Sunday, June 18, 2017

Still with a chance

After 2 big defeats, the national Hockey team has its backs against the wall.


There is still an opportunity to make the World Cup despite the two defeats but the situation becomes a bit more complex.


Still the fate of the team lies in their own hands and only they can determine their destiny.


At present Malaysia have a -7 goal difference with Korea at -4, both teams with no points on the board.


The two play each other on Monday, a win for either will put them in the Drivers seat while a draw could spell disaster for Malaysia.


In the final matches, Korea will play England while China take on Malaysia.


So if Malaysia wins their last two matches, they sail into the last eight and into the World Cup.


A Korean win means we need to beat China, and goal difference might come into play.


However England might not field their best against Korea if they know by tonight their fate after the match against Argentina in order to preserve for their lady eight matches.


Bottom line is this - all is not lost, well not yet and even if we do not defeat a Korea, there is still an outside chance.


And then again even if we do not make it through to the World Cup, there is always the Asia Cup in Dhaka this October to make the cut.


So now back to the team, what has gone wrong so far?


Firstly we should drop this mentality of 50 yard Defence as its counter productive.


We have players with skill and superior fitness to match the best as evident in the two 30 minute performances against Argentina and England.


We have scored four goals ( whether direct or as a result) of penalty corners, totalling 10 in the two matches.


It's conceding penalty corners that we need to work on as we concede goals far too easily .


Our midfield is virtually non existent in the two matches and players in this department need to increase their work rate.


Loose marking has always been an issue and it no different this time around, just too many players switching off at crucial moments.


China went in a 45 day playing tour of Europe to prepare for this tournament but we were happy to train at home and play only three warm up matches prior to the tournament.


So missing out on playing top class opponents over the past two years, minus the two Azlan Shah Cup matches has somewhat affected the sharpness and precision of the team against higher ranked teams.


Rankings in reality mean nothing as we are good enough to be amongst the top 10 in the world , but for some bad luck in crucial matches.


Let's leave the bad luck behind, give it one final push and regain Malaysian Hockey glory.


It's now or never, sorry there is still Dhaka.

Seven Up

THE LONDON DISPATCH


The English goals came early in the first and third quarters while the Malaysians put up some form of a fight in the second.


But in the end the quality of the teams told and Malaysia were handed a 3-7 drubbing by England.


That defeat although expected may well cost them dearly in the later stages of the tournament.


If Malaysia were hoping for a good start to overcome their Argentina defeat, it never materialised.


Instead the English were in such form that by the eight minute they had a 2-0 lead.


Barry Middleton and Christopher Griffiths struck in the fifth and eighth minutes of field goals to put them in a commanding position in the match.


Malaysia’s third penalty corner in the 19th minute proved fruitful.


Mohamed Razie Rahim took the initial shot but his attempt hit the defender on the goal line. A penalty stroke was awarded and Faizal  Saari duly converted it for the first goal.


This spurred the Malaysians and in the 28th minute they had their fourth penalty corner. This time Faizal took the flick and his initial shot was blocked by goalkeeper George pinner.


 But Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin who was near the goalkeeper managed to slot home from close range the rebound for the equaliser.


But the third quarter proved a major disaster for the Malaysians as they made several defensive lapses to gift the English easy goals.


In the 32nd minute, England earned their first penalty corner and Sam Ward flicked the ball home to put them in the lead again.


Disaster struck for the Malaysians two minutes later with Barry scoring his second off a field attempt.


England led 4-2.


And another blunder followed in the 39th minute as Mark Glerghorne scored with a field attempt.


Mark was again on target in the 55th minute while Sam scored his second goal in the 51st minute.


Faizal managed to pull back a goal for Malaysia in the 57th minute.


National coach Stephen van Huizen said that the early goals killed them off.


“But nothing has changed. We are still in the running although the task seemed a little harder now considering that Korea lost to China.


“we will regroup and get ready for the Koreans game on Monday,” he said.


Earlier China stunned the hockey world when they destroyed former Asian champions South Korea 5-2 in an upset in Group A.


The Koreans who had lost 1-2 to Argentina on Thursday were expected to bounce back and take full points. But the Chinese had other ideas and they recorded one of their better results against the Koreans.


The Chinese goal came from Su Lixing, Su Jun (two), E Liguang and Guo Zixiang.


For the Koreans Yang Jihun and Hwang Weonki were on target.


