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News for 23 January 2018

All the news for Tuesday 23 January 2018

Three Athletes to Follow on Each Team During the USWNT vs. The Netherlands

PALO ALTO, Calif. – In three days, the U.S. Women's National Team vs. The Netherlands Series will get underway at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Time is running out to purchase your tickets to see the No. 1 FIH Hero World Ranked Team take on the red, white and blue, as the competition is promised to be high, intense and exciting during the four-game series.

To give fans some insight as they set out to The Varsity Field Hockey Field on Stanford's campus, USA Field Hockey has highlighted three athletes from each team to follow throughout the series.

U.S. Women's National Team

Melissa Gonzalez | 224 Caps

A natural work-horse on the team, Gonzalez was recently nominated as the women's 2017 FIH Hockey Player of the Year following a prosperous 2017 campaign with the USWNT. She captained the squad to a historic finish at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, South Africa. Her performance included a thrilling sudden death shootout goal to propel the team into the championship match and also helped her earn the Best Player of the Tournament award. Just two weeks following that event, she helped the U.S. Women's National Team earn bronze at the 2017 women's Pan American Cup in Lancaster, Pa. Her overall performance in 2017 placed her on the Pan American Elite Teams. Expect Gonzalez to bring nothing but her best to the field when they take on the Oranje. Whether she will be rocking double-buns, we don't know, but her constant hustle will be hard to miss.

Ashley Hoffman | 29 Caps

With just 29 international caps to her name, Hoffman started as an impactful player on the U.S. U-21 Women's National Team. She helped the squad to a 2016 women's Hockey Junior World Cup berth, following a silver medal performance at the women's Junior Pan American Games in Trinidad and Tobago. In April 2017, she was called up to the senior USWNT and her solid skills on defense helped the USWNT achieve gold at the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals as well as bronze at the women's Pan American Cup. She missed out attending the 2017 Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final as she was competing in her junior season at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. With the Tar Heels, she achieved a handful of personal accolades as she was named Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) Defensive Player of the Year, First-Team All ACC, ACC All-Tournament Team and ACC Tournament MVP, while recording the program's 20th ACC Title. She also earned First-Team All-South Region, First-Team All-American and was nominated for the Honda Sports Award. Hoffman will be itching to get back on the turf in the red, white and blue with her dynamic skill to shut down any attacking forward.

Taylor West | 34 Caps

One of the shyest athletes on the team, West is no threat to sleep on. In the right situations, she can skillfully weave the ball around her defenders and into the back of the goal before the blink of an eye. West joined the USWNT in 2016 and has already made a direct impact with the squad. She was critical in tallying an equalizer penalty stroke with just two minutes remaining in semifinal match of the FIH Hockey World League Semifinals to send it into a shootout. Her craftiness was shown when she produced a solo scoring run at the women's Pan American Cup against Brazil which was featured as the top play on espnW's SportsCenters Top 10. Keep an eye on #11 with the bright yellow stick when she takes the field, you never know what she can do when she gathers the ball.

The Netherlands

Maartje Krekelaar | 30 Caps

A familiar opponent to many athletes of the U.S. Women's National Team, Krekelaar was part of The Netherlands Junior National team at the 2016 women's Hockey Junior World Cup in Santiago, Chile and had an impressive performance at the most recent 2017 Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final in Auckland, New Zealand. At 22 years old and just 30 international matches with the senior squad, Krekelaar scored 5 goals in the tournament, earning tying her for the award of Top Goal Scorer of the event with Argentina's Delfina Merino. Keep an eye on Krekelaar throughout the event as you might find her instinct for the goal could light up the backboard.

Pien Sanders | 30 Caps

Similar to Krekelaar, Sanders was also at the women's Hockey Junior World Cup and the Sentinel Homes Hockey World League Final, but her most recent achievement came when she was nominated by the press and organization as the Under-21 Talent of the recent Rabo EuroHockey Championship 2017 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. The youngest player on that championship winning Dutch team, Sanders will be an upcoming talent to watch when she takes the pitch in California.

Margot van Geffen | 150 Caps

One of the highest capped individuals on the team, Van Geffen is a silent moto on this Netherlands' team. Her wealth of experience has helped guide many of the younger athletes who joined the squad, following some retirements post Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Although her efforts are never on the foreground, she is important to the team, almost like an unsung player, not the flashiest but always solid at doing her part.

All tickets for the Saturday, January 27 game are sold out and all tickets in Section A for the Sunday, January 28 game are sold out. All other matches are trending in the same direction. Tickets will be for sale at the door for remaining games that are not sold out.

To help rally the crowd to be big, bold and loud throughout the four-game event, Theme Nights have been established. Click here to view the nights and join in on the fun.

