All the news for Tuesday 26 February 2019
England Hockey responds to Hockey New Zealand review findings
England at the Vitality Hockey Women's World Cup
Hockey New Zealand has today published the independent review into its women’s central programme, and the findings are not at odds with the extended due diligence we conducted before Mark Hager was appointed as Great Britain and England women’s head coach.
We anticipate their publication bringing closure to this period and we look forward to Mark undertaking his role with our continued backing.
Chief Executive Sally Munday commented, “We were satisfied with our processes before Mark’s appointment, and I am pleased that these findings have been published and now Mark can get on with the job in hand.
“He has made a very good impression with the squad and staff at the first two FIH Pro League matches in Australasia, and we look forward to welcoming him here in March on a full time basis.”
England Hockey Board Media release
Great Britain Hockey support Mark Hager after review findings released
By Rod Gilmour
Mark Hager led New Zealand for nearly a decade PIC: FIH.Live
England Hockey said on Monday that the findings from the independent review published by Hockey New Zealand into its women’s programme was “not at odds” with its own due diligence before they appointed Mark Hager as coach.
The backing of Hager comes despite the commission finding failings by Hockey NZ which revealed that, of the 33 players interviewed, 24 players reported ‘serious concerns’ about the culture within the squad since the Rio Olympics.
But England Hockey “anticipated” that the publication of the review, which took six months to complete, would now bring closure to the period.
Sally Munday, England Hockey’s chief executive, said: “We were satisfied with our processes before Mark’s appointment, and I am pleased that these findings have been published and now Mark can get on with the job in hand.
“He has made a very good impression with the squad and staff at the first two FIH Pro League matches in Australasia.”
At a press conference on Monday, Hockey NZ chairman Mike Bignell was unable to go into full detail over player specifics involving the squad’s supposed volatile environment.
He said: “It is a very broad term. And Maria [Dew, the review QC] has been very careful around the confidentiality of who spoke to her. The report doesn’t have significant or specific examples, as that is not what the purpose of the review was. We still don’t know who came forward, or what was said.”
Meanwhile, the review received short shrift from Sir Owen Glenn, the millionaire businessman and financial supporter of Black Sticks hockey, after it shed little light on the controversy which has engulfed the sport in recent months.
Glenn, a supporter of Hager, admitted to New Zealand media that he heard of no complaints towards Hager during his time in charge of the team.
He told Newstalk: “He is a good coach – I saw a lot of his coaching all over the world. No complaints, all the good players are supporting him. Who are the ones who aren’t? This is cowardice, absolute cowardice.”
Glenn suggested that “no one wants to take responsibility” for the episode, following the release of the near four-page findings, a majority of which has not been made public.
Bignell added that he had apologised to the Kiwi players on Monday and was “deeply sorry” over the saga.
Of the “serious concerns” regarding the team environment, England Hockey told The Hockey Paper: “We have a very clear people development strategy which invests heavily in all six of our full-time coaches. Mark will fit into this in the same fashion as any other coach.”
Dew found that Hockey New Zealand had failed to act on player concerns and recommended the governing body develop an “action plan” to make the transition easier for players to express their concerns. Responses should be quicker and more transparent, she said.
Hager is currently finalising his work permit after missing the weekend match against China. He will be moving full-time to the UK from March and will travel to the USA and Argentina next month with the team.
The Hockey Paper
Great Britain Hockey standing by former Black Sticks women's coach Mark Hager
Former Black Sticks women's coach Mark Hager took charge of the British women's team last month. GETTY IMAGES
Great Britain Hockey is sticking by Mark Hager, despite a damning review into the culture of the women's Black Sticks team during his time as their coach.
Lawyer Maria Dew found in the independent review that 24 of the 33 current and past players she interviewed had serious concerns about what she called a "negative environment," a group that includes "18 players who are well capped."
It has been reported that Hager would have been sacked because of the review's findings, but he jumped ship before its publication to take up a job coaching the British women's team.
Despite the report, Great Britain Hockey say Hager's position is secure and it did due diligence on the 54-year-old Australian coach before appointing him last month.
GB Hockey said it expected the findings that came out in the report and they weren't at odds from what came from its own discussions with Hager during the recruitment process.
