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News for 15 December 2015

All the news for Wednesday 15 December 2015

Marais for Baxter in forced change for Spar SA


Indoor hockey fans are in for a treat this week when the Spar Four Nations women’s tournament takes place at UKZN Westville’s sports hall.

Australia, the USA, Namibia and the Spar South Africa women’s indoor hockey teams get the ball rolling Tuesday when the Aussies tackle the Namibians at 7pm followed by South Africa against USA at 8.15pm.

“The USA are a far better side now than when we saw them last time,” was Spar SA head coach Lennie Botha’s assessment of the Americans.

“This is going to be a competitive tournament,” said Botha. “Australia, for one, are a very good, attacking side who play with nice structure.”

All four countries will have to work hard if they hope to win this event.

Mirroring Tuesday’s action, Wednesday and Thursday also see double-header Test matches at the same times (7pm and 8.15pm), while Friday morning features the third/fourth place playoff and the 9.30am final.

The SA women’s team have just come off a 5-0 series whitewash of Namibia and go into the Four Nations in confident mood.

“The Spar SA team have grown tremendously during the Namibia series and the Spar Four Nations gives the group another opportunity to test themselves against quality international opposition,” said Botha.

“It is going to be a very tight series,” Botha added.

However, Spar South Africa’s Test series success against Namibia hasn’t come without its casualties. It what was a hard-fought series against an underdog opponent who simply refuse to give up the battle.

SA striker Steph Baxter suffered a fractured forearm during the fourth Test and is out of the Spar Four Nations, her place taken by North West team-mate, 19-year-old Elmien Marais.

In doubt is SA’s Jessica Glass, who fractured a toe during the Namibia series.

“We are going to strap it, we think Jess will be fit but the call will be made Tuesday,” said Spar SA head coach Lennie Botha, who added that South Africa’s neighbours are growing with every outing and won’t stand back for anyone.

Head coach Trevor Cormack said Namibia were delighted to be invited to take part in the Spar Four Nations.

“Lennie invited us and it is an honour to be here,” said Cormack. “Although we lost the five Tests, I think we showed South Africa that our game is improving all the time.

“Our objective, with a young side [three schoolgirls among them] is to grow the players’ experience,” said the well-respected Namibia mentor.

“Every Test cap under the belt adds value in exposing the team to this level of play. Being in this international tournament environment is also invaluable to the group.

“And it gives us as a country the ideal opportunity to measure where we stand against higher-ranked opposition.”

The Four Nations takes place alongside the ninth edition of the hugely popular Nolands Pro Series indoor (PSi) Nationals Under-16 and U18 boys and girls tournaments, which features dozens of teams from franchises across the country and Namibia battling it out for title honours at a host of venues in Surf City.

Got to www.psihockey.co.za for all the fixtures and more.

Amore de Wet, Celia Evans, Elmien Marais (North West); Amy Greaves (KZN Inland); Hanli Hattingh, Jessica Glass, Megan Robertson, Nicole la Fleur (Western Province); Jessica O’Connor, Kara Stella, Shelly Higgo (KZN Raiders); Sarah Allan (Southern Gauteng).
Team management: Lennie Botha (coach), TJ Smith (assistant coach), Taryn de Winnaar (manager), Brighty Mashaba (video analyst).

(All at UKZN Westville)
Tuesday: Australia vs Namibia (7pm); SA vs USA (8.15pm)
Wednesday: USA vs Namibia (7pm); SA vs Australia (8.15pm)
Thursday: Australia vs USA (7pm); SA vs Namibia (8.15pm)
Friday: 3rd/4th Playoff (8.15am); Final (9.30am)
* Entry fee is R20 for the general public

SA Hockey Association media release

Team USA Builds Confidence Heading into SPAR 4 Nations Indoor Event with Four Preparatory Match Wins

DURBAN, South Africa - The U.S. Women's National Indoor Team hit the ground running in South Africa by contending in four preparatory matches before the SPAR 4 Nations Tournament.

During the first match, Team USA took on KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Team and left the court victorious with a score of 4-1. Megan DuVernois (Collegeville, Pa.) opened the scoring for the red, white and blue off of Mary Beth Barham's (New Haven, Conn.) quick interception. KwaZulu-Natal tied the game before DuVernois deflected a penalty corner to give the USA a 2-1 halftime lead. Midway through the second half, following a nice passing sequence, Maddie Orobono (Macungie, Pa.) beat the goalkeeper from the top of the circle to extend the lead and DuVernois scored her third goal with a strong finish in front of the goal to give the USA a 4-1 win in their first warm-up game prior to the SPAR 4 Nations Tournament.

With the Australian team's arrival delayed, the U.S. Women's National Indoor Team played the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Team again the next evening for another prep match. Adjusting to the slower court surface, the USA finished with a 12-2 win. Orobono opened the scoring in the 2nd minute from a pass courtesy of Katie Gerzabek (Springfield, Pa.). Orobono returned the favor off a steal for Gerzabek to put the USA up 2-0. Gerzabek completed her hat trick on two penalty corner goals before KwaZulu-Natal pulled two back before the break.

