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News for 25 September 2017

All the news for Monday 25 September 2017

Bloemendaal run up huge win over HGC

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

HC Bloemendaal posted yet another imposing scoreline as they added a 7-2 win over HGC to last week’s 5-1 win over Rotterdam to stay unbeaten this term and set a high bar for the EHL ROUND1 series from October 6-8.

They were 4-0 ahead by the end of the first quarter and were 7-0 clear before HGC got a couple of goals back in the last eight minutes but too late to affect the outcome.

“It went well today," said Bloemendaal midfielder Floris Wortelboer afterwards to hockey.nl. "To me, it is no surprise that we can play so well. On the training ground, I see how much quality we have weekly. Today it all clicked."

Tim Swaen (pictured) – Friday night’s hero – started the scoring from a corner with Wortelboer adding another in the fifth minute. Roel Bovendeert and Florian Fuchs virtually put the game out of sight before Glenn Schuurman, Thierry Brinkman and Fuchs again completed the rout.

Rotterdam broke Amsterdam’s winning streak with a 3-2 win at the Wagener Stadium. Boris Burkhardt continued his good start to the season with an 11th minute strike but Jeroen Hertzberger, Hidde Turkstra and Thijs van Dam turned things around for a 3-1 lead. Mirco Pruyser got one back late on.

Oranje-Rood finally got their first win of the season with a 3-1 success over Den Bosch with goals from Mink van der Weerden, Niek van der Schoot and Agustin Mazzilli.

Kampong lost their seasons clean sheet when Joost van der Vijkeijken got on the scoreboard early on for Pinoke. Kampong, though, scored the next five goals with Martijn Havenga and Bjorn Kellerman both getting a pair.

Euro Hockey League media release

Orée slay Dragons to continue eye-catching start to Belgian season

©: Frank Uijlenbroek/world Sport Pics

Orée made it two wins from two with another eye-catching win in the Belgian league as they beat reigning champions Dragons 4-3.

The Brasschaat side opened up a 2-0 lead via Jeffrey Thys and Thomas Verheijen but a spell of three goals in seven minutes saw Facundo Callioni, Philippe Simar and Tomi Domene swap the lead around.

Thys equalised but Lee Cole won the tie for Orée with a brilliant backhand shot into the roof of the net from a corner rebound and they held on for the victory.

Royal Racing Club de Bruxelles lost their perfect record when they went down 2-1 to Royal Leopold in a derby tie. Manu Brunet gave Leo the perfect start, making it 1-0 before Tom Boon equalised but Arthur Verdussen scored in the final minute to swing the tie into Leopold’s hands.

For Racing coach Xavier Reckinger, he said of the outcome: "We were hoping to win this derby but it did not turn out as we wished. To be honest, I'm not so disappointed with the team's performance.

“On the other hand, I am disappointed with the way we have conceded our two goals. The second was due to a tactical error. We got the chances but we did not manage to kill off the game so we can only blame ourselves."

Elsewhere, Herakles continued their good start to the season with a 3-2 victory over Beerschot with Nicolas de Kerpel scoring a hat trick.

La Gantoise scored a 1-0 win over Leuven, Waterloo Ducks hammered Pingouin 7-0 while Daring saw off Braxgata 3-1.

Euro Hockey League media release

Wimbledon and Beeston share spoils on opening day

Wimbledon opened their England Hockey campaign with a 1-1 draw against Beeston in a high quality opening affair in Nottingham.

Wimbledon were league leaders last season before losing out in dramatic style in the play-off final, but took a second half lead thanks to an Iain Lewers penalty stroke, scoring on his debut for the club.

Beeston hit back just six minutes later, Mark Gleghorne converting a penalty corner to open his account for the new season and earn the hosts a share of the spoils.

Reigning champions Surbiton started their defence of the Men’s Hockey League Premier Division title in confident fashion with a 6-2 win at Canterbury.

Alan Forsyth scored 20 league goals last term and his excellent form showed no signs of stopping as he hit an opening day hat trick.