GB Hockey say it anticipates the publication of the report to bring closure to this period and look forward to Hager undertaking his role with its continued backing.
"We were satisfied with our processes before Mark's appointment," GB Hockey chief executive Sally Munday said.
"I am pleased that these findings have been published and now Mark can get on with the job in hand.
"He has made a very good impression with the squad and staff at the first two FIH Pro League matches in Australasia, and we look forward to welcoming him here in March on a full time basis."
Earlier this month the Times in the UK reported that Chelsea Warr, UK Sport's director of performance, had urged GB Hockey executives to postpone the appointment of Hager until the findings of the review were made known.
This advice however was ignored, despite GB Hockey being warned that it would be a "significant risk" to do so before the outcome of a review into alleged bullying.
Former Black Stick Amelia Gibson hits out at 'slap in the face' review
Former Black Sticks goalkeeper Amelia Gibson. PHOTOSPORT
Former Black Sticks goalkeeper Amelia Gibson says the Hockey New Zealand review is "a slap in the face" because it has not been released to review participants.
Gibson earned 63 caps between 2010 and 2017.
She laid a complaint about alleged mistreatment with Hockey NZ, who issued a statement last August, saying it had "received one complaint from a third party and the legal advice provided to us at the time was that it did not warrant further action".
Hockey NZ - under pressure from the New Zealand Hockey Players Association - launched a review last September into the Black Sticks after coach Mark Hager sent an email to all team members criticising some players' fitness following Commonwealth champions New Zealand's disappointing 11th place at the 2018 Hockey World Cup.
The email - meant for another member of the management team - was sent in error.
Hockey NZ released a three-and-a-half page summary of the review on Monday.
It revealed 24 of 33 current and former Black Sticks interviewed by reviewer Maria Dew QC had "very serious concerns" about "a negative environment".
However, the review did not go into specific details, nor were the full findings shared with interviewees or the Players' Association.
That has frustrated Gibson, who told 1News on Tuesday that the current and former players "need closure".
"The Players Association said it's quite hard for players to come forward and speak about what they've been through.
"For me, personally, I do feel like it's a slap in the face not to see something you've been a part of when you are trying to make changes for a healthy environment."
Seventy per cent of interviewees - who had played for the Black Sticks between 2016 and 2018 - had serious concerns about the environment, the review said.
Amelia Gibson in action for Canterbury. David Rowland
Gibson said: "That statistic speaks volumes for itself".
"As a player, it's really hard to put your name to something and be out there when you know that your career's on the line.
"Ultimately, for me, that's why I came forward after I retired because I no longer had my career to keep fighting for."
Gibson said she just wants "closure".
"I want this to be over. Enough players, current and past, have been dragged through enough.
"The current team needs to be able to move forward. They've got an Olympics to go for next year. This is not what they need.
"And, past players, we need closure."
Board chair Mike Bignell said Hockey New Zealand were "deeply sorry" for the Black Sticks situation.
Gibson said it was "great to get an apology, but the apology needs to also go to the people who supported us when our environment wasn't good enough, and the environment couldn't support us."
When Gibson first went public with her concerns in August 2018, she told 1News her case amounted to "mistreatment as a player".
"You want to be treated with integrity, you want to be able to play to the best of your ability but if you're in a negative environment it's not possible to perform," she said.
"This isn't a one off situation, this is the environment players are in, and it is really hard for players to come forward – especially current players when if they were like me they could be in fear of their career."
Gibson said she sought help from a team psychologist for anxiety at the start of 2017 before deciding to seek outside help.
"I wanted absolute trust in who I was talking to and someone who was outside of the environment who would hear my voice."
Loss of Sir Owen Glenn's funding in Hockey NZ review saga concerning, says High Performance NZ boss Mike Scott
Former Black Sticks Women's coach Mark Hager. Photo / Photosport
High Performance NZ boss Mike Scott admits the potential withdrawal of funds from millionaire philanthropist Sir Owen Glenn is concerning.
A comprehensive review released yesterday revealed alarming findings about a negative environment under then head coach Mark Hager, including the majority player view that the negative culture had been experienced for at least the last two years.
Despite the findings of the review, Glenn remained unconvinced with the findings of the independent review, calling the claims by the majority of the players interviewed "cowardice".