Rhian Jones (Rye, N.Y.) laid a pass off for Orobono to score her second goal after the restart and DuVernois put the game beyond reach with five unanswered goals. The first was an individual effort, then Barham found Duvenois on the back post for her second goal. Abby Pitcairn (Aspinwall, Pa.) split the defense with a lovely pass to Barham just outside the circle who found Duvernois in front of goal for the deflection. It was Pitcairn again who set up Duvernois for her fourth goal from the left corner and she added her fifth with deft stick work along the baseline before drawing the goalkeeper to slip the ball into the empty net. Barham and Gerzabek rounded out the scoring and a much sharper display from Team USA.

Team USA continued their winning ways in their third warm-up match against Namibia by not conceding a goal to get a 6-0 defeat.

Gerzabek was once again the catalyst for Team USA's success, finishing the game with four goals as Namibia's defense struggled to deal with her penalty corners drag flicks and sharp finishing. Additional goals came from Jones and Barham, and both Ainslie Rhodes (Chester Springs, Pa.) and Anna Zarkoski (Trooper, Pa.) kept a clean sheet in goal.

For the final preparation match before the SPAR 4 Nations Tournament, the USA played Australia and ended the game with a 4-3 win. Team USA struck first with DuVernois finishing the ball off the goalkeeper’s pads from Barham’s shot. The USA kept the fast pace, and after a wonderful intercept from Orobono, she slipped the ball to Gerzabek inside the circle who made no mistake with a powerful shot. This put Team USA up 2-0 at half. At the start of the second half, Australia won a stroke and converted on the opportunity. Striking back, Pitcairn sent the ball down the boards to Barham, who received and spun with the ball in the corner and placed an accurate shot into the far corner of the goal. Australia scored two open field goals to tie the game at 3-3 but with time running out DuVernois scored the winning goal on a flick from the top of the circle to give the USA a 4 - 3 win.

"The team played very well together; managing play effectively and efficiently,” said Jun Kentwell, U.S. Women’s National Indoor Team Head Coach. “The defenders were able to connect beautifully; setting the tone for better passing and trapping as a team. I am extremely pleased to see that the team is playing better as each game goes on."

All four games rightly built confidence as the squad prepares to face SPAR 4 Nations Tournament host South Africa on Tuesday, December 15. It will be a tough test for Team USA but with a strong warm-up under their belt, the team will go into it with plenty of belief.

Follow the U.S. Women's National Indoor Team and their journey in South Africa by visiting usafieldhockey.com.

USFHA media release

Hockey World League Season 3 - coming soon!

Photo: FIH/Getty Images

With the Hockey World League Season 2 coming to a dramatic conclusion in both Raipur, India at the men’s Hero Hockey World League Final, and in Rosario at the women’s Argentina Hockey World League Final, we look ahead to what Season 3 has in store.

The Hockey World League is composed of four rounds and played over two years in venues around the world.

This unique competition gives even the smallest hockey-playing nations the opportunity to write their own chapter in hockey’s history books, as they are given the chance to progress through the Rounds, with the added incentive of Olympic or World Cup qualification also on offer.

Season 3 will indeed determine which teams qualify, alongside the Continental Champions and hosts, for the Hockey World Cups in 2018 in England (women) and India (men).

Qualification for the World Cups will be confirmed at the Hockey World League Semi-Finals which are scheduled to take place in Argentina, Belgium and England in the summer of 2017.

Before then, teams will be battling it out to qualify for the Semi-Finals through Rounds 1 and 2.

Earlier this year, the International Hockey Federation (FIH) confirmed the nine locations that will host Hockey World League Round 1 events.

Taking place in the summer of 2016, joint men’s and women’s events will be held in Accra (Ghana); Singapore (Singapore); Prague (Czech Republic); Salamanca (Mexico); Chiclayo (Peru) while a location in Oceania will also be confirmed at a later date.

In addition to the joint gender events, another women’s competition will take place in Cambrai (France) while Antalya (Turkey) and Glasgow (Scotland) will host men’s competitions.

Final standings at the Round 1 events will determine which teams will qualify for the Round 2 competitions which will take place in six locations, including Trinidad & Tobago, Ireland, Bangladesh, Canada, Spain and Malaysia in early 2017.

Highlighting the global spread of hockey around the world, each host award is an indication of the growth of the sport taking place in these countries. For Peru and Turkey in particular, these will be their first ever FIH events, a clear indication of the rapid development of hockey within these nations.

Whilst the ultimate prize is to win the Hockey World League title, and in addition to qualifying for the Hockey World Cup, there’s many more incentives for competing teams.

All teams participating in the Hockey World League will receive FIH World Ranking points which could prove crucial when it comes to qualification for other hockey events, while the winners will qualify for the 2018 Champions Trophies in Argentina (women) and the Netherlands (men).

