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News for 03 September 2015

All the news for Thursday 3 September 2015

Northern Blues and WP lead SA men’s hockey race


After four rounds of action-packed hockey in the SA Men’s Interprovincial Tournament at Tuks Astro in Pretoria, the log leaders after day four’s fare Wednesday are hosts Northern Blues in Pool A and Tuffy Western Province in Pool B.

Pool B features Tuffy Western Province in front of Southern Gauteng. Both sides have a maximum 12 points from four matches but WP have a healthy goal difference advantage of 12.

The state of play leaves Thursday’s final round of Pool matches delicately poised as teams eye Friday’s semi-finals and cross-pool playoffs.

In Pool A, SA U21 should have the measure of KZN Inland, and underdogs KZN Mynahs will do exceptionally well to topple KZN Raiders.

At 4.15pm Northern Blues and Tuffy Western Province Peninsula are set to be involved in a humdinger, while the match of the day at 6pm sees Southern Gauteng in a must-win against WP if they are to finish on top of Pool B.

In Wednesday’s late game in Pool A, Northern Blues beat KZN Inland 2-0 after leading by the same margin at the half-time whistle.

Blues took the lead in the 10th minute via a Ross Gonsalves field goal and Tim Guise-Brown made it 2-0 six minutes into the second quarter (19th minute).

In Pool B, Tuffy Western Province accounted for Free State 7-1 after the Bloemfontein lads had put up a stout resistance in the first half, the Capetonians leading 2-0 at the changeover.

The WP goals went to Pierre de Voux (2), Lloyd Norris-Jones (2), Keenan Horne, Warren Grobler and Shannon Boucher while Gerhardus Bosch got on the scoresheet for Free State with four minutes left.

Southern Gauteng had to withstand a determined Wits, whose goalkeeper Justin Phillips was outstanding, before coming away with a 4-0 victory, this after the teams were locked 0-0 at half-time.

Southerns striker Julian Hykes netted a hat-trick while Gareth Heyns slotted a penalty corner.

Eastern Province bagged their second win in beating North West 5-1 after enjoying a 4-0 lead at the changeover.

The EP goals were scored by Natius Malgraff (2), Kevin Carrol and captain Lyall Meyer (2), while the Potchefstroom lads’ Francois Cilliers succeeded from a penalty corner.

Tuffy Western Province Peninsula and KZN Raiders were involved in a humdinger, the Durban team’s 4-0 win after they led 2-0 at half-time was the product of goals by Cam Mackay, Keagan Robinson, a superbly worked goal that was finished off by Andrew Manson, and a Greg Last penalty corner.

A Pool A match that had plenty of drama saw KZN Mynahs put in an outstanding display of defending to hold South Africa U21 to a 1-1 draw.

Mynahs took the lead in the last minute from half-time when Taylor Kelly-Stack nailed a goal from the penalty spot. Five minutes after half-time (35th) the SA juniors equalised when Bili Ntuli scored a field goal.

In the second-tier B Section at St Albans College, the second day saw coach Trevor Cormack’s Namibia and Northern Blues draw 1-1.

The Pretoria men got on the board in the very first minute courtesy of Stuart Dunbar. Namibia equalised one minute from the end when captain Brynn Cleak scored from field play.

In the other match, SA Country Districts beat Eastern Gauteng 3-2 after leading 2-0 at half-time. Gareth Bishop scored a field goal and Ben Buys got a brace of penalty corners. Easterns’ goals went to Ben Stuthridge and Dave Fink.

A Section (at Tuks Astro): Southern Gauteng 4 SG Wits 0; EP 5 North West 1; KZN Raiders 4 WP Pens 0; WP 7 Free State 1; 16h15 SA U21 1 KZN Mynahs 1; Northern Blues 2 KZN Inland 0.
B Section (at St Albans): SA Country Districts 3 Eastern Gauteng 2; Namibia 1 Northerns 1.
(All played 4. Goal difference, points)
Pool A: Northern Blues 9GD, 9 pts; SA U21 2GD 8 pts; KZN Raiders 9GD, 7 pts; WP Pens 2GD, 6 pts; KZN Inland -6GD, 3 pts; KZN Mynahs -16GD 1 pts.
Pool B: WP 27GD, 12 pts; Southern Gauteng 15GD, 12 pts; SG Wits -2GD, 6 pts; EP -2GD, 6 pts; Free State -10GD 0 pts; North West -27GD, 0 pts.
A Section: 09H15 Free State vs North West; 11h00 SG Wits vs EP; 12h45 KZN Inland vs SA U21; 14h30 KZN Raiders vs KZN Mynahs; 16h15 Northern Blues vs WP Pens; 18h00 Southern Gauteng vs Tuffy Western Province.
B Section: 09h15 SACD vs Namibia; 11h00 Northerns B vs Northern Cape.