Luke Taylor, Dave Beckett and Lewis Prosser were amongst the scorers for the visitors who led 5-0 after 39 minutes, before strikes from Craig Boyne and Michal Nowakowski offered some resistance for Canterbury.

Sevenoaks’ first ever game in the top flight ended in defeat as they went down 4-1 at home to Reading. Four goals in 17 second half minutes from Ben Francis, Kiran Patel, Owain Dolan Gray and Ben Boon put the visitors in control, before the prolific Andrew Ross converted a consolation penalty corner in the final minute.

Hampstead & Westminster continued on from their first ever top four finish last season with a 4-0 triumph over Brooklands MU.
Rupert Shipperley and Sam French gave the hosts a 2-0 lead at the break before Stephen Dowds wrapped up the scoring with a second half double.

Meanwhile, East Grinstead saw their home clash against Holcombe postponed.

Euro Hockey League media release

Edinburgh Uni go top of Women’s National League 1

Photo by Mark Pugh

Edinburgh University moved to the top of women`s National league 1 after beating rivals Milne Craig Clydesdale Western 7-0 at Peffermill.

The catalyst was a hat-trick from Sophie Maunder while Hanna McKie, Louise Campbell, Ella Watt and Becky Drew added to the tally.

Edinburgh`s player/coach Sam Judge said: “The team was really focused and patient today, and we scored some great team goals.”

Hardly surprising Western coach Derek Forsyth was far from impressed by his team`s performance but he did single out schoolgirl goalkeeper Jess Buchanan who prevented the scoreline reaching even greater heights.

Wildcats slipped into second spot in the table following a 2-1 win over a depleted Dundee Wanderers at Auchenhowie.

The Taysiders were the more positive side in the opening exchanges and deservedly took the lead when Scotland striker Charlotte Watson finished off a move following a pass from Amy Snelle.

Wildcats had their chances to level the score but efforts from Lucy MacArthur and Lucy Findlay were blocked by Wanderers` keeper Carmin Dow.

Ten minutes from the interval the Wildcats clawed their way back to parity when a speculative close range shot by MacArthur eluded Dow and finished in the net.

Wildcats were by far the dominant force in the second half and Alex Stuart and Kareena Cuthbert at a penalty corner were again frustrated by Dow. Wanderers had their only chance at a breakaway but Ruth Blaikie was eventually crowded out.

Despite the efforts of Dow and stalwart Sam Sangster in the Wanderers` rearguard, Wildcats took the lead for the first time, the ball rebounded off the keeper to Rachel Bain and her pass found Findlay in space and she made no mistake from close range.

Wildcats might have added a third but Catriona Booth`s set piece shot cannoned off a post.

Scotland striker Sarah Jamieson was the day`s top scorer with four in Grove Menzieshill`s 7-1 victory over Kelburne, a result that moves them into third place in the division.

Grove Menzieshill`s other strikes came from Sue Hamilton, teenager Jenny Walls and finally Katie Robertson, Rachel Ewing-Day got the Paisley side`s only strike.

Watsonians leapfrog Wanderers into fifth place with a 3-1 away win at GHK, the goals came from Cailin Hart, Heather Elder and Lorna Crawford.

Grange were the only bottom four side to break their duck after a 3-1 victory over Hillhead.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Kenya Police arrest students


Kenya Police's Robert Masibo passes the ball during their Kenya Hockey Union men's Premier League match against Strathmore University Gladiators at the City Park Stadium on September 23, 2017. PHOTO | MARTIN MUKANGU |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Strathmore University Gladiators coach Meshack Senge has tipped Kenya Police to win the title after watching his side thrashed 6-1 by the runaway league leaders in a Kenya Hockey Union men’s Premier League match on Saturday night at City Park Stadium, Nairobi.

Champions Gladiators were handed a lesson by the red hot leaders, who moved 13 points clear after the huge win and the result left Senge tipping the law enforcers to succeed his side as this season’s champions.

