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News for 22 August 2017

All the news for Tuesday 22 August 2017

Rabo EuroHockey Championships 2017 Results

Monday 21 August 2017

12:30 Men / Pool A ESP 2 - 2 AUT
14:45 Men / Pool B IRL 7 - 1 POL
17:00 Men / Pool B ENG 3 - 4 GER
20:00 Men / Pool A BEL 5 - 0 NED

Pools and standings

Men pool A
    W     G     V     P
BEL 2     0     0     6
NED 1     0     1     3
AUT 0     1     1     1
ESP 0     1     1     1

Men pool B
    W     G     V     P
IRL 1     1     0     4
GER 1     1     0     4
ENG 1     0     1     3
POL 0     0     2     0

Women pool A
    W     G     V     P
NED 2     0     0     6
BEL 1     0     1     3
ESP 1     0     1     3
CZE 0     0     2     0

Women pool B
    W     G     V     P
GER 2     0     0     6
ENG 1     0     1     3
SCO 0     1     1     1
IRL 0     1     1     1

Rabo EuroHockey Championships 2017 Official site

Green Machine Put 7 Past Poland

Photo credit: World Sports Pics

It didn’t take long for the goals to start raining as Sean Murray blasted the ball straight through Pacanowski in the Polish goal in the 6th minute. Ireland controlled the tempo as you’d expect given the 10 places between the two sides in the world rankings and 4 minutes later Neal Glassey’s shot was defected into the goal off a Polish stick. It was the result of Kirk Shimmins retrieving the ball in his own half and linking up well with Ben Walker to set Glassey up. Murray very nearly doubled his tally as he dinked the ball over his markers stick on the baseline but Pacanowski made a strong stick save. 2 further goals in the space of a minute only acted as further example of the Green Machine’s dominance. Shane O’Donoghue sent one of his trade mark drag flicks high into the net in the 23rd minute before Alan Sothern got the slightest of touches from Matthew Nelson’s initial strike to make it 4-0.

The barrage of goals eased up only slightly in the second half as Ireland were still creating some superb chances. Poland won their first penalty corner within minutes of the half starting but David Harte was more than up to the task as he earned his 200th cap today. Murray won a clever penalty corner which O’Donoghue duly dispatched high into the corner in the 36th minute. But Poland were creating some circle entries of their own and a run along the baseline by Kotulski set Pawlak up for the close range shot to earn his sides first goal of the encounter. Skilful hockey by the men in green saw Sothern, Glassey and Nelson all lining up for shots as they sliced through the defence. Shortly after, Paul Gleghorne rifled an aerial to O’Donoghue in the circle, his ensuing reverse strike on the volley looked goal-bound but Nelson’s last second touch sent it high over the bar. Nelson deservedly got himself on the score sheet in the 54th minute as he was quickest to the rebound from Sothern’s initial strike. The goals were rounded out by Stuart Loughrey as he swept in from close range following great link up between Conor Harte and Ben Walker down the left-hand side.

Speaking after the game head coach Craig Fulton said “Our plan was to get plus 6 and we’re in a good position now. Our game against England essentially becomes a quarter final and regardless of anything else we want to go get the win”.

Photo credit: World Sports Pics

Fulton was also quick to praise Harte’s 200 cap achievement “To see where he’s got to, and his professionalism and drive is indicative of him reaching 200 caps and I hope there’s another 50 in that. It’s a great milestone and hopefully we can do it justice this tournament”.

The Green Machine are next in action on Wednesday (August 23rd) against England at 13:45 (Irish time), with the fixture to be shown live on BT Sport.

Ireland women’s hockey team have their final pool game on Tuesday (August 22nd) at 13:45 (Irish time) against Germany, shown live on BT Sport.