All games will be live streamed on usafieldhockey.com.


USFHA media release

Malaysia to use Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as build up for Gold Coast assignment


National hockey captain Sukri Mutalib wants his teammates to be ready for the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, adding that there will be no easy matches. File pic by AZIAH AZMEE.

KUALA LUMPUR: National captain Sukri Mutalib does not want to think too much about Malaysia’s opponents in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup on March 3-10 in Ipoh.

However, the 31-year-old has urged his teammates to be prepared for all adversities as there will be no easy matches in the tournament.

Stephen Van Huizen’s side will open their campaign against Ireland on March 3, followed by World No 1 Australia in the following day.

“Frankly, I am not focused on our opponents in the tournament as we are using it to prepare for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games in April.

“However, we do need to get good results as it will not only help in terms of motivation but also attract fans to the stadium.”

Malaysia’s other matchers are against Rio Olympic Games gold medallists Argentina (March 6), India (March 7) and England (March 8).

“Ireland have improved as their players are actively playing matches in Europe. We will focus on every match and hopefully, get good results,” Sukri added.

New Straits Times

Malaysia to face Ireland in Sultan Azlan Shah Cup opener

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia will open their campaign against world No. 10 Ireland in the 27th edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup hockey tournament on March 3.

The six-nation competition will be played at the Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

Malaysia, ranked 12th in the world, are the lowest ranked team in the invitational tournament.

Malaysia’s other matches are against world No. 1 Australia on March 4, world No. 2 Argentina (March 6), world No. 6 India (March 7) and world No. 7 England (March 9). The final is on March 10.

Organising chairman Datuk Abdul Rahim Mohd Ariff said a quality tournament was assured with the presence of the world class teams.

“Ireland are making their debut in the tournament and we expect them to put up a good performance. It’ll be exciting,” said Abdul Rahim, who is also the Perak Hockey Association president.

Malaysia are using the tournament as part of their preparation for the Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia, from April 4-15.

“Malaysia will get to gauge the strength of teams like Australia, India and England ahead of the Commonwealth Games.

Abdul Rahim said Malaysia would play all their matches at 8.30pm to attract more fans to the stadium.

“Entrance for all matches is free,” he added.

The Star of Malaysia

Green Machine Ready For First Fixtures Of Busy World Cup Year

While the World Cup in India at the end of November seems a long way off now, preparation has well and truly begun for Craig Fulton’s Green Machine. The side will play in 7 match series or tournaments prior to the opening day of the World Cup on November 28th.

The first of those tournaments is fast approaching as Fulton’s charges travel to Malaga for an invitational 5 Nations Tournament against Spain, USA, Scotland and Canada. Ireland and Spain clashed no fewer than 5 times last year and 4 times the year before that so the teams know each other well, and Spain edged the most recent 2 contests by just 1 goal. Likewise, the Green Machine came up against Canada 7 times in 2016 and went undefeated in all those encounters. But Scotland and USA don’t feature in Ireland’s fixture list as frequently but both offer threats, with Scotland most recently winning the European Championships II in Glasgow to earn promotion to the top flight, while USA finished above their ranking with a 3rd place finish at the Pan American trophy.

Speaking about the opening fixtures of the year, head coach Craig Fulton said “It is really exciting to start preparing ten months out for our World Cup. The last time an Irish Men’s team participated in a World Cup was in 1990 so that shows the level of achievement and how difficult it is to qualify. We have an experienced squad travelling to Spain and we’re looking to build on the tactical and player combinations from a successful 2017”.

In March, the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup awaits the team as they travel to Malaysia to face some of the world’s best teams in the form of Argentina, Australia, England, India and Malaysia. The tournament will run from March 3rd till 10th in Ipoh, Perak and with the world’s top two teams in attendance it will surely prove invaluable experience for the men in green. (Full match schedule listed at bottom of article).

Fulton said “This is a fantastic invite and a really important tournament for us as we will play four teams in the top eight. We will also play an ever improving Malaysian team at home in a packed stadium which is always a good experience for us and our Irish players to learn from and to deal with.

We also have the challenge of getting used to the heat, different kinds of food and the travel aspect of competition eight months out from the World Cup”.

The first home fixtures of the year will come on May 18th and 19th in Pembroke Wanderers as Ireland host world number 5 side Germany. In the 3 encounters the teams shared last summer there was little to separate them with each winning one tie and then splitting the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the European Championships in Amsterdam. Germany finished the year with a 4th place spot in the World League Finals that saw them beat England and the Netherlands on route to their bronze medal match against India, a feat amplified when considering only 6 of their squad were over the 100-cap milestone.

Fulton continued “It is really significant having Germany accept our invite and come to play two matches here in Dublin. We both want quality matches and we hope we can put on a very competitive weekend. We are urging our hockey public to come down cheer us on and support us as we take on the number five ranked team in the world”.

