All the news for Monday 23 May 2016
Kookaburras narrowly defeat Great Britain
The second game in the test took place in Narrogin today
By Holly MacNeil
The second game in the test series featuring the Kookaburras against Great Britain took place in Narrogin, Western Australia today in an action packed match that saw Australia narrowly defeat the visitors.
Australia kicked off the game with an immediate attempt on goal, with Eddie Ockenden taking a shot from just outside the shooting circle. Continuing with their mission to get an early lead, Australia scored the first chance on a penalty corner which was injected by Daniel Beale, with the onward play slightly off the mark and missing the goal opportunity.
A scramble in the Great Britain scoring circle saw Ashley Jackson hit the ball from a deflection, scoring the first goal of the match for Great Britain. Jackson quickly followed up with a penalty corner goal taking the lead out to two nil.
Australia came back fighting in the second quarter, with Blake Govers scoring a penalty corner with an excellent drag flick. Minutes later and Australia tied the score line with a penalty corner flick from Matthew Dawson flying straight past the Great Britain goalkeeper and into the net.
The third quarter was fast paced with both teams desperate to take the lead. Blake Govers provided Australia with that opportunity 43 minutes into the game with a penalty corner drag flick that sailed into goal.
Great Britain was on a mission to even the playing field, and minutes into the final quarter Sam Ward scored a penalty corner to do just that. With only a minute to go, Blake Govers nailed a penalty corner to give him a hat trick for the match, and Australia the win.
Kookaburras Head Coach, Graham Reid commented: “It was another war of attrition against Great Britain - it always is. I thought the couple of goals they got went against the play, which put us back a bit. Our first eight or nine minutes were really good, but then they got a quick goal, then we had a green card (Mark Knowles) and then they got another goal, so we were two nil down.
“The second quarter was better, we came back to two all. The third quarter was again good, we just lacked something in the early part of the fourth but we finished reasonably well. There are a lot of learnings that we can take from this so we’ll be going back and trying to get as much from this as we can.”
The final game in the series will take place on Tuesday, 24 May at the Perth Hockey Stadium at 6.30pm AWST / 8.30pm AEST.
KOOKABURRAS 4 (2)
Blake Govers 19, 43, 60 (PC, PC, PC)
Matthew Dawson 25 (PC)
GREAT BRITAIN 3 (2)
Ashley Jackson 10, 11 (FG, PC)
Sam Ward 49 (PC)
Kookaburras’ squad v Great Britain
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 734/15
Joshua Beltz (Hobart, Tasmania) 9/2
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT) 109/0
Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW) 41/7
Timothy Deavin (Launceston, Tasmania) 125/6
Jeremy Edwards (Tasmania) 7/1
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW) 25/23
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 284/23
Eddie Ockenden (Hobart, Tasmania) 271/64
Simon Orchard (Maitland, NSW) 196/55
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 86/10
Matthew Gohdes (Rockhampton, QLD) 152/51
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 53/17
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 66/0
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 87/33
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW) 27/11
Andrew Philpott (Melbourne, VIC) 23/1
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 75/3
Hockey Australia media release
Late drama seals Australia win against Great Britain
Ashley Jackson took his tally to 126 international goals against Australia
A hat-trick from Australia’s Blake Govers, including a late penalty corner handed the hosts a narrow 4-3 win in the second test of the series with Great Britain. Govers netted three drag flicks to add to another set piece from Matthew Dawson as the Kookaburras came from 2-0 down to snatch a win. Ashley Jackson had given Bobby Crutchley’s side a 2-0 lead in the first quarter and although Sam Ward levelled the scores with 11 minutes to go, Govers’ late intervention settled an entertaining contest.
Australia started well, pushing Great Britain back into their own half. The hosts won an early penalty corner but James Bailey stood firm to see off Matt Gohdes and clear the danger.