Rabo Eurohockey Championships

Ireland 7 (Murray, Glassey, O’Donoghue x2, Sothern, Nelson, Loughrey)
Poland 1 (Pawlak)

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, M Bell, A Sothern, N Glassey, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, M Robson, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S Loughrey

Subs: J Bell (Captain), M Nelson, S Murray, B Walker, D Walsh, L Cole, M Ingram

Poland: M Raciniewski, M Gumny, D Kotulski, M Poltaszewski, M Janiszewski, M Pacanowski, J Janicki, M Kasprzyk, A Krokosz (Captain), P Bratkowski, M Poltaszewski

Subs: M Popiolkowski, M Hulboj, T Wachowiak, J Kurowski, R Gruszczynski, P Pawlak, S Sellner

Irish Hockey Association media release

English showdown set after demolition of Poland as Harte hits 200 cap mark

Ireland celebrate a first half goal. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/World Sport Pics

Ireland’s men require a draw or better from their final group game against England to reach the European Championships for the second successive time following their 7-1 demolition of Poland.

That date is set for Wednesday at 1.45pm (Irish time) and David Harte – who earned his 200th cap – said he is relishing the prospect.

“There’s certainly all eyes on the England game,” he said. “I don’t think it takes much for an Irish man in any sport or discipline to get up for it!”

The win over the Poles was the biggest ever, out-doing a 6-1 result in 1977, and added to an impressive draw with Germany on Sunday.

Compared to the German tie, there was little drama to it with the result done and dusted long before half-time.

Sean Murray’s piledriver nut-megged Maciej Pacanowski in the sixth minute to start the ball rolling. The second goal provided a glimpse of the immediate future as Kirk Shimmins exchanged passes with St Andrew’s schoolboy Ben Walker down the right, with the former crossing for Neal Glassey to turn home first time.

Shane O’Donoghue’s drag-flick picked out the top corner for 3-0 in the 23rd minute and 60 seconds later Alan Sothern was claiming a delicate touch to Matthew Nelson’s brilliant turn and burn.

O’Donoghue added an identical drag-flick for the fifth Irish goal before Patryk Pawlak got one back from Dominik Kotulski’s cross.

It came during an indifferent phase of the game before Ireland reawoke for the last few minutes, Nelson and Stuart Loughrey boosting their goal difference with a couple of simple finishes.

For goalkeeper David Harte, it was his 200th international cap, but he was solely focused on the task ahead rather than reflection on a spectacular career, twice earning the FIH World Goalkeeper of the Year award.

“It was more important to get the win and get the 7-1 on the board, replicating the six goal difference England did against them,” Harte added.

“It essentially sets up a sort of quarter-final against England on Wednesday to get into the top four in the European Championships.

“We did that for the first time two years ago so getting there again is something we are aspiring to.”
England subsequently lost 4-3 to Germany in a wild encounter, meaning Ireland head the group after two rounds of matches with a draw enough to see them advance.

“The belief in this group is incredibly powerful,” the goalkeeper said of the confidence in the group. We came into the tournament unsure of how it would potentially go but the effort we put in to get that historic draw against Germany and then a powerful 7-1 win. So we are really excited to get going against England.”

John Jackson took up the theme, saying it has been great to return to the panel after post-Rio time away.

“Having missed the first part of the year through work commitments, I knew there was a new squad. I think it’s a credit to some of the older guys who have made it really accommodating and enjoyable place to thrive. Credit to the management and the staff where there’s a few new faces on board.

“Everyone’s in the place where we need to get on and we need to get on quickly. Otherwise, we could have sunk very quickly in a very important year of World Cup qualifiers and these Europeans. It’s either gel or not. The circumstances dictated that we come together. It’s all good signs.”

He paid tribute to his long-time goalkeeper and team mate on his 200th cap.

“The only down-point was that we could not get the clean sheet for him. We can’t sing his praises enough. He is the world’s best goalkeeper and is at the top of his game.

“It’s an absolute treat and while we try and protect him as much as possible, it’s not bad when he gets the odd shot to make a world class save – it’s nice to see that sometimes!