2 home match series in quick succession against France and USA make July a very busy month in the calendar. Ireland will play 3 matches against France on June 28th, 30th and July 1st , followed by 3 matches against USA on July 12th, 14th and 15th, venues for both match series will be confirmed shortly. The last two times Ireland met France it required a penalty shootout to separate the sides and in their last 8 encounters only once has a victory been sealed by more than 1 goal so the series is destined to be hotly contested.

The Hamburg Masters will this year be played in Dusseldorf by Germany, Ireland, France and Spain between July 28th-29th. The Green Machine will go into the tournament as defending champions following last year’s tournament victory against Germany, Austria and Spain.

The final test for Ireland before departing for the World Cup in India in late November will be an invitational 6 Nations Tournament in Valencia, teams to be finalised. The importance of that tournament is clear as Fulton explains “The Six Nations Tournament in Valencia will be our last tournament before we travel to India .The calibre of teams participating in Valencia will be fantastic preparation 4 weeks out from our opening match. Our goal is to have the Irish World Cup team selected for the Valencia 6 Nations Tournament”.

Pools and fixtures for the World Cup in Bhubaneswar have yet to be confirmed but there’s no doubt India will put on a memorable show and it is certain to be the highlight of the year for Irish players, none of whom will have played in a World Cup previously.

5 Nations Match Details in Spain:

January 29th at 2:30pm Ireland vs Canada in Carranque
January 30th at 5pm Ireland vs Spain in Carranque
February 1st at 5pm Ireland vs Scotland in CHP Benalmadena
February 3rd at 2pm Ireland vs USA in CHP Benalmadena

*All times listed are local GMT+1


1.Jonny Bell- Lisnagarvey
2.Matt Bell- Crefelder THC
3.Lee Cole- Royal Oree
4.Stuart Loughrey- Hampstead & Westminster
5.Paul Gleghorne- Lisnagarvey
6.Conor Harte- Racing
7.Luke Madeley- Three Rock
8.Sam O’Connor- Glenanne
9.Stephen Cole- Monkstown
10.Shane O’Donoghue- Glenanne
11.Johnny McKee- Banbridge
12.Michael Robson - Lisnagarvey
13.Sean Murray- Lisnagarvey
14.Chris Cargo- Hampstead & Westminster
15.Daragh Walsh- Three Rock
16. Alan Sothern- Pembroke
17.Neal Glassey- Lisnagarvey
18.Mathew Nelson- Lisnagarvey
19.Julian Dale- Cork Church of Ireland
20.Peter Caruth- Annadale
21.Jeremy Duncan- Herakles
22.Mark Ingram- Pembroke
23.Jamie Carr- Three Rock
24. David Fitzgerald- Monkstown

Sultan Azlan Shah Cup Schedule:

*All times listed are local  GMT+8

Irish Hockey Association media release

Roadmap to Bhubaneswar laid out for the Green Machine

Craig Fulton during World League Round 2 in Stormont. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Irish coach Craig Fulton has laid out the roadmap to Bhubaneswar and the 2018 World Cup next November with a comprehensive plan of action for the next 10 months, leading up to the November 28 tip off.

It starts with a 24-player training camp in Malaga, Spain next week where Ireland will play Canada, Spain, USA and Scotland in a five-game tournament. From March 3 to 10, the squad will depart for the “perfect tournament” as they take on world number ones Australia, Olympic champions Argentina, India, England and hosts Malaysia at the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Ipoh.

In May, Germany come to Ireland for the first time since the UCD pitch opening in 2005 for a couple of games at Pembroke. France and the USA arrive in June and July for six more home games.

Having won the Hamburg Masters last year, Ireland have been given a return invite for that event which moves to Dusseldorf alongside Germany, France and Spain.

The panel will have some downtime in August before ramping up preparations again in October with a crucial six nations tournament in Valencia four weeks out from the World Cup.

There, it looks likely Ireland will be grouped with England, Australia and China though this remains to be formally confirmed by the FIH.

“They are nice teams to play who like to attack,” he told The Hook when that line-up was put to him. “We know a lot about England, they know a lot about us. Australia are always a great team to play and you know exactly where you stand. China is a bit of an unknown but they have a full time programme.”

The team that finishes fourth is eliminated while first place goes straight through to the quarter-finals; second and third go into a knock-out game with the crossovers aligned with Spain, France, New Zealand or Argentina.

“It’s a good opportunity to advance, big time. We want to get a quarter-final at least; bottom line, get out of our pool and then win again. We’re definitely getting stronger, fitter and I am confident we will bridge that gap in 2018.”

