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News 11 April 2014

All the news for Friday 11 April 2014

Dominant England beat Ireland in 100th encounter

NOW: Pensions Nations Cup ENG V IRL

England and Ireland lined up at Reading Hockey Club for the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup in front of a sell-out crowd. This was the 100th meeting between the two sides and it was Bobby Crutchley’s men who came out on top as two goals from Ashley Jackson and one for Harry Martin gave England a 3-0 victory.

Speaking after the game England captain Barry Middleton said, “We got the result tonight which was the important thing and I thought we played well in parts, but it was also clear that we haven’t played in many competitive matches since the World League Final in January. This game is the start of our build up to the World Cup and I’m pleased with how we performed, especially in the second half where we dominated play.”

Adding his thoughts about playing in front of a home crowd Middleton added, “This is what we want to get more of, nights like this with great support. We're trying to go to tournaments win matches and get the results. We’re working hard to get more people interested in hockey and hopefully next time we play we can get even more people down to watch. We've got the [Investec] London Cup in July and we should get a few thousand in the new legacy stadium on Olympic Park, and that's the sort of thing we want for our sport.”

The game started with some cagey play from both sides as they fought for control in midfield. Ireland’s Jonathan Bell caused some early trouble which allowed the visitors to force a penalty corner inside five minutes. After being side-lined with an injury for seven weeks Beeston’s George Pinner reassured everyone of his prowess in goal as he swiftly dealt with the resulting Irish flick.

A reverse stick strike from Reading’s Simon Mantell in the 21st minute rifled just wide of the goal and as England held onto possession they were awarded a penalty corner moments later. England fans watched on as the familiar sight of Ashley Jackson appeared at the top of the circle and the number seven did not disappoint. As the ball came out, he rounded the first defender and fired the ball high in to the top right corner past David Fitzgerald in Ireland’s goal, giving England a 1-0 lead in the 29th minute.

It wasn’t long before England were back on the score-sheet. Another penalty corner in the 31st minute allowed Beeston’s Harry Martin to make his mark on the game; picking up an initially saved ball, there was very little Fitzgerald could do as he watched Martin’s shot fly past him. With the score at 2-0 the players headed in for the half-time break.

The second half was a somewhat one-sided affair as England dominated possession, however John Jackson’s Irish side were resolute in defence and kept the home-side at bay until the final minute.

With 30 seconds on the clock, England Captain Barry Middleton made one last break for goal, running from the half way to force an error and win a penalty corner. Much to the delight of the crowd, Jackson stepped up and scored his second of the game, with another flick to the top right corner. Jackson’s brace gave England the victory and Middleton celebrated with his team as they lifted the NOW: Pensions Nations Cup.

Speaking after the game goal scorer Harry Martin said, “I think we started off a bit rusty, it's our first game back for a while as a team, but we’re definitely pleased to get the result. We wanted to play our game rather than worry about what Ireland were doing, we knew they were going to be physical and they gave us a good battle. We tried a few different things tactically in the second half and I think that worked well for us, mixing up the formation slightly and using the opportunity to try a few new things.”

Martin added his thoughts on having a player like Ashley Jackson in the England side, “Ashley is so key for us, he's a world-class player and he's exciting to play with and to watch. As a team we all play off it and it's a real pleasure and privilege to play alongside him.”

Ashley Jackson 29, 70 (PC, PC)
Harry Martin 31 (PC)


England Hockey Board Media release

Ireland 0-3 England (Test Match Men)

Ireland took on England tonight in the first of two test matches as Ireland build towards Champions Challenge in Malaysia (26th April - 4th May). Ireland suffered a three nil defeat, two goals coming in the first half, Ashely Jackson with the first lobbing the keeper and Harry Martin with the second on a rebound. The third goal came on the final whistle from a set piece Ashley Jackson scoring his second of the night and his country's third.

This match gave Craig Fulton the first viewing of his charges after he arrived in Ireland yesterday from South Africa to take up his role as National Coach. Fulton, touched down briefly on the Irish soil before heading over to England, he will have little time to reflect as their next match is just 15 hours away at Bisham Abbey.

Fulton will be assessing players with a view to selecting his squad for Champions Challenge I - the FIH World Ranking Tournament in Malaysia.

England Scorers: Ashley Jackson x 2; Harry Martin

Ireland Squad v England

1. David Fitzgerald (GK)- Monkstown
2. Stephen West (GK) - Three Rock Rovers
3. Jonathan Bell – Lisnagarvey
4. Mathew Bell – Banbridge
5. Philip Brown – Banbridge
6. Peter Brown – UCD
7. Nicholas Burns – UCD
8. Chris Cargo – Reading
9. Drew Carlisle- Banbridge
10. David Carson – Monkstown
11. Stephen Dowds – Banbridge
12. Jeremy Duncan – UCD
13. Stuart Loughrey – Cannock
14. John Jackson – Reading
15. Jason Lynch – Lisnagarvey
16. Michael Robson- Annadale
17. Harry Spain – Pembroke Wanderers
18. Alan Sothern – Pembroke Wanderers

Match Schedule
Match 1: 10 April – England v Ireland – Reading Hockey Club – 1915 hrs start
Match 2: 11 April – England v Ireland – Bisham Abbey National Sports Centre – 1200 hrs start

Irish Hockey Association media release

Naylor on the cusp of history in Hawke’s Bay

At just 28 years of age, Hawke’s Bay based Black Sticks star Emily Naylor is just one match away from becoming New Zealand’s most capped female player of all time.