“It’s a credit to him as well to do it on this stage. I don’t think many other places put on a show like here. We’re delighted for him and he will probably not be far off 300!”

Rabo EuroHockey Championships

Ireland 7 (O’Donoghue 2, Glassey, Murray, Sothern, Nelson, Loughrey)
Poland 1 (Pawlak)

Ireland: D Harte, J Jackson, M Bell, A Sothern, N Glassey, K Shimmins, S O’Donoghue, M Robson, P Gleghorne, C Harte, S Loughrey
Subs: J Bell, M Nelson, S Murray, B Walker, D Walsh, L Cole, M Ingram

Poland: M Pacanowski, M Raciniewski, M Gumnym D Kotulski, Ma Poltaszewski, J Janicki, M Kasprzyk, A Krokosz, P Bratkowski, Mi Poltaszewski
Subs: M Hulboj, T Wachowiak, J Kurowski, R Gruszczynski, P Pawlak, S Sellner, M Popiolkowski

Umpires: M Eilmer (AUT), S Michielsen (BEL)

The Hook

England edged out 4-3 by Germany

Phil Roper in action v Germany

England were edged out by Germany in a seven-goal thriller during their EuroHockey Championships pool B clash in Amsterdam.

Germany raced into a two-goal lead before strikes from Mark Gleghorne, Phil Roper and Adam Dixon saw England produce a stunning comeback.

However further goals from Lukas Windfeder and Anton Boeckel pulled Germany through to their 4-3 victory meaning England must now beat Ireland in their final pool match on Wednesday to progress to the semi-finals of the tournament.

Reflecting on the match, head coach Bobby Crutchley said: "We are disappointed with the start we made and ultimately the result. Defensive lapses cost us but we scored some good goals and there was a definite improvement on the previous game."

Germany immediately had England on the back foot and their captain Mats Grambusch sent them into an early lead with a thunderous strike into the top right corner, giving George Pinner no chance.

The remainder of the quarter was more evenly contested but before the first break Germany extended their lead. Niklas Wellen found space at the top of the circle with a turn and his shot squeezed into the bottom left corner past Pinner’s outstretched foot.

England were back in the game within a minute of the restart in a much improved second quarter performance. Ian Sloan won the ball in midfield before releasing Henry Weir down the left, his cut back broke to an unmarked Gleghorne who slapped hard and high into the net.

The game sparked into life in the third quarter as England came roaring back. Firstly Brendan Creed’s early aerial ball travelled the length of the pitch to release Roper, he let the ball bounce into the area before putting past the on rushing German goalkeeper with a first time effort.

Immediately after England were ahead, from a penalty corner Sam Ward fired at the right post where Dixon deflected high into the goal on his 200th international appearance to spark wild celebrations.

A flurry of German penalty corners ended the quarter, the drama was increased when Germany were awarded a penalty stroke which was then overturned after long deliberations from the TV umpire. However from another penalty corner Windfeder levelled for the Germans on the stroke of the final break. 

From the restart Germany pulled ahead through Boeckel as he reacted quickest to a rebound and hammered home on the reverse.

England pressed for an equaliser and in the final minute it looked like they would grab it, but Ward’s reverse stick effort was gloved away by Walter in the German goal to maintain his side’s lead and seal the win.

Unfortunately, Andy Halliday (Team Manager) was unable to travel with the team to the EuroHockey Championships due to a family illness. All the staff and players wish Andy and his family all the very best.

England: George Pinner (GK,C), David Ames, Liam Sanford, Henry Weir, Harry Martin, Mark Gleghorne, Phil Roper, Adam Dixon, Brendan Creed, David Goodfield, David Condon,

Subs (Used): Ollie Willars, Ian Sloan, Michael Hoare, Sam Ward, Barry Middleton, Chris Griffiths

Subs (Unused): Harry Gibson (GK)

England Hockey Board Media release

Indoor hockey team open campaign with handsome wins, but real test awaits

Centre of attention: Malaysia’s Muhammad Najmi Farizal Jazlan (centre) dribbling past the Philippines players during their opening match in the men’s indoor hockey at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MiTEC) yesterday.

