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News for 05 September 2015

All the news for Saturday 5 September 2015

Hockeyroos draw first Korean test

Showcasing three debutants in their line-up against Korea Saturday afternoon, the Hockeyroos were unable to convert their attacking opportunities resulting in a 0-0 draw with their opponents in their first match of the Perth series.

Speaking afterwards, Hockeyroos coach Adam Commens said, “It was a promising start, we played with a team that had three debutants and a number of players in new positions. We showed that we were a little bit rusty in our combinations and some of our skill execution I was disappointed with, but the intent and style of hockey that we want to play is heading in the right direction.

“Ahead of tomorrow’s match we need to now lift up our skill execution, provision and passing, and to make the most of our opportunities that we are creating.”

The Hockeyroos started the match off well dominating their attacking circle and controlling a majority of the ball possession, however, it was ultimately their execution in the circle that failed them up against a robust Korean defence.

Under the Australian bar, Victorian’s Rachael Lynch and Ashlee Wells shared shifts. Trialling a new quarter’s format, together the pair held a rock-solid defence denying multiple penalty corner opportunities by the Korean forwards.

Speaking to Rachael Lynch about the new goalkeeping format, she said, “Ash and myself both had a few good saves and today was the first time we have trialled this new quarters format. Ash started off on the field and then we swapped at each quarter. The format was good, it got us both involved in the game.”

The Hockeyroos received two critical penalty corner opportunities to break the ice in the 22nd and 33rd minutes. The Hockeyroos’ firepower Jodie Kenny and newcomer Madison Fitzpatrick sent on target drag flicks to the top right of the net, however, Korea’s goalkeeper Ji Soo Jang quickly denied them access.

Coming into the final 15 minutes of play, the Hockeyroos were trying their luck in the circle, however, they couldn’t get the ball behind the Korean keeper’s pads and into the back of the net, forcing the Hockeyroos to settle for a 0-0 draw with Korea on the final siren.

After announcing on Friday that the Hockeyroos would trial new blood throughout the series, Commens commented on newcomers Laura Barden, Madison Fitzpatrick and Stephanie Kershaw’s performance against international talent on home soil.

“I was really pleased with their performance today, I thought they all contributed and added value towards our line-up. Stephanie was dynamic in the front and Laura has a great work ethic on the field. Madison was also solid in our defence, she had a couple of good flicks on goal and was probably unlucky not to sneak one past the keeper.”

The Hockeyroos' second match against Korea is at 14:15pm AWST on Sunday, 6 September.

Saturday, 5 September 2015 (Perth, Western Australia) - Official Hockey Australia match report from the Hockeyroos' three match series in Perth, Western Australia.

Match 1

KOREA 0 (0)

Hockeyroos Squad

Athlete (Hometown, State) caps/goals

Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD) 214/10
Laura Barden (Kew, VIC) 1/0
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA) 68/6
Kirstin Dwyer (Mackay, QLD) 81/2
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW) 116/1
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD) 145/88
Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD) 1/0
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA) 71/7
Gabrielle Nance (Kingscliff, NSW*) 10/0
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW) 125/50
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC) 53/0

Used Substitute
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT) 79/2
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW^) 1/0
Rachael Lynch (Melbourne, VIC) 125/0
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC) 163/32
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT) 61/9
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA) 23/6
Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD) 4/0

Did Not Play
Mathilda Carmichael (Willoughby, NSW) 24/1
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW^) 3/0
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT) 150/34
Kate Hanna (Constitution Hill, NSW) 3/0
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW) 12/0

NOTE: The above athletes have come through the academies and institutes of sport in their home states and territories with the exception of the following:

^Madison and Savannah Fitzpatrick are scholarship holders at the Queensland Academy of Sport

*Gabrielle Nance is a graduate scholar of the South Australia Sports Institute

Hockey Australia media release

Changes to Hockeyroos

Nanscawen, Peris replace injured Nelson, Williams

The Hockeyroos have been forced to make two changes to the squad for the test series against Korea, which begins today in Perth.

