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News for 25 December 2016

All the news for Sunday 25 December 2016

Indian Oil, PNB in Beighton Cup semifinals

Kolkata: Indian Oil, Punjab National Bank (PNB) and ONGC joined Bharat Petroleum in the semifinals in the 121st All India Beighton Cup hockey tournament here today.

Bharat Petroleum will take on PNB, while ONGC will lock horns with Indian Oil on Monday.

ONGC, which has five junior World Cup winning team players, came through after a seven-goal thriller in a Group C encounter against Punjab & Sind Bank.

Simranjeet Singh, Ajay Yadav, Diwakar Ram and Jasbir Singh scored for the winners, while Sarvanjit Singh netted a brace with Gaganpreet Singh scoring one for Punjab & Sind Bank to end the tie at 4-3.

In a Group D game, PNB sealed their place in the last-four by thrashing CAG Delhi 5-1. Gagandeep Singh scored twice with Gurjinder Singh, Sumit Toppo and Shamsher also getting on the scoresheet.

Indian Oil win

In Group B, Indian Oil blanked Army XI 3-0 with Roshan Minz, Vikas Sharma and Deepak Thakur getting the goals.

The Tribune

63rd Zaitoon National Hockey Championships: Police, WAPDA & National Bank triumphant on second day

On the second day of the 63rd Zaitoon National Hockey Championships, at National Hockey Stadium, Lahore, Police beat PTV 4-1 , WAPDA beat PAF 2-0 and National Bank beat Port Qasim 4-3


Sharjeel's hat trick in  Police's big 4-1 win over PTV

Police have won the nationals thrice. But due to the non recruitment of sports persons in recent times, they are not as formidable a side as in the past. Most of the players have been contracted only for this national championships.

But they gave a good impression in their first appearance. The cops dominated the play for large periods and were ahead on all the counts: Penalty Corners (eight to five), Circle Penetrations and Attempts on goal.

Sharjeel opened the account in the seventh minute, with a top of circle diagonal hit. It was the only goal of the first half.

A seven minute scoring spree  in the early part of the second half saw police add three goals. Off the fifth PC, Sharjeel doubled the lead after a fine variation. Soon, Sharjeel completed his fine hat trick. An excellent Bilal Mahmood cross from the left side found Sharjeel in ideal position in the circle and his not so strong hit made it 3-0.

Fourth goal also came via a PC. Strongly built Wasim's powerful flick went in off goal keeper's pads.

Despite being outplayed for most of the time, PTV did shine in patches. Their consolation goal came with just two minutes left when a long ball into the circle was first timed into goal by Aamer Shahzad.

Police 4, PTV 1

Police: Sharjeel 3 (7', 38', 41') & Wasim (45') 
PTV: Aamer Shahzad (58')

PAF go down fighting to strong WAPDA

With only two under 21 and one under 18 internationals, PAF gave an excellent display against the WAPDA side, full of past and present internationals including three Pakistan captains.

The match saw entertaining up and down stuff. Right from the start, PAF showed they were not overawed by the strong opponents and matched WAPDA throughout the first 15 minutes, though they fell behind when Aleem Bilal's  flicked in a stinger off WAPDA'S penalty corner in the 13th minute.

PAF completely dominated the second quarter and made repeated inroads into opponent's circle and also earned three penalty corners but equaliser eluded them.

The first paced game continued in the next 15 minutes. WAPDA came close to double the advantage when another strong Aleem Bilal missile rattled the bar.
WAPDA employed all their experience in the last quarter and breathed a sigh of relief when their second goal arrived with 11 minutes left. It came off the move of the match. It started from WAPDA's  own half. Five players  made swift one touch passes and Ejaz had the final touch. It ended 2-0.

WAPDA: 2,  PAF: 0


WAPDA: Aleem Bilal (13') & Ejaz (49')

Young PQA gave NBP a Big Scare

NBP were leading 4-0 with seven minutes left in the match. It appeared a foregone conclusion.

But the PQA surprised everyone with a remarkable late flurry and it was 3-4 in the 59th minute.

The equaliser didnt arrive but the young PQA side left the field with their heads high.

