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News for 14 July 2017

All the news for Friday 15 July 2017

Super South Africa fall just short against Germany on Day 6 in Johannesburg

South Africa produced a valiant display against Germany but ended up defeated on Day 6. Copyright: FIH / Getty Images

Johannesburg, South Africa: Following a pulsating day of action at the University of the Witwatersrand, six of the eight teams that will compete in the men’s quarter-finals at the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg have been revealed.

In Pool B, Ireland and Germany were winners of the first and last matches of the day, with Ireland fighting back from a goal down to beat Egypt and Germany just edging past home favourites South Africa in a breathtaking evening match under the floodlights. The results mean that Belgium, Ireland and Germany are all assured of a place in the competition quarter-finals, with Egypt and South Africa both still in contention for the one remaining place.

Ireland’s Green Machine found themselves going into half time trailing 1-0 against opponents Egypt in the first match of the day, with Ahmed Elnaggar’s wonderfully taken open play effort proving to be the difference at the break. However, Ireland hit back straight after half time through Chris Cargo before Shane O’Donoghue - who had an earlier strike correctly ruled out by the video umpire due to the ball hitting the back of his stick - scored a sublime penalty corner drag-flick into the roof of the net with two minutes remaining to give Ireland all three points.

While the win booked a quarter-final ticket for the Irish, the all-important finishing position in the pool ahead of the knock-out phase has not been settled. As for the much-improved Egyptians, they remain at the bottom of the table with their survival in the competition hanging in the balance.

“We didn’t have a very good fourth quarter but we played well today and are getting better each game”, said Egypt captain Ahmed Ezz after the game. “We are targeting fourth place in the pool to get to the quarter-finals, and I think if we play like this then we can beat South Africa in our next match.”

Egypt will go into their meeting with South Africa knowing that only a win will be good enough to keep alive any chances of a place in the last eight. The home favourites were in action against Olympic bronze medallists Germany in the final match of the day, with another big crowd watching the team produce a valiant performance but one that ultimately ended in a narrow defeat.

South Africa were excellent in the first period, having the better chances by far but being unable to get the breakthrough before eventually conceding just ahead of half-time when Moritz Trompertz chipped in from a tight angle. Strikes from Niklas Wellen and Germany captain Mats Grambusch moved the score to 3-0 early in the third period before Austin Smith - playing his 150th game for South Africa - pulled one back with a fine penalty corner effort. Timm Herzbruch re-established the three goal cushion ahead of the an action-packed final quarter in which Smith scored a second before setting up a third for the diving Jonty Robinson. It set up a dramatic, utterly absorbing final few minutes, but Germany clung on to take a 4-3 victory.

South Africa defender Rhett Halkett said: “We are disappointed to lose but it was much better performance from the team throughout the 60 minutes. Physically we showed we could stick with them right to the end so yes, disappointed not to get a point but it was a great game and a phenomenal atmosphere out there.”

The South Africa versus Germany match was a significant one for umpire Haider Rasool from Pakistan, who received his Golden Whistle on the occasion of umpiring his 100th senior international match.

In Pool A, France cruised to a 4-1 win over Japan to confirm their place in the competition quarter-finals, with Australia doing the same by defeating Spain 2-0 to move top of the table. Australia, France and New Zealand are all now guaranteed places in the quarter-finals, while Spain look favourites to be the fourth qualifier ahead of a Japanese side that have just one pool match - against Australia’s Kookaburras - remaining. 

France were excellent against the Samurais, continuing with the fast-paced counter-attacking style that served them so well in their draw with New Zealand and narrow defeat at the hands of reigning world champions Australia. Open play goals from Etienne Tynevez and Gaspard Baumgarten opened up a 2-0 lead for France, before Japan’s Hirotaka Wakuri reduced the deficit ahead of half time. France killed the game thanks to goals in the third and fourth quarter, with Francois Goyet’s superb penalty corner deflection proving unstoppable ahead of a poacher’s goal from Blaise Rogeau that completed the 4-1 score-line, ensuring that the 100th senior international appearance of Jean-Baptiste Forgues ended in triumph.

“We have reached the quarter-finals, the job is done but we have to keep pushing more and more in this competition”, said France captain Victor Lockwood, before looking ahead to his team’s final pool match against Spain, a team coached by former France international Frederic Soyez, on Saturday. “They are a very good team with a great style and very skilful players. We know the coach, he’s a friend, so we are looking forward to it.”

Spain were in action against reigning world champions Australia in the third match of the day, and there was very little to choose between the two sides throughout. Despite both teams being renowned for their flair, speed and counter-attacking, it was the defences that really excelled in this contest. The deadlock was finally broken seven minutes from the end thanks to Dylan Wotherspoon’s brilliant close-range deflection, with Trent Mitton putting the result beyond doubt in the final minute with a second for the Kookaburras.

“It was really good progress for us from game one to game two”, said Australia Head Coach Colin Batch. “We knew we were below our level in our first match so to step up in game two against a really good Spanish team was great progress in showing what we’re capable of. I think the next game is about momentum and we have to believe we can keep improving, so the match against New Zealand (on Saturday) will be another step up. We need to become consistently good performers, and that’s what we have to do against New Zealand.”