Western Australian Ashleigh Nelson has been ruled out with a broken toe, sustained in a practice match earlier in the week, and New South Wales’ Mariah Williams will miss the series with a shoulder injury.

Northern Territory’s Brooke Peris and Georgia Nanscawen of Victoria will replace Williams and Nelson in the side.
Hockeyroos v Korea Fixtures, 5-8 September 2015
Saturday 5 September: Hockeyroos v Korea – 14:15pm AWST
Sunday 6 September: Hockeyroos v Korea – 14:15pm AWST
Tuesday 8 September: Hockeyroos v Korea – 17:00pm AWST
Revised Hockeyroos Squad
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Teneal Attard (Mackay, QLD)
Laura Barden (Kew, VIC)
Edwina Bone (Evatt, ACT)
Mathilda Carmichael (Willoughby, NSW)
Jane Claxton (Adelaide, SA)
Kirstin Dwyer (Mackay, QLD)
Madison Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW^)
Savannah Fitzpatrick (Cabarita Beach, NSW^)
Anna Flanagan (Canberra, ACT)
Kate Hanna (Constitution Hill, NSW)
Kate Jenner (Tamworth, NSW)
Jodie Kenny (Wamuran, QLD)
Stephanie Kershaw (Townsville, QLD)
Rachael Lynch (Melbourne, VIC)
Karri McMahon (Berri, SA)
Georgina Morgan (Armidale, NSW)
Gabrielle Nance (Kingscliff, NSW*)
Georgia Nanscawen (Melbourne, VIC)
Brooke Peris (Darwin, NT)
Kathryn Slattery (South Stirling, WA)
Emily Smith (Crookwell, NSW)
Renee Taylor (Everton Park, QLD)
Ashlee Wells (Morwell, VIC)         

NOTE: The above athletes have come through the academies and institutes of sport in their home states and territories with the exception of the following:

^Madison and Savannah Fitzpatrick are scholarship holders at the Queensland Academy of Sport

*Gabrielle Nance is a graduate scholar of the South Australia Sports Institute

Hockey Australia media release

Rising stars set for action at 7th Women’s Junior Asia Cup

India's Rani Rampal will be aiming to guide her team to glory

Changzhou plays host as nine teams battle for three tickets to FIH Junior Women’s World Cup in Santiago, Chile

Some of the most exciting young talents in Asian hockey will be in action at the Women’s Junior Asia Cup this weekend, and with places at next year’s Junior World Cup up for grabs, the stakes are high.

The event, which takes place in the ancient Chinese city of Changzhou from Saturday 5th to Sunday 13th September, offers three direct qualification tickets to the 2016 Women’s FIH Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile.

Nine teams will be fighting for the chance to take part in that prestigious competition, with China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, DPR Korea, Korea, Japan, Thailand and Chinese Taipei all set to take to the field.

Host nation China will be looking to make home advantage count as they bid to defend the title that they won four years ago in Bangkok, Thailand, although they are likely to face some serious tests along the way. Senior international stars such as Gu Bingfeng and team captain Li Jiaqi ensure that China will be a force to be reckoned with, although they are certainly not the only team in the competition with world level experience amongst the ranks.

2013 Junior World Cup Bronze medallists India, who compete alongside China in Pool A, have also called on players from the senior squad in a bid to secure a ticket to Santiago, with no fewer than seven having featured in the Indian Eves team that finished 5th at the recent FINTRO Hockey World League Semi-Final in Antwerp, Belgium. The star player is undoubtedly team captain Rani Rampal, the prodigious 20-year-old striker who made her international debut at 14 and has gone on to make over 130 world level appearances.

"We are looking forward to playing in Changzhou”, said ace goal-scorer Rani in the build-up to the competition. “The crowd there is very passionate towards the game, and it’s exciting playing in an environment like this as it gives you that extra boost. We are expecting good support for our team, which will help our confidence level and we will play our best hockey to win."

Three other teams will compete in Pool A, with Malaysia, Singapore and the People’s Republic of Korea all aiming to finish as high up the standings as possible.

