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News for 03 February 2015

All the news for Tuesday 3 February 2015

Inspired goalkeeper denies SA a series win

JONATHAN COOK at Hartleyvale

SA penalty corner drag-flicker Lilian du Plessis follows through as Nicolene Terblanche watches intently during the sixth Test at Hartleyvale in Cape Town Monday. PHOTO CREDIT ACTION PIX

An inspired goalkeeping display by Megane Simons was the key factor in Belgium’s series-levelling 3-1 win over the Investec South Africa women’s hockey team in Cape Town Monday night.

The Europeans led 1-0 at half-time and the result leaves this thrilling six-Test series tied 2-2 with two Tests drawn.

Two early SA efforts were saved on the Belgium goalline while a number of other great opportunities were thwarted by Simons.

In the third minute a one-two between Anouk Raes and Barbara Nelen down the right saw the shot slam into the side-netting. Shortly after Aline Fobe’s long pass found Jill Boon and Nicolene Terblanche pulled off a brilliant tackle to deny Belgium’s forward in mid-strike mode.

In the sixth, SA captain for the Test Sulette Damons fired a pinpoint cross from the right and Dirkie Chamberlain’s delicate touch was somehow scrambled off the goalline. A penalty corner ensued and Lilian du Plessis’ drag-flick was pulled off the goalline by a full-stretch from defender Stephanie de Groof.

Would Belgium’s two get-out-of-jail plays be the turning point in this series decider?

SA defender Nicole Walraven effected a superb tackle to snuff out a dangerous Belgian play in the strike zone as the high-class action swung from end to end.

In the 12th, Stephanie van den Borre rifled a backhand strike just past the post. SA central defender Lisa Deetlefs made a top tackle to nullify a dangerous turnover ball a minute later before Christine Roos stretched across to block another Belgian move.

It was two minutes into the second of the four 15-minute chukkas when Judith Vandermeiren found an unmarked Stephanie van den Borre lurking just behind the frontrunners and the Belgian made no mistake (1-0 in the 17th minute).

Then SA keeper Hanli Hattingh made a well-timed intervention before Tanya Britz was desperately unfortunate not to equalise in the opposite strike zone but full credit to Belgium keeper Simons for a fine smother tackle.

In the 22nd Belgium captain Lieselotte van Lindt cut in from the right but Hattingh had her covered. A minute later the Europeans won a PC but nothing came of it.

Both of these very good teams had opportunities as the half-time whistle neared but Belgium turned around for the third chukka 1-0 up and two minutes in, Damons was terribly unlucky not to equalise but Simons was brilliant at the same time. More chances came SA’s way in quick succession and the massive pressure led to a penalty stroke which Chamberlain converted with aplomb for 1-1 in the 34th minute.

SA conceded a soft PC shortly after and De Groof slapped the ball just inside the near post to put Belgium 2-1 ahead in the 36th minute.

Chamberlain was denied by inspired keeper Simons before Roos and Walraven combined to foil Belgium at the other end. Then Van den Borre fired a rising backhand shot that SA substitute keeper Sanani Mangisa coolly stick-saved to her right.

A minute into the fourth and final chukka Damons cracked a pinpoint cross from the right and Du Plessis unleashed a reverse-stick rocket that Simons saved in superlative fashion.

The contact points became increasingly physical as the clock wound down, Belgium reacting with an annoyance that did not go down well with the umpires.

With four minutes left Damons was denied by the on-fire Simons in another close call for Belgium. But a minute later the Europeans won a PC and De Groof’s slap-shot slammed into the backboard for 3-1 in the 57th minute.

With 16 seconds to go, SA won a PC but Simons’ save underlined just how important her role was in Belgium levelling the series 2-2.

Investec SA: Hanli Hattingh (GK), Erin Hunter, Lisa Deetlefs, Nicole Walraven, Nicolene Terblanche, Illse Davids, Shelley Russell, Bernie Coston, Lilian du Plessis, Sulette Damons (capt), Dirkie Chamberlain. Rolling subs: Sanani Mangisa (GK), Christine Roos, Line Malan, Quanita Bobbs, Jade Mayne, Tanya Britz, Jacinta Jubb.
Belgium: Megane Simons (GK), Louise Cavenaile, Aline Fobe, Stephanie de Groof, Anouk Raes, Judith Vandermeiren, Emilie Sinia, Barbara Nelen, Stephanie van den Borre, Jill Boon, Joanne Peeters. Rolling subs: Aisling D’Hooghe (GK), Anne-Sophie Scheemaekere, Emma Puvrez, Lieselotte van Lindt (capt), Anne-Sophie Weyns, Manon Simons, Caroline Wagemans.
Umpires: Lyndal Robertson, Claire Cowan.

Tests 1 and 2 drawn 1-1 and 3-3 respectively.
SA won Tests 3 and 5 by 3-2 and 1-0 respectively.
Belgium won Test 4 by 3-2 and Test 6 by 3-1.