SA Hockey Association media release

Abusing umpires: Arul Selvaraj, Tai Beng Hai suspended

By Jugjet Singh

THE Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Technical Committee took a stern stand when they suspended two coaches, a team manager and a player for abusing umpires in the Premier Division on Sunday.

In a meeting chaired by MHL tournament director Datuk G. Vijayanathan, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) coach Arul Selvaraj received the heaviest punishment, when he was suspended for three matches, while his player S. Selvaraju was suspended for one match.

Sapura coach Tai Beng Hai and team manager Louis Gregory were suspended for one match each.

And there is no appealing this decision.

"We take the matter of abusing umpires as a very serious offense, and all those who have been suspended have no avenue to appeal our decision," said Vijayanathan.

The first incident happened during the Sapura-Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club match which ended 4-4.

Sapura team manager Louis Gregory and coach Tai Beng Hai, unhappy with umpiring, had verbally abused umpires Nazmi Kamarudin and Mohamed Rohizan.

The other incident happened after UniKL lost 4-3 to Tenaga Nasional.

UniKL coach Arul Selvaraj and player S. Selvaraju are said to have made vulgar remarks to umpires Iskandar Rashdan and K. Lingam.

Beng Hai, who lasgt coached the World League Semi-finals team in Belgium, was not available for comment.

Arul Selvaraj, who is also the Project 2016 coach preparing his side for the Junior Asia Cup in November, was apologetic.

"I regret my actions, even though it was in the heat of the moment, it should not have happened," said Arul.

On Monday, the Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are expected to name coaches for every level, and both Arul and Beng Hai are candidates who are expected to receive offers to coach either juniors, or become development coaches.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Coaches Arul and Beng Hai suspended for outburst against umpires

By Aftar Singh

National hockey coach Tai Beng Hai giving instructions to his players.

KUALA LUMPUR: Coaches are supposed to be role models in sports but that was not the case with two top hockey trainers.

Universiti Kuala Lumpur’s (UniKL) A. Arulselvaraj and Sapura’s Tai Beng Hai made a mockery of sportsmanship by abusing the umpires during their teams’ matches in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division on Sunday.

UniKL’s Arulselvaraj, who is also the current national junior squad coach, was found guilty of using abusive language on umpires K. Lingam and Iskandar Rashdan Mohd Rusli during Tenaga Nasional’s 4-3 win at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Beng Hai, who coached the national team to the World League Semi-Finals in Belgium in June, was found guilty of calling umpires Nazmi Kamarudin and Mohd Rohizan Mohd Ramli “blind” after his team drew 4-4 with Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) also on Sunday at Bukit Jalil.

For their outbursts, Arulselvaraj was banned for three matches while Beng Hai received a one-match suspension.

Datuk G. Vijayanathan, who chaired the MHL technical committee meeting on Wednesday, said they viewed coach Arulselvaraj’s offence very seriously.

“He has shown no respect to the umpires. If Arulselvaraj is unhappy with the umpires’ decision, he should air it through the proper channel.

“We have suspended him for three matches and have also reprimanded him. He apologised to us for his actions.”

“We also suspended Sapura team manager Louis Gregory for one match as he said that the umpires had been ‘bribed’ after the match against KLHC,” said Vijayanathan, a former international umpire.

Arulselvaraj said he had apologised for his behaviour.

“I could not control my emotions after the match. I have learned my lesson.”

UniKL player S. Selvaraju was also banned for one match for using a four-letter word against the umpires after the match against Tenaga.

The Star of Malaysia

UniKL finally get a point in MHL

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) finally collected their first point in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) when they drew 4-4 with Maybank in their penultimate Premier Division match.

Wednesday’s draw at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil left UniKL in last place with one point while Maybank, who were 3-2 victors over the same opponents in the first round, are fifth in the six-team league.

UniKL were without their coach A. Arulselvaraj and forward S. Selvaraju for the match.

Arulselvaraj is serving a three-match suspension for abusing the umpires after the game against Tenaga Nasional on Sunday.

Selvaraju, who used a four-letter word against the umpires in the match against Tenaga, was banned for one match. Selvaraju, a former international, can play against Sapura in the last fixture on Friday.

Assistant coach Kevin Nunis will be in charge of UniKL until Aruselvaraj serves out his suspension.

In Wednesday’s match Manraj Singh (14th), Richard Sykes (21st), Mohd Haziq Samsul (32nd) and Izwan Firdaus (44th) netted for UniKL.

