Welcome to the Fieldhockey.com Archives

Daily Hockey news updated @ 10:00 GMT

News for 24 November 2018

All the news for Saturday 24 November 2018

Wanglibao Hockey Champions Trophy Changzhou Wujin 2018 - Day 5
Changzhou (CHN)

Fixtures 24 November

14:00     JPN v AUS (RR)
16:00      NED v CHN (RR)
18:00     GBR v ARG (RR)

 Finals 25 November

14:00     5th RR v 6th RR (5th/6th Place
16:15     3rd RR v 4th RR (3rd/4th Place)
18:30     1st RR v 2nd RR (Final)

Pool Standings

Rank Team Played Wins Draws Losses Goals For Goals Against Goal Difference Points
1 Netherlands 4 4 0 0 13 1 12 12
2 Australia 4 2 1 1 4 4 0 7
3 China 4 1 3 0 4 2 2 6
4 Argentina 4 1 0 3 5 7 -2 3
5 Great Britain 4 0 2 2 4 10 -6 2
6 Japan 4 0 2 2 3 9 -6 2

FIH Match Centre

Eyes in the sky sees things from all angles

When the umpire turns and makes the international sign for referral, all play stops and time seems suspended. On the pitch and on the bench more than 40 pairs of eyes pivot towards the big screen and, across the world, hockey aficionados begin to speculate on what decision will be made.

For the video umpire, shut away in a room full of screens, this is the moment when they spring into action. But as Belgium umpire Celine Martin-Schmets explains, it is also a moment when you feel as if you are in a bubble, shut away from all the emotion and tension that is out on the field of play.

"It is only after the decision has been made do you feel the adrenaline and the nerves kick in," she says.

The video referral has been around for nearly a decade in hockey and in that time it has become a trusted and vital tool for both the umpires and the teams.

For the players and coaching staff it offers a chance to question an often crucial decision and learning how to effectively and correctly use the referral is as much a skill as any other element of the game.

For the umpires, it is an opportunity to avoid making an error or to reinforce a decision.

England's Emma Shelbourn explains how the work of the umpiring team, including the video umpire, starts from well before the opening match of a competition: "Initially, when we arrive at a tournament we will meet with the video umpire coach and the umpire managers and we will have a briefing. We will watch some video clips and make decisions on those clips and we will talk about consensus and make sure we are on the same page before the tournament starts.

"Prior to the tournament starting, we have a lot of clips, which we share on a dedicated Facebook page. As a group we are constantly discussing and reviewing decisions. It is important before you arrive to know where the standards are set and what we are going to award and what we will not award."

Foresight is a valuable asset in the world of the video umpire. "Being constantly on your toes is important," says Martin-Schmets, "having an awareness of what might happen next or come up during the game helps you prepare for any eventuality."

The video umpire is not alone in the video box. He or she has a constant line of communication to both the on-pitch officials and the Hawkeye team who provide the various angles of playback.

It is also useful to have prior knowledge of the teams and the coaches and the way they approach referrals. Some teams make the decisions on the pitch, others rely on coaches' calls from the sideline. Knowing what is likely to spark a referral or when in the game it might occur is all helpful knowledge.

For this reason, the umpires will spend a lot of time reviewing previous competitions. The 'eye in the sky' always has eyes on the match, says Shelbourn. "When you do get a referral, you need to understand the context in which the umpire's decision has been made. For example, the umpire may have played an advantage. You need to know that as it can affect the final decision. A defending team may be calling for a foot in the circle but there had already been an earlier infringement of which the umpire was aware and she was just holding her whistle – we must know the full context of the game."

Once a referral is called, both Martin–Schmets and Shelbourn agree that the first view must be in real time. That gives the video umpire an initial feel as to what the decision should be. This will be followed by viewing a number of different angles and may call for slow-motion (slow-mo) replay. When a decision is reached, it is clearly communicated back to the umpire.

Language is an important consideration. Both umpires and players are expected to carry out a referral in English, so for those for who English is a second language, time and support is necessary. Martin-Schmets said one marked development in recent years has been the amount of time and practice both China and Japan have paid to getting the communications around video referral correct.

Experience as a video umpire does impact the way that people then return to umpiring roles. "It doesn't change the way you umpire but you are more aware that someone has your back," says Martin–Schmets. "You blow what you see but if you don't see everything, then the video umpire is there to support."

"It has made us much more accountable in our circles," says Shelbourn. "We work very hard on our positioning and getting to the baseline to get that great angle. It also adds clarity to a situation. We might see something that is strange – not necessarily an infringement but not quite right. We can clock it and go back to check it once play breaks.

"Also, if you are watching the ball, your colleague is watching the players. And we can go to a video at any point. The level of accountability is so much higher and that is brilliant for the game."

Video umpires can call up many different angles, and different cameras will provide different perspectives. A view from the centre of the goal might be used when a defender and attacker are running together for a ball; a flat, side-line camera will pick up whether the ball has gone out of the circle on a penalty corner.

As Shelbourn points out however, you can get too much information. "If there is something we need to look at from 10-15 angles, then it is probably not there. You need to stay objective. Use slow motion when you need to, not just because it is available. And you have to accept that sometimes there are situation where there is just no advice because of the angles or where the players are stood in front of the ball."

And then of course, there is that moment when the playback on the big screen is not the same as the playback the video umpire is seeing. "Yes, that is difficult," agrees Shelbourn. "But this is when it is so important that the on-pitch umpire totally trusts the person in the box. The crowd can be shouting, the players gesticulating, but the person who is seeing every angle is your colleague in the video box."

For the umpires at the Wanglibao Hockey Champions Trophy in Changzhou, a source of support and guidance has been the video umpire manager, Carol Metchette of Ireland.

An umpire with years' of experience, Metchette has been training a new generation of video umpires. "Carol gives us a wealth of experience," says Martin–Schmets. "When you start out she really opens your eyes to what you should look for. For example, in my second referral, a danger/no danger situation. We looked at all the angles but she said, 'before you look at any of that, look at the reaction of the player, that will tell you a lot'. I was looking for the ball but the reaction of the player in that instance was the telling point.

"She talks about taking all the pieces together to solve the puzzle. That is a very good way of looking at it."

The message that comes out loud and clear from the interview is the teamwork and trust that has to exist between the umpires on the pitch and their guardian 'eyes in the sky'.

"When you go into changing room, you talk it through and agree how you will approach the match," says Shelbourn. "When you part ways to be the 'eyes in the sky', your fellow umpires have to know you have their back and any decision is evidence-based and nothing is subjective."

Umpires and teams are back in action on Saturday 24 November. For a full playing schedule and information about the Wanglibao Hockey Champions Trophy Changzhou Wujin, click here.


FIH site

India hammer Olympics champs

Youngsters score as hosts beat ‘possibly jet-lagged’ Argentina 5-0 in their first warm-up match

Harmanpreet Singh scored the opener for India against Argentina. file photo

The Indian hockey team geared up for the men’s World Cup with a 5-0 thrashing of reigning Olympics champions Argentina in its first warm-up match here today.

Harmanpreet Singh, Lalit Upadhyay, Dilpreet Singh, Nilakanta Singh and Hardik Singh scored in India’s “confidence boosting” win. The first and third goals were penalty-corner conversions, while the rest were field goals.

“I think we played well in patches,” India coach Harendra Singh said. “I’m happy we scored goals. But we broke our structure and Argentina took control; it is not acceptable but the boys have understood,” he added.

