.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

SOJC 2012 LAUNCHED AS FIVE WORLD JUNIOR CHAMPS CONFIRM ENTRY



A glittering launch, more then RM1 million in sponsorship and a world class field are the ingredients that ensures that the 2012 edition of the Sultan of Johor Cup will be one of the most eagerly anticipated world hockey tournament this year.

His Royal Highness Sultan Ibrahim ibni Almahrum Sultan Iskandar graced the launch and received the sponsorship pledges, flanked by HRH Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, the President of the Malaysian Hockey Confederation and YAB Datuk Abdul Ghani Othman, the Mentri Besar of Johor.

Six teams, namely Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, India, Germany and Malaysia will contest it out for the trophy at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium, venue of the 2009 Junior World Cup, from the 11-18 November 2012. It is truly and international field, for the Junior World Cup has been won by only five nations since its inception in 1979 – Germany, Pakistan, Australia, India and Argentina.

Germany are by far the most successful nation in junior hockey having won the Junior World Cup five times, 1979,1982,1985,1989 and 2009, with three of their wins on Malaysian soil – Kuala Lumpur in 1982, Ipoh in 1989 and Johor Baru in 2009.

Thus it will be somewhat of a homecoming for the number one junior hockey team in the world.

Pakistan (1979), Australia (1997) and India (2011) have also emerged World Junior Champions and the only other team to have won the world title is Argentina (2005).

The Sultan of Johor Cup serves as a perfect platform for the teams in preparation of the 2013 Junior World Cup that will be held in New Delhi in December 2013.

THE SPONSORS

Johor State Government – RM500, 000: Genting Berhad – RM150, 000: UEM Land – RM100, 000: Ministry of Youth & Sports – RM100, 000: Johor Corporation – RM100, 000. Astro Arena – RM50, 000:Tenaga Nasional Berhad – RM50, 000: SAJ Holdings Sdn Bhd – RM50, 000: Iskandar Waterfront – RM50, 000: Central Malaysian Properties – RM30, 000. F&N Beverages – in kind (100PLUS)
  
QUOTES

“ I expect the team to retain the title as we are defending champions after all. This is the team for the future and I believe that they have the character and resilience to deliver. We have left no stone unturned in preparing the team for the2013 Junior World Cup where I believe the team will be capable of delivering a good result. This is the team that will shoulder the future of Malaysian hockey and we are in the right direction towards regaining lost glory.”

Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah
President
Malaysian Hockey Confederation

“It is indeed a tall order to retain the trophy as with the inclusion of Germany, things are not going to be easy. And it is always difficult to defend a title, as all the teams will be after your scalp. But that is what we aim to do, not matter how challenging it will be. The players know what is in store for them and have been working hard at training, with one aim, to deliver their best. Our preparations have been smooth and we look forward to a great tournament. And we hope that hockey fans, both in Johor and the rest of the country will be at the stadium to cheer the team on.

Mirnawan Nawawi
Team Manager
Malaysian Juniors

“We are grateful to the sponsors for stepping forward once again in contributing towards the organisation of a prestigious event. The committee has been hard at work to ensure everything is in place and we hope that fans, both locally and abroad will head towards Taman Daya to catch the future players of international hockey display their talent. Such is the lure of the SOJC that we have teams lining up to play in the 2013 event already. The support of HRH Sultan Ibrahim Ibni AlMarhum Sultan Iskandar, our beloved Ruler is indeed the motivating factor for us to deliver a truly world class event that has received recognition from the International Hockey Federation.”

Manjit Majid Abdullah
Deputy President, Johor Hockey Association
Secretary, Organising Committee, SOJC 2012.

THE TROPHY

The Sultan of Johor Trophy is made of sterling silver - special crafted by ASPREY London. HRH Sultan of Johor specially selected the 50cm high trophy.

THE MALAYSIAN TEAM

Currently there are 27 players in the training squad under the tutelage of Muhammad Dharma Abdullah as the Chief Coach and assisted by Nor Azlan Bakar, K. Gobinathan and M. Nadarajah. Five players – namely skipper Mohammad Noor Faez Ibrahim, Deddy Aryadi Jumaidi, Muhammad Ramadhan Rosli, Amir Farid Ahmad Fuzi and Nor Hizzar Sumantri who featured in the cup winning squad in 2011 will not be playing as they are overaged.

The players in training are as below but there could be changes after the Malaysian Hockey League ends on October 10.