Great Britain’s forays forwards in the first quarter were restricted to counter attacks. Alastair Brogdon’s pace and skills caused the Australia defence plenty of problems. The visitors took the lead on ten minutes. A ball across the baseline from Adam Dixon was deflected by Jackson at the near post. The ball looped over the goalkeeper and in. It was 2-0 a minute later from GB’s first penalty corner. Jackson ripped an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner giving the goalkeeper no chance. Australia forced another penalty corner late on in the first period. This time Govers took the shot. His former team mate at Wimbledon, Bailey did well to get down and make the save ensuring it was 2-0 to GB at the quarter time break.
Australia won a penalty corner early in the second quarter. This time Govers was able to find the net, firing in a low drag flick to Bailey’s left to halve the deficit. The Kookaburras’ high press was not allowing Bobby Crutchley’s side to get the ball out and with five minutes left in the quarter the hosts were awarded another penalty corner. This was despatched by Matthew Dawson to level the scores. Great Britain’s response was immediate and a swift break set up Nick Catlin whose shot flew just wide and it was all square at the break.
GB forced a penalty corner within two minutes of the restart. Jackson went for his hat-trick but this time Andrew Charter got across to make the save.
As the game opened up Australia swept forwards on the break with four players up against just Mikey Hoare. The Wimbledon man read the play beautifully and was able to cut out the pass and clear when it looked certain the hosts would score. Great Britain lost Dan Shingles with five minutes left in the third period after a collision with Gohdes and with three minutes left the Kookaburras won another penalty corner. Govers took the honours again and his powerful drag flick beat Bailey and handed the striker his second of the match.
Great Britain hit back and won a penalty corner after four minutes of the final quarter. With no Jackson on the field Ward took the shot and beat the goalkeeper with a superb drag flick to make it 3-3. Bailey had to be alert to make another save to stop Trent Mitton re-establishing a lead and then Great Britain lost Hoare for the closing stages as the Wimbledon defender pulled up after making a tackle.
Jackson almost nabbed his hat-trick after a lovely link up with Catlin but Tim Deavin somehow blocked his shot. Tyler Lovell was peppered with two minutes to go by the Great Britain attack with players swarming around him looking for the winner but somehow the Kookaburras’ ‘keeper kept them at bay. With the clock counting down there was one last chance for the hosts via another penalty corner. Govers continued his hot streak and broke GB’s hearts with his third, making it 4-3.
Bobby Crutchley, Head Coach:
“Our performance today was littered with inconsistency. We had some decent spells, but suffered too many turnovers in possession. We will be looking for improvement in the third test in Perth”
Dan Fox, Great Britain Defender:
“They played pretty well today and we’re a bit disappointed in our performance. We were a little fortunate to go 2-0 ahead and then they scored a few. I thought we’d snuck a draw at the end but Blake Govers stepped up and won it for them.
We need to be a bit better on the ball. We need to receive the ball under pressure better and not turn it over so cheaply that’ll put them under pressure.
Mikey Hoare and Dan Shingles look a bit sore but we have 48 hours to patch them up for Tuesday. We’ll go back to Perth tonight to rest up. We’ll be desperate to get the win and level the series.”
Matches are being streamed live via Epicentre.tv. For full details on how to watch click here.
Australia 4 (2)
Blake Govers 19, 43, 60 (PC, PC, PC)
Matthew Dawson 25 (PC)
Great Britain 3 (2)
Ashley Jackson 10, 11, (FG, PC)
Sam Ward 49 (PC)
Great Britain team vs. Australia
James Bailey, Wimbledon
Ashley Jackson (c), Holcombe
Harry Martin, Beeston
Alan Forsyth, Surbiton
Mikey Hoare, Wimbledon
Phil Roper, Wimbledon
Dan Shingles, Reading
David Condon, East Grinstead
Iain Lewers, Holcombe
Nick Catlin, Holcombe
Dan Fox, Holcombe
Henry Weir, Wimbledon
Alastair Brogdon, Wimbledon
Sam Ward, Holcombe
Adam Dixon, Beeston
Chris Grassick, Surbiton
David Ames, Beeston
England Hockey Board Media release
U.S. field hockey team rebuilding at Lancaster complex
by Frank Fitzpatrick
A exhibition women's field hockey between the United States and Chile at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
MANHEIM, Pa. - Spectators arriving for last week's finale of a three-game women's field hockey series between Team USA and visiting Chile were met by the pungent scent of manure from the farms surrounding the Spooky Nook Sports complex, a facility as massive as it is both oddly named and located.