“For any tournament, it is important to start on a good note and I should compliment the boys. Practice matches give you confidence. We tried a couple of things and I am happy, especially the way the midfielders created the opportunities. We always look for strikers to get us the goals but today the midfielders created the goals,” he added.

“If you see the match sheet, the players who have stepped out for the first time for the World Cup, they have scored and it gives them a lot of confidence because they scored against the Olympics champions,” he said.

Harendra said Argentina were still probably recovering from jet lag.

“I think they still haven’t recovered from the long flight and we shouldn’t write them off,” Harendra said.

India will face Spain in their second warm-up match on Sunday.

India among favourites: Spain’s coach

Spain’s head coach Frederic Soyez believes the World Cup will be evenly-contested, with more than seven teams vying for a medal. He, however, added that India would be among the favourites to lift the trophy.

World No. 8 Spain arrived in Bhubaneswar today. “I think this will be a closely-contested event with six to seven teams that are on par with each other fighting for a medal,” said Soyez. “Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Australia and India will be good contenders for the title,” he added.

Grouped in Pool A

with Olympics champions Argentina, New Zealand and France, Spain will begin their campaign on November 29.

“We have had good preparations for this tournament. We are focused on our first game, and it is important to do well in the group stage. We played at the Kalinga Stadium last year and the atmosphere here is electrifying,” said Soyez.

China, who are grouped with England, Australia and Ireland in Pool B, also arrived today.

The Tribune

Malaysia aim to surprise Germans

By Jugjet Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Germany finished sixth in the last World Cup, while Malaysia ended last in the 12-team tournament at the Hague in Netherlands.

 And the last time both the teams met was in 2013 in the quarter-finals of the World League Semifinals — and Malaysia were thrashed 6-0.

  They will face off again in Group D of the World Cup in Bhubaneswar on Nov 28-Dec 16, and Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans will have his hands full trying to keep a German invasion at bay.

"Germany are one of the most successful hockey teams and we can surely expect a tough encounter. But there is always an element of surprise, and we will not give up without a fight," said Oltmans.

Germany have won the Olympics four times (including once as West Germany), the World Cup twice, the EuroHockey Championship eight times (including twice as West Germany) and the Champions Trophy nine times (including three times as West Germany).

"There is a good mix of experience and youth in the German side. They have retained many players from the 2016 Rio Olympics and have a good attacking as well as defending side."

In Rio, the Germans won bronze, while Malaysia failed to qualify for the Olympics.

Florian Fuchs and Christopher Ruhr are world class attackers while rising star Timm Herzbruch is only 21, but has already played in the Olympics.

As far as international records go, it was way back in 1964 when Malaysia stole a point from the Germans in a 0-0 draw at the Tokyo Olympics. And at the last Olympics which Malaysia qualified for, Sydney 2000, Germany could only win 1-0.

New Straits Times

Germany depend on old hands to steer them to victory

KUALA LUMPUR: Two-time world champions Germany will be banking on old-timers to win the World Cup.

They have named three season campaigners Florian Fuchs, Tobias Hauke and Martin Haner, who will be featuring in their third consecutive World Cup.

The other members in the team comprise the squad that won the 2013 Junior World Cup in New Delhi.

World No. 6 Germany, who won the World Cup in Kuala Lumpur in 2002 and Moenchengladbach, Germany in 2006, are drawn in Group D with world No. 4 Holland and lowly-ranked Malaysia and Pakistan.

Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans (pic) said Germans had a good track record in the World Cup.

“They have a good team this time too. They have experienced players in every department, who play a well-disciplined game. They also have skilful forwards and can beat any top team in the world,” said Oltmans.

And the Germans showed they were shaping up well when they defeated ninth-ranked Spain three times – 7-0, 2-1 and 5-2 – in their recent Test matches.

Oltmans added that the Germans also have good drag flickers and the challenge would be on their opponents to stop their penalty corners.

Germany will kickstart their campaign against Pakistan on Dec 1, followed by Holland (Dec 5) and Malaysia (Dec 9).

Malaysia last played Germany in the World League semi-finals in Johor Baru in 2013 and Malaysia were thrashed 6-0 in the quarter-finals. In the last World Cup in The Hague, Holland, they finished sixth.

The Star of Malaysia

Razie and Nabil out to arrest Malaysia's decline in W-Cup

By Aftar Singh

KUALA LUMPUR: Razie Abdul Rahim and Nabil Fiqri Mohd Noor are cops but their mission currently is not to go after criminals.

For now, the duo’s duty as national hockey players is to put up fiery performances at the World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, starting on Nov 28.

And the bosom buddies are up to the challenge.

Thanks to their love for hockey, defender Razie and penalty corner specialist Nabil have become closer than brothers.

The Kuala Lumpur players studied together at the Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) since 2000 and joined Universiti Putra Malaysia in 2009.

They played for BJSS in the National School Sports Council (MSSM) championships, for Kuala Lumpur in the Razak Cup and made their debut in the national team in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in 2006.

The duo even played for the same hockey club – KL Hockey Club in the Malaysia Hockey League.

And both went for police training together in 2015 and are now police inspectors at the sports department in Bukit Aman. The duo also received the sports award from the Royal Malaysian Police (PDRM) for their contributions in hockey last year.

Nabil said they were like “partners in crime”.

“Our friendship started when we were at the sports school.

“I didn’t know much about Razie at first as he was a very quiet person then. But our friendship grew as we loved the same sport and we have been playing together since we were 13.

“I love playing hockey because of my father (Mohd Noor Hussin), who was a former national player and also played for Royal Malay Regiment (RMR) in the 80s,” said Nabil.

Together, Nabil and Razie achieved numerous success with BJSS and later, in the national team.

“We helped BJSS win the double (league and overall title in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League) a few times,” said Nabil.

They also won their first-ever silver medal at the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games and defied the odds to finish fourth in the World League Semi-Finals in London last year to qualify for the World Cup in Bhubaneswar.

“The only painful memory was at the recent Jakarta Asian Games. We lost to Japan in the final and blew our chance of gaining automatic qualifying for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

“We’ve learnt our lesson and we hope to defend well against stronger teams in our Group D,” added Nabil, who helps his wife run a pet shop in Bangi when he is free.

Razie said together with Nabil, they aimed to make a difference at the World Cup.

“Nabil is kind-hearted and has helped me in many ways. We’ve played together for the last 12 years in the national team and it has all been good,” said Razie, who will marshal the defence.

“I’ve a heavy responsibility as I have to defend the backline as well as deliver goals from penalty corners, but I’m physically and mentally ready,” added Razie, who scored three penalty corner goals in the last World Cup in The Hague in Holland in 2014.

The Star of Malaysia

Pakistan hockey squad to leave for India today

LAHORE: Pakistan national squad are all set to leave for India via Wagah Border on Saturday (today) to feature in the 14th edition of the World Cup, a 16-nation event, to be staged in Bhubaneswar from November 28 to December 16. With the players` dues all cleared, Pakistan hockey head coach Tauqir Dar and captain Mohammad Rizwan Senior on Friday sounded confident about the national team’s chances in the World Cup in India. “Don’t consider our poor world ranking of 13th; rather Pakistan will be a surprise package for every team at the World Cup,” head coach and former Olympian Tauqir said at the National Hockey Stadium. “Those who are saying these Pakistan players do not know hockey, are wrong. In Holland around 500,000 players compete in professional hockey, and they include many current players of Pakistan’s national team who are engaged in professional hockey. No European country can pay you for playing hockey if you are raw at the game,” said Tauqir, who joined as head coach on Oct 23, the day when the training camp for the World Cup began.