Mohammad Azrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri, Shahrul Azaddin Auskarzie, Mohammad Izad Hakimi Jamaluddin, Kavin Kartik Govindasamy, Shahrul Imran Nazli, Faiz Helmi Jali, Mohammad Aslam Hanafiah, Mohd Fitri Saari, Muhammad Azri Hassan, Shazril Irwan Nazli, Firhan Ashaari, Meor Muhammad Azuan Hassan, Mohammad Syamim Mohd Yusof, Muhammad Hafizuddin Othman, Muhammad Fariq Saadon, Sobirin Ilias, Muhammad Shahril Saabah, Muhammad Rashid Bahrom, Mohd Hafiz Zainol, Mohd Zulhairi Hashim, Ganeisha Tamil Selvam, Muhd Azuar Abdul Rahman, Muhd Hazriq Samsul, Muhd Fitri Ismail, Mohd Azrul Hasbullah, Muhammad Najib Abu Hassan, Muhammad Redzhwan Jaafar.


Friday, September 21, 2012

FUN IN THE RAIN


Though the match was played under a steady shower, the Johor Veterans and Mahkota United teams played their hearts out in a match to mark the 50th Anniversery of the Johor Hockey Association at the Taman Daya Hockey Stadium in Johor Baru.

The Mahkota United team, led by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Tengku Abdullah Sulatn Ahmad Shah had four World Cuppers in their ranks - Dato Poon Fook Loke, K. Balasingam and Wong Choong Hin of the 1975 edition and Mirnawan Nawawi who played in the 2002 World Cup, both ironically played in Kuala Lumpur.

And the JHA Veteran team was represented by the likes of former national junior coach Balbir Singh, former national team manager Kali Kavandan, former international umpire Faizal Abdullah who showed awesome reflexes in between the posts.

The Johor team were also not short of quality coaches as A. Harbhajan Singh aka Samurai and former national assistant coach Gurmit Singh planned their tactics.

Kali Kavandan opened scoring for JHA Veterans in the 9th minute but Mahkota United were on level terms in the 12th minute through Mirnawan.

Fook Loke, who has lost none of his skills, turned out to be the saviouf for Mahkota United as he saved a shot on the goal line in the second half.

Though the match ended in a draw, every player who took the field was a winner as the match was played in the true spirit of sportsmanship.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A TRICKY ONE FOR REVINGTON


Malaysia has been pooled together with Poland, South Korea and Canada in the 2012 Men’s Champions Challenge 1, hosted in Quilmes, Argentina from November 24-December 2.

Group A will see highest-ranked Korea, which holds down the seventh spot in the FIH World Ranking. They are joined by Malaysia, Canada and Poland. 

While Group B will feature host Argentina as the top-seeded team, ranked 10th in the FIH World Ranking. Challenging Argentina in the group will be South Africa, Ireland and Japan.

All eight teams will move onto a quarterfinal game with the first place finishers taking on the last place finishers from the other groups and the second and third place teams playing in a similar cross-over. From there, the winners will move onto the semi-finals and medal games, while the losers will play for placement.

Thus there will be a possibility that Malaysia will play against Ireland in the cross overs and it becomes an interesting match up given that Paul Revington and Arul Selvaraj who used to coach Ireland are now the head honchos in Malaysia.

The tournament will be the first major FIH event after the 2012 London Games and kicks off the next cycle as teams turn their attention from the Olympics to the 2014 World Cup. Three of the eight teams in the competitive field were in London for the Games. Of the trio, Korea was the highest finisher in London, coming in at eighth place. Argentina and South Africa closed the games in 10th and 11th place, respectively.
 
All eyes are sure to be on the Argentina vs. South Africa preliminary round game on the second day of action. The teams met in the bronze medal game of the 2011 edition of the Champions Challenge 1, which South Africa won, 3-1. Argentina exacted revenge for that loss in London, beating the South Africans 6-3 in the preliminary round.

The Champion’s Challenge 1 will give the teams World Ranking points and the winner of the tournament will be automatically qualified for the next edition of the men’s Champions Trophy.

November 24th, 2012
1 Pool A 10:00am Korea KOR - CAN Canada -
2 Pool A 12:30pm Malaysia MAS - POL Poland -
3 Pool B 3:00pm South Africa RSA - JPN Japan -
4 Pool B 5:30pm Argentina ARG - IRL Ireland -
November 25th, 2012
5 Pool A 10:00am Canada CAN - POL Poland -
6 Pool A 12:30pm Malaysia MAS - KOR Korea -
7 Pool B 3:00pm Ireland IRL - JPN Japan -
8 Pool B 5:30pm South Africa RSA - ARG Argentina -
November 27th, 2012
9 Pool A 10:00am Korea KOR - POL Poland -
10 Pool A 12:30pm Canada CAN - MAS Malaysia -
11 Pool B 3:00pm Ireland IRL - RSA South Africa -
12 Pool B 5:30pm Argentina ARG - JPN Japan -
November 29th, 2012
13 Quarterfinal 8:30am 1A - 4B -
14 Quarterfinal 11:30am 2B - 3A -
15 Quarterfinal 2:30pm 2A - 3B -
16 Quarterfinal 5:30pm 1B - 4A -
December 1st, 2012
17 Placement 8:30am Loser 13 - Loser 14 -
18 Placement 11:30am Loser 15 - Loser 16 -
19 Semi-Final 2:30pm Winner 13 - Winner 14 -
20 Semi-Final 5:30pm Winner 15 - Winner 16 -
December 2nd, 2012
21 7-8 Placement 8:30am Loser 17 - Loser 18 -
22 5-6 Placement 11:30am Winner 17 - Winner 18 -
23 Bronze 2:30pm Loser 19 - Loser 20 -
24 Gold 5:30pm Winner 19 - Winner 20 -