On Friday 14th July, the day will feature four crucially important matches in the women’s competition. Poland need to defeat Japan in their Pool A meeting at 1200 South African Standard Time (UTC +2) if they are to have any chance of reaching the quarter-finals, with Pool B rivals Chile and South Africa both desperate for the points in their showdown at 1400. Pan American giants USA and Argentina take to the field at 1600, with the winner taking a big step towards topping Pool B before England aim to recover from their Pool A defeat against Japan when they play unbeaten Germany at 1800.

FIH site

Two goals for Smith in 150th game

South Africa’s Austin Smith scored two goals to celebrate his 150th game for his country.

Despite Smith’s goals South Africa lost 3-4 against Germany in the FIH World Hockey League Semi-Finals.

The home team had a great start to the match by dominating the first chukka with various shots at goal and two penalty corners. It was pretty much the same storyline in the second chukka with South Africa getting multiple penalty corners and shots at goal, but the score-line showed 1-0 to Germany when the halftime hooter sounded. Moritz Trompertz scored with three minutes left after the visiting team did most of the defending for the first 30 minutes of the match.

It was heart breaking for the home team when the Germany’s Niklas Wellen and Matts Grambusch scored mere minutes after the start of the third chukka.

With their fifth penalty corner the South African finally got on the scoreboard in not only the match but also the tournament. Smith hit the back of the goal-box in the 37th minute to finally give the home crowd something to cheer about and celebrate his 150th game for his country.

Smith followed it up with another penalty corner goal and then six minutes later the former captain set up Jonty Ronbinson for SA’s third goal. With four minutes left the score was 3-4 after being 1-4 behind at one stage.

With the crowd already on their feet South Africa got a penalty corner with 55 seconds let, but Germany’s goalkeeper Mark Appel gave his all to save the shot from Smith. “We had a fantastic crowd and what a great honour to have played my 150th game in this environment. I am gutted and disappointed though that we could not pull it through after fighting back so well. I am grateful for the 150 times I could have played for my country. It was difficult to be down, but respect to the team to keep their heads up and keep fighting,” said Smith.

Jethro Eustice added: “It was great when the crowd got involved in the final 10 minutes. And we almost pulled a sneaky equaliser at the end. After the Ireland match we spoke about keeping up the energy despite the score-line and we managed to do that today.”

South Africa is ranked 15th on the world rankings. Germany is 3rd and also won bronze at the Rio Games last year.

Tim Drummond and his men will be in action on Saturday again this time coming up against Egypt at 16:00. The SA women’s next match is on Friday against Chile at 14:00.

All matches in the Hockey World League Semi-Final are played at the Wits Hockey Astro in Johannesburg. Twenty of the world’s best men and women’s national teams will take part in these Hockey World Cup 2018 qualifiers from 8 - 23 July.

Tickets for the event can be purchased online at http://hockeyworldleague.nutickets.co.za/HWL

SA Hockey Association media release

SA men shine in Germany thriller

by Karien Jonckheere

Tim Drummond © Gallo Images

The South African men’s hockey team were left to rue sevenral missed early chances as they came agonisingly close to drawing with four-time Olympic champions Germany in their Hockey World League match in Johannesburg tonight.

A poor third quarter was what cost the South African side, who were only 1-0 down at halftime but had stumbled to 4-1 by the end of that period.

“I’m not sure – we need to go back and look at the video and see if we are maybe a bit mentally fatigued in that third quarter and address that with the squad,” said SA captain Tim Drummond afterwards.

“There were a few tactical things discussed after that third quarter. We had a game plan and we weren’t sticking to it in the third. So we came out firing because the guys know we don’t get many chances to represent our country and we showed that towards the end there.”

That they did. It was a different team that emerged for the final quarter. Austin Smith, celebrating his 150th cap, had scored the first of SA’s goals and added a second off another magnificently taken penalty corner to get the home team back in the match.

And when SA’s Jonty Robinson slotted in a deflection off another penalty corner six minutes later for 4-3, there was all to play for.

With three and a half minutes to go, the South Africans decided to throw everything out there on attack and Rhett Halkett took on the role of kicking back in place of a keeper as they pushed for the equaliser.

When Germany had a player sent off in the 59th minute, the pressure really mounted on the Rio bronze medallists. One final penalty corner with 55 seconds left gave SA the chance they had been pushing for, but this time the German keeper managed to get a hand to it and kept the ball out to save his team’s blushes.

“We finished off the game so well. We’ve trained with a kicking back maybe once so I think it worked really well for us and credit to the players for following the tactic,” said SA coach Fabian Gregory. “I was just a bit disappointed with the execution in the attacking D in that fourth chukka because I thought in the last five minutes we were good for another goal.

“I’m proud of the team though because in the past when they’ve got to three and four down, the opposition would run away from us, especially if we were playing a team in the top six in the world. But the mentality and character in the group has changed and a lot has to do with the experienced players that have come back,” he added, singling out Smith as a massively positive influence on the team.

“Overall I think the boys can be disappointed with not getting a result – and a draw would have been a result for us.”

In other matches today, Egypt stunned Ireland by taking a 1-0 lead late in the first half of their match, thanks to a goal from Ahmed Elnaggar. But the Irish came back with Chris Cargo equalising in the 31st minute. Then it wasn’t until two minutes before the final hooter that Ireland secured the victory, when Shane O’Donoghue scored off a penalty corner for the 2-1 win.