SA Hockey Association media release

Countdown to action

Hear from some of the coaches and players who will be competing in the 2015 Indoor Hockey World Cup

Kiki Collot d'Escury playing for the Netherlands (Photo: Frank Uijlenbroek)

With less than 48 hours before the fourth Indoor Hockey World Cup gets underway, the excitement in the German city of Leipzig is really ramping up. Players, coaches and spectators are all abuzz with anticipation as the showcase event prepares to burst into action.

We talk to some of the players and coaches who will be participating in the event.

Sweden men are making their debut at this year’s World Cup and Erik Ströby and Johan Björkman are two of the players hoping to help their team make an impact on the international stage. 27-year-old Ströby currently plays his club hockey for Partille SC, while 21-year-old Björkman is a future star of the game. He plays for HTHC in Germany, where he was a member of the team that won the Euro Hockey League. He was also top-scorer and voted best player at the EuroHockey Indoor Nations Championship.

Björkman has no qualms about facing his club colleagues when Sweden play Germany: “I am really looking forward to playing Germany and Austria, they are finalists from last year’s Euro’s, so that will be a great challenge.”

And Ströby echoes his teammate’s sentiments: ‘My feelings going into the World Cup are mixed, but mainly I feel excited. It will be a blast to play against the best indoor nations in the world.”

Björkman adds: “Playing at the World Cup is perhaps the biggest event that’s happened for Swedish hockey. I hope that all the other young players all over Europe, but especially Sweden, will see that even a small country can make it to the World Cup with a lot of hard work and dedication.”

One team that is always expected to perform well at any hockey event is the Netherlands. The coach to the women’s team is Marieke Dijkstra. She said that preparations for the event had gone well and the team would be looking for a podium finish.

“Over the last couple of years we have improved our technique and tactics, and we have experienced players in the side,” she said. “Being the European Champions last year does put us under some pressure, but we have the added motivation of wanting to emulate the success of the outdoor team.”

Laurien Leurink is a member of the Dutch squad. She says: “Every match will be a new challenge, playing against a different country with different game tactics. We are especially looking forward to playing against non-European participants, like South Africa. And of course we are also really looking forward to playing against Poland. Our semi-final against them last year, at the European Championships, was very exciting.”

And Kiki Collot d'Escury, also of the Netherlands, adds: “We all very passionate about the indoor game. It’s an intensive game, when you work with such a small group (12 instead of 18), you become very close and depend on each other, even more on the field. When you are on the indoor pitch, you are always involved in the game, whereas in the outdoor game you can have moments in which you are not really participating, the indoor game does not give you that option.”

One team that will be an unknown quantity is Iran. The men’s team are Asian Indoor Hockey Champions and they come to the World Cup with high hopes of putting indoor hockey on the map in Iran.

Coach Esfandyar Safaei, says: “Although we are in a very tough group, our team is technically well-prepared and in very high spirits.” And Binavand, who is part of the Iranian squad, adds: “I am looking forwards to playing Germany because technically they are the best side. I hope that we play great hockey and gain lots of new fans.”

Switzerland men are another team hopeful of making the quarter-final stages. Their coach, Christian Stengler, says: “We are looking forward to a very competitive pool and we are aware that it will be getting the little things right which will make the difference. Our focus is to improve match by match to seize the chance going through the pool successfully.

“Our leading players have had experience of playing abroad, especially in Germany. Manuel Keller, Nicolas Steffen (both Düsseldorfer HC) and Yanik Kloter (Harvestehuder THC). This is important experience that they are bringing to the squad.”

And finally, some words from the other debutantes at this year’s Indoor Hockey World Cup, Belgium. Coach Quentin Noel says: “Our team is still very young, but our goal is to gain experience at this level, learn as much as we can and capitalise on it with a view to competing at the forthcoming EuroHockey Indoor Nations Championship in 2016.

“We are four years ahead of our schedule, based on our initial development plan. We are realistic, but a top eight finish would be a fantastic achievement.”

FIH site

Stage is set for Indoor World Cups in Leipzig

Canadian men and women represent the Americas

Yan Huckendubler, in Leipzig

The Leipzig Arena (7,000 seats) is buzzing with activity in preparation for the Men’s and Women’s Indoor World Cups, starting on Wednesday February 4. It is the second time that this spectacular venue plays host to the world top indoor competition, after the inaugural edition was organized here in 2003.

Both Canadian men’s and women’s teams qualified for this elite indoor competition by winning, in style, the 2014 Indoor Pan American Cups in Montevideo. The men beat the USA in the final (4-2), while the women won their final against arch-rivals Argentina (3-1) after cleanly disposing of the USA in semi-final (5-0).