And Tauqir sounded upbeat about Pakistan's chances of winning the World Cup. “In modern-day sport, any team can win the title provided it does not miss chances. It also depends on the players’ performance on a given day –how they utilise the chances. In short, this Pakistan team, if they play to their full potential, are capable of winning the World Cup,” he maintained. He added that one positive factor in the present national squad was that the officials and the players were on the same page. When reminded that Pakistan held an impressive record at Bhubaneswar where they beat traditional rivals India in the 2014 FIH Champions Trophy semi-final and went down fighting against Germany in the final, Tauqir disclosed he had received a good feedback from the current players, who participated in that Champions Trophy.

Meanwhile, Pakistan captain Rizwan Senior said the forthcoming World Cup might be his last, adding he wanted to finish his international career with great memories. “Our preparations are fine for the World Cup which may be my last. And therefore, I wish to have a memorable end to this event. We have qualified for the World Cup after eight years; so we want to make our best efforts to win it,” Rizwan said. About the team’s chances, team manager Hasan Sardar underlined Pakistan in the recent past had won matches against major teams while losing by very narrow margins. `Therefore, like every other outfit, our team are also going to India with equal chances of win, he said, adding “victory against Germany in the event opener will give Pakistan a perfect start.” The manager thanked Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah for timely helping the Pakistan Hockey Federation by issuing a grant of Rs100 million.

The Daily Times

Hockey World Cup: Are Pakistan’s victorious 1982 team the greatest?

Pakistan once ruled the world. Ijaz Chaudhry looks back at the last time the Hockey World Cup was played on natural grass.

The best ever team or the finest performance by a team is often a favourite topic among lovers and historians of a sporting discipline. The Brazilian soccer side in the 1970 World Cup, the American basketball ‘dream team’ of the 1992 and 1996 Olympics, and the Australian cricket team of the 2003 and 2007 World Cups are often heralded as the finest of their respective sports. When it comes to hockey, it has to be the Pakistan team at the 1982 World Cup.

But Pakistan’s road to winning the World Cup for a third time was far from a smooth one, so it is worth narrating their campaign in full.

Before the World Cup

From the 1978 World Cup until early 1981, Pakistan had been on a winning spree, lifting the trophy in all the six tournaments they had participated in. These included the 1978 World Cup itself in Argentina, the 1978 Asian Games in Thailand and the first two editions of the Champions Trophy, both in Pakistan. All this time, however, the Pakistan team also remained in transition and when the side for the 1981 Champions Trophy was announced, it had just five players from the 1978 World Cup squad.

The greatest regret for the Pakistani players and fans alike was country’s non-participation in the 1980 Olympics due to the boycott against the hosts, the USSR’s invasion of Afghanistan. Pakistan were in magnificent form at that time. After watching their splendid run to victory in the second Champions trophy in early 1980, all the hockey pundits remarked that the Olympic gold was there for Pakistan’s taking. Fate thought otherwise.

The year 1981 arrived. On the eve of the third Champions trophy in January, the greatest pair of full-backs in Pakistan’s history – Manzoorul Hassan and Munawwaruz Zaman (who was the captain as well) – were shown the door. The side had a new skipper in the great centre-half Akhtar Rasool. What ensued in the third Champions Trophy, in Karachi for the second time, was a real jolt to the World Champions. Pakistan failed to win its first ever tournament at either the senior or junior level, since the 1976 Olympics. They did not even make the podium, finishing fourth.

There was a lot of hue and cry over the setback in all the circles. The president of Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF), Air Marshal (retired) Nur Khan’s took all the responsibility himself and at the same time was not too unhappy over the defeat. Nur Khan opined that success had led to complacency and a wakeup call would serve as a stimulus for the PHF to weed out problems well in time for the 1982 World Cup.

The selection committee resigned. And good sense prevailed, as the PHF hierarchy admitted the folly of omitting both the fortresses of deep defence simultaneously – they recalled the right full-back Manzoorul Hassan.

Former skipper, the great full-back Muneer Dar was appointed the manager. The team won a minor tournament in Singapore and then embarked on a tour of Europe. The squad included a player who was destined to make an indelible mark on hockey’s history. Centre forward Hassan Sardar.

Results-wise, the European tour was not successful as Pakistan failed to win either of the two four nation tournaments in Germany and Holland. The only success was a low profile event in Poland.
During the tour, manager Munir Dar’s somewhat rude behaviour didn’t endear him to some senior players and was sacked, on return.

Dar was replaced by that shrewdest of the hockey brains, Brigadier (retired) Manzoor Hussain Atif, who was also the sitting secretary general of the PHF. Another former Olympian, Khawaja Zakauddin was inducted as the coach.

Atif, who had also managed the gold medal winning Pakistan side at the 1968 Olympics (and was later destined to do the same at the 1984 Olympics), took up the task in full earnest. Keeping in view the humid conditions of the World Cup’s venue —India’s Bombay (now Mumbai), the coastal city of Karachi was chosen for the training camp.

Atif also sought the guidance and assistance of many former Pakistani stalwarts in coaching of the camp trainees.These included such respectable names as goalkeeper Qazi Waheed (Olympian), Saeed Anwar (Pakistan’s finest right-half), Khalid Mahmood (legendary right winger), utility player Jehangir Butt (Olympic gold medallist and World Cup winner), among others, to work in the different areas. After the rigorous corrective-cum-physical conditioning-cum-match practice phase the last stage of the training began about six weeks before the World Cup.

Hassan Sardar

As before the last World Cup in 1978, a home-and-away four test series against India was arranged. The series went to the wire and Pakistan won the last test to emerge victorious by two matches to one, with one game drawn.

More importantly, the management gave exposure to a number of players and various combinations were tried, especially in the forward line. The first choices for positions, such as Hassan Sardar /Naeem Tahir for centre forward and Saeed Khan/Khalid Hameed/Sanaullah for the slot of the reserve left-side forward could also be assesed.

The 1982 World Cup

By the time, the team reached Bombay in the last days of 1981, it had evolved into a marvellous combination.
When the media asked Atif about his team’s prospects, he very confidently gave the ‘thumbs up’ sign for Pakistan. Anyone who took Atif’s claim a mere boast had their doubts removed when Pakistan came across Argentina in their opener.

The right wing pair of Kaleemullah and Manzoor Jr played havoc with the South Americans’ defence. Supported well by the right half Rasheed ul Hassan in Pakistan’s traditional right trio formation, they repeatedly carved out goal-scoring opportunities.

Still, the score line was only 1-0 at half time. That was primarily due to inexplicable complacency by centre forward Hassan Sardar and inside-left Hanif Khan, who missed gilt-edged chances.

Such was the faith of Brig Atif in his reserves that he replaced the two with Saleem Sherwani and Saeed Khan, respectively. After the interval, Pakistan cashed in more chances and ran out 6-1 winners despite wasting a penalty stroke.

Pakistan has arrived and when, in the next game, Spain employed typical European defensive tactics, Pakistan’s immense firepower meant the Spanish armada was sunk 4-1 with two goals in each half.