THE Malaysian men’s indoor hockey team went in expecting a fight from the Philippines.

Instead, it was a walk in the park as Malaysian thrashed the Philippines 16-0 in the opening match at the Malaysian International Trade and Exhibition Centre (MiTEC) yesterday.

It was the same when they faced Vietnam later in the evening as Malaysia cruised to a 15-0 win.

But national coach Mohd Amin Rahim was not impressed because, for him, it’s the matches against Thailand and Indonesia that matter.

“We were confident of beating the Philippines and Vietnam but our players were still nervous as we’ve never played against them before.

“But once we started scoring, the players became more relaxed and began to play much better,” he said.

Shafiq Yacob was the hero against the Philippines, netting four goals. Skipper Mohd Najib Hassan had a hattrick while Mohd Irwan Nazli and Norshafiq Sumantri chipped in with two goals each.

Mohd Hanip Che Halim, Mohd Najmi Farizal Jazlan, Mohd Ashran Hamsani, Mohd Syed Shafiq Syed Cholan and Mohd Aminol Aideed added one each.

The national women’s team also had an easy time – trouncing the Philippines 19-0.

Qasidah Halimi and Nor Aisyah Yaacob scored four goals each while Eliya Ellias and Nor Aniza Rahmat scored a hattrick each.

Rabiatul Mohamed and Shafiqah Mat Isa netted two each while Noorain Mohamed scored one.

The Star of Malaysia

Asian Hockey Federation announces the ‘Hero Asia Cup 2017’ to be held in Dhaka, Bangladesh

(From left to right): Abdus Sadeque, General Secretary of Bangladesh Hockey Federation; J Narain, Hero MotoCorp; Chief of Air Staff of Bangaldesh Air Force Chief Marshal Abu Esrar, BBP, ndc, acsc, President Bangladesh Hockey Federation; Tayyab Ikram, CEO, Asian Hockey Federation; Abdur Rashid Sikder, Vice-President Bangladesh Hockey Federation are seen at the press conference of the Hero Asia Cup Bangladesh 2017.

Dhaka, Bangladesh: The Asian Hockey Federation (AHF) announced today that Hero MotoCorp Ltd, the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer, as the title sponsor of the Men’s Asia Cup 2017, which will be hosted by the Bangladesh Hockey Federation.

The 10th edition of the quadrennial event will take place at the Maulana Bhashani National Hockey Stadium in Dhaka, returning to Bangladesh for the first time since 1985. The tournament will take place from October 11 to 22, 2017, and will be titled the ‘Hero Asia Cup 2017’.

The New Delhi (India)-headquartered Hero MotoCorp is one of the biggest global supporters for the development of hockey through its long-term association with the International Hockey Federation (FIH) and has a shared vision for the growth of the sport via landmark tournaments like the Hero Asia Cup 2017.

Speaking of this partnership, Mr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Hero MotoCorp, said: “At Hero MotoCorp, we aim to build a culture of sportsmanship and team spirit among the youth across the world through our various global sports associations. We have a successful ongoing association with the FIH, and we are now glad to associate with the Asian Hockey Federation. I am sure our Title Sponsorship of the 10th Men’s Hockey Asia Cup will play the role of an enabler in taking the sport to new audiences. I wish all the participating teams the best of luck and look forward to a magnificent tournament.”

Introduced in 1982, the inaugural Men’s Asia Cup was won by Pakistan who also won the next two editions in 1985 and 1989. Since then, India (2003, 2007) and Korea (1993, 1999, 2009 and 2013) have also been champions in the nine editions played so far.