With eight members of Pakistan's under 21 squad, which was cruelly deprived of participating in the recent Junior World Cup, NBP are many people's favourites for the title. While the PQA are the youngest side in championships as six of their players come from  the Pakistan team which appeared in the Boys Under 18 Asia Cup a few months back.  PQA got some experience in their ranks with Pakistan's former captain Shakeel Abbasi joining them recently.

PQA began well with a penalty corner in the second minute which wasnt utilised. NBP got control of the proceedings and were two goals in front when the first quarter ended. Abu Bakr scored off the first PC with an angular push on the left corner of the goal. Second goal resulted from a delightful one touch play with Atiq Arsahd sounding the board from the middle of circle.

After a somewhat cagey second quarter, NBP dominated the first 25 minutes of the second half. Atiq Arshad netted his second and then Mubashar made it 4-0 converting the 4th PC with a strong flick.

PQA's late fight back began when off their second PC, veteran Shakeel Abbasi's strong  push ricocheted into net off goal keeper Mazhar Abbas's out stretched pad. Next PC resulted in the second goal. This time, Hanif Shahzad's flat angular push beat the custodian all ends up.

And it was 3-4, when after a goal mouth melee, young Awais Arshad finally pushed the ball over the line.

National Bank of Pakistan: 4 Port Qasim Authority: 3


NBP: Atiq Arshad 2 (7' & 36'), Abu Bakr (9') and Mubashar (13')
PQA: Shakeel Abbasi (53'), Hanif Shahzad (58') and Awais Arshad (59')

PHF Media release

PHF receives confirmation for major events in 2017

By Yousaf Anjum


LAHORE: Pakistan hockey team is set to play a five-match series with New Zealand which will be followed by participation in a four-nation tournament in Australia, confirmed Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) on Saturday.

According to the proposed itinerary, matches against New Zealand will take place in the first week of March, while the four-nation tournament is will take place at the end of the same month.

The team will then participate in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, which is going to be held in Malaysia in April, before leaving for the Europe tour.

“The year 2017 is very important for us,” PHF Secretary Shahbaz Ahmad Senior told Express News. “We have to play in London in the World League and the Asia Cup as well. “PHF is doing everything to prepare a good squad before these events. We are glad to receive confirmation from both countries’ federations.”

After the junior team’s exclusion from the Junior Hockey World Cup, PHF is looking to accommodate them in the senior team but Shahbaz said that they will have to prove their potential first.

“It will be a great opportunity for us to play against New Zealand and in the four-nation event in Australia,” said chief coach Khawaja Junaid. “Our ultimate goal is to show good performances in the World League that will help us book a spot in the World Cup.”

PHF is planning to hold a training camp from January 10 in Lahore where performers from ongoing national departmental championship will be invited. The PHF is also in pursuit of sponsors who can help them bear the costs of the team till June.

The Express Tribune

'Our national team hasn’t made much progress’

In an interview with ‘The News on Sunday’, PHF Secretary General Shahbaz Ahmad dwells on various national hockey issues during 2016

Ijaz Chaudhry

It has been a little over one year since Pakistan Hockey Federation’s Secretary General Shahbaz Ahmad, the only hockey player to be awarded Hilal-e-Imtiaz, assumed the responsibility.

With 2016 coming to an end, he talked to ‘The News on Sunday’ about various aspects of Pakistan hockey.

The national senior team’s performance is generally regarded as the main barometer to measure a federation’s success.

“As a former international player, I admit the national team hasn’t made much progress. Quality of players is not good. The basics are weak. Mental toughness also leaves a lot to be desired. There was little participation in the international events primarily due to Pakistan’s failure to qualify for the 2016 Olympics. The two appearances were at the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in April and the Asian Champions Trophy in October. At the Azlan Shah Cup, we finished a poor 5th. I think it was an improved display at the Asian CT where Pakistan reached the final losing to India by one goal. We had been outplayed by them at the Azlan Shah Cup, losing 1-5.

“It pains me to notice that players’ preference is just to get a contract with some club in a foreign league. I am all for hockey players getting good money but we will devise a plan so that players don’t play in substandard leagues. All this makes it imperative to have a competitive and lucrative league in Pakistan.