Monday, September 17, 2012

NASIHIN UNDER FIRE


Will there be a change of coach for the Malaysian women's hockey team after the team booked a place in the second round of the World League?

That seems to be the million dollar question as indications are that the current coach Mohd Nasihin Nubli Ibrahim may not see a renewal of his contract when it ends in December.

Infact there had been indications that Nasihin would be replaced even before the first round of the World League, but commonsense prevailed and he has been allowed to carry on as per his contract.

Another indication that Nashin's place may not be secure came about after Malaysia had defeated Kazakhstan 11-1 on Saturday as the Malaysian Hockey Confederation President, accompanied by MHC Deputy President Raja Noorashikin fielded quesion from the press.

"We need to look at the tactics employed as currently there is no variation and there is an overdependence on penalty corners," said Tengku Abdullah.

When asked if MHC was considering bringing in a foreign consultant or coach to help the women's squad, Tengku Abdullah looked over to Raja Noorashikin for a reply.

"We are looking into such arrangements but nothing has been finalised yet. We will have a discussion on this issue," was all Raja Noorashikin offered.

The MHC Coaching Committee will meet on September 23 and its Chairman Manjit Majid Abdullah confirmed that one of the matters to be discussed is the position of the women's hockey coach.

Moving on from that, the team did well, scoring 31 goals in the process and conceding only one. But it was hardly a yardstick to gauge their ability and work must start now towards the second round which is expected to be played in New Delhi next February.

The team will be playing in the Lanco 9 a side tournament organised by the Australian Hockey Federation in October in Perth. But it is matches beyond that what the MHC should be looking at as the team requires exposure rather then training.

Teams like India and Japan are beatable at Asian level and that is what MHC ought to be aiming for in their quest to taken women's hockey to another step.

But while MHC are said to be a merged body, it was sad to see the men officials staying away from the event, with only Tengku Abdullah and Manjit present together with the Secretary General Haji Johari Aziz.

From the organisational aspect, it was well run, with Pahang HA officials lending a helping hand to the organising committee.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

MALAYSIA ROUT SRI LANKA



Malaysia completed the First Round of the World League unbeaten as they whitewashed Sri Lanka 9-0 at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium.

It was an impressive performance from Malaysia who scored double digit wins over two opponents, defeating Singapore 11-0, Kazakhstan 11-1 and Sri Lanka 9-0 to book their place in the second round.

Kazakhstan took the second berth, finishing the tournament with six points, as a result of their two wins, defeating Sri Lanka 6-1 and Singapore 5-1.

It took Malaysia only two minutes to get the first goal as Norbaini Hashim thundered in an unstoppable shot off the first penalty corner past a diving Sri Lanka keeper Erandi Keerthirathna.

And in the sixth minute Malaysia doubled their advantage, also through a penalty corner, this time Fazilla Sylvester Silin providing the finishing touches.

Though Malaysia was awarded another five penalty corners, they failed to find the next goal.

It was only in the 27th minute that Malaysia managed to increase the tally, off their ninth penalty corner, this time Juliani Mohammad Din.  That was followed by a goal by Siti Rahhmah Othman in the 34th minute for a 4-0 lead at halftime.

The onslaught continued as Norbaini added her second, and Malaysia’s fifth in the 37th minute.

Then in a space of six minutes Malaysia added three more goals to lead 8-0. The goals were scored by Fazilla (43rd minute), Siti Noor Amarina Ruhaini (47th minute) and Nor Hidayah Bokhari (49th minute).

Nor Hidayah Bokhari made it 9-0 in the 53rd minute and the drums started beating on the terraces, celebrating another win.


Final Positions

1)   Malaysia
2)   Kazakhstan
3)   Sri Lanka
4)   Singapore

Awards

Best Goalkeeper: Cookie Tan Koon Kim (Singapore)
Player of the Tournament: Fazilla Sylvester Silin (Malaysia)
Top Scorer: 6 goals: Gulnara Imangaliyeva (Kazakhstan), Nor Hidayah Bokhari (Malaysia).