But by the time those fans had made the long trek through the 700,000-square-foot facility, which its operators claim is America's largest indoor sports center, and reached the outdoor hockey field's grandstands, the aroma had vanished.
Whatever caused it, the unpleasant odor's disappearance was an apt metaphor for how their relocation to this 50-acre patch of rural Pennsylvania has freshened the air around the U.S. team.
Twelfth and last at the 2012 London Olympics, which they prepared for at a training center in Chula Vista, Calif., the Americans have been climbing up the field hockey ladder since relocating to Lancaster County in 2013. Led by Blue Bell's Katie Bam, they were fourth in the 2014 World Cup, won the 2015 Pan-American Games, and now are seventh in the world rankings. And they haven't lost in the 15 international matches played here, including the three most recent victories over Chile.
It's hardly coincidental that this upswing followed a move back to America's field hockey hotbed by a team whose current 26-woman roster includes 12 from Pennsylvania, four from New Jersey, and a Delawarean.
"After London, when we came in 12th out of 12, we did a review," said Simon Hoskins, Team USA's British-born executive director. "One of the big findings was that players felt being so far away from their support network was detrimental to performance. Most of our sport is centered in the Northeast, of course, and while the Olympic Training Center in California was great, there was that great distance gap."
Kait Mitchell, the team's communications manager and a Lancaster County native, said: "We were playing before friends and family. Now we're having sellouts where thousands of people show up. It's just tremendous."
Other factors have contributed to the Americans' rise. Head coach Craig Parnham, another Englishman who had a long involvement with field hockey there, was hired soon after the London Games. For his assistant, he chose Janneke Schopman, a two-time Olympic medalist from the Netherlands, the women sport's powerhouse.
"We're confident we have the best coaches in the world," said Hoskins, a veteran of professional rugby and soccer administration who was hired last August.
During their nearly eight years in California, the players trained in a vacuum. Here, where the sport that was born at elite, 19th-century British schools is wildly popular, they're mini-celebrities. The Chile series finale, for example, drew several thousand fans who had purchased tickets ranging from $10 to $18.
"In Chula Vista, we could go to a restaurant wearing our Team USA jackets and no one would notice," said Michelle Kasold, a 28-year-old forward from North Carolina. "Here, we go out and people come up to us and want to talk or want our autographs. It's such a difference."
Here practically year-round, except for a monthlong winter trip to Chula Vista, Kasold and many of her teammates have purchased or rented nearby homes. Most are supported by personal or commercial sponsors. A few have part-time, online jobs and some take college courses online.
"They leave here and go home just like any normal working person," Hoskins said.
The story of how these American Olympians ended up here, in a vast field just west of Lancaster off Route 283, is a one of good timing.
While seeking a new Eastern locale in the months after the London Games, officials at Team USA headquarters in Colorado Springs learned that Sam Beiler, the former owner of the Auntie Anne's pretzel chain, was developing an enormous complex. One of the sports he planned to include was field hockey.
After negotiations with Team USA officials, Spooky Nook's field hockey piece expanded. The outdoor stadium, with its water-based artificial turf, grandstands, and electronic scoreboard, was added, as was a dome-covered field where the team could weather the Pennsylvania winters. (Ironically, the only other domed field hockey facility in the world is also located in Manheim - Germany.)
Named for a bordering rural road, Spooky Nook also includes dozens of tennis, basketball, and volleyball courts; indoor and outdoor soccer fields; an indoor baseball infield and outdoor diamonds; climbing facilities; a fitness center; and a hotel and upscale restaurant.
On a visit, International Hockey Federation president Leandro Negre called it "the most amazing facility I've ever seen." Hoskins said visiting teams have the same reaction.