Naylor, who hails from Palmerston North but now lives at Kereru with her boyfriend Harry Gaddum, entered Hawke’s Bay’s Festival of Hockey with an impressive 234 caps for the Black Sticks Women.

Assuming she makes the field in tomorrow’s must win clincher against Australia, she’ll surpass Suzie Muirhead’s previous record of 238 caps in the black singlet.

The difference is, Naylor will be three years younger than Muirhead to accomplish the feat.

Fellow team mates to celebrate milestone caps at the Festival have been striker Krystal Forgesson with 200 games for NZ and midfielder Anita Punt with 150.

The Festival of Hockey comprises six teams, all ranked in the top 10 in the world.

Nearing the completion of the round robin part of the competition, Argentina (current FIH World Ranking 2nd) will make Sunday’s final.

Who they’ll meet hinges on the winner of tomorrow’s match between the Black Sticks Women (World Ranking 5th) and Australia (World Ranking 4th).

Watch the game LIVE tomorrow from 3:30pm at http://www.hockeynz.co.nz

Hockey New Zealand Media release

Black Sticks tune up for tough Australian challenge

The Black Sticks women's hockey side have kept their chances alive of getting through to the Hawke's Bay Festival final with a convincing 6-2 win against Japan last night.

"It was a solid performance from us today, but it was what was required. It now sets us up for a good challenge against Australia which is a must win game," said head coach Mark Hager.

"We had some great phases of play in the first half which allowed us to create some great opportunities in the first half, and the finishing touches from Gemma and Sophie were the difference," said Hager.

"I thought in the second half the Japanese created some good pressure, and the tempo of the game was slower, but we were able to keep our momentum and capitalise which was pleasing."

The Black Sticks scored in the 4th minute when Stacey Michelsen skilfully dribbled it into the circle passing it to Gemma Flynn who took the quick shot and scored.

Japan's captain Miyuki Nakagawa equalised 11 minutes later, but New Zealand bagged two more before halftime thanks to a cracking penalty corner drag flick from Anita Punt and a field goal from Sophie Cocks one minute before half time.

The Black Sticks continued their dominance in the second half and maintained the majority of possession. The score extended to 4-1 when Flynn passed it to captain Kayla Whitelock who knocked it in from a tight angle. It went the Kiwis way again when Punt scored a penalty stroke before Japan's Shihori Shibata edged one back.

The high fives continued for the Black Sticks thanks to Gemma Flynn tapping in a Whitelock penalty corner variation to take it to 6-2.

Argentina beat China 2-0 and Australia beat Korea 5-3.

The New Zealand Herald

Black Sticks show Japan no mercy in victory

DOMINATING: Captain Kayla Whitelock gets a high-five from Stacey Michelsen after scoring in the Black Sticks' 6-2 victory over Japan in Hastings. Photosport

The Black Sticks women have kept their chances of getting through to the Hawke's Bay Festival final alive thanks to a convincing 6-2 win against Japan tonight in Hastings.

"It was a solid performance from us today, but it was what was required. It now sets us up for a good challenge against Australia which is a must win game," said head coach Mark Hager.

"We had some great phases in the first half which allowed us to create some great opportunities and the finishing touches from Gemma and Sophie were the difference," ntsGsaid nteHager added.

"I thought in the second half, Japan created some good pressure, and the tempo of the game was slower, but we were able to keep our momentum and capitalise which was pleasing."

New Zealand has two wins from four matches and now faces Australia on Saturday.

The Black Sticks scored in the fourth minute when Stacey Michelsen skilfully dribbled it into the circle passing it to Gemma Flynn who took the quick shot and scored.

Japan's captain Miyuki Nakagawa equalised 11 minutes later, but New Zealand bagged two more goals before halftime thanks to a cracking penalty corner drag flick from Anita Punt and a field goal from Sophie Cocks one minute before halftime.

The Black Sticks continued their dominance in the second half and maintained the majority of possession.

The score extended to 4-1 when Flynn fed captain Kayla Whitelock who knocked it in from a tight angle. It went the Kiwis way again when Punt scored a penalty stroke before Japan's Shihori Shibata edged one back.

Flynn tapped in her second from a Whitelock penalty corner variation to make it 6-2.

Earlier Argentina were kept uncharacteristically scoreless for the first quarter, unable to penetrate a tight Chinese defensive backline.

China looked aggressive at times and got some good forward momentum but struggled to convert their opportunities.

The tournament's top scorer, Argentina's Carla Rebecchi landed a backhanded slice into the net in the 23rd minute and struck again four minutes later to take the score to 2-0.

Neither team managed goals in the second half, leaving second ranked Argentina ahead overall on points aggregate and match wins for the six-team event.

Meanwhile, not even an unexpected power outage moments before they started could prevent the Hockeyroos from picking up their third consecutive win as they defeated Korea 5-3 at the Hawke's Bay Festival tournament in New Zealand.

Quick goals from Emily Smith and Jodie Kenny in the early stages of the first half brought the Hockeyroos to a comfortable 2-1 lead over their opponents.

Anna Flanagan and Kellie White were fast to follow their teammates, adding to the score board in the second half to give the Hockeyroos a well-earned lead of 4-1.

Pairing up in the latter stages of the match, Emily Smith and Jayde Taylor worked together in order to land the team's fifth goal with Taylor having the last touch.

Korea rallied late with two quick goals but the Hockeyroos ran out 5-3 winners.

Hockeyroo Kenny celebrated her 100th match for Australia in the clash.

