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News for 01 January 2017

All the news for Sunday 1 January 2017

PIA, NBP make it to hockey semis

LAHORE: Defending champions PIA and National Bank of Pakistan on Saturday qualified for the semi-finals of the 63rd Inter-departmental National Hockey Championships after earning big victories in their last pool E matches here on Saturday.

While PIA crushed Pakistan Railways 10-3, the bankers thumped Police 6-0 in the second match of the day to confirm places in the semi-finals.

Three-goal Haseem Khan and two by Awais-ur-Rehman guided PIA to a big 10-3 victory against Pakistan Railways.

Haseem found the net in the 8th, 41st and 58th minutes while Awais scored in the 26th and 60th minutes. Imran Khan (ninth), Yasir Islam (44th), Kashif Ali (50th), Zubair (54th) and Waqas Akbar (55th) also contributed one goal each for the winners.

For Pakistan Railways, the scorers were Shaharyar (2nd and 57th) and Jamal (21st).

In the second match, two-goal Ammad Butt helped NBP crush Police in a one-sided match.

Ammad scored in the sixth and 58th minutes while Abu Bakar (10th), Aamer (19th), Arslan Qadir (26th) and Dilber (52nd) were other scorers.

From Pool-F match between Army and SNGPL as well as the face-off between Wapda and SSGC will decide the remaining two semi-finals on Sunday.

SSGC are on top in the same pool with six points while Wapda are having four points while Army with one and SGNPL without any points are struggling.

Wapda and Army are two contenders among whom one team will fill a place in the semi-finals as SSGC has already qualified for the semi-finals.

Wapda has a challenging task ahead to beat the leaders of the pool in SSGC on Sunday to confirm a place in the semi-finals. Army, however, has easy rivals in SNGPL.


Kenya Police gear up for new campaign in Africa


Kenya Police's Sammy Ougo (left) dribbles past teammate Sammy Amiani during their training session for the upcoming Africa Cup of Club Championship on December 31, 2016 at City Park Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Kenya Police men’s hockey club is banking on home soil to clinch their maiden Africa Cup of Club Championship crown.

Police alongside Butali Sugar Warriors, women’s champions Telkom Orange and Sliders will represent the country in the week-long competition due on January 7 to 15 at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

Some 20 clubs from across the continent are expected to compete at the tournament.

Police, who are training at City Park, will be making their third appearance in Africa’s elite hockey club competition.

The law enforcers won bronze in their debut during the 2011 edition held in Zambia before finishing fourth in the 2014 edition held in Kampala, Uganda.

Police, the 2013 league champions, have missed the last two editions due to financial constraints.

But captain Brian Saina is ready to lead his teammates to glory on their return noting that winning the gong will be a good way to kick-start the year.

“The lads are fired up and ready to roar. We have been missing in action from this competition and now it is here at home and we want to win it,” Saina said.

“There is no use hosting a competition if you cannot win it and I am sure all the local clubs have only one thing in mind - ensuring the title remains here.”

The full squad of 28 players have been training at the City Park Stadium since last week.

The team under the tutelage of Coach Paul Mugambi trained on short corners and defensive play.

Mugambi will be relaying on the experience of Saina, talismanic striker Moses Cheplaiti, Richard Biriri, Willis Okeyo and Oliver Echenje all of whom played in the club’s two previous appearances in Africa.

Also back in the fold, is former national team first choice goalkeeper James Kayeko, whose experience will come in handy in the tourney.

“I am back to help the team win gold but we still have a lot of work to do if we are going to wrestle the title from the Egyptians, “ Kayeko said.

Promising striker Calvins Kanu, who had a good first season with the club scoring six goals in the league, is in line to make his debut and is likely to lead attack assisted by Cheplaiti. Eight foreign clubs have so far confirmed their participation in the competition.

Favourites and defending champions Eastern Company as well 23-time record winners Sharkia from Egypt, Ghanaian men’s champions Exchequer and Niger Flickers from Nigeria will take part in the men’s competition. On the women’s side, Ghana Revenue Authority, Sharkia and Nigerian clubs Heartland and El-rufai will be in Nairobi.