The excitement and buzz created by the Hockey World League Finals in India and Argentina over the past few weeks will undoubtedly continue into these events. All of the hosts are in tune with FIH’s Hockey Revolution goals, in particular FIH’s aim to develop innovative and exciting entertainment events.

Be sure not to miss out on any of the action from the Hockey World League Season 3 by following FIH on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To read more about all of the action from the women’s Argentina Hockey World League Final, click here.

Relive all the memories from the men’s Hero Hockey World League Final by clicking here.

FIH site

Argentina ace among nominees for FIH Hockey Stars awards

By Michael Pavitt

Delfina Merino helped Argentina claim the women's World Hockey League Final title ©Getty Images

Argentina’s Delfina Merino is one of five nominees for the Women’s Player of the Year Award after the International Hockey Federation (FIH) released their shortlists for the 2015 Hockey Stars.

Merino top scored for Argentina at the Hockey World League Finals, with her three efforts helping the host nation triumph at the second edition of the tournament as they swept aside New Zealand 5-1 in yesterday’s final in Rosario.

The 26-year-old will face competition from Britain’s Alex Danson, Australia’s Jodie Kenny, South Korea’s Mi-Hyun Park and The Netherlands’ Lidewij Welten for the award, after they were selected by a panel made up of the FIH Athletes’ Committee, Continental Federation Presidents and FIH media staff.

Each of the nominees were selected based upon their performances at international events during the season, in addition to their overall contribution to the sport.

Australia’s captain Mark Knowles and his team-mate Chris Ciriello have been nominated for the men’s award to mark their superb performances throughout the season, which helped the world number one ranked nation secure the Hockey World League Finals title.

Despite finishing on the wrong side of the 2-1 result in the final, Belgium’s John-John Dohmen has also been nominated alongside Germany’s Tobias Hauke and The Netherlands’ Robert van der Horst.

“The ambition of the Hockey Revolution, our ten-year strategy for hockey, is to make it a global game that inspires the next generation,” said Leandro Negre, the FIH President, after the shortlists were announced.

“Our international players have a big role to play in making this ambition a reality.

“Hockey Stars allows the hockey community to celebrate these stars and provide recognition to the very best in international hockey.”

Men's Player of the Year nominee Mark Knowles captained Australia to the World Hockey League Final crown ©Getty Images

Five candidates have also been named for the Goalkeeper of the Year Award, with Germany’s Kristina Reynolds, Britain’s Maddie Hinch, The Netherlands’ Joyce Sombroek, China’s Dongxiao Li and South Korea’s Jang Soo Ji the contenders for the women’s title.

Meanwhile Ireland’s David Harte, Canada’s David Carter, Australia’s Andrew Charter, Germany’s Nicolas Jacobi and The Netherlands’ Jaap Stockmann are on the men’s shortlist.

Winners are set to be decided by the combined result of an online poll, which is open to the public until January 20, and a peer vote from fellow international players.

The public will also be able to vote for the Rising Star of the Year Awards with Dutch duo Xan De Waard and Maria Verschoor joined by Britain’s Lily Owsley, New Zealand’s Rose Keddell and Germany’s Charlotte Stapenhorst in the running for the women’s prize.

Germany’s Christopher Ruhr, Australia’s Blake Govers, India’s Akashdeep Singh, Ireland’s Shane O’Donoghue and Canada’s Sukhi Panesar are on the men’s shortlist.

Winners are set to be revealed on January 26, alongside the Coach of the Year and the inaugural Umpire of the Year Awards, which will be decided through a peer vote.

The public can cast their votes by clicking here.

Inside the Games

EHL half dozen on Player of the Year shortlists

Six players set for the EHL KO16 next Easter have been named on the shortlist for the FIH world player of the year awards from six different clubs.

For the men’s player of the year gong, Dutch captain Robert van der Horst – from Oranje Zwart – has had an epic 2015, leading his country to the European Championships gold in August as well as taking double gold with OZ in the Hoofdklasse and the EHL.

He is up against Harvestehuder THC’s Tobias Hauke – a 2010 winner of the young player award before landing the ultimate individual prize in 2013.

They face stiff opposition from the WatDucks’ John-John Dohmen who was named player of the tournament at the World League semi-final in Antwerp; Mark Knowles was the 2014 winner and is on the shortlist for a third successive year. Chris Ciriello gets his first nomination.

In the Goalkeeper of the Year section, SV Kampong’s David Harte looks to be one of the clear front-runners for the title. He was voted the top keeper at both the European Championships and the World League semi-final in Antwerp as Ireland qualified for the Olympics off the back of his superb performances.

UHC Hamburg’s Nicolas Jacobi helped his German side to a European silver medal along with Olympic qualifiction with victory at the World League semi-final in Argentina.

Bloemendaal’s Jaap Stockmann is on the list after a goalkeeper of the tournament performance at the World League Final in India earlier this month as well as helping the Dutch win gold at the Euros.

Australia’s Andrew Charter, with gold at the World League Final and the Oceania Championships, is also on the list as is David Carter who was superb in helping Canada to qualify for the Olympics with some stunning shoot-out saves.