New Zealand 6 (Gemma Flynn 2, Anita Punt 2, Sophie Cocks, Kayla Whitelock) Japan 2 (Miyuki Nakagawa, Shihori Shibata) HT: 3-1; Argentina 2 China 0; Australia 5 Korea 3


Canadian men book trip to Indoor Pan Am Cup final with win over U.S.

From Carla Johl

Photo by Blair Shier

With the United States (3-0-1) having already earned a berth in Saturday’s final at the 2014 Indoor Pan American Cup, Canada’s men’s indoor national team also punched their ticket to the final match with a 4-0 victory over their North American rival Thursday in Montevideo, Uruguay.

The cross-border encounter, as always, proved to be a great match up. Led by standout performances from goalkeeper Shankar Premakanthan (Scarborough, Ont.), who earned the shutout, and a two-goal effort from Scott Sandison (Mississauga, Ont.), Canada (3-0-0) moved into a tie first place and secured a spot in the final.

Premakanthan was forced to be sharp early as the first chance of the game came quickly. The States earned a penalty corner and Thomas Krauss was denied.

The Canadians opened the scoring in the 4th minute with a goal from Sandison. Veteran Ken Pereira sent the ball into Jonathan Roberts, who has scored four times this tournament and lured the American defenders in before passing to Sandison, who beat U.S. keeper Kevin Segeren for the first goal of the game.

Micah Teixeira was the next to add one to the scoreboard. Teixeira received a pass from captain Pereira after an overlapping ran and nailed one into the back of the net beating Segeren to make it 2-0.

Sandison then added his second of the night in the seventeenth minute on another wonderful pass from Pereira who threaded the ball through two American defenders. Sandison, all alone in front, beat Segeren to give Canada a three-goal lead heading into the half.

The second half saw tight play by both teams with neither wanting to give an inch. Premakanthan had his work cut out for him, making a number of brilliant saves. JaJa Kentwell was uncontested in front, but once again Premakanthan made a heroic save to keep the Americans off the board.

Canada went down to the three men after Jeewanjoth Bath (Brampton, Ont.) was given a yellow card and with the man advantage, the U.S. started pressuring. If it wasn’t for a great stick save by Sandison, the States would have finally got on the board.

The Canadians got an insurance marker in the thirtieth minute as Devohn Noronha Teixeira (Mississauga, Ont.). Teixeira powered down the court with the ball before taking on goalie Jason Wellings, who came in in relief of Segeren, and slid one in off the backboard.

The U.S. pulled their goalie late to add an extra-attacker and continued the pressure, but Premakanthan continued to stand tall and earned his second shutout of the tournament.

Canada defeated the States 4-0 and clinched a berth into Saturday’s final against the Americans (2:30pm PST/5:30pm EST). The winner of the match goes to the 2015 Indoor World Cup in Germany next February.

“We competed and we scored a lot of our goals on the run of the play because the pressure we employed today worked," says Canadian head coach Louis Mendonca. "In fairness to the U.S. sat out many of their better players for long periods because they had already qualified for the finals. However it wasn’t as easy as it looked. Shankar Premakanthan had to make at least half a dozen very good saves.”

Canada will take on Argentina in its final game of the round robin Friday at 2:30pm PST/5:30pm EST.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Canadian women clinch spot in final with win over U.S. at Indoor Pan Am Cup

From Carla Johl.

Photos by Blair Shier.

The Canadian women’s indoor national team has secured its spot in the final of the 2014 Indoor Pan American Cup with a 5-0 semifinal win over the United States Thursday in Montevideo, Uruguay.

For the second time this week Canada battled the U.S., but unlike Tuesday’s 0-0 draw, Canada was able to crack through the American defense en route to victory.

Canada will play in Saturday’s final, with the winner earning a spot in the 2015 Indoor World Cup to be held in Germany next February.

Both teams started the game with chances early but Canada carried the play as the half progressed. Amanda Woodcroft (Waterloo, Ont.) was given a lane to walk in and fired a shot that missed only by inches.

Moments later Jocelyn Mitchell (Ottawa, Ont.) demonstrated great patience to get around American keeper Maria Keesling. Her shot was illegally blocked by an American defender, which resulted in a penalty shot for Canada.

Alison Lee (Mississauga, Ont.) took the shot, but Keeling made a glove save to keep the game at 0-0.

Lee was given another chance to score in the fifth minute as she picked up a loose ball from the U.S. nine-meter, and with only one defender to beat, put the ball in the net to make it 1-0 Canada.

Canadian goalkeeper Kathryn Williams shone in the first half, making a number of crucial saves. The U.S. turned up the pressure after going down, but could not score on four straight penalty corner opportunities.

Then late in the half, Kyesia O’Neale (Mississauga, Ont.) made a great move to fend off two American players, turning, splitting the defense and sliding a smooth ball underneath Keesling. That gave Canada a 2-0 lead heading into the half.

The second half began in a very controlled manner for Canada, as they kept possession and took few risks, eating time off the clock. Canadian keeper Kathryn Williams made a big kick save off Kimberly Tunnel before Madison Thompson (Waterloo, Ont.) sent in a bullet off a penalty stroke, notching her third goal of the tournament to make it 3-0.

The U.S. pulled their goalie late but couldn’t mount a comeback, instead Lee scored again to make it 4-0. And then, in the last minute of play, Canada had a final counter attacking opportunity and a retreating Kaelan Watson (Richmond, B.C.), received the ball in the right hand corner, took on the last defender before sealing Canada’s road to the big show by sending one into the back of the net.

“It was really a team win today as everyone came to play," says Watson. "We stuck to our game plan and stayed I the process for the full 40 minutes. Tomorrow we get a day off and can prepare for Saturday’s game. Our goal was to play in the final and we are excited for that opportunity."