“We got a thorough beating from a team that looks like champions and showed their might in every department,” Senge, who is also the national men’s team coach, said in his post-match comments.

Senge’s charges took a fourth minute lead through Matthew Kipchirichir but that only served to inspire the law enforcers as they levelled the scores three minutes later through skipper Oliver Echenje before going to rip apart the students’ defence at will to maintain their unbeaten run this season.

Amos Barkibir hit a brace with Titus Kirutai, Samuel Wokila and Felix Okoth scoring a goal each to give the 2013 champions an emphatic win. The win saw Police complete the double having nicked a 1-0 win in the first leg.

The result left the spluttering champions a massive 30 points behind Police, who are now on 46 points, 13 ahead of second placed Butali Sugar Warriors. Senge blasted his charges for failing to put up a fight in the one-sided match.

“We need to be better than this, the score line was harsh but that it was happens when you give a side like Police chances,” he added. Police coach, Kenneth Kaunda, has demanded more of the same from his charges as they seek to reclaim the title.

“It was a perfect response from the charges after we fell behind early on and I want to see more of that mentality in the coming matches,” Kaunda said.

Also on Saturday, forward Arnold Marango hit a last minute winner to earn relegation threatened Kenya College of Accountancy University (KCAU) a shocking 4-3 win over on-song Sikh Union Nairobi.

The students rallied from two goals down to upset the 2012 champions to ease their relegation worries this season. The result moved them to 14 points, same as 13th placed Chase Sailors.

In Sunday’s matches,  Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology beat Multimedia University 4-1 in a women’s Premier League match.
Eshiombo Okama and Hannah Jesse scored braces for the Juja-based students to complete a good weekend. JKUAT had beaten UON 1-0 on Saturday. Shaiyn Baifo  pulled one back for the Rongai-based side.

In another women's top flight encounter Sliders edged out Kenyatta University Titans 1-0 courtesy of Charity Miller's 37th minute strike. In the men's top flight league, Parklands downed Kenyatta University Vultures 1-0 as Chase Sailors and Parkroad Badgers played out a 2-2 stalemate.

Daily Nation

Veitner's record-tying goal leads No. 1 UConn past No. 5 Delaware in overtime

UConn Athletics

Senior Charlotte Veitner tied the all-time UConn goals mark with Sunday's overtime winner. UConn Athletics

NEWARK, Dela. – Senior Charlotte Veitner notched a goal in the 81st minute to lift the No. 1 UConn field hockey team past reigning national champion No. 5 Delaware 1-0 in an exciting overtime thriller. The Huskies remain a perfect 9-0 to begin the season and remain the only undefeated team in Division I.

With the tally, Veitner tied UConn’s all-time goals record with her 97th career score. The senior currently holds the program’s top spot in points (249) and assists (55), claiming both distinctions during the 2016 season.

Goalkeeper Nina Klein picked up five saves in the tilt, as the senior racked up her fourth shutout of 2017. With her 29th career shutout, Klein is closing the gap towards the top of the program’s all-time shutout list, sitting just four shy of Sarah Mansfield’s 33 (2010-13).

Sunday’s top five matchup was as intense as advertised, as the Huskies and Blue Hens (6-4) competed in a back-and-forth battle that reflected the feeling of an NCAA championship game.

DefenSe proved to be the key in the contest, as the two squads forced an overtime period after 70 minutes of scoreless action. UConn held a 12-5 shot advantage against their opponents during regulation time, as Delaware’s goalkeeper was forced to make six saves for her team.

The heroics game in the 81st minute when Veitner tapped in the game-winner from three yards out. Like she has so many times before, the forward proved to be one of the most lethal offensive threats in the country with her 13th goal of the season. Veitner is posting an astonishing 30 points (13g, 4a) in nine games so far this fall.

UConn returns to action with a pair of home games next week. The Huskies will first welcome conference foe Providence (6 p.m.) on Friday, Sept. 29, before welcoming Massachusetts (1 p.m. ET) on Sunday, Oct. 1 in a nonconference matchup.