If Pakistan’s display in the initial two outings had caused alarm among the other contenders, the mauling of New Zealand in the next pool match sent shivers down their spines. The Kiwis, the surprise gold medallists of the 1976 Olympics, were simply sitting ducks for Pakistan, who targeted them at will, putting in no less than twelve goals. Thus they created a new World Cup record, easily erasing the previous one of nine goals in a match by a team. Hassan Sardar, now realising his talent,  slammed four consecutive goals.

At the same time, credit goes to the Black Sticks too as they never abandoned their open game and managed to get three goals themselves.

Pakistan had their first real test against West Germany who stretched them to the limits. After being 0-2 down, the Germans recovered to 2-3 and then 3-4 and it was only when Samiullah scored in the 68th minute to make it 5-3 that Pakistan heaved a sigh of relief.

The game against Germany exposed Pakistan’s one weak link – goalkeeping on penalty corners. The German skipper, full-back Michael Peters, scored a hat trick of corners against custodian Moinuddin. He was denied by goal-line stops by Akhtar Rasool (twice) and Manzoorul Hassan.

Topping their pool was now guaranteed and Pakistan took it easy against Poland in the last pool game. All the reserves were employed throughout and they emerged 4-1 winners.

Pakistan’s worrried soul

Having put on such an impressive show and scoring 31 goals in five games, Pakistan were now World Cup favourites.

One person who should have been the most satisfied man by now was in fact the most worried soul. He was Pakistan’s manager Atif. With the net-minder Moinuddin badly beaten on penalty corners time and again against Germany, Atif was fearful of Holland and their penalty corner king Paul Litjens – the highest scorer in a single World Cup as well as the overall top scorer in the World Cup and later the holder (for many years) of the record of the most international goals.

Atif spent the whole night before the semi-final pondering his side’s Achilles’ heel. His other goalkeeper was the 17-year-old Shahid Ali Khan, who prior to appearing in the final pool match had played less than one international game – he was sent on during Pakistan’s 11-1 victory against Zimbabwe in a test, a few months earlier.
However, Atif had been impressed by Shahid’s performance against Holland and Litjens in a practice match the Dutch played on their tour to Pakistan just before the World Cup. So to the surprise of everyone, Atif put Shahid in Pakistan’s goal.

The teenager surprised everyone by letting in only one goal from half-a-dozen penalty corners. But the moment that is still etched in everyone’s memory, who saw it, was Shahid’s sixth-minute acrobatic save from a penalty stroke taken by Ties Kruise (remember him from BBC TV’s ‘Superstars’?) – who was playing the fifth of his record six World Cups.

This single act by one of the youngest players in the World Cup, in front of 40,000 people spurred the whole Pakistan team and there was no looking back. The lynchpin in the attack that day was the inside-left Hanif. He orchestrated the Pakistan attack, repeatedly opening the gaps in the middle and slipping the ball to the other forwards.

Waves after waves of Pakistani attacks ensued and the Dutch were very lucky in the end to lose only by 2-4. The Pakistani scorers were Hanif, Kalimullah (penalty stroke), Hassan Sardar and Manzoorul Hassan (penalty corner).

Final – is 5-3-2 really  finished?

Pakistan’s vintage attacking display had now made everyone agree, pundits and ordinary fans alike, that the World Cup was flying back to Pakistan and the final was a mere formality. Yet, the Pakistani contingent was in for a shock. A person no less than the President of the International Hockey Federation (FIH), Rene Frank remarked that the traditional sub-continental style based on five forwards had become out-dated and could no longer compete with the European style.

No need telling, the entire Pakistani contingent, and especially the management was stunned. However, they had full faith in their style and especially in the exponents of that school they had with them at the time.

Pakistanis answered Rene Frank in the field during the final – and in no uncertain terms.

With India not making the knock-out phase, the local crowds had become very supportive of Pakistan, seeing them as the torch bearers of the sub-continental style of play. Most of the 40,000 plus crowd in the final were backing Pakistan.

The final was one way traffic. Pakistan  retained most of the possession. And had it not been for an outstanding display by the German custodian Christian Bassemir and some strange umpiring, it would have been a tennis score.

Still, surprisingly, it was West Germany who went ahead in the sixth minute through a goal by Heiner Dopp resulting from a misunderstanding between the full-back Manzoorul Hassan and goalkeeper Shahid Ali Khan. Such was Pakistan’s domination during the unforgettable fortnight, however, that even when the Germans earned a penalty corner (their only one of the final) soon after the first goal, no one watching on TV in Pakistan had the slightest doubt about the eventual outcome of the match.

Highlights Video

Pakistan’s aggression was relentless. If the Germans tried to counterattack, they found the half line especially the pivot, skipper Akhtar Rasool the greatest obstacle. On a few occasions when they managed to break the midline, the two full-backs Manzoorul Hassan and Qasim Zia were there to put the full stop. After the first goal, Shahid Ali Khan was never troubled.

It was only a matter of time before Hassan Sardar tapped in the equaliser from a corner in the 25th minute. Hardly a minute passed when Manzoor Junior in a flash of genius scored the finest goal of the knock out rounds.

Receiving the ball near the half line, the legendary inside-right weaved patterns around the German defence and from the right side of the circle his powerful shot found the narrowest of the angles past Bassemir.

There was no respite for the Germans even after the change of the sides. The rampaging greenshirts led them to a merry dance. A Hanif effort was stopped with a foot and Kalimullah capitalised on the resulting penalty stroke.

Later, Pakistan were awarded another penalty stroke and as Kalimullah was walking up to the spot, something unbelievable happened. Succumbing to sustained pressure by the protesting Germans, the French umpire Alain Renaud reversed the decision.

Akhtar Rasool, the Pakistani skipper, took the decision very sportingly. The final score line of 3-1 did scant justice to the absolute domination of the Pakistanis in the most one sided final in the World Cup’s history.

Leaving aside the statistics and individual achievements. Pakistan put up a show which was a feast for the spectators, delight for the purists, a great advertisement for the sport of hockey and a case study for coaches.

As it had been in the whole glorious history of Pakistan hockey, their main strength lay in attack. It speaks volumes about the homework done by the management that the entire frontline peaked at the time for the biggest prize.

Right winger Kalimullah after his astounding debut in the Esanda tournament (1979) followed it by another top class performance in the second Champions Trophy (1980). But since then he had been lying low. Sometimes it even seemed his heart was not in hockey.

But at Mumbai, Kaleem’s defence splitting runs down the flank with cutting to both sides left the opponents as well as the spectators aghast. His magical play created numerous openings for the inner trio of the forwards.

The man who came, saw and conquered was none other than the ‘wizard’ Hassan Sardar. Bent on his stick, Hassan wreaked havoc with delightful dribbles and body swerves added with sublime finishes. There was no surprise when Hassan was named player of the tournament by a poll conducted by over 200 journalists.
Some World Cup records set by the Pakistan side in Bombay 1982

    Pakistan lifted the World Cup for an unprecedented third time.
    They have since won a fourth World Cup (in 1994 in Sydney), a record that could be equalled by the Netherlands in the Hague this year.
    In 1982 Pakistan became the first nation to win back-to-back World Cups – since equalled by Germany (2002, 2006).
    In 1978, Pakistan had become the first country to win the World Cup without losing a single match, in fact winning all of them. In 1982, Pakistan went one better, winning all their matches by a margin of at least two goals.
    Pakistan’s tally of 38 goals in Bombay remains an all-time record for the World Cup.
    Pakistan’s 12 goals against New Zealand set the new highest for a single World Cup match.
    Hasan Sardar’s total of 11 goals set a World Cup record for a forward
    Nine Pakistanis scored in the tournament.
    Akhtar Rasool became the only player to have three World Cup winner medals (1971, 1978, 1982). In addition, he also has a silver medal (1975).