Meanwhile, France had no trouble in overcoming Japan 4-1 and Australia defeated Spain 2-0.

Hockey action continues at the Wits Astro in Johannesburg on Friday with the SA women hoping for their first win of the tournament when they take on Chile at 2pm. The SA men's next match is an all-important one against Egypt at 4pm on Saturday. They'll need to win that to keep alive their hopes of reaching the quarterfinal stage.


Wasteful start denies SA hockey men a historic win

Ken Borland

The energetic Jonty Robinson scored South Africa's third goal. Photo: Jan Kruger/Getty Images for FIH.

South Africa’s losing record against Germany stretches to 12 matches but this latest reverse was hardly something despair about.

South Africa’s men’s side did not show any inclination to back down against the powerhouse Germany team and were left to lament what could have been as they went down 4-3 to the number three ranked side in a thrilling Hockey World League Semifinals match at the Wits Astro on Thursday night.

South Africa have lost all of their 11 previous meetings with Germany but they came out and dominated the first quarter without making any impact on the scoreboard.

They had a couple of short-corners and Ryan Julius was presented an opportunity from close range, and if any of those chances had been taken, it may well have led to an historic result for the home side.

Germany then made them pay for their wastefulness as they took the lead in the 28th minute through Moritz Trompertz.

South Africa had a tough time in the opening minutes of the third quarter as Germany really turned the screw, adding two more goals in the first four minutes to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

Austin Smith then showed that he should be South Africa’s chief drag-flicker at penalty corners as he fired an absolute rocket into the top-left corner after Nqobile Ntuli’s narrow miss.

Even though South Africa almost immediately conceded a soft goal to Timm Herzbruch (4-1), the match still came down to a thrilling conclusion as the home side refused to back down.

German goalkeeper Mark Appel could not keep out another Smith short-corner flick in the 50th minute, the former captain, celebrating his 150th cap, this time going low left.

South Africa, and a supportive crowd, truly began to believe they could make history when Jonty Robinson slid in for a brilliant deflection goal at a short-corner.

A final-minute short-corner earned by Matthew Guise-Brown provided the opportunity for a Smith hat-trick and a fairytale comeback, but it was not to be as this time Appel was able to save the flick.

While coach Fabian Gregory was quick to say how proud he was of his team, he added that South Africa had only themselves to blame for not sealing an historic win.

“I’m really proud of the guys because we have not run Germany close at a major event in forever and previously, when we were three or four down, the opposition would quickly get away. But we had some super chances out there and we only had one poor chukka, but that cost us. Just after halftime, I thought the guys would be switched on, but they were a bit too exuberant in chasing the game.

“We had so many opportunities, some really good chances at short-corners, and if Ryan Julius had taken that chance early on to put us one-up, it would have been a different game. We finished so well, but I was just disappointed by the attacking execution, we were good for another goal,” Gregory said.

The Citizen

Kookaburras win 2 - 0 over Spain at World League Semi-Finals

Wotherspoon & Mitton score

Holly MacNeil

Australia took on Spain tonight in their second game at the World League Semi-Finals in Johannesburg, South Africa. After a tight first three quarters, Australia came back to score two field goals in the final quarter to secure a 2 – nil victory over Spain.

It was an evenly matched first half of the game however both sides failed to score. Australia were almost on for the first penalty corner minutes before the half way break, however a video referral from Spain saw the decision reversed and going into half time it was a nil - all deadlock.

Thirty-six minutes into play and Australia were up for the first penalty corner of the game after a rough tackle from Spain on Tom Craig. Daniel Beale injected, but the shot taken on goal by Matt Dawson was deflected by the Spanish defence leaving the score in deadlock.

With just over seven minutes to go in the game the Kookaburras finally broke the level score with a field goal from Dylan Wotherspoon who collected a pass from Jeremy Hayward before flicking it straight into the left of goal.

Spain had their chance to break even with their first penalty corner opportunity with just over five minutes remaining, but an error on their set play landed the ball back with Australia and they lost their chance.

With less than a minute to go in the game Australia sealed their victory with a field goal from Trent Mitton at the left of the net sailing in to give the Kookaburras a 2 – nil win over Spain.

Post-match, Kookaburras head coach Colin Batch said: “It was really good progress for us from game one to game two. We knew we were below our level in our first match so to step up in game two against a really good Spanish team was great progress in showing what we’re capable of.

“I think the next game is about momentum and we have to believe we can keep improving, so the match against New Zealand will be another step up. We need to become consistently good performers, and that’s what we have to do against New Zealand.”

The Kookaburras next play New Zealand on Saturday 15 July at 8pm AWST / 10pm AEST. Tune into the game on Fox Sports Australia on Sunday 16 July at 7am AWST / 9am AEST.

