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News for 26 January 2017

All the news for Thursday 26 January 2017

Tough day at office for national teams

Both national teams of South Africa will be disappointed with the amount of goals they conceded in their matches on Wednesday in the Cape Town Summer Series.

The South African men lost 7-1 to the Netherlands.

Bili Ntuli almost scored in the first minute of the match, but while the crowd were still wondering about how awesome that goal would have been, the visitors all too soon were leading 2-0.

The crowd were on their feet again when captain Tim Drummond scored from a penalty corner to make the score 1-2.

Milan van Baal (2), Rik van Kan, Bjorn Kellerman, Mirco Pruijser and Bram van Groesen (2) scored Holland’s goals. Max Caldas’ team played with lots of confidence and structure. They made it all look so easy. This was in contrast to the South Africans who struggled to find rhythm and get going in the attack. They had to defend for most of the match. The players were clearly frustrated and obviously disappointed.

Earlier in the evening the South African women’s team fought a good fight against China. The visiting team won 5-2, but at halftime the score was 1-1 and with only one chukka to go it was 3-2.

There was some discussion between players and umpires after China’s second goal, but no change to the decision was made. South Africa strike back immediately though with a superb goal from Sulette Damons to deal in the best possible way with the disappointment. SA’s first goal was scored from a great turnover. Candice Manuel hit the back of the goal-box.

China’s goals were scored by Bingfeng Gu, Lihua Goa, Xiaoxue Zhang, Xiaomei Sun and Ming Xiao Song.

South Africa will be disappointed with the score-line and the fact that they conceded some soft goals in that final chukka. All in all, Sheldon Rostron’s team did much more right that wrong. They got penalty corners and forced China into a few mistakes. Now the players need to focus on that finishing touches that will turn good play into better opportunities and goals.    

It was a big milestone day for Lillan du Plessis who played in her 100th match for South Africa.

The next matches in the series are tomorrow at 18:00 when the SA women take on Chile. This match is followed by what could be an epic clash between Belgium and the Netherlands. It should be a cracking game between the silver medallists from Rio and third best team in the world. It will be Belgium first game in the Summer Series   

SA Hockey Association media release

Scotland Women’s squad announced for World League 2

Becky Merchant

Scotland’s Women’s international hockey squad has been selected for World League 2 in Valencia - the next stage of the team’s quest to qualify for the Hockey World Cup.

The Scots are raring to go after recent warm weather camps in Gran Canaria before Christmas, and then in Valencia in January where they played four matches against Spain.

World League 2 will be held in Valencia on 4 February until 12 February 2017 and features Scotland, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Ghana, Poland, Russia, and Ukraine. A place in Hockey World League 3 is up for grabs and the top two teams will qualify. It’s Scotland’s aim to qualify and be in with a shout to progress to the Hockey World Cup.

It’s an exciting time for the Scottish women’s squad. Three members of the squad: Sarah Robertson; Amy Costello; and Nicola Cochrane, have just been selected for the women’s Great Britain Hockey programme for the Olympic cycle working towards Tokyo 2020. Scotland is also scheduled to compete amongst Europe’s best hockey nations in August at the RABO EuroHockey Championships in Amsterdam. The Scots have competed at Europe’s top table since qualifying in 2011 and will be out to prove their status amongst Europe’s elite.

World League 2 is the first big test for Scotland’s exciting young squad and it’s a challenge the players and coaching staff are relishing. The Scots will face Ghana on the opening day, followed by a clash against Poland the following day, and then they will take on Ukraine two days later before the quarter finals on 9 February.

Scotland Women’s Head Coach Gordon Shepherd said:

“The preparation phase has been excellent and all the players performed well during this period, which left us with some tough selection decisions to make. Now that we have announced selection I know that everyone is looking forward to a tournament again as the last tournament for us was back in August 2015 at the Euro nations.

“There has been a big change in the women’s squad since then, and we are all very excited by the potential of this young squad who will play at World League 2. The tournament itself will be a challenge but one the entire squad feels ready for. Our sole aim is to qualify for World League 3 this summer.”

Squad for World League 2 in Valencia

Nicola Cochrane (N/A)
Lucy Camlin (Watsonians)
Kareena Cuthbert (Western Wildcats)
Rebecca Condie (Birmingham University HC)
Robyn Collins (Surbiton HC)
Amy Costello (Birmingham University HC)
Rebecca Ward (Dundee Wanderers)
Ali Howie (Clydesdale Western)
Sarah Robertson (Edinburgh University)
Nikki Lloyd (Wimbledon)
Kate Holmes (Clifton HC)
Heather Howie (Clydesdale Western)
Rebecca Merchant (Edinburgh University)
Amy Brodie (Edinburgh University)
Jen Eadie (Clydesdale Western)
Charlotte Watson (Dundee Wanderers)
Camilla Brown (Clydesdale Western)
Fiona Burnett (Clifton HC)

Scotland’s fixtures

Sat 4 Feb - Scotland v Ghana – 18:00 (Local time)
Sun 5 Feb – Poland v Scotland – 15:30 (Local time)
Tues 7 Feb – Scotland v Ukraine – 18:00 (Local time)
Thurs 9 Feb – Quarter Finals
Sat 11 Feb – Semi Finals & 5/8 place
Sun 12 Feb – Final, ¾ place, 5/6 place, 7/8 place

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Coach Dharmaraj has only five months to shape up women’s squad

KUALA LUMPUR: The next five months will be hectic for Malaysian national women’s hockey team coach K. Dharmaraj.

He will have to prepare a squad capable of challenging the top-ranked teams in the World League Semi-Finals in either Brussels, Belgium (June 22-July 2), or Johannesburg, South Africa (July 8-22).

World No. 21 Malaysia have qualified for the World League Semi-Finals for the first time after finishing second behind Ireland in the World League Second Round, which ended at the Tun Razak Stadium on Sunday.

Twenty teams will feature in the two World League Semi-Finals and the top 16 teams will qualify for the 2018 World Cup in London.

Dharmaraj, who has been coaching the women’s team for a year, admitted that his biggest challenge would be to help his players improve every aspect of their game.

“It’s not going to be easy ... I only have five months to take their game to the next level,” said Dharmaraj.

“We will be up against the best teams in the world ... and if they are not ready, they will get whipped by teams like Holland, Argentina, Germany, England and Australia.”

He also explained that his team would need to play in as many matches as possible against strong teams in preparation for the World League Semi-Finals.

“We plan to go on a playing tour of Europe in March or April,” said Dharmaraj, who has 23 players in his training squad.