Former international Hafifihafiz Hanafiah (32nd, 33rd) and Pakistan’s Muhammad Waqas (29th, 42nd) were the scorers for Maybank.

The final fixtures of the preliminary round will be held on Friday with defending champions Terengganu battling second-placed Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) for the league title at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.

The Star of Malaysia

Gleghorne goes through pain barrier

Man of the Match in the Unibet EuroHockey Championships bronze medal match, Paul Gleghorne’s performance was all the more impressive given that he did so with a grade two tear in his shoulder.

The defender sustained the injury in the semi-final against the Netherlands but went through the pain barrier to help Ireland record their best ever result in the competition, beating England 4-2 to claim third place overall.

Speaking afterwards, Gleghorne paid tribute to the work of his team’s medical crew: “The physio, the team doctor and medical staff were absolutely superb. They got me out here, through the Dutch game and this game!” he told Irish website The Hook.

“Hopefully I haven’t done any more damage, making tackles on the floor and so on. Adrenaline kicks in and took over the pain.”

As for personal sacrifices, the defender was one of a number of Ireland players who had to take two weeks unpaid off work to make it to the tournament in London in the first place and compete at this elite level.

“Work have been fantastic and been really supported me. It’s worked out well because we really want to prepare as best we can for these tournaments. I am really appreciative of that and there is a lot of guys in the team that take leave to come here and play.”

And his coach Craig Fulton said that attitude has been pivotal in Ireland’s rise to be a force to be reckoned with

“There was nothing that could stop him from playing; I couldn’t pull him off the field. When you have that belief and commitment in the group, you can do amazing things.

“Bronze is just reward for the performances from the guys,” Fulton added. “It’s no flash in the pan.”

Euro Hockey League media release

U.S. U-21 Men's National Team Schedule for 2015-16 Revealed

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - Announced in June, the current U.S. U-21 Men's National Squad selections were made following the 2015 California Cup and Regional High Performance season. The squad has a busy schedule ahead as they prepare for the 2016 Junior Pan American Championship in Toronto, Canada, a qualification for the 2016 Junior World Cup in December. The squad is bolstered by U.S. Men’s National Team Members Alex Cunningham, who participated in the recent Pan American Games and FIH Hockey World League Round 2 and Sean Cicchi, who attended the Pan American Games as a ‘P’ athlete (alternate) and participated in the FIH Hockey World League Round 2 this year.

"The Regional Performance sites have been doing good job aiding in developing our young players over the years," said Chris Clements, U.S. Men's National Team Head Coach. "These sites are critical to the development of our players alongside the international opportunities that come when being selected to represent your country. After the recent series versus Canada, the continuation of program building toward the Junior Pan American Championships has been established. We are excited to see the growth of the players along this timeline as we continue to develop camp to camp and series to series."

Taking into account strength and conditioning, nutrition as well as sports psychology, the U.S. U-21 Men's National Squad will have their first High Performance Camp October 30 - November 2 at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calif. The team will host Canada in January 2016 for a test series in Chula Vista, Calif. with the dates and number of games still to be confirmed. The Final Selection Camp will take place February 25-28, 2016 again in Chula Vista, Calif. The final preparatory games before the Junior Pan American Championship will happen March 18-28, 2016 when the team travels to The Netherlands for a European Tour. The 2016 Junior Pan American Championship will take place May 21-29 in Toronto, Canada.

"I believe these test matches and trainings are crucial for our team's growth and pursuit to compete internationally with the top countries in the world," said Casey Walker, U.S. U-21 Men's National Squad Member. "If we want to beat the top countries in the world, we need to compete and train on that same level as well. We compete in the now and the present, yet we look up to focus on our goal, the Junior World Cup in New Delhi, India. These test matches can only offer us as players and a team positive feedback, whether it's reinforcing our strengths or recognizing parts we need to work on, the only thing we can do as Team USA is move forward."

The scheduled events following the Junior Pan American Championship for the U.S. U-21 Men's National Team are pending qualification at the event. From the Junior Pan American Championship, the top two teams qualify for the Junior World Cup in December. An extended schedule will be released following the conclusion of the event.