"This Chile team, for example, has just been blown away," he said. "It's a high-performance environment. They can walk straight off this field and into the strength and conditioning room or the locker room. There's no lost time. They can be full-time athletes here."
Next week, officials will select the 16-woman team that will play in June's Championship Trophy competition in London, an event comprised of the world's top-ranked teams. That roster, said Hoskins, should closely resemble the Olympic squad, which will be revealed July 1.
Before that, there will be a two-game match in the Netherlands against the defending Olympic gold medalists, the Championships Trophy in London, and late-July games here against India and Canada.
"Then we get three days off and we're off to Houston with all of the American Olympians for processing before leaving for Rio," Hoskins said.
Bam, the most accomplished American player who, as Katie O'Donnell, was a Wissahickon High star, will lead the Americans to Rio, where the Dutch, Argentinians, and Austrians should be medal favorites. If experience is a prerequisite, then two-time Olympians Lauren Crandall (Doylestown), Rachel Dawson (Berlin, N.J.), and Katelyn Falgowski (Landenberg) could make a third trip
"The expectations have really risen," Hoskins said. "However, to manage them, we have to recall we are ranked seventh in the world and to win an Olympic medal is so, so difficult. But I think it's fair to say that we've proven we can compete with anyone. And this place is a big reason why."
Amsicora and Paolo Bonomi take up Italian Euro spots
SG Amsicora and SH Paolo Bonomi will take up Italy’s two European club berths in the 2016/17 season after they finished first and second in the Italian Serie A this season.
Amsicora closed out their campaign with a 4-2 win over Bologna on Saturday with Andrea Giustini striking twice in the victory. They had won the title two weeks earlier when they saw off Pol Ferrini 5-3 for their 23rd national title.
SH Paolo Bonomi claimed the second berth from the Italian league to play in Europe next season, returning to continental action for the first time in 37 years.
They beat Suelli 6-4 in their final game of the regular season to jump into second place in Serie A ahead of HC Bra who lost out 9-7 in an incredible high-scoring tie against HC Tevere despite four goals from Michal Nowakowski.
Speaking about their success, Bonomi’s William Grivel said: "It was the deserved award for an amazing season. Congratulations to all our boys and, in particular, to the player-manager Stefano Angius, for coaching the team very well despite the delicate role.”
Paolo Bonomi will take their place in the second tier of European club hockey next season after Bra’ sixth place finish in Glasgow. Amsicora made their EHL debut last term and are awaiting confirmation of whether they will play in the EHL once more when the EHF release their national rankings in the near future.
Euro Hockey League media release
Razak Cup: Silver medallists Perak hammer Negri 5-2
By Jugjet Singh
RAZAK CUP Division One silver medallists Perak got off to a super start in Group B when they thrashed Negri Sembilan 5-2 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil Sunday.
And in another Group B match, Terengganu beat Kuala Lumpur 3-2.
Perak took a 5-0 lead with goals from Riduan Nasir (first), Hafifi Hafiz (18th, 29th), Zulhamizan Awang (27th) and Ashran Hamsani (32nd). Negri woke up late to score off G. Kavin Kartik (36th) and Sabri Mohamed (55th).
Meanwhile, in Division Two Perlis survived a late charge to upset Selangor 2-1.
Selangor, who beat Kedah 8-0 on Saturday, came to life in the final 15 minutes, but only managed to score one of the four penalty corners that came their way in the final quarter of the match.
The other Group A match saw Penang beat Kedah 3-2 to go top of the group.
The hard fought win or Perlis came at the back of a 7-3 defeat in the hands of Penang in their opening fixture.
Former national player Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin opened scoring for Perlis in the 15th minute through a field goal while Afiq Ishak made it 2-0 in the 35th minute before Selangor's Noor Faez Ibrahim pulled one back in the 59th minute.
Perlis coach Badrisham Che Yob was pleased that his players took the fight to Selangor as a loss would signal an end to their hopes of advancing to the semi-finals.
"I told my players before the match to go all out, as this is a do-or-die match. Out next match is against Kedah and a win might see us in the semi-finals.
