All the news for Friday 24 January 2014
Marsha Cox continues to deliver for the Investec SA hockey team
JONATHAN COOK in Cape Town
Investec South Africa hockey captain Marsha Cox in control during the 3-3 first Test draw against Australia's Hockeyroos at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium in Cape Town Wednesday night. Photo: MATTHEW WITHERS (ACTION PIX)
Assistant coach of the Investec South African women’s hockey team Fabian Gregory was full of praise for his captain, Marsha Cox (née Marescia) ahead of a training session Thursday afternoon as the squad prepared for Friday night’s 7pm second Test against world number four Australia at Hartleyvale.
“It’s difficult to comprehend how Marsha manages to turn in high-quality performances Test after Test against the best teams in the world,” said Gregory of the 316-Test match veteran.
SA lost a Test series 2-0 against Olympic and World league champions The Netherlands before drawing 3-3 with Australia’s Hockeyroos Wednesday and Cox, who celebrated her first wedding anniversary last Saturday, has been here, there and everywhere, urging her team-mates on through sheer force of will and no little skill.
“In my book, Marsha is a bit of a freak with regards to her ability to deliver those performances, not only in her leadership role but also for herself, saying ‘I am the go-to person, when we are under pressure, pass to me’.”
The coach said it was also what the twice World All Stars selection did when not in the spotlight.
“She’s phenomenal, the energy levels Marsha brings when we don’t have possession, winning the ball back in midfield, being there to cover, her support play, coming back in defence, I think it’s something Marsha is trying to drive the team towards, especially the new players in the group, as if to say, ‘hey, you still have to work exceptionally hard when we don’t have the ball, as well as when we’re going forward’.”
Gregory is upbeat about world number 11 SA’s chances of upsetting the world four Hockeyroos Friday. “If the girls play for the full 70 minutes again, score the goals like on Wednesday and minimise turnovers and penalty corners against, there is a lot to be excited about.”
Meanwhile, Australian head coach Adam Commens said that in the first half his team were not good.
“We were sloppy at the back and didn’t execute our game plan properly but I thought the second half was much better, although we let in two soft goals – a penalty corner and a field goal that was particularly soft. It was a great opportunity to play some of our younger players and to play players in positions they’re not accustomed to.”
Commens added that the matches against SA will be “particularly tough”.
The third international takes place Saturday at 4pm at Hartleyvale Hockey Stadium before a six-Test series starts for the South Africans against Belgium on Sunday.
(all at Hartleyvale)
vs Australia: Friday 24th (7pm); Saturday 25th (4pm)
vs Belgium: Sunday 26th (4pm); Tuesday 28th (8pm); Wednesday 29th (7pm); Friday 31st (7pm)
vs Belgium: Sunday 2nd (4 pm); Monday 3rd (7 pm)
* Twitter handle is @Investec_Sport using #Investechockey
SA Hockey Association media release
England Women's Indoor squad play Netherlands Friday at 11:50
Newcomer Suzy Petty in action for England at the U21 World Cup back in August where England finished fourth
England's Women's Indoor squad will face the Netherlands on Friday at 11:50 (UK time) in the first of their matches in the EuroHockey Indoor Championships taking place in Prague, Czech Republic.
Ahead of the EuroHockey Indoor Championships, which run from 24-26 January, England Head Coach Jason Lee took 14 athletes to Scotland to play in four capped matches as part of the squad’s preparation. His final squad of 12 have been in Prage for a few days already as they get set to face tough opposition from the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Germany in Pool A.
Lee has named an inexperienced squad for the indoor tournament and will be approaching the three days of competition in very much the same manner as the men’s indoor team with the onus being on providing new athletes an opportunity to get a taste of top international hockey against some of the best indoor sides in the world.
Eight of the 12 athletes selected for Lee’s European squad made their England indoor debuts in Scotland in a four match test series, which saw England win two, draw one and lose one - click here to find out more about these matches. Giselle Ansley, Lily Owsley and Nicola White are all familiar names in the England outdoor squad but were newcomers to the international indoor set-up. Meanwhile, Grace Balsdon (Canterbury), Suzy Petty (Beeston) and Zoe Shipperley (Buckingham) all made their senior international debuts.
Balsdon and Shipperley both joined the centralised programme at the start of January; Dilly Newton is no longer part of the squad having struggled with injuries and set-backs over the last couple of years. Petty and Reading’s goalkeeper Sarah Ellis are the only two members of the squad who are not currently centralised, however both are very much on the fringe and Lee sees this is a great opportunity for them both.
In total, the whole squad combined will take 72 indoor caps to the pitch against the Netherlands, with East Grinstead’s Kirsty Mackay and Sophie Bray (indoor only) and Surbiton’s Sarah Haycroft providing the majority of the experience. Leicester’s Nicola White takes the captain’s armband and is looking forward to the challenge ahead: “It’s a great opportunity for me to captain the squad in a tournament at this level. We know it’s going to be really tough with the teams we are facing, but everyone is relishing the challenge.”
She added: “The four matches against Scotland at the weekend were really useful and winning the series against a strong side who play just one division below us was obviously a big confidence boost. We don’t have many indoor caps going into the tournament but we are very much looking at this as a chance for the group to gain experience. If we were able to secure a top six finish and qualify for the World Cup it would be absolutely fantastic.”
England Head Coach Jason Lee added his thoughts on the selected squad, “I see the weekend as a development opportunity for some of the youngsters in the side. The players I have selected from the centralised programme are those who are not playing as much indoor club hockey. If you look at our pool on paper then you would say it is a very daunting prospect, but because I want the girls to get as much experience as possible out in Prague my view is that it’s actually a brilliant group of teams to play against. “
Germany are the defending European Champions while The Netherlands and Poland finished fourth and fifth respectively in the 2012 tournament - with England being promoted from the second division it is likely that they will be seen as the underdogs of the group. Lee added, “I don’t want to set any specific goals going into the tournament and my expectations will be realistic given the young nature of the squad I have selected and the calibre of teams we will be facing.”
In Pool B France are the other side who gained promotion from the second division in 2012 and they will face Poland, Austria and Belarus. Expect Belarus and Poland to be strong contenders after they took the silver and bronze medals behind Germany in Leipzig.
Match reports will be added to the International Fixtures section of the website at the end of each day, with a press release sent out on Sunday evening following the completion of the tournament.
Reading’s Sarah Ellis will come straight back from Prague into club training with Reading as she gets ready for the Maxinutrition Hockey 5s Final at Wembley Arena on Sunday 2 February.
The two members of the squad who went to Scotland but have not gone to Prague are seasoned campaigners Laura Unsworth and Georgie Twigg.