KAZAKS ALMOST THROUGH


 
Kazakhstan have virtually booked a place in the second round of the World League when they defeated Singapore 5-1 at the Kuantan Hockey Stadium.

They will however have to wait for the Malaysia v Sri Lanka match as a win by Sri Lanka will lead to the qualification to be decided by goal difference.

However the Sri Lankans have been set with a tall order, not only they have to defeat Malaysia but will have to score at least six goals to pip Kazakhstan.

It was a much better performance from Kazakhstan who made use of their experience and utilised the chances to register a convincing win despite a hesistant start.

They almost took the lead in the 15th minute through a penalty corner when Vera Domashneva whose attempt went narrowly past the post.

However Kazakhstan were not to be denied as they opened scoring in the 18th minute through Gulnara Imangaliyeva.
 But Singapore were undeterred and found the equaliser in the 31st minute through O Ming Fen whose penalty corner hit was deflected into goal by Kazakhstan defender.

Three minutes into the second half Natalya Gataulina weaved past three defenders before slotting the ball past Singaporean custodian Cookie Tan Koon Kim to give Kazakhstan a 2-1 lead.

Natalya scored a superb third goal for Kazakhstan, sending in a reverse stick flick sailing into goal from the edge of the semi circle.
Gulnara then added a fourth goal in the 54th minute, before Vera made it 5-1 in the 65th minute and Kazakhstan were well on the way to the second round.

MALAYSIANS HEADING FOR HOCKEY INDIAN LEAGUE


Several Malaysian players are said to be heading for the Hockey India League that is sanctioned by FIH and expected to be held from January 3 to February 3.

In confirming this, Malaysian Hockey Confederation president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said the national coach Paul Revington is currently negotiating with the relevant parties.

"Some players will be playing in the Indian League and we will announce the names of the players in due course," revealed Tengku Abdullah in Kuantan on Saturday.

"This is a positive development and it is good for Malaysian hockey as the ability of our players is being recognized."

Revington said that the negotiation process was ongoing and was optimistic of the outcome.

"We are identifying the players and also who is available as well as hold discussions with their clubs here," said Revington.

"It is a perfect opportunity for players to gain experience."

Some 60 foreign players are expected to play for the 6 franchise clubs with 13 players from Pakistan already identified.

The bulk of the Australian national players with even coaches in the likes of Ric Charlesworth and Paul Gaudoin have been snapped up by the clubs.

In a related development, former national players Mohd Rodhanizam Mat Radzi and Robert Alacantra have been fined RM2,000 each following their participation in the unsanctioned Indian Hockey Federation league last March.

The duo were found guilty by the MHC Disciplinary Board that met on September 10 and both have indicated that they will appeal the decision that will see them facing suspensions if they fail to pay the fines.

Basic outline of the league: Tournament format: Home-and away basis No of teams: Franchises based in six cities Salary Cap: Each team will have Rs 3 crore cap Players prices: Four slabs of base prices on which the bidding starts.

Salary of foreign players: 10 percent of their auction price goes to country hockey federation, five percent to their clubs. (Indian players get a waiver)

Playing Conditions: Four quarters with couple of time-outs No of players: 24 per team (14 Indian and 10 foreign) Playing XI: Maximum of five foreign players Icon Players: Each franchise can have 6 marquee Indian and foreign players each.

MALAYSIA TO SKIP ASIAN CHAMPIONS TROPHY?

 
Malaysia are likely to skip the Asian Champions Trophy due to the change of dates by the Asian Hockey Federation.

Initially the AHF had scheduled their Champions Trophy from 13-21 December but were forced to shift the dates after FIH had included India and Pakistan in the FIH Champions Trophy to be played in Melbourne.

This the Asian Champions Trophy that was to be played in Doha was moved to Dec 20-27, played over Christmas.

When asked about the possibility of Malaysia skipping the Asian Champions Trophy, newly appointed national coach Paul Revington did not discount the possibility but stopped short of confirming it.

"I believe the MHC will be discussing it at their Council meeting next week," said Revington when met after the World League match between Malaysia and Kazakhstan in Kuantan.

AHF Competitions Committee Secretary Mahadevan Devadass who was also in Kuantan said that they had communicated the new dates to their affiliates.

"So far only Korea has said that they will not be available whereas Pakistan and China have already confirmed their participation," said Mahadevan.

"To replace Korea, we have invited Bangladesh while Japan and India are expected to participate as well."

While Malaysia may have it's reasons why they want to skip the Asian Champions Trophy, they should not use Christmas as an excuse as they held the Sultan Johor Cup over Hari Raya Haji last year and will hold the same competition over Deepavali this year.

And the tournament surely can be used to expose fringe players as well as promising youngsters that Revington can judge for his future plans in the quest for World Cup Qualification.