All 23 players have been released to play for their clubs in the National Women’s League, which begins on Feb 2. They will, however, attend national training twice a week.

The Star of Malaysia

Fulton Names Squad For Tri Nations In Spain

The Green Machine will begin 2017 in the same manner in which they finished 2016 with a series of international fixtures in Spain, though on this occasion they will compete in a Tri-Nations competition against Spain, world number 9, and France, world number 17. The series will prove invaluable for Craig Fulton’s side as they face a higher ranked team in Spain, as well as a potential World League 2 opponent in France, placed in Pool B for World League 2 in Belfast (March 11-19). The squad selected is not dissimilar to that from December’s trip to Spain when Fulton elected for a mixture of youth and experience.

Speaking about the upcoming series Fulton said “It is a new look squad with a nice blend of youth and experience. We have some exciting younger players making the squad and pushing for places which is healthy for our short and long term goals to qualify for the World Cup as a Irish senior men’s squad”.

Fulton continued “It’s been five years since we hosted a senior men’s tournament in Ireland. We are really looking forward to playing World League 2 in Belfast, and the main goal is to qualify for the World Cup and this is the first step in that process”.

Match Details

Spain vs France 29/1/2017 4pm in Benalmadena
France vs Ireland 30/1/2017 4pm in Benalmadena
Spain vs Ireland 31/1/2017 4pm Malaga
Spain vs France 1/2/2017 4pm in Benalmadena
France vs Ireland 2/2/2017 4pm in Malaga
Spain vs Ireland 3/2/2017 1pm in Benalmadena

*times listed are local (CET).


Jonny Bell, Lisnagarvey, Defender
Matthew Bell, Banbridge, Defender
Lee Cole, Monkstown, Defender
Paul Gleghorne, Lisnagarvey, Defender
Ronan Gormley, Krefeld, Defender
Conor Harte, Racing, Defender
Sam O’Connor, Glenanne, Defender
Chris Cargo, Hampstead & Westminster, Midfield
Jamie Wright, Banbridge, Midfield
Shane O’Donoghue, Glenanne, Midfield
Neal Glassey, Lisnagarvey, Midfield
Peter Brown, Banbridge, Midfield
Sean Murray, Lisnagarvey, Midfield
Eugene Magee, Banbridge, Forward
Johnny McKee, Banbridge, Forward
Matthew Nelson, Lisnagarvey, Forward
Julian Dale, Cork Church of Ireland, Forward
Jeremy Duncan, UCD, Forward
Ben Walker, Three Rock Rovers, Forward
Jamie Carr, Three Rock Rovers, GK
Mark Ingram, Pembroke, GK

Irish Hockey Association media release

Painful lesson for Maybank

by Aftar Singh

That’s mine: Terengganu’s Nicolas Enrique Della Torre (right) vying for the ball with UniKL’s Muhd Azrul Hasbullah during their MHL Premier Division match yesterday. — zabidi tusin / The Star

KUALA LUMPUR: TNB-Thunderbolt – a team comprising a bunch of school boys – made a mockery of the form books when they stunned seasoned campaigners Maybank 7-3 in their Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) Premier Division match.

It was a demoralising loss for the Tigers, who were powered by six foreigners as they were beaten by a team fielding with an average age of 17 years at the Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) pitch in Bandar Penawar yesterday.

Muhd Amirul Hamizan Azahar (10th, 19th) and Mohd Akhimullah Anuar Esook (56th, 58th) scored a brace each for Thunderbolt while Muhd Hazzim Amin Hafidz (9th), Muhd Azrai Izad (37th) and Muhd Saifuddin Nazli (44th) added one apiece.

Mohd Zulhairi Hashim (14th, 25th) and Amirrullah Zainol (2nd) replied for Maybank.

It was the second win for Thunderbolt, who are making their debut in the Premier Division, while the Tigers suffered their fourth defeat.

Both teams have six points but the Tigers are fifth in the eight-team standings with a better goal difference.

Thunderbolt coach Nor Saiful Zaini was full of praise for his school boys.

“They played with maturity against the former champions, who are much stronger than us in every department.

“My boys played to instruction and made good use of the chances created. It’s a morale-boosting win for us. I hope my boys can maintain their form,” said the former international.

Champions Terengganu continued with their winning ways by downing Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) 3-0 at the Batu Buruk Hockey Stadium in Kuala Terengganu.

They top of the standings with 16 points from five wins and a draw.

Nicolas Enrique Della Torre gave Terengganu the lead in the seventh minute before South Korean Jang Jong-hyun notched his ninth goal in six matches to make 2-0 off a penalty corner in the 31st minute.

Former international Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin Tengku Abdul Jalil completed the rout in the 52nd minute.

The Star of Malaysia

Super 6s Final Four: Sutton Coldfield

Sutton celebrate reaching the finals

We are just days away from the big event at the SSE Arena Wembley. By Sunday evening we will know who our Men’s and Women’s Super 6s Champions are. We’ve already run the rule over three of the contenders in the Women’s Competition so now, here’s our final challenger, Sutton Coldfield.

The Mighty Pinks took their place in the final four by securing the fourth and final spot thanks to a 4-2 win over Bowdon Hightown which saw them leapfrog East Grinstead to take the semi-final berth. They had left themselves with a bit to do after slipping to defeats to Canterbury and Holcombe in the final weekend of qualifying but they came through the test when the pressure was on to reach the final stages once again. 

Sutton have won this title before but you have to go back to 1986-87 to find their glorious victory. That’s not to say they’ve been out of contention in recent years. They have reached the final many times including as recently as 2013 where they were defeated by a Helen Richardson-Walsh-inspired Reading.

The Mighty Pinks share their goals around with seven players chipping in, notably skipper Vicky Woolford and Sarah Parkinson-Mills who nabbed seven apiece on the way to the semi finals.

Sutton Coldfield Super 6s 2017

Captain Woolford is keen that the experience of 2013 stands them in good stead this time around:

“Last time experience was a problem. Reading had more experience and it showed. We have a few who haven’t been there before but we have plenty who know what to expect.”  She adds: “The competition has been close this year. Anything can happen in the semis and we believe we can go all the way. On our day we can compete with anyone.”

Sutton like their rivals in the final four have played a good brand of indoor hockey and have quality all over the court:

“Becky Batsford is a great goalkeeper, she can be a game winner for us” says Woolford. “Sarah Parkinson-Mills is a threat and we have a good defensive line. Hopefully if I get the chance can nick one as well, we’ll all be up for it come Wembley and we’ll see what happens.”

With plenty of quality and that all important game experience running right the way through the Sutton Coldfield side, they are raring to go for their shot at the title. Can they get their hands on the trophy for the first time since the 80s? Not long till we find out!