In Pool B, Korea and Japan will be seen as favourites ahead of group rivals Thailand and Chinese Taipei. Like China and India in Pool A, the Korean and Japanese squads contain players that have made their mark at senior international level. Four times competition winners and 2012 Bronze medalists Korea can count on the experience of Baek Eeseul, who helped the senior team to a second place finish at the HWL event in Antwerp. Japan’s Hazuki Nagai, Ayaka Nishimura and Yukari Mano were also in senior action for their country in Antwerp, ensuring that they too will also be serious contenders in Changzhou.

You can keep track of all the action from Changzhou on www.asiahockey.org, the official website of the Asian Hockey Federation as well as on social media using the #wjac2015 hashtag.

FIH site

India eyes winning start in junior women’s Asia Cup hockey

India Junior Women hockey players with M.S. Dhoni during a preparatory camp at the MDC National Stadium in New Delhi. File photo

All fired up after a month-long preparatory camp, India’s junior women’s hockey team will aim to make a confident start when it takes on South Korea in its opening pool match of the 7th Asia Cup in Changzhou, China on Saturday.

The young Indian eves will face China, Malaysia, Singapore and DPR Korea in the pool phase of the tournament, which is a qualifier for next year’s FIH Junior World Cup.

Captained by star player Rani, the team consists of several experienced players who even represent the senior team.

Rani will lead the forward line along with Anupa Barla, Punam Barla, Navneet Kaur and Sonika. Rani had played a very important role to steer the team in the recently-concluded Volvo Invitational U-21 Tournament, where the side finished third.

Vice-Captain Navjot Kaur and the talented Lily Chanu will mobilise the midfield area to provide maximum support to the defence-line as well as create opportunities for the forward players. Navjot, Chanu, Lilima Minz and Renuka Yadav represent the senior team as well.

The defence boasts of hugely experienced Deep Grace Ekka, Namita Toppo and penalty corner specialist Jaspreet Kaur. Led by goalkeeper Inderpreet Kaur, the back-line is quite capable to blunt attacks from DPR Korea as well as other teams in the tournament.

Both India and Korea will clash against each other for the first time on the opening match and it will be a challenge for them to decode each others’ game.

Though the Indian eves are more experienced, they will can hardly take their opponents lightly.

Speaking on the first match against DPR Korea, Chief Coach Mathias Ahrens stated: “We have never seen them play but we have the edge in terms of a good and strong team along with experience but we still will not take the match easy as the opponent may have the surprise element and can stun us. We have to watch their every move and play accordingly.”

“We are making sure that there are no loopholes in the team and in the process avoid every room for error. Players have been practising for the last one month and been working on reducing their earlier mistakes,” Ahrens said.

Speaking after a training session, Captain Rani Rampal echoed the coach’s sentiment.

“It’s time to implement our strategies on field and perform our level best for the opening match. The girls are well prepared and confident to take on DPR Korea. We don’t know how they play and that brings the additional challenge of a surprise element.

“We will start aggressively, take the attack to the opponents and aim to score initially. The idea is to have good ball possession whilst keeping the pressure on the opponents. We are geared-up and looking forward to the match,” she said.

Nine teams will participate in the tournament.

The Hindu

A new format for Asia Junior Cup hockey tournament

By S. Ramaguru

KUALA LUMPUR: The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) will introduce the quarter-final format for the Junior Asia Cup which will be held in Kuantan from Nov 14-24.

This is line with the format that is used by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) in all their sanctioned tournaments.

AHF competitions committee chairman D. Mathavan confirmed that the eight-nation meet in November will follow the FIH format.

He also said that the groupings for the tournament have been finalised.

Malaysia, who are the defending champions, will head Group A with India, Japan and China. The teams in Group B are Pakistan, South Korea, Oman and Bangladesh.

“Basically all the teams will be involved in the quarter-finals when the knockout phase starts. The Junior Asia Cup is also a qualifier for the Junior World Cup next year,” he added.

The top four teams from the tournament will qualify for the Finals.

