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News 26 February 2014

All the news for Wednesday 26 February 2014

Investec SA hockey girls play well but Argentina win again

JONATHAN COOK in Mar del Plata

SA striker and goalscorer Sulette Damons on attack during the third Test at Mar del Plata in Argentina Tuesday night (Argentina time). Argentina won 5-1. Photo: RODRIGO JARAMILLO

Bare statistics can be cruel - and that maxim held true in the third Test match at Mar del Plata Tuesday night (early hours Wednesday SA time) when two goals in the last five minutes gave Argentina a 5-1 win over an impressive Investec South Africa women’s hockey team after the reigning World Cup champions had led 2-1 at half-time.

The win gives world number two Argentina a 3-0 series lead over world 11 SA with two Test matches still to play.

In the third minute Argentina won a dubious first penalty corner and Noel Barrionuevo sent her drag-flick low to goalkeeper Phume Mbande’s left (1-0).

SA equalised in the 11th minute when Nicolene Terblanche won a turnover in her own half, fed Sulette Damons who passed to fellow striker Dirkie Chamberlain, the latter showing great presence of mind not to shoot or rush her pass,  only releasing the ball when Damons was in the perfect position inside the six-yard box to deflect home (1-1).

In the 20th Argentina went back in front when Carla Rebecchi scored after the initial play had been made by Agustina Albertario (2-1).

After half-time, world number SA had plenty of goalscoring opportunities that came and went, but Las Leonas (The Lionesses) made theirs count.

Three minutes after the changeover a PC variation right and then left set up Barrionuevo’s second goal.

SA had a prolonged spell of very good play but in the 66th Rosario Luchetti scored from an Argentina PC when she got a touch to Barrionuevo’s conventional strike (4-1).

And two minutes from the end (68th) Rebecchi effected a turnover and smashed her shot into the back of the net (5-1).

SA Hockey Association media release

Defeat doesn't do justice to SA men's hockey team in Mar del Plata

JONATHAN COOK in Mar del Plata

SA and Southern Gauteng midfielder Clint Panther in command despite the attentions of Isidoro Ibarra during the third Test at Mar del Plata in Argentina Tuesday night (Argentina time). Argentina won 3-1.

A good third Test match by the South Africa men’s hockey team saw them go into the break trailing 2-1 against slick Argentina but it didn’t do them full justice at Mar del Plata Tuesday night. Neither did the second half, which saw Argentina add one more goal for a 3-1 win to secure the series with two Tests to go.

Argentina set SA on the back foot in the fifth minute when the unerring Gonzalo Peillat sent a fizzing low drag-flick into the backboard from the South American champions’ first penalty corner.

In the 24th a good period of play by SA was undone when Juan Agulleiro got in a shot and Lucas Martinez was on hand to pop the rebound off Pieterse’s pads into the net.

SA's continued to enjoy a  significant degree of control and influential centre back Jethro Eustice showed great vision in firing a 50-metre pass straight up the middle to a lurking Pierre de Voux in the strike zone and the sharpshooter picked the ball up before drilling past keeper Juan Vivaldi.

In the 64th minute and against the run of play Guillermo Schickendantz swept the ball home from close-range for the 3-1 final score to Argentina.

SA Hockey Association media release

FIH Window for Hockey India League: Spirit missing, coaches culprit

K Arumugam

BACKDROP: Right from President to its Competition Committee, CEO Kelly Fairweather, and many cogs in the FIH were present on the other day in Ranchi on the eve of Hero Hockey India League final. Surprisingly, a low rung FIH official was even asked to present a particular award to winners continuously 5,6 times after everyday matches during the closing ceremonies that are telecast live. The moot point here is, whether HHIL is local league or global league. If it is global as the Hockey India projects and envisions, do the mere presence of FIH bandwagon makes it so? Or, are the Globe’s best contemporary players need to have part in the league? Some developments that marked, rather marred HHIL 2014 need to be dwelt with and understood in its entirety for the league's true longevity and meaningfulness.