England Hockey Board Media release

Chandigarh, India to host first ever International Hockey Federation Hockey Stars Awards

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) announced today that for the first time in the sport’s history an awards ceremony will take place to honour the best players, goalkeepers, rising stars, coaches and umpires.

The FIH, in partnership with Hockey India, will announce the winners of the Hockey Stars Awards 2016 in Chandigarh on 23 February 2017.

The prestigious Awards ceremony will be held at the five star Lalit Hotel. They will celebrate the success of all nominated candidates*, providing an opportunity to reflect on what was a truly remarkable year for hockey.

Looking back at the Hockey Champions Trophies, Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Hockey Junior World Cups and all other key hockey events from the past year, the awards ceremony will showcase hockey’s superstars at their best.

Hockey’s action-packed image will be evident throughout, with performances from the likes of ‘India’s Got Talent’ television stars Papai & Antara making this a truly inspirational event, befitting the first ever Hockey Stars Awards ceremony.

Those who cannot attend need not worry as the entire ceremony will be livestreamed via FIH’s YouTube channel, while all of the behind the scenes action will be shared via FIH Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

FIH will also be running a competition through FIH’s social media channels for two lucky fans to attend the Awards in India. The winner will receive return flights for them and a friend, five nights’ accommodation at the five-star Lalit Hotel, two VIP invitations to the Awards plus VIP tickets to the Coal India Hockey India League Final, taking place in the city only a few days after the Awards.

Although the FIH Hockey Stars Awards have been presented for a number of years to winners across the world, this first Awards ceremony marks a key milestone. The ground-breaking event will bring hockey’s stars together in one location, providing another opportunity to feed the ever-growing broadcast and media interest in the sport.

Speaking about this, FIH President Dr Narinder Dhruv Batra said: “This Awards ceremony is yet another example of hockey increasing the degree of professionalism across all levels of the sport, a key component of the FIH’s 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy.”

He continued: “These Awards are an important opportunity to generate more followers around the globe by raising the profiles of hockey’s athletes, coaches and officials. By creating hockey heroes who appeal to all sports fans, not just hockey fanatics, it is hoped that these stars will become household names as hockey’s profile continues to grow. This is essential to our strategy’s overarching goal - to make hockey a global game that inspires the next generation.”

More information about the 2016 Hockey Stars Awards is available on the brand new Hockey Stars website which can be accessed via FIH.ch. Other updates will be posted via FIH social media channels during the run up to and during the event using the hashtag #HockeyStars2016.

*Hockey Stars 2016 Nominees
In addition to announcing the male and female Umpiring Awards, the following nominees are each in with a chance winning the following global accolades:

FIH Player of the Year
Women: Alex Danson (GBR); Carla Rebecchi (ARG); Kate Richardson-Walsh (GBR); Naomi van As (NED); Stacey Michelsen (NZL).
Men: Gonzalo Peillat (ARG); John-John Dohmen (BEL); Moritz Fürste (GER); Pedro Ibarra (ARG); Tobias Hauke (GER).

FIH Goalkeeper of the Year
Women: Belen Succi (ARG); Jackie Briggs (USA); Joyce Sombroek (NED); Kristina Reynolds (GER); Maddie Hinch (GBR).
Men: David Harte (IRL); Jaap Stockmann (NED); Juan Vivaldi (ARG); Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh (IND); Vincent Vanasch (BEL).

FIH Rising Star of the Year (Players under 23)
Women: Florencia Habif (ARG); Kathryn Slattery (AUS); Lily Owsley (GBR); Maria Granatto (ARG); Nike Lorenz (GER).
Men: Arthur van Doren (BEL); Christopher Rühr (GER); Harmanpreet Singh (IND); Jorrit Croon (NED); Timm Herzbruch (GER).

FIH Coach of the Year
Women: Alyson Annan (AUS); Janneke Schopman (USA); Karen Brown (GBR).
Men: Carlos Retegui (ARG); Danny Kerry (GBR); Shane McLeod (NZL).

Media Access
A limited number of media accreditations are available for the Awards ceremony. These will be issued on a first come first serve basis. If you wish to attend, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Event Details
Date: Thursday 23 February 2017
Time: 12:30pm (IST)
Venue: Crystal Ballroom, The Lalit Hotel, Chandigarh, India
Dress Code: Black tie and Bollywood glamour

FIH site

Sreejesh, Harmanpreet in contention for FIH awards

LAUSANNE: Inspirational men's team captain PR Sreejesh and fast-rising drag-flicker Harmanpreet Singh are the two Indians in contention for different honours at the FIH annual awards which will be given away in a formal ceremony for the first time, in Chandigarh on February 23.

While Sreejesh is in the running for FIH Goalkeeper of the Year, the 18-year-old Harmanpreet is in fray for the Rising Star of the Year trophy.

The awards will honour the best players, goalkeepers, rising stars, coaches and umpires.

Sreejesh had led India to the Asian Champions Trophy crown and a silver medal at the Champions Trophy last year. Drag-flicker Harmanpreet, on the other hand, played a key role in the junior team's World Cup triumph in Lucknow.

Although the FIH Hockey Stars Awards have been presented for a number of years to winners across the world, this first awards ceremony marks a key milestone.

The FIH will conduct the ceremony in partnership with Hockey India.

The ceremony celebrates the success of all nominated candidates, providing an opportunity to reflect on what was a truly remarkable year for hockey, the FIH said in a statement.

Looking back at the Hockey Champions Trophies, Rio 2016 Olympic Games, the Hockey Junior World Cups and all other key hockey events from the past year, the awards ceremony will showcase hockey's superstars at their best.

The entire ceremony will be livestreamed via FIH's YouTube channel.

"This Awards ceremony is yet another example of hockey increasing the degree of professionalism across all levels of the sport, a key component of the FIH's 10-year Hockey Revolution strategy," FIH President Narinder Dhruv Batra said.

"These Awards are an important opportunity to generate more followers around the globe by raising the profiles of hockey's athletes, coaches and officials.

"By creating hockey heroes who appeal to all sports fans, not just hockey fanatics, it is hoped that these stars will become household names as hockey's profile continues to grow. This is essential to our strategy's overarching goal - to make hockey a global game that inspires the next generation," he added.

FIH Player of the Year:

Women: Alex Danson (GBR); Carla Rebecchi (ARG); Kate Richardson-Walsh (GBR); Naomi van As (NED); Stacey Michelsen (NZL).

Men: Gonzalo Peillat (ARG); John-John Dohmen (BEL); Moritz Furste (GER); Pedro Ibarra (ARG); Tobias Hauke (GER).

