All the news for Saturday 23 July 2016
Indian hockey eves beat Canada in USA Tour
MANHEIM: Vandana Katariya and Deepika struck two goals each as the Indian women's hockey team thrashed Canada 5-2 to record its second victory in the ongoing tour of USA.
After Vandana (9th and 51st minute) and Deepika (38th and 49th minute), Poonam Rani added a fifth in the 58th minute for India in the match.
Quickly off the blocks, India were dominant in the early exchanges, pushing Canada on the defensive.
The Indians won a penalty corner early in the first quarter, but failed to convert it. Soon enough though, they had the lead via Vandana's field goal in the 9th minute.
Off a second PC soon after, Poonam's deflected shot was saved by the defender on the post to prevent India from doubling their lead. Canada came out with a PC of their own but India defended strongly to prevent an equaliser and went into the break in the lead.
Canada came out quicker in the second quarter and scored the equaliser via a Stephanie Norlander PC conversion in the 17th minute. Over the course of the quarter, India stoically defended several of Canada's PCs and ensured they went into half time level at one goal apiece.
The two teams came out all guns blazing in the second half with Canada dominating the ball in midfield. However, a quick press by India led to Deepika scoring their second goal to take the lead in the 38th minute.
Canada equalised via a Brienne Stairs goal in the 42nd minute. With little time left in the third quarter, a host of chances fell to both sides with their respective goalkeepers put to test.
Canada's PC was bravely denied by Savita in India's goal, before an attempt by Anuradha was denied by Kaitlyn Williams in Canada's. Inseparable, the teams went into the final break tied at 2-2.
In the final quarter India came out with renewed zest and were soon in the lead via Deepika's second goal in the 49th minute. Two minutes later, Vandana doubled her tally with a field goal and extended India's lead to 4-2.
Reeling from the double blow, Canada tried to string together some possession and take control of the game, but India never truly let them back in it. Poonam scored a fifth in the 58th minute to consolidate a second consecutive victory for India on the tour.
The Times of India
Canadian women drop hard fought match with India at Spooky Nook
PHOTO: Canada’s Danielle Hennig in action vs India at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland (By Yan Huckendubler)
Canada women’s field hockey team dropped a 5-2 decision to India Friday in the first of four games in the United States.
Stephanie Norlander and Brienne Stairs scored for Canada, who were tied with India headed into the fourth quarter before the 13th ranked and Olympic-bound Indians scored three goals in the final frame to take the win.
Despite the loss, the Canadians were highly competitive against a higher ranked Indian side and were arguably the better team for the first three quarters.
“We played very well,” says Women’s National Team head coach Ian Rutledge. “One of the best games I’ve seen us play from an attacking perspective.”
Canada created seven penalty corners to India’s three and outshot India.
It was the Indians, however, who opened the scoring, when Vandana Katariya beat Canadian keeper Kaitlyn Williams in the 9th minute.
But Canada was quick to respond early in the second quarter on a penalty corner. A variation saw Norlander put a back-stick deflection past the Indian keeper to tie the game.
The game remained tied until midway through the third quarter, when India regained the lead on a goal from Deepika. But once again, the Canadians were resilient and responded within minutes.
In the 42nd minute, a turnover resulted in the Kitchener-Waterloo connection teaming up for the tying goal. Waterloo’s Amanda Woodcroft found Kitchener’s Brienne Stairs in flight, and Stairs finished strong to tie the game.
A three-goal fourth quarter broke things open for India, who went on to the win.
The two teams are back at it on Saturday at 7:00am PT/10:00am ET at the Spooky Nook Sports Complex in Lancaster.
Canada’s Holly Stewart played in her 50th international match for Canada
Field Hockey Canada media release
Indian juniors defeat Scotland Seniors with ease
Indian juniors led by defender Dipsan Tirkey overcame fitful counters easily in posting 2-1 victory over blue shirted Scotland in Lilleshall Sports Centre, 50 km from Birmingham, England.
Nilakanta Sharma struck early on while Simanrjit Singh enhanced the lead midway through the second half struck in the rain marred tour opener. Marshal Willie posted a late consolation goal for the losing side.
In a match played with high tempo, where in all three green and a yellow card had to be flashed by umpires Alistair Munro and Matt Parry, Indian colts showed enough gumption and game plan to emerge victors.
Before the match started both teams observed two minutes silence to mourn the untimely death of Padamshree Mohd Shahid.
On a neat green turf, India started briskly with good moves upfront, Ajay, Simranjeet, Sumit, Nilakanta Sharma and others making good moves inside. But for the brilliance of rival goalie, David Forrester, the Scottish would have had painful periods.
India took the upperhand straightaway, earning first penalty in the first minute, which wasted on account of poor shooting. Nilakanta deflected a rebound off the next penalty corner to put India ahead.
Ajay got a chance to enlarge the lead when served on platter by Gurjant Singh, but his delay in taking the shot led to Duke clearing at the nick of time.
Gurjant made a good attempt in the 15th minute only to see an alert Anderson clearing with a left hand tackle.
In the 22nd minute the Scottish got a golden chance to equalise, but Daniel Coutlas’ dive and the resultant connection of a cross just went wide, agonizingly of course.
India continued to press and created a number of scoring chances. The Scots were definitely under press.
But in a counter, Gamy Frazer made a strong solo, but was carried on the edge of circle. Shortly later, Indian midfielder Santa Singh made a good save in a melee.
Ajit on the right did a good running before parting the ball to Simranjeet Singh in the circle, but he just failed to stop and strike.
In a stunning coordinated move Ajay supplied gem of a pass to Parminder Singh, but he later shot wide.
The sides changed with a lone score on the board.
Heavy rains stopped match for about 25 minutes.
Harendra’s boys played still better in the second half, though the third penalty corner that came quickly after the side change was wasted.
Thereafter, the Scots pressed hard earned a series of penalty corners. Indian goalie Krishan Pathak was in his elements, and effected good saves to deny any elbow room.
At this spell, India faltered, even Manpreet Singh getting a yellow card suspension.
India continued to attack and got a dividends when Simranjeet Singh hooked a high ball into the net ahead of goalie David.
A bit later, Gamy Frazer struck for Scot in a melee.
Scots pressed hard in the last five minutes, even earning two late penalty corners, but the Indians stood tall and counted.
Day 2 EuroHockey Youth Championships III, Under 18, Gibraltar
At the EuroHockey Youth Championships III today, the officials had a lovely afternoon on the Rock with a personal guided tour from EHF Judge Brian Buckley.
Wales played Switzerland in the warmth of the Mediterranean weather with a temperature of 31°c as the match commenced. The Welsh dominated the possession in the first period. The Swiss only managing to break into the Welsh half a couple of times. The Swiss gave away 5 penalty corners, which the Welsh failed to convert. The Welsh conceded a penalty corner towards the end of the first half which crossed the goal line, 1-0 to Switzerland.