Field Hockey Picks Up Two Wins, Pushes Win Streak to Four

By Sean B. Chanicka

Sophomore midfielder Bente van Vlijmen and the Harvard field hockey team topped Yale and Lafayette over the weekend to push its win streak to four. Timothy R. O'Meara

After opening its season against a variety of nonconference opponents, No.16 Harvard field hockey (6-2; 1-0 Ivy) traveled to New Haven, Conn., this past Saturday to face off against Yale. In a thrilling overtime battle, the Crimson left victorious, beating the Bulldogs 2-1.

The team then returned home on Sunday to face off against Lafayette (5-4, 1-1). After falling behind 1-0 early on, Harvard rallied to score six unanswered goals to seal its victory.

No. 16 Harvard 6, Lafayette 1

The Crimson returned home on Sunday to face off against a tough opponent in Lafayette. Although the Leopards dropped its previous two contests heading into Saturday, it remained a team known for its strong defensive presence. Coming into the weekend, Lafayette had conceded an average of 1.1 goals per game, so the Crimson knew that scoring goals would be no easy task.

After a stalemate for the first twenty minutes, the Leopards scored the game’s opening goal in the 25th minute. Despite falling behind, Harvard’s offense ultimately took over, as the team scored six unanswered goals to close the game. The team’s first goal came in the 27th minute, as sophomore midfielder Bente van Vlijmen gathered a blocked shot and fired a reverse stick shot into the top corner of the net. In the 32nd minute, freshman forward Mimi Tarrant played a pass to sophomore forward Maddie Earle, whose shot from close sailed into the net. Hannah Pearce closed off the half for the Crimson by scoring off of a penalty corner.

The second half saw Harvard continue its offensive onslaught. In a beautiful run, junior forward Kathleen Young saw her shot from a wide angle beat the Lafayette goalkeeper. The goal extends Young’s scoring streak to five games. Over the course of those five games, she has racked up ten points, scoring four goals and tallying two assists.

In the 66th minute, van Vlijmen scored her second goal of the day off a straightaway shot. Junior back Olivia Allin scored Harvard’s final goal in the 68thh minute off of a penalty corner. With the result, senior goalkeeper Olivia Startup improves to 4-0 in her four starts this season. Additionally, Harvard has now won its past four contests, beating its opponents by a combined 18-5 margin.

“We always want to treat every game with the same intensity regardless of whether it’s in conference or out of conference” Startup said. “In particular, these nonconference games are very important to our national ranking. Having such a tough weekend, we wanted to come out with a really strong win to cap off our performance”.

No. 16 Harvard 2, Yale 1 (OT)

The Crimson opened Ivy league play by traveling to New Haven to face off against Yale. The contest didn’t begin as Harvard would have hoped, as Yale scored the game’s opening goal twenty minutes into the contest. From that point on, Harvard dominated the action, finishing with 28 shots to the Bulldog’s 8. However, the team was unable to translate those shots into the goal it needed for much of the game. The team, having been in similar situations earlier this season, knew that it didn’t need to panic; it just needed to focus on its plan.

“Every Ivy game does hold a little more weight, but we always focus on ourselves”, Wellington said. “We view it as just the next game; just the next problem that we’re going to tackle as a team. We know that when we can play our game, there is no team that we can’t beat”.

In a late attempt to save the game, Harvard pulled junior goalkeeper Libby Manela with just over five minutes to play in regulation. The team responded with a flurry, particularly in the final minute. In the 70th minute, van Vlijmen shot her penalty corner, but saw it blocked. However, Young was able to secure the rebound and beat the Yale goalkeeper to tie the game and send it into overtime. This occasion marks the second time this season Harvard has forced overtime on a last minute goal, the first coming in its matchup with then No. 13 Stanford on September 4.