The Canadian men have qualified for all the Indoor World Cups and are so far the only non-European team to achieve a top-six finish on the world stage. They had their best showing in their first appearance (2003) with strong results against some top European powerhouses: win against Switzerland (5-4, four goals from Wayne Fernandes), ties with Russia (3-3) and Czech Republic (5-5). The match against the Czechs was not for the faint of heart, with Canada behind by two goals entering the final minute of play, scoring a penalty-corner then tying the game on a goal by Robin D’Abreo with… three seconds left on the clock!

That year, Canada missed the semi-finals by a whisker, and played for fifth place against the Netherlands on the final afternoon in a jam-packed arena. The Canadians played another crowd-pleaser, finishing tied in regulation time (4-4) and losing only on penalty-strokes despite three saves from goal-keeper Hari Kant.

The Canadian men finished one step lower (7th) in 2007 in Vienna, Austria, and had their poorest result (10th) in 2011 in Poznan, Poland.

They return this year with a strong team, with extensive international indoor experience: eight players in the 12-man roster have played in a previous Indoor World Cup, five of them playing in their third IWC and goal-keeper Shankar Premakanthan making his fourth appearance, one of only three players having participated in all Indoor World Cups! Averaging more than 30 Indoor Caps per player, they will be led by Jeewanjot Singh Bath (55 Indoor Caps) and by Ken Pereira (44 Indoor Caps and 348 outdoor Caps) who, at 41, seems fitter and more enthusiastic than ever.

Even before the start of the competition, this team is on record as having the youngest player (Lyle Fernandes, 16), the oldest player (Ken Pereira, 41) and the most capped player (Jeewanjot Singh Bath, 55)!

Ranked 7th in the world, Canada will play in Pool B in Leipzig, facing powerhouses such as Poland (ranked 2nd, silver medalists in all previous Indoor World Cups), Russia (3rd) and the Netherlands (6th), as well as Switzerland (11th) and South Africa (15th). The top four in each pool advance to the quarter-finals.

The Canadian women, who did not attempt to qualify for the first Indoor World Cup, swept the opposition at the next Indoor Pan American Cup and finished 9th at their first participation on the world stage in 2007 in Vienna. After missing the 2011 edition, they come back this year with a young roster built with experienced indoor players. They showed their determination from the very start of the Indoor Pan American Cup, blowing away Argentina… 10-0.

With only Malinda Hapuarachchi having participated in a previous Indoor World Cup and less than 10 indoor Caps per player on average, they might however lack international exposure. They will also sorely miss Amanda Woodcroft, Player of the Tournament at the Indoor Pan American Cup but called for duty with the outdoor squad for a Test Series in New Zealand the very same week as the competition in Leipzig.

The Canadian women (ranked 12th in the world, but 9th in the competition) will need to be immediately at the top of their game as they face the two strongest teams in their pool on opening day: Austria (ranked 4th) first, followed by current World Champions Germany supported by their boisterous home crowd. They will then play Ukraine (5th), Australia (8th) and newcomer Belgium (22nd).

The Indoor World Cup starts on Wednesday February 4 with 24 matches (on two courts), then 24 more matches on Thursday, “only” 20 matches on Friday, 16 matches on Saturday and 8 matches on the final day, Sunday February 8.

Live streaming will be available on the FIH web site as of the quarter-finals.

Canada – Men

Canada – Women

Shankar Premakanthan (GK)

Kyesia O'Neale

Micah Teixeira

Anna Easty

Devohn Noronha Teixeira

Kaelan Watson

Jonathan Roberts

Alison Lee

Lyle Fernandes

Jacqueline Trautman

Ken Pereira [C]

Madison Thompson

Sean Barretto

Malinda Hapuarachchi

Tyler Branco

Kri Shier [C]

Jeewanjot Singh Bath

Angela Lancaster

Scott Sandison

Erin Houle

Gurtej Dhaliwal

Jocelyn Mitchell

Pardeep Koonar (GK)

Kathryn Williams (GK)



Louis Mendonca, Coach

John De Souza, Coach

Reginald Pereira, Assistant Coach

Paul Bundy, Assistant Coach

Jagroop Bal, Manager

Cassius Mendonca, Manager

Elwin Lau, Physiotherapist

Amanda Halls, Physiotherapist

Dmitri Chipilo, Video Technician


Field Hockey Canada media release

Indoor World Cup: one day to go

Indoor men beat CAN & RSA in warm-ups

With the Australian men’s indoor hockey team in Europe, preparing for the forthcoming Indoor World Cup in Leipzig (4-8 February), Team Manager Brent Deans is providing a series of short updates exclusively for the Hockey Australia website.

The newest diary entry is nearest the top.

During the tournament we’ll have reports and photos from every match (men’s and women’s). For the details of the squad and the tournament fixture card visit our Australian Indoor team page.

You can follow the team on Instragram at @indoorhockeyaus.

