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News 16 March 2014


All the news for Sunday 16 March 2013

Skipper Azlan: Let’s win this match for Boon Huat

By Aftar Singh

National hockey captain Azlan Misron hopes the team will beat South Korea in memory of the late Chua Boon Huat, who scored the winning goal against the same side in last year's edition of the tournament. - Filepic

IPOH: With an inexperienced goalkeeper and poor penalty corner conversion rate, Malaysia face a daunting task against four-time Asia Cup champions South Korea in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup match at the Azlan Shah Stadium on Sunday.

National chief coach K. Dharmaraj fielded five newcomers in Malaysia’s 3-2 win over South Africa in their opening match on Thursday.

Goalkeeper Mohd Hafizuddin Othman, who earned his first international cap against South Africa, conceded two low penalty corner flicks taken by South Africa’s Jethro Eustice in each half.

The other Malaysians who made their international debuts were defender Shazril Irwan Nazli, midfielder Mohd Azri Hassan and strikers Mohd Shahril Saabah and Mohd Rashid Baharom. Reserve goalkeeper Mohd Hazrul Faiz Ahmad Sobri is the only player who has yet to make his international debut.

Malaysia are also missing the services of defender and penalty corner specialist Mohd Razie Abdul Rahim, who is nursing a shoulder injury.

The national team wasted 11 penalty corners against South Africa but striker Faizal Saari saved the day for Malaysia by converting their 12th penalty corner.

Malaysia’s real challenge will be against the speedy Koreans, who also have a solid penalty corner conversion rate.

The Koreans netted two penalty corner goals to beat Canada 3-0 in their first match on Friday.

The Malaysian defence led by skipper Azlan Misron will have to be wary of Korea’s Jang Jong-hyun, who is deadly with his powerful drag flicks.

The 31-year-old Azlan said Malaysia would be the underdogs.

“It will be tough for us with six new faces in the team to stop the skilful Koreans. They play a fast attacking game.

“We cannot afford to make any silly mistakes in the semi-circle as they have lethal forwards,” said Azlan, who will play as the last man against the Koreans.

“They also have a calibre penalty corner flicker in Jung-hyun. I hope Hafizuddin, who did reasonably well in the first match, will be able to play much better against the Koreans.

“We also need to make full use of our penalty corners after missing 11 in the match against South Africa.

“However, nothing is impossible as we defeated Korea 3-2 in the opening match of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup last year. I believe we can do it again.

“We just need to have faith in ourselves and stay on our toes throughout the match,” said Azlan, who is the most capped player in the tournament with 324 international appearances.

Last year in the tournament, Faizal gave Malaysia the lead against the Koreans. But the hero of the match was the late Chua Boon Huat, who netted two goals in the last three minutes of the match to give Malaysia a 3-2 win.

“We want to win the match in memory of Boon Huat (who died in a car accident last August).

“We want the fans to come in droves to cheer us. Our hopes of reaching the final will depend on the outcome against the Koreans,” said Azlan.

Malaysia reached last year’s final before losing 3-2 to Australia.

The Star of Malaysia

South Korea bent on beating Malaysia

By Aftar Singh

South Korea are without their top defender Nam Hyun-woo (right) in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh but coach Shin Seok-kyo is confident they can beat Malaysia on Sunday for their second win in the tournament. - Filepic

IPOH: Two-time champions South Korea have warned Malaysia that they are eyeing a place in the final of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and will take every match seriously.

Last year, South Korea surprisingly went down 2-3 to Malaysia in their opening match. And the Koreans are bitter about it.

“We were leading 2-1 before Malaysia scored two goals in last few minutes to win. But this time we will go all out from the first whistle as we want to avenge our defeat,” said coach Shin Seok-kyo.

“We are here without two key players – defender Nam (Hyun-woo) and striker Yu (Yoo-sik), but nothing is going to stop us from winning the match to stay in the hunt for a place in the final.

“Malaysia have made a few changes in their team by fielding some new players. They are always tough to beat in their own backyard. They have some players with good individual skills and we need to mark them closely.

“We are here with almost the same team that won the Asia Cup in Ipoh last year and we will take every match seriously,” added Seok-kyo.

The Koreans, ranked seventh in the world, started well to beat Canada 3-0 in their opening match on Friday.

Former Malaysian coach Paul Lissek is the consultant of the Korean team and the German is in Ipoh as the stand-in manager for the team.