It follows a transitional 2017 in which the after-effects of the Rio effort meant a glut of new faces were assimilated very quickly. They negotiated a potentially fraught World League Round 2 in Stormont when experienced players were either on a break or dropped like injured flies in the week leading up to the tournament.

Automatic World Cup qualification was brilliantly won in South Africa with a 1-0 win over New Zealand. The Europeans started strong, tying with Germany, but ended with Fulton’s side hanging on to sixth place ahead of Austria.

Given the circumstances, Fulton looks back on it as “a massive year” for the Green Machine’s overall programme.

“A few stats put it into perspective; from 2015, there were 10 changes from the team that won World League 2 in San Diego to 2017 in Stormont. From the team that qualified in Belgium for Rio in 2015 to the 2017 team in Jo’burg, there were eight changes.

“For the Euros team that won bronze to the one that was a goal away from knocking England out, there were eight changes. Within a 20-month period, we have changed more than half. We still keep getting results when other countries are making less changes.”

The nature of the changes, though, is part and parcel of Ireland’s lot. Whereas other countries with full time programmes can roll with the changes with financial security, the straddle between professional attitude and amateur status means something has to give at some point with work or exams taking precedence.

Mikey Watt retired while Mitch Darling, Kirk Shimmins, John Jackson, Ronan Gormley, Chris Cargo and Alan Sothern – among others – all took breaks at different phases.

“It’s off the back of Rio. It became difficult to sustain things with six or seven guys taking sabbaticals for the next qualifying block which was within five months.

“Where you have an experienced group who can maybe not continue because of where they are in their lives, that was always going to be the challenge post-Olympics where we had to find that depth. Fortunately, our younger players stepped into the breach and did well early – Ben Walker, Neal Glassey, Matthew Nelson, Sean Murray for example.”

Teenager Matthew Nelson had a superb breakout year for Ireland. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/EHF

That they did so well was a god-send as they took to the international game quicker than most. That they had to make the leap highlights the importance of having an ongoing Under-21 programme.

Such things cost, though, alongside the extensive senior schedule. With no sponsor currently on board, Fulton expressed his frustration over a lack of movement to support the workers in his team and also in other Irish minority sports.

It follows a lack of follow-through from positive talks with the then Minister for State for Sport Patrick O’Donovan at the back end of 2016. The Minister engaged with a number of sports organisations regarding proposals for tax breaks to companies who support international athletes who work full-time to make things work for each side.

But, since O’Donovan’s move to finance, Fulton says that there has been little to no progression.

“You have really positive conversations and you hope the right outcome for you, specifically, in a big pool of Irish and minority sports,” he said. “For whatever reason, there was less funding given. The men and the women getting to World Cups seem to have been pushed to the sideline for the mainline sports that are on tv all the time.”

As such, the experienced players in his panel have to plan their holiday days accordingly while numerous stars – like Mitch Darling, Kirk Shimmins and Ronan Gormley among others – took breaks at different times in 2017. It means Fulton must chop and change his squad.

“We have to pace ourselves and be smart about what senior players can and can’t do, what leave they can take.”

For the tournament in Spain, John Jackson, Shimmins, Darling, Eugene Magee and Walker all step out while David Harte is still playing in the Malaysia Hockey League.

The good news is the programme of matches is set in stone and funded for 2018. Should further financing not be forthcoming, training days will be adjusted to fit.

The Irish team following their sixth place finish at the European Championships. Pic: Frank Uijlenbroek/EHF

“We can possibly take a few days away from it down the line but [extra funding] will help us with building a bigger squad and giving younger players experience [for the Tokyo qualifying campaign]. We haven’t had a confirmed financial meeting but that will happen soon where we put it on the table. Everything is booked for the first six months of the year and will definitely happen.

“It doesn’t mean it is all solved. We still don’t have a sponsor for a team that has gone from 15 to 10 in the world, qualified for the World Cup and had a good Europeans.

“We are tracking well, though, and have a great programme for 2018. We just need to balance it out and get the right group of players out at the right times.”

Ireland squad (five nations tournament, Malaga, January 29 to February 3): Jonny Bell (Lisnagarvey), Matthew Bell (Crefelder THC), Lee Cole (Royal Oree), Stuart Loughrey (Hampstead & Westminster), Paul Gleghorne (Lisnagarvey), Conor Harte (Racing Club de Bruxelles), Luke Madeley (Three Rock Rovers), Sam O’Connor (Glenanne), Stephen Cole (Monkstown), Shane O’Donoghue (Glenanne), Johnny McKee (Banbridge), Michael Robson (Lisnagarvey), Sean Murray (Lisnagarvey), Chris Cargo (Hampstead & Westminster), Daragh Walsh (Three Rock Rovers), Alan Sothern (Pembroke), Neal Glassey (Lisnagarvey), Mathew Nelson (Lisnagarvey), Julian Dale (Cork C of I), Peter Caruth (Annadale), Jeremy Duncan (Herakles), Mark Ingram (Pembroke), Jamie Carr (Three Rock Rovers), David Fitzgerald (Monkstown)