EuroHockey Indoor Championship Women's Squad
Player - Club
Giselle Ansley - Surbiton
Grace Balsdon - Canterbury
Sophie Bray - MOP (NED)
Sarah Ellis - Reading
Sarah Haycroft - Surbiton
Jo Leigh - Clifton
Kirsty Mackay - East Grinstead
Lily Owsley - Birmingham University
Suzy Petty - Beeston
Zoe Shipperley - Buckingham
Ellie Watton - Beeston
Nicola White - Leicester
England Hockey Board Media release
Delhi-Punjab clash to kick off Hockey India League
In the previous edition of the HIL, the two teams faced each other in the semi-final, in which Delhi defeated Punjab 3-1.
Mohali: The second edition of the Hero Hockey India League will get underway on Saturday with Jaypee Punjab Warriors taking on Delhi Waveriders in the opening match at the newly-built International Hockey Stadium here under lights.
With the winner taking home a whooping Rs 2.5 crore, and the runner up getting Rs 1.25 crore, there is a lot at stake for teams to win the tournament and both Punjab and Delhi would aim to begin the tournament on a winning note.
In the previous edition of the HIL, the two teams faced each other in the semi-final, in which Delhi defeated Punjab 3-1.
However, Delhi Waveriders finished runners-up, losing the final to title winners Ranchi Rhinos. In the bronze medal match, Punjab Warriors lost 4-3 in dramatic fashion to Uttar Pradesh Wizards, after leading 3-0.
The Jaypee Group owned Punjab Warriors have a good mix of young and experienced players. Their overseas squad comprises primarily Australian players, with captain Jamie Dwyer being the leader.
With Dutch goalkeeper Jaap Stockmann and experienced players like Ignace Tirkey and Mark Knowles in their ranks, Punjab boasts of a strong defensive line-up.
Also, the strong presence of Dwyer in the midfield will allow Punjab to revolve their play around the experienced captain.
Punjab's forwardline consists of players like Shivendra Singh, SV Sunil, Dharamvir Singh and a youngster Affan Yousuf, who possess the ability to torment any opposition's defense.
With the highly experienced Barry Dancer and Jagbir Singh in their think-tank, Punjab will have strategies in place before the first game.
The highest goal-scorer of the 2013 edition of HIL, Sandeep Singh was added to the Punjab Warrior's squad during the auction last year.
A fine penalty corner specialist with loads of experience, Sandeep Singh is surely the player to watch out for not only in the first game, but the entire tournament.
Delhi Waveriders is co-owned by the Wave Group and Bollywood star John Abraham, who is a 13 per cent stake-holder of the side.
The runners-up of last year, Delhi Waveriders have in their ranks a star player like Sardar Singh, who is the captain of their side and also the highest paid Indian of the league.
Last season, Delhi Waveriders had an 11-match unbeaten run but could not go on to win the tournament.
This year, although they lack big names in their line-up, their overseas squad does have quite a few experienced names including Simon Child of New Zealand, Jason Wilson of Australia, Lloyd Norris-Jones of South Africa, Andr?s Mir of Spain and goalkeeper Nicolas Jacobi of Germany.
The onus to score goals for Delhi will be on Indian sensation Yuvraj Walmiki and penalty corner specialist Rupinder Pal Singh, who was the highest goal-scorer for the team last season.
The presence of Sardar Singh in the centre half will allow the Delhi Waveriders to break opposition attacks. His ability to feed the ball to the forward line will also help Delhi Waveriders to consistently stay on the offensive.
However, it will be interesting to see whether Delhi Waveriders can ride on the experience of Sardar Singh and upset the Punjab side on their home turf.
'Bagha' is mascot of Kalinga Lancers, as Prabodh takes over the captaincy
Experienced player Prabodh Tirkey was named captain of Odisha-based team Kalinga Lancers while Kiel Brown of Australia will be the second captain.
“It will be a very special moment for me to captain the first match in the newly constructed hockey stadium in my state".
He hasted to add: "Yes, there will be a bit of pressure too, but am used to it and will do all I can to satisfy our city crowd, and faithful followers all over India” said Tirkey under whose captaincy India won the Asia Cup in Chennai.
Kalinga Lancers will be facing Punjab Warriors in their first match on Tuesday, the 28th Jan. That is the only match for Day five of the Hero Hockey India League.
Elaborating on the preparation for the all important event of his long illustrious career, he said, “We are training and picking up threads under three good coaches. Our Chief Coach Terry Walsh is giving a new style to our game. Also, AK Bansal is with us, who had guided the Delhi Waveriders team to the finals in HIL last year. Inputs from Lajrus Barla, with whom most of us played one time or other, is also helping us.”
Tirkey further added that being a new team, they are at an advantage as no other teams are aware of their style of play.
Meanwhile, the team today, launched its mascot and unveiled its official jersey at Bhubaneswar. The mascot ‘Bagha’ is a young white tiger which stands for the symbol of bravery, sharpness and strength.
“We hope to live up to the message our mascot symbolises, and attack like tigers in every match,” he added.
The players also walked the ramp sporting their new jerseys. “It was fun walking the ramp with our official anthem playing in the background. This is the second time walked the ramp, first was at a felicitation ceremony in Hyderabad,” said Tirkey.
Jamie Dwyer, Punjab Warriors captain, on future of Indian hockey, HIL and his online coaching website
Punjab Warriors captain Jamie Dwyer speaks to Rutvick Mehta about future of Indian hockey, HIL and his online coaching website.
You’re back in India for the Hockey India League (HIL). Excited?
Yes, very excited. It’s good to be here and be a part of this competition again. The stadium in Mohali is outstanding and I’m looking forward to playing.
Your team, the Punjab Warriors, finished fourth last year. What do you think lacked in the team and what are the aspects you’ve worked on since?
Last year was difficult for us because we had a lot of travel and a few injuries that really hurt us.
Finishing fourth was disappointing and we hope to finish better this year. We have a few new players that have strengthened our squad and being based in Chandigarh means a lot less travel.
A lot of Indians, especially juniors, shone through the league and have since become a part of the Indian team. That’s the biggest advantage of the league, isn’t it?
Yes, this is a huge advantage for Indian players. I also think it’s great for juniors to watch the competition and learn from really good players and one day want to play for their favourite team in the HIL.
Talking of the Indian team, they dominated the Australians for a brief period in the recently-concluded HWL and even defeated Germany, a first since 2004. Do you see an improvement in the team?
Yes, I do see a gradual improvement in the Indian team. I still believe they have a long way to go before being in the top-four teams in the world but it’s definitely possible.
India’s new coach, Terry Walsh, seems to be making an impact, going by their recent show. Do you think he is the right man for the long-term growth of Indian hockey?
I think Terry Walsh is a very good coach. My first two years in the Australian Institute of Sport was when Terry was coach of the Australian team and he’s well respected in Australia and around the world. I think he is the right man for the job and Indian players can learn a lot from him.