Malaysia must finish in the top two at the group phase to avoid the top teams – Pakistan and South Korea.

National Juniors coach A. Arulselvaraj said that the grouping does not matter much as all the teams will make the next round.

“But we will have to be cautious and try to finish in the top two of the group to get an easier quarter-final match.

“Our preparations are on schedule and we hope to be ready for the tournament,” he said.

The Juniors are presently playing for their respective clubs in the ongoing Malaysia Hockey League (MHL).

They will regroup after the MHL ends and prepare for the Sultan of Johor Cup next month.

It is their final preparation before the Junior meet.

The Star of Malaysia

Malaysian Women start Junior Asia Cup Saturday

By Jugjet Singh

THE Malaysian women will start their Junior Asia Cup in in Changzhou,  China, today against neighbors Singapore.

The tournament is a Junior World Cup qualifier, and three teams from this tournament will make the grade.

However, Malaysia only have an outside chance as they are grouped with favourites China and India.

Malaysia's best record in the Junior Asia Cup is only a fifth, and it will be uphill for coach Lailin Abu Hasan's charges to even make the semi-finals.

Group A: China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, North Korea.
Group B: South Korea, Japan, Thailand, Taiwan.

TODAY: Malaysia v Singapore; Monday: Malaysia v China; Wednesday:
Malaysia v North Korea; Thursday: Malaysia v India.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

THT keep title with 5-4 win

By Jugjet Singh

TERENGGANU Hockey Team (THT) had to bring out their best to defend their League title, when they edged Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) 5-4 at the Batu Buruk Stadium in Kuala Terengganu yesterday.

THT lifted the title on 27 points, for a purse of RM70,000 while KLHC received RM50,000 and completed the League on 23 points.

The THT star yesterday was national player Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, who opened scoring in the fourth minute, and delivered the winner in the 60th minute.

The other THT goals were scored by Fitri Saari (13th), Firhan Ashaari (32nd) and Faizal Saari (49th).

KLHC took the lead off Nabil Fiqri in the fourth, and Razie Rahim (34th, 47th) and Noor Faeez Ibrahim (50th) made it 4-4 and even though a draw was enough for them to lift the litle, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin made sure with a 60th minute goal.

The stadium, with a capacity of 2,000, was packed to the brim with an estimated 3,500 fans who went wild with celebrations after their team defended their title.

Coach Sarjit Singh was elated with the commitment of their players: "I was a super display from my players as they never gave up and took the fight to KLHC. The crowd also played a big part in our win, and I would like to thank them for their undying support."

Menwhile Sapura finished third and pocketed RM40,000 when they edged Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 3-2.

Sapura ended with only a distant 17 points, but still managed to finish fifth in this two-horse league.

For Sapura, Dangerous Lee (40th), Marhan Jalil (58th) and Muhammad Imran (60th) delivered the goals.

Muhammad Sufi Ismat (11th) and Najmi Farizal (33rd) scored for UniKL.

RESULTS: Premier Division (Round Two): UniKL 2 Sapura 3, Terengganu Hockey Team 5 Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club 4, Maybank 1 Tenaga 2.

Division One: Group A -- MBI 2 TNB Thunderbolts 2, Masum-USM 3 MSN-THT 1.

Group B: SSTMI 1 UniKL Young Guns 2, Nur Insafi 2 PKS-KPM 2.

Women: Group A -- The Cops 0 Politeknik 1.

SATURDAY: Division One: Group A -- MBI v BJSS (Azlan Shah, 5pm); Women's Group B: MSN Kedah v KL Sukma (Padang Serai, 5pm).

SUNDAY: Division One Group A: TNB Thunderbolts v MSN-THT (SSTMI, 5pm), MSSP-YP-SSP v Masum-USM (Kuantan, 5pm).

Group B: Politeknik v UniKL Young Guns (Taman Daya, 5pm), SSTMI v UiTM (SSTMI, 7pm), Nur Insafi v ATM Airod (Sungai Petani, 5pm).

Women's Group A: The Cops v ATM Pernama (Pitch I, 7pm).