5 Nations fixture schedule (all times local)
January 29: Ireland vs Canada, 2.30pm, Carranque
January 30: Ireland vs Spain, 5pm, Carranque
February 1: Ireland vs Scotland, 5pm, CHP Benalmadena
February 3: Ireland vs USA, 2pm, CHP Benalmadena

The Hook

Scotland men to play 5-nations in Malaga

Alan Forsyth attacks Portugal at Men’s EuroHockey Championship II in Glasgow – photo by Mark Pugh

Scotland’s men’s national hockey team will compete in a 5-nations tournament in Malaga as they prepare for the upcoming Commonwealth Games in the Gold Coast.

The Gold Coast team selection will be made after the tournament in Malaga, which will be held between 29 January and 3 February 2018. The Gold Coast squad will be announced on 14 February 2018.

Scotland, ranked 23 in the world, will go toe-to-toe with the highly-ranked Spain (8), Ireland (10), Canada (11), and USA (26) in the Malaga round robin tournament.

The Blue Sticks will be looking to carry their exceptional form from last year, where the team won EuroHockey Championship II and qualified for the World League semi-final, into 2018.

Excitement is building in anticipation of the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games following the draw for the tournament. Scotland men have been drawn in Pool A with Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and South Africa. Men’s Pool B has India, England, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Wales drawn together.

Scotland Men’s Head Coach Derek Forsyth said, “We’re very much looking forward to the 5-nations tournament in Malaga against some top sides, it’ll be a good test for the players.

“Selection for the Commonwealth Games will be made after the tournament and every player has the opportunity to be selected to represent Scotland in the Gold Coast in April.”

Scotland squad
Wei Adams     Dusseldorfer HC
Tommy Alexander     Reading
Russell Anderson     Cannock
Kenny Bain     Hurley
Michael Bremner     UHC Hamburg
Gavin Byers     Grove Menzieshill
Murray Collins     Loughborough Uni
Ben Cosgrove     Grove Menzieshill
Callum Duke     Hillhead
David Forrester     Club Montrouge
Alan Forsyth     Surbiton
David Forsyth     Qui Vive
Cammy Fraser     Grange
Cammy Golden     Grove Menzieshill
Chris Grassick     Surbiton
Rob Harwood     Western Wildcats
Gordon McIntyre     Wimbledon
Aidan McQuade     Grove Menzieshill
Willie Marshall     Surbiton
Lee Morton     Reading
Nick Parkes     Surbiton
Duncan Riddell     Reading
Robbie Shepherdson     Loughborough Uni
Jamie Wong     Qui Vive

5-Nations Fixtures

29 Jan 2018 | 16:30 (15:30) | USA v Scotland (Carranque)
30 Jan 2018 | 15:00 (14:00) | Scotland v Canada (Carranque)
1 Feb 2018 | 17:00 (16:00) | Scotland v Ireland (CHP Benalmadena)
3 Feb 2018 | 12:00 (11:00) | Scotland v Spain (CHP Benalmadena)

Scottish Hockey Union media release

England women win indoor bronze in Brussels

England Women Indoor

England women secured bronze at the 2018 EuroHockey Indoor Championships II in Brussels.

The squad progressed to the final pool stage after finishing second in their initial pool and with victory over Croatia were able to finish third and take bronze.

England opened their campaign with a 5-1 win over Sweden which saw Erica Sanders net a fine hat-trick. They followed this with a close 5-3 defeat to Austria but bounced back to beat to Lithuania as Esme Burge and Megan Crowson were both in target twice.

Crowson was again in top goalscoring form when England took on Croatia and her hat-trick guided the side to a dominant 4-1 victory. They suffered a 3-0 defeat in their final game against eventual champions Belgium but bronze was still secured.

England Squad: Amy Tennant (GK), Miriam Pritchard (GK), Kathryn Lane, Alice Wills, Emma Trunks, Esme Burge, Olivia Paige, Megan Crowson, Lydia MacDonnell, Erica Sanders

You can see all the results and scorers from the weekend here.

England Hockey Board Media release

It was good to be in Pakistan: World XI captain Weusthof

By Nabil Tahir

EMPTY STANDS: World XI captain Roderick Wuesthof and Dutch legend Floris Jab Bovelander rued the lack of audience during the two matches in Karachi and Lahore, but were all praise of the security arrangements set in place for them. PHOTO COURTESY: PHF

KARACHI: World XI hockey team captain Roderick Weusthof expressed his happiness for saying yes to the visit to Pakistan for the two-match series, which the visitors won 1-0 after a 3-3 draw on Sunday.