Junior sides:

“For Pakistan hockey’s immediate future, the under-21 team’s performance was vital. The most important event was the Junior World Cup. Hence, they were given the maximum attention. At the Junior Asia Cup in November 2015, Pakistan had to be in top four to make it to the Junior World Cup. The boys did well to reach the final where they were outplayed by India 6-2. It was a wakeup call: a wide gulf existed between us and the top teams. The team was twice sent to Europe where it played against the national junior sides of Germany, Netherlands, Belgium and Spain. The experience gained proved useful. At the Sultan of Johor Cup this November, the under-21 boys surprised everyone by reaching the final. The team was reaching its peak before the Junior World Cup but for the unfortunate exclusion.

“A third string has also been raised, the national under-18 team. A series with the Oman under-18 team was arranged in Lahore. Admittedly, Oman didn’t provide strong competition but at least there was international hockey in Pakistan after a long time. At the Boys Under 18 Asia Cup in Dhaka, Pakistan finished 3rd, losing to India in the semi-final. I watched the match. The defeat aside, the boys played poorly.”

Women hockey revived: “Pakistan’s national women team hadn’t figured in any international event for more than three years. The national side participated in the Asian Hockey Federation Cup in Bangkok. The girls achieved the best-ever result for Pakistani women in history, finishing fourth.”

Domestic circuit: “There has been a lot of talk about the decline at the grassroots. Here, I consider the rejuvenation of the club hockey as our big achievement. After a lapse of 10 years, the national club hockey got underway. Clubs in no less than 144 out of 149 districts of the country participated. A massive exercise; beginning from the district round, the national inter-club hockey progressed to divisional/regional and then the provincial rounds. The final national round will be held in January. At several places, people turned up in thousands to witness the matches. We intend to make it a regular activity, part of the PHF’s annual calendar.

In addition, tournaments of innovative versions of hockey, 5-a-side and 9-a-side, were held at the national level for the first time. These events, especially the 9-a-side tournament, drew large crowds in Karachi.”

The activities at the district, divisional/regional and provincial level: “PHF wants hockey bodies to be vibrant at all levels. People have been holding offices for decades without delivering anything. We plan to make amendments in the PHF constitution so as to get rid of these mafias. The change of guards at the Karachi Hockey Association with Dr Junaid Ali Shah coming as the president is a case in point. Hockey had almost ceased to exist in country’s biggest city but now there is plenty of activity in form of tournaments and camps for various age groups. Capable people can bring real transformation.”

Artificial turfs: “The first priority is to replace the worn-out turfs rather than install new pitches. The turfs at mega cities such as Islamabad, Faisalabad and Peshawar need immediate replacement. Bannu, a big hockey nursery, also requires a new turf. A new turf has been installed at Rawalakot; another is planned for Swat.”

Job opportunities: “Sadly, many departments have either closed their hockey teams or are employing players only on contract. The efforts in this regard have started to bear fruit. In fact, many organisations such as SNGPL, Fauji Foundation, ZTBL and OGDCL have decided to raise hockey teams for the first time. Some departments already in the fray such as the National Bank have made the players, previously on contract, their permanent employees.”

Funds: “Happily, the government has been releasing reasonable funds. PHF has been able to generate around fifty million rupees from the private sector in just one year. It is my earnest desire to see PHF as a self-sustained body but the initial support has to come from the government. Presently, even the headquarters of the federation is not owned by the PHF. On the other hand, many NGOs/Organisations, especially in Islamabad, have been provided with large office buildings by the government. Qaddafi Stadium, housing the PCB’s HQ, was also a government property, later transferred in the name of the cricket board.”

Exclusion from the Junior World Cup: “Disappointment is too small a word. We are not going to take it lying down. The PHF intends putting the matter in front of the FIH’s executive committee so that in future events are not held in India. Hopefully, the POA approaches the IOC. The last option would be to engage the Court of Arbitration of Sports.”

Pakistan Hockey League:”Unfortunately, some have called PHL a daydream. Yes, it couldn’t be held in November as initially planned. That was entirely due to the non-issuance of the NCO by the government; security concerns. PHF had done its homework. Even foreign players were ready to come to Pakistan.