Daily Nation

Top 10 Canadian field hockey stories of 2016

Shaheed Devji

To close out 2016, which was as eventful as they come in Canadian field hockey, today we count down the top 10 hockey stories of the year.

10. Mark Pearson becomes first Canadian to play in Hockey India League

The Hockey India League is one of the top professional field hockey leagues in the world. With a condensed schedule of games played across India, the league features a host of the world’s top field hockey players, who are selected in a draft to play with India’s best. This year, Mark Pearson was asked to play for the Delhi Waveriders, and became the first Canadian player to play in the competitions four-year history. His Waveriders finished in third place.

9. Olympic team announced in special event in conjunction with Canadian Olympic Committee Cypress Mountain

Much of the hockey talk in Canada this year surrounded the 2016 Olympic Games. After qualifying for Rio in 2015, the Canadian men’s field hockey team spent the better part of the year preparing for the games. This included a length battle for spots on the team going to the Games. After months of competition in training and on the field, Canada’s Olympic team was selected and announced in a special way at a special place.

8. Milestones, milestones, milestones

After 2015, when many of Canada’s senior hockey player reached meaningful milestones, the benchmarks kept coming this year.

Among the highlights were:

  •     Mark Pearson reaching 200 international games played for Canada
  •     Philip Wright and Richard Hildreth reaching 150 games played
  •     Benjamin Martin, Gordon Johnston, Keegan Pereira, and Taylor Curran hitting 100
  •     Kate Gillis taking over the helm as the active leader in games played with 159
  •     Hannah Haughn becoming the youngest women to reach 100 games played
  •     Brienne Stairs and Sara McManus also reaching 100 caps

On the junior side, 2016 was a year of opportunity for Canada’s women’s field hockey players. With nothing major on the line throughout the year, development within the squad was the focus. Many junior athletes pushed for spots on senior tours, and a group of them was able to earn their first. Thora Rae, Shannon Pereira, Rowan Harris, Nikki Woodcroft, and Alexis de Armond were among a group of athletes who played in their first senior international matches this year.

7. Veteran men and women retire from international play

As exciting as the milestones were this year, 2016 was also a time to say goodbye to some familiar faces in Canadian hockey. Every year, there is a possibility that athletes decide to retire from international play, and that outcome is even more likely at the end of an Olympic cycle.

This year, the Women’s National Team said farewell to one of the most experience players in the team’s history: Thea Culley. The forward from Rossland, British Columbia retires after playing in 157 international games for Canada.

On the men’s side, veterans Philip Wright, Benjamin Martin, Jagdish Gill and Stephen Bissett also announced their retirements from international play.

6. Canadian Masters compete in Masters World Cup in Australia

2016 Masters World Cup. Men. Shadley Stephens.

After the establishment of Canada’s Masters Hockey, a division of Field Hockey Canada aimed at promoting the lifelong participation in hockey at the highest level, Canadian Master returned to competition in 2016 at the Masters World Cup in Australia.

Canada sent two teams to Canberra: an over-50 men’s and over-50 women’s team. A total of thirty Masters athletes, seventeen men and thirteen women, represented Canada at the Games, which were played at Canberra’s National Hockey Centre, in the Australian capital city.

The focus for Canada’s Masters now shifts to the 2018 Masters World Cup, which will be played in Spain. Canada is looking to send a larger contingent.

5. West Vancouver wins bid to host Women’s World League Round in 2017

One of the biggest stories of 2016 will actually play out in the New Year. This year, West Vancouver, British Columbia was confirmed as the host for the International Hockey Federation’s 2017 Women’s World League Round 2, which will take place from April 1-9 next year.

The tournament is part of the 2018 World Cup qualification process, with the top two teams moving on to World League Round 3 later in the year, for a chance to grab a spot at the 2018 World Cup.

Canada’s senior women (ranked 18th in the world) will be joined by opponents from India (12), Belarus (19), Uruguay (22), Chile (23), France (24), Mexico (30) and Trinidad & Tobago (34).

4. Canadian junior men take silver at Junior Pan Ams, earning spot at 2016 Junior World Cup

2016 Junior Men's Pan American Championship. Toronto, Ontario. Canada celebrates 3-1 win over Chile in semifinal. Advances to Junior World Cup. Photo: Yan Huckendubler.