FIH Goalkeeper of the Year

Women: Belen Succi (ARG); Jackie Briggs (USA); Joyce Sombroek (NED); Kristina Reynolds (GER); Maddie Hinch (GBR).

Men: David Harte (IRL); Jaap Stockmann (NED); Juan Vivaldi (ARG); PR Sreejesh (IND); Vincent Vanasch (BEL).

FIH Rising Star of the Year (Players Under-23)

Women: Florencia Habif (ARG); Kathryn Slattery (AUS); Lily Owsley (GBR); Maria Granatto (ARG); Nike Lorenz (GER).

Men: Arthur van Doren (BEL); Christopher Ruhr (GER); Harmanpreet Singh (IND); Jorrit Croon (NED); Timm Herzbruch (GER).

FIH Coach of the Year

Women: Alyson Annan (AUS); Janneke Schopman (USA); Karen Brown (GBR).
Men: Carlos Retegui (ARG); Danny Kerry (GBR); Shane McLeod (NZL)

The Times of India

Sreejesh dedicates award to team

Uthra Ganesan

Indian hockey team captain P.R. Sreejesh. File photo: K. Murali Kumar 

P.R. Sreejesh had no idea he had been nominated, leave alone he had been awarded the Padma Shri on Wednesday morning.

Currently concentrating on the Hockey India League with the Uttar Pradesh Wizards franchise, the India captain and goalkeeper laughed it off before the news was officially confirmed.

“Is it so? I don’t think it’s possible, you are joking,” he said before switching the topic to the HIL.

In a way, it was not surprising that the 28-year old was unconcerned about individual recognition. Since he made his national team debut in 2006 at the South Asian Games in Colombo, Sreejesh has worked hard to make sure he is always part of the team, never a lone-warrior.

“I would like to dedicate this award to my team. We have grown from strength to strength and have enjoyed success as well as lifted each other from heart-breaking defeats. My recognition could not have been possible if not for the team work,” was his official reaction to the award.

Over the past few years, the lanky custodian from Kizhakkambalam village in Ernakulam, Kerala, has consistently ranked among the best goalkeepers in the world. It is a role that earns few bouquets but a lot of brickbats. How difficult it is for goalkeepers to break through the ranks can be gauged from the fact that Sreejesh is only the second hockey goalkeeper to be considered for the honour, after the legendary Shankar Laxman in 1967.

The recognition comes on the back of India’s recent success under his charge — winning the Asian Champions Trophy 2016, silver at the Champions Trophy 2016, bronze at the Hockey World League Finals 2015, winning the Asian Games 2014 and leading India at the Rio Olympics.

That it is not a desperately sought-after honour makes it sweeter. Indian hockey has shown signs of revival and, more importantly, the consistency needed to break into and stay among the top.

The Hindu

Sreejesh gets top civil award Padamshree

s2h team

Indian goalkeeper PR Sreejesh is among the eight sports persons selected for top civilian Award Padamshree, the list of which is released in the government of India official website today.

The Top award is announced in the run up to the country's Republic Day, which is tomorrow. The actual ceremony to confer the award by the President of India will take place later.

The gifted and impact making goalie joins the illustrious predecessors including his captains Dilip Tirkey and Sardar Singh, peer Ignace Tirkey and a few others.

Other sportspersons, who joins Sreejesh in the Ministry of Home Affairs' website include Deepak Malik, gymnast Dipa Karmaker, cricket captain Virat Kohli and five others.

Last year only Deepakumari got the award, the increase in numbers this year owes to the fact that Rio Olympics were considered for the present.

Prominent hockey players who the award include Triple Olympic gold medallist Balbir Singh Dosanjh, World Cup gold medalist AJit Pal Singh, four time Olympian Dhanraj Pillay, and many others.

Sreejesh, who hails from the state of Kerala, is presently playing in the Hockey India League. He led India at the recent Rio Olympics and won s tie-break duel to take India to the finals of Kuantan Champions Trophy late last year.

Sreejesh is also one the strong contenders for the FIH Player of the Year Award function of which will be held in the last week of February, coinciding with HIL finals in Chandigarh.


Sreejesh dedicates Padma recognition to team

NEW DELHI: Indian senior men's hockey team captain PR Sreejesh on Wednesday dedicated the Padma Shri award to his teammates soon after he was nominated for the prestigious recognition.

Sreejesh along with Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli, Olympic bronze medallist wrestler Sakshi Malik, gymnast Dipa Karmakar and athlete Vikas Gowda were shortlisted for the Padma Shri award.

"I would like to dedicate this award to my team who have been exceptionally good over the past few years. We have grown together from strength to strength and have enjoyed success as well as lifted each other from heart breaking defeats. My recognition could not have been possible if not for the team work," said an elated Sreejesh.

Regarded as one of the most reliable goalkeepers in the world, Sreejesh, from a little-known village called Kizhakkambalam, beat several odds to climb the echelons in hockey.

He first made it to the junior national team in 2004 against Australia in Perth. Srejeesh's senior team debut came in 2006 at the South Asian Games in Colombo.

He was awarded the best goalkeeper of the tournament when India won the Asia Cup in 2008. Sreejesh became a regular member of the Indian senior men's team from 2011 onwards and since has been instrumental in helping India win several important tournaments.

His two-penalty stroke saves in the final against Pakistan in the 2011 Asian Champions Trophy in Ordos, China helped India lift the title for the first time.

Sreejesh was also part of the team that won the silver medal at the 2014 Commonwealth Games but his penalty stroke saves in the final of the Asian Games 2014 will remain as one of his best performances till date. The team won the historic gold and booked its Rio Olympics berth.

In 2016, he led the Indian team to yet another momentous feat at the FIH Champions Trophy in London where the team won a historic silver medal. He also led the team to a splendid win against Pakistan in the final of the Asian Champions Trophy in Kuantan last year.

For his stupendous performance, last year, Sreejesh has also been nominated for the goalkeeper of the year award by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

"I would like to congratulate PR Sreejesh on being short listed for the prestigious Padma Shri award. This recognition only reinforces the belief that hard work, determination and dedication will never go unnoticed. Sreejesh has been an inspiring leader and an exceptional goalkeeper who has honed his skills over the years. I wish him the very best for future endeavors and only wish he and his team brings more laurels to the country and inspire many more young hockey aspirants to take up the sport as a career," said Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad, secretary general of Hockey India.