“There were suggestions to hold it in the UAE. PHF might have won a few plaudits but staging the PHL abroad is not going to help the cause of Pakistan hockey. We are still hopeful to have the PHL at our own backyard in March/April, again subject to government’s permission.”

The News on Sunday

MacLeod looks to youth for Belgium’s latest squad

Shane MacLeod has included six players from the Belgian Under-21 panel that reached the final of the Junior World Cup for his first panel of 2017, a trip to South Africa.

The 24-man squad includes KHC Dragons Loic van Dorean who was named goalkeeper of the tournament in Lucknow along with Oree keeper Arnaud Flamand. They are the two keepers included with Vincent Vanasch and Jeremy Gucassoff unavailable for personal reasons.

Racing Club de Bruxelles’ Augustin Meurmans, Royal Leopold’s Nicolas Poncelet, Daring’s Victor Wegnez, Waterloo Ducks’ Antoine Kina and Beerschot’s Arthur de Sloover are the other five looking to make their mark.

Otherwise, there are 11 of the Olympic silver medal winning side while Herakles’ Nicolas de Kerpel is the one absolute newcomer while Amaury Keusters makes a comeback.

There are plenty of players set for the EHL KO16 including Dragons’ Thomas Briels, Alexander Hendrickx and Florent van Aubel along with Racing’s Tom Boon, Cedric Charlier and Simon Gougnard all included.

They will play friendly games against the Netherlands and Ireland during this tour.

For France, Racing Club de France quartet Jean-Laurent Kieffer, Simon Martin-Brisac, Christophe Peters-Deutz and Corentin Saunier have all been called into their training panel that runs from December 27 to 30 at INSEP. Saint Germain have Guillaume Deront, Hugo Genestet, Francois Goyet and Blaise Rogeau all involved.

Euro Hockey League media release

Junior hockey world champs to seek jobs at Modi meet next week

KOLKATA: When the just-crowned Hockey Junior World Cup champions meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi next Wednesday, on the top of their agenda will be seeking jobs which they feel their state government and their clubs have failed to provide.

Gurjant Singh, who scored in the final against Belgium which India won 2-1 to clinch the trophy after 15 years, said: "We need security. The Punjab government (his state government) should provide us with jobs. When we meet the Prime Minister on December 28 we will be taking up the issue with him."

Gurjant, who is playing for ONGC in the ongoing 121st All India Beighton Cup is one of the five players the PSU has in their ranks from the World Cup winning team.

"We have got Rs 25 lakh each from the Punjab government which is great. But we need security which a job can provide. We have just won the World Cup and our aim is to win a medal in the 2018 senior World Cup," Simranjeet Singh, another scorer in the final, said.

Gurjant added: "We need some security as if we pick up an injury here today (in the Beighton Cup) who will take care of us? We are jobless."

Retorting to the players' plea, ONGC coach Sandeep Sangwan said, "We are looking into it (trying to get job for players). At ONGC, we have certain policies and at the moment we have three vacancies. We are thinking of giving them jobs."

On the historic World Cup win, Vikramjeet Singh, another member of the team, said beating Australia in the semi-finals was the toughest.

"We had the belief in us that we can reach the final. The semi-final against Australia was our toughest test."

India edged past powerhouse Australia 4-2 via penalty shoot-out to enter the final.

"Life has changed after winning the World Cup. When I scored the first goal it was like the roof came down in Lucknow," Gurjant said.

Most of the players who lifted the trophy hail from Gurdaspur district in Punjab.

Gurjant pointed out that the members of the team that won the junior World Cup in 2001, were rewarded with all the benefits.

"During their time, the players were very well treated and most of them got jobs as police officers and so on. We expect some support for all fraternities as well," Gurjant said.

The Times of India

Harmanpreet Singh eyes HIL glory after securing Junior Hockey World Cup title

Sharad Deep

Harmanpreet Singh scored three goals in six matches as India won the Junior Hockey World Cup. (Hockey India)

Three goals in six matches for India at the Junior Men’s Hockey World Cup boosted the confidence of drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh. He now wants his side Dabang Mumbai to finish on the podium in the fifth edition of the Hockey India League (HIL) beginning January 21.