Despite not having any outdoor training due to the winter back home, the Koreans are still confident of living up to their billing as the number two ranked team in the tournament.

“Australia are the strongest team in tournament. We are preparing for the World Cup (in The Hague in May) and we need to boost the players’ confidence by reaching the final in Ipoh.

“We have won the tournament twice in 1999 and 2010 and looking forward to a third title,” said Seok-kyo.

Seok-kyo is also keeping his fingers crossed that his key striker You Hyo-sik, who did not play against Canada due to a back injury, will recover in time for the match against Malaysia. The 32-year-old Hyo-sik is the most experienced player in the Korean team with 243 international caps.

The Star of Malaysia

Hafizuddin one for the future

LONG TERM: Coach sees youngster as an ideal replacement for senior goalkeepers


HAFIZUDDIN Othman, 22, earned his first cap when Malaysia beat South Africa 3-2, and the young goalkeeper earned praise from many for his brave performance in his Azlan Shah Cup debut in Ipoh on Thursday.

Goalkeepers' coach M. Nadarajan, who has been training him since his junior days, was also full of praise.

"Hafiz did exceptionally well in the Junior World Cup (where Malaysia finished fourth) and his senior team debut was also laudable as he did not freeze and played bravely when under pressure from the South African strikers. I believe he has a very bright future," said Nadarajan.

Hafizuddin was shoved into the limelight when No 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar picked up an injury while playing in the Hockey India League, while No 2 Roslan Jamaluddin is also on the crock list.

"I believe Hafiz can be a good replacement for Kumar and Roslan when both of them decide to retire. It might take a while as both senior goalkeepers are at their peak now but Hafiz is a good back-up in the making," said Nadarajan.

The other goalkeeper in Ipoh for the Azlan Shah Cup is Hazrul Faiz Sobri, but he has yet to earn a cap.

"Hafiz's positioning as well as his ability to judge the ball was good against South Africa, and the first goal he let in went past the postman, while the second should have been stopped by him, but that sometimes happens in a game," said Nadarajan.

Both the South African penalty corner goals were off low pushes, and more experienced postmen like Razie Rahim and first runner Baljit Singh might have been able to judge the ball better. Both, however, are on the injured list and young players took over their jobs.

Malaysia play South Korea today and skipper Azlan Misron knows they will have their hands full, but the national team will be gunning for a victory.

"Well you can say that we need to beat South Korea as it will make our passage into the final a bit wider. But having said that, it will not be an easy match as the Koreans have brought a very experienced side," said Azlan.

But if Hafizuddin and his six other mates who are making their Azlan Shah Cup debut play to their capabilities, the Koreans can be stunned.

The only worry is the ability to score off penalty corners, as from the 12 that Malaysian won against South Africa, 11 were wasted.

South Korean coach Shin Seok Kyo is wary of the Malaysian youth brigade.

"I notice many new faces in the Malaysian team but still, they are very fast and have wonderful individual skills. But as our target is to play in the final, it is very important for us to win this match."

New Straits Times

Why the missing technology

Although the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is in its 23rd edition this year, the very fact that the Organisors continue to dispense with upgrading the tournament is baffling.

The tournament is the oldest invitational tournament in the world that is still running, having made its appearance in 1983.

But it also is the only tournament that continues to refuse to inject technology such as the shot clock for penalty corners as well as the video referrals.

It really does not cost that much for the shot clock and with the host broadcasters confirming that only manpower and some equipment is required for video referrals, it is therefore raising questions as to why the refusal to make changes that will not only upgrade the prestige of the tournament but also help participating teams and match officials.

One has to bear in mind that these are the same Organisers that piggy back on the Asian Hockey Federation that ruled it was not necessary for both such equipment a for Asia's premier event, the Asia Cup last August.

Teams have been muttering on the quiet as to the absence of such equipment but do not want to antagonize the hosts.

But with thousands being spent to fete certain personalities, and refusal to shorten the tournament with Pakistan's withdrawal, this clearly is a case of penny wise pound foolish.

Azlan Shah Cup site

Kevin in, time reduced

THERE was mixed news from the International Hockey Federation (FIH) headquarters in Lausane, Switzerland as a German-born player was allowed to represent Malaysia, while at the same meeting, the governing body made massive changes to the sport for the Asian Games.

Kevin Lim, who holds a Malaysian Mykad, last played for UniKL in the Malaysia Hockey League in 2011 and then turned up in Perth when the national team went for a playing tour there recently and impressed coach K. Dharmaraj.