The tournament will witness stiff competition among the top performing teams from across Asia with big stakes at play, the biggest incentive being a direct ticket for the winning team to the Odisha Hockey Men's World Cup, Bhubaneswar 2018 which is scheduled to take place in India from 28 November to 16 December.

This year, the premier continental tournament will feature host nation Bangladesh along with China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Oman and Pakistan.

India is the top ranked team amongst the competing teams at sixth position in the latest FIH Hero World Rankings, while Korea, the current title holders is ranked 13th in the world. World number 12 Malaysia, riding high on an excellent performance in the recent Hero Hockey World League Semi-Final in London, and world number 14 Pakistan, round up an exciting mix of teams promising a fiercely disputed tournament ahead.

AHF President HRH Prince Abdullah Ahmad Shah was pleased to confirm Hero MotoCorp coming on board as Title Sponsor of the tournament and Hero’s support as the lead partner of Asian Hockey Federation. He said: “We are delighted to announce this agreement with a partner of the caliber of Hero MotoCorp, one of India’s most successful businesses and an organization that has shown extraordinary support for the sport over a number of years. This is a milestone for hockey in Asia, and a vital step forward on the ambitious path the AHF is following to promote, grow and professionalise our sport.”

AHF CEO Tayyab Ikram added: “The cooperation with a global player and premier brand of Hero MotoCorp’s stature is a great success reflecting the AHF’s efforts over the last two years to take the sport to new heights in Asia. The Hero Asia Cup in Dhaka will showcase our best athletes to a global audience through our media rights partnership with the FIH, and I am looking forward to a fantastic event and thrilling match action.”

BHF President and Chief of Air Staff of Bangladesh Air Force Air Chief Marshal Abu Esrar, BBP, ndc, acsc said: “I am extremely happy to be the part of organising the biggest hockey tournament in Asia, the Hero Asia Cup Dhaka 2017. I assure BHF will put all-out effort to stage the event in an outstanding manner. We are hopeful that jointly with AHF, we will be able to present an exciting and successful tournament to the millions of hockey lovers around the world. I wish every success for the Hero Asia Cup Dhaka 2017.”

FIH site

Pakistan, India drawn together in hockey Asia Cup

DHAKA: Pakistan national hockey team has been placed amongst archrivals India, Japan and Bangladesh in Pool A of men’s hockey Asia Cup 2017 that takes place in October this year.

Pakistan will start their Asia Cup campaign against Bangladesh on October 11, continue against Japan on October 13 and will lock horns with rivals India in the final group game on October 15.

Pakistan, whose hockey has been in turmoil lately with defeats across various competitions leading to the team’s ranking fall to 14, will be looking to salvage lost glory and gain direct qualification to the World Cup 2018 by winning the event.

In Pool B of the competition, Malaysia, South Korea, China and Oman will be battling each other out for a place in the semi-finals.

Since the introduction of the Asia Cup in 1982, Pakistan has won the competition thrice, India two times and the Cup’s most successful team is Korea with four titles to their name.

The Daily Times

India, Pakistan clubbed in Pool A for Asia Cup

India and Pakistan have been drawn together in Pool A of the Asia Cup, to be held in Dhaka from October 11-22 and one of the qualifying events for the 2018 World Cup. While India automatically qualifies as host, Malaysia is the only other Asian nation to book a spot courtesy its fourth-place finish at London. As such, thrice champion Pakistan and four-times winner Korea would be desperate to win the title.

For India, though, it would be important to reiterate its superiority in the continent, all the more after the disappointment of London. India will begin its campaign against Japan on October 11 and take on Pakistan in its last pool match on the 15th.

Sportstar Live

Will Oltmans continue as chief coach?

A decision on the future of chief coach Roelant Oltmans would be taken when the Hockey India panel, formed to evaluate the team's performance, meets in New Delhi from August 31-September 3.