Mumbai will play former champions Ranchi Rays in the opening match at home. After scoring a goal each against Canada and England in the league matches, Harmanpreet scored again in the quarterfinal against Spain, which India won 2-1.
Read more

“It was exciting as I knew the goal (against Spain) would change our fortunes,” recalls Harmanpreet, who is optimistic of a better show from Mumbai this time.

“Our win in the quarters was outstanding as it gave us confidence and that’s why we could fulfill our dream of winning the cup,” said Harmanpreet, who had 15 goals to his name when India won the Junior Men’s Asia Cup last year.

His India teammates like Krishna Pathak, Nilkanta Sharma, Manpreet Singh, Vikas Sharma and Gurjant Singh are with him in the Mumbai franchise and that will make a difference.

“We have been playing together for the last two years before winning the Junior World Cup, and I find this combination good for the success of our team in HIL,” he said.

Harmanpreet admitted the win in the Junior World Cup has changed the fortune of the players. “I was amazed to see the crowd support, and it’s great that now people admire and recognise you.

“I had no idea that one day hockey would change my image and personality. I started playing just for fun at the age of 10, but never dreamt of such a scenario.”

Harmanpreet, who feels HIL gives Indian players the confidence to rub shoulders with top international stars, refused to believe that only Indians get to learn.

“In the last few years, the standard of Indian hockey has gone up manifold and foreign players too learn from us,” said Harmanpreet, who will turn 21 on January 6.

Hindustan Times

The Netherlands dominated world hockey in the ’90s. India could do the same, says coach Roelant Oltmans

Roelant Oltmans talks about adapting to the Indian system, tackling language barriers and superstitious players underlines the need for packed stadiums.

Roelant Oltmans is the longest serving foreign coach of the Indian hockey team. (Express photo by Abhinav Saha)

The chief coach of the senior national hockey team and manager of the junior team, Dutchman Roelant Oltmans, talks about adapting to the Indian system, tackling language barriers and superstitious players, expresses concern over the decline of hockey in Asia, and underlines the need for packed stadiums.

Why Roelant Oltmans

Roelant Oltmans, 62, has been the longest serving foreign coach of the Indian hockey team. Last week, under his supervision, India won the Junior World Cup after a gap of 15 years. Under Oltmans, senior players too have made steady progress in the past 18 months. With India set to host the senior World Cup in 2018, Oltmans’s role will be crucial in overseeing the transition of the junior players, and ensuring that India stays in top form in the tournament.

MIHIR VASAVDA: Where does India’s Junior World Cup victory in figure in the larger picture?

Let’s take a look at the country that has won the most number of Junior World Cups — Germany. They have won it six times, and if you look at the past 20 years of international hockey, they are always in the top three or four. In the last World Cup, they finished fifth, but in all the other European tournaments, they have won a lot of medals. It is really great for Indian hockey that this young bunch of players have shown potential, and if we guide them properly, they absolutely have the quality (to become a top team).

I think even the senior team has come up to number six from 13 last year. Last year, we had two major tournaments where we won medals: a bronze in the Hockey League and a silver in the Champions League. That shows we are on the right track. We need to combine the talents of the youngsters with qualities of some of the more experienced players. And yes, I compare that to the team I was coaching in the ’90s — Netherlands. We were in a similar kind of situation and the team dominated the world for a decade, and it could be the same with India too.

SANDEEP DWIVEDI: In the past, foreign coaches have found it hard to adapt to the Indian system. You have been here for a while now, how has your experience been?

If you make the choice to go to a foreign country, you have to adapt to that culture. It’s not the other way around.

If I feel that something is important (for the game), then I am very strict about it, and my players know it. I am very particular about time management; Indians are not very good with it, though my players are always on time. But there are certain things, such as the procedures here, that I need to understand. Many procedures are time-consuming. For instance, if I need equipment for the team, we have to start with a tender, then people apply for the tender and finally a decision is made. It takes time and the technology gets outdated by then. So you have to start all over again.

When I first came in, I was on fire. But now I understand this is how things work here, and now I try to push to get things done faster. But you have to accept the system, and if you can’t, don’t come to India.