As for the Asian Games, the FIH announced that there will be a new format where teams will play four quarters of 15 minutes each, with a break of two minutes for the first and third quarters, as well as commercial breaks. This will cut playing time from 70 minutes to 60 minutes.

While national coach K. Dharmaraj was happy with news of Kevin, he was still grappling with the change in format for the Asian Games.

"I was impressed with Kevin when he came for an unofficial trial with the team during our tour recently, and he should be able to make the team for the Champions Challenge in Kuantan (April 26-May 4) now that the FIH has approved and cleared our application to field him," said Dharmaraj.

Kevin, 27, was not impressive when he played for UniKL in 2011 but according to Dharmaraj, he is now a much better player.

"I was also not impressed with his performance with UniKL back then but now, Kevin has become a much better player and I believe he would be an asset to Malaysia in the Champions Challenge," said Dharmaraj.

As for the new format, Dharmaraj said: "With playing time cut by 10 minutes, there will be very little room to make mistakes as making a comeback from a goal down would be much more harder now.

"And I don't understand why the change was only made for the Asian Games, which is a qualifier for the Olympics, and not for the Champions Challenge, World Cup and the Commonwealth Games which will also be held this year."

Malaysia will be battling for the sole Asian Games ticket to the Olympics with South Korea, Pakistan, India, China and Japan.

New Straits Times

African Youth Olympic Games Qualifier (AYOQ)

Lusaka, 2014
MATCHES     Mar. 15, 2014

Teams     Scores     Teams
Girls - Finals
Winner: South Africa  |  Runner Up: Zambia  |  Namibia 3rd
South Africa     ( 5 )     ( 3 )     Zambia
Namibia     ( 6 )     ( 2 )     Zimbabwe

Boys - Finals
Winner: South Africa  |  Runner Up: Zambia  |  Kenya 3rd
South Africa     ( 3 )     ( 1 )     Zambia
Kenya     ( 5 )     ( 3 )     Namibia

African Hockey Federation media release

SA boys and girls triumph at Youth Olympic Games Africa Qualifier

The South Africa boys and girls teams tasted title success at the Youth Olympic Games Africa Qualifier in Lusaka, Zambia, beating the hosts in both finals.

In entertaining finals, the SA boys beat Zambia 3-1 while the girls beat the hosts 5-3.

The South African boys opened their account with a hard earned 7-4 victory, in torrential rain, against a spirited Namibia side.

Their second fixture was against neighbours Zimbabwe. The South Africans produced a more polished performance to run away with it 10-3.

The third fixture was against the in-form Zambian side, who have adapted well to the hockey 5s format,” said SA head coach Mo Malebye. “South Africa were shell-shocked, as they fell behind by three goals in the first four minutes. By the end of the first period, the score was 3-2 to Zambia.”

SA drew level in the second period and but for some excellent goalkeeping by the Zambian keeper, the gap would have been extended. The match ended 3-3  after a thrilling third period.

South Africa booked their place in the final after a 4-3 victory over Kenya. Leading 4-1 with less than eight minutes to play, SA lost a player and in that window, Kenya capitalised.  South Africa managed to close out the game despite a series of interesting umpiring decisions.

On Saturday, the South African boys clinched the final with an exciting 3-1 win over Zambia, again in front of a boisterous crowd.

Kenya beat Namibia 6-4 to end third.

The SA girls side struggled to adapt in their opening match on a very hot day, but after the first period they settled down, resulting in a flurry of goals and a 13-2 win over Zimbabwe.

The 7-2 win over Zambia was played in front of a vocal crowd. “They were very good at putting the ball carrier under pressure quickly, thus giving us less time to make decisions on the ball,” said SA manager Andi Bernstein.

The SA girls played possession hockey in the last period and ensured that Zambia had very few shots on goal, SA scoring four goals with one in reply.

SA then beat Namibia 9-2 to guarantee us a place in the final before beating Kenya 15-0.

Zambia came back from 4-0 down against Namibia in their last pool match to win 5-4, putting them into the final, where SA prevailed 5-3 in an exciting match.

Namibia beat Zimbabwe 6-2 to come third.

The winners of the African Qualifier will be eligible to go to the Youth Olympic Games, which takes place from August 16 to 28 in Nanjing, China.

However, qualification for YOG does not mean that participation at Nanjing is certain.