The pitch watered intensively during half time, the second half saw both the Swisse and Welsh come out in attack mode. With some lovely field play, switching the play on the field the Welsh deservedly drew level. The intensity rose with both teams seeking the winning goal. The Swisse had some solid defense with the ball being cleared on the line after some excellent offense from the Welsh.
Both teams had good numbers of supporters in the crowd at Victoria Stadium, who cheered their respective teams on. The Welsh have a well earned day off, although and action packed day of sight seeing on the Rock of Gibraltar are planned, visiting attractions including Main Street and the Macaques (Apes).
With the games being live streamed on the @gibraltarhockey Twitter page via Periscope, 654 people viewed the game live. We aim to have over 1,000 viewers for the match on Friday as Gibraltar take on the Swisse.
Streaming coverage will commence from 5:45 local time, push back at 6pm.
Our Championship and Championship II (boys and girls) events kick off on 24th in Cork and Glasgow respectively. With the boys Championship II in Albena starting on 27th July.
To follow the games, click below:
We Will Be Active On All Our Social Channels!
So follow us on:
Twitter – @eurohockeyorg #EHYouth2016
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/EuroHockeyorg/
SnapChat from Cork – @eurohockeyorg
Instagram – eurohockeyorg
There will Live Streaming of the Finals in Cork and Glasgow, links to follow!
Thanks to David Devincenzi-Clemens for the update and photographs from Gibraltar
Comeback win for England U16 Boys
England U16 Boys July 2016
After falling behind to an early goal, England Under-16 Boys battled back in style to secure a 3-1 win over Ireland in their penultimate match of the Six Nations Tournament in Belgium on Friday.
Fergus Gibson gave Ireland the lead in the ninth minute, but it didn’t take England long to pull back level with Tom Russell flicking the ball past the goalkeeper’s right side from a 12th minute penalty corner.
England took the lead on 21 minutes when Harry Gough scored with a reverse stick sweep following a high transfer from deep inside Ireland’s half.
And on 29 minutes Rohan Bhuhi scored the third and final goal for England, pouncing on a loose ball after Murray Whittaker’s initial shot had been saved.
England had further opportunities to score - especially through Bhuhi - but they couldn’t add further to their score with both sides having periods of dominance in the second period.
“I’m happy with the result,” said Head Coach Jerome Goudie. “But there were times that we needed to keep our play more simple. We missed some opportunities to score where simple passing options were available.
“But we demonstrated good resilience to come back from a deficit once again and score three quick goals and assert our tactics on the game. We will need to take all the lessons from this week into our final game against Germany.”
England’s final match of the Tournament sees them take on Germany tomorrow, Saturday.
Ireland U16 Boys 1 (1)
England U16 Boys 3 (3)
England Hockey Board Media release
Irish win for England U16 Girls
England U16 girls v Belgium
England Under-16 Girls battled to a deserved three-nil victory over Ireland in their penultimate match of the Osaka Six Nations Tournament in Antwerp, Belgium, on Friday.
Head Coach Marc Bourhill was pleased with the team, who battled hard in hot conditions and overcame an injury to a team-mate which left them on the back foot.
“We battled hard and created lots of chances although we didn’t convert them all,” he said. “We did well to battle out a victory as with the game at 1-0 it could’ve gone either way.”
England started well and took the lead after just three minutes through Isabelle Petter who dribbled into the D and chipped the ball over the Irish goalkeeper.
The game was halted for a good while for treatment for the injured England player, and when the game resumed England seemed shell-shocked and took a while to get back up to full tempo.
But once they did they started to challenge the strong Irish defence again, and on 66 minutes Lynn Vanderstichele scored with a deft touch in a goalmouth melee.
And just a minute later England put themselves three goals to the good with Millie Gigilo scoring through the goalkeeper’s legs after a defensive error.
England will now prepare for their final game against Germany tomorrow, Saturday.
Ireland U16 Girls 0 (0)
England U16 Girls 3 (1)
England Hockey Board Media release
Stats Speak: know the teams in the Rio Olympics (part-6)
By B.G.Joshi (Sehore-Bhopal, India)
Renowned hockey statistician B.G.Joshi have compiled stats and records on all the 24 competing teams in Rio Olympics. Today he is providing stats and records of India and Spain- two women teams.
11.0 India (IND)
Coach: Neil Hawgood (Australia)
Captain: Sushila Chanu
How Qualified: Dual qualification of Great Britain vacate the slot, India qualify as stood 5th in Antwerp HWL(2015)
Appearances: 1, once 4th (1980).
Records: P-W-D-L-GF-GA- 5-2-1-2-9-6.
Head to head versus pool competitors in Olympics: Nil, since India played only in Moscow Olympic (1980), top teams have boycott Moscow Olympic.
Biggest ever win: 4-0 vs. Poland in 1980
Worst defeat: 1-3 vs. USSR in 1980
12.0 Spain (ESP)
World Ranking: 14
Coach: Adrian Lock(England)
Captain: Rocio Ybarra
How Qualified: SASCOC(South Africa Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee) has denied African Champions(Johannesburg-Nov 2015) South Africa entry, thus Spain got entry as stood 6th in Valencia HWL(2015)
Appearances: 5,1 Gold(1992),once 4th(2000),once 7th(2008),once 8th(1996), once 10th(2004)
Records: P-W-D-L-GF-GA- 31-8-6-17-32-61
Head to head versus pool competitors in Olympics:
Biggest ever win: 3-2 vs. USA in 2008
Worst defeat: 1-6 vs. Australia in 2008
Indian hockey team definite Olympic medal contenders: MM Somaya
MUMBAI: MM Somaya, a member of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games gold winning squad, was at his eloquent best as he stuck his neck out to state that the Indian hockey team, after 36 years, is looking good for a podium finish at the Rio Olympic Games that start in less than a fortnight.
"On their day, India can give most teams a run for their money. Indian strikers need to be at their best if India are to entertain their medal chances," said Somaya at a function organised by the Sports Journalists Association of Mumbai.
According to Somaya, in PR Sreejesh India have a captain with the right mix of a strong goalkeeper and somebody who is in command of the boys. "In hockey, a captain does the role of communicating and keeping the flock together. Sreejesh, because of his natural outgoing nature, is a leader," he said.
Somaya felt the goalkeeper is backed by a very strong defence and midfield but the area of concern is the strike force and they need to keep their focus. "Forwards need the flair to deliver. Also they should avoid the tendency to attack only from one flank. In Harmanpreet Singh, VS Raghunath and Rupinderpal Singh we have enough ammunition," he said.
He added that the draw and the format should suit India at the Olympics. "We should easily push other teams in the draw though we have a tight schedule. Three of the teams in our group are ranked below India's No 5 ranking. We start easily against Ireland and the last game against Canada should also be in our favour," said Somaya while putting Australia, Germany and Holland to emerge on top. "Australia have depth in experience. They have two players who are playing their fourth Olympics, several other players who are playing their third and second Games. Germany have good players and they play with precision and are a difficult team to beat while the Netherlands have one of the best goalkeeper and have good overall balance too."