U.S. U-21 Men's National Squad:

Doug Allison (Westlake Village, Calif.), Rishi Bhargava (Mountain View, Calif.), Sean Cicchi (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Alex Cunningham (Bad Kreuznach, Germany), Christian Deangelis (Doylestown, Pa.), Jaspreet Gill (Placentia, Calif.), Hamzah Hashmi (Granada Hills, Calif.), Graeme Jackson (Moorpark, Calif.), Stuart Kentwell (Spring City, Pa.), Amar Khokar (Valencia, Calif.), Ethan LaSala (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Jayce Lewis (Moorpark, Calif.), George McGuigan (Thousand Oaks, Calif.), Nate O'Lari (Orange, Mass.), Ajit Pamar (Freemont, Calif.), Walter Pfaff (Johannesburg, South Africa), Keeling Pilaro (Southhampton, N.Y.), Nick Richardson (Kents Hill, Maine), Amandip Sandu (Sacramento, Calif.), Javieer Singh (Hayward, Calif.),  Rayn Torigian (Simi Valley, Calif.), Ruben van Dam (Valkenswaard, The Netherlands), Casey Walker (Ventura, Calif.),  Trent Warren (Moorpark, Calif.), Ismael Zepeda (Ventura, Calif.)

USFHA media release

WA Govt supports hockey

Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies announces hockey funding

Australia’s gold-medal winning hockey teams will receive $400,000 from the State Government to boost their training program in Perth, one year out from the Rio Olympics.

Sport and Recreation Minister Mia Davies said the funds would go towards the Hockey Australia High Performance Program at Curtin University, which supports the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos.

“Our men’s and women’s hockey teams are rated number 1 and 2 in the world, and having them train here in Perth generates excellent benefits for domestic hockey through Hockey WA,” Ms Davies said.

“The bonus of having these elite athletes living in Western Australia means they are also part of our local hockey clubs.

“Each week they play on our local teams, with and against other local players and are great models for our talented younger players.”

The funds will go towards running the program including the salary of the Commercial Manager, support in the areas of marketing and communications and building relationships in order to schedule more overseas matches.

The State Government, through the Department of Sport and Recreation, has invested almost $4 million on hockey in WA the in last five years, including funding to grassroots level programs and clubs.

SOURCE: Government of Western Australia,
Department of the Premier and Cabinet

Hockey Australia media release

MySportsTape joins HA

MySportsTape becomes Official Tape and Medical Partner of Hockey Australia

MySportsTape, the premium sports tape and sporting equipment supplier, has become the Official Tape and Medical Partner of Hockey Australia.

The new two-year agreement will see MySportsTape supply the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos with tape and medical supplies in return for marketing and branding opportunities.

With the teams predicted to use 55,000m (55km) of tape in 2016 alone - enough to stretch the length of more than 600 hockey pitches – it’s a relationship that will help play a significant role in Australia’s quest for further international success.

Ellen Hawes, Head Physiotherapist for the Australian men’s hockey team, the Kookaburras, said, “I am very excited to welcome MySportsTape on board. A strong relationship with a company that has applied years of technical and clinical prowess to develop such an outstanding product is integral to our ‎continued success as World Champions.”

Brett Edwards, National Manager for MySportsTape, said, “MySportsTape is extremely excited to be partnering with Hockey Australia. We believe our two organisations have the correct synergies to succeed.

“Our philosophy will always be about catering for all sporting clubs no matter how big or small. We love seeing sporting organisations grow and flourish. The Kookaburras and the Hockeyroos are two of Australia's most successful and loved sporting teams and we are proud to partner with them and help them achieve their lofty goals.”

Supported by MySportsTape products, the Kookaburras and Hockeyroos will be striving for continental bragging rights next month at the Oceania Cup in New Zealand, from 21-25 October, before heading to India and Argentina respectively to round out the year with the World League Final tournaments.

Follow MySportsTape on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @MySportsTape or check out their website at mysportstape.com.

Upcoming International Competition
Hockeyroos v Korea: 5-8 September 2015 (Perth, Australia)
Oceania Cup (Hockeyroos): 21-25 October 2015 (Stratford, New Zealand)
Oceania Cup (Kookaburras): 21-25 October 2015 (Stratford, New Zealand)
World League Final (Kookaburras): 27 November - 6 December 2015 (Raipur, India)
World League Final (Hockeyroos): 5-13 December 2015 (Rosario, Argentina)

Hockey Australia media release

Viren Rasquinha: Indian grassroot coaches still in old style

Viren Rasquinha (2nd left) addresses the Scorecard 2015 seminar

Replying to a pointed question during the panel discussion on Sports in the CII sponsored seminar 'Scorecard 2015', Indian hockey player and CEO of Olympic Gold Quest Viren Rasquinha said that grassroot coaches in India are teaching the same training methods that he had been imparted as kid, and opined that this reality a measure of where Indian hockey stagnates at grassroot.

"I found the kids today get the same kind of training I got 15,16 years ago when I was a student. But hockey has changed but not the syllabi of our coaches, lamented Viren replying to a question by the Panel moderator Rahul Kanal, Editor of India Today television.