NOTE: National Hockey Stadium Bukit Jalil, unless stated.

Jugjet's World of Field Hockey

Terengganu retain Malaysia Hockey League title

By S. Ramaguru

Terengganu players and officials celebrating their league win after defeating KLHC 5-4 at Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu. - ZABIDI TUSIN / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: Fitri Saari’s last-minute strike saw Terengganu retain their Malaysia Hockey League Premier Division title in a thrilling 5-4 win over Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC).

Terengganu picked up RM70,000 in prize money while KLHC, who are the bridesmaid for the second year running, collected RM50,000 for their effort.

It was also sweet revenge for the east coast side as they had lost to KLHC 2-6 in their opening match.

Terengganu went into the match at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu with a one-point lead over KLHC and needed only a draw to lift the title. They ended with 27 points with KLHC on 23.

KLHC shocked the homesters when they took the lead in the fourth minute off a Nabil Fiqri Mohamed Nor field goal.

But their joy was shortlived as Terengganu hit back four minutes later through Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin.

Terengganu then went ahead in the 15th minute when they earned a penalty stroke and Fitri Saari converted with ease.

Mohamed Firhan Azhaari scored in the 32nd minute to extend their advantage but KLHC skipper Mohamed Razie Rahim kept them within distance with a penalty corner goal two minutes later.

In the fourth quarter, KLHC sounded the board again when Razie scored his brace off a penalty corner set-piece in the 47th minute to level the score. But the homesters needed only two minutes to hit back as Faizal notched his 13th goal of the season in the 49th minute. But a minute later KLHC’s Mohamed Noor Faeez Ibrahim found the equaliser.

But Terengganu had the final say when Fitri scored in the last minute to seal the title.

The knockout stage for the overall title will start on Sept 11. Terengganu and KLHC are seeded and will have a bye in the last eight while the draw for the other matches will be done on Monday.

At the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil, Sapura’s Mohamed Imran scored a last-ditch penalty corner goal to secure a 3-2 win over Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) in the final Premier Division match.

Sapura had to overcome a two-goal deficit to finish in third place with 17 points. They earned RM40,000.

Sapura skipper Mohamed Marhan Jalil said that their second half performance was much sharper and they were able to overcome the early deficit.

“It was good team work and the players regrouped quickly after going down by two goals.

“The team were confident and their performance improved greatly after the stoppage. We are looking forward to the knockout stage,” he said.

The Star of Malaysia

It’s WP vs Southern Gauteng for SA national hockey title


The final of the South African Men’s Interprovincial Hockey Tournament (IPT) will be played between Tuffy Western Province and Southern Gauteng.

And if Friday’s semi-finals were anything to go by, Saturday’s 6pm title match at Tuks Astro in Pretoria is set to be a classic.

Late Friday afternoon, WP scored the lone goal of the first semi-final against a brave South Africa U21 with 2,9 seconds left in regulation time (60 minutes).

It was a superb penalty corner (PC) variation principally executed by Dave Agar at the top of the strike zone, allowing Dan Bell a split second more time and space to pick his spot low into the backboard.

The second semi-final saw Southern Gauteng shade host province Northern (Gauteng) Blues in yet another nerve-wracking finish.

After the score was 2-2 in regulation time and 4-4 in the penalty shootout it went to two rounds of sudden-death which Southerns won 2-1 for an ultimate 8-7 victory.

Blues took advantage in a dominant first quarter when Grant Glutz scored from a PC in the eighth minute.

Blues might have been 2-0 up had Richard Pautz’s superb tip-in from Tim Guise-Brown’s pass not been disallowed for breaking early.

Three minutes into the second half (33rd minute) vice-captain Andrew Buckley put Blues 2-0 up but midway through this third quarter (38th minute) Southerns’ PC ace Gareth Heyns pulled one back with a trademark strike.

Heyns came close hardly a minute later from another PC but Blues survived the threat. Southerns were not to be denied and on the cusp of the third quarter’s close (45th minute), a neat PC one-two saw Heyns finish off (2-2).