"Our ex-national Tengku Ahmad and national junior Najmi Farizal led by example today (yesterday), but it was my junior players from the Malaysia Games squad that really deserve the praise," added Badrisham.
Selangor coach S. Velappan believes his side were over confident after their big win against Kedah.
"I think today my boys were overconfident as they didn't play well against Kedah but still managed to score eight. Now we face a must-win match against Penang".
RESULTS: Division One: Group B: Perak 5 Negri Sembilan 2, Kuala Lumpur 2 Terengganu 3.
Division Two: Group A: Kedah 2 Penang 3, Selangor 1 Perlis 2.
Women: Group C: Malacca 1 Perak 0, Penang 4 Kedah 2; Group A: Sarawak 3 Johor 3, Pahang 3 Selangor 3; Group B: Negri Sembilan 0 Terengganu 10, Kuala Lumpur 5 Sabah 0.
MONDAY: Division One: Group A: Pahang v Police (8pm, Pitch I), Johor v Malacca (8pm, Pitch II).
Division Two: Group B: Sabah v Sarawak (6pm, Pitch I), Kelantan v Armed Forces (6pm, Pitch II).
Women: Group A: Police v Pahang (7.30am, Pitch I), Johor v Selangor (7.30am, Pitch II); Group B: Arned Forces v Kuala Lumpur (9.30am, Pitch I), Terengganu v Sabah (9.30am, Pitch II); Group C: Perak v Kedah (4pm, Pitch I), Penang v Malacca (4pm, Pitch II).
Jugjet's World of Field Hockey
I never even hoped to be part of the Indian team, let alone be its captain: Sreejesh
His deft moves have earned victory for India in numerous tournaments. Goalkeeper P R Sreejesh, aka the 'Wall of Indian Hockey,' has now another title to his laurels — the role of the captain of the Indian team — as captain Sardar Singh gets rested. Sreejesh thus becomes the first Malayali to lead the national hockey team, but no, the netminder is as cool as cucumber when he says the title doesn't stress him out. Sreejesh, who is now busy with the team gearing up for the upcoming Champions Trophy tournament to be held in London, speaks to Trivandrum Times about what captaincy means to him, expectations, love for movies and more:
Congrats! Does the pressure of expectations weigh you down as the new captain?
Thanks, and not at all! You feel the pressure only when you try to take all the responsibility on yourself. I always consider it the duty of all the 11 players of the team to share the weight of expectations. Othu Pidichaal Malayum Porum, (Union is strength) right? That's how I deal with it. But I am also aware that it's the responsibility of the captain to bring in that union, and that's when we call him a success.
When you started out as a hockey player while at school, did you ever think you would lead the country one day?
I never hoped even to be part of the Indian team, let alone be its captain (laughs)! Moreover, captaincy is generally bestowed upon senior players. A goalkeeper becoming the captain is quite rare. As captain Sardar Singh is rested this time, being the vice-captain I was chosen to lead the team, that's all. I'm just doing my duty as his fill-in.
How important is the Champions Trophy tournament for the team?
It's like a preparation for the Rio Olympics. This tournament also has the top six teams in the world as participants. Currently, we are ranked 11 in the world. The tournament can teach us what we have to do to improve the ranking and also how to play better in other matches coming up. We have been training hard for the past three or four months, in which we have learnt new tricks and strategies. The Champions Trophy will be an experimental tournament to implement all of it. We don't have any sky-high expectations, but want to make sure we give consistent, strong performances.
What are our prospects for the Rio Olympics?
We are excited, but I wouldn't term it our dream tournament. In the past one or two years, we have beaten all the top teams in the world, that's a plus for us. Our focus will be to win the maximum number of matches and qualify for the quarter finals. We can't predict who the stronger opponent is. But whoever plays well on that day will win, that's all we can say.
Captain Sardar Singh, with whom you have served as vice captain, rates you as one of the best goalkeepers in the world! How's your equation with him?