THE BACKGROUND: When Neo Sports channel launched World Series Hockey three years ago, Hockey India came out with its own version, Hockey India League. It remained on paper even as WSH being head starter had time advantage, went ahead, and hosted with 8 teams on board, title sponsor and six full-pledged Franchises.

The Hockey India lost no time to propose counter effort to WSH, but it said the whole world will descend on its new venture -- to make it truly global, extraordinarily competitive and beneficial to not only Indian hockey but also to global fraternity, but only after one and half years from WSH.

Hockey India Secretary General Narinder Batra’s contemplation had many takers, but this writer argued today’s meal is more important than a feast promised for next year or far later.

Hockey India argued that it doesn’t want to start anything for the heck of it, but on sound footing and on workable long term vision.

It said and reasoned, a window from world body can only work wonders and on sustainable basis. Hockey India heavily relied on FIH Window that will ensure the world’s best players for HIL unlike ‘the unofficial’ and ‘unsanctioned’ WSH where the contemporary world’s best was simply not there.

Ok, the HIL became a reality last year. Both HI and FIH were successful in working out a Window and hold the first edition on a grand scale, with unheard quantum of money handed out to players as a result of path breaking auction and media blitzkrieg.

FIH WINDOW ON PAPER: Only second year on, but the window remained on paper. Its purpose had been challenged. Yes, players from far off countries from Argentina to Africa, New Zealand to Ireland, participated in the just concluded league. However, many contemporary stars -- not the likes of Teun de Nooijers, Luke Doeners, Floris Evers who have all past their prime – especially from Netherlands and Germany in particular are conspicuous for their absence.

The Second HHIL grew in terms of number of teams, number of host cities, level of fee to players etc etc. The quality of telecast surely was the icing on the cake; Star Sports Television’s production quality setting standards for hockey’s nascent broadcast world.

Still, not many lost out some of the undercurrent that marked, or marred, the just concluded HHIL.

The coaches of The Netherlands and Germany in particular have seemingly cautioned their lot against participation. Though many claim they have been asked to take rest, there are bits and pieces of info that trickle that the coaches indicated to unwilling players that their slot in the national team cannot be guaranteed if they prefer HHIL. Perhaps these coaches are concerned on their players getting injured

Before this, there have been reluctance and delay by some -- or the same ? -- National Federations to give No Objection Certificate to their players, creating on its wake a revolt of sort from leading players.

When this writer drew the attention of Kelly Fairweather to this issue, he was at his diplomatic best,saying he had not heard such things, nothing of that sort was brought to his knowledge. He in effect gave an impression that window is practically fine, works.

But certainly this is not the case if what we follow and hear is correct.

As a result of firm 'No' by the coaches,HHIL 2014 had only protagonists like Jaap Stockmann, Moritz Furste, Nicolas Jacobi, who all can take risk on account of their invincibilty to team and star status, leaving enough vacancies that were filled by India from its once WSH discards.

The question here is, if the coaches breach the window, directly or indirectly, whose duty is it to protect players’ interest?

Leondro Negre, FIH president, says the hockey history henceforth will be written before and after Hockey India League, having been enthused by its success and the monies it raked in in the process.

But if the window is not protected by letter and spirit, the HIL will be in danger of losing out, the same way Sultan Azlan Shah is.

Hockey faces the danger of out of Olympics, and there is a need to bring money, market, millions more eyeballs to stands and before television.

Professional coaches in hockey are just by the name sake. Except coaches no one surrounding them, players, administrators, events and like are professional in true spirit.

Coaches perforce pin their career on success at World Cups, Olympics and Continental Championships.

They do not place any importance to other events, leaving them to natural death.

Cases of bringing development or half-baked teams to invitational tournaments, test series etc are innovations of coaches, which perhaps helped them ensure their target tournaments but left hockey fans high and dry quite often.

If hockey has to truly emerge as a vibrant and viable sport, its mindset has to move away from three fixations – Olympics, World Cup and Continental Championships.

Unfortunately, medals at these events can give proud moments to winning nations, but that won’t lift the game and its players from the mould in which they have been cast and stereotyped.

Therefore all innovations, like HHIL, need to be taken up seriously by all stake holders, never downrate on World Cup and Olympic years. Such approach will not help hockey to grow, rise above mediocrity.