"He is a good coach – I saw a lot of his coaching all over the world. No complaints, all the good players are supporting him. Who are the ones who aren't? This is cowardice, absolute cowardice," Glenn told Newstalk ZB's Larry Williams.
Last week, the Herald reported that Glenn – a strong supporter of Hager, who resigned as coach of the women's side last month – would be freezing his funding to the Black Sticks women's hockey programme because of dissatisfaction with the sport's governance.
Speaking to Radio Sport's D'Arcy Waldegrave, Scott said he was hopeful that the situation between Glenn and Hockey NZ would be resolved quickly.
"Clearly Sir Owen is a very passionate supporter of the Black Sticks and we're all hopeful that this situation can be resolved quickly," Scott said.
"As a nation we're a small high performance system competing against much bigger and better resourced countries and any philanthropic support like this can make a big difference.
"Obviously we're concerned about the potential withdrawal and we're hopeful that it can be resolved and move forward so we can create the best possible environment for the athletes to perform."
The review revealed that of the 33 players interviewed, 24 players reported 'serious concerns' about the environment within the team.
However, details of the review and what constitutes a negative environment have been scarce, leading to criticism from both Glenn and the New Zealand Hockey Players Association.
Glenn believes the hockey board needs to be "taken to task" for its lack of transparency with the findings of the review.
"I saw the amended copy. Probably 30 to 40 pages. But it has huge gaps in it," Glenn said.
"Everything that could have been contentious has been deleted. And it looks like a lawyer has gone over it with a fine tooth comb.
"Where's the justice in that? Where's the fair play in that? Someone has to question this. Nobody wants to take responsibility.
"I want the hockey board to be taken to task."
Scott, on the other hand, defended the review saying some of the details were withheld to protect the privacy of the participants of the review.
"The environment that obviously Hockey NZ undertook this review was to ensure that people's privacies is protected. And we respect that because people came forward on the basis that their input would be confidential."
The New Zealand Herald
Big cleanout required after Hockey New Zealand's Black Sticks review fiasco
Mark Hager is now coaching the Great Britain women's hockey team after quitting the Black Sticks ahead of a review which revealed "a negative environment''. GETTY IMAGES
OPINION: Hockey New Zealand are deluding themselves if they think scape-goating former coach Mark Hager will shut the lid on the Blacks Sticks review fiasco.
A longtime former Black Sticks women's team stalwart has told Stuff that "a big cleanout" of Hockey New Zealand management and "a complete fresh start" to the coaching and management team is needed to put the team on track for the Tokyo Olympic Games next year.
The player - who did not want to be named - felt Hager, who coached the Black Sticks to the 2018 Commonwealth Games gold medal, "got the best out of us" during a decade in charge, although there were "some things that needed to be fixed".
Her scorn was more directed at Hockey NZ. She was livid that some review participants only learned of the review outcome through a media release on Monday. She said that was "typical" of Hockey NZ's poor communication.
The Hockey NZ board's derisory "release" of findings from an independent review has raised more questions than answers.
Lawyer Maria Dew QC allegedly found 24 of 33 (70 per cent of players interviewed) current and past players she interviewed had "serious concerns" about a "negative environment".
However, the review showed "a very clear disconnect" between "the majority player view of a negative environment" and the "almost unanimous view of the HNZ and HPSNZ [Hockey New Zealand and High Performance Sport NZ] staff, as well as a smaller group of players, that the environment is largely positive and successful".
That second group acknowledged "improvements can be, and have been made" to the Black Sticks environment. HNZ and HPSNZ staff considered the work "can continue with current personnel and considered that this work can continue with current personnel and resources already in place for much of the last two years".
The Black Sticks in a team huddle before a Pro League game against China in Christchurch. GETTY IMAGES
So, who is right? The "negative" camp or the "positive" possee?
We can't tell. Monday's "summary" amounted to just three and a half pages - after a review which encompassed 65 interviews and the examination of 58 documents.
The "summary" was alarmingly short on specifics. Instead of giving more morsels of what actually happened, Hockey NZ board chairman Mike Bignell hid behind a convenient "confidentiality" excuse.
Olivia Merry (C) is congratulated by her Black Sticks teammates after scoring a goal against Mark Hager's Great Britain team in Christchurch. MARTIN HUNTER/GETTY IMAGES
Dew, as reviewer, was not even present to answer media questions.