However, he lamented the fact that the men's hockey team very nearly lost out on an Olympic berth. "The game was struggling to retain its toe-hold in the Olympic family. Now with the new format of 60 minutes and four-quarter game, it has again revived its stay. If you look at the TRPs for HIL, it is lesser than that of kabaddi," he reasoned. "Modern hockey is devoid of flair but it has plenty of speed. So much so that a player cannot expect to overstay on the pitch. The FIH needs to introduce a few rules where teams are forced to attack a lot more. A bit like basketball. FIH should introduce a rule where a team cannot make ten passes in a five-yard defensive area. If a team violates the rule then they should be penalised with a penalty corner.
"Even penalty corners have become dangerous. We need to introduce the element of space. It should ideally be 3 vs 2 in penalty corners and even in the field, like the Australian experiment, FIH should play only nine players on the pitch as opposed to the current 11," concluded Somaya.
Former women's hockey captain Eliza Nelson felt that the Indian women's team should aim to win as many matches as possible. "It is heartening that women's team has qualified after 36 years. Unlike our team that played in the Moscow Olympics in 1980, the current team has had enough exposure. We played in 1975 and then for three years we did not see international action," said Nelson, suggesting that the current team should have been made to meet the team of 1980s. "Most of us are in touch even now and we could have spoken to the current team and given them good encouraging talk."
Nelson felt bad for the discarded Ritu Rani and felt that though she had distractions and fitness issues, she should have been part of the team. "I spoke to some of the players because we have five players from Central Railways and even the goalkeeper coach Helen Mary is from Central. Most players felt Rani was required," she said.
The Times of India
India's Olympic moments: Global domination in hockey
In our buildup to the Rio 2016, we take a look at the glorious Indian moments at the Summer Games over the years. Here, relive the Indian hockey team's golden era which saw them collecting a record eight gold medals at the Olympics.
What do the New York Yankees, Chicago Bulls, Miami Dolphins, Brazil football team, FC Barcelona, Australian cricket team, New Zealand's All Blacks and Indian men's hockey team have in common?
A rudimentary Google search will tell you that each of these have been, at different points in time, one of the most dominating sports teams. The Indian men's hockey team of yesteryear puts the country in the elite category of global teams that have crushed every challenge thrown at them as they annihilated their opponents en route to world dominance.
From 1928 to 1956, India won an astonishing six straight Olympic gold medals while remaining unbeaten at the competition. From the famous canals of Amsterdam to suburbs of Melbourne, the men's hockey team conquered everything and gave the hockey world its biggest superstar in Dhyan Chand. To date, India have won 11 Olympic medals in hockey - eight gold, one silver and two bronze. The last of these medals came at the 1980 Summer Games in Moscow where India beat Spain 4-3 in the final to clinch gold.
In their first appearance at the event in 1928 at Amsterdam, India, without conceding a single goal, roared to their maiden gold medal by beating hosts Netherlands 3-0 in the final to cap off a remarkable debut. That, as it turned out, was just the beginning. At the next five Olympics as well (Los Angeles '32, Berlin '36, London '48, Helsinki '52 and Melbourne '56) the Indians stamped their authority.
This golden run was broken by Pakistan at the 1960 Rome Olympics, where they became the first team to beat India at the event and thus claim gold. However, order was restored in Tokyo where India won their sixth gold medal during an unbeaten run, in the end exacting revenge over Pakistan with a 1-0 win in the final.
In the following two editions of the Games (in '68 and '72) India had to remain content with bronze medals but the real low came at the 1976 Montreal Games where they finished a stunning seventh. Coincidentally, it was the first time that field hockey was organised on an artificial surface. Jolted by this body blow, the team made a stunning recovery at the 1980 Games where they reclaimed the crown with a record eighth gold medal which also happens to be their last at the Olympics.
The Times of India
U16 Canadian National Championship – Day 3 Update
Day 3 at out U16 National Championship in Calgary brought a slight temperature drop, which was well received by the teams. The heat was beginning to take its toll on everyone. With 7 games scheduled, the day was full of fantastic hockey.
The excitement came early and often with a 7:30am Pool B tie-breaker shootout between Ontario White and BC Blue girls. After round-robin, both teams were equal in goals for-and-against, head-to-head matchup as well as goals for. BC Blue was able to come out with the shootout victory which meant BC Blue finished first, Ontario White finished 2nd and Alberta took 3rd after round-robin.
In the second match of the day Ontario Red took on Ontario White in boys round-robin play. The game was a heated contest as both teams wanted to earn Ontario bragging rights. With a goal in the 1st minute by Ontario Red’s Sukhraj Toor, and 2nd minute yellow card, the tone was set. Both teams traded goals in the 1st half for a 1-1 halftime score. A late 56th minute goal by Ontario White’s Joshua Kuempel made the final score 3-1 in favor of Ontario White.
Game 3 was quarter-final number 1 between Quebec and BC Blue girls. BC Blue came out strong with a 3rd minute goal by Aishreet Sander on a nicely worked field goal. In the 15th minute Madeline Wong was able to find the back to make it 2-0. Quebec played some strong defense and was able to keep BC Blue at bay. At the final whistle the scoreboard read 8-0 in favor of BC. They will go on to play Alberta in the semi-finals.
In the 2nd girls quarter-final, BC Yellow matched up against Alberta. With the home crowd backing the Albertans, both teams came out with strong pace. A 17th minute goal by BC Yellow’s Cordel Tromp, was matched by a 29th minute goal by Alberta’s Jessica Hart, which took the game into halftime tied at 1. After a goal mouth scramble, Alberta was able to claim the victory in the 67th minute through Holly Richmond. Alberta will now face BC Blue in the semi-finals.
The 3rd girl’s semi-final pitted BC White against Ontario White. BC White was able to open the scoring in the 21st minute with a well worked penalty corner by Moira Roadhouse. Ontario was able to equalize just 1 minute into the 2nd half with a field goal by Julia Billings. With the score tied at the end of full time, the game went to a shootout competition. Standout performance goes to Ontario White goalkeeper Paramdeep Gill who made 4 solid saves. Ontario won the shootout 2-1 and will now move on to play Ontario Red in the semi-final.
Game five brought back the men’s competition with Alberta playing Quebec. The game was a very fast passed game with both team’s goalies being called on to make big saves to keep the score locked at 0-0. With 4 minutes’ left in the game Alberta’s Shahzab Shahzad ripped a drag flick passed the keeper and into the top corner over the postman’s head. Alberta was able to take the win 1-0
Game 6 was also part of the men’s competition and it matched Ontario Red and BC. The game was filled with end-to-end action until the 25th minute when Ontario Red was able to capitalize on a penalty corner through Harsimran Dhugga. In the second half, BC was able to reply with goals in the 34th, 40, and 43rd minute taking a 3-1 victory. The win elevated BC to the top of the men’s pool.