The final score was 5-0. Williams remained solid between the posts throughout the game earning her third shutout of the tournament.

Canada will now face Argentina, who beat host Uruguay 1-0 in a shootout, in Saturday’s final at 11:30am PST/2:30pm EST.

Field Hockey Canada media release

The Indoor Pan Am Cup intensifies as U.S. Men’s and Women’s Squads draw closer to finals

Every team has the same goal at the Pan American Cup: to win. In the post-match interviews, every time an athlete is asked what their objective is, the answer is the same, “To win the tournament and qualify for the 2015 World Cup.”  With the cancellation of the 2012 Championships, there hadn’t been an Indoor Pan Am event since 2010 so in some cases these athletes have been preparing for and waiting for this moment for years.

Yesterday’s match for the U.S. Men’s Indoor Squad was a very tight, fast pace game against a much different Argentina side than their first game - which was a tough loss to Guyana. Fired up, Argentina came out hard from the gate and took a 2-0 lead with 4 minutes left in the half.

With proper ball movement and creative passing, Moritz Runzi (Boston, Mass.), put away USA’s first goal of the game, and headed into the halftime with a marginal deficit behind 1-2. USA felt the pressure from the Argentine press but was able to capitalize on a loose ball in front of the goal where Sebastian Scheurer (Greenwich, Conn.) made sure to hit the backboard and bring the score back to even at 2-2.

Only 2 minutes later, Mo Gandi (Ventura, Cali.) fed a ball into the circle where Rob Schilling (Long Beach, Cali.) one-timed it past the Argentina keeper to give USA its first lead of the match. This would not last long as Argentina, from a penalty corner rebound, was able to put away the second attempt to even the score 3-3.

USA showed extreme character, poise and confidence in their game plan heading into the final 10 minutes of a very intense match. Crowd cheering, legs burning and coaches directing, Scheurer was able to block the distractions out and put away an amazing reverse stick shot from the left corner to bring USA to a 4-3 lead and a victory in sight. Argentina pulled their goalie to give them an extra field player, but USA was professional and precise in their defense to lock in a win and a spot in the 2014 Pan Am Cup finals. The U.S. will meet Canada tonight at 6:15 p.m. local time (5:45 EST).

“I am extremely proud and impressed with our guys patience and poise in all areas of the game,” said Coach Andrew Thornton. “We knew Argentina was going to come out firing on all cylinders. We are back to our preparation for our next game against Canada.”

Yesterday was day three of the Pan American Cup competition and marked the last day of round robin play for the women’s division. In the four-team tournament format, pool play standings determine the first crossover match-ups, so the Argentina game was the U.S. women’s teams opportunity to have a shot at finishing in first to meet the fourth place team.  The Argentina team was a bit of an enigma so far.  Canada had beaten Argentina by a shocking lopsided score of 10-0 and Uruguay had beaten them 4-0 in a tight game. In the Uruguay match there was no doubt that Argentina had brushed off their big loss to Canada and they carried that momentum in to last night’s game with the U.S. The U.S. women expected a battle and came to the court prepared for a fight.

The U.S. Women’s Indoor Squad took the court against Argentina yesterday. Co-Captain Rachael Milne (Hatfield, Pa.) led the U.S. ladies out on the court for lineups and national anthems. It is during the anthems that the athletes are reminded of the importance of each match, that they are representing their countries. Both teams looked tentative in the first few minutes of the match. In the 5th minute, the U.S. women caught the Argentina team in the midst of a substitution and found themselves with a two versus the goalkeeper chance but a lifted pass ended the opportunity. The Argentinians drew their first penalty corner in the 6th minute, but U.S. keeper Maria Keesling (Downingtown, Pa.) turned the shot away.

Attacker Alexa Hoover (Collegeville, Pa.) brought hard pressure and stole the ball in the next minute but was unable to capitalize. Following another defensive corner and a near goal by Argentina, the U.S. begin to look tight and in the 12th minute they found themselves down by one after an attacker found a teammate on a cross ball from the right corner for an easy finish. That seemed to get them going again and in the next few minutes the U.S. had chances when Susan Ciufo (Bangor, Pa.) found the post from the left side of the circle and on their first attacking penalty corner, Amanda Fleischut (Doylestown, Pa.) just missed.  In the fifteenth minute, the pressure paid off and Fleischut scored on a corner off a pass from Hoover to even the score. The score remained at 1-1 through half time.

Argentina came out firing in the second half and in the first minute attacker Emma Yanzi received a long ball down the left board and quickly fired a shot into the U.S. net to put them back up by one.  The U.S. women didn’t relent under the pressure and Erin Matson (Chadds Ford, Pa.) drew a corner in the 25th minute, but this time Ciufo’s shot went wide on the near side.  The intensity of the battle intensified and an Argentine shot from the right side nearly found the cage just a minute later but just missed the far post.

In the 31st minute, the Argentina women earned another penalty corner but this time it was defender Lauren Hibshman (Allentown, Pa.) who made the defensive save and cleared the ball from the goal line. Just a few minutes later Kim Tunell (Wilmington, Del.) found Ciufo on a breakaway but the Argentine keeper saved Ciufo’s shot to keep the score at 1-2.  Under the trial rules implemented by the FIH and PAFH for the tournament, a coach may not substitute a field player or kicking back for a keeper until the last 5 minutes of the match.  At the 34th minute the U.S. called timeout and it appeared as if that was the game plan. That possible strategy was delayed, however, as Hoover drew a green card in the 36th minute to put the U.S. women down a player.  Argentina was able to earn a penalty corner and scored their third goal of the match in the 37th minute.  At the conclusion of the penalty period, goalkeeper Ashley Dalisera (Millersville, Md.) did indeed leave the game and Maeve Doherty (Millersville, Md.) entered the court as a field player with goalkeeping privileges.  Despite intense play for the last few minutes the U.S. ladies were unable to tally a goal and the match ended with a score of 1-3. 