Walsh feels it will take another 10-12 months for India to reach the level of the top teams. Is that a fair assessment?
It all depends on how much they improve. There is not much difference in the top-10 teams in the world and all the little one per cents make a difference.
A lot has been debated about what style of hockey suits India best. Michael Nobbs tried to go the Aussie way, while his predecessors wanted to instil the European style. Walsh has spoken of retaining the Indian style. Your views...
India definitely need their own style. They need to learn from other countries but they must adapt a style that suits the Indian culture and something they feel comfortable playing. At the moment the players look confused about their style.
Where do you see the Indian team a year from now in terms of rankings?
It’s so hard to say. I think in world hockey you have three top teams in the world and then eight teams behind them that are all so very close. For India to do well, they need to get fitter, faster, better basic skills and need to learn how to play outside India.
A lot of younger guys like Mandeep Singh and Manpreet Singh are playing a key role in the senior team. Must be good for the future, isn’t it?
Mandeep and Manpreet are very good hockey players. They have taken their chance in the national team and are playing really well. I think there are a number of talented young players here in India.
You have an online coaching website. How can the game be learnt online?
My online coaching business (DwyerOnline) is going really well. Everyone is online now and I thought it was about time that players, young or old, can learn hockey on the internet. It teaches you the basic skills and how to execute each skill to perfection. There are coaching exercises on the website and goal-keeping packages as well. So I tried to cover all aspects of hockey. Not only does it have hockey but also gym program, stretching and diet.
So coaching seems to excite you. Any plans to coach India maybe sometime in the future?
When I retire from playing I would definitely like to coach. Coaching the Indian team is possible but first maybe I would like to coach in the HIL. It’s definitely in my future plans.
Finally, can the Punjab Warriors win it this time?
If we play an aggressive style of hockey and play to the standard we want to, we will have a chance of playing in the final.
Achievements with Australia
Gold: 2004 Athens
Bronze: 2008 Beijing
Bronze: 2012 London
Gold: 2010 New Delhi
Silver: 2006 Monchengladbach
Silver: 2002 Kuala Lumpur
FIH Player of the Year: 2004, 2007, 2009, 2010 & 2011
Full name: Jamie Dwyer
Born: March 12, 1979, Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia
Playing position: Forward.
Catch Up With Harte.
Irish Hockey had the chance to have a quick light-hearted Q&A session with Ireland’s Hockey Star David Harte before the start of the Hockey Indian League.
Harte has been selected to play for the Dabur Mumbai Magicians and is based in India for the month long tournament taking place across six cities in India commencing on January 25th.
You were selected on an auction basis explain to our readers how did that work?
I put my name forward to be put into the auction and then had to wait for it to be held back in November. Different rounds of bidding happened.
Did the process take long before you got the good news or were you able to watch the auction live over the internet?
After round 2 I hadn’t seen my name and the live feed via Twitter had stopped so it was quite a nerve wrecking process! To my absolute delight and shock a few hours later I was actually informed by my brother Conor and a few friends that I had been bought.
Hockey is very popular in India how will you cope with the packed stadiums?
I have experienced some big crowds so far in my playing career but potentially nothing like I could see in India. I will look at it in the most positive way and look forward to playing in that atmosphere. It will be all about keeping concentration and mental focus if I am to play.
Ten matches, six cities you will be busy – will you get any chance for some downtime or is it just all hockey, conditioning and preparation during the tournament?
From what I have seen of our schedule from 10 matches, double training sessions and 12 internal flights I am not sure if there will be a lot of downtime and chances to explore. Though I really hope there are!
It’s a professional league, will this be very different to how you play in Holland?
I don’t know if it will be very different in terms of the hockey but from the whole advertising and commercial side of things it will be very different due to the sheer demand of the sport and it’s national popularity.
Do you see a benefit for Irish Hockey by your selection?
I really hope it benefits Irish Hockey yes. Hopefully in getting Irish Hockey publicised throughout the world if I am to play and being the only Irish player, I am unaware of any other nation only having a sole representative. On top of this I hope it will encourage other Irish players to put their name forward for the coming years HIL showing that Irish players belong side by side with some of the best players in the world!
Do you know many of the other hockey players taking part, do you know any of your Dabur Mumbai Magicians teammates specifically?
I know quite a few guys taking part whether it has been from playing with them in club teams here in Holland or from meeting them often on the international circuit. I don’t know any of the DMM specifically but ‘know of’ the majority of the foreign players from playing against them but I am looking forward to getting to know them all.
What have you done to prepare for this trip for example coping with different food options, weather and so on to ensure you stay in top form for the tournament?
Preparing for the food situation I have avoided those of the spicy kind over the past few months on purpose in case I am inundated by them! I have tried to keep very fit by going to the gym a lot and doing my own running. I took the time over the Christmas break as a chance to rest both body and mind after an incredibly busy summer with Ireland followed by a compact number of weeks with my club SV Kampong in the league in Holland. I have started back with some indoor hockey to get the reactions and reflexes going again and back out on the field with some teammates of mine here in Utrecht.
We believe there is a prize fund of $1M dollars for the winning team have you given this any thought?
I am a guy never to look too far ahead so for me it will be just one game at a time!
Will any of your family/friends get out to see you play?
Unfortunately there will be no travelling support over to India but I hope they will be able to watch it on the HIL YouTube channel where all games are streamed live.
Lastly for all your fans in Ireland where can they follow the action of their adopted Indian team of the Dabur Mumbai Magicians?
For anyone who is interested in keeping an eye on how the DMM are doing they can watch the game on the HIL YouTube channel where all games are streamed live along with highlights/summaries of each game. On top of that there is the DMM website http://www.mumbaimagicians.in/ where they can find out all about the team.
Irish Hockey Association media release
Tahir Zaman rues absence of Pak players in HIL
Former Pakistan hockey skipper Tahir Zaman on Thursday rued the absence of his country's players from the Hockey India League, starting in two days' time, and felt their inclusion would have added lustre to the tournament.
"It would have been good had Pakistan players played in the league. I would request Hockey India to include Pakistani players in HIL (in future). They would add colour to the tournament," said Zaman at a media conference held here by the league's broadcast partners Star Sports.
Zaman, who is the coach of the Pakistan national team, as well as former India skipper Viren Rasquinha spelt out the benefits of HIL for sub-continental style hockey.
"Hockey needs proper projection like cricket. The European coaches have researched deeply into the game over the years and have gone ahead. HIL provides that opportunity for the subcontinent coaches," said Zaman who is to do studio-based expert comments in Hindi during the league like Rasquinha (in English).
Rasquinha felt that HIL would be serving its purpose if it throws up 3-4 new players every year who are good enough to play for India.