We have been playing together for the past seven or eight years and I have been the goalkeeper of the team for almost six years. We aren't best friends or so but there is a kind of chemistry that comes in when you play together for many years. I don't know how to describe in words the comfort level we share, but it's quite strong and time-tested.
One miss and the goalkeeper is blamed for the team losing, right?
Goalkeeping is a thankless job. People might not remember all your saves, but will note the ones you did not. The team might win a game because you saved well, but viewers would remember the ones who scored the goals for the team, more than you. The world has been recognising me now, but for the past many years, I was behind that helmet. It's all part of the game.
What's a typical match day like for you?
If there is a match in the evening, I start the day with a tea and head to an activation session, which is usually conducted for goalkeepers. It will have hits, saves, penalty corners and movements, which we practise to stay alert. We might be the ones who handle the ball the least but we can't afford to lose concentration. Then we will have a team meeting with everyone who would be playing that evening. Post lunch, the players will sit together for a five-minute chat and discuss our plans for the match. After that, I go for a brief power nap. Once up, I will have a black coffee, pack my gear and go to the ground.
When did you realise that hockey was your destiny?
My family has no sports background. I hardly knew what hockey was all about back then, and it's only after joining GV Raja School that I watched the game for the first time. Also, nobody I knew was happy about me playing hockey, as there were few Kerala players whom you could emulate or look up to at that time. During school, I thought after a few years my life would be like that of any other youngster's and until then I will play hockey.
I struggled with the game in my first year, but in the second year — when I was in Class 9 — I got selected for the Kerala team! It's then that I felt that I wanted to continue with the game. I first took part in the Indian camp while in Class 10, I got more interested and felt probably I can take it seriously, as a career.
How supportive was your family?
Often, its parents who plan the career of their kids, right? But if my dad had chalked out such a plan and forced me to follow it, I wouldn't have become the player I am today. My parents Raveendran and Usha were bold and considerate enough to support me when I chose hockey. Even during times when I wasn't doing well, they helped me stay positive. My dad is a farmer and to buy the goalkeeper's pad for me, he even sold our cow! But indirectly, he was making me responsible for my own fate. It was like saying, 'You made your choice, we support you, but be responsible for what you become and do well.' It really worked for me.
What are the prospects of hockey talents in Kerala today?
Kerala has many talented hockey players, but if they aren't getting the opportunities they deserve, the culprits are the numerous associations involved. There are at least four associations as of now in the State. It's sad that the players and their careers get entangled in the friction between them.
Since your daughter was born in 2014, your luck factor has increased...
I would say that I have been lucky right from the day I met my wife Aneeshya in 2001, who was also a sportsperson, at GV Raja School. And yes, my daughter Anusree has also brought 'Lakshmi' (luck and wealth) into my life. It's after her birth that I won many laurels like the Commonwealth silver Medal, Asian Games gold medal, Arjuna Award, Player of the Year Award and many more.
You are a self-confessed movie buff. Do you now get time to catch up on the latest films?
I am, but I don't get much time now. When I go home, I watch the latest movies with my wife. I had watched Nivin Pauly's Jacobinte Swargarajyam recently and loved it. I generally prefer comedy. There is enough of stress in life, why add on to it with a disturbing movie when you can go for an entertaining alternative?
The Times of India
Sushila to lead Indian hockey eves in 4-nation event
NEW DELHI: Defender Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam will lead a 17-member Indian women's hockey team in a four-nation tournament in Darwin, Australia starting May 30.
The tournament, seen as preparation for the Rio Olympics , will also feature hosts and world No. 3 Australia, fourth-ranked New Zealand and world No. 10 Japan.
While Sushila has been appointed as captain in place of regular skipper Ritu Rani , who has been rested, Deepika has been retained as the vice-captain.
The squad also has seniors players like Poonam Rani and Vanadana Kataria form the core group besides a few youngsters in defender Nikki Pradhan and 18-year-old midfielder Preeti Dubey, who was named the Asunta Lakra Upcoming Player of the Year Award (Women U-21) at the second Hockey India Annual Awards earlier this year.