In overtime, the Crimson continued with its relentless attack. Five minutes into overtime, van Vlijmen fired a shot, but once again saw it blocked. This time however, freshman midfielder Tessel Huibregtsen corralled the rebound and scored the winning goal. The goal was Huibregtsen’s first of her collegiate career. With the result, Harvard has now won its last ten Ivy league games dating back to the 2015 season. Additionally, the Crimson has won five straight against Yale.

“We were really happy with the result”, Startup said. “It’s a great way to start off Ivies. We conceded the first goal against Yale and Lafayette, but we were resilient and we kept playing out game without getting phased. Being able to come back, even so late in the game, gives us a lot of positives to take away”.

Following this weekend’s contests, Harvard returns to action on Wednesday, when it travels to Holy Cross. The team then returns home to face off against Penn at home on Saturday.

The Harvard Crimson

Wildcats split road trip against highly-ranked competition

Joseph Wilkinson

Pascale Massey looks upfield. The junior forward scored two goals in Northwestern’s win over Maryland. Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Northwestern took its talents eastward on the weekend and split a pair of hyper-competitive games against top-10 teams, losing to No. 3 Penn State on Friday before taking down No. 10 Maryland on Sunday afternoon.

The Wildcats (7-4, 2-1 Big Ten) sit tied for third in Big Ten standings after the weekend along with the Nittany Lions (8-2, 2-1) and the Terrapins (6-4, 2-1).

“Beating Maryland was important for Big Tens and for NCAAs,” coach Tracey Fuchs said. “Maryland’s a great team and should help our strength of schedule. They’re going to beat a lot of teams, and for us to get a victory over them today gives us confidence moving on.”

NU jumped out to an early lead Sunday, with junior forward Pascale Massey scoring on a penalty corner less than three minutes into the match.

That lead proved to be tenuous, as Maryland controlled possession for the majority of the half and eventually scored to even the contest before the half.

“It was definitely one of our goals to start quickly,” Fuchs said. “We talked about it and we really wanted to keep our ball speed up and have tight communication and keep our energy going.”

Maryland still managed to get the better of the Cats to start the second half, scoring three minutes into the period to take a 2-1 lead. That goal, however, would be the Terrapins’ last.

NU struck back 10 minutes later, with Massey picking up her second goal off a corner in the game. Five minutes later, sophomore defender Kirsten Mansfield was the hero, punching home a pass from junior midfielder Puck Pentenga off another corner to give the Cats a 3-2 lead that they’d hold onto to secure the victory.

“We were just putting a ton of work into the game so it was nice to see it pay off,” Mansfield said. “It was awesome to be able to celebrate such a big win.”

NU was celebrating a dramatic victory Sunday, but it was on the opposite end of Friday’s game against Penn State.

The Nittany Lions jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first five minutes, but the Cats answered at the end of the half with a goal by Pentenga. Penn State reclaimed its lead early in the second half, however, and when they added another goal to make it 3-1 with 25 minutes left the game looked out of reach for NU.

The Cats instead staged an improbable comeback with goals from junior midfielder Eva van Agt and Massey evening the score at 3-3. This time, however, NU allowed a backbreaking goal just two minutes from the end of the half, as Penn State’s star junior forward Moira Putsch scored off a corner to dash the Cats’ hopes.

“That little extra effort got us back in the game on Friday,” Fuchs said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t hold the lead at the end. They had a beautiful corner at the end to beat us.”

The NU offense once again ran through Pentenga and Massey over the weekend. Pentenga recorded a goal and two assists this weekend, while Massey scored three of the Cats’ six goals.

The two are central to NU’s strategy on penalty corners, and their skill helped the Cats convert three of their seven corner opportunities against Maryland.

“We practice the corners a lot, and we draw a lot of corners so executing those is huge for us,” Pentenga said. “We’re trying to win as many games as we can, and this is a great win for us to stay in the race for a Big Ten Championship.”

The Daily Northwestern

O’Grady whips in crucial late goal as Leinster edge out Ulster U-18s; northern province wins Under-16 title

Ben O’Grady’s drag-flick four minutes from full-time earned Leinster’s Under-18s a dramatic schoolboys interprovincial title at Grange Road, whipping home for a crucial fourth goal in a 4-1 win over Munster.