Kookaburras Match Schedule
Saturday, 15 July: AUS v NZL 8pm AWST / 10pm AEST
Monday, 17 July: AUS v JPN 6pm AWST / 8pm AEST
Wednesday, 19 July: Quarter Finals TBC

Dylan Wotherspoon 53 (FG)
Trent Mitton 60 (FG)

SPAIN 0 (0)
Kookaburras squad v Spain
Athlete (Hometown/State)
Kiran Arunasalam (Doncaster East, VIC) 6/1
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT) 129/0
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW) 35/13
Matt Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW) 73/10
Mark Knowles (Rockhampton, QLD) 297/26
Trent Mitton (Perth, WA) 113/50
Matt Swann (Mackay, QLD) 153/6
Jake Whetton (Brisbane, QLD) 125/49
Tristan White (Wollongong, NSW) 87/6
Dylan Wotherspoon (Murwillumbah, NSW) *plays for QLD 37/9
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA) 108/15

Used Substitutes
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD) 98/16
Jeremy Edwards (Hobart, TAS) 19/1
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT) 80/26
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC) 20/6
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA) 86/0
Josh Pollard (Melbourne, VIC) 20/2
Tom Wickham (Morgan, SA) *plays for WA 13/2

Hockey Australia media release

O’Donoghue strikes late to see Green Machine through to HWL quarter-finals

Ireland celebrate Shane O’Donoghue’s winning goal. Pic: FIH/Getty

Ireland’s men emulated their female counterparts by reaching the quarter-final of the Hockey World League Semi-Final in Johannesburg thanks to a 2-1 win over Egypt.

They left it late against the world number 19 side with Shane O’Donoghue eventually getting the winner with two minutes left on the clock.

Indeed, the green machine trailed at the break to Ahmed El-Naggar’s goal late in the half but Chris Cargo quickly equalised after half-time before O’Donoghue fired home a high drag-flick from the fifth penalty corner to seal the deal.

“It was a tough match in a must-win game with what was at stake,” coach Craig Fulton said after the tie. “I am glad we have started well in the tournament and very proud of the players, especially Jamie Carr who played well in David Harte’s absence.”

Fulton was referring to Carr making his first appearance in a major ranking tournament, stepping into goal in place of the two-time world goalkeeper of the year who sustained a concussion in the game against Belgium earlier this week.

Jonny McKee wins a penalty corner under a physical tackle. Pic: FIH/Getty

Harte will be monitored in the three rest days before Ireland face Germany under the return to play protocols.

Ireland started well against Egypt, winning two penalty corners in the first quarter but could not convert while Alan Sothern went close from play. It was a game with few chances, however, with the African side employing a very deep line which made space hard to come by.

They countered at pace when they broke out and they scored their one chance of note in the 25th minute when Ahmed Mohsen robbed the ball in the right corner and found Ahmed El-Naggar. He lifted a lovely shot over the advancing Carr for 1-0.

Ireland, though, were intent to stick to their processes and be patient, waiting for the openings. And they got level when Chris Cargo quickly took on a long corner with an auto-pass, beating a defender and slamming past Ahmed Adel a minute into the second half.

Egypt had some fleeting moments on the attack, drawing two good stops from Carr, but Ireland soon had more control on the tie. A fourth Irish corner was blocked while an Alan Sothern half-chances bounced wide.

O’Donoghue looked to have equalised with three minutes to go when his reverse-stick shot looped into the goal but, on video review, the effort was cancelled out.

No matter; one minute later, he was given another penalty corner chance and this time he powered into the top right corner for his second goal of the tournament.

“It was tricky and things didn’t go as we would have liked,” O’Donoghue said afterwards. “The big thing was we kept our composure when it counted. The basics weren’t there and there were lots of simple errors but it is great to fight back and be able to get the win.

“Our defence was superb today right the way up from our goalkeeper. We know it was far from our best [up the field]. The second half, we came out nice and calm, trying to build more phases and genuine chances to score.”

As for the disallowed goal, O’Donoghue had no issues with the decision: “I knew straight away it was back-stick! It’s the way things go; the game was quite tense toward the end and you want to get that shot away nice and quick. But we got that win and are on to the next game.”

Shane O’Donoghue controls a high ball. Pic: FIH/Getty

The result means Ireland are guaranteed a place in the top four in the group with Monday’s game against Germany to determine who they meet in next Wednesday’s key quarter-finals.

Ireland’s women are next in action of the two teams when they complete their group stages on Sunday against England.

Hockey World League Semi-Final
Ireland 2 (C Cargo, S O’Donoghue)
Egypt 1 (A El-Naggar)

Ireland: J Carr, J Jackson, J Bell, C Cargo, M Nelson, A Sothern, E Magee, S O’Donoghue, C Harte, S Loughrey, S Cole
Subs: M Bell, N Glassey, S Murray, J McKee, P Gleghorne, J Duncan

Egypt: A Adel, A Ezz, M Mansour, K Atef, A Gamal, A Sayed, A Said, A Elnagger, A Elganaini, M Zaki, H Ghobran
Subs: A Ibrahim, M Ragab, M Mamdouh, A Mohsen, M Nasr, M Gadelkarim, W Noureldin

The Hook

Ireland and France advance in HWL in Johannesburg

©: World Sport Pics

Ireland and France earned their places in the quarter-finals of the Hockey World League Semi-Finals courtesy of their wins over Egypt and Japan, respectively.

The Irish left it late but eventually beat Egypt 2-1, coming from a goal down courtesy of second half goals from Chris Cargo and Shane O’Donoghue two minutes from the end.

It added to an earlier win over Sout Africa and ensures they will go into next Wednesday’s quarter-finals.