"The skills of Indian and Pakistani kids are superior than others but to do well at the international level many more things are needed like strategy, physical fitness etc. What I learnt as a 15-year-old is still being taught by Indian coaches. We have to move ahead (in coaching)," said Rasquinha.
The 33-year-old former player also agreed to a suggestion that international hockey tournaments need to be taken to cities and centres other than Delhi by Hockey India to attract more interest in the game.
Rasquinha cited his own example of having not played a single international game here in his home town, though he had represented the country in 30 matches in India out of 180 played overall.
"The investment Star is making is needed for hockey in India and Pakistan. This will play a big role in creating new role models for young children keen on the game," said the 44-year-old former player and bronze medal winner in the 1992 Olympic Games.
"HIL is a new beginning for hockey in the sub-continent. More and more children would take up the game after watching this. It also offers an opportunity to the sub-continent players to learn from the world's top players," said Zaman, who felt Punjab Warriors were the best-balanced side in the six-team tournament.
Star India's Nitin Kukreja said that the channel is to invest Rs 1,500 crore on the game over the next eight years and each match in the HIL would be covered by 20 cameras.
"We are treating HIL on par with international cricket. Star is committed to invest Rs 1,500 crore in the next eight years on hockey and this includes the 2018 World Cup to be held in India," he said.
Impasse between SAI & HI ends
The impasse between SAI and Hockey India over Roelant Oltmans and Terry Walsh’s participation as coaches in the upcoming HIL is finally over after HI secretary general Narinder Batra on Thursday said that the duo will not get paid by the government body during the one-month period of the franchise-based league.
Insisting that he has got all the permission from SAI, Batra admitted that both Oltmans and Walsh will not get their salaries during their association with respective Hockey India League (HIL) franchises.
“I have got letters from SAI dated January 20 where it has been mentioned that both Oltmans and Walsh have the permissions to coach HIL teams.
“I got the letter on January 21 and both the letters are in my possession,” Batra told reporters on the sidelines of the trophy unveiling of HIL 2014 and the launch of its mascot, named ‘Gaurav, the pride of HIL’.
“We have complied all the processes outlined in their contracts. But it is true both Oltmans and Walsh won’t get their salaries from SAI during the HIL period,” he said.
Sports Authority of India (SAI) was on a collision course with HI after it issued a clear instruction to HI’s High Performance Director Oltmans and chief coach Walsh to scrap their contracts with respective HIL franchises.
Stating their association with HIL as “unethical”, SAI, the employer of the two coaches, said that they will tend to lose their salaries for the duration of the second edition of the event, commencing on Saturday in Mohali, if they continued their association with the high-profile FIH-sanctioned event.
Both Oltmans, who is the coach of Uttar Pradesh Wizards, and Walsh, the coach of Kalinga Lancers in HIL, are employed with the SAI and draw Rs. 9.28 lakh and Rs. 7.73 lakh every month.
Batra, who is also the chairman of HIL, expects the second edition of the tournament to be better in every sense than last year’s inaugural event.
“A total of 144 players, which includes 72 Olympians will participate in HIL 2014. It will be treat to watch the matches as Star Sports, the official broadcaster, will engage 20 cameras to cover every match, unlike in hockey where till today only seven cameras have been used for coverage,” he said.
“The HIL 2014 will be telecast in 181 countries. With John Abraham’s association with Delhi Waveriders and Yo Yo Honey Singh with Jaypee Punjab Warriors, this year even the glamour part has come in hockey.
“The main idea of HIL is to make hockey household name and get the sport fixed in the minds of people,” Batra added.
Batra also feels that HIL is a boon for Indian hockey.
“The first edition gave us three players out of which two of them have been a regular feature in the senior men’s team.
And I hope this year too, HIL will throw some bright talents and help in widening the pool of players, which will be visible in 2-3 years time,” he said.
Terming 2014 as a crucial year for Indian hockey, Batra said his main target is a direct entry into 2016 Rio Olympics through the Asian Games.
“As a federation our aim was to reach top eight this year, which we have achieved. We want to improve upon our performance consistently and be in the top six in the world by 2016,” the HI secretary general said.
“But my main focus is Asian Games and I want the players to be at their peak during the Games, a tournament which we want to win to directly qualify for the 2016 Olympics and not depend on a back door entry,” Batra said.
“We also want our women team to win the Asian Games and qualify for the Olympics,” he added.
Roelant Oltmans, Terry Walsh get Hockey India League contract
Chander Shekhar Luthra
Indian hockey’s high performance director Roelant Oltmans and chief coach Terry Walsh will be part of the Hockey India League after Hockey India secretary general NK Batra came out with contractual papers for them to take up assignments, but with “no cost to the Sports Authority of India”.
Walsh and Oltmans will not draw salary for the said period from SAI and instead would be paid by Kalinga Lancers and Uttar Pradesh Wizards, their respective franchises.
SAI did not allow the previous coach, Michael Nobbs, to take up any “commercial contract” last season for the reason that his contract had no mention regarding the outside assignment.
Is Indian hockey falling prey to the club-vs-country virus?
A 'Catch 22' situation is emerging in Indian hockey. The influx of money is what the sport yearned for, for years, and now when it has arrived, the cost could be a disease called 'Club vs Country'.
The phrase is not new for Indian sport. Cricket has often found itself embroiled in the 'Club vs Country' debate ever since the birth of Indian Premier League (IPL) - the franchise-based idea hockey borrowed to form the Hockey India League (HIL).
But before the HIL turns into 'hockeytainment' than a ground to scout young talent in an ultra-competitive field, Hockey India needs to slay the virus.
The first signs of HIL franchises, or clubs, getting priority over country emerged during the recently concluded Hockey World League Finals in New Delhi - when a group of players on national duty were relieved to fly for a promotional shoot days ahead of their opening game against England.
When IBNLive.com approached the team management asking why the players were allowed to leave, a top official with the team said: "There's a lot of money involved." And when another was approached, he said, "It's sad, that's the only thing I can comment."
Hockey had never seen big money like in the HIL, nowhere in the world. As Australia captain, who plays for the Punjab Warriors, pointed out: "That's a lot of money for playing 30 days of hockey."
But the country's apex body needs to ensure that money doesn't supersede the need of the hour in Indian hockey, which is competing with the Europeans and Australians in the international arena, and not just compete but win consistently.
But somewhere down the line, HI seems to be kneeling to franchise demands.
In the league's inaugural edition last year, then India coach Michael Nobbs was not allowed to take up coaching assignment with any franchise. It's absolutely right and in best interest of the national team that it's coach finds young blood from a vast field that sprouts up in the HIL from every corner of India.
However, HI has succumbed to franchisee pressure in this edition.
Senior national men's team coach Terry Walsh, who replaced Nobbs, will be coaching the new HIL franchise Kalinga Lancers this edition that could be detrimental to his focus, which should have been on scouting new talent than concentrating on a particular bunch.