The Koreans like Malaysia are facing a major hurdle. Both have lost their two opening matches and another defeat could jeopardise their quarterfinal chances.


Thus when they meet on Monday it will be a must win situation.


For China the result put them in a good position to qualify for their first World Cup. They have one defeat which they lost 0-2 to England.


The next group A matches will put the qualifiers in the correct perspective.


Meanwhile India also virtually booked its quarterfinal berth after an easy 3-0 win over Canada in Group B.


A day earlier Argentina had already secured a spot form Group B after their second win.


Canada went into the match after a 6-0 drubbing of Pakistan. Many would have thought that they would have given India a tough fight.


But Canada with their win over Pakistan has a good chance of making it as they have Scotland to play.


S. V Sunil scored the opening goal for the Indians while Akashdeep Singh and Sardar Singh added the other two goals early in the match.


After that the Indians went through the motions to collect full points and lead the table in Group B with six points.


Indian coach Roelant Oltmans said that it was an important win for the team as it kept the momentum going.


“We had a good game and it is always good to start with two wins. The quarter finals is still some days away and our focus is on the next match. Let us not get ahead of the task,” he said.


Saturday, June 17, 2017

Opening defeat for Malaysia

Dispatch from London


There was no surprise as Malaysia opened their World Hockey League Semi Final campaign on a losing note.


They were comprehensively beaten 5-2 by reigning Olympic Champions Argentina in their first match.


For the top seeded Argentina , the win was their second in the tournament and they have virtually sealed their place in the quarter-finals with two matches to spare having won 2-1 against South Korea the previous day.


Malaysia however has another tough encounter today (Saturday) when they play host England.


They will need to recover fast and have a new game plan to counter the English.


Yesterday the Malaysians gave a Dr Jekyll and Hyde performance where they took the game to the South Americans in the first half. But then capitulated in the second for a big defeat.  


National skipper Mohamed Shukri Mutalib said that they had a good game plan but their mistakes in giving away penalty corners proved fatal.


Argentine hitman Gonzalo Peillat scored four goals to destroy them.


“We could have taken a point had we been more careful. We perhaps gave them too much respect. We have to recover fast and get ready for England. The players know how important the next match is. So we will be ready to give our best,” said Shukri.


The World Number One started off strongly with an early goal in the fourth minute off their effective penalty corner flick.


But the goal only served to rally the Malaysians and they came back with goals of their own.


Twice the Argentines took the lead in the first half and each time the Malaysians equalised.


The Argentine penalty corner expert Gonzalo Peillat scored the early goals for his team in the fourth and 11th minute from penalty corners that Malaysians had no answer to.


For Malaysia a Shahril Saabah field goal in the seventh minute and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin off a penalty corner deflection in the 18th minute was enough to keep the score 2-2 at half time.


Peillat was again on target in the 40th minute from another penalty corner.  That turned the match in their favour.


He sealed the match in the 47th minute with another penalty corner while Facundo Calioni added the fifth in the 49th minute.


Malaysia had five penalty corners in the match but only managed one goal while Argentina scored four from the six penalty corners they were awarded.


The top four finishers in London will qualify for the eight nation Odisha Hockey World League Final in Bhubaneswar, India, although there is a small caveat to this. 


If India, the host nation of the Final, do not finish in the top four then only the top three teams in London will qualify. They will be joined by the top three finishers from the Semi-Final competition in Johannesburg, South Africa, plus the highest ranked fourth place finisher from the two Semi-Final events.


When it comes to qualification for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup Bhubaneswar 2018, there are five automatic berths available here in London, although this will increase depending on the outcomes of the upcoming Continental Championships, which are also World Cup qualification events.


A humiliating defeat for Pakistan.

A dispatch from London
Pakistan are looking at a quick exit from Group B after another disappointing performance.

On Friday they found the going tough when Canada pulled out all stop to beat them 6-0 in a rare display of attacking hockey against a former giant.

For Pakistan it was their second defeat in the tournament. On Thursday in their opening match they fell 1-4 to Holland.

The Pakistanis still have a chance to salvage their pride and also seek a place in the quarter finals if they can beat India or Scotland in their remaining matches.

Only the top four teams form the group will advance to the last eight.

It was one of the worst performance by a Pakistani team who failed to put up any show of resistance against the world number 10.

No doubt the Pakistanis are three rungs below the Canadians but the score line suggest a big gulf in standard.

Scott Tupper (4), Iain Smythe (23, 24), Foris von Son (28), Brendan Bissett (50) and Gordan Johnson (60) were the goal scorers.