Into the fourth and final quarter, there was much drama in the 64th minute - just six minutes from the end - when Blues were initially awarded a controversial penalty stroke, but after consultation between the umpires the decision was downgraded to a PC and Pautz’s deflection off Guise-Brown’s pass flew over the crossbar.

In the earlier matches, the first round of playoffs for ninth to 12th positions was a goal fest.

First up, Free State accounted for KZN Mynahs 7-0 after the Bloemfontein boys led 5-0 at half-time.

Coach Warren Sangster’s team found the back of the net through the outstanding striker Kurt Hensberg (4), captain Brett Walraven, Mark Walraven, Dylan Swanepoel and Egon van der Merwe.

The second clash in the ninth to 12th place race saw two strikers in top form, KZN Inland’s Damian Kimfley and captain Gavin Jelley netting hat-tricks as the Pietermaritzburg-based side beat North West 7-3.

Vice-captain Satchi Reddy got Inland’s remaining goal. North West scored through Gareth Markus and Ruan de Jong (2).

The playoffs in the middle four of this 12-team A Section event were far closer affairs. First up, Eastern Province beat Western Province Peninsula 4-2 after the Port Elizabeth lads had led 2-1 at the changeover.

Michael Abrahams (2), Cerezo Comerasammy and Jason MacLachlan scored for EP while Matt Anderson and Jordan Turnbull registered on the scoreboard for WP Peninsula.

The other match in this first round of playoffs for positions five to eight, between KZN Raiders and South Gauteng Wits, was a cliff-hanger.

In the final analysis, Raiders emerged triumphant by a 3-2 score in the penalty shootout, Keagan Robertson getting the winner, this after the teams were deadlocked 1-1 in regulation time.

Wit’s 1-0 half-time lead came in the 22nd minute courtesy of a brilliant display of stickwork in close confines by striker Dean Symons, while Raiders’ equaliser was scored by Dan Sibbald with a stunning goal-shot.
The second-tier B Section is delicately poised with Northerns B in pole position.

A Section Free State 7 KZN Mynahs 0; KZN Inland 7 North West 3; EP 4 WP Peninsula 2; KZN Raiders 1 SG Wits 1 (Raiders win penalty shootout 3-2). Semi-Final 1: WP 1 SA U21 0. Semi-Final 2: Southern Gauteng 2 Northern Blues 2 (Southerns win sudden-death penalty shootout 2-1 after first round locked 4-4).
B Section: Namibia 6 Eastern Gauteng 2; Northerns B 2 Northern Cape 1.

A Section (11th/12th) 08h30 (at St Albans) KZN Mynahs vs North West.
At Tuks Astro: (9th/10) 08h30 KZN Inland vs Free State; (7th/8th) 10h30 WP Pens vs SG Wits; (5th/6th) 12h30 KZN Raiders vs EP; (3rd/4th) 14h30 SA U21 vs Northern Blues; (Final) 16h30 WP vs Southern Gauteng.
B Section round-robin fixtures (at St Albans): 10h30 SA Country Districts vs Northern Cape; 12h15 Eastern Gauteng vs Northerns B.
B Section log (goal difference, points): 1 Northerns B 5GD 7pts; 2 Namibia 2GD 7pts; 3 SACD -1GD 6pts; 4 Eastern Gauteng -2GD 3pts; 4 Northern Cape -4GD 0pts.

SA Hockey Association media release

Big four progress in ABN Amro Cup

Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Oranje Zwart and Kampong all won their way through to the final four of the ABN Amro Cup on Thursday evening in the Netherlands.

Amsterdam got the best of Pinoké 4-0 in tandem with a 1-0 win over Hurley to win their group. Rotterdam won probably the toughest group with a 3-0 win over HGC and then drew with Bloemendaal 0-0; HGC beat Bloemendaal 1-0 in the other group game.

OZ had two wins in their group, beating SCHC 4-1 and Den Bosch 1-0 while reigning champions Kampong won their two local derbies, 1-0 against both Schaerwijde and Voordaan.