It capped a pulsating weekend of action, getting the boys in blue the three-goal margin they needed to edge out Ulster and land the title at Grange Road by a single strike on goal difference.

On Friday, Leinster had begun in fine fashion, nabbing a 2-2 draw against Ulster with all the goals coming in the first half before goals from Matteo Romoli and Jake Pillow handed the blues a 2-0 win over Munster.

Ulster, however, bounced back for the lead in the standings with a 2-1 win over Munster, Jack Haycock and Matt Milliken’s goals earning the result. They followed up with a 2-0 win over Leinster with Harry Morris netting two penalty corner rebounds in the second half.

That put them three points clear of the table and only needing a draw on Sunday to retain their crown. Munster, however, were inspired and a pair of Andrew Salter goals put the southern province two goals up against Ulster, the latter a brilliant high volley from Quinten Eacrett’s cross in the third quarter.

Milliken pulled one back from a corner but he could not prevent a first loss to Munster for Ulster since 2013. It left the northern province nervously watching on with Leinster needing a three-goal win to take the title out of their hands.

Harry Lynch got Leinster up and running against Munster in the 16th minute with a scintillating goal, gaining possession 80-metres from goal before racing up the pitch, exchanging passes and slotting home.

Rob McCollum squeezed in a second a minute later to put Leinster within touching distance and they had the requisite scoreline when Jake Pillow’s right wing cross found its way in for 3-0 with 24 minutes to go.

Ben Johnson, however, got one back from Munster to swing the title back into Ulster’s grasp for much of the second half. That was until Leinster earned the late set-piece that O’Grady dragged home for a famous win.

At Under-16 level, Ulster completed an unbeaten weekend to win their inteprovincial crown. Crucially, they came from 2-0 at half-time on Friday afternoon against Leinster with Troy Chambers slamming home twice while Eddie Rowe also got in on the act for a 3-2 success.

Leinster ended day one with two losses as Munster scored twice in the closing three minutes to stun the blues once again, Kevin O’Dea and Ian Balding scoring one each in a 2-1 success.

Ulster backed up their opening success with a 4-3 win over Munster on Saturday, building a 4-1 lead through Chambers, Stewart Wylie, Tim McClintock and Max Taylor. A 2-1 win over Leinster put them in an almost unassailable position at the end of Saturday’s play.

And they sealed the deal on Sunday morning with a 2-2 draw against Munster. Chambers opened the scoring with a penalty stroke only for O’Dea to level in the 18th minute. DJ Erskine and O’Dea exchanged goals for 2-2 at half-time in a rip-roaring affair but no further strikes in the second half meant the northern province had the result they needed.

Munster and Leinster shared a 1-1 draw in the final match of the tournament, an incredibly close one in which no game had more than a goal in the final results.

Schoolboys Interprovincials
Friday, September 22
U-16: Leinster 2 (A Walker, B Hickmott) Ulster 3 (T Chambers 2, E Rowe); Leinster 1 (B Hickmott) Munster 2 (K O’Dea, I Balding)
U-18: Leinster 2 (H Burns, A Empey) Ulster 2 (H Morris, J Haycock); Leinster 2 (M Romoli, J Pillow) Munster 0

U-16: Ulster 4 (T McClintock, M Taylor, T Chambers, S Wylie) Munster 3 (K O’Dea 2, C Sparling); Ulster 2 (C Quinn, M Aughey) Leinster 1 (T Power)
U-18: Ulster 2 (J Haycock, M Milliken) Munster 1 (B Johnson); Ulster 2 (H Morris 2) Leinster 0

U-16: Munster 2 (K O’Dea 2) Ulster 2 (T Chambers, DJ Erskine); Munster 1 (S Ryan) Leinster 1 (R Spencer)
U-18: Munster 2 (A Salter 2) Ulster 1 (M Milliken);) Munster 1 (B Johnson) Leinster 4 (H Lynch, R McCollum, J Pillow B O’Grady)

Final standings:
Under-16: 1. Ulster 10pts (+3) 2. Munster 7pts (0) 3. Leinster 2pts (-3)
Under-18: 1. Leinster 8pts (+3) 2. Ulster 8pts (+2) 3. Munster 3pts (-2)

The Hook

Bloemendaal qualify for ABN AMRO Junior EHL

HC Bloemendaal’s Under-14 side will represent the Netherlands at the ABN AMRO Junior EHL next Easter in Rotterdam as they won through their local qualification competition.