2nd February: The hotel is starting to buzz with all teams now in; Australia, the Netherlands, Canada, Iran and Kazakhstan.We had a late game so a late start and then some rehab with the rollers. Training and a match today, so not as busy as yesterday but still constant, plus the official meetings commence as well so having to balance where everyone needs to be. The right people in the right place at the right time!

We had a small meeting mid-morning, re-enforcing focus points for training and the training match against Canada. Again, low key PCA focus and some technical work in hall two and then move to the show hall for the match. This was be the first time we have played in the show hall, plus using the tournament balls. The floor is still very slow and the yellow balls didn't seem as hard as the orange ones we have been using. The practice match was just that with both teams looking at different areas. Although we were not too happy with our performance, we again managed the match well and finished with a positive result. There were a number of people watching which was nice and some teams making a video, which is really not the done thing, but we are OK.

Then back to the hotel for the pool and an evening of treatment. We are very, very lucky to have such a professional physio with us. Leigh is doing a fantastic job and is very much appreciated by everyone in the team. I believe this is one of the key areas for any future trips, we really need to look after player welfare.

Dinner and a small meeting for me to update on the tournament meetings I had been at for most of the day. Nothing too dramatic but better to be informed.

The tournament is coming closer and the Budgies are relaxed and working on the focus of our first match!

1st February: We went to the hall early so some the guys could take their time and have a good look around the venue, Arena Leipzig. There will be two halls used, one with some 5000-6000 seats, which is impressive. The small hall is minimal with about 100 seats. We play two matches in the main hall and three in the small hall, which for us is OK. The three in the small hall are the important matches for us.

Some relaxed training, really working on the PCA (penalty corner attack) we must be better for the tournament. Back to the hotel, which is very nice, for some lunch and then some rest and a small meeting. We trained and had a practice match with South Africa early afternoon, so transport back to the hall for 6:00pm training; again light training, PCA and some technical work, a bit of rest while South Africa did their warm-up and then a practice match. Anthony's focus was on just working on the types of play we have developed that we need to practice for our first match, so the framework was set.

The guys did really well and were able to control the match, scoring four goals and keeping a clean sheet. The second half went much the same way again, scoring four goals with S. Africa netting two. A really good work out, good warm down and back to the hotel for a pool session. The guys are now well into a routine. Dinner then rest. More of the same tomorrow.

31st January: After the big match last night, we were able to have a restful morning before travelling by bus to Leipzig, leaving Poznan at 12 noon, with the Qatar national hockey team. This was a really good solution for both teams as we could share the cost. Both teams had lots of luggage, which we just managed to fit into the bus. The journey time was about five hours with a 45 minute stop at the Polish border.

The time passed quickly with many taking the opportunity to sleep and just relax. We arrived into Leipzig just before 6:00pm and quickly got ourselves settled into the rooms. The hotel is very nice with quite a lot of facilities. We took dinner at 7:00pm and then the guys went for a pool session with Leigh. Day well over, all starts tomorrow.

30th January: Yes it's officially unofficial! The men's indoor team have named themselves "the Budgies". This came from a workshop on team identity and the guys have taken the name from their swim ware and in a really positive way embraced the name. In some years to come there will be a trivia question, which national sporting team are known as "the Budgies"…one to remember. People may ask when speaking about hockey, did you play for the Kookaburras? And the answer for most will be “no, I played for the Budgies”. So, for all the supporters attending the Indoor World Cup, we would love to hear the call "come on Budgies".

Not too early a start today after the match last night, a good sleep-in. Our second match tonight against Poland. Walking at 9:00am, then breakfast. Then time for a good hour on the rollers and stretching, which the guys appreciated. We had a team meeting, which was based on the team groups presenting video clips of areas that we did well and areas we need to improve. A really good workshop with all the guys giving input. As the hotel is currently being refurbished, we had the meeting in a landing on our floor. Unfortunately, we got a bit loud and one of the guests reminded us where we were. Sorry.

To finish off the morning session we have individual meetings, a bit like speed dating - good to just keep the finger on the pulse.

Then rest/me time for the guys until 4:00pm when the clock for the evening match started. A light meal at 5:00pm and then start to get ready and off to the hall at 6:30. Always good to be early and as the time in the hall was limited we need to be ready to start at 7:30pm.

The match started at the same pace as the day before with good ball movement on both sides. Poland forced a PC in the first five minutes; they were really out to show their authority and the PC was converted. Finding ourselves 1-0 down we stuck to our plan and within two minutes we equalised, 1-1.

The standard of play was really high and there was not much difference between the teams. Poland took the lead again after ten through a PC for 2-1. We forced a PC but were unable to convert. With the first half coming to an end we equalised to make it 2-2 at the break.

The second half continued at the same pace and through a couple of our errors Poland jumped out to a 4-2 lead. We forced two more PCs but were not able to convert. It took until the 33rd minute to score a field goal to close the gap to 4-3. In an effort to force the game we were caught on the break but to the defence’s credit the shot was stopped but a stroke was awarded and converted for 5-3. In the final two minutes we played five field players (removing the goalkeeper) and had a couple of chances to score with the shots going wide. At the end it finished Poland 5-3 but we were very much in the game.