Not only did Canada’s junior men’s national team have a chance to play a major tournament at home in Toronto, Ontario this past spring at the 2016 Junior Pan American Championship, they had to opportunity to cement their spot at the 2016 Junior World Cup while doing so.

The scenario saw the Canadian men having to finish in the top two to qualify for the Junior Men’s World Cup later in the year

The tournament began with adversity for Canada, which dropped its first two games to Mexico and Chile. But the Canadians rallied together after the first two matches and won their next three to earn a berth in the tournament final. Canada ended up taking silver after facing Argentina in the final, guaranteeing their spot at the 2016 Junior World Cup in India in December.

3. Olympic themed trio inducted into Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame

With 2016 being an Olympic year, and Canada’s men having qualified for the Games, the 2016 Field Hockey Canada Hall of Fame class had a special Olympic theme.

The inductees – Janet Ellis, Nick Sandhu, and the 1964 Men’s Olympic Team – with special ties to the Olympic Games were honoured at a ceremony in Vancouver during a special Olympic themed in July.

Janet Ellis, inducted as a Builder, is one of the most decorated officials in Canadian history, having participated in four Olympic Games. Nick Sandhu, inducted in the athlete category, is a two-time Olympians. And the 1964 Men’s Olympic Team, inducted as a team, was the first Canadian team to compete at an Olympic Games.

2. Canadian women defeat 9th ranked Korea in upset at Hawke’s Bay Cup in New Zealand

2016 Hawke's Bay Cup. Women's National Team. April 2, 2016 vs Korea. 2-1 win.

Canada’s women’s field hockey team had a year full of tough competition. After showing their worth in 2015 by winning a bronze medal at the Pan American Games for the first time in 16 years an just narrowly missing out on Olympic Games, the team played a schedule full of Olympic-bound teams in 2016.

The year was highlighted not only by Canada’s invitation and participation in the prestigious Hawke’s Bay Cup in New Zealand, where all other teams competing were Olympic bound, but also by Canada’s result in the first game.

After going down 1-0 to Korea, ranked 9th in the world at the time, Canada rallied back on goals from Brienne Stairs and Holly Stewart to win the game 2-1 and upset a ranked 10 spots higher at the time.

1. Canada’s men’s field hockey team returns to the Olympic Games at Rio 2016

2016 Olympic Games. Men's National Team. Canada vs Ireland. 4-2 loss. August 11, 2016. Photo:Yan Huckendubler.

The highlight of the year in Canadian field hockey was far away Canada’s participation at the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After missing out on qualification for the 2012 Games in London, Canada’s Men’s National Team was back at the Games.

It was a continuation of a historic run for Canada’s men’s field hockey team, which has qualified for every other Games on average since 1964.

For two of Canada’s men – Scott Tupper and Mark Pearson – it was a return to the Olympics eight years after having been at the Beijing Games. For the rest of the team (16 others) it was their first time at the Games.

Canada’s men were in tough in a pool with top teams like Germany, the Netherlands, and eventual gold medal winner Argentina, but proudly put their best effort on the field, and in the final game were rewarded with a 2-2 draw against an Indian team ranked fifth in the World compared to Canada’s 15th at the time.

After the Games, Canada was rewarded with an improved world ranking: 12th.

Field Hockey Canada media release

New blood, new hope for Indian hockey

The year ended on a high note with the colts winning the Under-21 Hockey Junior World Cup in Lucknow. Although four players in the junior side already have experience with the senior national team, 2017 could see a few more getting promoted.

Although 2017 begins with the annual Hockey India League, the next tournament India participates in is somewhere in June — the Hockey World League Semi-Final stage in England.

Then there are annual tournaments like the Sultan Azlan Shah. At the end of the year, India will host the Hockey World League finals.

This year, however, will be important for both – men’s and women’s teams – to set the combination right for the all-important World Cup in 2018.

India coach Roelant Oltmans, who was with the Jr team in Lucknow, will know how to mix the existing players with the new entrants in the senior side.

Oltmans might have to phase out players like Sardar Singh and Ramandeep Singh and looking at the Junior World Cup squad, options are plenty.

Pune Mirror

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