Also HI's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans is associated with the Uttar Pradesh Wizards, which again is principally against a job that's created to oversee Indian hockey with a larger perspective.
HI has tried to cover it up by saying that Walsh and Oltmans will not be paid by Sports Authority of India (SAI) for their jobs with HI during the month-long HIL stint, which is laughable when what your are putting on the line is betterment of Indian hockey that gets knocked down every time it tries to get up on its feet.
If anything, this could prove to be another knockout blow if not nipped in the bud.
Star India to invest Rs 1,500 cr in hockey
MUMBAI: Indian hockey is set to get a major boost with Star India's grand plans to invest Rs 1,500 crore in the sport over eight years.
Nitin Kukreja, head of sports business, Star India, revealed on Thursday that the company will invest Rs 1,500 crore on hockey over eight years and each match in the Hockey India League (HIL) would be covered by 20 cameras. "We are treating HIL on par with international cricket. Star Sports will also telecast the 2018 World Cup to be held in India," he said.
Meanwhile, when it comes to Pakistan involvement in Indian sport, there are always political undercurrents. And Pakistan's hockey coach, Tahir Zaman who will be part of the commentary team in the HIL, which commences on Saturday, feels Pakistan presence in the tournament would have added zing to the competition.
Last year, Shiv Sena workers protested the presence of Pakistan players in the Mumbai Magicians line-up and the team was even stopped from practising. After that, the HIL decided to keep them out of the equation. The IPL too hasn't seen Pakistan players participate after the inaugural edition in 2008.
Zaman and Viren Rasquinha, who took pains to explain the significance of HIL on the Indian sub-continent , feel if Pakistan players were allowed in the HIL, it would benefit both nations. Zaman though went on the backfoot when asked how it would benefit the hockey fraternity in his country despite none of the players playing in the tournament, he quickly explained: "Hockey needs proper projection like cricket. The European coaches are well researched over the years and have progressed. HIL provides that opportunity for the subcontinent coaches," said Zaman.
"It would have been good had our players played in the league. I would request Hockey India to include them in HIL (in future). They would add colour to the tournament," he added.
The Times of India
Star India to invest over Rs 1500 crore in hockey
MUMBAI: STAR India, the country's leading sports network Star Sports, on Thursday committed to invest in excess of Rs. 1500 crore in hockey over the next eight years in order to promote the game.
Nitin Kukreja, Head of Sports Business, Star India, said, "Our aim is to transform the sporting landscape and imbibe a culture of multiple sports in India. Sports broadcasters in India have traditionally invested only in cricket but shied away from committing such heavy investments in other games.
"We are putting money where our mouth is. We believe hockey has potential for growth but needs certain key ingredients to come together. We believe that a vibrant local league, international events in India including the 2018 Hockey World Cup, world class production coverage are essential ingredients to popularise the sport and help nurture future champions," he added.
Star Sports is set to create a new global benchmark in hockey broadcasting with the telecast of the second edition of the Hockey India League (HIL).
Showcasing 'The New Face of Hockey', Star Sports' has invested over Rs. 100 crore in the promotion and production of the second edition of HIL, which starts on Saturday.
This is unprecedented investment by a broadcaster in any local league in the country with the exception of IPL.
Star Sports has hired International Management Group (IMG) to produce the second edition of HIL. Israel-based specialised sports agency Prometheus has been entrusted with the responsibility of developing cutting edge graphics suitable for hockey broadcast.
The broadcaster will use as many as 20 cameras for the very first time in the history of the sport for each and every match during the league.
Star Sports will be treating HIL at par with international cricket. The league will be showcased not only in English on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD1, but will also be showcased in Hindi on Star Sports 3. Starsports.com will stream all matches live of the tournament for hockey loving fans across the world.
There will be pre and post shows of the league.
The Times of India
PHF has proposed holding of bilateral series with India: Zaman
MUMBAI: Pakistan Hockey Federation has recently sent a proposal to revive the bilateral series against India and are now awaiting a reply from Hockey India, according to the country's hockey coach Tahir Zaman.
"We have sent a memorandum to Hockey India for a bilateral series. Pakistan has approved it. Being the national coach of Pakistan Hockey team, I can mention this. We are waiting to get a letter of understanding from Hockey India", the former Pakistan captain told reporters on Thursday.
"Soon, we want not only the senior team, but the junior, u-14, u-16 even state-level teams; we are thinking of playing on that level. The interaction should happen on a regular basis," said Zaman who will be a expert commentator in Hindi for Star Sports when it telecasts the Hockey India League starting on January 25.
"I am very much hopeful. Soon we will see Pakistan-India hockey games, some matches in Pakistan and some matches in India, on every level," he said.
"We are very serious about it and Hockey India is also very serious about it. This (bilateral series) can be an event that can increase the number of hockey players and viewers. We have written about the suitable dates, so that we can discuss.
"There are going to be many events in India. So whichever date is suitable for them, we will try to play accordingly," he added.
The 1992 bronze medal winning Pakistan Olympic team member said a bilateral series between India and Pakistan would help both the nations as they would learn to play under pressure, which would hold them in good stead for their international matches.
"When Pakistan and India play, it is very special for both the countries. In the special event when there is so much interest from the public, it ultimately creates pressure on players.
"When players play under pressure, they do improve psychologically. When we play more matches and the players learn to play under pressure, then at the international level their hockey skills will be polished further," the 44-year-old former player said.
"The present day hockey is about performing under pressure. When Pakistan and India start playing on a regular basis the players get used to playing in front of big crowds, then their performance at the international level would also be better and it would be good for both the teams," Zaman said.
Asked if artificial turf for hockey is to be blamed for the decline of both the countries that once ruled the game, the former Pakistan player said it wasn't the case.
"I wouldn't blame Astro-Turf. Even after astro-turf was introduced, both India and Pakistan have won matches. In the '80 Olympics, India won and in the '84 Olympics Pakistan won.
"But unfortunately with the advancement of the game and (introduction of) new rules, the coaching standards did not improve and that is why we have not been that successful in producing quality players like we did 30-40 years ago," he said.
"We can provide quality players again but I don't think it is possible to expect that it will change overnight. But I am confident India and Pakistan can return to the same position, which they enjoyed earlier," he added.
Zaman is a little disappointed with the absence of Pakistan players in Hockey India League starting in two days' time.
"I am a little disappointed because of this. I feel this event could have been more exciting for spectators and Pakistan public would have been involved if their players were playing. We could have seen skill versus European Hockey that is hit and run... I hope the next time Pakistan players also play in HIL," he said.