At the end, both teams came away pleased with the two match Test series. Our second camp is now over and we head off to Leipzig in a really positive frame of mind, we have made big steps.

29th January: Really crisp morning today, the sun is up but no heat coming from it at all! The day started with the normal walk and stretch, then breakfast, some treatment and then off to the hall for the test match against Poland.

The guys were feeling pretty good after the game against Grunwald and were looking forward to the challenge. Poland have been one of the top four nations at the past three Indoor World Cups, so they have some pedigree.

Once at the hall Anthony led the team meeting outlining the framework the team would play by. Some really positive stuff from the night before was the PC defence and that was highlighted.
The match was capped and as such started with both teams lining up and national anthems played, a really good feeling for all involved. The match was played in front of a small enthusiastic crowd.

The match started at a good tempo and we were able to match and in some cases out play Poland. Both teams were able to create goal opportunities and with nine minutes gone in the first half we gave away an unnecessary PC, which Poland converted. The positive was we continued to play at a high tempo and should have equalised through PC opportunities. Half time 1-0 down but encouraged enough to know we were very much in the game. The second half continued in much the same speed as the first; we were pushing and gained a PC early in the half. Unfortunately the movement broke down and Poland were able to break and score on the counter. We had gone from the verge of equalising to being two goals down. The positive was we still had time and confidence we could gain a result. Our persistence paid off and from another PC we converted to close the gap. The goal gave us a life and within a couple of minutes we were awarded a penalty stroke. Their GK made a great save to keep their one goal advantage, which Poland were able to keep to the final whistle. At the end the guys were both disappointed and pleased that we were able to run Poland so hard. 2-1 defeat the final score.

We had agreed with Poland before the match that we would have a penalty shootout, as the shootout will be used in the World Cup. Wow, the guys did really well and were clinical in converting as well as saving the Polish shots. A good warm-down and as a special treatment our liaison had arranged for students at the University to provide sports massages, which were appreciated.

After lunch the guys had free time which all were looking forward to. Some went to the shops but most just relaxed. Team meeting at 6pm where we reviewed the Polish match. Then out to dinner in the old town, a brisk 15 minutes’ walk with some sleeting snow, but not enough to stop you from walking. Back to the accommodation after a good day. The second match against Poland will be Friday night, so we are expecting a good crowd to come and watch the action.

Hockey Australia media release

Hero Hockey India League: Jaypee Punjab Warriors dominate early stages

Dwyer’s dazzlers claim four wins and a draw from opening five matches

(Photo: Hockey India)

Mohali-based franchise Jaypee Punjab Warriors have made a sensational start to the 2015 edition of the Hero Hockey India League, claiming four victories and one draw in their first five matches of the competition.

Following an entertaining 3-3 tie away at Dabang Mumbai in their opening fixture, the team captained by legendary Kookaburra Jamie Dwyer and coached by fellow Australian Barry Dancer have put together a four match winning streak to sit comfortably at the top of the HHIL league table. Home wins over Kalinga Lancers (4-2) and Uttar Pradesh Wizards (3-2) before claiming two high quality away victories over 2014 winners Delhi Wave Riders (1-3) and Kalinga Lancers (1-2) to confirm themselves as early front-runners.

The Warriors’ excellent form has certainly been helped by world class performances from not only Dwyer but also India defender and penalty corner expert Sandeep Singh, who has bagged five goals in this season’s HHIL to sit at the top of the scorers’ chart. Dwyer has contributed with three goals and sits joint second in the top scorers table alongside Ashley Jackson (Ranchi Rays – England & Great Britain), Barry Middleton (Ranchi Rays – England & Great Britain), Akashdeep Singh (Delhi Wave Riders – India), Gurjinder Singh (Kalinga Lancers – India) and VR Raghunath (Uttar Pradhesh Wizards – India).

Uttar Pradesh Wizards sit second in the table with two wins, one draw and one defeat from their opening four matches, having played one game less than the Warriors. That will all change in the coming days, with the Wizards looking forward to two huge home games in successive days. On 3rd February, the Wizards will be aiming to get maximum points against Ranchi Rays before a mouth-watering meeting with Jaypee Punjab Warriors on 4th February.

You can keep track of all the action from the Hero Hockey India League on the official tournament website and on their Twitter and Facebook social media channels. To see the star-studded squad lists, click the links below.

Debang Mumbai

Delhi Waveriders

Jaypee Punjab Warriors

Kalinga Lancers

Ranchi Rays

Uttar Pradesh Wizards

FIH site

Gurjinder handed two-match suspension

NEW DELHI: Kalinga Lancers' drag-flicker Gurjinder Singh was today handed a two-match suspension for physically assaulting a Jaypee Punjab Warriors player during their Hero Hockey India League (HHIL) match at Bhubaneswar.