The Hockey Paper

Hockey World Cup Memories: Dilip Tirkey recounts how lack of quality drag-flickers botched India's World Cup campaigns

Dilip Tirkey

Dilip Tirkey (first from right) represented India in three World Cups. AFP

Former India captain Dilip Tirkey represented the country in over 400 international matches, including three World Cups (1998, 2002, and 2006). Considered among the best defenders of his generation, Tirkey is a recipient of the Arjuna Award and the Padma Shri, besides a host of national and international honours. He spoke to Shantanu Srivastava.

My first World Cup was in 1998 that took place in Utrecht in The Netherlands. It was my first major tournament after I made my debut in 1995. We finished ninth out of 12 teams, so obviously it wasn't a successful campaign for the team, though personally, it went all right. It is indeed an honour to have played three World Cups for India.

When the call-up came for my first World Cup, I was obviously a bit nervous. I was eager to do well for India; itching to perform.

During my playing days, we had some brilliant individual players, but we lacked a good drag-flicker for a long time. Teams like Pakistan and the Netherlands had world-class flickers, and it showed in their results. It's an important skill and all major teams came equipped in events such as the World Cup. Things changed after Jugraj Singh, Sandeep Singh and VR Raghunath came along.

My second World Cup was in 2002, in Kuala Lumpur. We finished 10th among 16 teams. It was another disappointing campaign, and the reasons were not very different from the previous World Cup. We didn't have good flickers, and our fitness was not there. Also, back then, if we lost one game, we ended up playing worse in the next. So it was tough to keep everyone motivated. We played five matches in the pool stages, and lost four of them. After such a result, it was natural that everyone was demoralised, and we played through that World Cup with very little morale. Therefore, I always believe that motivation and momentum are very important in World Cups.

In 2006, I was the captain of the side. It was a very young team, and at 28, I was the oldest in the team. I was battling injuries when this World Cup came about. Unfortunately, we were again short of a good drag-flicker. Jugraj had emerged as a promising talent, but after his car accident in 2003, we didn't have anyone.

A few years later, Sandeep came about. But he met with an unfortunate accident before we were to leave for the World Cup, which meant our drag-flick cupboard was again vacant. There were players like Gagan Ajit Singh and Deepak Thakur, but we lost a lot of advantage due to the absence of a short-corner specialist.

Things are a lot better now. We have flickers like Varun Kumar and Harmanpreet Singh, and they must work to improve their conversions. It will be a major factor in this World Cup, and I can tell from my experience that almost all the important matches are decided by short-corner specialists.

Historically, we have not done too well at World Cups, and the primary reason for that is fitness. Today we are World No 5, but for a long time, our fitness was not up to the mark. We didn't pay any attention to recovery and diet. Sports science has really come a long way over the years, and I personally feel that the role of a trainer is more important than coach in modern hockey.

Personally speaking, I could have played for two more years, but there was no proper recovery process back then. The ligaments of both my ankles were damaged really badly; one of my legs was 100 percent gone, the other was 80 percent damaged. Sports science was not that developed or accessible then. Everytime I returned from injury, even the slightest of pressure on my legs would injure my ankle again and force me to sit out for 10-15 days. This stop-start recovery was quite frustrating. By 2008-09, I had crossed 30 and getting in and out of team due to injuries would not have helped anyone. So in 2010, I decided to call it a day, but had my injuries been properly addressed in 2005-06, I could have played more.

India will be without Sardar Singh in this World Cup, and I think an experienced player like him should have been part of our team. The history of our hockey suggests that almost all experienced players were pushed out, but if a player is fit, he should be played. The match against Malaysia in the Asian Games was a collective failure and not Sardar's fault alone, and India played their worst game of the year. The combination of senior and junior players is a must in such high-pressure events, and I hope India get that right.


Group protest against Shah Rukh’s presence at meet

KUALA LUMPUR: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan (pic) may face protests when he joins the inauguration of the hockey World Cup in Bhubaneswar, India, on Wednesday.

Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has invited the actor to attend the opening ceremony of the hockey competition but a local group are opposing Khan's presence because of his role in a 2001 movie about emperor Ashoka.

The group calling itself “Kalinga Sena” (Kalinga army), deriving its name from Odisha's ancient name, alleges the Bollywood star hurt people's sentiments in the movie “Ashoka” that depicts Ashoka's career and his bloody conquest of Kalinga.

“We’ve made preparation to throw ink on the actor's face and show him black flags at any place from the airport to the stadium.

“Our activists will remain present all along the road where Khan is likely to visit,” said a representative of Kalinga Sena.

Sixteen teams – Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Malaysia, Holland, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa and Spain are competing in the event.

The Malaysian Tigers face three-time champion Holland on Dec 1 in a Group D match, before playing four-time champion Pakistan (Dec 5) and two-time winner Germany (Dec 9).

The Star of Malaysia

Ogilvie is ready to pack his bags for Pro League action


Flynn Ogilvie comes from a hockey-mad family. His sister Airlie represented the Australia national women’s team and his brothers, Kurt and Heath, both played for Australia in the 2015 Indoor Hockey World Cup. Flynn was part of the gold-medal winning Kookaburras team at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and will soon be heading to Bhubaneswar for the Odisha Hockey Men’s World Cup.

While the challenge of defending their 2014 World Cup title is foremost in the minds of the Australian players, Ogilvie took a few moments to turn his attention to next year’s exciting inaugural FIH Pro League, which bursts into action in January 2019.

"We played the Dutch here earlier this year and we got some good crowds coming to watch that, so having eight matches against top opposition at home will be great.” Flynn Ogilvie, Australia

“Like a lot of guys in the squad, I was excited when I first heard about the FIH Pro League but that was tempered with a bit of scepticism about how it would work,” says the 25-year-old striker. “As we have learnt more about it, and how things are going to be managed, I am confident it is going to be a good experience. It will certainly be very interesting.”

Australia are sitting at the top of the FIH Hero World Rankings and are one of the most successful Australian men’s sports teams but hockey still has to fight for every bit of exposure in the sports mad country. This is an issue that Ogilvie feels will be helped by the advent of the regular Pro League match schedule.

“The FIH Pro League gives us and the game more exposure,” he says. “Everyone, particularly hockey people, will be able to watch high quality matches regularly for the first six months of the year, rather than there just being random events every so often.

“And it will be great to play more matches at home. There are a few Pro League games in Sydney so my friends and family will be able to come and watch. We played the Dutch here earlier this year and we got some good crowds coming to watch that, so having eight matches against top opposition at home will be great.”

Ogilvie acknowledges that the Pro League schedule may cause problems for athletes who also have jobs, but it is something he feels will be worked out as the league gets underway. He also says that financially there could be a strain on national associations, but again, these are issues that time and experience will resolve.

For the Kookaburra star, the prospect of travelling the world to play the sport he excels in is a dream come true. “It will be pretty cool to be travelling around to play the matches,’ he says with feigned nonchalance. "We normally just go to one spot and play a tournament. We will be jumping around, playing in a load of different countries, hopefully in front of big crowds, and that will make it really exciting.