In the Rising Star category, Rot Weiss Köln’s Christopher Rühr was a crucial player for Germany in their Olympic qualification, scoring six times in HWL semi-final in their successful bid.

KHC Dragons Shane O’Donoghue made his mark on the world stage with excellent performances for Ireland, winning player of the tournament at World League Round 2 in San Diego en route to a place in Rio 2016. From midfield, he scored twice in their Euro bronze medal win over England. He also helped his club to the Belgian title.

Australia’s Blake Govers had a break-out year, making his international debut during the summer at the World League semi-final in Antwerp, winning both the top scorer prize and the young player of the tournament prize.

He also scored a stunning five times in the English Premier League final for Wimbledon to power their success. India’s Akashdeep Singh and Canada’s Sukhi Panesar complete this shortlist.

** To vote for your favourite players, click here

Euro Hockey League media release

Vote for our athletes

Five Australian players nominated for FIH Hockey Stars 2015 Awards

Five Australian players from the Hockeyroos’ and Kookaburras’ squads have been nominated for the International Hockey Federation’s Hockey Stars 2015 Awards.

The Australian players up for awards are…

2015 Player of the Year (men) – Chris Ciriello and Mark Knowles
2015 Player of the Year (women) – Jodie Kenny
2015 GK of the Year (men) – Andrew Charter
2015 Rising Star (men) – Blake Govers

Our players have been nominated and now they need your help to ensure they get as many votes as possible to win. Click on the below link to place your vote now!



Five (5) male and five (5) female nominees have been selected for each award. These were selected by a panel consisting of the FIH Athletes' Committee, Continental Federation Presidents and FIH media personnel. All awards are based on performance at international events during the 2015 season, as well as the player's overall contribution to the sport.

Winners will be decided by the combined results of an online vote that is open to everyone and a peer vote from international athletes. Voting is open until 20 January 2016. Winners will be announced on 26 January  2016. Players will be presented with their awards in their respective home countries during the first quarter of 2016.

Speaking about the Awards, FIH President, Leandro Negre, said: “The ambition of the Hockey Revolution, our ten-year strategy for hockey, is to make it a global game that inspires the next generation. Our international players have a big role to play in making this ambition a reality. Hockey Stars allows the hockey community to celebrate these stars and provide recognition to the very best in international hockey. We invite our fans from around the world to vote on their Hockey Stars!”

Along with these three awards, the FIH will also be awarding a Coach of the Year and an Umpire of the Year Award as part of Hockey Stars 2015. These awards will be decided on by a peer vote and winners will be announced on 26 January as well.

The Umpire of the Year Award is new for 2015. It is also a result of the Hockey Revolution, as the increase in the degree of professionalism throughout hockey is a major goal of the strategy. Recognising the very best in international umpires is in-line with this goal.

The Coach of the Year Award for 2015 will see a slight change. Introduced in 2014, the Award was originally awarded to the best coach of a female or male international team. From now on, the Award will be given to the best female and male coach of an international team. Hockey is a very inclusive sport with equal numbers of male and female players and FIH is committed to ensuring this balance across all areas of the sport.

Hockey Australia media release

Carter, Panesar, Andrews nominated for FIH year-end awards

Shaheed Devji

Canada’s field hockey teams have three representatives nominated for Hockey Stars 2015, the International Hockey Federation’s annual awards recognizing the best in their position from the past year.

On the men’s side, David Carter has been nominated for Goalkeeper of the Year, and Sukhi Panesar has been nominated for Rising Star.

On the women’s side, Women’s National Team assistant coach and Junior National Team head coach Steph Andrews is among three nominees up for Coach of the Year.

The winners of each player category will be determined by a combination of a peer vote from international athletes and fan voting, which is open to the public from now until January 20, 2016. Canadian fans are encouraged to vote for Carter and Panesar at http://fih.ch/hockeystars.

The winner of Coach of the Year is voted by coaches from the international field hockey community.

The 34 year-old Carter is coming off a year in which he made waves in the international hockey community.

An all-world performance at the World League Semifinal in Argentina in June, during which he led Canada to a quarterfinal victory against New Zealand in a fourteen-round shootout, the Vancouver, British Columbia keeper ended-up taking Goalkeeper and Player of the Tournament honours, which is a first for a Canadian.

He also appeared in every match at the 2015 Pan American Games and shared duties at the 2015 Hockey World League Final.

Panesar, who calls Surrey, British Columbia home and is only 21 years-old, has quickly become a staple in the Canadian midfield since making his debut in 2010. He played in his fiftieth senior international math for Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games in Toronto.

Like Carter, Panesar also competed in all major tournaments this year including World League Round 2, the World League Semifinal, World League Final, and the Pan Am Games.

Both Panesar and Carter were key in Canada achieving qualification for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.

Steph Andrews joined the Women’s National Program as Senior National Team assistant coach and Junior National Team head coach at the beginning of 2015.