The Disciplinary Committee of the HHIL met on Monday to discuss the conduct of Gurjinder in Sunday's match between the Lancers and Warriors.

"The incident involved Gurjinder physically assaulting a player from the opponent team which clearly breached the HHIL Code of Conduct. The incident was proved by the video footage as well as Gurjinder accepting the assault on the field. HHIL Disciplinary Committee has suspended Gurjinder Singh from two matches," HHIL said in a statement.

As per the suspension, Gurjinder will not be able to play the match against Ranchi Rays (February 6) and Dabang Mumbai (February 8).

Gurjinder had scored the only goal during his team's 1-2 defeat against Punjab on Sunday.

The Times of India

Hockey continue to enthrall spectators at 35th National Games

KERALA: The 35th Indian National Games witnessed four back to back hockey matches and showcased some great talent amongst the young eves who showcased the hunger to win in their clashes against the opponents. Great stick work and seamless co-ordination on the field ensured that the spectators had an entertaining day at the New Hockey Stadium, Kollam (Kerala). In the four matches played on Monday, Punjab defeated Jharkhand 2-1, Maharashtra trounced Uttar Pradesh 3-0, Haryana eves crushed Karnataka 9-2 and Odisha overcame Kerala 3-0.

In the first match of the day, Jharkhand women scored the opening goal against Punjab as early as in the 16th minute into the game when Etwari successfully converted a penalty corner. In the second half, Punjab made a comeback with a field goal when Anuradha Thokchom made no mistake in finding the nets in the 36th minute and helping her team level the score. Realising that they had an edge on the situation, Punjab maintained the pressure on Jharkhand and in the 48th minute Punjab through Reena Rani converted a penalty corner. The goal helped Punjab win the match by 2-1.

The second game saw absolute dominance of Maharashtra Women over Uttar Pradesh as they crushed Uttar Pradesh 3-0 to win the match. Jameela Bano scored the initial goal for Maharashtra in the dying minutes of the first half giving her side a lead of 1-0. In the second half, Vidyarthi Kavitha scored a stupendous field goal in the 53rd minute closely followed by a penalty corner goal by Rijuta Kumar in the 66th minute. With an insurmountable lead of 3-0, Maharashtra women registered a triumph over Uttar Pradesh.

The third match between Haryana and Karnataka witnessed Haryana eves thrashing Karnataka for a 9-2 win. The first goal for Haryana came in as early as in the 2nd minute of the game from the stick of Monica Dahiya followed by another goal from her in the 5th minute, both being penalty corner conversions. Monica Dahiya and Preeti of Haryana struck thrice to score for their team, with their efforts being soared up by Devika Sen who scored two goals and Nicky who scored one goal to give Haryana an unsurpassable lead over Karnataka. Ranjitha and Niha of Karnataka scored a goal each for their team. The final scores stood at 9-2, announcing a well deserved win for Haryana women.

The last match for the day between Odisha and Kerala saw the visiting team defeating the hosts 3-0. Nil Projitha Majhi scored the opening goal for Odisha just 2 minutes into the game. Maintaining the pressure Odisha scored their second goal when Ambika Toppo flawlessly converted a penalty corner into a goal in the 28th minute. Moully Yadav scored the third goal of the game for Odisha in the 69th minute. At the blow of the final whistle, the scoreboard showed a score of 3-0, declaring Odisha the winners of the game.

The Times of India

Pakistan can regain lost hockey glory in three years: Shahbaz

Kashif Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Shahbaz Ahmed Senior reckons Pakistan can regain its lost glory in hockey in a three-year span provided sincere efforts are made.

The Pakistan hockey great said the country is “blessed with natural talent” in the game but the “power struggles and corruption” in the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) have destroyed the game over the last 15 years.

“We were world champions four times but we were unable to qualify for the last edition of World Cup,” Shahbaz, the captain of Pakistan’s 1994 World Cup-winning team, said while talking to Dawn on the sidelines of the recently-concluded Chief of Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup at the Army Hockey Stadium.

“What have the [federations] done with the game over the years?” he asked. “I’m really disappointed with what has happened.”

Shahbaz, who leads the list of Pakistan’s most-capped international player with 304 appearances, said the incumbent federation has done well but there is still a lot of work to be done.

“I believe there is no death of talent in the country and with sincere efforts the situation can be improved in a few months and in three years’ time we can bring back our former glory,” he said.

The former forward, who leads the list of Pakistan’s most-capped international player with 304 appearances, said the national team’s runners-up finish at the Asian Games and the Champions Trophy can’t be termed “a big success”.

“Victory in a few games can’t be declared a big success,” he said. “Pakistan is a team which has won every major title in the sport and the current performance of the team isn’t satisfactory.”