“It was tricky and things didn’t go as we would have liked,” O’Donoghue said afterwards. “The big thing was we kept our composure when it counted. The basics weren’t there and there were lots of simple errors but it is great to fight back and be able to get the win.

“Our defence was superb today right the way up from our goalkeeper. We know it was far from our best [up the field]. The second half, we came out nice and calm, trying to build more phases and genuine chances to score.”

For the former Dragons’ man, O’Donoghue had put the ball in the goal a minute earlier only to see his effort disallowed for a back-stick. He admitted he knew as soon as the decision went to video that it would not stand.

“I knew straight away it was back-stick! It’s the way things go; the game was quite tense toward the end and you want to get that shot away nice and quick. But we got that win and are on to the next game.”

The result also had the upshot of formally sending Belgium through to the quarter-finals following their big wins over Egypt and Ireland.

In the other group, France beat Japan 4-1 with goals from Etienne Tynevez, Gaspard Baumgarten, Francois Goyet and Blaise Rogeau.

Racing Club de France’s Simon Martin-Brisac was delighted with the result: “We are very happy; we wanted to get that win after two good games against New Zealand and Australia.

“Now we have four points and have Spain next who we will go all out to win to help our tournament. We are enjoying playing some good hockey.”

Australia beat Spain 2-0 to go through to the quarters, too, while New Zealand advance as a result of the day’s action. Spain need to get a point against either France or New Zealand to rubber-stamp their place in the knock-out stages.

Euro Hockey League media release

Haider Rasool First Pakistani Umpire to Receive Golden Whistle

Before the start of the Hockey World League semifinal round match between Germany and South Africa on Thursday, umpire Haider Rasool received the Golden Whistle from the FIH. The golden whistle is awarded to umpires on completing 100 senior international matches. Haider Rasool is the first Pakistani to complete the century.

A former goal keeper, who attended quite a few national camps including the one for the World Cup 1998, Haider started to blow whistle on domestic circuit in 2002. Next year, he attended an umpiring seminar conducted by the Asian Hockey Federation in the Malaysian city of Ipoh

Umpired first tournament outside Pakistan: 2nd edition of the Indian Premier League, in 2004
Declared “International Umpire” in 2005 by the FIH
First Junior International Tournament (6-Nation in Malaysia) in 2005
First Senior International Tournament (MIA International Challenge, Singapore) in August 2005.

It has been a story of the rise and rise since then.     
After umpiring quite a few regional qualifiers and invitational tournaments, where he got good reports by the tournaments’ Umpire Managers, Haider was promoted to the ‘Promising Umpires’ list of the FIH in Feb, 2008.

This enabled him to stand, among others, in continental tournaments like the Pan Am Championships (2008) and the Asian Games (2010) as well as other high profile events such as the Junior World Cup (2009) and the Commonwealth Games (2010).

Again, his consistently high quality performance got him excellent evaluations, and Haider Rasool became a ‘Grade 1’ international umpire in Dec, 2010.  This up gradation enabled him to stand in the Champions Trophy’s editions.

Next step up was the ‘World Development Panel’ in 2013, a notch below the World Panel (the top most tier).

He was among the reserves for the Olympics in 2012 and 2016.

Haider is very hopeful to blow whistle in the 2018 World Cup and also to be promoted to the World Panel- soon.

PHF Media release

Haider Rasool becomes first Pakistani to umpire 100 int'l hockey matches

International hockey umpire Haider Rasool

LAHORE: Hockey umpire Haider Rasool has become the first Pakistani to officiate in 100 international matches, making the country proud at a time when its national sport faces one of its lowest ebbs in the global arena.

Haider Rasool reached the milestone of officiating in 100 senior international matches while umpiring in Hockey World League in Johannesburg, South Africa.

He was awarded the ‘Golden Whistle’ by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) during the match between Germany and South Africa to mark the achievement.

Haider Rasool pictured during his milestone match

Haider, who also played hockey before taking up umpiring, has officiated in Commonwealth Games, Champions Trophy, Asian Games, Junior Hockey World Cup, Asian Champions Trophy, World Hockey League, Asia Cup, Pan American Cup and Rabobank Cup, among other high-profile tournaments.

Prior to umpiring, he played for Lahore and the Allied Bank as a goalkeeper, and was good enough to be called for the national camps several times from 1995-2000, including those for the World Cup (1998) and four editions of the Champions Trophy.

Haider Rasool umpiring in his 100th international match

His first international umpiring assignment came along at the 2nd edition of the Indian Premier League in 2004.

In 2005, Haider was declared “International Umpire” by the FIH, and after umpiring at several regional qualifiers and invitational tournaments, he was promoted to the ‘Promising Umpires’ list of the FIH in February 2008.

Haider became a ‘Grade 1’ international umpire in December 2010. In October 2013, he was honoured yet again by being included in the ‘World Development Panel’.

Geo TV

Hockey amateurs stick to their guns

Andy Capostagno

Johannesburg is hosting the Hockey World League semifinals, where South African players such as Celia Evans is showing her mettle despite having to hold down full-time jobs in the absence of official support. (Alyssa Rivas)

The biggest hockey tournament ever to visit this country is happening this week and next at the Wits Astro in Johannesburg. South Africa’s men’s and women’s squads are in action and crowds have been plentiful in their support.