The Times of India
Oltmans eyeing Asian Games to earn direct berth for Rio Olympics
NEW DELHI: Hockey India's High Performance Director Roelant Oltmans has set his sights on winning the gold medal in this year's Incheon Asian Games which would give the erstwhile champions of the game a direct ticket to the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Oltmans said the senior men's team showed signs of improvement during the just-concluded Hockey World League Final, where the host nation led by Sardar Singh stunned Olympic champions Germany 5-4 in their classification match and also put up a good show against Belgium, though they lost the game in the closing minutes of play.
"The aim would be to do good this year given the Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, World Cup and Champions Trophy. The year is important for Indian hockey. My most important priority is the Incheon Asian Games because that would act as a direct qualifier to the 2016 Rio Olympics. We are looking to get direct qualification," Oltmans said in an interview.
"We put up a good show against Germany and beat them in a classification match. It's a great morale booster. Obviously, we wanted to finish higher in the tournament but we are getting closer to our aim, which is to improve as a team. The team is adapting to the changing coaching strategies. We played some good hockey in parts in the HWL Final. We have to learn from these matches," he said.
India finished sixth ahead of Germany and Argentina in the HWL Final and Oltmans said his wards' performance in the eight-nation event showed that the team was moving in the right direction.
"We are not among the higher-ranked teams in the world but surely we are improving. I am happy where we are at the moment. The people of this country wants good performance from its hockey team on a consistent basis and for that we have to do well. It's about consistently performing against the best teams.
"We are on the right path and we are showing signs of improvement. We can't predict the outcome when we enter into a tournament but the aim is always to do well. We have progressed as a hockey team and I am sure that in a couple of years' time, we would be able to win medals," he said.
Placed 10th in the FIH rankings, the Indians had plenty of positives to take from this tournament as the sixth place finish will definitely give a major boost to their world rankings.
The relatively young Indian team had also held Germany to a 3-3 draw in the pool stages before beating them in the 5-8th place play-off game.
India had also started brilliantly against world champions Australia in the quarterfinal and took a 2-0 lead before running out of steam and finally losing 2-7.
Against fifth ranked Belgium, India had taken the lead in the 59th minute before conceding two late goals to lose the encounter.
As the talks veered towards the upcoming Hockey India League, where Oltmans would be seen as head coach of the last year's semi-finalists Uttar Pradesh Wizards, the Dutchman said the aim would be to reach the last-four stage of the tournament.
"We have a good mix of experience and youth. The aim would be to reach the semifinals and then we will see. It would be important to approach the tournament game by game, making the strategy match by match," he said.
Uttar Pradesh Wizards will open their campaign against Ranchi Rhinos in an away tie on January 26.
The UP team has signed up seven new players for this season in Ramandeep Singh (India), Nikkin Thimmaiah (India), Harmanpreet Singh (India), Jasjit Singh Kular (India), Iain Wallace Lewers (UK), Hugo Reid Inglis (New Zealand) and Shea Joseph Mc Aleese (New Zealand).
Oltmans said the preparations are going on in full swing and players are gelling up well with each other.
"The preparation is going on great. We have signed up seven new players for this season and that's a good news for the franchise. These signings would definitely bring new dynamics to the franchise. Boys are getting to know each other."
The veteran coach said the team is currently working on finding a right combination of players.
"We are searching for the right combination. We have 24 players and all are very good. We have to look at it depending on the game situation. The scheduling is tough and it's a big challenge for us. We have to be prepared in the best possible way," he signed off.
The Times of India
Walsh is right man to be men's hockey coach: Harendra
MUMBAI: Former India hockey coach Harendra Singh on Thursday came out in support of current coach Terry Walsh saying the ex-Australia forward was the right choice as the team had improved under him, but cautioned that further progress to medal status would be gradual.
"Terry Walsh has a huge experience. He is a world class coach. He mixes science with modern style of hockey. It has played a big role in bringing the result. He knows how to give space to the players and how they can take the decision. Walsh is the right choice for Indian hockey," Harendra said.
"We were in 10th position (and) after World Hockey League, we came to 8th. This is a process. Gradually we will come to top four and can also hope for medals.
"But if we aim to get the gold medal or a silver from our 8th position then it will be a bit over-ambitious. India will be in the top 4 in the 2018 World Cup (scheduled in India). It will take some time. We need to be patient," said Harendra.
"Walsh had taken charge one month back and, from 10, he has brought the team to the 8th position (ranking). He has still got one year and there is the Asian Games (in Incheon, South Korea, in September-October). The format has changed for Olympic qualifying and the Indian team is improving," he said.
Harendra expected India to finish in the top six in the upcoming World Cup in The Hague, Netherlands.
"In this World Cup, top 6 will be right place. In the 2016 Olympics (in Rio de Janeiro), top five should be the target," he remarked.
On the proposal sent by the Pakistan federation to revive the bilateral series with India, Harendra said it will help create a good pool of Indian and Pakistani players.
"I have always said that bilateral series should happen. India-Pakistan matches are such that every Indian and every Pakistani wants to see it. We will be able to create a household name through the bilateral series.
"It will also help in making a pool of Indian and Pakistan players. I hope Pakistan players will also get to participate in the Hockey India League next year, because of which we will get to see colourful hockey," he said, endorsing current Pakistan coach Tahir Zaman's view.
HIL commences on January 25 and Singh said the additional sixth team introduced this year, would have an impact on the league.
"The addition of Kalinga Lancers is one of the things everybody is looking forward to. Last year, out of the five teams, every body knew which four would qualify for the semi-finals. The extra team will create a huge impact in HIL," he said.
The Times of India
The bigger picture
Mufeed Mahdi Rizvi
Indian hockey, for the past few years, has only played for pride. There is hardly an instance when the team has been involved in a battle to finish on the podium. In contemporary settings, India's eighttime Olympic champion tag is turning out to be cruel joke.
This sob story is not confined to merely India's script, but transcends our international border to the North West and is the gripe of neighbours Pakistan as well. One-time world superpowers, the state of mind of the Subcontinent giants is so similar that no matter to whom and how many matches they lose in tournaments, a victory over the other, it appears, is turning out to be the only thing of any consequence.
Tahir Zaman, the former Pakistan hockey captain, believes it is important both sides focus on the bigger picture rather than look to put one over the other.
"That's a face-saving formula for both teams. We need to think beyond beating each other," Zaman said.
He blamed poor planning and arrogance for the decline of hockey in both nations. "In the times when we had good players like Dhanraj (Pillay) and Shahbaz (Ahmed) hockey was a fun sport in Europe. We were happy with the tag of world champion, Olympic champion, while the Europeans were busy breaking the Asian code," Zaman added.
"We never worked to capitalise on past glory. We should have dedicated hockey schools and institutions. But we were high on the past."