Noting the action at the COAS Challenge Hockey Cup, Shahbaz said he found the players lacking in several aspects of the game. “I’m seeing lack of coordination in all young teams and most importantly, the players’ fitness level isn’t appreciable,” he said.

And the man, whose superb technique earned him the title of being ‘The Maradona of Hockey’ in reference to Argentine football wizard Diego Maradona, said the PHF should focus on improving the game from the grassroots level.

Following his retirement from the game, Shahbaz served as a station manager in Saudi Arabia but the thought of giving back to the country — and the game — is not lost on him.

“I performed my duties at Saudi Arabia for a long time and you can say that now that I’ve shifted back to Pakistan,” he said.

“I’m ready to play my role of training the young lot but I’ll give just six months’ time to the PHF. After that, if they are serious in utilizing my experience then I’ll continue serving the game, otherwise I’ve a lot of others thing to do.”


Akhtar Rasool praises holding of COAS Hockey Cup

LAHORE: Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Akhtar Rasool hailed Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif’s “timely decision” to patronise the game by organising the inaugural Chief of Army Staff Challenge Hockey Cup in Rawalpindi and awarding lucrative cash prizes to the top teams.

Akhtar is struggling to raise funds for the game as he tries to improve PHF’s financial position with the federal government yet to release the annual grant to it and said the players were happy as big cash prizes were at stake in the tournament.

The COAS Challenge Cup concluded on Sunday with winners National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) honoured with a cash prize of Rs1 million and the runners-up Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) receiving Rs700,000 and third-placed Army bagging Rs500,000. The Army chief was also the chief guest on the final day.

“The prize money at the tournament was unprecedented as never has such an amount been given to the winners of a domestic tournament,” Akhtar told Dawn on Monday.

“This generous gesture of the Army chief has encouraged the PHF to redouble its efforts to revive Pakistan’s past glory in the game.

“The Pakistan hockey team won silver at the Champions Trophy and the Asian Games despite the odds against them and this performance is an indicator we can achieve more milestones if we receive proper support”, the PHF president stressed.

Akhtar, the captain of the victorious Pakistan team at the 1982 World Hockey Cup, urged other national departments, particularly affiliated with the PHF, to come forward and support the game by organising national level tournaments in the country.

“The onus has now shifted towards the departmental heads, after Pakistan Army’s support to the national game, that they play their effective role to carry the healthy tradition set by Gen. Raheel Sharif,” Akhtar maintained.

Akhtar also praised Pakistan Customs for organising the Quaid-e-Azam Gold Hockey Cup, a national tournament, in Karachi this month.

To a question, Akhtar hoped the federal government would release the annual grant to the PHF as the federation needed it to start preparations for the 2016 Olympic qualifiers.


NAB joins hands with PHF to ‘Say No to Corruption’

ISLAMABAD - National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Monday joined hands with Pakistan hockey team through Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to create awareness amongst the masses against the menace of corruption throughout the country.

The MoU, in this regard, was signed in a ceremony on the directions of NAB chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry.

NAB further intensified its approach against corruption through awareness, recently, after joining hands with Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) and Higher Education Commission (HEC), and now NAB also takes PHF onboard.

The NAB chairman appreciated the role of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Chaudhry Akhtar Rasool, who urged national hockey players to pledge against corruption, which is rampant in the society.

The hockey players and officials displayed NAB’s official message for the year 2015 ‘Say NO To Corruption’ which gave strength to the NAB’s campaign against corruption and corrupt practices.

“By joining the campaign by Pakistan hockey team and the PHF, NAB can achieve its targets effectively to create awareness against corruption and corrupt practices among youth who are future of Pakistan, in the longer run.

NAB and PHF will continue to jointly hold awareness activities against corruption and corrupt practices,” Qamar concluded.

The Nation

Southgate stun EG on outdoor return in England

East Grinstead let a two-goal lead slip against Southgate to fall 3-2 in their opening English Now: Pensions Men’s Hockey League game outdoor game of 2015.

The club recently won the English indoor title and are in good shape to reach the playoffs outdoors having held the lead over the Christmas break.

And they carried that momentum into the early phases of this Southgate tie, Mark Pearn’s third minute opener and Tony Wilson’s corner rebound helped them build a 2-0 lead.

Sam Mee gave Southgate a route back into the game with a back post finish before half time. They got the equaliser when Jonty Robinson fired the ball in to Michael Houlihan to deflect past Patrick Smith.

And, in the 69th minute, Southgate won their first penalty corner which Matt Guise-Brown converted low and true to put them ahead for the first time. The win lifts them up to eighth place while EG stay top but are within range of Surbiton.

It was the only game of the weekend with a full schedule returning next weekend with first playing second – East Grinstead against Surbiton.

Euro Hockey League media release

UniKL Young Guns fire ahead

By Jugjet Singh

LAST seasons MHC-MILO-NSC Junior Hockey League runners-up UniKL Young Guns have had a super start to the season as they sit pretty in Division One without dropping a point after four matches.