They started off with a 1-0 win over SV Kampong – the Junior EHL champions in 2016 and 2017 – before going on to get the better of Rotterdam 5-0 with an excellent showing in the second half.

The ABN AMRO Junior EHL will once again feature the leading Under-14 side from around Europe with one representative from the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain, England and Ireland eligible to take part, qualifying by a method set out by their national federation.

Euro Hockey League media release

We won't be just participants anymore: Women's hockey coach Harendra Singh

Senior women’s hockey coach Harendra says he wants to change mindset of players as well as fans

Rutvick Mehta

Indian women’s hockey team is currently placed 12th in world rankings, but Harendra Singh says he wants team to fight for medals; (inset) Harendra Singh

When Harendra Singh got a call from Hockey India (HI) asking if he was keen on being the head coach of the Indian senior women's hockey team, he says he had no second thoughts about the answer.

His daughter, he feels, had a big part to play in that.

"After the 2016 Junior World Cup, some people asked me to invest my time in the women's team. And when HI gave me the offer, I immediately said yes because I saw my daughter in each player of the team," Harendra told DNA from the national camp in Bengaluru ahead of his first training session with the side on Monday.

"That is the biggest reason why I'm excited about the new role. All these girls are like my daughters, and they're of the same age group as my own daughter. A father-daughter bond is always special, one that no other relationship can come close to. I'm looking at this job from that angle," he added.

Harendra, the man behind the Indian boys' success story at the 2016 FIH Junior World Cup in Lucknow last year, was regarded as one of the front-runners to replace the sacked Roelant Oltmans as the head coach of the senior men's team. Why, he had even made his desire to take up the job public.

However, HI decided to play a game of musical chairs, giving the men's role to women's coach Sjoerd Marijne and asking Harendra to fill up Marijne's shoes.

Some might have looked at the move as a bittersweet pill for Harendra, who is a Level III certified coach. But not for the man himself.

"I wasn't disappointed at all," Harendra said. "People in India always talk about men's hockey, about them winning and losing. I want to change fans' mindset, and they should want to see the women's team on the podium as well. That's the change I want to see, and it starts from Harendra."

The men's team is ranked 6th in the world, the women's team is placed 12th. The men's team finished 8th in the 2016 Rio Olympics, the women's team finished last, 12th. In most major world tournaments that the Indian girls have participated in over the last few years, they've generally been also-rans. The fact that they qualified for the 2016 Games was in itself considered a creditable achievement.

But Harendra wants to change that too. Apart from the fans' mindset, he wants to bring about a paradigm shift in the minds of the players as well.

"Whenever I take charge of any team, winning medals is the first priority for me. We will not go to any tournament just to participate. That's a challenge I'm accepting myself first with this role, and I want to put that in the girls' mind as well. We won't be just participants anymore.

"We want to challenge the big teams, win medals for the country. That's the change I would like to see, and that's the change I would impart in these girls," he said.

The line of foreign coaches that have taken charge of the women's team in the recent past have always spoken about being 'realistic'.

Not Harendra, though. He wants to move the goalposts.

"I've set up Mission 2018. It has three major tournaments: Asia Cup, Commonwealth Games and Asian Games. My mission is winning the Asian Games and directly qualifying for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. And I'd want the team to finish in the top two in the CWG and Asia Cup.

"Long term will be 2020. Once I finish Mission 2018, I'll evaluate the performance and come up with Mission 2020. Also, I want to qualify for the World Cup, and in that, I want to bring the team to a place where it can claim a medal, while also thinking about the 2020 Games," he said.