According to the Nanjing 2014 Qualification Systems Principles, "Participation in team sports shall be limited to one women’s and one men’s team per National Olympic Committee across team sports (Football, Handball, Hockey, and Rugby)."

Boys: Jacques Bleeker (KZN Coastal), Ryan Crowe  (Western Province), Tyson Dlungwana, Tevin Kok (both KZN Inland), Matthew Martins (WP), Nqobile Ntuli (KZN Coastal), Luke Schooling, Garth Turner (both WP), Cody van Wyk (Eastern Province).
Non-travelling reserves: Keegan Hezlett (KZN Coastal), Muzzamil Sheik (WP).
Girls: Buhle Zondi (KZN Inland), Cheneal Raubenheimer (Amathole), Demi Harmse (EP), Tammy Minnaar (Boland), Marizen Marais  (Southern Free State), Natalie Esteves (KZN Inland), Kristen Paton (Southern Gauteng), Simone Strydom, Chrissie Haupt (both WP).
Non-travelling reserves: Shindré-Lee Simmons (SFS), Chloe Keeping (SG), Anika Beukman (Northern Gauteng).

SA Hockey Association media release

Luypaert a big doubt for EHL KO16

Dragons have been left fretting about the potential unavailability of top sweeper and drag-flick expert Loick Luypaert after he suffered a 3cm tear to his gluteus medius muscle this week.

He sustained the injury in the recent Belgian Honour Division game against Daring and while he managed to play through that game, a subsequent scan on Monday has left him worried about his involvement in the latter part of the season.

Speaking about the tear, he said this week: "This is a rare injury so it is difficult to predict when I will return to action. I think I will be out for six weeks so that means I will more than likely miss the Belgian playoffs and possibly the EHL."

Florent van Aubel, meanwhile, endured a torn quadricep and could miss two weeks of action but should return to playing within a fortnight.

Euro Hockey League media release

Clifton secure play-off spot

Sam Quek, Reading (l) Zoe Leach, Clifton (r)

TWO goals from Emily Kirkham helped Clifton secure the final spot in the play-offs with a 4-2 win over Sutton Coldfield in the Investec Women’s Hockey League Premier Division on Saturday.

Kirkham’s two, plus others from Els Mansell and Zoe Leach (pictured) meant that Clifton defended fourth spot in the table.

Elsewhere, defeat for Leicester against Reading and Bowdon Hightown’s goalless draw with Surbiton means that neither side can catch Clifton who join Canterbury, Reading and Surbiton in the play-offs on April 12-13.

It wasn’t an easy game for Clifton with Sutton Coldfield also desperate for a result. The loss sees them face a battle with the Conference winners to avoid relegation.

Leicester needed a win to keep their challenge alive and they made a perfect start with Pascale Massey opening the scoring after just ten minutes.

But Reading were on form and goals from Alex Danson and Kate Richardson-Walsh turned the game around.

Bowdon Hightown also needed a win to keep the pressure on but played out a dour 0-0 draw at home to Surbiton.

Phoebe Richards hit a double as Beeston beat University of Birmingham 4-1. Sophie Robinson and Suzy Petty were also on target for Beeston.

Leaders Canterbury were handed a 3-0 win by default after Olton and West Warwickshire failed to play the match, and may face sanctions from the League Committee in line with league regulation 12.

In the Investec Conference West, Buckingham were crowned champions after their 3-0 win over Isca. Slough are four points behind with one game left despite recording an emphatic 16-0 win over Exe. Amy Sheehan and Philippa Newton scored four each.

Ipswich took a big step towards safety in the Investec Conference East with a 2-1 win over Harleston Magpies. Goals from Chloe Hunnable and Sarah Bamfield mean that their quest to avoid relegation goes down to the last day.

The champions of the Investec Conference North will be decided on the final day with both Wakefield and Brooklands Poynton winning their games. Brooklands lead by two points.

League Finals Weekend

The winners of the Investec Women’s Hockey League and the NOW: Pensions Men’s Hockey League will be crowned over two action-packed weekends at Reading Hockey Club in April. The top four Premier Division teams qualify for their respective finals weekends, laying off against each other to be crowned league champions.

The men’s finals will take place on the 5-6 April while the women will battle it out a week later from 12-13 April. Tickets are now available to purchase for both weekends, please visit www.englandhockey.co.uk/tickets

Investec Women’s Hockey League (Saturday, March 15 2014):

Investec Women's Premier Division: Beeston 4, University of Birmingham 1; Bowdon Hightown 0, Surbiton 0; Leicester 1, Reading 2; Sutton Coldfield 2, Clifton 4; Canterbury 3, Olton and West Warwickshire 0.