“It was a tough loss for us, more so because we know that we did not perform up to our own expectations," said Coach Denise Zelenak. "There are no weak teams at this tournament so we need to be ready to compete at the highest level at all times. In this format tournament play starts tonight for every team, each match is a must win.”

In the other Women's match last night, a hotly contested physical game ended with a total of 8 cards (1 green and 7 yellow) and a rare few minutes of 4-2 play and 3-3 play. Canada lost to Uruguay by a score of 2-4. The U.S. will meet Canada tonight in the first crossover match at 8:15 p.m. local time (7:45 EST).

Be sure to check out highlights and interviews from the third day of competition at the Pan Am Cup play!

Men’s highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngez1vx9cmY
Women’s highlights: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ACnsKHeHcLI#t=131

USFHA media release

Lum Kit secures Fatima victory

Paragon’s Akim Toussaint, right, tries to go past Stefan Mouttet of Queen’s Park CC during their T&T Hockey Board Men’s Championship Division match at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Saturday. Queen’s Park won 2-0. Photo: Anthony Harris

Dev Lum Kit scored the decisive goal as Fatima defeated Carib in a T&T Hockey Board Trinity Men’s Division match at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, on Wednesday night.

After a 0-0 first-half, Marcus Pascall fired Fatima into a 44th minute lead. Lum Kit added the second in the 65th minute before Dane Francis pulled one back for Carib in the 65th.

Two days earlier at the same venue, Carib had better fortune in the Mixed Veterans Division, in a 3-3 draw with Courts Malvern.

Anthony Marcano scored a pair of goals for Malvern in the third and 50th minutes, while former national women’s team captain Sherlan Cabralis netted the other in the 17th. For Carib, Kevin Adams also netted twice, in the 28th and 38th, while Jason Pilgrim fired in the opener in the 11th.

The Trinidad Guardian

KNUST top Ashanti hockey league in Ghana

KNUST jumped to the summit of the Ashanti Regional hockey league table, albeit on goal difference after smashing Royals 3-1 in last Saturday's final first round matches.

They leapfrogged Bibiani, even though both teams are tied on eight points to set the stage for a fierce second round.

Ernest Karikari, Samuel Okyere, and Daniel Agyekum, all netted for KNUST before Anthony scored a consolation for Royals.

Bibiani were held to a 0-0 drawn game by third-placed side, Unique, as Seniors continue to occupy the bottom of the table.

The second round matches, which come off on Saurday, have been moved to the Paa Joe Park at KNUST because of the poor nature of the turf at the entrance of the Baba Yara Stadiun.

Kumasi Ladies play KNUST Ladies, Seniors engage KNUST male side, and Royals battle Unique.


Lungile's legacy for Langa

Hockey star's vision for a brighter future for township sporting hopefuls

Lungile Tsolekile represented South Africa in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and his story is one that symbolises modern South Africa. As a boy he grew up in the huge, sprawling Langa township on the outskirts of Cape Town. Home to more than 52,500 people, the area is a mix of makeshift shacks, wooden buildings and small brick homes. The township was created in the 1920s to home a large number of the black population who were currently living in the overcrowded slum area of Ndabeni.

The Langa Township was more progressive than many of its predecessors. Several primary schools were built and organised sport quickly became a big part of the social fabric. As a 10-year-old, Lungile was already playing cricket for the Western Province under-11 side.

It was an invitation from a friend that persuaded the young South African to turn to hockey: "I was busy with winter cricket practice in 1997 when a friend asked me to go to hockey training with him. And that is where it all began. Cricket and hockey are very popular in the Langa Township and I lived just 50 meters from the stadium."

Lungile's interest in hockey continued to high school, where he quickly discovered that playing against better opposition was the key to developing his game. He says: "I went to a Model C School, Milnerton High. It was not renowned for its sport, and this is the reason my hockey got better as every game was a hard fought game against the better schools. We learnt to celebrate the draws, because we rarely won."

Soon Lungile was playing school hockey in the mornings and representing the Langa Club in the afternoons. He says that much of his success is down to two teachers at the school, Dave Wiggett and Derek Faulds, who were passionate about the sport.

Despite the great enthusiasm for sport in the Langa Township, only a few sports people from the township go on to become household names. For many years this was due to the apartheid regime operating in South Africa, but in 1991 apartheid collapsed and the South African sporting landscape seemed set to change forever with blacks and whites able to take to the pitch together.

As Lungile explains, the reality was very different. "It was a much slower process than that. Things have progressed but not as quickly as I would have expected. For example, in 1999 Thami Tsolekile mades his debut for the South African hockey team, in 2004 I made my debut, in 2008 Ben Mbana, and in 2011 Lonwabo Mvimbi made his. These people are the only African Black South Africans that have represented South Africa at the highest level of hockey."

A lot of this is due to money and support. Although people living in Langa have access to education, there is still a lot of deprivation and all members of the family are expected to pitch in and work for a living. Lungile was lucky. His family managed to support him, although it was a struggle. Likewise he also received support from a benefactor, Paul Revington, who helped with funding in the early stages of his career.