The final game of the day was a consolation game between Quebec and BC White. With nothing to lose, both teams were able to play free flowing hockey. BC Yellow had most of the offense, but Quebec’s defense, led by goalkeeper Annabelle Murray, were able to stand tall at the back finishing the first half tied at 0. In the second half BC was able to find the back of the net with 2 goals. The game finished 2-0.
Mens Pool Standings (after round-robin)
BC 10 points
Ontario White 9 points
Alberta 7 points
Quebec 3 points
Ontario Red 0 points
Schedule for tomorrows matches – Saturday July 23rd
8:30am Boys SF1 – Quebec vs Ontario Red
10:15am Girls SF2 – Ontario White vs Alberta
12:00pm Girls Cons – BC White vs Quebec
1:45pm Girls SF1 – Ontario White vs Ontario Red
3:30pm Girls SF2 – BC Blue vs Alberta
See pictures from the event here
Field Hockey Canada media release
Brazilian hockey capitalising on spotlight in Rio
Bruno Patricio is general manager at the Brazilian Hockey Confederation. With the organisation of the hockey competition at the Rio Olympics firmly under his remit, we were privileged to get a few moments of his time to find out how the sport in Brazil is progressing, and what the future might hold for hockey in the Samba nation.
“Over the past few years, the Brazilian Hockey Federation has been working together with the state federations of Rio de Janeiro, Rio Grande do Sul, Paraná, São Paulo and Santa Catarina, to introduce hockey in clubs and, especially, in schools. We strongly believe that the success of the hockey development project in Brazil depends on the inclusion of hockey in schools, so we have been pushing strongly for this.”
And the push is working. International Olympic Day took place on 23 June and, in celebration of the movement, more than 3,000 children and teenagers took part in hockey activities across the country.
Two days later, the players from the men’s national squad ran a series of hockey clinics in Rio de Janeiro for school children from both the public and private sector. Patricio describes the engagement with hockey as “incredibly positive”.
Of course, for hockey to develop in any country, there must be a solid structure around coaching and officiating.
To this end, Patricio says there has been some serious input into lifting the skill level and competency of coaches, umpires and administrators.
He explains that a team of top level coaches and officials has been travelling to each state to hold training courses for potential hockey coaches and officials.
He said: “As a result of this work, new officials are being prepared and they are already working on the national and state tournaments. We expect that these new officials, in the near future, may work in Pan American Hockey Federation (PAHF) and FIH tournaments.”
Hockey fever is gripping this country. Last week a member of the Brazilian team featured on the front page of a national paper.
In a country that loves soccer, this is a huge achievement. Patricio is all too aware of the opportunity for growth that is presenting itself: “With the great visibility that hockey is having, due to the participation of Brazil in the Olympic Games, great opportunities to start hockey in clubs and schools are emerging. After the Games, we will intensify the work of hockey initiatives in schools and clubs, to increase the number of hockey players and people involved with our sport in Brazil. The FIH Project “Hockey Revolution” is proving very important in this aspect.”
The Brazilian Hockey Confederation first started working closely with FIH to promote hockey in 2011. A High Performance Director was employed by the international body to work with high performance athletes. The goal? Qualification for the home games in 2016. As we now know, the women’s team fell just short but the men qualified through the PAHF Games, where they finished a commendable fourth.
Not neglecting grass roots development in Brazil, FIH also organised for hockey equipment to be delivered to schools and clubs.
While Brazil has already made giant steps forward, the true measure of success will be in the legacy once the Rio sports spectacular has finished.
Patricio is optimistic: “The legacy that the Olympics Games are leaving for Brazilian hockey is amazing. Hockey has already become better known in Brazil, as we have received a lot of attention in the Brazilian media in the last few years.
“In Rio de Janeiro we have four official hockey pitches, which we will use to accelerate the development of the sport in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. We want to make Rio de Janeiro one of the powerhouses in the PAHF region and to promote international tournaments here, receiving players and teams from all over the world.”
“Already the level of competitiveness of our men’s national team has risen and will continue to rise as they compete in top level events. If we can also increase the number of players and people involved with hockey at all levels, then we will have achieved the goals we set out five years ago.”
Hockey development at both elite and grass roots level in Brazil is a great example of the FIH 10 Year Strategy, the Hockey Revolution. For more information about this, click here.
To find out more about the Brazilian Hockey Federation, click here.
Behold! Hockey Now Sees New Dawn in Tanzania
The ongoing regional hockey league has been notably a Castor Mayuma- Jatish Vaja affair in terms of marksmanship at Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (JMK) Youth Park in Dar es Salaam. The duo now dominate the Group A scoresheet for Magereza, the recently formed hockey team and Dar Khalsa, one of the oldest existing hockey sides.
On the other side, Group B names like Amos Ngambara, Elias Samala and Abdallah Kitundu continue to flourish as TPDF hitmen as youthful Jagroop Singh, Gurpal Singh and Tanvir Singh are making headlines on B side of giants Dar Khalsa.
As the league enters its sixth round this week, Magereza, Dar Khalsa and TPDF are leading the Dar es Salaam regional hockey league table after matches already played at JMK Youth Park over the weekend.
There are complete new teams now making impression in the league though old giants Dar Khalsa and Magereza dominate the Group A's driver seat with 15 points from five matches they have played so far.
But the teams whose existence was previously unnoticed are gaining new grounds. Juhudi, Makongo and Kigamboni are among the notable performers. The same is for the Group B leaders, TPDF who have played six matches, are at a pole position 16 points.
Their 3-3 draw with Dar Khalsa D in their 5th game stained their winning record. The Group A leaders, Dar Khalsa have, however scored 45 goals, while conceding only three thus making it with 42- goal difference. They have a better goal average than their co-leaders Magereza who have notched 36 goals while conceding 4 to end up with 32-goal difference.
TPDF B are placed third in the Group B with 12 points. They have scored 43 goals, conceded eight to make a 26-goal difference of 26. Dar Khalsa C are placed fourth ahead Juhudi B and Kigamboni B, though all three have collected six points.
Dar Khalsa are above their two close opponents on better goal difference. They have scored 15 goals while conceding 17 to make a -2 goal difference. Juhudi B have posted 12 goals, but they have allowed 16 goals in their net. Kigamboni who are 6th placed have scored only nine goals, but allowed 17 goals behind their net.
At the bottom of the table there are Kibasila with 3 points, Bagamoyo and Makongo B with one point each. The Group B runners up are Dar Khalsa B who bagged 12 points after winning four of five matches they have played so far.