Investec Women's Conference East: East Grinstead 3, Horsham 0; Sevenoaks 3, Chelmsford 2; Wimbledon 3, St Albans 2; Ipswich 2, Harleston Magpies 1; Holcombe 2, Old Loughtonians 1.

Investec Women's Conference North: Brooklands Poynton 4, Loughborough Students 2; Doncaster 1, Kendal 2; Stourport 4, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth 2; Boots 0, Ben Rhydding 2; Wakefield 3, University of Durham 0.

Investec Women's Conference West: Slough 16, Exe 0; Bristol Firebrands 1, Trojans 2; Gloucester City 1, Swansea City 1; Barnes 0, Oxford Hawks 2; Isca 0, Buckingham 3.

England Hockey Board Media release

UP beat Karnataka for third straight win

LUCKNOW: Hosts Uttar Pradesh registered their third consecutive win in the Men's National Hockey Championship (Division A) defeating Karnataka 2-1 in a Pool C game at the Major Dhyan Chand Stadium on Saturday. Uttar Pradesh now lead the pool.

Both the teams failed to score in the limited chances that they got. The second half started with Uttar Pradesh increasing pressure on the opponents and in the 58th minute it was Diwarkar Ram who converted a penalty corner.

Karnataka immediately went on the attack and came back into the game within seven minutes and converted the penalty corner through BP Chingappa to level the match. Uttar Pradesh took the decisive lead in the 68th minute when BS Biddappa scored through a field goal.

In the second match Saturday in Pool C, Jharkhand's clash against Odisha was a keenly contested match. While the first half of the match did not see any goals, it was in the second half that Jharkhand finally tasted success in the 48th minute when Prakash Kerketa converted a pass.

Jharkhand did not stop here and before the end of the game claimed two more goals scoring in the 53rd and 58th minute.


Pool C- Uttar Pradesh 2 Diwarkar Ram (58 min), Hamza Mujtaba (68 min) vs Karnataka 1 B P Chingappa (65 min)

Pool C Jharkhand 3 Prakash Kerketta (48 min), Markus Topno (53 min), Anup Topno (58 min) vs Hockey Odisha 0

Pool A- Services Sports Control Board 5 Sanjay Singh Yadav (12 min), Rana Pratap (19 min), S Arumugam (23 min), Lovedeep Singh (26min), AP Siraju (53min) vs Andhra Pradesh 2 Ramesh Krishna (42 min), Sampath Kumar (46 min)

Pool D- Haryana 3 Jitender Saroha (25th, 35th min) and Damandeep (65th min) vs Tamil Nadu 1 V Vinod Rayer (69th min)

The Times of India

Assam thrash Vidarbha 7-1 in Nationals

BHOPAL: Assam continued their winning run as they defeated Vidarbha Hockey Association 7-1 in a Pool A match to qualify for the semifinal of the fourth Senior Women's National Championship.

Assam remained on the top of the table with three wins from the matches they have played.

Assam scored their opening goal in the second minute through a penalty corner converted by Seema Bharti. In the 20th minute Assam yet again got a penalty corner and this time, Shikha Singh did the job for the team.

Within three minutes, Assam struck again when Nilima Pandey converted a pass which she got in the 23rd minute and hence took the tally to 3-0.

Vidarbha Hockey Association scored their first goal in the 24th minute through Nilam Nishad. Going into the break the scorecard read 4-1 with Assam leading the game.

In the second half, Assam was in full control of the session and added three more goals which helped them win by a huge margin. It was Shikha Singh, Nilima Panday and Seema Bharti who scored two goals each during the match.

Bengal Hockey Association registered a big win over Goa beating them 11-0.

In Pool D, it was Delhi who defeated Puducherry 9-0. Uttarakhand registered their first win in Pool B, defeating Jammu & Kashmir 4-2.

In the last match of the day, Tamil Nadu beat Tripura 10-0 in Pool C.

The Times of India

Valley team plays without players from Kashmir

Ramendra Singh

BHOPAL: Continuous snowfall in the valley forced Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) team to play without any participation from Kashmir that ended them conceding 0-12 defeat against Himachal Pradesh in the senior national women hockey championship on Friday. J&K played their first match studded with the players from Jammu only.