The Times of India

I owe this game a lot: Sreejesh

Prasanth Menon

KOCHI: PR Sreejesh was a bit perplexed to find a flurry of messages on his phone as he arrived at the Bhubaneswhar airport along with the team members of his HIL franchise, UP Wizards, on Wednesday evening. The Indian hockey captain had little clue that the trophy cabinet at his home in Pallikara, is soon going to be adorned with the most coveted award of them all, the Padma Shri. "I had no inkling that such a big honour was coming my way. In fact, I didn't even know that my name was sent for such an award. When someone mentioned to me that I could be a recipient of Padma award a while back, I had told him I am no Pranchiettan. (referring to the popular character in a Malayalam film, where the lead actor, a businessman played by Mammotty tries to get a Padma award through hook or crook). Honestly, this is such a huge recognition and beyond my wildest dreams," Sreejesh said.

Son of a farmer, Sreejesh has come a long way from the days when he used a coir-rope to tie the worn out straps of his pad as he first attended the junior national camp in New Delhi in 2003. "When I wore the goalkeeping pads for the first time ever as a kid, I never expected that the boy from Pallikara would go on to become Indian hockey captain. Today, I am a recipient of the Arjuna award and now I will be bestowed the Padma Shri. I wouldn't have received such recognition without the support from my family and my teammates. Hockey has given me everything and I owe this game a lot," an emotional Sreejesh said.

The 28-year-old who made his debut for Indian senior side in 2006 had to wait for almost five years to earn a permanent spot in the squad. But ever since, the 'keeper of India's fortunes has played a crucial part in each of his team's success in the last five years - Asian Champions Trophy triumph in 2011, gold medal in 2014 Busan Asian Games, bronze medal in World Hockey League in 2015.

Though his two trysts with Olympics - London 2012 and Rio 2016 - have been disappointing, the custodian feels that this team is on the right track. "We have improved by leaps and bounds in the last few years. The senior squad is now a very settled unit and despite our setback in Rio, is a feared lot in world hockey. The triumph in Junior Hockey World Cup proves that we have second line coming in. So how this youth brigade mixes with the senior crop is going to the key going forward. And I think we are only going to get better from here," Sreejesh presents a rosy picture for Indian team in days ahead.

The Times of India

Dan Fox and Maddie Hinch scoop Hockey Writers’ Club gongs

Fox and Hinch named HWC players of the year

Olympic gold medalist Maddie Hinch and two-time Olympian Dan Fox have won the prestigious UK player of the year awards for 2016, chosen by members of the Hockey Writers’ Club.

The awards were made at the Club’s annual awards presentation lunch on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London.

Goalkeeper Hinch played a starring role in Great Britain’s gold medal win in Rio, denying all four of the Netherlands’ goal attempts in the shootout that decided the final after a 3-3 draw in normal time.

The 28-year-old was the clear winner in the poll of club members. She finished ahead of fellow gold medallists, retiring GB captain Kate Richardson-Walsh and Hollie Webb, the defender who scored the decisive shootout goal in the gold-medal match. The women’s award was sponsored by Investec again this year.

Hinch takes the award for the second consecutive year, having caught the eye of the voters last year in a similarly stunning shootout win for England over the Dutch in the final of the 2015 European championships at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London – a result that qualified Great Britain for the Rio Olympic Games. She currently plays for SCHC in the Dutch league, but played for Kent club Holcombe in the 2015-16 season. Hinch also won the award in 2013.

Maddie Hinch stops the Dutch in their tracks

Maddie Hinch said: “It is a great honour to pick up this award which is made extra special off the back of so many strong individual performances in Rio. It has been such a massive year for the team and there have been so many outstanding performances in the squad, for the Hockey Writers’ Club to vote for me out of everyone who did so well makes it more special than ever.”

Defensive skills also caught voters' attention for the men’s award, with Fox winning the player of the year award for the first time in what was his final international season. The men’s vote was close with the Holcombe defender pipping GB skipper, and club teammate, Barry Middleton into second place. GB goalkeeper George Pinner completed a one, two, three for Holcombe. The men's award was sponsored by Mercian again this year.

In June 2016 Pinner also won the Chris Moore Salver which is presented annually by the Hockey Writers’ Club for the outstanding performance by a Briton in a designated major tournament. Pinner produced a notable goalkeeping display as Great Britain finished fourth in the Hero Champions Trophy at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in London.

Fox announced his international retirement late in a year which included his second Olympic Games. In Rio, the 33-year-old reinforced his reputation as a fearless penalty corner runner and a strong defender despite Great Britain finished ninth in the men’s hockey tournament.

Dan Fox said: “I am very flattered to win. It is a great honour and something I didn’t really expect. Having retired from international hockey a few months ago, I had put that behind me. I am really delighted.

Dan Fox in action for GB

“For me, leading the Great Britain side – in Barry Middleton’s absence – at the World League Finals in Raipur [in late 2015] was a hugely proud moment. I played well there, but as part of a team that did well.

“What was best about that tournament was we took a quite a young squad, but we competed. We beat Australia 5-2 which was the biggest win we’ve had against them in a number of years. Alongside all those other blokes who were playing well it was a great opportunity to prove myself and take a leading role in the side.

“The club hockey I’ve played at Holcombe, and Hampstead & Westminster before that, has been a big part of my success. I feel lucky to have been part of the Great Britain programme for so long and to have gone to two Olympic Games.”

Fox lined up for England 101 times and for Great Britain 63 times, scoring twice.




1983 Margaret Gleghorne; Paul Barber
1984 Karen Brown; Richard Leman
1985 Linda Carr; Sean Kerly MBE
1986 Moira McLeod; Ian Taylor
1987 Violet McBride; Imran Sherwani
1988 Barbara Hambly OBE; Jon Potter
1989 Vickey Dixon; David Faulkner
1990 Maggie Souyave; Andy Halliday
1991 Joanne Thompson; Jason Laslett
1992 Jane Sixsmith MBE; Rob Hill
1993 Sandie Lister; Julian Halls
1994 Karen Brown; Simon Mason
1995 Tammy Miller; Ian Jennings MBE
1996 Kathryn Johnson; Bobby Crutch;ley
1997 Karen Brown; Jon Wyatt
1998 Carolyn Reid; David Hacker
1999 Christina Cullen MBE; Chris Ashcroft
2000 Jane Sixsmith MBE; Mark Pearn
2001 Jane Smith; Danny Hall
2002 Leisa King; Robert Todd
2003 Kate Walsh; Simon Mason
2004 Christina Cullen MBE; Barry Middleton
2005 Crista Cullen; Jonathan Ebsworth
2006 Crista Cullen; James Tindall
2007 Kate Walsh; Barry Middleton
2008 Beth Storry; Ali McGregor
2009 Helen Richardson; Ashley Jackson
2010 Helen Richardson; Barry Middleton
2011 Alex Danson; Mark Pearn
2012 Kate Walsh; Barry Middleton
2013 Maddie Hinch; Adam Dixon
2014 Susannah Townsend; Iain Lewers
2015 Maddie Hinch; Iain Lewers
2016 Maddie Hinch; Dan Fox

England Hockey Board Media release

Higgins plc junior and youth awards winners announced

The recipients of the Hockey Writers’ Club Higgins Group youth and junior player of the year awards for 2016 have been chosen with the presentations made at the annual awards presentation lunch on Wednesday January 25, 2017 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London.