Harendra Singh believes his appointment as the head coach of a senior national team can open the door for other aspiring Indian coaches to come into the system, provided they have the passion and will to do so. "I have become a role model for other Indian coaches who want to be here. If anyone wants to come here, they have to work hard. It's not just about talking and saying I want to be there or I should be there. It's about qualifying to be there by crossing all the levels of coaching: Level I, II and III. Nobody can come from top to down, people have to come from bottom to top," he said.


Harendra Singh 'proud' of coaching India women's hockey team, stresses on accepting any role

Bengaluru: A self-proclaimed patriotic women's hockey team coach, Harendra Singh says anybody who wants to serve the country should be ready to accept any role entrusted to him or her.

Harendra, who never coached a women's team in the past, was given the responsibility recently, even though he was very interested in working with the men's national team.

But Harendra, who guided India to the Junior World Cup title in Lucknow last year, did not shy away and took the challenge.

"I feel proud to be coaching women's team. History is full with instances where most of the top hockey coaches of the world in their early stages have coached women's teams," he said.

Asked whether he was disappointed at being ignored for the men's team coach's position, he replied in the negative.

"There is no question of disappointment. One thing is that anybody who wants to serve the country, he should not look to dodge such opportunity and should accept the challenge," Harendra said.

Harendra also said that there should not be any problems for him to coach the women players despite the fact that he has never worked with the eves.

He said he has full confidence in his abilities as a coach.


AHL Preview: India & New Zealand

Ben Somerford

India and New Zealand development squads will compete in this year’s Australian Hockey League in Perth from September 28 – October 8.

India competed well in the men’s division last year, reaching the semi-finals, while they didn’t field a women’s side.

New Zealand’s Futures side finished 10th in the men’s division and sixth in the women’s division last year.

Men’s AHL


Squad: Krishan B Pathak (gk), Nilam Sanjeep Xess, Gurinder Singh, Anand Lakra, Baljit Singh, Vilramjit Singh, Hajreet Singh, Ashish Kumar Topno, Hardik Singh, Santa Singh, Nilakanta Sharma, Armaan Qureshi, Mohd Umar, Simranjit Singh, Affan Yousuf, Talwinder Singh, Vikas Dahiya (gk) (c), Amit Rohidas

New Zealand

Squad: George Enerson (gk), Richard Joyce (gk), Dominic Newman, Ben Tanner, David Brydon, Hayden Phillips, Kim Kingstone, Nick Elders, Kalyan Jeram, Joe Hanks, Jonty Keaney, Leo Mitai-Wells, Cam Hayde, Reuben Andrews, Aidan Sariyaka, Brad Read, Sam Hiha, Mackenzie Wilcox

Head Coach: Simon Brill, Assistant Coach: Lincoln Churchill, Physiotherapist: Kate Savoury, Team Manager: Bryce Collins

Women’s AHL


Squad: Divya Thepe (gk), Bichu Devi Khairbam (gk), Neelue Dadiya, Ashmita Barla, Priyanka, Suman Devi Thoudam, Salima Tete, Udita, Ishika Choudhary, Mahima Choudhary, Gagandeep Kaur, Nilanjali Rai, Mariana Kujur, Dubey, Sangita Kumar, Joyoti, Navpreet Kaur, Mumtaz Khan

New Zealand

Squad: Brooke Roberts (gk), Kirsten Nation (gk), Stephanie Dickins, Pippa Norman, Megan Hull, Leah Butt, Phoebe Steele, Frances Davies, Jenny Storey, Louisa Tuilotolava, Polly Inglis, Deanna Ritchie, Maddie Dowe, Alia Jaques, Jessica Anderson, Felicity Reidy, Kim Tanner, Michaela Curtis

Head Coach: Greg Nicol, Assistant Coach: Nicky Smith, Physiotherapist: Peter Lee, Team Manager: Katie Glynn

Hockey Australia media release

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