Struggle of J&K against Himachal was such that the latter played most of the match in the former's danger zone. By the end of the first half, J&K was struggling with scoreline 0-5. It was the same story after the breather as Himachal sounded the board on 6 more occasions to end the match 12-0 in their favour. Ravita Chouhan scored highest number of goals, while Rachna Jamlata and Pooja Devi scored two goal each for the winning side.

"There are several promising players of Kashmir. Unfortunately, they were not the part of our team this year owing to bad weather conditions in Kashmir," said coach Shaymlal Sharma. He added that the score line would have been different if Kashmir players were the part of the team.

The coach said that hockey is gradually making its presence felt in J&K. "I have seen the phase when hockey was nowhere in our state. However, the picture has changed in last couple of years as several players especially girls have opted for this game," Sharma said.

Admitting the fact that there is an ample scope to improve the level of facilities in the state, Sharma said, "At present the entire state has only one hockey turf ground which is not enough to prepare the proper number of players. However, it is the beginning of proper hockey in the state and I hope we would be able to produce international players in the near future."


Rajasthan bt Puducherry 6-0

Assam bt Bengal 1-0

Vidharbha bt Goa 11-0

The Times of India

India needs a proper plan to re-assert itself in world hockey

Mufeed Mahdi Rizvi

More than medals and an acceptable standing in top class hockey events, India needs a proper plan if it has to reassert itself on the world.

Random decisions have ended up costing us even our pride, because it is the last thing we defend when we miss out on podium finishes in top hockey events.

The ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup is one such tournament in which we missed out on fielding a side as Hockey India decided to conduct a camp to focus on the forthcoming World Cup at The Hague, Netherlands. For that, the selected team will tour Europe (Netherlands and Belgium) in the first week of April for acclimatization.

Had the ongoing nationals been planned better, we could have fielded a side for the Azlan Shah with players who were not in the scheme of things leading up to the World Cup.

"Azlan Shah is an invitation tournament. And they always demand a better side," Hockey India's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans told Mirror when asked if India should have fielded a team.

However, Azlan Shah's organizing secretary Mohammed Johari told Mirror it was India's prerogative on what team it was sending.

"We invite teams and of course we want every invited side to get their best players for the tournament. India is a popular side at the Azlan Shah and we would have loved to have them in the ongoing tournament," Johari said.

Sources, however, say tournament organisers would have frowned upon a second-string side's inclusion. "They want the national team to play the Azlan Shah Cup. In the years when a World Cup or Olympic is held, national teams prefer to send a developmental side, which makes them uneasy.

"They should understand that even these players have been picked on their skill and not randomly sent for Azlan Shah," the source revealed.

There have been instances in the past when some of the world's top teams have sent developmental sides for the tournament in a World Cup or Olympic year, but the experience gained on a foreign tours would not have hurt Indian hockey.

The Times of India

Full-time work putting the play back in hockey

Mufeed Mahdi Rizvi

They may not necessarily outweigh the other, but in hockey, positives and negatives appear to go hand in hand. Just as tales of mismanagement and poor organisation are common, so are the ones that offer hope and seek to inspire.

One such story that has emerged from the ongoing Senior Nationals in Lucknow delivers hope. Hope for a brighter future.

While the job sector for hockey players had been shrinking over the last few years, the arrival of Comptroller of Audit General (CAG) and Food Corporation of India (FCI) has suddenly reopened the field for public sector jobs.

In its very first year, CAG recruited over 50 players of various age groups, from various parts of the country.

"Looking at the dwindling job figures in hockey, I think it's a very good number. What you now have are openings for 60-70 players," said former India coach Harinder Singh, who stepped forward to coach the team on their request and was thrilled to have witnessed his men crush a combined Sports Authority of India side 5-1 in their opening outing yesterday.

Harinder admits there is a long way to go and added: "It's a long way in the tournament. They need to work harder to do better."

While Air India, railways and oil companies were the few who recruited players full-time, others preferred to pay stipend to players to represent them. At present, FCI is following a partial stipend formula.

Speaking to Mirror, FCI coach Pranam Singh said: "We recruited six players in our opening season. We want to see how things work out and then take a call on recruiting more players. I am hopeful that in the coming years all our players will be on the payroll of the company."

Hockey India has done its bit and offered companies recruiting players aspot in Division A at the nationals.

Harinder added: "About 15 years ago, we had good players, because we had good teams. Teams recruited players and we took great care of them. Players had nothing to worry so they ended up playing great hockey.