Hockey and its rules kept changing, but India and Pakistan failed to evolve. "Now, hockey is a full-time job for Europeans. In our days, players like the German captain Michael Green would pay a fee to play for a club. Now Europeans players are being provided with money, cars and a house and hence they are taking it seriously. They have become professional," said the Olympian.
Professionalism stems from an attitude of seriousness and, unfortunately, as Zaman puts it, players from the Subcontinent cannot be bothered by it. Our players appear far more distracted by the attractions of the modern world and these distractions have led to grave problems where commitment is concerned.
Zaman explains: "In our times, there were just a couple of TV channels, no mobile phones, no tablets, no Twitter, no Facebook; so the extra time would go in practice. Now, the players are busy tweeting, uploading pictures on Facebook and they have a whole lot of channels to surf in their free time.
"For us, hockey was both socialising and entertainment and hence we could produce top class players. These days, players are not investing the amount of time we used to put in practice. It is for the coaches to create an atmosphere where players happily come for practice. We have to make them addicted to hockey."
Zaman feels a patient approach towards results will help the dwindling fortunes of both nations. "If the federations are impatient so are the media and fans of both countries. It is the media pressure that ends up making the federations impatient. They too want quick results. So we need to understand, if the federations get a little bit of liberty from the media and fans, I am sure teams would do well.
Rs 1500 CR BOOST FOR HOCKEY
Star India, the country's leading sports network Star Sports, committed to invest in excess of Rs. 1500 crore in hockey over the next eight years in order to promote the game. Nitin Kukreja, head of sports business, Star India, said, "Our aim is to transform the sporting landscape and imbibe a culture of multiple sports in India.
Sports broadcasters in India have traditionally invested only in cricket but shied away from committing such heavy investments in other games. We are putting money where our mouth is. We believe hockey has potential for growth but needs certain key ingredients to come together." Star Sports is set to create a new global benchmark in hockey broadcasting with the telecast of the second edition of the Hockey India League (HIL).
The Times of India
Hockey needs strong administration to bring back golden days: Sidhu
RANCHI: Former cricketer Navjot Singh Sidhu on Thursday said that a strong system was required to bring back the golden days of Indian hockey.
"Hockey needs good administration and a strong system. So long a system is not built, hockey would never be able to stand up," Sidhu, who was here to launch a coffee table book on hockey, said.
Stressing the need of proper marketing of the game like that present in cricket, the former India opener said, "cricket's marketing is very strong.
To bring hockey at its par India should win at international levels. And it will happen only when hockey gets good company (administrators)," Sidhu pointed out.
Throwing his weight behind the Ranchi Rhinos, which is ready to defend the second edition of the Hockey India League ( HIL), the BJP MP from Amritsar, however, was in full praise of Corporate companies for helping the sport in its revival.
According to him, hockey was in "good hands" with the Corporate Companies slowly taking interest into it.
"Hockey is in good hands now... Corporate Companies, which are managing about 5000 people, have come forward to manage hockey and facilitating the game," he said.
The Times of India
Dilip Tirkey leads Dhyan Chand rally in Bhubneswar
With just handful days left before Bharat Ratna to be conferred to a sportsperson for the first time, the demand to honor Dhyan Chand with this prestigious award has gained momentum, at least in Bhubbeswar, where in a week's time the Hockey India League matches will be held with city's own team in the fray.
First rally for award of Bharat Ranta was held in the national capital on 8th Jan by hockey fans and former players -- organized by the Hockey Citizen Group -- before other cities have picked up, latest being Amritsar in Punjab
Hockey fans in Amritsar held a rally on 20th Jan demanding Bharat Ratna for hockey wizard Dhyan Chand.
Not to lack behind, Bhubaneswar have also picked up the gauntlet, geared up demanding the same.
In Bhubaneswar, sportspersons including former hockey captain Dilip Tirkey, Olympian sprinter Anuradha Biswal; former football captain Sradhanjali Samantray echoed the same.
Dilip Tirkey is a renowned hockey player and also Member of Parliament.
He even raised the issue with the government of India during a parliamentary debate last year.
Padamshree Dilip Tirkey and other sports personalities mentioned above took part in the rally that saw them walking down the main streets of Bhubneswar on Wednesday.
The government had announced the highest civilian award for Sachin Tendulkar last year after he retired from all forms of cricket.
“Let us not make it a Sachin Vs Dhyan Chand. Dhyan Chand is a legend and he should be conferred with this prestige "said Narinder Batra, Secretary, hockey India, on asked specifically on the issue during a press meet yesterday.
Certainly, he is missing the point. What has he or his organization has done to honour the legend he speaks about?
Dancer announced as Black Sticks Assistant Coach
Hockey New Zealand has announced Sean Dancer as assistant coach of the Black Sticks Women.
Dancer, who has worked for over four years at Wellington Hockey Association, replaces previous assistant coach Greg Nicol. He will start in the role on 1 February.
Head coach Mark Hager says “Along with enthusiasm and fresh thinking, Sean will bring with him a wealth of experience gained from his time coaching in Belgium, as well as his work with both Black Sticks Men’s and Women’s team over the last few years.”
It is a massive year of hockey with World Cup, Commonwealth Games and Champions Trophy all on the cards for the team in the next twelve months.
“The Black Sticks Women have proved they are a quality international side and I’m really looking forward to the opportunity and challenge of working as part of the programme,” says Dancer.
Dancer will join the team for their upcoming tour to San Diego in early February (departing 6 February), where they will play tests against the United States and Great Britain.
“Living in Wellington and working for Capital Hockey has been a fantastic experience. During my time here I have certainly enhanced my skills and I will miss the amazing hockey environment down here,” says Dancer.
Hockey New Zealand Media release
It’s an almighty mess in Malaysian hockey
ALL is not well in Malaysian hockey. It is a nest of intrigue and heavy politicking.
South African Paul Revington may be the latest victim of such a conspiracy plot. He first quit in June last year. Then, Revington was diplomatic about it, saying “outside interference” forced him to resign. He was then persuaded to return and he did.
Revington quit for the second time on Sunday. This time, there is no turning back. Again, he refused to say anything bad about the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC). Instead, he cited “health reasons”.
“Although I have tried extremely hard to fight the onset of a stress-related illness since June 2013, I am still not functioning close to my maximum capacity and it has been affecting the quality of my day-to-day work,” said Revington in his press conference on Monday.
Although he did not say it, Revington is believed to be fed up of the politicking and decided to throw in the towel with the World Cup Finals just five months away.
Revington’s decision to quit came as no surprise to the hockey fraternity.
Rumours of him quitting started swirling two months ago. And there was talk of K. Dharmaraj and his coaching staff of K. Gobinathan and Nor Azlan Bakar being given the job of handling the national team.
True enough, soon after Revington resigned, Dharmaraj and Co were given the job of taking the side to the Finals.