On her new role, Sushila said: "It is a huge honour to be named captain of the squad for the tour. We have already faced Japan and New Zealand earlier at the Hawke's Bay Cup. Our chief aim will be to perform well against Japan and Australia and analyse their game at close quarters since they are in our pool at the Olympics."
Talking about the squad, chief coach Neil Hawgood said: "We are looking forward to the tournament. We are up against three world-class teams and it will help us immensely in our preparations ahead of the Rio Olympics. Additionally, two of those teams are in our Pool in Rio (Australia and Japan). This will serve as good practice."
Goalkeepers: Savita, Rajani Etimarpu
Defenders: Deepika (Vice-Captain), Sunita Lakra, Nikki Pradhan, Sushila Chanu Pukhrambam (Captain), Hnialum Lal Ruat Feli
Midfielders: Rani, Namita Toppo, Navjot Kaur, Monika Preeti Dubey, Renuka Yadav
Forwards: Poonam Rani, Vandana Katariya, Anuradha Devi Thokchom, Lilima Minz.
The Times of India
‘Hockey-5 last phase of Europe tour preparation’
By Syed Intikhab Ali
KARACHI: Pakistan junior hockey team’s manager Tahir Zaman has said that the Hockey-5 championship would be the final preparation of his squad for the European tour which is scheduled in the next two months.
The Hockey-5 championship will be organised in Lahore, possibly from the first week of Ramadan. Talking to ‘The News’, Tahir said that all weaknesses of his players could be addressed through Hockey-5. “The main difference is that there is no penalty corner provision,” he said.
Pakistan hockey is passing through its worst crisis as the senior team has failed to qualify for the Rio Olympics. The national junior team will play World Cup in December 2016 in India. All junior team players will participate in the championship, which will also have the members of the senior team.
Tahir said that Hockey-5 is the fastest version of the game. “After each 30 to 40 seconds an attack is a must on each side due to which the players and the goalkeepers have to be alert constantly and ready to counter attack,” he said.
A wooden sideboard will be put up due to which the ball will not go outside the ground at any time. It will rebound and the game will continue. Tahir said that there was no forward, no defender in Hockey-5. “No player is a forward and no one is a defender,” he said.
The chief coach is certain that his boys’ shortcomings would be addressed through Hockey-5. He said the endurance level which was going down in regular hockey would be improved through playing Hockey-5 as in this format the boys had to play fast and continuously attack.
“Goalkeeping will improve and finishing will also get better,”he pointed out. “Players have to make decisions instantly. They have no time to relax,” the chief coach said. He said that keeping in view the importance of Hockey-5 PHF wanted to introduce it at the grassroots level and in schools as soon as possible. “It will make our boys conversant with this style of hockey at a very young age,” he said. He said that Hockey-5 would be introduced in schools in 2017.
The News International
Punjab teams start National U-18 Hockey C’ship with thumping wins
ISLAMABAD - Punjab Blues and Punjab Colours started their First National U-18 Hockey Championship 2016 campaign on winning note as both Punjab teams registered highly convincing victories on the inaugural day of the event which start here at Naseer Bunda International Hockey Stadium on Sunday.
Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC) Minister Mian Riaz Hussain Pirzada, Pakistan Hockey Federation President Brig (R) Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, secretary Olympian Shahbaz Senior, director tournament Col Ahmed Nawaz, DG PSB Dr Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, DDG Facilities Agha Amjedullah, Assistant Director Hostels Malik Imtiaz Hussain along with others were also present in the evening match.
In the first match played between Punjab Blues and Balochistan Colours, Punjab thanks to a brace from Zeeshan Khan and Asfandyar hammered sorry Balochistan 9-0, while Meraj Ali, Lal Muhammad, Suleman Khan, Younus and Ghulam Hussain also score a goal each for the winners.
In the second and last match of the day, Punjab Colours hammered KP Green 10-0.
Muhammad Hammad was the star of the show, as he scored 4 goals including hat trick, while Ali Aziz and Anwaar ul Haq scored a brace each.
A total of 13 teams are taking part in the event, which is described as benchmark for the upcoming Asia U-18 Cup to be held Muscat in December this year.