Mr Richard Higgins, Chairman of the Higgins Group plc, will present the awards. The UK players of the year for 2016 will also be announced at the lunch.

The judging panel attended events including the England Hockey Futures Cup at St Albans in October. Information was also sought from coaches, with the judges considering not just hockey ability but players’ personal qualities and potential for future development.

Past winners of Higgins awards include Rio Olympic Games gold medalists Maddie Hinch and Sophie Bray.


Youth, Girls 18 and under – Kate Axford;
Youth, Boys 18 and under – Tim Nurse;
Junior, Girls 16 and under – Darcy Bourne;
Junior, Boys 16 and under – Alex Pendle;


Youth, Girls 18 and under – Kate Axford is already a double junior international having represented England at both hockey and lacrosse. The Bedford Girls’ School student won a bronze medal with England at the 2016 EuroHockey U18 Championships in Ireland last summer. Later in the year she co-captained the Saxon Tigers U18s to victory in the Futures Cup. She is in this year’s national age group squad and is again pushing for a place in the final England U18 selection. She previously represented England at U16 level. The 17-year-old [check!] defender/midfielder plays for Cambridge City Ladies in the premier division of the East Hockey League. She began hockey in the U12s at Southgate. In 2016 she played for England in the U19 lacrosse home internationals.

Youth, Boys 18 and under – Tim Nurse has already been capped seven times for England U18s having played in Holland, Scotland and Belgium in 2016. He also played 14 times for England at U16 level. In 2016 he captained the Wessex Leopards U18s in the Futures Cup. He is part of this year’s national age group squad and is again looking to gain a place in the final England U18 squad selection. The 17-year-old midfielder plays for Isca in the England Hockey League west conference. Previously Tim played for Bournemouth Hockey Club from U8s to U16s. He is a student at Queen’s College, Taunton. He previously attended the Ballard School in the New Forest.

Junior, Girls 16 and under – Darcy Bourne began playing club hockey for Surbiton in 2012 at U11, making her first appearance for the ladies’ 1s team as a 13-year-old in a pre-season match against Mannheim in 2015. She played for Surbiton 1s again in the recent Super 6s tournament. Darcy has been in the Surbiton national cup winning team for four consecutive seasons at both U12 and U14, captaining twice. In 2016 she played for England U16s, a year young, culminating the Six Nations tournament in Belgium. “Stepping onto the pitch against Holland to earn my first international cap really lit a spark for me – it gave me a taste of what I hope for my future and made me want it even more,” she said. The 15-year-old also captained the Wessex Leopards U16 team to victory in the 2016 Futures Cup.

Junior, Boys 16 and under – Alex Pendle began hockey as a four-year-old at Chichester Hockey Club and has progressed through the junior ranks to play for the club’s national league west conference side. The 15-year-old scored his first national league goal on debut in October 2016. He scored a hat trick for the Wessex Leopards in the final of the 2016 Futures Cup. He has since gained selection for the U16 national age group squad where he will compete for a place in the England U16 side. Alex is a student at Chichester High School where he also helps coach hockey.

These youth and junior awards are sponsored by the Higgins Group plc.

Hockey Writers Club

George Brink’s contribution to hockey media awarded by Hockey Writers’ Club

by Dil Bahra

The Hockey Writers Club’s inaugural Graham Wilson award for services to hockey media was awarded to George Brink at the annual awards presentation lunch on Wednesday, January 25, 2017 at the Royal Thames Yacht Club, Knightsbridge, London.

The award in memory of Graham Wilson, the Chairman of Hockey Writers’ Club, who died last February, recognises the outstanding contribution made to hockey media.

George, a member of Hockey Writers’ Club, a hockey player and an umpire, has been running the Fieldhockey.com website for over twenty years and posts hockey news from all over the world every day.

He started his website when he was in England and despite moving to South Africa he has kept his services of providing hockey news ongoing from the globe, on daily basis.

The website today is regarded as the bible of hockey. Any news worth reading, updated at 1000 GMT every morning, is on the site read by thousands across the world.

I first came into contact with George during the Junior World Cup in Milton Keynes in 1997. I was the FIH Media officer at this tournament and became aware of the Fieldhockey.com  website which carried comprehensive reports of the matches and the pool tables on a daily basis. I have seen this site grow year on year and this award is richly deserved.

Hockey Writers Club

I would like to thank The Hockey Writer's Club for this honour.

It is especially poignant to me as Graham was a good friend whose encouragement at the beginning kept me going, when searching the internet on a daily basis for hockey stories on a 256k dial up connection made me wonder if it was all worthwhile.

His encouragement along with the encouragement of many other Hockey Writers  at the start of this adventure, such as Sidney Friskin, Bill and Jean Colwill, Bruce Hamilton, Daryl Crasto of the Times of India (all sadly passed on), Pat Rowley, Cathy Harris, Mike Haymonds, Dil Basra, Claire Middleton and Mr. T, formally of The Hindunhas eventually led to the site being what it is today, something that gives me daily enjoyment and a sense of doing something positive for the sport we all love.

Lastly, the site could not exist without the efforts of all the Hockey Writers out there, whether employed as Hockey Media liaisons or by news outlets or as freelance writers. I am deeply grateful for your efforts and thank you all for making Fieldhockey.com the site it is today


An incredible year

Hollie Webb

She is an Olympic Gold medallist, Strictly Come Dancing star, Freewoman of Amber Valley, awarded an honorary degree from the University of Derby and now an MBE.

It is fair to say Hollie Webb has had a pretty exciting year, with award after award pouring in all the time. With the dust settling on an incredible period in her life and her trophy cabinet bursting at the seams we took some time out to speak to the Olympic gold medal winner, who will be appearing at the Super 6s this Sunday at the SSE Arena Wembley to meet the fans who have been so inspired by her feats.

No conversation with Webb can begin without mentioning that magic night in Rio. Yet surprisingly the Great Britain defender says much of the game remains a mystery to her:

“A few days after I got back I watched the final and there are bits of it I just didn’t remember. I only remember the end really. I was interested to see what happened but it’s weird how much of the game is a blur and that I missed.”