The penultimate session in which Ashwini Ponnappa, archer Rahul Banerjee, activist-lawyer Rahul Mehra and Olympic silver medallist Vijay Kumar also present on the dais, dealt with the obstacles in India getting more medals in the coming Olympics.

Former Indian player Pramod Batlaw raised the issue of lack of sponsorship support to grassroot programs such as One Thousand Hockey Legs or his own, a panellist in the previous session replied: 'It is not an external problem, but internal". Official Press Release

Sports a serious business, need to identify focused investment areas: Mr Rajiv Yadav, Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports

When it comes to sports, the need is to capture the imagination of people, especially women, and push them into sports. This was stated by Mr Rajiv Yadav, newly appointed Secretary, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India, while addressing “Scorecard 2015 -- National Conference on Business of Sports”, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), on September 1, 2015, at New Delhi. Mr. Yadav added sports was a serious business but a happy one too and that the idea was to focus and identify key areas of investment. On a motivational note, one person’s win in any sport was a matter of rejoice for all and gives everyone psychological boost. “Invest in proud Indians,” Mr Yadav said in his address.

Inaugurating the event in the morning, Mr Onkar Kedia, Joint Secretary-Sports, Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India, lauded the efforts of all the stakeholders in sports, including state governments, PSUs, NGOs, sports federations, and advised them to work in a synchronized manner. “To transform India into a formidable sporting nation, the need is to sensitize and seek perception change”, he said. Mr Kedia cited the example of China where, he said, talent was identified at a very young age and an ecosystem to support talent in sports exists. “India is gradually becoming a multi-sports nation and it is interesting to witness inflow of funds in non-cricket sports as well”, he added. He proposed that financial security and recognition would help draw people into the sports system.

Delivering the theme address, Mr Sanjay Gupta, Chairman, CII National Committee on Sports and, Chief Operating Officer, Star India Pvt. Ltd., presented an overview of unique opportunities prevailing in the Indian sports sector and ways in which this could transform the overall sporting landscape in the country. Exuding confidence in the prospects of the Indian sports sector, Mr Gupta said that despite some of the teething issues in sports, key factors driving sector’s growth were individual brilliance and support from private enterprise. According to him, sports industry, currently US $ 2 Billion industry, possess potential to reach the level of US $ 10 Billion in the next five years. Referring to some of the inspiring success stories of Indian sportsperson, Mr Gupta said that “explosive, dramatic and transformative forces are at play, leading to change in the perception of sports”.

Sharing his rich experience as a sportsperson having represented India at international level, Mr Vijay Amritraj, former Indian tennis champion, sports commentator and actor, said that India was standing at the tip of the iceberg in sports. He advocated that sports be based on merit and treated complementary with education. Some of the unique attributes associated with sports, he said, were its presence at the grassroots level; health and fitness; domestic competition, goodwill and communication. Stressing upon the prevailing opportunities, Mr Amritraj said that all the key determinents are in place which position India at the tip of the iceberg, and most likely next two decades would be India’s glorious period in sports arena.

This was followed by Air Marshal B B P Sinha unveiling the Subroto Cup Trophy.

Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), delivering the welcome remarks, suggested that in order to increase the share of sports in India’s GDP, there should be enhanced level of interaction between industry and sportsmen, along with an effective involvement of the private sector. Furthermore, Mr Banerjee suggested that all the stakeholders should jointly explore regarding how the sports sector could be granted the industry status.


Controversial Shahbaz becomes PHF secretary after Mujahid resigns

*Hasan Sardar appointed advisor to PHF chief, Rasheed Junior and Tahir Zaman to manage junior outfit

By Muhammad Ali

LAHORE: It was another nail in the coffin of Pakistan hockey when controversial former captain and Olympian Shahbaz Senior became the Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary general on Wednesday. Shahbaz replaced former Olympian Rana Mujahid Ali who resigned from the coveted post after two years in office. Even after being given a three-year extension by the PHF Congress last week, Mujahid’s resignation was not a surprise after a probe committee constituted by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held the top PHF officials responsible for the national team’s dismal performance at the Hockey World League (HWL) in Antwerp.

Mujahid’s days were numbered the moment Akhtar Rasool resigned and a retired brigadier, very ambitious Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, became the president of the national federation. The appointment of the new PHF secretary was announced at a sham press conference by PHF chief Khalid in Islamabad. Khalid also announced new appointments for the national junior team. Rasheed Junior was named as the chief selector and Tahir Zaman as the head coach of the national junior team. The other members of the junior selection committee are Saeed Khan, Farhat Khan, Shahbaz Junior and Waseem Feroz. The two new assistant coaches of the junior squad are Zeeshan Ashraf and Mohammad Irfan.