Coaches cannot prevent players from earning more money, and if they can challenge the window, as has happened now, leaving players to fight for themselves and take risks of being dropped, the FIH has to exercise its influence, as it had done firmly when the question of WSH confronted them.

FIH’s role will be judged by creating an environ by which every best players gets an opportunity to decide, like whether he wants to play league or HIL, especially when a window has been created. On its part, the HHIL need to advise Franchises to rope in top current coaches like Weiss, Lammers or Van Ass, who delivered result in the last two Olympics, not the ones who delivered some 20,30 years ago. Then the coaches can synchronise and seamlessly evolve strategies.

As of now we see urgency in FIH to be ornamental on dais, even overdose of it, but failed to enforce its window in spirit.

Hockey India may have given an impression that the window works, but if such attitude is going to be the guiding spirit in future, it will have ever-lasting and endangering repercussions.

If hockey players cannot figure in a 'windowed event' for a month in a Olympic or World Cup year, the question of hockey becoming a people’s sport, professionalized, ensuring its steady presence in the Olympics, is reduntant.

For HI’s part it need to prevail on franchise, who opt for foreign coaches that they should choose from successful ones from the 2014 World Cup.

These coaches can take a month break from their NF’s contract and be part of the sensation called HIL.

The same way Walsh was given break by Sports Authority of India, the pay masters.

Otherwise, players will flock to HHIL not because of FIH window but because of its attraction

Time for FIH to think out of box, not bogged down.


Beckett calling

By Graham Wilson

DAVE BECKETT celebrated his GB call-up with a hat-trick in Cannock’s much-needed 8-3 victory over Hampstead and Westminster in the NOW:Pensions League.

Beckett willl make his debut during two matches against France in Lille next week.

Ben Arnold, Ollie Willars and Tim Whiteman, who helped keep Beeston four points clear at the top with a 3-1 win at Sheffield Hallam are also in the squad.

Emily Maguire scored in the 1-1 draw with Dundee in Lithuania to earn Reading promotion to the top tier of European indoor hockey.

Daily Express

Irish U21 Womens Squad announced

A squad of 22 has been named by National Coach Darren Smith following the U21 Interprovincial Tournament on 7-9 February 2014.

    Rachel Barnett - Leinster
    Emily Beatty - Leinster
    Bethany Barr - Ulster
    Serena Barr - Ulster
    Chloe Brown - Ulster
    Elaine Carey - Connacht
    Robyn Chambers - Ulster
    Amy Cooke - Ulster
    Natasha Cooke - Connacht
    Leah Ewart - Ulster
    Gemma Frazer - Ulster
    Sarah Hawkshaw - Leinster
    Erica Hinkson - Leinster
    Jenna Holmes - Ulster
    Kate Lloyd - Leinster
    Hayley Mulcahy - Leinster
    Kerri McDonald - Ulster
    Lucy McKee - Ulster
    Katie Mullan - Ulster
    Millie O'Donnell - Leinster
    Emma Russell - Leinster
    Anna May Whelan - Leinster

Players outside this 22 will continued to be monitored in their provinces/club hockey to allow for additions to be made as the season goes on. This will also apply to players that played in the U21 Inter-pros and didn't perform as expected over that weekend.

 Program Dates:

    Easter camp - Dates TBC
    Regular centralised Sunday sessions
    Training camp 20-23 June
    International series 27-30 June
    Training camp - 4-6 July
    Travel to Austria, Wednesday 9 July 2014
    Tournament 13-19 July, Austria

Irish Hockey Association media release

Olak-PKT players get jobs, scholarships

By Aftar Singh

Mawardi Hamirin (centre) in a file photo. Awaiting his SPM results, Mawardi is happy with the job and scholarship opportunity.

KUALA LUMPUR: There is more good news for Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak)-PKT players.

The players will not only go to Bali for a holiday in May after gaining promotion to the MHC-Milo-NSC Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) Division One next year.

They have also been offered full study scholarships and jobs by the Port Klang Trading (PKT) Logistics company.

The good news has fired up the players, who want to give their best against Division One outfit Malacca High School in the quarter-finals of the MJHL.