"Becoming an elite hockey player was easier for me than many others as I've always been surrounded by friends that play sport all year round. Although there have been obstacles, I can safely say I have a great bunch of family and friends around me.

"Even now, I can be sitting in a local bar and people will come up and say how proud they are of me. People realise how difficult it can be, especially with the challenges we face living in the townships." One of the difficulties Lungile has had to face while playing for the national side is a language barrier. "I do get tired on tours as I am the only Xhosa speaking player in the team, and English is my second language. That does sometimes make me homesick."

Lungile says Langa has always been a hotbed of hockey talent, but in the past it has been too expensive for most school children to continue playing as young adults. Now there is a newly-built astroturf in the heart of the township. This means the players can get there easily, there are no transport costs and they have a ground for their home matches and training sessions.

Despite his own international success, Lungile has never left the Langa township. He remains a player for the Langa Club and is also its secretary. His vision for hockey in the township is for talented young players to turn professional, so they can afford to play the sport they love.

FIH site

World Cup comes to the backyard of hockey wizards

by Dil Bahra

Full house in Bombay for India v England, who attack through Kulbir Singh Bhaura. Photo: Morley Pecker

In our series on the impact Sikhs have had at men’s hockey World Cups, we look at the fifth World Cup held in Bombay in 1981/82.

The Fifth Men’s Hockey World Cup was held in Bombay, India from 29 December 1981 – 12 January 1982.

The World Cup came to the sub-continent for the first time, and it also turned out to be the final one to be played on natural grass at the Wankhede Stadium and the adjoining Bombay Hockey Association Stadium in south Bombay.

Twelve nations competed and were divided into two pools of six as follows:

Pool A: Pakistan; West Germany; Spain; Argentina; Poland; New Zealand.
Pool B: Netherlands; Australia; India; England; USSR; Malaysia.

Hardial Singh Kular of Kenya was appointed Assistant Technical Delegate for the World Cup. He was a Judge at the Buenos Aires World Cup in 1978.

India, the reigning Olympic champions, included five Sikhs in her team which was also captained and coached by a Sikh.

Surjit Singh, who had manned the Indian defence at the Montreal Olympic Games in 1976 and at the 2nd World Cup in Amstelveen, where India won the Silver medal and at the 3rd World Cup in Kuala Lumpur where India won the Gold, was the captain at this World Cup.

Deep defender Rajinder Singh Sr., who was a member of India’s gold medal winning team at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, emerged as the leading goal scorer in the Bombay World Cup with 12 goals.

Centre-forward Surinder Singh Sodhi, who was star striker in India’s Gold medal team at the Moscow Olympics where he had scored 15 goals, had earlier played at the Buenos Aires World Cup in 1978. He scored 5 goals at the Bombay World Cup.

Half-back Gurmail Singh, also a member of India’s team at Moscow Olympics, and Onkar Singh were the other Sikh players in the Indian squad.

India’s Captain at the Munich 1972 Olympic Games where they won the Bronze medal, Harmik Singh was now the coach at Bombay. Harmik had also played at the 1st world cup in Barcelona in 1971 where India won the Bronze medal and at Amstrveen in 1973 where India won the Silver medal.

India Team: 1. Ashok Devan (G/K); 2. Rajinder Singh Sr.; 3. Surjit Singh (Capt); 4. M M Somaya; 5. Ravinderpal Singh; 6. Gurmail Singh; 7. Charanjit Kumar; 8. Mervyn Fernandes; 9. Surinder Singh Sodhi; 10. Mohd Shahid; 11. Syed Ali; 12. Mir Ranjan Negi; (G/K); 13. Vineet Kumar; 14. Onkar Singh; 15. Zafar Iqbal; 16. M K Kaushik.
Manager: Jhaman Lal Sharma; Coach: Harmik Singh

England had two Sikhs in their team - Sutinder (Suti) Singh Khehar and Kulbir Singh Bhaura.

Sutinder, born in Nairobi, Kenya, emigrated to the UK in 1971 and won his first international cap in 1974 when he played for England against West Germany at Lord’s, London. He played at the previous World Cup in Buenos Aires in 1978 and earned the first of his 12 Great Britain international caps in 1979 against Belgium at Crystal Palace, London. He also won his first England indoor international in 1980 against Switzerland in Zurich. Sutinder was an instrumental member of Slough Hockey Club that won the European Club Championship in 1980.

The Bombay World Cup was only the second time Sutinder was visiting India. The earlier occasion was also with England’s hockey team during their visit in 1978.

Sutinder was in the squad of 20 for Great Britain’s team for the Moscow 1980 Olympic Games, which were boycotted by Great Britain for political reasons. He had played for Great Britain in the Champions Trophy held in Karachi, Pakistan in January 1980.

Kulbir, born in Jalandhar, Punjab (India), came to settle in the UK in 1968. He studied at Jalandhar’s Khalsa School and thereafter in England at the Featherstone School, Southall, and Isleworth Poly in London. He played for Indian Gymkhana Hockey Club and Hounslow Hockey Club in London. He earned his first England cap in 1979 when he was selected to play against Belgium at Lord’s, London.

The World Cup in Bombay was the first time Kulbir was visiting India since he left the country in 1968.

During the Bombay World Cup, Sutinder had the honour of captaining England in his last outdoor international match - England won 3 – 2, coming back from 0-2 down against Malaysia in the play-off for the 9th place. Kulbir scored one of the goals for England in that match.