The men lost 2-0 to Ireland on Sunday night, and the women began the previous day with a 0-0 result against India. On Wednesday, the women came face to face with Argentina and to put that into perspective, it was almost like Bafana Bafana running out against Lionel Messi and company.

Appropriately, then, there was a “Shabba” moment two minutes before half time, when Bernie Coston latched on to a pass from Candice Manuel to give the home side an unlikely lead.

Coston is a professional chiropractor at Milpark Mediclinic and a part-time hockey player who has had to take time off work to play in the World League semifinals. “I’m lucky that I have a very supportive boss,” she says, “who allows me time off work. There’s a lot of stress because my income basically depends on the amount of people I see.”

It is a fact of life for elite players in this country that they have to pay to represent the national side. South Africa’s reserve goalkeeper for the men’s side, Gowan Jones, could not persuade his employer of the import of this tournament and so is absent this week.

It is rather different for teams such as Argentina, Germany, Belgium and England, who enjoy state support and derive a healthy living from playing the game they love. Coston says that the team had a discussion in January about the difficulty of being amateurs in a professional world.

She said: “We did a bit of soul-searching and we decided to take on the year. We didn’t go to the Rio Olympics, so we had more time to prepare. We said: ‘Let’s take off the labels. We don’t care if we’re 13th in the world and you’re number one; it’s about what happens on the pitch.’ And I think we did show that tonight.”

Under the gun for the first quarter, the South Africans slowly settled and were good value for their half-time lead. The match changed in the 41st minute when Argentina converted a penalty stroke, which was driven home by set-piece specialist Noel Barrionuevo.

In the final quarter, the visibly tiring home side conceded two field goals to lose 3-1. But they showed enough to suggest they should make it through to next week’s quarterfinals, and in the knockout stages anything is possible. The men have a tougher ask and will probably have to beat African rivals Egypt to progress.

The Mail & Guardian

Canadian Men’s National Team confidently returns to training at home ahead of Pan Am Cup

Kori Sidaway

On the heels of a huge World League 2 tournament in London, England which culminated in the Men’s National Team beating India for a qualifying spot in the 2018 World Cup, the team finally has their homecoming. And it feels good.

The Canadian men were back at their Vancouver office on Monday, sparking a series of at-home training weeks to prepare for the upcoming Pan American Cup.

Coming off their big wins in London – the team also picked up a substantial 6-0 win against Pakistan – the team goes into training sitting in a unique position.

In contrast to years passed when the men headed into the Pan American Cup with nothing in their back pocket, this year the team moves towards the Pan American Cup with qualification already assured. So, this homecoming feels a little different.

“It’s fantastic for our group that we can move forward to the next year and a half with a lot of confidence,” team captain Scott Tupper says. “And know that we’ve punched our ticket, but also did it at our first opportunity.”

For the team, training intensity and practice level hasn’t changed, but some of the edge is taken off.

For Tupper personally, he’s enjoying being back at home after spending the majority of the last six months playing club hockey in the Netherlands.

“It’s great, I always enjoy training in Vancouver especially in the summertime,” Tupper adds. “After being away for a few months and being out of from the daily environment it’s always fun and refreshing to come back and join the boys.”

Heading into the Pan Am Cup, the team has proved they can punch above their weight – successfully taking on teams who rank higher than them in the world standings. With this confidence in mind, and qualification already cemented, Tupper and team now focus on winning and only winning.

“Four years ago we had the burden of having qualifying for the World Cup. Now…we can go out and just play, and purely play for gold rather than having that extra attachment. The guys can play a bit freer and really have a run.”

Catch Canada’s Men play for top spot on the podium at the 2017 Pan American Cup when they open against Trinidad & Tobago on August 4th at 9am PT/12pm ET.

Field Hockey Canada media release

Kwan Browne for Pan Am Cup

Returning to add expertise: Kwandwane Browne

Veteran hockey player Kwandwane Browne is back with the Trinidad and Tobago men's hockey team as they prepare for the Pan Am Cup which will be held in Lancaster, USA from August 4-13.

The national team is in the midst of a two-week training camp, which began on July 6 and runs until July 20, which will focus on strategic set plays as coach Glen “Fido” Francis puts the finishing touches for the all-important World Cup qualifier.

Browne joins the camp straight from the recently-concluded World League Round Three, where he served as an assistant coach for England who placed third to secure a spot in the World League Finals later this year.

Trinidad & Tobago Express

Heads may roll as PHF chief Khokhar unhappy over team show

LAHORE: The Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) president Brig. (retd.) Sajjad Khokhar is not happy over the performance of the Pakistan team in the recently concluded World Hockey League and he has started to contact several former Olympians to bring new head coach and other officials in the team management.

Though Pakistan has qualified for the next year’s World Cup despite attaining a poor seventh place among the ten participating teams in the WHL held in London and coach Khawaja Junaid has preferred to blow his trumpet over it, sources say PHF president does not consider it a respectful manner for the team to enter the World Cup as the performance of Pakistan was clearly below par in WHL.

Pakistan conceded as many as 28 goals in the WHL but managed to score just nine. The Greenshirts faced defeats by heavy margins against India twice, Holland, Argentina and even the lowly-ranked Canada. Their only two victories came against minnows Scotland and China.