"But then most companies stopped recruiting and opted to play them on stipend. With uncertain future the good players stopped coming."

Amjad Khan is a fine example of how a lack of jobs can change the course of one's life. A gifted centrehalf, Amjad, employed with Rallies India, once played for Tatas Sports Club. "One day I was asked to resign as Tatas was disbanding the team. I had nowhere to go, no other company was recruiting. I was playing good hockey, but I was too old to find a job with railways or Air India," said Amjad who runs a small business in Bhopal.

The fact that 42 team are contesting in the two divisions shows hockey's stock is on the rise. Harinder feels the Hockey India League is one of the reasons for the upturn. "In Delhi, schools and parents approach me for coaching. They say, they now see a career in hockey," he said.

The Times of India

Need to create parity for women hockey umpires

Ramendra Singh

BHOPAL: Hockey umpiring is the new buzz in the country attracting several women to opt it as a career. Several women turning to this field are working hard to touch the zenith. But, lack of matches for women to officiate comparing to men hockey umpires at the national level is restricting their dream from being realized.

Presence of eight women hockey umpires in the ongoing senior national hockey championship is enough to gauge the interest of women in the respective field. International Hockey Federation (FIH) selects women umpire on the basis of the performance by them in the national tournaments and championships.

Unlike women, men hockey umpires are allowed to officiate in national women tournaments. "Girls are coming to the women hockey umpiring in large numbers and they are doing fine also. For their better exposure, the number of tournaments should be increased," India's senior most women hockey umpire Sunita Panth said.

Panth said that women hockey umpires are allowed to officiate in the men's tournament at the district and state level. "If they get the opportunity to officiate in national men's tournament, it would help them in gaining more experience. Number of men's tournament is more than the women tournament," said Sunita who is also a sports teacher at a central school in Delhi.

As the number of women hockey tournament at the district and state level are less, opportunity to officiate in the matches is also less. "I have seen several budding hockey umpires trying their best to make it to the national and international level. Their skills would also enhance when they have more number of matches at the start of their career," she said.

Even after completing almost 15 years in hockey umpiring experience, Sunita does not want to sit back. "I am as good as I was. Infact, the long experience has enriched my profession. I will continue officiating for more years," she said.

She claimed that woman umpiring is a better prospect for girls who want to be in touch with ground.

At present there are over 15 national level women hockey umpires in the country including 4 international umpires.

The Times of India

Simba too good for KCAU in league encounter


Simba’s  Firoze Sultan and KCAU Victor Osiche vie for the ball  in their league match at City Park, yesterday. [PHOTO: JENNIFER WACHIE]

Kenya hockey men’s Premier League defending champions Nairobi Simba yesterday clawed Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCAU) 6-1 in their league encounter at City Park Stadium.                   

Simba who started their title defence on a low note are determined to finish in second place in order to secure one of the Africa club championship slot.

Speaking to FeverPitch after the match Simba’s lethal striker Davis Wanangwe said they have gained momentum and will be seeking victory in all their remaining matches.

“We started on a low key but we are back in the system and we intend to win all our remaining matches,” he said.

Wanangwe who won the top scorers award last season says he is still in the race and is hoping to win the award again this season.

“I am working hard to score more goals so I can be the top scorer again, I hope to score at least three goals in each of our remaining matches.”

Simba started off well playing long but sure passes and counter attacking.

Five minutes into the game Wanangwe announced their intended victory converting a penalty corner nicely pushed by Imran Chaudhry, with Asif Shah stopping it for Wanangwe to strike.

Wanangwe was at it again in the 10th minute sending the ball home past KCAU goalkeeper Byron Oyigo from a Feroze Sultan pass.

 Oyigo redeemed himself making a super save from a Wilson Otieno shot that would have three for the champions before the quarter hour mark.

KCAU captain Gordon Oduor missed a golden opportunity to pull one back in the 29th minute through a flick sending the ball straight to Simba goalkeeper Ajay Dosaja.

Chrispine Wokila pulled one back for the students three minutes to the breather.

Haggai Pepela made it three in the 46th minute, national team player George Mutira scored through a penalty stroke in the 52nd minute while an own goal deflected in by KCAU goalkeeper in the 54th minute added to Simba’s goal tally.

Mutira sealed the victory in the 59th minute.

KCAU captain Oduor said they will work on the mistakes that led to their big loss.

The Standard Online

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