England Team: 1. Paul Barber; 2. Kulbir Singh Bhaura; 3. Roly Brookman; 4. David Craig; 5. Richard Dodds; 6. James Duthie; 7. Neil Francis; 8. Norman Hughes (capt); 9. John Hurst (G/K); 10. Sutinder Singh Khehar; 11. Richard Leman; 12. Mark Precious; 13. Chris Rule; 14. Ian Taylor; 15. David Westcott; 16. Malcolm Wilkinson.

Manager: Colin Whalley; Coach: David Whittaker.

The Malaysian team included two Sikhs - Mohinder Singh Grewal and Avtar Singh Gill. Both had played at the last World Cup in Buenos Aires in 1978.

Malaysia Team: 1. A. Fadzil (G/K); 2. Abbas (G/K); 3. F K Seong t; 4. J Murthy; 5. A. Rahim; 6. S. Prakash; 7. C B Gee; 8. ; Mohinder Singh Grewal; 9. S V Huisen; 10. L. Oliveiro; 11. O S Kooi (capt); 12. T C Seng; 13. M Shurentheran; 14. P F Loke; 15. C S Maria; 16. Avtar Singh Gill.
Manager: Datuk Haji Hohd Nor Bin HJ; Coach: R Yogeswaran

Final standings were 1. Pakistan; 2. West Germany; 3. Australia; 4. Netherlands; 5. India; 6. USSR; 7. New Zealand; 8. Poland; 9. England; 10. Malaysia; 11. Spain; 12. Argentina.

Next week: 6th World Cup – London 1986.


Indian women's hockey team heads for Ireland

The Indian women's hockey team will depart for Ireland Wednesday night to participate in a three-match Test series to prepare for the FIH Champions Challenge 1 in Glasgow starting April 27.

The team will play Ireland on April 15, 17 and 18 in Belfast. The series will help the Indian players acclimatise ahead of the Champions Challenge 1 in Glasgow to be played from April 27 to May 4.

The 18-member team is captained by midfielder Ritu Rani. Navneet Kaur and Neha Goyal will be making their international debut at the tournament.

"This is something that the Indian team has been looking forward for a long time. After playing our last international nearly six months ago, this is the starting point to build-up to the Commonwealth Games and the Asian Games," chief coach Neil Hawgood said.

In the Champions Challenge 1, India is placed in Pool A with South Korea, Belgium and hosts Scotland while United States, South Africa, Spain and Ireland are placed in Pool B. India will play South Korea in its opening match on April 27.

Post the matches in Ireland, the team will reach Glasgow on April 21.

The squad of 18 players:
Goalkeepers: Yogita Bali (47 caps), Savita (65)
Defenders: Deep Grace Ekka (44), Deepika (112), Sunita Lakra (15), Kirandeep Kaur (133), Namita Toppo (32), Monika Malik (9)
Midfielders: Sushila Chanu (61), Ritu Rani (165) captain, Lily Chanu (22), Chanchan Devi (97), Soundarya Yendala (87)
Forwards: Anuradha Devi (57), Poonam Rani (99), Vandana Katariya (85), Navneet Kaur (0), Neha Goyal (0).


Neha dribbles past troubles to get her goal

Sabi Hussain

Neha Goyal with mentor Pritam Siwach. Tribune photo

New Delhi - When Neha Goyal was 10 and studying in class 6th, she saw the former Indian women's hockey team captain, centre-forward Pritam Siwach, making her opponents sweat with her exceptional speed and stick-work at an international tournament. Little Neha was smitten with the sport.

There was just one problem. A large problem, in fact - extreme poverty. Her father was a daily wage labourer, her mother did sundry jobs at other people's houses to make whatever little money she could. Neha had two non-working elder sisters. The family lived in a cramped one-room tenement. They survived on a monthly income of 2,500.

But as the saying goes, where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Neha’s story is heart-rending, but it's also inspirational. Now 17, she has triumphed over adversity, defied extreme poverty, her father's opposition to the game and societal pressure to pursue her dream of playing for India. Neha's hard work and will to succeed helped her brave all odds. She is now set to make her India debut in the three-match Test series against Ireland, a preparatory tournament for the FIH Champions Challenge-1, to be held in Glasgow from April 27 to May 4.

That day long ago, watching Siwach outwitting the most formidable defenders, Neha made up her mind that she would become like her. But what the little girl did not realise was that it would be a hard struggle to overcome her humble background — at that age, she probably wasn't aware of how rigid class and economic barriers are.

With no hockey kit to give wings to her dreams, Neha approached Siwach, an Arjuna Award-winner, with one innocent request: “Didi, I want to play hockey but I have no money to buy shoes and sticks.”

Neha's life changed for good that day as Siwach inducted the little girl into her Sonepat academy.

“Whatever I am today is because of Siwach didi. She helped me a lot, be it hockey or the money part. I owe my career to her. Without her help and guidance, I would not have even imagined representing my country at the senior level,” Neha told The Tribune before leaving for Belfast. An 18-member Indian team, led by Ritu Rani, will play Ireland on April 15, 17 and 18 in Belfast before the FIH Champions Challenge 1. India are placed in Pool A with South Korea, Belgium and hosts Scotland while the United States, South Africa, Spain and Ireland are placed in Pool B in the Champions Challenge 1.

“I want to give my best shot against Ireland. I want to make this opportunity count so as to become a permanent member of the senior women's squad. I have faced many hardships. My aim would be to represent the country at the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games,” she said.

Neha had shot into limelight during the Lal Bahadur Shastri tournament in 2011 and Under-18 Asia Cup in Bangkok the same year. She was the captain of the Haryana side which retained the Junior Women's National Championship crown for the record third time, defeating Madhya Pradesh 2-0 in Mysore last month.