The four clubs will go on to play in the winners’ group over the course of Saturday and Sunday to battle it out for the title.

Euro Hockey League media release

Faust takes up role in Switzerland

After five years involved with the Czech Republic, Chris Faust is switching to take up a role with Swiss Hockey as coach to both their national teams.

Most recently the German man coached the Czech women to promotion to the top tier of the EuroHockey Championships, winning silver in Prague in July while he previously won bronze at the indoor World Cup in Leipzig.

The 46-year-old said of the new job: "I am looking forward to working with CEO Paul Schneider and the exciting and long-term oriented tasks in Swiss hockey.

“I see these objectives holistically, working from Under-14 level upwards. Our goal is, in addition to the  development and installation of a performance sports concept, the coach education and development of field hockey sport in Switzerland.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Swiatek brothers transfer to Holland and Belgium

Both Swiatek brothers will ply their trade outside the German league for the 2015/16 season to pursue opportunities in nearby countries.

Jonas Swiatek moves from UHC Hamburg has agreed to move to Pinoké in the Hoofdklasse. He is one of seven new players at the Amsterdam based club with England’s Andy Bull and Joost van de Vijfeijken from Kampong among high level signings. Fellow German Jonathan Fröschle, though, finishes up with Pinoké.

Meanwhile, corner specialist Benedict Swiatek is switching from Berliner HC to Royal Pingouin in Belgium’s Audi Hockey League.

Euro Hockey League media release

Ghana’s Bisham Abbey visit fuels Rio dreams

Ghana women recently visited England's training base as part of an FIH Targeted Assistance Programme

Raw, talented and keen to learn, a recent visit to Bisham Abbey by the Ghana national women’s team left no-one doubting the scale of their ambitions.

For the coaching team of Darren Cheesman, Siegfried Aikman and Mark Jarvis, and England Hockey Relationship Manager Lucy Rowe, the target is a sustainable hockey scene at grassroots and high performance level, with qualification for a major international event, such as the 2017 Commonwealth Games, within the next four years. But speak to 21-year-old Elizabeth Opoku and it is Rio 2016 that is on her radar.

The Ghana Hockey Association, working with FIH, African Hockey Federation, England Hockey and UK Sport – is almost one year into the four year FIH Target Assisted Programme (TAP). A coaching and umpiring team travelled to Ghana to run training and education programmes and the Ghana women's national team recently spent two weeks based in England, at England Hockey’s home, Bisham Abbey, followed by FIH Innovation Partner, Loughborough University, playing, training and observing top quality hockey.

"I first saw the team in Delhi in Hockey World League Round One and I was taken by the raw talent on display. The players are frighteningly competitive but lacked tactical organisation" says Cheesman.

“This team could be brilliant but there are strategies that must be in place," he adds. "We are teaching the players to think for themselves and find solutions under the guidance of their coaching team.”

Opuku agrees: "We have learnt so much. For example, we know that the defending area is split into red, orange and green zones, we must keep the ball out of the red zone and force the opposition into the green zone."

Ghana’s coaches have been mentored through all sessions by Aikman and Cheesman, their hope is that the team will continue to work on these principles in the future.

For the partners behind the TAP project the emphasis is far more upon its long-term nature. Rowe says: "Our three aims are Workforce Development – creating umpiring and coaching education pathways in West Africa area; Resources – for which we have a “Kit 4 Africa” campaign that has already yielded over 1000 sticks & other kit; and High Performance – supporting the development of the Ghana Women`s team and their extended support staff.”

All three targets are being met. The coach educator programme has resulted in 21 level one coaches, against a target of 12; 18 level two coaches against a target of four; plus 21 trained umpires; Equipment is on its way to Ghana; and Ghana is in line to do well at the African continental championships.

Over the next few months, the programme will continue with further workforce development programmes in West Africa. However, for the 22 athletes who spent 16 days at in England, the Africa Cup of Nations and Rio 2016 is never far from their thoughts.

There was an unmistakable glint in Cheesman's eyes: "What a story that would make," he said.

FIH site

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