Hockey NZ have not even shown the full findings to the review participants or the NZ Hockey Players Association, which demanded the review in the first place.
Amelia Gibson - the former Black Sticks goalkeeper who had publicity criticised the environment under Hager - described the review as "a slap in the face" for its lack of detail.
Mark Hager had a decade in charge of the Black Sticks. GETTY IMAGES
Contrast hockey's opaque approach to the High Performance Sport New Zealand's 2018 review into Cycling New Zealand, which revealed details about a drunken night in Bordeaux, which led to a dysfunctional track cycling team culture.
No-one expects a review summary to tag individuals' names to damning comments, but hockey's should have detailed specific allegations.
Without evidence, it is hard to refute Black Sticks benefactor Sir Owen Glenn's claim that Hager - who quit New Zealand to coach England and Great Britain in January - had been constructively dismissed.
Sir Owen Glenn claims Mark Hager was 'constructively dimissed'.
How do we know - given Hockey NZ's heavily redacted release - whether the 24 players had genuine grievances? Was Hager horrible? Or did the complainants simply need to toughen up?
After all, a "negative environment" in one person's eyes can be a "winning culture" in another's.
Hockey NZ is clearly hoping the problem has gone away with the ticking of the review box.
Hockey NZ Chair Mike Bignell presents the findings of an independent review into the Black Sticks women's team environment. Abigail Dougherty/Stuff
Yet, their ham-fisted handling has done a disservice to a lot of people - Hager, the players, the hockey public and Maria Dew, whose detailed findings have been concealed behind the cloak of confidentiality.
Hager could be seen as the convenient fall guy. Yet, if he was so bad, why would Great Britain Hockey - a more successful organisation than Hockey NZ - appoint him? Following Monday's review summary, GB Hockey confirmed Hager's job was secure and asserted it had done "due diligence" before appointing the 54-year-old Australian.
Hager had seen a draft copy of Dew's review before he left for England, but it should not be assumed he jumped before being pushed.
What self-respecting coach would have stayed? It would have been untenable. Hager would always have been looking over his shoulder, wondering if the group wanted him, or whether he could trust the people around him.
All the public know is Hager penned an email - which was inadvertently sent to the whole team rather than a fellow management team member - containing criticisms of some players following the Black Sticks' underwhelming 11th place finish at the Hockey World Cup last July. Hardly a hanging offence.
Some former players publicly pointed the bone at Hager, but seven former internationals issued a statement rejecting the notion of a "negative environment".
One ex-player told Stuff that while the coach is ultimately in charge, "the girls drive the environment too".
Black Sticks co-captains Sam Charlton and Stacey Michelsen praised Hager at the time of his departure. So, it could be assumed he still had the support of the senior leadership group.
Again, the public does not know because Hockey NZ refuses to say.
The Dew review found Hockey NZ had not done enough to respond to concerns about the Black Sticks environment, or ensure player welfare was adequately considered.
Again, there is an alarming lack of specifics.
Bignell has said Hockey NZ is "deeply sorry" about the Black Sticks situation and conceded "while our systems clearly need strengthening, so do our relationships."
"Hockey New Zealand must engage better with our players and their representatives the Hockey Players' Association, as well as providing resources and support to ensure athlete wellbeing."
The blow torch must now go on Bignell, his board and management team.
What accountability did Hockey NZ chief executive Ian Francis - a staffer since 2011 - have?
What about Sean Dancer, who has been coaching the Black Sticks since Hager's departure, after five years as his assistant?
If there were problems within the Black Sticks' environment, were board members Shane Collins and Kirsty Redfern - both former New Zealand internationals - asked to intercede?
During 1976 Olympic gold medallist Ramesh Patel's long reign as CEO, Hockey NZ was acknowledged as one of New Zealand sport's best-run national bodies.
Hockey's list of luminaries and life members includes some of the most respected people in New Zealand sport - including Patel, International Olympic Committee member Barry Maister, his brother Selwyn, and former New Zealand captain and coach Pat Barwick, to name just a few. Perhaps it's time for Hockey NZ to turn to them to navigate a way through the minefield.
Bignell and Francis can bang on about hockey's positives - the Black Sticks' World Pro League involvement and Olympic medal hopes - but after own goals like this, who could blame Owen Glenn for freezing his $2 million Black Sticks donation?