The Dutch international, while talking to media in National Hockey Stadium, Lahore, said that he enjoyed everything about the tour, but would’ve been happier if the largest hockey stadium in the world was full.

The National Hockey Stadium holds a capacity of seventy thousand spectators but witnessed only around four thousand spectators in Sunday’s match that was held 13 years after the last one — the 2004 Champions Trophy.

“It is so good to be here,” said Wuesthof. “We have always heard about it [National Hockey Stadium] but were not able to come here, and now I can’t describe what I am feeling in this huge stadium. However, I wish there the stadium was filled. It would have been one of the most memorable moments for me, as the feeling of imagining this stadium full is so wonderful.”

The striker added that he would be ready to visit the country again since he was satisfied with the security arrangements.

“The security arrangements in Karachi and Lahore were amazing. We didn’t feel unsafe even for a second and the love people gave us was so good to see. We would love to visit here soon again,” he said.

In the match, World XI were able to find the net twice before Pakistan, but the Men in Green struck back twice to equalise and go in the fourth quarter with a 2-2 scoreline.

In the last quarter, Pakistan were once against test by the World XI as they converted a penalty corner, but Naveed Alam’s strike, just two minutes before the end of the match, made sure the hosts didn’t lose 2-0 in the series.

“The Pakistani team was good today. They were faster and they were more skilful. They didn’t repeat the mistakes they did in the first match in Karachi and gave us a tough time,” Weusthof said while talking to The Express Tribune.

He added that with constant support, Pakistan can regain their lost glory. “They have improved and learned a lot of new techniques and I am sure they will use them in the future,” he said. “They have to keep working hard and if the country, people and press will support them and give them some time, I think great things can happen for Pakistan national team.”

Would like to travel in rickshaw: Bovelander

Former Netherlands hockey legend Floris Jab Bovelander was admired the security arrangements put in place for the World XI team, however, he had a wish that he wants fulfilled the next time he visits Pakistan.

“It was a fool proof security, but I wish the next time I come here I travel to the hotel in a rickshaw,” said Bovelander.

He added that watching the match in a near-empty stadium was sad, but he cherished the opportunity of playing in Lahore. “If the seats were fully filled then the match would have been much better,” he said.

The Express Tribune

Need for speed? Can work on that, says Sardar

Veteran Indian hockey star Sardar Singh feels modern sport is all about fitness and is raring to make a comeback to the Indian side.

Stan Rayan

KOCHI: Sardar Singh is probably closely following Roger Federer’s progress at the Australian Open these days. Despite being 36, the Swiss great – one of the favourites for the title at Melbourne Park – continues to inspire the former Indian hockey captain as he looks to extend his international career.

Sardar, currently 31, feels he has a few more years of hockey in him but despite being one of the country’s few world-class players in the last six or seven years, he needs to frequently keep convincing the men who matter that he is still a force to reckon with.

The seasoned midfielder did not find a place in the Indian team for the Hockey World League Finals in Bhubaneswar in December and also was ignored for the four-nation tournament currently on in New Zealand.

However, Sardar is not perturbed. In fact, he does not even see the New Zealand miss as a case of being dropped but as an opportunity to try out youngsters.

“With the Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, Champions Trophy, Asian Champions Trophy and the World Cup all lined up, this is a very busy year. So, we are trying out many new players,” said Sardar in a chat with Sportstar after opening the Maharaja Agrasen Sports Meet in Kochi.

If there was any disappointment, he masked it nicely saying, “These tournaments are not really important. I’ve been playing continuously for the last 12 years, I’ve got almost 300 India caps. So, when you play for that long, rest is very important. I have to work harder on my fitness for the big ones.”

The talk running around is that despite his skill and experience, Sardar has been dropped as there is a push for faster legs in the Indian team, that his leg speed is not enough for the fast-paced world of modern hockey.

Sardar takes it very positively. “When people tell you something, that’s good, that’s what I like … I can improve on that, try to get faster,” said Sardar who led the Indian team to gold at the last Asian Games in Incheon in 2014.

Incidentally, he was also India’s youngest-ever captain when he led the team at the Azlan Shah Cup in Malaysia in 2008. He was 21 then. So, how long does he think he can go on… does he see himself playing at 35?

“It’s really hard because in modern hockey, everything depends on your fitness. But if you see Teun de Nooijer, one of Holland’s finest players who retired about a year ago, and Australia great Jamie Dwyer, they played till about 35-36, so it’s up to you.”

“I have a lot of experience, if I can take care of my body recovery, I can go longer.