Of course one clip stands alone above the others as the iconic moment Webb despatched the ball past the Netherlands goalkeeper Joyce Sombroek to clinch the gold has been played time and again since that memorable night:

“That clip has been played so many times but I’m not bored of watching it. I pause for a bit after it goes in where I’m making sure it’s a goal, then everything went crazy. It was amazing!”

Webb’s moment in the sun was a culmination of all her hard work; but since she came back she has been working hard to inspire people all across the land. She has visited countless schools and clubs and been blown away by the impact of an Olympic gold medal on the nation:

“Everybody, whether they’re a hockey fan or not seems to have watched that game. I’ve visited so many clubs and schools and seeing so many people getting in to hockey or back into hockey because of that night is what’s struck me the most. It’s changed the sport and had an effect on so many people.”

As well as transforming the nation, Webb’s life has been transformed too. Awarded the freedom of her native Amber Valley, an honorary degree from the University of Derby and eye-catchingly, she was also a contestant on BBC Children in Need’s Celebrity Strictly Come Dancing.

Hollie Webb on BBCCIN Strictly

“I didn’t even think about it, just said yes straight away. My Mum and my Gran love the show they’d have been horrified if I’d turned it down. It was a great experience. The training was so different. Mentally it’s hard to focus that long and physically it’s so different to hockey. It was so terrifying. It’s the most nervous I’ve ever been. Much more nerve wracking than the shootout. That was well within my comfort zone!”

To top off a phenomenal time, Webb was awarded an MBE alongside her team mates in the New Year’s Honours.

“My boyfriend opened the letter whilst I was driving. He told me there was a letter from the cabinet office. I work for the government so I thought it was from the office and thought “oh god, what have I done?”

He opened it but wouldn’t tell me what I was because he was in shock. Then he said I was an MBE and I was relieved I wasn’t in trouble with work! I just couldn’t believe it. It’s so amazing.”

The temptation would be to rest on her laurels, but anyone who knows Webb will know that’s not how she is. Something she confirms when asked what is next:

“Straight after the Olympics I was so happy but I was excited about going to do it again. I am so motivated to go out in Tokyo and win it again. And between Tokyo and now there are so many things I want to achieve like the Women’s World Cup at home in 2018. There are loads of things I want to win and I’m so hungry for success. I’ve had a taste but I want more.”

Webb and her team mates will be signing autographs at the Super 6s finals day this Sunday at the SSE Arena Wembley. If you haven’t got your ticket yet, hurry, they’re selling fast! Click here for all the details!

England Hockey Board Media release

Peillat: 'Argentina played efficient hockey during Olympics'

Gonzalo Peillat talked exclusively to Sportstar about Argentina's Olympic truimph and how the hockey stars got more recognition after winning the gold medal at the Rio 2016 Olympics.

Nandakumar Marar

Argentina's Gonzalo Peillat was the top scorer in the Rio Olympics.  – Special Arrangement

Argentina is ranked number two in the world in men’s hockey, following its truimph at Rio Olympics 2016. The profile of Argentine players has changed, from gritty perfomers to match-winners. Uttar Pradesh Wizards’ defender Gonzalo Peillat, top scorer at 2016 Rio Olympics and 2014 World Cup is known for his stunning goals from penalty-corners. He does not think drag flickers will lose prominence in field hockey.

Under guidance from FIH, the sport is experimenting with innovations to bring in more skill into matchplay. Two goals for a field goal in the ongoing Coal India Hockey India League 2017 is resulting in strategic changes. Players tasked with penalty corner set-pieces are trained by coaches to attempt the indirect variation also. Drag flickers like Gonzalo do not step up and fire home each time a penalty corner drill is executed.

The 24-year-old Buenos Aires native took one corner attempt via the direct route for UPW, then watched counterpart Harmanpreet Singh convert two from two corners, both drag flicks for Dabang Mumbai at the Mahindra stadium. Gonzalo believes penalty corners will retain value in matchplay, even as thrilling field goals become talking points.

Rio Olympics 2016 did not have any distinction between the type of goals, field attempts or setpieces. Argentina banked on the youngster's ability in penalty corners (11 goals and top scorer honour) for a podium finish, going home with its first men’s hockey gold medal. Gonzalo talks about popularity for hockey back home after Rio, reasons behind Argentine success in an exclusive chat:


On a podium finish in men’s hockey at Rio Olympic Games:

A: We started in silence, did not say anything about our expectations in the competition. Everyone knows now, we won the gold. We believed in ourselves, of course. Learning game by game was the key.

On the qualities which stood out in Argentina’s success:

A: I must say Argentina played excellent hockey. We showed to everyone that we were the better team, more efficient than others. After losing to India (group phase), we beat Spain (quarterfinal), Germany (semi-final) and Belgium (final). We remained unbeaten in the tournament.

On change in life, if any, after returning home with gold:

A: Life changed for all of us. Back home in Argentina, a lot of people now know about the hockey players. Sometimes when we are on the streets, people ask for pictures with us. I can say for sure, back home hockey players are more popular than before.

On finishing as the Olympics men’s hockey top scorer:

A: I did not plan it, but before the Rio competition, we had an army (multiple options) for the corners and used it in the tournament. The team believed in me when it came to (converting) corners and that was the key to success.

On HIL 2017 innovation to reward one field goal by each team with two goals:

A: I think the rule is a bit strange, because the penalty corners are very important. They (Dabang Mumbai) scored two from corners and won the match. Two goals for every field, we have to see how it goes in the coming matches. I see the penalty corners remaining very important for teams in the coming years.

Sportstar Live

Rosie Stern AM awarded Australia Day honour

Recognised for services to hockey

Lawrence West

Hockey Australia is proud to add its voice to those congratulating Rosemary (Rosie) Stern AM (pictured middle), who was today recognised as a Member (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia for significant service to hockey as a tournament director, administrator and official.

Rosie's contribution to officiating the game locally, nationally and internationally is almost unparalleled and stretches back to 1968. She is as dedicated to her role when officiating at local under-age competitions or Masters participation events as on the world's biggest stage, at the Olympics, the World Cup or the Commonwealth Games.

Rosie’s international experience has included being Tournament Director at Champions Trophy (2007), Junior World Cup (2009), Commonwealth Games (2010), Olympic Qualifiers (2012) and World League Final (2014). She was also a Technical Official / Judge at three World Cups (2002, 2006, 2014) and the Assistant TD at the 2008 Olympic Games.