The PHF president, sources says, is also unhappy over coach Junaid’s statement in which he said the main target ahead of him was to qualify for the World Cup which has been achieved.

The new appointments are likely to be finalised in a week’s time as several former Olympians, who are under consideration for induction in the team management, are currently out of Pakistan. There are reports that Manzoor Junior is most likely to get the post of head coach and manager. The PHF Congress meeting is also likely to be held on July 24 to get the approval of the new officials of the team management.


Welcome Nicaragua to International Competition

Central American Hockey 5’s Championship starts on Friday

Ma. Josefina Chávez Díaz

Central American Hockey 5's Championsip - Managua - Prevoius Ceremony

This morning in Luis Alfonso Velásquez’s Park, the Nicaraguan Hockey Federation, presented the National Pavilion to Men’s and Women’s National Hockey Team who tomorrow will make their first performance and host the Central American Hockey 5’s Championship.

The Luis Alfonso Velásquez Sports Park will be the headquarters for the Central American Hockey  5’s Championship .

For this tournament, in which Nicaragua will make its official debut in international competition with its  the National Team, they presented the national pavilion.

Both National Teams, Men’s & Women’s, received the National Flag from Alejandro Romero and Emerson Velásquez, President and Vice President of the Nicaraguan Hockey Federation.

Laura Macchiotti, Coordinator of Events and Development of the Pan American Hockey Federation, welcomed them to the international competition and handed over the PAHF flag as new members of the Pan American Hockey family.

"I feel very happy and proud to deliver this flag because I know the collective effort you made to be here today. You should also be proud because your names are part of Nicaragua's first national team. You are making history. Welcome, "Laura Macchiotti told the players.

Men’s National Team began training last November, while Women’s National Team began in February of 2017.

"We are very excited and anxious to start playing. We are going fight and show all of what we learned, " said Ismael Flores, team captain.

"All of the hard work that we are doing, has to be worth it . We really did a big effort to make this National Team happen. We are going to show all of we had learned, "  said Jessica Morales, Women’s captain.

The official competition starts tomorrow at the Luis Alfonso Velásquez Sports Park, Managua.

From the 14th to the 17th, Guatemala, Honduras, Costa Rica and Nicaragua will play 4 games of 3 stages of 12 minutes each, to start this 1st Central American Hockey 5 Championship .

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

Alicia Takeda and Soledad Iparraguirre train Judges and Umpires

Ma. Josefina Chávez Díaz

Judges and umpires' training course in Managua   

The Tournament Director and Umpires Manager, Alicia Takeda and Soledad Iparraguirre gave training courses prior to the tournament.

Since tomorrow Central American Hockey 5 Championship will be taking place in Managua.

For this event, the Pan American Hockey Federation trained judges, umpires and designated officials.

During the whole day, everyone shared this amazing training session in Ticuantempe Development Center, a few kilometers away from Managua.

Soledad Iparraguirre worked with the nine designated umpires, who updated them with Hockey 5 regulations.

Diana Fuentes, Reinier Diaz, Diana Borrayo, Luis Cardona, Nisma Chavarria, Ricardo Escorcia, Johana Lagos, Joselita Picado Trejos and Andrey Umaña Solano, attended.

Dauly Noreiga Balbuena, Julio Solano Badilla, Oscar Jiménez, Edna Lizet Núñez Rubio, Yaremmy Polanco and Luis Martin Romero, participated In the officials training - Protocol and management PAHF Technical System - by Alicia Takeda, Tournament Director,

Pan American Hockey Federation media release

India's domestic hockey set-up in two halves

Tushar Dutt

PUNE: It is kind of comical that in spite of hockey's game reducing to 60 minutes, ye sattar minute (these 70 minutes), a famous dialogue by Shah Rukh Khan from Bollywood movie Chak De! India, is still relevant to most of the domestic players and coaches in the country.

It has been three years since the International Hockey Federation (FIH) moved to the fast lane by introducing four-quarter (15 minutes each) rule to shorten the game by 10 minutes, but the Hockey India is yet to match the pace. Domestic tournaments in India are still following the old rules, and matches in state bodies-conducted tournaments are played in two halves of 35 minutes each.

"The Hockey India is yet to issue a directive on the rules for domestic tournaments. We have changed the format for the nationals, but it is yet to be implemented in other domestic tournaments," Hockey India's technical committee member Claudius de Sales told TOI.

The old format is not only making the players slog for more minutes in the game, but is also depriving them from getting used to the fast game, which is played internationally.

Former India international Ajitesh Roy, who played in the Surendra Anand Memorial league final against Bombay Engineer Group (BEG) on Wednesday, feels the two-half format is not helping players who aspire to represent the country.

"The game has gone so fast internationally. The 15-minute quarter hardly gives any time to the players to settle down. So everybody is on their toes once the game begins. On the other hand, the 35-minute halves are no match. The pace is missing and the aggression is almost lost as the half comes to an end," Roy said.

With no experience of playing the international format, players are losing out on opportunities too.