Siwach, who identified the talent in Neha, said she has high hopes of her ward. “Neha impressed me a lot during our first meeting. She is a talented player. I arranged for her kit when she told me about her poor financial condition,” said Siwach, who is employed with Northern Railways and runs the Sonepat academy with 100-odd players. “Her mother, Savitri Goyal, also encouraged her to play hockey. Neha will definitely make it big one day in Indian hockey,” added Siwach.

The Tribune

Kevin’s here to seal his place in national team

By Aftar Singh

Former Germany hockey player Kevin Lim is with the national training squad hoping to get selected for the Champions Challenge I tournament to be held in Kuantan from April 26-May 4.

KUALA LUMPUR: National hockey players should up their game because there’s now one more contender for a spot on the Champions Challenge I squad.

Former German international Kevin Lim started training with the national hockey team on Thursday.

Kevin, who has featured 30 times for Germany, was given clearance by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to play for Malaysia last month, and the 27-year-old defender is eager to play in the Champions Challenge I tournament in Kuantan from April 26-May 4.

The 1.85m player has Malaysian roots – his father Lim Gan Sit left Malaysia for Germany in 1971.

Kevin has featured in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) for Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in 2010 and 2011.

He has also played for Malaysia in three friendly matches against Australia in Perth in February and one match against Canada last month in Malacca.

Kevin admits that although he was brought up in Germany, his heart is very much in Malaysia.

“I am happy to return to Malaysia to play for the national team. I come to Malaysia almost every year as I have relatives and friends here,” said Kevin.

“I have wanted to represent Malaysia since 2005 when I met (former national junior coach) Sarjit Singh in Rotterdam during the Junior World Cup.

“Hockey is in my soul and I am looking forward to winning a regular place in the national team,” said Kevin, who is majoring in sports science at Berlin University.

“I believe with my experience and height advantage, I will be able to combine well with the other national defenders.

“I also hope to help improve the back line of the national team,” said Kevin, who represented Germany in 2009 and 2010.

He has featured in the Hamburg Masters, the Gold Cup in Chandigarh, Punjab and also played Test matches against Australia and Holland.

Kevin was also the captain of the German team for the European Indoor tournament in Holland in 2010.

Kevin, along with the other hopeful hockey players, will be out to put on a good performance in the six friendly matches against China in Bukit Jalil from April 13-20 to impress national chief coach K. Dharmaraj, and book their seat in the Champions Challenge I squad.

That tournament will be the stepping stone to winning a spot on the team for the World Cup in The Hague (May 31-June 15) and Asian Games (Sept 19-Oct 4).

There are 29 players in the training squad and Dharmaraj will name the final squad of 18 players for the Champions Challenge I on April 24.

The Star of Malaysia

CEO to replace MHC secretary

By Jugjet Singh   

MALAYSIAN Hockey Confederation secretary Datuk Johari Aziz's two-year contract expired on Wednesday, and he has yet to receive an extension.

This may lead to complications, as he is now not eligible to sign documents, or make any decisions on the day-to-day running of the MHC.

"Yes, my contract has expired and I have yet to receive any news on my extension," said Johari yesterday.

MHC senior vice-president Manjit Majid Abdullah shed some light on the awkward situation.

"We are aware of the situation and I will brief our president Tengku Abdullah (Sultan Ahmad Shah) when he returns from an overseas trip tomorrow," said Manjit.

However, with the constitution being amended for the AGM, it is highly likely that MHC will do away with the post of secretary, and the newly appointed CEO will assume all administrative duties.

The World Cup will be held in the Netherlands on May 31-June 15, and the MHC has deferred its elections to after the event.

"Right now, Johari can't sign any documents or make any decisions and I believe that even if he gets an extension, it will be on a month-to-month basis until a CEO is appointed after the AGM.

"We interviewed several candidates for the CEO post some time back, and are only awaiting the right time before naming the individual who will also carry out the secretary's current functions," added Manjit.

Johari took over after former general manager Maninderjit Singh resigned in April 2012 and was appointed on a two-year contract.

New Straits Times

More stadium woes

Repairs to iconic Tun Razak Stadium in Malaysia may only be completed in August

Some of the construction waste seen at the stadium. — Picture by Puqtra Hairry

PETALING JAYA — Plans to revamp the Tun Razak Stadium have been put on hold – but the stadium is expected to reopen in August after re-turfing works are completed.

However, a land swap deal that could see developers upgrade the sporting facilities in the area appears nowhere in sight due to legal reasons.

A Mailsport probe following an alert by hockey enthusiasts, revealed the stadium was unfi t for use because the turf was ripped off late last year, leaving players in the lurch.

“The Duta project will go as planned. We are looking at redeveloping the Kampung Pandan Sports Complex fi rst. But the Tun Razak Stadium would be in use again soon. The tender for the turf has been approved,” said Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.

The land on which the stadium and squash courts sit belongs to a third party, who won a legal suit last year.

The government had plans to swap the surrounding “green lung” with developers in exchange for upgrading the sports facilities in the area, which also includes the squash centre.

Similar plans were also in the pipeline for the Kampung Pandan facility.

As for the Tun Razak Stadium, Malaysia Stadium Corporation (MSC) chief executive offi cer Ahmad Helmi Harun said: “Work was at 20 per cent but was stopped in February as we had to confi rm technical matters.

“We need to follow specifi cations by the International Hockey Federation. “Work resumed last week. It cost RM2 million and would be completed in August,” said Helmi.

Mailsport has also been highlighting the deplorable state of the PJ and Pandamaran Stadiums.

Malay Mail

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