Dar Stars are third also with 12 points, but goal average placed Dar Khalsa above them. They have 26-goal difference while Dar Khalsa B penned 33-goal difference. Dar Khalsa D are fourth with 11 points followed by Dar Institute and Juhudi each A with seven points. Kigamboni B are sixth with five points followed by the seventh-placed Bagamoyo who have managed only 4 points. At the bottom of Men's Group B are Makongo A and UDSM with a point each.
The Women's category is commanded Twende B who have notched 15 points garnered through a five-match win. They are followed by Juhudi A with 12 points and Twende A who have bagged 12 points so far.
TPDF Ladies and Makongo Ladies are placed fourth and fifth respectively with nine points, but TPDF have a better goal average. Bottom-placed at Ladies league are Kigamboni Ladies and Bagamoyo Ladies A with four and three points respectively. At the deep bottom are Bagamoyo Ladies B who are pointless.
It is hockey once on limelight as it is making a speedy recovery to re-capture the 1980s glorious reign.
In a busy city or when taking public transport, an ordinary bike can take up quite a bit of space. Berlin-based inventor Felix Kruschardt has come ...
Tanzania Hockey Association (THA) assistant secretary and the coordinator of the league, Mnonda Magani, claims hockey has gone far ahead in achievement and will soon become the pride of nation. "The ongoing regional hockey league is a trailblazer of hope that we can regain the lost stronghold," said Mnonda Magani, one of the pillarheads of the visionary league.
This year's league, which has been buoyed by the arrival of Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete Youth Park (JMK), is implementing some of the successful youth programmes launched by Tanzania Hockey Association in its endeavour to revive the sport.
Magani hopes the sport's achievement will far outclass that of 1980 when it was by a few communities in four regions; Dar es Salaam, Arusha, Tanga and Kilimanjaro. Today, as evidenced through teams playing in the regional league, there are teams from Coast and Lindi regions besides the completely new teams like Kigamboni, Dar Stars, Nia Njema, Makongo, Juhudi, all comprising youth talents.
Recently, Tanzania Hockey Association went far by announcing its plan to bring hockey in Singida region, as part of the association's ambitious development programme. Mnonda Magani recently told this paper in the city that preparations were on top gear for them to introduce the game in Singida this year. "We are committed to continue introducing our development programme and spread hockey in other parts of the country, but our current focus is Singida," he said.
Magani added that the programme will start soon and hope that it will be a success as it happened in other regions. "So far we are doing well with these programmes in other regions and we have observed tremendous success.
Besides the presence of JMK Park behind the hockey's sky-high leap, Magani said hockey development also owes much iron lady; the national teams coach Italian Valentina Quaranta and other supporters from Italy and Holland, who contributed much in making the development programme a success.
In recent years, THA with support from Quaranta and other local and international individuals and institutions managed to introduce development programme in several schools in Tanga region. THA also introduced the game at Makongo Secondary, International School of Tanganyika (IST), University of Dar es Salaam, Kawe Primary School and Kigamboni all in Dar es Salaam region.
Other regions that the programme has been introduced are Coast (Bagamoyo) and Lindi region. The ongoing Hockey League that runs weekly at the Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete (JMK) Youth Park in the city is another testimony of the programme's success.
The promising success comes after quarter of a century since Tanzania men's hockey team finished 5th overall in Moscow Olympic Games. It was the best Olympic for Tanzania as the country won its first medals in 3000m steeplechase and 5000m races. Tanzania however, played five games against India, Spain, Cuba, Soviet Union and Poland and lost all five.
It is most likely the list of players in Tanzania today's national hockey team will be quite different to the list of 1980 which comprised; Leopold Gracias, Benedict Mendes, Soter da Silva, Abraham Sykes, Yusuf Manwar, Singh Jaypal, Mohamed Manji, Rajabu Rajab, Jasbir Virdee, Islam Islam, Stephen d'Silva, Frederick Furtado, Taherali Hassanali, Anoop Mukundan, Patrick Toto and Julius Peter.
Vanuatu’s Mary Siro honoured by Queen Elizabeth II
June 2016 will be a month that Vanuatu international player and Hockey Development Officer Mary Siro will remember for the rest of her life.
The 27-year-old travelled over 16,000 kilometres from Vanuatu to London, England where she was presented with the prestigious Queen’s Young Leaders Award by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at a special ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
The Award recognises and celebrates exceptional young people from across the Commonwealth nations, who are taking the lead in their communities and using their skills to transform lives.
Mary is an extraordinary young woman with a truly inspirational story. After being forced to leave school at the age of 13 as her family could not afford the fees, she began volunteering in Port Vila’s Wan Smol Bag Youth Centre on Vanuatu’s Efate Island, which supports young people who are not in school.
She quickly became a peer educator, teaching other women about issues such as family planning and HIV/AIDS prevention.
Mary then went on to become the Wan Smol Bag Youth Centre’s Sport Officer, encouraging women and children to participate in sports such as hockey not only for their health and enjoyment but also to promote the rights of women and children and the positive influence that they can have on their communities.
As a result of her commitment to young people, Mary won a scholarship to the Australian Pacific Technical College to complete a course in youth work.
“I see a lot of women in Port Vila with different problems and I decided to set up a project so that women could play sport”, said Mary, who spoke to the FIH whilst enjoying the exceptional action at the women’s Hockey Champions Trophy 2016, which rather fittingly was taking place on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park at the Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre.
“The people of Vanuatu love sport, so I use sport, particularly hockey, as a tool to bring women together. I see a lot of women facing big challenges in the different communities. When they leave school they don’t have anything to do so they start to get involved in the activities of marajuana or getting pregnant at really young ages, so I started the project to try to help them. I also work with kids who cannot afford to go school as their parents cannot afford the school fees, so I think hockey is another chance for people to develop their skills and even go back to school, as I was able to do.”
Regarding the impact that the project is having on the lives of the people in her community, Mary feels that it is making a massive difference. “The feedback that people give me - women, kids, everybody - is that they are really benefiting and enjoying being part of the project. Some of them even approach me and tell me that hockey makes them fit and healthy, that they feel very different than before. Some of the girls that I work with have also joined me with the Vanuatu national team, which is really amazing. I am very, very proud of that.”
As well as spending time in the company of Her Majesty, Mary also enjoyed a week long ‘residential programme’ during which she received expert training, mentoring and networking opportunities.
With this support, Mary will be able to continue the amazing work that she has been doing in her community, and will allow her to expand even further over the coming years.
Regarding her meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, Mary described the occasion as emotional and one which allowed her to reflect on all that she has achieved in recent years. “Coming to England to meet the Queen reminded me how much I love to help people; how I always tried my best to be a leader, even when I was feeling tired or thinking about giving up. When that happened, there was always a voice in my head saying: ‘if it isn’t you who does this, who else will do it?’ So, it was very emotional and learning that I had won the award was a very big surprise, the biggest of my life.”
Speaking about Mary Siro’s remarkable achievements, Oceania Hockey Federation Secretary General Bob Claxton was full of praise and pride.