“Age does not matter, you look at Roger Federer… today sport is all about fitness.”

Sport Star Live

Champions Telkom hit Kada Queens to make it three in a row


Telkom players celebrate a goal against Nigeria’s Yobe Desert Queens in Africa Cup for Club Champions hockey tournament in Accra, Ghana on January 20, 2018. PHOTO | BRIAN OTWAL |  NATION MEDIA GROUP

Defending champions on Monday hit Kada Queens of Nigeria 3-0 on day three of the Africa Cup for Club Champions at the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana.

Goals from Maureen Okumu, Jackline Mwangi and skipper Tracy Karanja gave the champions their third successive win of the tournament. The win took their tally to nine points and they are yet to concede a goal in the annual tourney.

The win pleased Telkom coach Jos Openda, who now turns his focus on the duo of Ghana Revenue Authority and Ghana Police.

“The tournament is just beginning. We now have three more games, including the final which we are positive of making. We have yet to concede a goal and that is a good thing, but we are missing too many scoring chances and that is something we have to work on ahead of our showdown with the Ghanaian sides,” Openda said.


However, it was heartbreak for Kenya’s other representative Strathmore University Scorpions as they went down 4-1 to Ghana Police at the same venue.

International Gilly Okumu gave Strathmore the lead in the seventh minute, before Police scored through Ghanaian international Umaru Nafisatu in the ninth minute.

After the resumption of the second quarter, Martha Safoa gave Police the lead in the 36th minute. Nafisatu added her second 12 minutes later, and Cecilia Ofoi scored the fourth for Police.

The loss means Strathmore cannot reach Saturday’s final after suffering three straight losses. A dejected Scorpions coach, Meshack Senge however remains optimistic that his charges can achieve a respectable finish.

“We failed in our tactics, I think the girls were chasing a win after losing in two matches and dropped tactical play and we got punished by Police who were the better side today,” he said.

Scorpions face Nigerian sides Kada Queens Wednesday, before tackling Yobe Desert on Thursday.

In other results, Ghana Revenue Authority thumped Yobe Desert 8-0 to leap to the top of the women’s standings with nine points and a superior goal difference.

Telkom lie second on the standings, with Ghana Police third on six points. Kada Queens are place fourth on three points. Winless Strathmore and Yobe Desert are placed fifth and sixth respectively. Tuesday is rest day.

Daily Nation

Telkom inch closer to 10th African title: Only two Ghanaian teams stand between the Kenyans and trophy

By Elizabeth Mburugu

Telkom Tracy Karanja(l) with the ball as Multi Media player Shirline Nabifo keep chase. JENIPHER WACHIE

Old foes await as defending champions hunt for continental fame.

Nine-time Africa Cup of Club Championships winners Telkom have only Ghanaian sides between them and their 10th continental crown.

The Kenyan girls have already pushed Nigerian opponents Yobe Desert Queens and Kada Queens as well as compatriots Strathmore University Scorpions out of their way.

They now focus on a date with old foes Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA) and Ghana Police as they hunt for a place in Saturday’s final.

Telkom yesterday trounced Kada 3-0 in their third round-robin match at Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium in Accra, Ghana.

They have also kept a clean sheet and are closing in on achieving their long-term objective of winning the title without conceding a goal.

Speaking after the match against the Nigerians, Telkom coach Jos Openda said real competition will begin with tomorrow's clash against GRA.

“The tournament is just beginning and we have three crucial games that include the final because I’m positive we will be in the final.

"From now on, it’s all about Ghana; the two clubs (GRA and Police), whom we play in a round-robin format and the final,” Openda said.

He added that they will prepare well ahead of tomorrow's battle against GRA, who they have beaten in the past five finals.

“We have to be at our best to overcome them. We expect stiff competition from them because they are playing at home.”

Telkom must sharpen their finishing skills, which have been blunt and cost them numerous scoring opportunities in their last three encounters.

“We must work on how to finish our chances because we wasted many chances. We have to rectify that before we face our next opponents,” Openda said.

Against Kada, both sides played to a goalless first quarter despite Telkom dominating the match from the onset. Openda stuck to his starting 11 with veteran Jackline Mwangi and youngster Maureen Okumu as well as Audrey Omaido leading in goal hunt mission.

After a dull first period, Okumu scored her first goal in the tournament four minutes into the second quarter.

The Nigerians tightened their defence while fighting to get an equaliser.

Kada striker Bomiegha Ikiriko, captain Alfa John, Beauty Irame and Stella Nnanna pushed for a goal but their efforts were met by a resilient Telkom defence of Terry Juma, Flavia Mutiva, Rachel Aura and Lucy Wangeci.