Uthra Ganesan

Roelant Oltmans has been under the pump since India’s lacklustre performance at the Hockey World League Semifinals.   -  K. Murali Kumar

Ever since the Indian men's hockey team finished a disappointing sixth at the Hockey World League Semifinals in London, there has been speculation over the future of chief coach Roelant Oltmans. The recent Europe tour was expected to be the make-or-break outing for the Dutchman and a final decision would be taken when the Hockey India panel, formed to evaluate the team's performance, meets in New Delhi from August 31-September 3.

That meeting, which would also have High Performance Director David John in attendance, is likely to pose some tough questions to Oltmans. India has a hectic calendar in the coming months beginning with the Asia Cup in October and will have to be ready for the Commonwealth Games, the Asian Games and the World Cup next year, besides the HWL Finals in December 2017. Given that, Oltmans may get a reprieve till at least the end of this year.

“There is not much time to hunt for a new coach. That is, in case there is a debate on Oltmans’ continuing. Yes there are issues but whether they are insurmountable or not and whether Oltmans can prove his planning will be discussed. At the same time, no one wants to suddenly throw the team into turmoil less than two months before the Asia Cup,” a Hockey India official confirmed to Sportstar.

The 'issues' have been both on and off the field. Several former players and coaches have criticised India's lack of a Plan B against defensive teams. Beginning with the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, India's tournament outings this year so far have been below-par. The act of persisting with some senior players despite poor performances has also been questioned. The recent successes on the Europe tour by a team that had six uncapped players has increased rumblings that the youngsters need to be blooded more ahead of bigger tournaments.

“See, we all know Oltmans has been a great hockey mind but we also want to know if he has a clear Plan A, B, and C for the coming season, a blueprint to improve Indian hockey here on. What he has done so far is appreciated but there is now need to step up to another level, compete and win against the top-four. All of this will ultimately determine his and Indian hockey's future,” the official added.

The Indian team is supposed to get together for its next camp in Bengaluru from August 27 under Oltmans, who is currently on a break. Oltmans is also said to have a tenuous relationship with John and the difference in opinion, according to sources, was one of the reasons the final 18 selected for the Europe tour allegedly had the stamp of approval from John and not Oltmans. Ironically, the same 18’s performance in Europe may give Oltmans a lifeline.

Sportstar Live

Jude Felix appointed coach of junior men's hockey team

NEW DELHI: Former captain Jude Felix Sebastian was on Tuesday appointed coach of the Indian junior men's hockey team.

Hockey India made the appointment following the team's successful Europe tour that featured nine players from last year's junior men's core group.

India's High Performance Director David John emphasised that the programmes initiated by Hockey India in the past five-six years are paying dividends with the juniors pushing for a spot in the senior team, increasing the talent pool in this new Olympic cycle.

The 33-member junior men's core group will train under Jude Felix as the boys prepare for defending the World Championship title.

"Jude Felix brings with him vast experience as former India captain as well as a highly reputed coach. Under him, we want to strengthen the junior core group," said John.

"With Hockey India's programmes structured to bring good results in the 2020 and 2024 Olympic Games, I would expect players from this junior core group to push the seniors for a spot in the team," he added.

As a player, Felix was a vital cog in the Indian team as a half-back. His composed attitude with a wide vision for hockey's development set him apart from his contemporaries.

Felix is an Arjuna Awardee (1995) and was the captain of the team from 1993 to 1995. He also led the team in the 1993 World Cup and in the Asian Games in 1994 at Hiroshima.

Felix has played more than 250 international matches and represented India in two Olympic Games in 1988 (Korea) and 1992 (Barcelona), two World Cups in 1990 (Pakistan) and 1994 (Sydney), two Asian Games in 1990 (Beijing) and 1994 (Hiroshima) and three Champions Trophy in 1985 (Australia), 1987 (Pakistan) and 1989 (Berlin).

He has worked as player cum coach with Racing Club in Paris (European league and French League) in 1997-2000. He also worked as the coach of Dutch U-18 national team in the Leo Van Der Kar in 1997.