The Akhtar-led PHF management was in hot waters for the last two months after Pakistan failed to qualify for the Olympics for the time in their history. Pakistan, who had won Olympic gold three times and World Cup four times, finished eighth in the Olympic qualifying round in Belgium in July. Now they will not be playing in the Rio Olympics 2016 in Brazil. Living in a fool’s paradise, Mujahid was hoping that new PHF president Khalid would work with him. But he soon realised that his ‘services were no longer required’. Khalid and his cronies gave a clear message to Mujahid that they wanted their own man at the post of secretary. And former Olympian Mujahid had no choice. It was wiser for Mujahid if he had resigned with his president Akhtar. But he made himself a laughing stock. “I have tendered my resignation to PHF president Khalid. I have stepped down willingly and without any pressure,” Mujahid told reporters at a news conference at the Pakistan Sports Board in the federal capital. He said he had tried his best to improve Pakistan hockey but decided to step down to give a chance to someone else to work towards that direction. “During my tenure as secretary I faced criticism with decency and courage. However; I appeal to all those Olympians who have been opposing us to allow the new PHF team to work for the betterment of national game. My cooperation will always be available to the federation for the betterment of Pakistan hockey,” Mujahid added.

Despite facing financial crunch and harsh criticism, the greenshirts, under Mujahid and Akhtar, won one gold and two silver medals in three major events. It was Mujahid and Akhtar who succeeded in raising a team that played three finals in 2014: silver in FIH Champions Trophy held in India, gold in Asian Champions Trophy and silver in the Incheon Asian Games. But the PHF could not field a well-prepared team for the Olympic qualifiers held in Belgium because of the federal government’s lacklustre attitude towards the PHF which resulted in severe shortage of funds the hockey federation had to face. It was lamentable that the federal government even did not honour the national team for playing three back-to-back finals. Surprisingly, the idiotic Inter Provincial Ministry (IPC) and its ‘sage’ officials released the prize money to the players for winning silver medal in the Asiad at a time when the greenshirts were nowhere in the race for the Olympics. Ouster from the Olympics actually paved the way for those wanting to remove Mujahid and Akhtar. Now with the fulfilment of certain disgruntled elements’ desire, including that of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, to oust Mujahid and Akhtar, the PHF is all set to get the required budget and financial support which the government was not willing to provide for the last two years. No sporting federation is a bed of roses, especially one that carries the aspirations of the nation. And the federation’s new president and secretary will soon learn the lesson the hard way.

Shahbaz and revolt of 1998: Newly appointed PHF secretary Shahbaz is considered to be among the best forwards in the history of field hockey. He played in three Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in 1992. He is the only player in history of hockey to win two consecutive player of the tournament awards in the 1990 World Cup in Lahore and in the 1994 World Cup in Sydney. Despite his excellent services for the national game, Shahbaz, who works for Pakistan International Airlines, is not considered suitable for the coveted post by many. His “intriguing nature” and the revolt he led before the Atlanta Olympics is still fresh in the minds of hockey lovers. Before the Atlanta Olympics 1998, a revolt of such magnitude was unprecedented in the history of Pakistan hockey. On May 26, 1998 as many as 24 of the 32 probables, who were to appear in the one-day Olympic hockey trials at the Karachi camp, rebelled against the team management and the selection committee, refusing to take part unless their demands were met. The first such revolt by hockey players in Pakistan took place exactly in 1988 and had been led by former Olympian Hasan Sardar, who is now appointed as advisor to Khalid. Shahbaz declared that he wanted the ouster of manager Col (r) Mudassar Asghar, coach Manzoorul Hassan and the disbandment of the selection committee. He also wanted to meet Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto before the players decide to join the Atlanta Olympic camp. He made it clear that if his demands were not acceded to then Pakistan might miss the bus for the Atlanta Olympics. Since completing his overseas posting with the PIA, Shahbaz, like his ambitious president, was ‘trying his level best’ to get hold of the PHF’s prized post. And Pakistan is a paradise for the persons with ‘right connections’. But nothing positive or fruitful comes out when the persons at the helm have dubious and controversial backgrounds.

The Daily Times

New beginning: Shahbaz appointed new PHF secretary

Mujahid resigns to give a new face a chance to steer Pakistan hockey. PHOTO: INP

KARACHI: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) accepted the resignations of PHF secretary Rana Mujahid and treasurer Shahid Ali Khan and announced their replacements — Olympian Shahbaz Senior and Akhlaq Usmani respectively — during a press conference at the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) Complex in Islamabad on Wednesday.