“As a team, we always like a European tour but personally I am looking forward to going to Argentina as I haven’t been there before.” Australia’s first FIH Pro League match takes place on 2 February in Melbourne. It is the Netherlands who are rolling into town and it promises to be a hockey spectacular as both the men’s and women’s teams play on the same day, in the same venue.


FIH site

Eight EYHL sides make their ISC entrance against regional contenders

Cookstown’s Mattie Rollins. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Eight EY Hockey League teams will make their entry to the Irish Senior Cup in the rejigged format this weekend against six regional contenders, bidding to join Glenanne in the last eight.

The Glens eased to victory over Monkstown last week 3-0 with Shannon Boucher, Sam O’Connor and Eddie O’Malley on the mark at Rathdown in a tie brought forward a week.

Three Rock Rovers are in a potentially vulnerable position as they begin the defence of the trophy with a home date against Annadale.

The Rathfarnham club will be shy the services of World Cup-bound Daragh Walsh, Luke Madeley and Mitch Darling, taking away a central element of each line of their formation.

Dale come to Dublin off a middling campaign to date but they did raid Grange Road for a point on their last visit and have Irish internationals Peter Caruth and Callum Robson available to them.

Rovers are the most affected side by the World Cup with Banbridge shy Eugene Magee for their trip to Corinthian while Lisnagarvey face Kilkenny in Jonny Bell’s absence.

The other intriguing ties feature struggling EYHL sides against high-flying regional teams. Cork C of I and YMCA have both yet to win on the national stage this term.

They meet UCD and Kilkeel, respectively, who have both not lost in their provincial leagues and will eye these round three dates as a chance of an upset.

Pembroke are clear favourites against Clontarf while Cookstown will fancy their chances against Belfast Harlequins who have just one win from nine outings.

“We shall not be getting ahead of ourselves,” Cookstown’s Mattie Rollins said of their tie. “The main thing for us will be to concentrate of getting all the details right against Harlequins, keeping to our gameplan, and then putting away our chances when they arrive.

“I know they have had a pretty tough start to the league this season, but that will just make Harlequins all the more keen to have a real go against us in the cup.”

The second round of the Irish Hockey Trophy is also in action with Rathgar the sole Leinster side left, going to high-flying Munster side Ashton who lead the way in their regional league.

Sunday sees the Neville Cup semi-finals with Corinthian hosting Clontarf and Kilkenny up against Three Rock Rovers.

Men (Saturday unless stated)
Irish Senior Cup – Round 3: Belfast Harlequins v Cookstown, 4pm, Deramore Park; Corinthian v Banbridge, 3.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Cork C of I v UCD, 2.30pm, Garryduff; Kilkeel v YMCA, 1pm, Macauley Park; Pembroke v Clontarf, 230pm, Serpentine Avenue; Three Rock Rovers v Annadale, 3pm, Grange Road; Lisnagarvey v Kilkenny, 3pm, Comber Road

Irish Hockey Trophy – Round 2: Ashton v Rathgar, 2.30pm, Ashton School; NICS v Catholic Institute, 2.30pm, Stormont; North Down v Portadown, 2.40pm, Comber LC; Waterford v UCC, 2.30pm, Newtown School

Neville Cup semi-finals (Sunday): Corinthian v Clontarf, 2.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Kilkenny v Three Rock Rovers, 4pm, Kilkenny College

The Hook

Christmas number one spot up for grabs as women’s EYHL reaches final weekend of 2018

Leah McGuire takes on Alex O’Grady during UCD’s only home loss in the EYHL for the past two years. Pic: Adrian Boehm

Who takes the Christmas women’s EY Hockey League number one spot will be determined over the weekend with Loreto and Pegasus continuing their tussle.

Level on points, any slip will open the door for the other to move clear. For Loreto, their task is the tougher on paper this weekend as they face a reasonably in-form Pembroke at Grange Road.

The Beaufort side have been in devastating form with Hannah Matthews dictating things, stepping out from the back into midfield with teenagers Caitlin Sherin and Grace McLoughlin offering composed back-up while, up front, Sarah Torrans is in sharp form.

Pembroke have won four of their last five league ties to rise into the playoff places for the first time with Gillian Pinder in immaculate form. Youngster Laura Noble has hit a good vein of scoring form while the squad has widened with Rachel Scott – albeit temporarily – and Tara Melvin adding to their squad.

Pegasus face a Muckross side still looking for their first win but coach Sarah Scott is confident her side will make it a game as they continue to improve with each game.

Caroline Mathews has been excellent in midfield with Sarah McAuley, Lisa Mulcahy and Ellie McLoughlin putting in fine performances. At Cork Harlequins last week, they carved open a number of great chances on the counter and were unlucky to see one disallowed.

Pegs, though, are yielding the benefits of experience Pam Glass, Alex Speers, Michelle Harvey, Shirley McCay and Steph Thompson bringing an abundance of know-how.

Zoe Wilson has overcome a hamstring injury and will line out for Belfast Harlequins in their tie with Old Alex at Deramore. The World Cup silver medallist missed last weekend’s 5-1 defeat to Loreto in Dublin which saw her team slip out of the play-off places.

But she will be back on Saturday after scoring twice for Quins in their 6-2 opening Denman Ulster Shield game win over Ballymoney at the Joey Dunlop Centre on Wednesday night.

UCD host Cork Harlequins with plenty of nice match-ups. Quins are the only side to have beaten the students at Belfield since 2016 and if they can continue the direct approach from Michelle Barry and Olivia Roycroft, their efforts can bear fruit again.

Railway Union go to Ards seeking their third win of the campaign. Sarah Hawkshaw has proven a dynamic, aggressive returnee this season from the US in midfield for Colm Blennerhassett’s side while Amy Elliott’s energy and pace has seen both included in the Irish panel.

Ards have found a scoring touch, scoring five times in their last three games after four blanks, threatening to get a result.

In the IHL’s second-tier, it is a big weekend with plenty of perfect records on the line. In Pool A, Queen’s will be out to make it four wins from four when they take on another 100%er, Corinthian, with Trinity and UCC needing a victory to close the gap.

Likewise, in Pool B, Catholic Institute go to Monkstown with both sides holding perfect records at this stage. Dungannon and Lurgan have six points to make up on the other two and will look to start off in this showdown.

There are six Leinster Division One ties on the card – three on Saturday, three on Sunday – with plenty of scope for movement in mid-table.

Women (Saturday unless stated)
EY Hockey League: Ards v Railway Union, 2.30pm, Londonderry Park; Belfast Harlequins v Old Alex, 2.30pm, Deramore Park; Loreto v Pembroke, 1pm, Grange Road; Muckross v Pegasus, 3.15pm, Muckross Park; UCD v Cork Harlequins, 1pm, Belfield

EYHL Division 2
Pool 1: Corinthian v Queen’s, 1.30pm, Whitechurch Park; Trinity v UCC, 3.30pm, Santry Avenue
Pool 2: Dungannon v Lurgan, 2.30pm, Royal School; Monkstown v Catholic Institute, 12.30pm, Rathdown

Leinster Division 1
Saturday: Rathgar v Naas, 12.30pm, High School; North Kildare v Our Lady’s, 1.30pm, The Maws; Avoca v Genesis, 4pm, Newpark
Sunday: Trinity v Avoca, 1pm, Santry Avenue; Glenanne v Monkstown, 3pm, St Andrew’s; North Kildare v Corinthian, 4pm, The Maws

Munster Division One: Cork C of I v Belvedere, 12.30pm, Garryduff; Bandon v Waterford, 2pm, Bandon GS

The Hook

Double header in last weekend of Scottish National League 1 before winter break

Grange could be ousted from pole position in the men`s National League 1 if either Western Wildcats or Grove Menzieshill pick up the full six points from a double header weekend.