He said: “For Mary to achieve these sort of things is just amazing. The society in Vanuatu is very male-dominated, so as a young woman to grow up and work for Wan Smol Bag to help educate herself and eventually get to the point where, as a national player for hockey she was one of Vanuatu’s leadership group in the Pacific Games, and then to go even further by volunteering to do educational work in hockey before being appointed as a paid Development Officer through the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs Pacific Sports Programme is truly fantastic. I really think it is a big milestone for Vanuatu and I know that they are all really proud of her achievements. We are looking forward to being able to further promote the Women in Sports program there.”
This is yet another example of those within hockey working towards a more professional approach to development and subsequently the numerous benefits structured activity can have on communities.
As such, this is a key component of the International Hockey Federation's (FIH) 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy. To find out more about this, click here.
Find out more about hockey in Vanuatu by visiting their Facebook page.
Vern Cotter presents new kit to Scotland’s U18 Girls ahead of the Euros
Photo credit – Mark Pugh
Scotland Rugby Head Coach Vern Cotter presented Scotland’s U18 Girls Hockey Team with new kit, and gave an inspirational team talk ahead of the EuroHockey Youth Championship II competition in Glasgow. Scotland U18 girls and boys are both competing at the tournament held at the National Hockey Centre in Glasgow.
The support from Vern Cotter follows inspirational messages of support from Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, and comedian Des Clarke. The players are now mentally and physically prepared as well as fully kitted out for the Euros.
The participating teams for the girls’ tournament in Pool A are: France; Ukraine; Lithuania; and Belarus, while Pool B will include: Scotland; Italy; Czech Republic; and Austria.
It is the first EuroHockey Nations outdoor tournament Scotland has hosted at any age group since 2007, and it is a fantastic opportunity for the U18 international squads to play at home in front of friends and family as they look to secure promotion back to the Championship division.
The participating teams for the boys’ tournament are: Scotland; Wales; France; and Ukraine in Pool A and Russia; Switzerland; Austria; and Poland in Pool B.
Vern Cotter said to the players: “It’s a pleasure to be here. Scottish players in every sport are honest, hard-working, and they self-analyse. They are the best I’ve ever coached. Be proud of your country, you’re a brave proud nation. I played hockey years ago, I was a goalie, it’s a great sport and I know you’ll play it right. Listen to your core values – it’s what makes your team special. This time right here, now, is special. You’re going to get your jerseys and that’s special. You’re going to create something – there’s going to be something about this team. Put your heart and soul into it, I know you will, and enjoy the moment.”
Photo credit – Mark Pugh
Scottish Hockey Union media release
Holcombe add two new faces for EHL season
Holcombe are preparing for their debut season in the Euro Hockey League with some eye-catching additions to their squad announced in the last month.
Their latest addition is Australian James Day who has played with the Kookaburras Under-23 selection and was part of the national junior squad in 2015. He was also the youngest player to win the Brophy Medal for the best player in the first grade in Canberra.
Speaking about his arrival, Holcombe’s director of coaching Julian Halls said of the new arrival: "James is a very talented individual with desires to take himself beyond his current domestic and international successes, we are very pleased to have him on board and be able to help him achieve those goals.
“As well as his contribution to the first 11 squad, his coaching throughout the men's section will be key as we expand the coaching provision."
It follows the addition of experienced South African Jonty Robinson (pictured) – a 2012 Olympian – to the roster. Halls spoke highly of the versatile Robinson who can play in defence and midfield.
"Jonty is an experienced international of considerable ability and integrity, and we are honoured that he wanted to join Holcombe to help improve his playing standard as well as keep raising our own bar.
“He is exactly the sort of player and person we need to help us continue our development. Jonty will also be working in with the junior section and I am certain they will benefit from his involvement greatly."
Euro Hockey League media release
Orange, Strathmore renew rivalry in hockey league
Champions Telkom Orange face rivals Strathmore University Scorpions at the City Park Stadium on Sunday.
By BRIAN YONGA
Orange Tracy Karanja (left) dribbles away from Kenyatta University's Belinda Kulundu during their Kenya Hockey Union women's Premier League match on July 2, 2016 at City Park Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
Champions Telkom Orange face their first real test of the season when they take on rivals Strathmore University Scorpions at the City Park Stadium on Sunday in this weekend’s stand out tie of the Kenya Hockey Union women’s league.
Newly formed Amiras Sailors will also make their bow in the women’s league when they take on Kenyatta University’s Titans in Saturday’s first match.
Nakuru and Western Jaguars travel to Nairobi for tough encounters against KU Vultures and Parkroad respectively in the men’s premier league.
Focus will however been on the clash between Orange and Strathmore, who are meeting for the first time this season.
Orange won both fixtures last season and will be looking to extend their dominance as they chase a record 19th league title. They began their title defence on a high, thrashing Titans 10-0 three weeks ago.
Orange coach Jos Openda is wary of their opponents whom he said “always wreck” his side’s ambitions.
“They (Strathmore) are a top side and of the few that actually challenge us. Our matches are usually close and we expect another battle on Sunday,” Openda told Saturday Nation Sport.
After finishing third last season, Scorpions are looking to get their campaign to a good start and a win over their rivals will be a huge boost.
Coach Meshack Senge will have a largely new team composed of players who cleared Form Four last year and only five first team players who survived from last season.
“We always strive to give our best and this season will be no different. The team is fired up and ready for the task ahead,” he said.
Debutantes Amiras will also look to get their campaign off to a winning start when they face Titans.
The team has acquired the services of nine players who have played in the league before. Among them are Kenyan international Lorraine Nondi from USIU-A, former Titans captain Prudence Wasilwa, Jedidiah Zawadi, Leah Omwando and Braidi Mwangale (All from Titans).
Amiras coach Linet Anyango is optimistic of a good challenge from her newly assembled team.
“We are targeting a top three finish this season and the players in our fold give me confidence that we can perform well,” she said.
Titans will be seeking to recover from their 10-0 thumping at the hands of champions Orange.
PARKROAD HOST JAGUARS
In the men’s premier league, Parkroad will be seeking their first win of the season when they welcome Kakamega-based Western Jaguars in Saturday’s last game. Parkroad drew 0-0 with Greensharks last weekend.
The men's second division tier will see Impala take on Kimathi University at City Park while Kabarak University will entertain their Technical University of Kenya (TUK) in Kabarak today while Multimedia University will play Karate Axiom on Sunday.
FIXTURES (All Matches at City Park Stadium unless stated)
National women: Amiras Sailors v Titans (12pm)
National men: Impala v Kimathi (2pm) , Kabarak v TUK (2pm) Kabarak
Premier men: KU v Nakuru (3pm), Parkroad v Jaguars (6pm)
Premier men: Greensharks v Nakuru (9am), USIU-A v Nakuru (11am)
National women: Orange v Strathmore (1pm)
Men's National: Multimedia v Karate Axiom (3pm)
Zafirah wants to shine on two fields – hockey and engineering
by Aftar Singh
KUCHING: National junior hockey player Nur Zafirah Aziz wants the best of both worlds.