His previous stint with the national team was in 2014 when he assisted chief coach for men's team Terry Walsh.

"I am excited to take up this new role. The junior core group was picked on the basis of their performance in the National Championships and this group will be further pruned down to a 18-member squad for the Sultan of Johor Cup, our first international tournament for this year," stated Felix.

The Times of India

EHL and Rotterdam sign deal to bring KO16 to famous Dutch venue

© Frank Uijlenbroek

The Euro Hockey League and the EHF are delighted to confirm they have signed a deal with HC Rotterdam to host the KO16 for three of the next five seasons.

The first part of the deal will see the Dutch club host the KO16 of the world’s best club hockey competition next Easter from Friday, March 30 to Monday, April 2, 2018, welcoming 16 of the continent’s best clubs across four intense days of knock-out action.

It will be the fifth time Rotterdam has hosted the EHL and they are a club synonymous with the elite competition.

Indeed, they hosted the first ever EHL FINAL4 in 2008 and then again in 2009. The Hazelaarweg venue was also home to the KO16 in 2010 and 2012. The club regularly welcomes top class fixtures including the 2001 Champions Trophy, the 2005 Junior World Cup, the 2008 Champions Trophy, the World League Semi-Finals in 2013 and the Masters World Cup in 2014.

On the field, the club are also one of the most famous teams in the EHL’s history, winning a silver and two bronze medals in their six previous campaigns in the world’s best club hockey competition. Rotterdam club member for life Jeroen Hertzberger is the EHL’s all-time top scorer with 35 goals in the competition.

Speaking about the new deal, HC Rotterdam’s President Edwin Brouwers said: “Hosting the EHL once more is a great honour for our club.

“The fact, that all teams will play two matches makes it more interesting for the teams and fans to travel to Rotterdam. Together with the EHL and all our partners in the City of Rotterdam, we will do our utmost to organise an unforgettable event for everybody involved. We would like to invite all hockey-loving people in Europe to come and enjoy the EHL KO16 at HC Rotterdam.”

EHL Chairman Hans-Erik Tuijt added: “The EHL is of course very happy to come back to Rotterdam and welcome the KO16 in 2018. We have a brilliant venue that can hold up to 8,000 hockey fans and we hope spectators from all over Europe will follow their club and come to Rotterdam next Easter.”

Rotterdam’s Deputy Mayor of Sports Adriaan Visser responded enthusiastically to the EHL KO16 being granted to HC Rotterdam.

“With a multitude of players in our city – girls and boys, women and men – hockey is one of Rotterdam’s most popular sports. I’m convinced that next year’s EHL KO16 will not only be an exciting competition for Europe’s 16 strongest hockey clubs, but also an enormous promotion for hockey.

“In addition to our own HC Rotterdam, we’ll welcome the other 15 teams and their fans, the EHL organisation, sponsors and media to our city.”

EHF President Marijke Fleuren also welcomed the deal: “Of course, for us, it’s a privilege and honour to return to the club who has played such a great part in the EHL’s history in its first few years. I am already looking forward to the fantastic atmosphere from all the real hockey fans."

In order to welcome the clubs and their fans, HC Rotterdam have already set up a “Your Road to Rotterdam website” which details how everything you need to know about the venue, along with hotel packages and special deals.

Currently, 12 teams are already confirmed for the KO16 next Easter with SV Kampong, HC Rotterdam (both Netherlands), Mannheimer HC, Rot-Weiss Köln (both Germany), KHC Dragons, Herakles (both Belgium), Atlètic Terrassa, Real Club de Polo (both Spain), Holcombe (England), Three Rock Rovers (Ireland), Racing Club de France (France) and Dinamo Kazan (Russia) already confirmed for the event.

They will be joined by four more clubs who will battle through October’s ROUND1 in Barcelona where 12 clubs will battle it out in four groups. The winner of each group will book their place at the KO16 and the knock-out phases.