The University side has a hundred percent record so far in the league, and with defending champions SSTMI Thunderbolts dropping two points over the weekend, after being held 2-2 by Petaling Jaya City Council, UniKL take a two-point advantage into the weekend.

UniKL coach I.Vickneswaran said: “We lead the pack now, but it is going to be a huge challenge to maintain that spot as other teams seem to have found their touch after a few matches.

“It is a learning process for all of us at UniKL as I only had two weeks to get this team ready and so far they have shown good structure.”

UniKL defeated BJSS Juniors 6-1 on Friday before fighting out for 3-1 win against Politeknik Malaysia on Saturday.

Defending champions SSTMI Thunderbolts will be looking to put aside a rather disappointing weekend as they lost their last season's hundred percent win record to PJCC on Friday before bouncing back to defeat KLHC 3-1 on Saturday.

Coach Wan Roslan Wan Rahman said: “We will have to forget about what has happened, as we look forward to winning our remaining matches. I would like to take nothing away from PJCC as they put up an outstanding performance and pushed us all the way, but we are here to retain out title and we will try our best to turn the tie around in the coming week.”

UniKL will only be up against Olak PKT Tigers this coming week while SSTMI Thunderbolts will play host to BJSS Juniors and Olak PKT Tigers.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

UniKL not celebrating yet despite leading junior hockey league

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Four matches. Four wins.

But Universiti Kuala Lumpur’s (UniKL) Young Guns are not jumping for joy, yet.

They’ve got their feet firmly planted to the ground despite leading the MHC-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League Division One standings with the maximum 12 points.

That’s a two-point advantage over second-placed defending champions Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI)-Thunderbolt, who drew 2-2 with Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) last week.

UniKL outplayed Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) 6-1 last Friday before downing Politeknik Malaysia 3-1 on Saturday.

In their first two matches, UniKL edged PSS Thunderbolt 4-3 and beat KL Hockey Club 3-0.

UniKL head coach I. Vickneswaran admitted that it would be a huge challenge to maintain top spot “as the other teams have found their rhythm”.

“It is a learning process for all of us at UniKL as I only had two weeks to get this team ready,” said the coach.

“I just want my players to maintain their good form and get the desired results.”

UniKL have only one match this weekend - against Olak PKT Tigers. SSTMI-Thunderbolt will play twice – hosting BJSS Juniors and Olak PKT Tigers.

SSTMI-Thunderbolt coach Wan Roslan Abdul Rahman has warned his players not to repeat the mistakes they made against MBPJ.

SSTMI-Thunderbolt were 2-0 up but allowed MBPJ to score two late goals to level the score.

“MPBJ put up an outstanding performance and pushed us all the way. It is a lesson well-learnt but we are here to retain the title,” said Wan Roslan.

The Star of Malaysia

Subahan takes MHC top spot unchallenged

By Aftar Singh

Datuk Subahan Kamal won the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president's post unchallenge, He will serve until 2019.

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s confirmed. Businessman Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal is the new Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) president.

The Selangor Hockey Association (SHA) president, who is an accountant by profession, won the hot seat unchallenged when nominations closed on Monday.

The 49-year-old businessman will be the seventh president of the national hockey association, taking over from Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah, who won’t be seeking re-election at the AGM on Feb 13.

“There are people with far more knowledge in hockey than me, but surprisingly they were not nominated for the post,” said Subahan, who thanked the 12 states for nominating him.

“It’s not going to be easy to fill the shoes of (former president) Tengku Abdullah,” said Subahan, the former vice-president of Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

Subahan will serve as MHC president from 2015-2019.

The deputy president’s post will see a two-cornered fight between incumbent Raja Puan Seri Noora Ashikin Raja Abdullah of Perak and Datuk Nur Azmi Ahmad.

Eleven candidates, including two women, will vie for the seven vice-president’s posts.

M. Gobinathan, Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff, Majid Manjit Abdullah, Dr S. Shamala, K. Maheswari, Datin Jeniffer William and S. Nagula are the incumbents. The challengers are Datuk Wan Ahmad Nizam Wan Abdul Hamid, Datuk Mohd Aminudin Mohd Amin, Datuk Radhakrishnan Nair and A. Vijasankar.

The nominees have until Feb 9 to confirm their decision to stand for election.

The president will appoint the secretary general and treasurer.

The Star of Malaysia

Green Machine Coaching at Langa Townships

The Green Machines warm weather tour in South Africa drew to a close on Sunday with a defeat to world number 5 Belgium. The tour proved to be great preparation for WL2 with plenty of positives and lessons to be taken away. While high intensity matches were the focus of the tour, the team also took time out to coach some future hockey stars at Langa townships. There's more to hockey than matches and winning, and the Green Machine had as much fun as the kids.

Irish Hockey Association media release

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