The Federal Territories forward has pledged to excel in the field of sports as well achieve her dream of becoming an engineer.
The 18-year-old is already a national senior team prospect, having made waves in international junior competitions.
She has also been producing eye-catching performances in the Sukma in Kuching, having scored four goals in three matches to be FT’s leading scorer.
Zafirah said that she is in high spirits to give her best in the Sukma now that she has enrolled at the Universiti Tenaga Nasional (Uniten) in Bangi to do a degree in mechanical engineering.
“I’m happy that my childhood dream of enrolling in a university to become an engineer and represent Malaysia in hockey has come true.
“But I don’t just want to be in the national team ... I want to be the top goal scorer as well,” said Zafirah, who scored a brace in two matches – the 5-2 win over Sarawak on Thursday and Friday’s 4-0 victory over Pahang at the Petra Jaya Stadium.
FT, who edged Sabah 1-0 in their opening Group A match, are on course for the semi-finals with two more matches to play.
FT's remaining matches are against Terengganu tomorrow and Kedah on Tuesday.
Zafirah wants to finish as the top scorer in her third Sukma.
She made her Sukma debut in Kuantan in 2012 at the age of 14 and netted three goals to help FT win the silver medal.
At the last Sukma in Kangar two years ago, Zafirah scored eight goals to lead FT to the gold medal.
“I am hungry for success and I want to become the top scorer in the Games,” said Zafirah, who was called up to national junior team last year.
She featured in the Junior Asia Cup in Changzhou, China, last September and netted two goals in five matches.
Zafirah also went to Perth with the national team for a playing tour last month and scored two goals in eight matches.
The Star of Malaysia
80 players to be shortlisted, trained for Asian Jr Cup, says Kamran
ISLAMABAD - Olympian Kamran Ashraf has said that around 80 players will be shortlisted out of 120 and will be trained for the upcoming Asian Junior Cup in Dhaka.
Talking to The Nation, Kamran, who is commanding the Pakistan U-18 junior hockey camp here at the Naseer Bunda Hockey Stadium, said that he had sent written request to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) to make arrangements for the scrutiny tests.
“We wanted age scrutiny of 84 players, but after sensing it would cost a lot of expenditures of conducting wrist and bone tests of the players, we decided to send around 40 to 42 players for the test.”
On the other hand, the sources in the PSB have confirmed to this scribe that the PSB is not willing to pay the scrutiny expenditures.
“The PSB wants Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) to bear all the expenses at its own.”
The sources further revealed that after realising it would be too costly, the federation had decided to send 20 players for scrutiny from either Shifa International Hospital or other laboratory.
Kamran confirmed that PSB instructor Nasrullah Rana was present during age scrutiny conducted by PSB medical team and they had cleared around 40 plus players through face reading.
When this scribe contacted PSB Deputy Director General Dr Waqar, who is medical head at medical centre, he confirm that the PHF request had been received for arranging scrutiny tests of around 20 players and the tests would be conducted on Monday or Tuesday.
When this scribe wanted to know what would be the cost of one player’s tests, Dr Waqar said it would be around Rs 2200 to Rs 2800.
When asked why did PSB not made arrangements at medical centre to conduct scrutiny tests, Waqar said: “No, it is not possible.
Firstly, as government institution, our report can easily be challenged at courts and secondly, there will always be doubts about authenticity of our reports and we have to hire highly trained people, especially for scrutiny purposes.”
He said nobody could determine the exact age of a player.
“We have different ways and means to verify ages of the players.
Firstly, we use face reading, make eye contact with the player and then check his heart beat.
Believe me when a player is guilty, his heart starts pumping very fast.
Let me share one thing very clearly, there is absolutely no way in medical science to describe 100 percent accurate age and there is always six months benefit of doubt given to each person, who go through age scrutiny process,” Dr Waqar asserted.
Kamran said he was satisfied with the progress of the players, but his main concern was the meal being provided to the players and hoped the quality would improve when the players would be shortlisted.
“We are not taking that quality food, which was being expected.
The first stage of the camp will conclude in a couple of days.
The second stage is most likely to start in Islamabad, which will continue till the departure of junior team to Dhaka, as players need rest to cool down after hectic training.”
When asked whether some of the players in the camp were worth of taking to this year’s junior world cup in India in December, Kamran said: “No, it’s too early.
They will be ready for the next world cup that’s for sure and Pakistan hockey team will get a number of future stars.
I have detected some brilliant and quality players, who will get polished and groomed through training and can prove assets for Pakistan hockey and serve the country in the years to come.”
PHF patron’s cronies succeed in getting Rs.50 million grant
LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) has finally succeeded in convincing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who is also the patron of the national federation, to approve Rs.50 million grant which will be ‘used’ to organise a series of domestic tournaments as well as international tours for teams of all men and women age groups. It is very interesting that the present officials of the PHF, who joined the federation from the back door, since taking control of the national sport, are getting regular funds from the federal government who was reluctant to give those very funds to Akhtar Rasool-led PHF because the patron did not like former Pakistan captain Akhtar and who was shown the door when Pakistan failed to qualify for the Olympics 2016 for the first time in the history of the country.
According to a letter sent by the Prime Minister Office to the Ministry of Inter Provincial Coordination (IPC), “This grant-in-aid of Rs50 million shall be provided to the PHF immediately in a single tranche from the funds allocated to the Pakistan Sports Board (PSB), Ministry of the IPC, in the budget for the 2016-17 financial year.” The PM’s generosity did not come as a surprise as PHF president Khalid Sajjad Khokhar, a retired brigadier and very ambitious person, is a close relative of federal minister Ahsan Iqbal. With no hockey credentials, Sajjad Khokhar joined the national federation ‘riding on the shoulders’ of his powerful relative Ahsan Iqbal.
It is very unfortunate that in the national sphere and the sporting arena the root of our dilemma is the notorious system of patronage and imposed cronies, to the exclusion of merit and professionalism. Under the powerful patron’s benevolent gaze, the pick and choose appointees can survive scandals and failures that would crush an ordinary mortal. Top positions in the PHF have always proved a magnet for cronies and junket-seekers.