MIHIR VASAVDA: While you appear tough, we often hear of your lighter side as well.

I think you have to create an atmosphere where you can be focused when you need to be, and at the same time be relaxed whenever possible. I have seen that a lot of teams are over-focused. They are so tense that when the moment to perform actually comes, they fail. I don’t believe in it.

I have learnt it from motorsports. Once I was at the grid and until two minutes before the race, I was talking to this driver. And then they told me, ‘You have to leave now’. Few minutes later, the guy drove a fantastic race.

Of course, we have our days where we give information to players and discuss game plans. I always tell the players that this is the framework but within this framework, you are free to do things. Sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t. Mistakes are part of the game and a part of our lives.

NIHAL KOSHIE: The team looks extremely fit. How did you get them to change their diet?

We worked with our scientific advisers — physical trainers, physicians and nutritionists. They take care of the food, supplements and ensure that the players take enough liquids. So, with the help of these guys we make a plan and tell the players what they need.

We all know Indians love sweets. But it is not good as it does not give much energy to play on. We made it clear to the players that it (having sweets) is not a good idea. For this tournament, we told them that after a win you can have a small piece to celebrate. If you have a good result you should celebrate it, but in the right proportion.

DAKSH PANWAR: You have been here for about four years. Apart from hockey, how has your experience been in India?

I have to be honest with you — apart from hockey, there is not much that I do. You are in camps, and there it is hockey 24×7. There is some free time on Sunday, but mostly you are preparing for the next week. Sometimes I take time off to play a round of golf with Romeo James, one of the coaches of the junior team. That is all. We don’t have much time. I tell my wife that the day I stop, the first thing we will do is go on a long holiday to explore this beautiful country.

I often talk to players and staff about the Indian life, I am curious about it. I think we Europeans can learn a lot from it. The openness, the friendliness, the care people take of each other, it is so much more than we do. It’s really an eye-opener for me.

DAKSH PANWAR: How do you overcome the language barrier with players?

It is a problem and there is no doubt about it. I tried to improve my Hindi but that didn’t work out that well. So I have to work with translators and luckily, I have Tushar Khandker (former player and assistant coach) in the senior team, who is of help. In the junior team, there is coach Harendra Singh, who helped with the translation. But (this way) the communication is not direct and it is difficult to understand the real thoughts of the players. I always tell them I would like to get into their minds and understand why they make certain decisions.

SANDEEP DWIVEDI: The Indian team has players from different regions. Have you understood the difference in the mindset of a player from, let’s say, Punjab and Odisha or down south?

Players from Punjab are very proud, but their English is poor. The Karnataka boys are extremely good with English and it is very easy for me to communicate with them. But with players from Punjab, it is difficult. Some of them are really working hard (on improving their English) because they understand it is not only important to communicate with me, but with the umpires as well. We have video referrals in our game these days and it is important that you ask the right question.

We play matches in the Hockey India League where a lot of the players are foreigners, and you can’t communicate with them if you only speak Punjabi or any other regional language.

At the same time, they (Punjabi players) love to dance. Music is always there and the players from Punjab create a good atmosphere.

MANEESH CHHIBBER: When you came to India, what were your expectations from Hockey India, and have they lived up to it?

When I came here, I asked the president for a free hand to work according to my plans. Of course, I had to give them reports and explain my decisions. We created a new online system for player development. We started working on ways to guide the junior and senior team.

TUSHAR BHADURI: How did the presence of coach Harendra Singh, who has been with the boys for a long time, help in preparing the (junior) team?

Harendra indeed did a very good job when it came to bonding with the players. Some of them have been through terrible situations, and Harendra has been there for them in those times.

DAKSH PANWAR: Though the Indian team is doing well, hockey is witnessing a decline in Asia.

I am not happy with what is happening in Asian hockey. India was the only team from Asia in the Rio Olympics. In this tournament (Junior World Cup), the second best finish by an Asian team was by Malaysia, which finished 11th. That’s not good for the region where countries such as Pakistan and (South) Korea once produced fantastic hockey teams. Hockey coming up in this region will be good for the sport internationally.