As the most experienced and highly qualified female official in the Oceania region, Rosie's contribution to international hockey has spanned more than 15 years.

At a national level, Rosie has been the Tournament Director at national championships for U16 School Boys/Girls, U18, U21 and eight times at the Australian Hockey League between 2003 and 2014.

She was named Hockey Australia Official of the Year in 2009, was a finalist in the Sport SA Official of the Year in 2010 and received an Order of Merit from the South Australian Olympic Council in 2014.

As one of the world's leading tournament officials, Rosie has been extremely generous with her knowledge, time and experience to train and mentor a significant number of tournament officials across Australia.

Within her home state of South Australia, Rosie was an umpire for almost 40 years and member of the Umpire Committee for over 25 years.

It is a measure of her humility that she chose her last tournament before retiring to be the XV Australian Masters Games, hosted by Hockey SA at the State Hockey Centre in October 2015. She treated the event and the participants with the same impeccable level of respect and professionalism as she did with Olympic and Commonwealth Games events and athletes.

Hockey Australia General Manager for Hockey, Ben Hartung, said, "Rosie has unquestionably been the leading female tournament director in Australia and in the top eight female tournament officials worldwide.

"She has made an outstanding contribution to the sport of hockey as an official at a local, national and international level.

"Rosie’s contribution to hockey spans over 40 years as a volunteer in the sport. Our sport is built on the foundations of dedication and a passion for hockey that people like Rosie exhibit. We can honestly say that Rosie has contributed to the enjoyment of literally thousands of people playing our great sport over the years."

Hockey SA Chair James Blackburn welcomed the news saying, “this award recognises Rosie’s significant roles and influence in hockey locally, nationally and internationally”.

Former Hockey SA Chair Helen Stone said, " Rosie's contribution to hockey at an International, National, State and local level is unparalleled".

"When officiating at international competitions she has been the consummate professional, representing her country with dignity, honesty and empathy." Locally, Rosie continues to ensure hockey has a wealth of well-trained technical officials.

"While Rosie's achievements internationally and nationally are well documented, for Hockey SA her contribution to the growth and development of our future officials and umpires over her life time of volunteering for the sport will leave a long lasting legacy," Helen said.

Congratulations Rosie on your recognition for service to hockey. We are indeed honored to have you as a valuable member of our community.

Hockey Australia media release

Kenyan Hockey fraternity mourns Butali coach Cliffe Okello


Butali Warriors coach Cliffe Okello on the touchline before their match against Park Road. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Tributes continue to pour in following the death of Butali Sugar Warriors coach Cliffe Okello on Tuesday afternoon at his brother's home in Nairobi after a short illness.

Okello, who has been unwell for some time, led Butali to second place in last season's Kenya Hockey Union Men's Premier League in what would be his last assignment. Butali lost 3-0 on post-match penalties to Strathmore Gladiators in the play-off final.

He was poised to lead the club at the Africa Cup of Club Championship held early this month.

His death rocked the hockey fraternity in the country with many remembering him as a jovial and astute coach, who always wanted to succeed. Many took to social media to pay tribute to Okello fondly referred to as 'Zorro'.

National men's team coach Meshack Senge, who stood in for Okello during the African Club Championship early this month, described the death as a blow not only to hockey but sports in general.

"We played together at club level and also in the national team and I can tell you he was passionate about the game. A jovial guy, easy to chat with and also very humorous,” Senge said of Okello.

“He was always my roommate during national team residential trainings. I will miss him so much."

"We won the league title together while playing for Kisumu Simba as well as bronze in the Club Championship and these are some of my best moments with him. I also relished my battles with him when he took charge of Butali."

Kenya Hockey Union Chair Nahshon Randiek said: "We have lost a dedicated and meticulous hockey fanatic who helped many players grow to play for the top teams in the country."

Butali defender Saidi Okwemba, who played with Okello in Kisumu Simba since 1994, is yet to come to terms with the death of his former teammate and coach.

"There was a time I was contemplating quitting the sport but he persuaded me that I still had a lot to give and I agreed to stay and played for him at Butali," Okwemba said.

Women’s premier league champions Telkom Orange coach Jos Openda recalls Okello as a “perfectionist who always wanted his team to win beautifully”.

"While most coaches are used to shouting and running wild on the touchline, Cliffe was always composed even if the game was not going according to plan, he would always have something up his sleeve," Openda said.

Kenya Police coach Kenneth Kaunda, whose team are Butali's greatest rivals, said he will miss their run-ins on the touchline.

“He was a gentleman and very passionate in his coaching and this rubbed in on the players. We at times did not agree on decisions on the pitch but in the end we would still be friends and even catch up over drinks," Kaunda said.

Butali Warriors coach Cliffe Okello reacts on the touchline during their match against Park Road. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO

Hockey players also expressed their grief at Okello's demise.

Former national team captain Zack Aura, who played under Okello in Butali, described him as an artistic coach.

"He made us view the game in a different perspective and he would never put any player down. He gave everyone a chance to play, it is still hard to believe he is no more," Aura said.

"I always thought he should have been appointed national team coach but I guess it was never meant to be," Kenya Police player Richard Birir said.

Butali Sugar Warriors coach Cliffe Okello gestures during a past match. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Butali team manager Kamal Sembi said Okello is likely to be buried in his Nyakach home, Kisumu County next weekend. His body was due to be flown to Kisumu on Wednesday.

He won five league titles as a player with Kisumu Simba and also featured for the national team in the 1999 Africa Games in South Africa and the 2007 Olympic qualifiers.

Okello, 42, led Butali to back to back league titles in 2014 and 2015.

Daily Nation

Tributes flow in for fallen Butali coach

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Tributes continue to flow in following the demise of Butali Sugar Warriors hockey Coach Cliffe Okello on Tuesday afternoon at his brother’s house in Nairobi.

Okello had a successful career of close to 25 years with the club formerly known as Kisumu Simba.

After joining Kisumu-based side in 1992, the defensive midfielder played for the club as well as the national team before being promoted to coach in 2012. After two seasons at the radar of the Club which rebranded to Butali Sugar Warriors, he finally led the side to two back-to-back premier league titles in 2014 and 2015.

In what would be his last assignment with the club, he led Butali to second place in last season’s Kenya Hockey Union Men’s Premier League. Butali lost 3-0 to Strathmore University in the finals match decided in penalty shootouts.

National men’s team coach Meshack Senge, who stood in for Okello, during the continental championships said: “We played together with him at both club and national team and I can tell you he was passionate about the game.

A jovial guy, easy to chat with and also very humorous, he was always my roommate during national team residential trainings and I will miss him so much,” Senge said.

The Standard Online

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