PHF secretary Shahbaz Ahmed Senior, a controversial figure who was trying his best to join the PHF bandwagon since Pakistan’s failure to qualify for the Olympics, was quoted as saying that Rs10 million of the allotted funds would cover the expenses incurred on the recently concluded Under-21 team’s training camp for their participation in the ongoing four-nation hockey tournament in Germany. Another Rs.16 million have been earmarked to send the Under-21 team to more European tours, including France, Spain and Belgium. The seniors, on the other hand, are scheduled to participate in the Asian Champions Trophy in Qatar later this year, and the tour’s training in Lahore will be fuelled by the Rs16 million set aside from the aforementioned cash injection. The remaining sum of Rs8 million will be spent on the training camp for the Under-18 team’s trip to Dhaka, where the Youth Asia Cup will take place
In addition to the international tours, the PHF’s agenda also has the 29th National Women’s Championship, the Asian Women’s Hockey championship, an inaugural nine-a-side tournament in Karachi as well as the COAS Gold Cup Hockey Championship. Once those are out of the way, the PHF also plans on holding several inter-district and inter-school tournaments to improve the infrastructure of hockey at grass roots. Would the present management of the PHF, termed as incompetent by many former Olympians, be able to utilize the funds in a transparent manner is a big question.
The Daily Times
Indian hockey wizard Mohammed Shahid dies aged 56
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) is sad to report that Mohammed Shahid, one of the most famous names in Indian hockey and central figure of the India team that won gold at the 1980 Moscow Olympics, has passed away at the age of 56.
Shahid’s abilities as a forward during the 1980s marked him out as an exceptional talent and he will go down in history as one of the true greats of the game.
Shahid burst onto the international hockey scene in 1979 as a fresh-faced 19-year-old at the Junior World Cup. However, it was during an international four-nation tournament in Malaysia where he really came to prominence, producing a series of stunning performances to earn rave reviews from Vasudev Baskaran, the man who captained India to their gold medal success at the 1980 Olympics.
Shahid's style of play was based on speed and an ability to dribble the ball with rare wizardry, and it was this aspect of his game which won him fans across India. As well as captaining India during the 1985-86 season, he also received the Arjuna Award, which recognises outstanding sporting achievements, in 1981 as well as being honoured with the Padma Shri – India’s fourth highest civilian award - in 1986.
Speaking to The Times of India, Sreejesh said: "I am speechless. When we visited him, the situation was very critical. It's a great loss for Indian hockey. Shahid was a living legend who brought hockey to a different level."
FIH President Leandro Negre said: “The world of hockey has lost a true superstar. Mohammed Shahid was a remarkable player who was loved by millions in India and admired by hockey fans all around the world. The FIH would like to offer its sincere condolences to his wife Parveen Shahid and twin children Mohammad Saif and Heena Shahid at this extremely difficult time.”
Left-side story: Zafar Iqbal on the genius of Mohammed Shahid
NEW DELHI: It has been two days since India lost a rare breed of hockey player in Mohammed Shahid, a dribbler extraordinaire and one of the poster boys for the sport in the country during the 1980s which, sadly, was the last great decade that Indian hockey fans experienced. And the man with whom the late Shahid formed a memorable and potent force on the field during that time - in particular at the 1982 and 1986 Asian Games - is still struggling to cope with the void left in his life, and that of the country's sporting legacy.
Yet he manages to smile, his eyes twinkling like a teenager's while he deftly flips an old wooden hockey stick from the 80s in his left hand, when asked about his memories of Shahid.
"There can and will be only one Shahid. He was God-gifted. Itna talented player toh upar wala hi deta hai ," says Zafar Iqbal, the former national captain and coach, during a visit to the Times of India offices in Noida to talk about his close friend. "Shahid was a rare unique combination of hockey player and hockey stick. The complete package. Opponents always wondered how to stop him. He was a once-in-a-lifetime player."
Shahid's style of play was based on speed and an ability to dribble the ball with rare wizardy, and it was this aspect of his game which won him fans across the country during the 1980s and revived Indian hockey when interest had started to wane against cricket's immense popularity following the 1983 World Cup win.
Zafar, who spent countless days and months watching Shahid up close apart from forming a magical pair on the field, remains in awe of what his 'partner' could produce on the hockey field.
"The most important thing about him was that he played better hockey on Astroturf. He never complained about what surface we had to play on. There were no glitches in his game. He developed new strokes, which we struggled to replicate in our playing days. "Without him, we would have struggled in the early 80s ... in '82, '84 and '86 especially. He dumbfounded a very strong German team in '86, which was something else," says the 60-year-old, who led India at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics and who was part of the 1980 team that won the last Olympic gold medal for the country.
According to Zafar, what also set Shahid apart was his mental awareness of match situations and, pertinently, what to do heading into competition. "He was never under pressure. He didn't fret about opposition and strategy. He played the game in his mind before the actual 70 minutes began. He read matches and opposition and sorted out what had to be done before a match. That allowed him to go into matches fully ready. After that, the mastery took over."
Asked about what he learned from playing with Shahid, Zafar's reply is immediate: "I had the advantage of playing with a great player. Our tuning was good. We used to discuss on and off the field and then signal in our own unique way to each other how to cope with players."
On a somber note, Zafar also remembers the reclusive Shahid of later years, post retirement, who rarely left the town of his birth, Varanasi. "He never got his due, or that much out of hockey. It was another unique thing about Shahid ... he never crossed the Laxman-rekha , you can say. He was confined. I don't know what it was exactly, probably it was his psyche. There were some problems, and sadly it dragged him down."
The Times of India
England Hockey are deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Ruth Wheeler.
Ruth who was a Life Member MRHA & Past President of Midland Counties Women's Hockey Association sadly and suddenly passed away on July 11th, 2016.
Her funeral service will take place on Thursday, 11th August at the Robin Hood Crematorium, Streetsbrook Road, Shirley, Solihull, B90 3NL at 1pm.
All at England Hockey offer their sincere condolences to Ruth's friends and family.
England Hockey Board Media release
Former Railways hockey star Huggins passes away
CHENNAI: Charles Huggins, who donned the jersey for Tamil Nadu and Railways in the national hockey championships way back in the 60s and 70s and was an intrepid goalkeeper passed away peacefully at a city hospital after a brief illness on July 21. He was 74 and leaves behind his wife Lorena, two sons and a daughter. The funeral service will be held on Saturday at St Patrick's church at St Thomas Mount.
Huggins, who represented ICF in the senior division league, first played for Madras in the nationals in 1960. Huggins joined ICF in the year 1962 and from 1964 to 1970 -- was the goalkeeper of the Indian Railways team in national championship. Huggins was born in Calcutta and hailed from a large family of hockey players. Huggins will always be remembered for having given Indian women's hockey an excellent centre forward in his daughter Phyllis.
Interestingly, Huggins, a St Thomas Mount resident, took to the sport by chance. Huggins was part of the Olympic camp in 1974 in preparation for the Munich Olympics. "I had to leave because my son was unwell and I chose family over sport," Huggins had said in an earlier interview with TOI. "The great thing about this game is that it has a sense of community about it. I don't see schools doing anything to encourage children to take pride in this game," lamented the retired Section Engineer from the ICF.
Huggins will always be remembered for his never-say-die attitude and grittiness -- a trait that made him an enduring figure on the hockey field.
The Times of India