Nine countries in the world are competing at a very high level. You look at the top nine in the Rio Olympics, they are the same in the Junior World Cup. It shows that these countries are really working hard at the moment. The order, of course, is different, but if you play a tournament in a few months from now, the order again will be different. And that’s a good thing now. Hockey is not predictable anymore. Around 10-15 years ago, it was Holland, Germany, Australia and sometimes Spain. Pakistan had a couple of years where they were really good. But now we have eight, nine countries competing at the top level, which is a very good thing for the sport.

DAKSH PANWAR: India has not been playing with Pakistan. Your thoughts.

I understand the sentiment about India-Pakistan games. I have seen games in Karachi. It was exciting and everyone in the world likes to watch the games. It is not good that these matches are not being played anymore, but unfortunately, I can’t change the political situation. I think I am the only one to have worked in both countries, so maybe I can play the mediator.

SANDEEP DWIVEDI: How different is the experience of coaching India and Pakistan?

In terms of skill, there are many similarities. There is the traditional Asian style of hockey, where a lot of individual skills are used, especially dribbling. Passing and receiving skills are a bit less. Over the years, both teams have learnt a lot in terms of tactics. If you see how the teams prepare now, it is completely different.

For me, the biggest difference is religion. Players in Pakistan were always praying for a win and they thought it helped them. We had many discussions with the players about that. Of course there is nothing wrong with religion, but I don’t think someone outside of the game is going to help you win. You have to do it yourself. That is my belief. There are always those boys in the team that have certain (superstitions). In Europe, it is the same, don’t forget that.

These boys (Indian players ) also have their rituals. The moment they come on to the field, you can see it. But that is fine if you feel good about it. Yet, you have to remember that you still have to act as a team and give your best as an individual to get results. The results are not coming from outside, so you have to make sure you do it yourself.

DAKSH PANWAR: The concept of skills seems to have survived in football, but somehow in hockey it appears to be waning?

I think I need to say something critical about my sport. I think hockey has developed into a more physical sport. It is fast, contact-based. And one of the reasons is that we can interchange with seven players throughout the game. So the fitness level is always high. That means skilful players will be less on the ground, and whenever they are on the ground, they will meet very fit opponents. We need to get a different method for interchanging players and, I believe, that will help in bringing more skilful players to the sport.

MIHIR VASAVDA: The ‘Home and Away’ format was introduced recently. Are you happy with the way international hockey is shaping up?

If you look at major tournaments, such as the Junior World Cup, the crowd was only interested in India’s matches. It is more or less what you see in different competitions. It is not good for our sport to have big tournaments without an audience. Therefore the Home and Away format is good, as there will always be the home team that will attract more audience.

Of course, we have to see if that philosophy will work out. I don’t like to see an empty stadium. It’s not good for my sport to have live broadcasting and just hundred people watching the game. That is different from the final, which witnessed a completely packed stadium. You don’t know how many reactions I received for that game. The atmosphere was fantastic. Then there was the Argentina-Spain game, which was also a very good match, but only 200 people were watching. To survive as a sport we need packed stadiums and only then can you attract sponsors and television broadcasters.

AJAY SHANKAR: Who according to you are the top three hockey players of all time and why?

It’s very difficult to compare players from different eras. For me, one of the best players I worked with was Teun De Nooijer. He was thrice named the best player of the world. You have a legend in your own country, Dhyan Chand. Jamie Dwyer has achieved a lot.

TUSHAR BHADURI: How can we make the sport more popular globally?

You need to have good competitions and we need crowded arenas. When we talk about football, we have heroes such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. But when you talk about hockey, we don’t have many heroes and I think that is important as well. If you look at the position of hockey in different countries, it is mostly the number 4, number 5 or number 10 sport. Here (in India) I don’t know how to rate it. Of course cricket is the number one sport. But you see the performance is getting better and also there is more media exposure and more sponsor interest.

It is like a circle, you need good performance, crowd attendance and also develop players who can be good ambassadors for the sport.

Indian Express

Ravi brace helps IPS, Bhopal triumph in All India U-17 Inter-School Hockey Championship

Suhas Nayse

NAGPUR: Ace forward Ravi Panche slammed a splendid brace as IPS, Bhopal thrashed Guru Harkishan Public School, Rajasthan 4-0 to clinch the title in the All India Inter-School U-17 Hockey Championship which concluded at Nagar Parishad School, ground in Kalmeshwar on Saturday.