"Earlier the selections for national teams were done on the basis of players' performances in various tournaments. But now, the Hockey India relies on the core group of players, which comprises 30 players. The players in the core group are used to the fast game, but it becomes very difficult for the local players to break into the group as they are not that fast. So unless the local players also play the faster format, they won't be able to make it big," said BEG coach Sagar Thakur.

It is still unclear if Hockey India will be changing the rules soon, but de Sales said the change is in the pipeline.

"It will be our agenda to discuss the issue whenever the technical committee meets the next. I can't say how long it will take, but this will be changed soon," de Sales said.

The Times of India

Hockeyroo Ashleigh Nelson announces retirement

Finishes on 205 caps

Holly MacNeil

Hockeyroos star forward and proud West Australian Ashleigh Nelson has announced her retirement from the sport. Ashleigh’s decision comes following rehabilitation from a knee injury which ruled her out of contention for last year’s Rio Olympic Games.

First debuting in 2007 Ashleigh, from Wagin in WA, played against Japan in a test series held in Adelaide where the Hockeyroos defeated Japan 1 – 0.

Nelson’s impressive career has seen highlights including Commonwealth Games gold in Glasgow 2014, silver at the 2014 World Cup in the Hague, and competing at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

A stand out moment for Nelson was her 200th game in front of a home crowd at the Perth Hockey Stadium, a game which the Hockeyroos drew 1 – all with Great Britain.

Following a year where she worked tirelessly to rehabilitate her ACL, Nelson came to the decision that after ten years playing international hockey, now was the time to move forward and enjoy and focus on other parts of her life.

Commenting on her retirement, Nelson said: “I would like to thank my family first and foremost. Being an elite athlete requires so much support and my parents and brothers have been there through every hiccup and breakthrough.

“Without their support I would have almost definitely not persisted in initial years of being within the team. My partner Aaron also deserves so much recognition. As athletes we often put ourselves or what we are doing first and miss important occasions. Given this fact it would be easy for all athletes partners to not be supportive of what we do, but he has been there every step of the way which I am so thankful for.

“Finally my team mates. They are what I will miss most about playing hockey. Sport makes you meet and spend time with all kinds of people and I have been very fortunate to become friends with some amazing women who maybe in another life would have never had the chance to cross paths with. There is nothing better than going to work and spending time with people that continue to surprise, inspire and make you laugh day in day out.”

Following a successful career in hockey, Ashleigh would now love to continue to be involved in the sport to some degree – be that commentating, operations or player management.

Ashleigh Nelson Career History
Career Caps: 205
Career Goals: 69
Debut game: 18/7/2007 Test Series v Japan. AUS 1 – 0 JPN
Final game: 10/4/2017 Hawkes Bay Cup. AUS 3 - 1 CHI

Tournament History
Year/Competition/Location/Finishing Position
2015 World League Final Rosario, Argentina 6th
2015 Oceania Cup Stratford, New Zealand 1st
2015 World League Semi-Final Antwerp, Belgium 3rd
2014 Champions Trophy Mendoza, Argentina 2nd
2014 Commonwealth Games Glasgow, Scotland 1st
2014 World Cup The Hague, Netherlands 2nd
2013 World League Finals Tucuman, Argentina 2nd
2013 Oceania Cup       Stratford, New Zealand 1st
2013 World League Semi-Finals London, England 1st
2012 Olympic Games London, Great Britain 5th
2011 Champions Trophy Amstelveen, Netherlands 6th
2011 Oceania Cup Hobart, Australia 2nd
2010 Commonwealth Games Delhi, India 1st
2010 World Cup Rosario, Argentina 5th
2009 Champions Trophy Sydney, Australia 2nd
2009 Oceania Cup Invercargill, New Zealand 2nd

Hockey Australia media release

Hockey Australia partners with Just Hockey

Holly MacNeil

Hockey Australia and Just Hockey have today announced a new partnership which will see Just Hockey as the retail partner of Hockey Australia until December 2020, formalising the long-term relationship between the two.

The partnership will enable Hockey Australia to continue to grow events with a professional fan-focused retail presence at not just international events but also at Australian Championships.

The partnership will also see Just Hockey retail Hockey Australia official replica and leisurewear range, which is produced by ONTHEGO Sports.

Hockey Australia interim chief executive, Ben Hartung said: “Hockey Australia is thrilled to announce Just Hockey as our official retail partner until the end of 2020. Just Hockey have been professionally servicing the needs of the Australian hockey community since 1986 and they have an extensive footprint of retail outlets across the country as well as a thriving online retail portal.

“This retail partnership formalises a long-term relationship that Hockey Australia has had with Just Hockey and we look forward to working with the team at Just Hockey to enhance the partnership over the coming years.”

Just Hockey General Manager, David Shaw commented: “We are excited to team up with Hockey Australia as their 'Official Retail Partner. This partnership will help us further expand our services to the Australian Hockey Community.

“The agreement will result in a major step forward in providing the Australian hockey community with the opportunity to browse the world’s leading hockey brands and securely shop the Hockey Australia replica and lifestyle range at official HA events, Just Hockey shops and online.

“As part of the agreement, Just Hockey will provide prize packs, player trophies, volunteer shirts and other products to benefit the hockey community.
“This collaboration marks a milestone for us when it comes to merchandising potential and Just Hockey looks forward to working with Hockey Australia during the retail agreement.”

Hockey Australia media release

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