From the KO16 event in HC Rotterdam, each club will be hoping to win two out of two games, winning through to the FINAL4 and keep alive the chance to land the Alain Danet trophy.

It promises to be another thrilling season of the world's best club hockey competition.

Your Road to Rotterdam website: http://www.hcrotterdam.club/ehl2018

Introducing Rotterdam city of sports: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yMNfVDVDvzw

Euro Hockey League media release

South Sudan refugees don Northern Ireland hockey club colours for peace cup

The kit is being used by young people taking part in the Peace and Reconciliation Cup, a tournament at the camp which is using soccer to help heal division and tension.

A Co Down hockey club is helping bring refugees from the civil war raging in South Sudan together.

Bangor Hockey Club has donated more than 120 sports kits to a refugee camp in northern Uganda, which is home to 60,000 people who have fled conflict across the border in war-torn South Sudan.

The United Nations has said the number of refugees from the conflict has reached one million, in a grim milestone for what has become the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis.

The sports kits are being used by young people taking part in the ‘Peace and Reconciliation Cup’, a tournament at the camp which is using soccer to help heal division and tension.

The donation was made possible by local charity CMS Ireland (Christian Mission Society), an organisation working with churches in Africa and Asia. 

Through their local partners in Uganda, the kit was distributed to local church leaders in the camp.

Lack of education, food shortages, inadequate medical services and scarcity of building supplies are all huge challenges. A major concern is the lack of constructive activities, making young people easy prey for rebel recruitment.

Andrew Gowdy from Bangor Hockey Club said: "The club had many kits that were no longer going to be used. We really wanted to donate them to a charity that would be able to give them to people who are most in need.

"Through CMS Ireland, we were able to send them to Uganda and to help refugees from South Sudan.

"It was fantastic to see pictures of the people in the camp playing sport in the kit and as a club we are delighted to have made a small, positive difference to the lives of the people there."

The kit is being used by young people taking part in the Peace and Reconciliation Cup, a tournament at the camp which is using soccer to help heal division and tension.

An average of 1,800 South Sudanese citizens have been arriving daily in Uganda over the past 12 months, the UNHCR said.

"Recent arrivals continue to speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription," the UNHCR said.

"With refugees still arriving in their thousands, the amount of aid we are able to deliver is increasingly falling short."

Another one million or more South Sudanese are sheltering in Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Congo and Central African Republic.

The number of people fleeing jumped after deadly fighting again erupted in South Sudan’s capital Juba in July 2016.

A fundraising summit hosted by Uganda in June raised only a fraction of the £1.5 billion that Ugandan officials have said is needed to sufficiently look after the refugees and the communities hosting them.

"This unhappy 1-million milestone must serve as a wake-up call to the international community that much more is needed from them," Sarah Jackson, an Amnesty International official in the region, said in a statement.

"With no resolution to the conflict in South Sudan in sight, refugees will continue to flee to Uganda and the humanitarian crisis will only escalate."

Most of the refugees are women and children fleeing violence, often along ethnic lines, since the world’s newest country erupted into violence in December 2013.

Ugandan refugee officials have repeatedly warned the influx is straining the country’s ability to be generous to the refugees, who are often given small plots of land for building temporary shelters and planting crops when they arrive.

The largest of the settlements hosting refugees from South Sudan, Bidi Bidi, is roughly 90 square miles.

The World Food Programme cut food rations for some refugees amid funding shortages in June.

The UN says at least £523 million is needed to support South Sudanese refugees in Uganda this year, although only a fifth of that amount has been received.

The money is needed to provide basic services, including stocking clinics with medicines and putting up schools.

Aid agencies say classroom sizes in the few available schools often exceed 200 pupils, and other children have dropped out because the nearest schools are located miles away.

Fighting persists in parts of South Sudan despite multiple ceasefire agreements.

Belfast Telegraph Digital

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