The product of Australia’s playing and coaching system aided in leading the Canadian Women’s National Team to a bronze medal at the 2015 Pan American Games, which was the first time in more than 15 years that the Canadian women won a medal at the Games. In 2015, Canada’s women also cracked the top twenty in the FIH world rankings.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Keddell nominated for Rising Star of the Year

Photo: www.photosport.nz

Black Sticks midfielder Rose Keddell has been nominated for the 2015 FIH Rising Star of Year award.

The Rising Star of the Year is the annual award for the best men’s and women’s young player (Under 23) in international hockey in a given calendar year as determined by fan and athlete votes.

Keddell, 21, has had another stellar year for New Zealand and recently earned her 100th test cap at the FIH World League Final in Argentina.

Last year’s Rising Star of the Year awards were won by Argentina’s Florencia Habif (women) and Gonzalo Peilat (men).

Voting is open through the FIH website until 20 January, so make sure you click the banner below and give Rose your vote!

Hockey New Zealand Media release

IT’S do-or-die FOR CHAMPS TELKOM: No room for error for Openda’s African Queens, Orange

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Sliders' Captain Beryl Atieno, left, and Elizabeth Maina are challenged by Telkom Orange's Liilian Aura, centre, during KPL Hockey end season league at City Park, Nairobi on Sunday, December 7th, 2014. Photo/Jonah Onyango.

Reigning Africa hockey queens Orange Telkom today face a do-or-die situation as they confront hosts Lusaka Sharks in the ongoing Africa Cup of Club Championships.

Olympic Youth Development Centre in Lusaka will be a battlefield as Orange seeks to seal a semi-finals slot in their title defence.

Orange’s campaign was dented after drawing 3-3 against Ghana Police in their opening match. Only a win in this encounter will guarantee them a place in the last four.

Orange Telkom head coach Jos Openda said they will have to be top of their game. “Our opponents have an edge over us because they are playing at home. We have no choice but to give our best by controlling the game,” Openda said.

“This is like a final match for us. We can’t afford to make mistakes. We are here with a purpose and we have to achieve it.”

Orange will need to score more goals and hope that Ghana Police loses or scores less goals in their match against the Zambians in order to finish top of group A.

The African champions are seeking to win an overall eighth gong and a fourth in a row. However, Sharks will not let Orange have their way easily as they hope to save their country’s image by being the first home team to win a match. The local teams have not done well and have fallen to their guests in both the men and women’s contests.
See also: Orange Telkom battle Ghana Police in opener

In other matches of the day men’s defending champions Sharkia of Egypt will be seeking their second victory having launched their defence with a 14-1 mauling of Hippo HC of Zimbabwe.

They will play Sharks who will be out to redeem themselves after going down 3-1 to last year’s bronze medallists Trustees of Ghana in their opening match.


There will be no love lost as Hippo square it out with rivals Trustees in their second group A match. The two clubs will be out to outclass each other as their last encounter ended in a 3-3 stalemate at last year’s event in Zimbabwe.

The last match of the day will see high flying Egyptian champions Eastern Company tackle Niger Flickers of Nigeria.

Meanwhile Sharkia women continued with their winning ways as they subjected hosts DE Stars to their second humiliating defeat at their own backyard. Sharkia drubbed them 9-0 to top the women’s pool B.

The Zambian girls lost their opening match 6-0 to Ghana Revenue Authority.

The Standard Online

Bouwens passion to power Kampong after tough year

Few goals will more passionately celebrated than Erik Bouwens effort for SV Kampong in a 4-4 draw with Rotterdam in the Dutch Hoofdklasse in October.

While the goal was an important one, it marked a special moment after a “tough, tough” year for Bouwens. Late in 2014, he had been ear-marked by Max Caldas as a potential Dutch international and was called into his training panel only to see his chances of playing a role in the team denied through injury.

It was a hugely frustrating time for the 28-year-old and the goal against Rotterdam was a moment he “worked towards for more than half a year”, ripping off his shirt with a roar.

Speaking about it to the EHL website, Bouwens explained what it took to get to that point: “For a long time, there was no physio or doctor that was able to tell me what was wrong with my back. Meanwhile, I was spending months lying on the couch.

“Doctor Vergouwen has a track record of helping many top athletes in the Netherlands and he offered me a way out of the mess, together with the wonderful people of SMC Amsterdam like Rene and Mischa.

“I started out with excercises of 10 minutes per day until I was recoveringfull onfor two hours a day, six days a week. I can not tell you how proud I am to be back on the pitch with the Kampong squad.

“The goal against Rotterdam was something I had worked towards for more than half a year: being of value for the team again. I play with my heart, which made that moment all the more emotional for me. Finally I was back!”

It gives him a chance of playing in the EHL KO16 at Easter and helping Kampong make an extended impact on the competition. It is something the Utrecht side are aware of as they bid to improve on their previous best of a run to the quarter-finals.

They have been drawn to play Racing Club de France in the KO16 and Bouwens likes the challenge it presents and says defeat is not an option.