At the moment the sides are neck-and-neck, both have 21 points with Wildcats ahead by the narrowest margin of a single goal. Also both trail Grange by five points, but even if either Wildcats or Grove Menzieshill pick up the required six points, their tenure could be transient as the champions still have a game in hand, and that will be against second bottom Kelburne at Glasgow Green the following weekend.

But Wildcats coach Harry Dunlop still sees this weekend`s action as pivotal for the club`s aspirations.

“This weekend is of huge importance to Western Wildcats, it will determine the position of the first three teams and I am keen to go into the winter break as high up the league table as possible, our target this year being the top two and not the top four.”

On Saturday Wildcats welcome Clydesdale to their den at Auchenhowie and Dunlop will look to complete the double over the Titwood-based outfit. Only a couple of weeks ago they triumphed 2-0 at Titwood, Andrew McConnell and Matt McGinlay were on target that day.

Further Clydesdale have lapsed into inconsistency mode after a promising start, but they did record a 2-1 win over Edinburgh University last Saturday.

At the same time Grove Menzieshill are host to bottom side Gordonians and should the Taysiders score some goals, then they would leapfrog Wildcats on goal difference on Saturday night.

Then back to Auchenhowie on Sunday for the head-to-head between Wildcats and Grove Menzieshill, and with both sides in almost identical form, this is a difficult one to predict.

However, Wildcats took the points in Dundee back in October, Cameron Golden put the home side ahead but Adam MacKenzie at a penalty corner and then Rob Harwood from open play sealed the narrow 2-1 victory.

Both sides have tried and test goalscorers in their ranks, Golden, Albert Rowling, Paul Martin and Aidan McQuade from set pieces are Grove Menzieshill`s main strikers while the Wildcats can boast of Andrew McConnell, Rob Harwood and Adam MacKenzie at penalty corners.

Dunlop also mentioned Wildcats` defensive qualities in dispatches, his side have the best defensive record in the league having only conceded ten goals in their eleven outings, and that included four clean sheets, but it is only fair to say that the Dundonians rear guard are only four goals adrift of that figure.

Apart from a couple of lapses Dunlop is satisfied with the season so far.

“I am happy with the progress the squad have made this season, however losing two games after being ahead in both has been disappointing and perhaps highlights the importance of mind set and not just hockey skills if you want to get to the top of the domestic league.”

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Three clubs battling for Christmas number one in Scotland

©: World Sport Pics

The Scottish club season is looking forward to its last series of games before the winter break with three teams potentially vying for top spot with loads of points on offer.

Grange, pictured, could be ousted from pole position in the men`s National League 1 if either Western Wildcats or Grove Menzieshill pick up the full six points from a double header weekend.

At the moment the sides are neck-and-neck, both have 21 points with Wildcats ahead by the narrowest margin of a single goal.

Also, both trail Grange by five points, but even if either Wildcats or Grove Menzieshill pick up the required six points, their tenure could be transient as the champions still have a game in hand, and that will be against second bottom Kelburne at Glasgow Green.

But Wildcats coach Harry Dunlop still sees this weekend`s action as pivotal for the club`s aspirations.

“This weekend is of huge importance to Western Wildcats, it will determine the position of the first three teams and I am keen to go into the winter break as high up the league table as possible, our target this year being the top two and not the top four.”

On Saturday Wildcats welcome Clydesdale to their den and Dunlop will look to complete the double over the Titwood-based outfit.

At the same time Grove Menzieshill are host to bottom side Gordonians and should the Taysiders score some goals, then they would leapfrog Wildcats on goal difference on Saturday night.

Then back to Auchenhowie on Sunday for the head-to-head between Wildcats and Grove Menzieshill, and with both sides in almost identical form, this is a difficult one to predict.

Euro Hockey League media release

Police train guns on misfiring Nairobi Simba


As champions Kenya Police close in on their fourth title, former champions Nairobi Simba, Parklands and United States International University battle to avoid relegation as the men’s hockey Premier League reaches homestretch.

Most teams in the 12-team league are remaining with two matches each, but what is interesting is that five teams are still relegation candidates.

That former champions Nairobi Simba, who are placed seventh with 23 points with two matches to go, are not safe goes without saying.

Nairobi Simba face tough moments on Sunday when they take on Kenya Police, who are placed second in the league.

Parklands, who got a lifeline mid-week when they stunned Wazalendo 3-2 to climb one place to sixth with 26 points, seek another scalp against three-time winners Strathmore Gladiators on Saturday.

It will be Parklands' last match of the season and a point will be enough for them to secure survival.

USIU, who are ninth with 21 points and just a place above relegation zone, take on Greensharks on Sunday.

The students, who will then meet Nairobi Simba in their last match next weekend, must win their two matches to avoid the drop.

Nakuru, Kenya College of Accountancy-University (KCA-U) and Western Jaguars, who have 20, 19 and 18 points respectively, occupy the last three places in the top-flight league.


Police, the 2011, 2013 and 2017 champions, will look to complete the double on Nairobi Simba after they won 3-2 in a closely contested first leg duel.

“The battle is not yet won because our rivals Butali Sugar are still at the top,” said Police skipper Oliver Echenje.

“Nairobi Simba have always been a hard nut to crack and I am sure they will come hard on us, knowing that a loss can have them relegated.”

Police will be without their injured attacking midfielder Titus Kimutai, who will be replaced by the equally good Govan Mbeki.

“We have beaten Police and we are going for revenge,” said Nairobi Simba team manager Kalpesh Solanki, who called for fair officiating in these last matches.

“I want Kenya Hockey Union to be extra vigilant since some these umpires are coming to matches with fixed mind. Some even chose matches that they will officiate in,” claimed Solanki.

Parklands team manager Ambi Amarjit said they are at full strength and would be seeking inspiration from their mid-week victory against Wazalendo.

“We have to win at all cost since any slip could see us relegated,” said Amarjit.

“The boys are up to the task and they know what the match means.”

After crushing Sliders 3-0, United States International University Spartans hope to uphold the momentum as they face Vikings in a women’s Premier League contest on Sunday.

Spartans are currently placed third with 16 points, while bottom-placed Vikings are still seeking their maiden win, even as the league nears completion.

Sliders hope to bounce back when they take on Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology in another women's tie on Saturday.

FIXTURES ( All matches at City Park unless stated)


Men’s Premier League: Strathmore v Parklands (6pm)
Men’s National League: Karate Axiom v Daystar (12noon)
Men’s Super League: UoE v JKUAT (3pm) Eldoret; Mvita v Wazalendo Masters (2pm) Mombasa; Kabarak University v MSC (4pm), Kisumu Youngstars v Kimathi University (3pm) Kisumu.
Women’s Premier League: Sliders v JKUAT (2pm)
Women’s National League: MSC v Wolverines (1pm) Mombasa


Men’s Premier League: Greensharks v USIU (3pm), Nairobi Simba v Kenya Police (5pm)
Men’s Super League: MMU v MSC (9am)
Women’s Premier League: USIU v Vikings (1pm)
Women’s Super League: KU v MMU (11am)

Daily Nation

Changing peoples’ lives in Sierra Leone

Inspiring people in their community to take up sport and a healthy lifestyle is just one of the aims of the Sierra Leone Hockey Association (SLHA).