After giving a three-year extension to Mujahid in a PHF congress meeting last week, Mujahid opted to resign just four days later in order to give ‘a fresh face a chance to take Pakistan hockey forward’.

“I’m resigning from the post to allow the new president to make a like-minded team for the betterment of Pakistan hockey,” said Mujahid. “However, I am willing to assist the federation in any capacity that the current management deems fit.”

Olympian Shahbaz Senior has been named as the new secretary and Akhlaq Usmani has taken the post of the treasurer, while former centre-forward Abdul Rasheed Junior, who served as the national team’s manager during the 1994 Hockey World Cup, has been named as chief selector for both the seniors and the juniors.

Rasheed will be joined by Farhat Khan, Waseem Feroz, Saeed Khan and Shahbaz Junior, in the PHF selection committee.

Hassan Sardar, who was initially tipped to fill the chief selector’s vacant post, was named as the advisor, while Tahir Zaman was installed as head coach with Zeeshan Ashraf and Mohammad Irfan deployed as his assistants.

The announcements were made in the presence of PHF President Brigadier (retd) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, Inter-Provincial Coordination Ministry secretary Ijaz Chaudhry and PSB Director General Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera.

The Express Tribune

Shahbaz named PHF secretary as Rana resigns

Kashif Abbasi

PHF President Brig. Khalid Sajjid Khokar (C) addresses a press conference as new secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior (L) looks on. - APP

ISLAMABAD: Former Pakistan captain Shahbaz Ahmed Senior was named the new Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary following the resignation of Rana Mujahid on Wednesday.

Rana announced his resignation at a news conference here which was also attended by Shahbaz, newly-elected PHF president Brig (retd) Sajjad Khokhar and Ejaz Chaudhry, the secretary of the ministry for Inter-provincial coordination.

The resignation was the latest in the PHF shake-up which has followed after the national team failed miserably at the World Hockey League Semi-finals in Belgium in July which resulted in Pakistan missing out on next year’s Olympics.

“I have tendered my resignation willingly and without any pressure,” Rana told reporters. “I think it’s time for me to say goodbye.”

Rana becomes the third PHF official to submit his resignation since the Olympic debacle, following in the footsteps of president Akhtar Rasool and head-coach Shahnaz Sheikh.

He said that he had tried his best to improve Pakistan hockey.

“During my tenure as Secretary I faced a lot criticism with decency and courage,” he said. “I appeal to all those Olympians who have been opposing us to allow the new PHF team to work for the betterment of national game.”

The IPC secretary appreciated Rana’s decision, saying he had set the standard for the others to follow.

“His decision to resign has raised his credentials,” said Ejaz. “He has shown others how to serve the game in real spirit. I appreciate that he worked for Pakistan hockey’s uplift in turbulent times. He is our asset and we highly respect him.”

Khokhar echoed Ejaz’s view, saying he was pleased Rana “didn’t create any hurdles but resigned amicably that shows his greatness.”

The PHF chief also praised Shahbaz for being a “loyal and sincere person who could help bring back Pakistan hockey’s lost glory.”


Shahbaz, meanwhile, said he will draw on all his experience — both as the country’s longest serving captain and country head of PIA in Saudi Arabia — to put Pakistan hockey back on track.

“I’m sure with the help and coordination of all the stakeholders, I would be in a position to make the difference,” he said. “I don’t have a magic wand to turn things around overnight but I’ll do my best to reorganise things and ensure transparency.”

Khokhar also informed about the key decisions taken by him including the appointment of Olympian Hasan Sardar as his advisor and Mohammad Ikhlaq Usmani as the treasurer.

Rasheed Junior, meanwhile, has been named as the new chief selector with Saeed Khan, Farhat Khan, Shahbaz Junior and Waseem Feroz named as selection committee members.

Tahir Zaman has been named as the head coach of the junior hockey team with Zeeshan Ashraf and Mohammad Irfan being his assistants.

“The operational and administrative set-ups are being separated to ensure smooth working and changes would also be made to the PHF’s executive board,” Khokhar added.

The PHF chief said that he would maximize the involvement of former players in hockey affairs to benefit from their expertise.

“We will also be concentrating on the hockey nurseries across the country so that grooming of budding players can be done in an effective manner,” he said.

Khokhar also announced that the camp for the junior team for the Johar Baru Invitational Hockey Tournament will get under way from September 4.

The month-long camp will be staged at the PSB vicinity. Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium and Army sports board turf will be used for training while the players will reside at the PSB hostel.