“One of the perks of playing in the EHL is that you get to play a wide variety teams with different styles of hockey. Racing has not made it to the second round so far so I expect them to be really eager to prove their worth.

“As a team we haven't showed ourselves in the way we wanted in the recent years in the EHL. So we are going to be eager to get a good result as well. This should make for a good match, which I expect us to win. This will be the only acceptable result for us.”

The season to date for Kampong, though, has been a tricky one. It has been marked by many injuries beyond Bouwens’ own problems with David Harte a significant absentee in the games just before the winter break.

They sit in seventh place in the Hoofdklasse after 13 matches with a bit of ground to make up if they are to return to the playoff places. It has provided Kampong with plenty to think about but also plenty of positives that can have longer term benefits, building on the club’s internal spirit.

“The Hoofdklasse has become more and more physical, so we are working on that, partly by playing indoor hockey. Other then that, I have seen great things on the pitch from a wide variety of players, including our youngsters. This will help us in the long run.

“Our strength lies in the way we live the Kampong-story fully. This team originated in a group of enthused young players that wanted to build something new, rather then transferring to a 'big' club.

“We gathered as a group of guys that click together. Some of us are real good friends. Guys like Constantijn Jonker and Quirijn Caspers have been playing at Kampong since they were little.

“In that sense, we have started from the bottom. If we want to continue our way up, we will have to take it game by game in the second half of the season. That way, we should be able to get back in it.”

Euro Hockey League media release

Egara win hotly contested Spanish Junior EHL qualifier

Club Egara and UHC Hamburg will complete the line-up for the ABN AMRO Junior EHL at Easter 2016, joining the already confirmed SV Kampong and KHC Dragons.

The Spanish side made it through the most rigourous of all the Junior EHL qualifiers, playing six games over three match days across the last fortnight against Real Club de Polo and Atlètic Terrassa.

Indeed, it was an incredibly closely contested three-team tournament throughout. Egara started on their home turf with a 2-0 win over Polo before drawing 1-1 with Atlètic.

They added a 4-1 win over Atlètic in the second leg at the Eduardo Dualde pitch in Barcelona and a 2-0 success over Polo. It gave them an imposing six point lead over the other two sides going into Sunday’s final round in Terrassa.

Atlètic, though, set the nerves jangling when they beat Egara 1-0 and then Polo recorded a 4-1 success. It meant a four-goal win for Atlètic in the final game against Polo would see them have a chance of ousting Egara.

It was not to be, however, as they only got a one-goal win and saw them miss out on goal difference – they ended on 10 points, level with Egara with Polo on six points.

UHC Hamburg, meanwhile, were declared the German representative by their national authorities as the highest ranked side in the national rankings of the three EHL clubs in the relevant age group.

They will join the Under-14 sides of Kampong - who qualified two weeks ago (see video) - and Dragons at Easter for a four-team tournament played out in EHL conditions at the tournament venue.

The Junior EHL was first conceived in 2014 with Dutch clubs Nijmegen, Naarden, Laren and Rotterdam taking part, before the tournament grew to encompass international teams.

As a Partner of the Future, ABN AMRO is always trying to help nurture and stimulate young sports stars in their development from talent to the elite level. The ABN AMRO Junior EHL is a prime example of this.

Euro Hockey League media release

Tahir Zaman believes in his boys

Silver medallist Pakistan team on the Podium

Pakistan’s second position at the junior Asia Cup has rekindled hope for the revival of hockey.  It was remarkable since the team had ended last at the Sultan of Johor Cup, among the six national junior sides, only a few weeks before. Despite a disappointing finish, head coach Tahir Zaman had sounded optimistic for the junior Asia Cup, and his side bounced back at Kuantan.

Tahir Zaman, who, in his distinguished international career (1987-98) also captained Pakistan, is FIH‘s Grade 1 High Performance Senior Coach. In addition, he is also the FIH Academy Coach Educator- the only Asian.  A world class inside right in his halcyon days, Tahir has coached the national sides of Azerbaijan (women), Egypt (men) and Barbados (men and women).

Tahir Zaman, Coach

He speaks about Pakistan juniors’ recent performance, their strengths/weaknesses and future programmes.

“Finishing last in the 6-nation tournament, so close to a vital title event like the Junior Asia Cup which doubled up as the Junior World qualifier, was indeed a cause of great concern. More so as Pakistan’s senior national side’s failure to qualify for the 2016 Olympics meant juniors’ qualification was essential for hockey’s survival in the country.  Otherwise, the interest of the general public as well as the sponsors, both government and private, would have diminished to the minimum. “

Why was he still hopeful?

 “The boys are talented. The main shortcoming seen at the Johor Bahru was the lack of cohesion which was mainly down to inexperience. There was hardly any activity at the junior level over last two years. This squad was put together only a few weeks before the tournament. Despite finishing last, they did give hints of their potential against experienced teams including some top sides of the world in Australia, Great Britain and Argentina apart from India and Malaysia, the two Asian heavy weights. One encouraging result was also achieved; the draw against the Great Britain, the eventual winners.”