Revington had completed the hard part – helping Malaysia qualify for the Finals. Under Revington, the national side improved by leaps and bounds and they made the Finals for the first time since 2002.
The MHC have set the team the target of a 10th place finish out of 12 teams in the Finals. It’s certainly not a difficult task for Revington to fulfil it but he chose not to be a part of the team any more.
What was also shocking was the absence of the coaching committee members, including chairman Manjit Majid Abdullah, when the MHC announced Revington’s replacement on Sunday.
In the past, the appointments of coaches were discussed by the coaching committee and their recommendations were then brought to the MHC council for ratification. Surprisingly, this did not happen on Sunday.
Then, what is the role of the coaching committee?
This is certainly food for thought.
It’s high time the MHC appointed an independent panel to check if there is outside interference which caused Revington to give up.
He has coached for 12 years now. Before coming to Malaysia, he was coach of South Africa and then Ireland.
“The pressure level then was greater than what I faced here in Malaysia,” he said on Monday.
And yet five months before the biggest event in world hockey, he chose to quit.
It really does make one wonder!
MHS worry for UniKL
DANGER: Malacca side capable of denting league title hopes
By JUGJET SINGH
UNIKL Young Guns will face an early test in Division One of the Junior Hockey League against Malacca High School (MHS) at the Malacca Stadium today.
Having only played one game so far despite the JHL entering its third week, UniKL have yet to find their footing as they struggled to beat KL Sports School 2-0 two weeks ago.
UniKL are wary of the pitfalls that await them in Malacca as MHS have the tendency to raise their game and stun any team that are overconfident.
"We have had a two-week rest where I worked on some of the shortfalls that were spotted against KLSS. I also emphasised on physical conditioning as the next few weeks will see us playing back to back matches," said UniKL coach Rodhanizam Radzi.
Rodhanizam, a former national player, knows that MHS will be hard to crack.
"We cannot even afford a draw as that will leave us trailing leaders Thunderbolts and that will not be good at such an early stage."
MHS have played three matches, drawing against Anderson 1-1 in their opening match before playing to a 2-2 draw against KLSS last Saturday. However, MHS lost 3-1 to Petaling Jaya Municipal Council in their third match.
Defending champions Thunderbolts are at the top of the Division One table, and will play PJCC in Taman Daya today.
Thunderbolts smashed Anderson of Ipoh 7-0 last weekend.
TODAY -- Division One: SSTMI Thunderbolts v Petaling Jaya CC (5pm, Taman Daya); MHS v UniKL Young Guns (5pm, Malacca).
Division 2A: 1MAS Penang v Nur Insafi (5pm, USM Stadium).
Division 2B: 1MAS Perak v KLSS Juniors (5pm, Azlan Shah Stadium); MSSD Larut Matang-Selama v Olak-PKT (5pm, Kuala Kangsar).
Division 2C: SM Sains Johor v SMK Datuk Taha (5pm, Batu Pahat); BJSS Juniors v Politeknik KPM (5pm, Ministry of Education Stadium Pantai).
New Straits Times
Fatima, Providence in stylish starts
Fatima College’s Teague Marcano, second from left, scores past St Mary’s College goalkeeper Liam Durity in their T&T Hockey Board Secondary Schools Outdoor League Boys’ Division match at St James Barracks, Western Main Road, St James, on Wednesday. Also in the photo are St Mary’s players from left, Che Modeste, Luke Walker, Jarryon Paul and Fatima’s Jordan Weekes. Fatima won 3-1. Photo: Anthony Harris
Nataional youth team duo, Teague Marcano of Fatima College and Dana-Lee De Gannes of Providence Girls’ High School both scored braces to lead their respective schools to victories when the T&T Hockey Board Secondary Schools Outdoor League flicked off under blistering hot sun at St James Barracks, Western Main Road, St James, on Wednesday.
In the opening match of the day, De Gannes, who also plays for Notre Dame, and schoolmate Shaniah De Freitas of Shandy Carib Magnolias got the goals for Providence in a 3-0 blanking of rivals, St Joseph Convent, Port-of-Spain.
Malvern’s rising star, Marcano and Jordan Weekes’ with a lone strike combined to lead Fatima past St Mary’s College, 3-1 in another clash of long-time rivals. For the “Saints” Craig Cockburn of Queen’s Park got their lone item.
Today, matches continue at the same venue from 3.15 pm with Holy Name Convent and South East Port-of-Spain squaring off in a girl’s contest followed by QRC and South East Port-of-Spain boys one hour later.
In an effort to encourage participation at the youth level and increase the numbers involved in the sport, the TTHB and its Development Committee have made a concerted effort to get traditional hockey playing schools as well as schools involved in its Development Programme involved.
The league comprises six boys teams and five girls teams in all, with matches being played every Wednesday and Friday until February 28.
For the schools which have recently become involved in the TTHB’s Development Programme the TTHB will host its Secondary Schools Minor-League Tournament on March 21 from 8 am to 5 pm at the National Hockey Centre, Tacarigua, for schools in the North, West and East Zones and at Debe High School, Debe for schools in the South and Central Zones.
The sponsors of this league are the Sport Company of T&T and Blue Waters.
T&THB Secondary Schools League results
Fatima College 3 (Teague Marcano 2, Jordan Weekes) vs St Mary’s College 1 (Craig Cockburn)
Providence Girls 3 (Dana-Lee De Gannes 2, Shanian De Freitas) vs St Joseph Convent (PoS) 0
Holy Name vs SEPoS, 3.15pm
QRC vs SEPoS, 4.15pm; CIC vs Debe High, 5.15pm
Wednesday January 29
Holy Name vs Woodbrook, 3.15pm
QRC vs Woodbrook, 4.15pm
Friday January 31
SEPoS vs Providence, 3.15pm
SEPoS vs Fatima, 4.15pm
The Trinidad Guardian
Volunteers impress the FIH President at National Hockey Museum
By Dil Bahra
Leandro Negre studing the Hockey Timeline at the Museum which showed the formation of the FIH in 1924. Photo: Dil Bahra
FIH President Leandro Negre visited the National Hockey Museum at Woking, England on Wednesday, 22nd January 2014.
Negre, a great supporter of the Museum since it was established in January 2012, is very passionate about preserving the heritage of hockey. Tight schedule prevented him visiting the Museum during the London Olympic Games. And at the official launch he was committed to a Dutch Hockey Club who were celebrating their centenary on the same day.
He toured the Museum and spent some time looking at the various collections of archives and artefacts at the Museum.
He spoke with many of the volunteers working at the Museum. “I am pleased to meet so many volunteers and very impressed with how dedicated and organised they appear” remarked Negre.
He presented the Museum a limited edition of a hockey print of a painting by Jordi Aluma, the well known Spainish artist.
National Hockey Museum media release