The first leg of the quarter-finals will be played on Friday at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, while the return leg will be on Sunday at the same venue.

Olak-PKT team manager Joseph De Silva said PKT Logistics chief executive officer (CEO) Datuk Michael Tio informed the players about the study scholarships and jobs on Tuesday.

“The players will not only play hockey for Olak-PKT; they will also obtain paper qualifications and jobs.

“The players thanked Datuk Michael for providing them with jobs and scholarships,” said Joseph.

Forward Mawardi Hamirin from Keningau, Sabah, is delighted with the news as this means he will get to play hockey while studying.

“I will be eligible to obtain either a diploma or a degree to obtain a job,” said Mawardi, who is waiting for his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results, which should be released next month.

Mawardi, who is the top scorer for Olak-PKT with 11 goals, said that he would go all out to score against Malacca High School in the first leg of the quarters on Friday.

“We are all in high spirits after gaining promotion to Division One next year and now we will also go all out to stun the Division One team to reach the semi-finals.

“Nothing is impossible. We have faith in ourselves and believe that we can upset the Malacca team,” said Mawardi, who is eligible to play in the Under-19 league next year.

Besides Mawardi, Olak-PKT also have three other Sabah players. They are midfielders Andrian Jack and Maxhans Chiristi and forward Zakri Esar.

The Star of Malaysia

Secret Umpire: it surely won't be long before other sports follow hockey's three-card system

The Secret Umpire, ensconced somewhere in the UK, says three-tier card may be popular but hockey umpires still throw them like confetti

By The Secret Umpire

Showing intent: but are hockey umpires handing out too many cards? Photo: ADY KERRY

As the season begins to draw to a close and the red promotion and relegation lines have appeared on the league tables across the country, the increasing pressure on players and coaches will no doubt see umpires come under even closer scrutiny (or criticism) for decisions that could well have serious impact on the future for clubs and individuals alike.

I remain convinced that going into any game with the view of blowing the final whistle, without having had to resort to using plastic, is a great starting point.

However, I regularly find myself in a minority when pre-match chats with my colleague focus solely on the use of cards. They seem to be keen to throw them around like confetti at a wedding.

They are an inevitable part of the modern game and used sparingly, consistently and fairly for both teams. Coupled with positive communication and player management can make 70 minutes a very good game for all involved.

We have an excellent cards system in hockey which the majority of participants respect. This is significantly improved in the National League by the two-minute green and the double-yellow jeopardy resulting in a suspension for the game only - and not a ban.

Whilst it would be impossible to administer the two-minute green without a technical delegate - and thus I cannot see it being used below national league - the double yellow resulting in red could easily and very beneficially be brought into regional hockey and below.

The flexibility of the five-minute yellow (or 10-minute yellow for more serious offences) makes them very meaningful and the ability to deal with any member of the team, be it player or coach who will not play by the rules is a significant tool in the umpire armoury.

But colleagues, it should not be the only one and there are those who create more difficulties in games by not using them correctly.

How often have I seen a game go from tepid to boiling over due to the poor award of a card? Let's get it right more often please and perhaps then we will not get so much grief. Although I await to be convinced of this.

In a week when Michel Platini called for the end of the 'stupid rule' that results in a penalty kick, a player sent off and a ban, perhaps football are finally going to learn from our great sport and make proper use of cards.

Good luck to all those umpiring in the final few weeks of the season.

The Telegraph

Walk out with the NZ flag in Tauranga

Hockey New Zealand are auctioning off the unique opportunity to lead the teams onto the field carrying the New Zealand flag for the Black Sticks Men vs Japan series in Tauranga.

There are three auctions open now for the three games on 12, 13 and 15 March, 2014.

This would make an ideal gift for a young hockey player or a keen Black Sticks fan, spend time with your hockey heroes up close and take some photos to show off to your friends!

Entry to the game is included, and all proceeds from this auctions go to directly back to the Tauranga Hockey Federation.

CLICK HERE to view the auctions now

CLICK HERE for more information on the Black Sticks vs Japan series.

Hockey New Zealand Media release

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