“That said, there were definitely many grey areas both in defence and attack. We had conceded 22 goals and scored only five.  Fitness too was not satisfactory. On top of it, the players ‘morale was at the lowest ebb. “

How was all this taken care of?

“During the camp, special attention was paid to the technical deficiencies identified at Johor Bahru. To develop understanding among the players, there is no substitute for match practice, and against strong opposition. A four match series was arranged against Pakistan ‘A’ side comprising of the best available among the national senior team’s players. That was very useful as the team work went better with every match.                    
                                                                                                                                               Physical fitness for fast paced sports such as hockey has become a science. We requested Pakistan’s former hockey captain Rana Ghazanfar, who is working in England for many years as a physical fitness consultant. He is a level III fitness coach working with the Liverpool Football Club‘s academy; has had a little stint even with Liverpool’s premier league team. He also holds a diploma in sports psychology and has done modules in nutrition as well.  Despite his professional commitments in England, Ghazanfar joined the team at the camp and stayed with them throughout the tournament.  His efforts made a big difference. A motivated, physically fit and well-coordinated Pakistan side impressed everyone in Malaysia. In almost every game, their display was better than the opponents in the second half and many an important goals were scored in the dying minutes.  Of course, the opposition was weaker as compared to that in Johor Bahru. But all remarked, ‘Pakistan seemed to be a totally transformed side.”  

What went wrong in the final?

“The defeat by 2-6 margin was indeed a great disappointment. As per the form book, the Indians were the favourites. Still, I expected a better performance from Pakistan. The inexperience showed. The boys were over awed by the occasion. Only a few weeks back, they had played for the wooden spoon in the same country and now they were in the final of a high profile title tournament.

We had done some homework. India relied a lot on the drag flicker Harmanpreet Singh, tournament’s top scorer.  Goal keeping was our weakest link. Hence, the strategy was to avoid giving penalty corners. The players were instructed to play it safe within the 23. But the nerves got the better of them. In over exuberance some rash challenges were made.  Here, I must acknowledge the efforts of the Indians who cleverly crafted penalty corners.  Harmanpreet converted four of the five penalty corners and we were never in it. Nevertheless, Pakistan persisted with the attacking game and created chances; even dominated some phases.

India arrived as a well prepared side. Their junior squad has been playing together for more than two years. Moreover, most members of this team have figured in the Hockey India League thus getting invaluable experience of playing with and against world’s best players.”  
Future Plans?

“There is a long way to go. Many aspects need to be looked at. The national juniors’ championship in February is a good opportunity to look for the new talent. We want to provide the boys with maximum international exposure. There are bright chances for a tour to Australia and New Zealand in April. Negotiations are also underway with some major European hockey nations for a tour during the coming summer; two have given confirmation.  Before returning to England, Ghazanfar chalked out comprehensive fitness and nutrition plans for all the players, and he has been in constant touch with the players.  

Pakistan should enter the Junior World Cup in December, 2016 as a serious challenger to all the top teams; not among the also-rans. “

Tahir Zaman starred in Pakistan’s last World Cup victory (1994). Now, he is in a pivotal role to revive the fortunes of country’s national game.

Ijaz Chaudhry writes on hockey and other sports. For more about him and his work, visit www.sportscorrespondent.info


Rocke, Lewis cop Players of the Year hockey titles

Sean Nero

Senior Female Player of the Year Alanna Lewis shares the spotlight with Senior Male Player of the Year Andrey Rocke. PHOTO: SEAN NERO

Goalkeeper Andrey Rocke of Courts Malvern was named Senior men’s Player of the Year 2015, while Alanna Lewis of Paragon retained the title of Senior women’s Player of the Year honours, at the T&T Hockey Board’s annual awards ceremony held at the Atrium, Guardian Life, Westmoorings, on Sunday.

Having attained this honour, both athletes also received the executive’s vote to serve as the discipline’s nominees for the upcoming First Citizens Sports Foundation Sportsman and Sportswoman of the Year Awards. Meanwhile, forward/midfielder Kristien Emmanuel, also of Malvern, and Samantha Olton of Shandy Carib Magnolia, who played similar positions were voted the respective Youth Players of the Year.

While Rocke was no stranger to the Goalkeeper of the Year Award, citing his territorial nature at the net, it was his first time the Player of the Year honour came his way. Mickell Pierre of T&T Defence Force, Jordan Reynos (QPCC) Akim Toussaint (Paragon) Shaquille Daniel (Notre Dame) were contenders for the coveted award which Rocke eventually took home.

The performances of Rocke and Emmanuel ensured that Malvern ended the season and could enter the new one with much deserved bragging rights. But Notre Dame would not be left out, thanks to the ability of centre-midfielder Shaquille Daniel to recognise, convert and seize goal scoring opportunities. He won the men’s Championship Division award for Most Goals–18. 