Pakistan coach K. M. Junaid was loss for words in what he described as their worst result for the team against the Canadians.

“I do not know what to say and I also fail to understand how we missed so many chances at goal.

“You do not win matches if you do not score goals. We had the right strategy but the kissed made it difficult for us. This is a personal embarrassment for me” he said after the game 

“Now we have a difficult task in the last two matches butb there is no choice but to stand up and deliver. It is unthinkable not to make the quarterfinals, “ he said.

Pakistan play India on Sunday

A humiliating defeat for Pakistan.

A dispatch from London
Pakistan are looking at a quick exit from Group B after another disappointing performance.

On Friday they found the going tough when Canada pulled out all stop to beat them 6-0 in a rare display of attacking hockey against a former giant.

For Pakistan it was their second defeat in the tournament. On Thursday in their opening match they fell 1-4 to Holland.

The Pakistanis still have a chance to salvage their pride and also seek a place in the quarter finals if they can beat India or Scotland in their remaining matches.

Only the top four teams form the group will advance to the last eight.

It was one of the worst performance by a Pakistani team who failed to put up any show of resistance against the world number 10.

No doubt the Pakistanis are three rungs below the Canadians but the score line suggest a big gulf in standard.

Scott Tupper (4), Iain Smythe (23, 24), Foris von Son (28), Brendan Bissett (50) and Gordan Johnson (60) were the goal scorers.

Pakistan coach K. M. Junaid was loss for words in what he described as their worst result for the team against the Canadians.

“I do not know what to say and I also fail to understand how we missed so many chances at goal.

“You do not win matches if you do not score goals. We had the right strategy but the kissed made it difficult for us. This is a personal embarrassment for me” he said after the game 

“Now we have a difficult task in the last two matches butb there is no choice but to stand up and deliver. It is unthinkable not to make the quarterfinals, “ he said.

Pakistan play India on Sunday

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

HWLR2 - You read it here first

With the official confirmation today, Tuesday, February 7, it is pertinent to note that Hockey followers read about the switch here first.

Canada and Msia to switch? Read http://malaysianhockey.blogspot.com/2017/02/malaysia-to-replace-canada.html

Monday, February 6, 2017

Top nations for SOJC.

SOJC
Press Release
The seventh edition of the Sultan Johor Cup could well see a star studded field.

To be held at the Taman Daya Stadium from October 22 to October 29, the Organisers Johor Hockey Association are sparing no effort to get the participation of some of the top hockey nations.

Those invited are  Argentina, Great Britain, Germany, India and Australia. The sixth team is hosts Malaysia.

" We are extending invited to these teams as they had expressed interest in participating this year," said JHA Deputy President Dato Manjit Majid Abdullah.

" These are top teams and it will help boost the image of the tournament.

" We have also received interest from a few other countries but will keep our options open and invite others should any of these five decline."

Among the countries put on the reserve list are New Zealand, Japan, Pakistan and Egypt.

Dato Manjit said that they were also looking at other teams such as South Africa, Spain or Belgium for the tournament.

Should India accept the invite, they will be making a return after a years absence.

Australia are the defending champions and Malaysia as well as Great Britain have emerged as champions before as have India.

" We are also looking at holding some coaching seminars as well as clinics during the tournament," added Dato Manjit.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Malaysia to replace Canada?

With Canada withdrawing from the Round 2 of the World League scheduled to be held in Dhaka next month, there is a possibility that Malaysia may now replace Canada.


Canada withdrew from the tournament in security concerns and a decision needs to be made by FIH as to who will replace Canada.


Malaysia are scheduled to play in the Round 2 event in Trinidad & Tobago and should FIH switch Malaysia to replace Canada, it will be good as the teams in Dhaka are not that strong.


The Round 2 World League in Dhaka is scheduled from March 4 to 12.


Canada, who are 11th in the world, had been drawn along with Bangladesh, Oman and Fiji in one of two groups for the World League Round 2 event. China, Egypt, Ghana and Sri Lanka are in the second group.


The FIH (International Hockey Federation) has informed us that Canada will not participate in this tournament due to security concerns," the Bangladesh Hockey Federation's general secretary Abdus Sadequesaid

 

Ironically it will be interesting to see if Malaysia will go to Dhaka as they cited security concerns for not participating in the AHF Under 18 tournament last year in Dhaka.