The African nation has been through traumatic times recently. Young children have been caught up in vicious wars, Ebola struck and killed huge numbers of the population and last year a mudslide killed more than 800 people.

It is against this backdrop that the SLHA has been running hockey programmes to alleviate just some of the suffering.

Philip Salis Bangura of the SLHA says: “Many Sierra Leoans are traumatised and don't know what directions they should take. We at SLHA believe that hockey is a tool for social inclusion while also promoting peace and development through sport. In order for us to reach the people of Sierra Leone, we have some mechanism that we put in place.”

The forward-thinking organisation has been running a number of community out reach programmes that use hockey as the medium for sending a strong message about discipline, self-respect and self-confidence, as well as all the health and well-being benefits of playing a team sport. It is a solid and steady base from which people can rebuild lives.

The growth of hockey in the African state has been steady and logical. Two years ago, the SLHA embarked on a coach and umpire education programme, with help from neighbouring Ghana and one of the top-ranked European nations, Spain. The coaches have also been helping develop elite players at age group level.

That was followed by the creation of a national league and then a rolled-out programme that introduced the sport to schools and colleges. From the schools and colleges, ten primary schools, ten secondary schools and ten colleges played in inter-school competitions.

With facilities and equipment in short supply, the SLHA also runs Hockey3 programmes. The three-a-side variation allows children to master the skills of the game and enjoy a competitive experience on a smaller playing surface.

The plan to develop the game in Sierra Leone was initially met with both scepticism and resistance. There was a feeling that hockey was not a popular sport and parents did not see the value of their children learning a sport that was a minority activity.

But, by sheer will-power and the hard work of a number of people, the SLHA is gradually winning hearts and minds and hockey is emerging as a popular sport.

One such person is lead coach Osman Sillah. He has been working with the 8-15 age group girls and boys to develop an understanding and love of the game. “It was initially difficult to get the kids on board. Most of them have a pre-knowledge on how to play football but I have succeeded in showing them how to play hockey and they are now fully committed to hockey, not football.”

One of the recent campaigns run by the SLHA is the Eat and Play Hockey project. This operates in two communities offering young people a meal either before or after hockey training.

As Bangura explains: “Many young people cannot afford a meal a day so they tend to focus on searching for a meal instead of engaging in education or sporting activities. What we do is provide them with a plate of food. Because of this, we have been able to feed about 60 young people, who are living in deplorable conditions.”

The work of the SLHA is a fantastic example of the good that hockey can do across the globe, often providing a vital humanitarian lifeline to the most devastated communities.

FIH site

Hockey Australia Board Confirmed After Elections

Ben Somerford

Presidents from Hockey State and Territory Associations gathered in Melbourne today for a Council Meeting to elect Hockey Australia (HA) Directors for three available positions.

Tracey Scott and Melanie Woosnam were re-elected as Directors. David Moroney did not get re-elected, with Colin Richardson elected in his place.

The position of President has been held by Woosnam for the past two years and will be elected by the Board at their next meeting.

Richardson joins with more than three decades’ experience in investment banking and finance and is currently Managing Director and shareholder of Investment Bank, Moelis Australia.

He has served on the Hockey New South Wales Board for the past three years, where he took up the role as Chair of their Finance Committee.

Moroney had served on the HA Board since 2017, taking up the role as Finance Director on the HA Board.

He has more than 25 years of experience as a finance executive in senior corporate roles and had held positions as a Non-Executive Director on various professional, sporting and industry bodies.

Woosnam said: “We thank David for his service to the HA Board, providing his financial expertise and knowledge throughout an ambitious time for the organisation.

“Given his vast experience in finance, strategic planning, governance and risk management, his contribution has been invaluable to the HA Board.

“We welcome Colin as a Director and are excited for his contribution given his background in banking and finance along with his vast networks and contacts.

“He has a passion for Hockey and gained valuable insight and knowledge of the issues facing the game during his time on the Hockey NSW Board.”

The Hockey Australia Board now consists of:
Tracey Belbin
Stuart Carruthers (Vice President)
Pat Hall
Juliet Haslam
Larry Maher (Vice President)
Colin Richardson
Tracey Scott
Sandra Sully
Melanie Woosnam

Hockey Australia media release

A bright light fades away

Sandeep Michael, 33, passes away due to brain infection

Sandeep Michael.

Former India hockey player Sandeep Michael passed away due to a brain infection here on Friday. He was 33. Michael was admitted to Aster CMI Hospital here around five days ago. On Friday afternoon, he succumbed to the illness.

A talented forward, Michael won the ‘Most Promising Player’ award in the 2003 Asia Cup in Malaysia.

Hockey Bengaluru secretary, K. Krishnamurthy, who was the Indian team manager for the tournament, said, “Michael received the award from none other than the late Sultan Azlan Shah. Michael had the world at his feet.”

A fine goal that Michael scored against Pakistan in the league stage stands out. Viren Rasquinha, who played alongside Michael in that outing, said, “I can never forget his brilliant deflection against Pakistan. It was a goal of the highest quality.

“Michael was an intelligent player, especially inside the box. I really enjoyed playing with him,” he said.

Jovial extrovert

Rasquinha remembered his friend as a jovial extrovert. “He was a happy-go-lucky guy with a good heart. He was always joking around and pulling pranks on people. He kept the spirits high in the team. Every team needs such characters,” Rasquinha added.

Michael grabbed the spotlight one more time in that year, when he scored a brace against Australia-A in the tri-nation tournament at Sydney.

His teammate in that match, Jugraj Singh, was shocked to hear of Michael’s demise. “This is a terribly sad day. I’d met him just a few months ago, when I came to Bengaluru with the national team. He was a genuine guy. Everyone liked him, because he was so friendly.

“As a player, Michael was tremendously talented. I still remember those two goals he scored against Australia-A. He moved past three defenders and scored from zero angle. I would say it was the goal of the tournament. His dribbling was superb; he had all sorts of tricks up his sleeve,” Jugraj said.

He also recalled an incident involving Michael in a national camp. “One day during the camp, Michael came back to the room after getting a huge tattoo of Jesus on his back. We were amazed at the size of the tattoo. He was in a lot of pain, so much so that he couldn’t sleep at night. Yet, he remained cheerful and happy. We’ve shared many memories like this,” Jugraj said.

Gold medal

Interestingly, Michael featured in the junior India team for a brief while after making his senior debut. In 2004, Michael led the Indian team to the Junior Asia Cup gold medal.

Though touted by many — including the legendary Dhanraj Pillay — as a bright prospect, injuries, a bout of jaundice, and a loss in form prevented Michael from achieving his full potential.

The Bengalurean started his club career with the BEL Colony Youth Association sides here, before moving to BPCL and Air India. He also represented the Karnataka senior and junior teams with distinction.

In recent years, Michael coached at the KSHA Hockey Academy. A distressed Krishnamurthy stated that Michael often helped underprivileged wards by giving them free sports kits.

The Hindu

Fieldhockey.com uses cookies to assist with navigating between pages. Please leave the site if you disagree with this policy.
Copyright remains with the credited source or author