The five-day tournament was organized by National Council for Sports and Youth Development, New Delhi.

After playing a goalless first half, IPS, Bhopal regrouped themselves in the second session to score four goals to emerge winners.

Ravi Panche was the chief architect of Bhopal victory. The hard-working striker sounded the board in the 43rd and 61st minutes. Mohd Anas (44th) and Ansar Ur Rahman (63rd) scored a goal each to complete the tally.

Guru Harkishan Public School, Rajasthan tried hard to reduce the deficit but in vain. After taking a comfortable lead, Bhopal side defended well to seal the fate of their rivals.

Earlier in the hard-line final, Dinanath High School, Nagpur mauled Rani Rasmoni School, Kolkata 5-1 to take the third place.

Naveen Kathoute (3rd), Ayush Gupta (44th), Archit Thakur (53rd, 58th) and Shashank Durugkar (65th) were the goal scorers for Dinanath. Paswan Routh (40) netted a solitary goal for Kolkata.

Olympian Ashok Kumar was the chief guest of the prize distribution function. Dr Surya Prakash Yadav, president, National Council for Sports and Youth Development, New Delhi, presided over.

On the occasion, Vidarbha Hockey Association president Radheshyam Sarda, Baba Kode, Avinash Gotmare, Sudatta Ramteke, Pramod Thakre, Riyaz Kazi, Firoz Khan, Asif Sheikh were also present. The function was conducted by Anuradha Wankhede.

The champion team

IPS Bhopal: Abhijit Mohit (GK), Aditya Cherti, Avinash Sen, Naresh Rathi, Juber Khan, Sunny Rathor, Yogesh Rajput, Anugrah Chouhan, Mohd Anas, Suhail Zafar, Haider Ali, Faizan Uddin, Ravi Panche, Sameer Ahmad, Vikas Razak, Anzar-ur Rahman, Bajrang Sen. Coach: Mangal Vaid. Manager: Amit Rathor. Umpires: Rajkumar Jha, Rajesh Nirmalkar. Technical officer: Arnold Xavier. Reserve umpire: Virendra Singh. Tournament Director: Firoz Sheikh.

Individual Awards

Best goalkeeper: Raman Kumar (Rajasthan); Best forward: Rajat Kumar (Bhopal), Best half: Deepak Khobragade (Nagpur); Best defender: Kumar Yadav (Kolkata), Highest goal-scorer: Prince Munda (Rajasthan).
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The Times of India

Social Media Coordinator - Part-time position

The Pan American Hockey Federation is the governing body for the Pan Americas in the international Olympic sport of field & indoor hockey and is one of 5 Continental Federations that report to and are funded by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

We are seeking an experienced, dynamic person, passionate about field hockey and its’ development in the Pan Americas, and ready to take on the challenge of strategically growing the programming and resources of Pan American Hockey Association as its Social Media Coordinator.

Reporting to the Media & Communications Panel Chairperson, the Social Media Coordinator is responsible and accountable for the ensuring all forms of social media (facebook, twitter, instagram and day-to-day management of these tools in accordance with PAHF’s mission, goals and policies).


·       development of the Social Media Strategy, communicating it to those authorized to post on PAHF social media platforms (e.g. PAHF Communications Officers during competitions) and verifying that it is applied correctly;

·       regularly posting on the PAHF social media platforms (currently Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram) and monitoring other social media channels to find stories (related to Pan American hockey) worth reposting or supporting.

Knowledge and Experience Requirements:

Working knowledge of English and Spanish required for the Social Media Coordinator position (note that “working knowledge” does not mean “bilingual” but the ability to send tweets and post on Facebook in both languages);

Previous experience working with PAHF Communications is an asset;

This is a one-year part-time position contract that will receive a monthly honorarium of $500 US.

Qualified candidates can submit their letter of interest and their resume in confidence to the Search Committee at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by January 6, 2017.

We thank all applicants for their interest; however, only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.  Anticipated start date is February 1, 2017.

Pan American Hockey Federaion media release

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