Three teams Fata, Gilgit/Baltistan and AJK failed to turn up for the event while on the very first day five players were declared overage by the PSB Dr Shabeena Aftab while further 23 players were put under scrutiny till availability of senior Dr Waqar, who was not available as it was Sunday.
The players had also lodged complaints regarding poor accommodation at Jinnah Hostel.
Col Ahmed had made tall claims regarding he had personally visited places where the PSB had provided accommodation, meal and promised to take very good care of the players.
But there was complete chaos witnessed on the inaugural day as despite appointing an army of officials and hand them different responsibilities, there was no one who could guide journalists, provide them with score sheets, name of the teams and players, who was the goal scorer.
The journalists were given a place just on the sidelines of the venue where even chairs were not available, which the organisers also did not bother to provide to fans.
Despite several attempts being made by the journalists to reach Col Ahmed, all the efforts failed to bring desired results as Col Ahmed was busy with IPC Minister and other PHF officials.
Col Ahmed wanted journalists all out support and requested them to come in numbers and give proper coverage to the event, but he completely ignored, journalists should be provided with at least chairs and someone should have been deputed to update them about results.
Sharing his views Mian Riaz announced free accommodation and meal for the players, which was need of the hour, as under tight financial conditions and with almost no sponsors, organisers were under enormous pressure.
As soon as the Minister announced the facilities organisers and players took huge sigh of relief and entire stadium was erupted with thunderous applause and slogans were raised in Mian Riaz’s favour.
Mian Riaz promised all out help not only from Pakistan Sports Board but also from IPC Ministry.
He highly appreciated media role and termed their healthy criticism is behind the playing fields started to host different sporting activities.
He requested media to play their role in urging masses to come in numbers and it is the only way to defeat terrorism and present soft sports loving image of the country to international community.
He termed first edition of the PSL a complete flop as national cricket team neither find a batsman nor a quality bowler.
When asked about UAE was dubbed as second home of Pakistan and now they are demanding hefty money to allow their facilities to Pakistan national team, had Minister or anyone else contacted UAE authorities in this regard, Minster replied: “I want and wish Pakistan cricket team play all its international matches at home soil.
Army and security forces are working day and night to improve the overall security situation of the country.
But we can’t always use guns and bullets to calm down things.
The masses must come in numbers to witness the matches as masses and players can play major part in defeating anti-social elements.”
He blamed religious parties for negativity, which prevented international teams to visit Pakistan.
PHF eyes ODGCL, CAA jobs for players
LAHORE - Pakistan Hockey Federation in its efforts to solve the financial woes of the players is striving hard to arrange employments for the hockey players.
After reaching a deal with Fauji Foundation in this regard, the federation is trying to woo Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
According to sources, the negotiations are under way with the top officials of these departments to provide jobs to hockey players and the early meetings with these departments have raised hopes to soon reach an agreement.
Fauji Foundation had already guaranteed 20 jobs for the hockey players while the PHF is eying another 30 to 35 jobs for players in ODGCL and CAA.
The PHF would hold meetings with the high-ups of the ODGCL and CAA in next few days to reach an agreement over the number of jobs and pay scales for the hockey players.
The hockey fraternity has shown its hapiness over the Fauji Foundation’s decision to provide jobs to hockey players and hoped that the other departments would also follow its lead to help the PHF revive the lost glory days of the national game.
Meanwhile the PHF has decided to establish a Centre of Excellence for the training of junior and senior players.
According to sources, the PHF is going to establish National Hockey Academy in Lahore by the end of the year and the PHF would appoint coaching staff, doctor, trainer and physio on permanent basis in the academy.
Moreover, the federation is also considering the proposal to arrange educational facilities as well as monthly stipend for the under training players in the proposed academy.
There is also a consensus among the PHF officials that 28 hockey academies that had been established during the tenures of its previou secretaries Asif Bajwa and Rana Mujahid Ali Khan was just a waste of money and a way to favour the blue eyed persons as these academies were only in the papers instead of in the ground.