Canada is the second country to pull out of a hockey tournament in Bangladesh since militants killed 22 people in an attack on a cafe in Dhaka last July. Most of the victims were foreigners.


Japan withdrew their team from the Under-18 Asia Cup in August on security ground as seven of their citizens were among the victims of the cafe attack.


Australia's cricket team also pulled out of a scheduled tour to Bangladesh in late 2015 over security fears.


England's cricket team did tour Bangladesh in October last year after the authorities accorded them security normally reserved for visiting heads of state.


Saturday, January 28, 2017

Early start for MJHL?

Teams participating in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League are up in arms over a decision that does not make sense.


Initially the teams were told that the MHHL would start in late March but a revised circular has stated that the MJHL will now commence on Match 2.


But the National Under 16 has been scheduled from March 18 to March 26 in Kota Kinabalu.


Thus many teams contacted this blog to voice their displeasure that the  MJHL will take a break for the Under 16.


They cited two main grouses - states will not release players to the clubs and also inadequate preparations coupled with rising costs of training teams should there be a break.


The teams rather have the MJHL start as planned before, which is the end of March and to be completed before the fasting month commences in the end of May.


A total of 22 teams had initially confirmed entities in December but the figure has now grown to 32 teams with the closing date extended to February 6.


Ironically no calling of entities has been done for the National Under 16, which will cater for boys and girls yet despite the event being held in March in Kota Kinabalu.


Teams will have to cater for their own board and lodging and the question of flights payments also needs to be sorted out.


On top of that the Teo teams in the MJHL from Sabah want their home matches to be played in Kota Kinabalu and it will be left to be seen if this will actually happen as teams from the Peninsular might be put off by the cost of flying to East Malaysia.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Plaudits for Ow and Dharma

Giving credit where it's due is what this blog has advocated since it was first published.


The fear of the women's Hockey team to qualify for the Round 3 deserves all the plaudits and pat on the back as they defied odds to achieve something that was thought to be beyond them.


Women's hockey always had the ability to perform, deliver, succeed, yet they were never given a fair opportunity by sone quarters who only wanted to project self interest.


Hence this blog, while applauding and congratulation the likes of coach K. Dharmaraj and his assistants in the likes of Nor Saliza Ahmad Soobni, Lailin Abu Hassan, Roslan Jamaluddin and K. Gobinathan, wishes also to put on record a pat on the back to the MHC Coaching Committee led by Dato Ow Soon Kooi.


It was Ow and his committee that revolutionised women's Hockey as they overcame several objections to install Dharma has the head honcho for women's Hockey.


Ow knew that Dharma had the special ingredient to take women's hockey to greater heights and despite several hindrances, Ow persisted with his choice Abd the rest as we now see was history being created.


Others will be Jinping on the bandwagon to take credit and take the bows, but it was a visionary Ow plus a hard working Dharma that made this possible.


Dharma has proven his ability time and again and the win over Italy will probably Prive his detractors wrong once and for all.


Dharma has passion, something many claim they have, for he eats, sleeps and dreams hockey.


The scrawny Malacca lad that I came to know in 1987 is known to speak his mind, but this time around I hope he keeps his feet firmly on the ground.


This is hopefully the start to better times for women's hockey, neglected for two decades no thanks to the selfishness of ab individual who will no doubt be laying claim to a throne that was never her doing in the first place.


Go do what you have always done Dharma, coach with all you have, and thank you Ow for daring to stand your ground when change was necessary.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Marhan inks deal with UniKL

skipper Mohamed Marhan Mohamed Jalil has recovered form his shoulder injury and is ready to resume his playing career in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).
But only this time he will don Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) colours. 
Marhan signed a three-year deal with UniKL yesterday and has already started training with his new team.
The international midfielder will be a much needed boost for the UniKl team who is trying to break into the top four of the MHL.
UniKL coach A. Arulselvaraj said that he was [pleased to have Marhan in the team.
'He is a strong midfield players and has vast experience. He will be of great benefit to us and we are looking forward to the new season with relish,” he said.
Sapura, a former two-time overall and league champions, have decided not to enter a team in the MHL this season.
Most of their players have already been snapped up.
Marhan's return to the game will also be good news to the national team.
The players provides the thrust in the team and his injury sustained in October was expected to take six months to heal.
“But it has healed sufficiently and he can train normally. Of course we need to bring him into the game gradually but so far the signs are good that he wil be fully ready for the challenge,” added Arulselvaraj.