The Standard Online

Glenanne capturing the spirit of old to bring EHL ticket into range

©: Adrian Boehm

Glenanne player-coach Joe Brennan says the side are capturing some of the spirit of old as they produced yet another late series of goals put them in prime position to win Ireland's EY Hockey League.

Three goals in the last four minutes against nearest rivals Three Rock Rovers saw them win 5-2, moving them seven points clear at the top of the table with seven games to go.

Incredibly, they have now earned 10 of their 29 point-tally this season with goals in the closing five minutes of league games this season. It’s a stat that player-coach and former Irish international Joe Brennan says has become a psychological calling card.

“It’s down to fitness initially,” he said. “But belief builds on belief and when you know you have it and other teams know all about it, they find it difficult to close out games. It was something we had years ago and it's coming back and it is a bloody strong thing to have in the locker.”

Brennan is one of the main links to their last victory on the national stage in 2010 but the league title - and with it an EHL ticket - is very much theirs to lose now.

“The guys have worked so hard. They have been hearing from the old team about the glory days and I think they were sick of it and decided to do something about it. We had a nice early run and momentum has become a huge thing.”

Against Rovers, they started on the back foot with the Rathfarnham side pummeling Iain Walker’s goal in the first quarter but only had a Mitch Darling goal to show for their efforts.

Against the run of play, Gary Shaw popped home an equaliser and Richard Couse slammed home before the break for 2-1. Luke Madeley levelled for Three Rock early in the second half and they looked more likely to grab a winner for much of the second half until things fell apart in the endgame with Shannon Boucher, Neil Byrne and Shane O’Donoghue scoring in quick succession.

“It was a brilliant game between the two best counter-attacking teams in the country, an amazing advert for the club game,” Brennan added. “Rovers are lethal at times, are so young and can be a truly brilliant team.

“I have no doubt this isn’t the last time we play Rovers this season and we could end up playing them four or five times in either the cups or the playoffs.”

Euro Hockey League media release

FIH confirms 10 Preferred Suppliers as part of Quality Programme

FIH has increased their Preferred Suppliers from 7 to 10 companies Photo: FIH/WSP
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has announced the expansion of their Preferred Supplier category to 10 companies as it continues to grow the FIH Quality Programme for Hockey Turf.

Following an extensive evaluation process, Act Global, AstroTurf, Edel, FieldTurf, Forbex, CC Grass, Greenfields and Tigerturf (subsidiaries of Tencate Grass), Lano and Polytan have all been approved as FIH Preferred Suppliers until the end of 2019.

By manufacturing hockey turf products and building hockey fields, these companies provide a one-stop approach to the installation of new hockey fields. In addition to meeting all the criteria of FIH Certified Manufacturers and Field Builders, the 10 suppliers have also demonstrated their commitment to working with the FIH to provide high-quality hockey fields suitable for international, national, club and development hockey.

"FIH remains focused on improving the quality of hockey facilities around the world – that is key to the long-term success of our sport."
FIH CEO Jason McCracken

As was the case when the Programme launched in 2015, only companies that are able to demonstrate this commitment to hockey are awarded this prestigious recognition. As part of the evaluation process, each have shown their desire to support FIH’s Hockey Revolution strategy which aims to make hockey a global game that inspires the next generation. As such, they will work closely with FIH to set industry standards and build the fields needed to grow and sustain the game.

Speaking of these appointments, FIH CEO Jason McCracken said: “We’re delighted to see the positive growth in the FIH Quality Programme. The fact that seven Preferred Suppliers renewed their licenses and two of the companies have upgraded from Certified Manufacturers suggests that they are seeing real commercial benefits from this initiative.”

He continued: “FIH remains focused on improving the quality of hockey facilities around the world – that is key to the long-term success of our sport. Last year we introduced international standards aimed at ensuring the sustainability, affordability and accessibility of hockey fields worldwide, key recommendations also outlined in the International Olympic Committee’s Olympic Agenda 2020. This forms an important component of our Hockey Revolution development strategy, fundamental to growing the game.”

Alastair Cox, FIH Facilities Manager, added: “The increase in Preferred Suppliers now gives facility owners a wider choice when selecting a company to provide both turf and installation services. By choosing one of these 10 companies they can ensure that their field will perform correctly, is safe, built to specification and maintains performance. As a result we hope that many more hockey fields will be FIH certified over the coming years across the world.”

The FIH Quality Programme is an internationally recognised quality-assurance programme that provides consistent and dependable industry standards for the performance, construction and durability of hockey turf installations worldwide and ensures the appropriate quality for the intended level of play. As a result it will help inspire more people to play hockey, promote player welfare and protect the investment of those funding hockey facilities.

For more information about this programme, visit the Quality Programme for Hockey Turf section of FIH website by clicking here.


FIH site

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