Shahbaz Senior seals secretary slot after Rana’s resign

Mohsin Ali

ISLAMABAD - New Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar Wednesday designated Olympian Shahbaz Senior as new federation’s secretary and also announced his new team to work with.

In his new team, Khokhar appointed Ikhlaq Usmani as new treasurer as present treasurer Shahid Ali Khan also tendered his resignation with immediate effect while he appointed Olympian Hassan Sardar as his new advisor, Olympian Tahir Zaman as head coach, Zeeshan Ashraf and M Irfan as other coaches, Rashid Junior as selection committee chairman and Farhat Khan, Shahbaz Junior, Waseem Feroz and Saeed Khan as committee members.

Speaking at the press briefing, Brig Khohar said: “Our main focus is on enhancing pool of junior players. Gojra was main nursery of providing junior players to Pakistan team, we will devise strategy to revive hockey academy not only in Gojra but also in other major cities. We will start one-month training camp at Islamabad where junior players will be invited from across the country as we badly need to broaden our pool of players.”

When this scribe asked Brig Khokhar about pathetic condition of Naseer Bunda astro-turf which caused major injuries for the players during training camp for Olympic qualifiers, he replied: “We will witness the condition of the turf and if it is not playable, we have option of moving the camp at Army Hockey Stadium.”

To a query regarding clearance of players and officials’ pending dues, he replied: “We have to clear liabilities of around Rs 23 million for which we need funds and as soon as we get them, we will clear all the dues of players and others. We are working on plans to get jobs for the players and also want to give incentives to them for their traveling.” When asked about Tahir Zaman was a flop in his first tenure, Khokhar replied: “We have only two options Tahir or Asif Bajwa. We will give time to Tahir and his team and we are quite hopeful he will start producing good results.”

He requested media to help the federation and assured all the major decisions would be taken with media’s advice. “I have taken this responsibility with a purpose and I will deliver with the cooperation of Olympians and all the stakeholders.” He also thanked Rana for his services and his good will gesture of tendering resignation and paving way for him to select his new team.

Sharing his views, newly appointed PHF secretary Shahbaz Senior promised to deliver and would remain in touch. “I had previously performed almost same nature of duties in different capacities and I am sure I could handle this responsibility as well.

Things also took very nasty turn as PHF president Brig Khaild (R) Sajjad Khokhar used highly objectionable remarks against the journalists, instead of realizing his fault. He blamed them for improper conduct, which forced RISJA president Mohsin Ali to stage a walk out from the press conference. National Press Club (NPC) president Shahryar Khan also launched strong protest against Brig Khokhar, which left the PHF chief red-faced and he was left with no other option but to tender unconditional apology with RISJA. He came out and said sorry, which RISJA president duly accepted and ended their protest. Resuming his speech, Khokhar, once again, offered his apology and termed it a result of misunderstanding and promised he would take RISJA and other sports journalists on board before making decisions. Earlier, former Olympian Rana Mujahid, who took fresh vote of confidence from the federation’s congress members in it meeting, resigned as Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) secretary and tendered his resignation to PHF president Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar in a press conference here at PSB Media Center Wednesday.

Rana thanked IPC minister Riaz Hussain Pirzada, secretary Ejaz Chaudhry and PSB Director General Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera for their all-out support and requested all the Olympians to join hands and strengthen Brig Khokhar for hockey cause. “Enough is enough, I have tendered my resignation as I want Brig Khokhar to take fresh start with his own selected team. I resigned as per my freewill and without any pressure.” Rana requested media and former Olympians not to render same treatment, which was given to him and former PHF president Akhtar Rasool Chaudhry. “It is not secretary or president who conceded goals or performed badly in the matches, rather it were players who were mainly responsible for the entire debacle and they must also take responsibility of the worst performances,” he added.

“People must also keep in mind harsh and bitter realities before blaming me and Akhtar Rasool, as the matter of the fact is that during my tenure, green shirts managed to win Asian Champions Trophy, won silver medals in Asian Games and Champions Trophy. Our only worst performance was witnessed in Olympic qualifiers in Belgium, but there were a lot of reasons which could prove we are not solely responsible for failing to earn Olympic qualification berth. People and media must also consider highly important thing that Koreans spent huge amount of money on their hockey team, but they also failed to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but no one blamed them or their federation. Anyhow, past is past and I will continue to work for the betterment of hockey and my sincere wishes are with the new management,” Rana added.

IPC secretary Ejaz Chaudhry lauded Rana and termed his decision of resigning as PHF secretary as bold and positive step as he was the elected secretary of PHF and no one could dare to challenge his authority. He assured the PHF of best possible support and assistance of PSB and IPC ministry and wished new management best of luck.

The Nation

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