Judging from the quality performances witnessed during the season under review Patricia Wright-Alexis (Harvard Checkers), Kayla Brathwaite (Notre Dame), Petal Derry (Harvard Checkers) and Bittney Hingh (Shandy Carib Magnolia) were no doubt seeking to ensure Paragon’s Lewis could not defend her Senior Female Player of the Year title.

They were wrong. As fate would have it, Lewis, who enjoyed being a defender and mid-fielder, was not to be dethroned. She went on to win her fifth title in the past seven years. Moments before Lewis took the spotlight to accept her honour, however, her club Paragon emerged as the women’s Team of the Year, while Petrotrin copped the men’s award for Team of the Year.

Rocke described the senior men’s accolade as an honour. He seemed visibly overwhelmed by the fact that the title carried with it the right to be the Hockey Board’s nominees for Sportsman of the Year, too.

Rocke said his days as a goalkeeper in football prepared him for hockey. Football was his main sport. He played hockey in off season. In the absence of the (hockey) goalkeeper, he would usually be called to fill the position. Before long he was a permanent fixture.

“I didn’t make it in football, so I pursued hockey later in my life. I was about 26 years old. I made my first national team at 26 and never turned back. It’s a difficult game. The average guy just can’t run on the field to play it. It’s a game you have to train very hard for. You need to train for all sports, but hockey requires a certain amount of skill. That challenges me. I enjoy a challenge. I enjoy playing the game,” he said. 

Lewis, meanwhile, was so focused on being a standout athlete that she could not remember the year’s the senior woman Player of the Year Award had her name etched on it. She expressed surprise at being able to retain the award citing that 2015 did not bring with it much international exposure for her, but she  delivered for her club.

“I didn’t think that I had good games throughout the season, but I guess to them (officials) I did,” she said.

Lewis admitted that her innate desire to maintain her level of athleticism was no easy feat, but declared that her willingness to rededicate herself to the sports continued to nourish her.

Looking ahead, she was focused on the national team turning on the charm and scoring the required goals to go past the Word League Round One in 2016. Once that was achieved, she said, the team would be guaranteed of a place in the second round of the contest in 2017.

2015 honour roll:

Senior Player of the Year: Male
Andrey Rocke
Senior Player of the Year: Female
Alanna Lewis
Youth Player of the Year: Male
Kristien Emmanuel (Malvern)
Youth Player of the Year: Female
Samantha Olton (Shandy Carib Magnolia)
Top Five Players 2015: Female
Patricia Wright-Alexis (Harvard Checkers)
Alanna Lewis (Paragon)
Kayla Brathwaite (Notre Dame)
Petal Derry (Harvard Checkers)
Brittney Hingh (Shandy Carib Magnolia)
Top Five Players 2015: Male
Mickell Pierre (T&T Defence Force)
Andrey Rocke (Malvern)
Jordan Reynos (QPCC)
Akim Toussaint (Paragon)
Shaquille Daniel (Notre Dame)
Goalkeepers of the Year:
Female: Petal Derry (Harvard Checkers)
Male: Andrey Rocke (Malvern)
Under 19 Division: Girls
Shandy Carib Magnolia
Most Goals: 21
Gabrielle Thompson (Paragon)
Most Goals: 17
Jarryon Paul (QPCC)
Trinity Division: Women
Shandy Carib Magnolia
Harvard Checkers
Most Goals: 9
Stacey Siu Butt (Shandy Carib Magnolia)
Most Goals: 5
Nicholas Camacho (QPCC)
Ishmael Campbell (Notre Dame)
Mixed Veterans:
T&T Defence Force
Notre Dame
Most Goals: 7
Ryan Mouttet (QPCC)
Nicholas Wren (T&T Defence Force)
Opening Day Winners
Women: Harvard Checkers
Outdoor League: Championship Division Women
Shandy Carib Magnolia
Most Goals: 9
Stacey Siu Butt (Shandy Carib Magnolia)
Championship Division: Men
Notre Dame
Most Goals: 18
Shaquille Daniel (Notre Dame)

The Trinidad Guardian

Olak to hold one-day trial for junior hockey team

by Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: The Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak)-PKT Tigers have one distinct advantage in trying to find players for next year’s Malaysian Junior Hockey Club (MJHL).

Olak will be holding a one-day trial at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium at Lembah Pantai on Dec 21 from 5pm-8pm to pick players for the Under-19 league.

Those selected will not only get allowances to feature in the league, but also be provided with scholarships and job opportunities.

“PKT Logistics can provide the players with employment at their warehouses located in Klang, Penang, Sungai Petani and Kuantan,” said team manager Joseph De Silva.

Former international S. Sivabalan will be the coach for Olak-PKT Tigers when the league begins in January.

Olak featured in Division One this year and finished eighth out of nine teams.

Joseph said that the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium would be their home ground as their Pandamaran Hockey Stadium in Klang is being re-turfed.

For details, contact Joseph (019-6491927) or D. Pandian (016-9960421).

The Star of Malaysia

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