How did hockey bullying claims go unanswered for so long?
By Kate Hawkesby
The long awaited review into NZ women's hockey is out - and what do we know?
Well not much given they only released three pages of it.
But of the 33 players interviewed, 24 of them reported "serious concerns" about the team environment.
We don't know what they are specifically, but it's alleged there was a culture of bullying and that number, 24 out of 33 tells, you all you need to know about the atmosphere within that workspace. The majority of players interviewed didn't like it.
So aside from the fact that report's vague and hockey benefactor Sir Owen Glenn's still not happy, this whole spectacle has raised an interesting question: when do bullying claims get taken seriously?
At what point do people get listened to? Does informal reporting count?
Do passing comments about it count? Does asking for help, but not laying a formal complaint per se count?
Some of the players and representatives interviewed last year claimed they'd been informally raising concerns with Hockey New Zealand since 2016. That's two years of raising concerns.
But Hockey NZ hadn't responded - why? Apparently because they didn't receive any formal complaints.
So the summation was what? That players who moaned were just whingers? That it wasn't to be taken seriously?
I have an element of sympathy with Hockey NZ in that to act, you probably do need actual dates, names, specifics. But at the same time, how long do you need to see a pattern of complaints, albeit informal ones, to get the message something's awry?
Hockey NZ's offered an effusive apology to the affected players. Chairman Mike Bignell said "the failings resulted in unacceptable outcomes" and that "it should never have got to this point and the fact that it has, is something Hockey New Zealand is deeply sorry for and unequivocally apologises to all those who have had a poor experience in the environment".
'It should have never got to this point' are the key words here - and hopefully going forward, the key learnings out of all this.
Yes national women's coach Mark Hager has quit – it appears he jumped before he was pushed - and Sir Owen Glenn's pulled a million bucks in funding. He's annoyed at the trashing of Hager's reputation and he now wants the board taken to task.
But the question remains: how did claims of bullying and gripes of an unhappy negative culture go on for so long, and not get taken seriously?
The New Zealand Herald
Harendra will seek solace switching to football
17 years ago around same time, 6-footer Bernhard Peters resurrected a forgotten player -- who was taller than him -- Florian Kunz to get Germany its first hockey World Cup. The Krefeld's coach had with him Manhnhaim's Markus Weiss as his deputy in Kuala Lumpur.
Later, Weiss, as chief coach of Germany, went on to fetch a rare 'Grand double' of men and women's Olympic gold for his country.
These two celebrated coaches shortly later moved to football, getting plum posts against their coaching prowess proved superbly on hockey fields.
Peters and Weiss shunned hockey calls and assignments before making their professional switch.
Indian coach Harendra, let down by his players at Jakarta, is heralding to become an Indian Peters or Weiss.
India's home grown elite coach Harendra is moving to football, and is planning to seek a professional career there. As a beginner, he will apply for start up level coaching course.
www.stick2hockey.com wishes him all the best in his chosen field.
Its no secret that Harendra's heart lies with hockey, a sport for which he had unflinching loyalty that spanned four decades, dividing equally as player of proven calibre and then as successful Indian coach.
Starting from late 90s, he has been with coaching till Hockey India gave him recent option to revert back to junior coaching which he rightfully did not accept.
Sports Authority of India could have made plans to acquire his services but such niceties do not happen in our land. As a pro, he would hardly settle for charity coaching anymore.
Having trained both men and women, juniors, development squads and national teams, Harendra possess unrivalled experience.
Therefore, his option now is loss of hockey. Its for sure.
Will it be the gain of football? Only time will tell. But his ability to learn, improvise, willingness to work hard-- aspects that we all have seen in the last two decades -- give us confidence that he will excell in football too.
The mere fact that he wishes to continue coaching albeit different sport, vouchsafe for his passion.
This in itself is against the grain of Indian hockey coaches who had the opportunity to train national teams. Once out of national scene they reverted back to routine jobs but never thought of coaching another sport.
Harendra's move thereore is pathbreaking.
This writer firmly belives that Harendra should have been continued with women's where his services would have brought wonders. Accepting men's domain barey couple of months before Asian Games and World Cup is a tough call, risky and its how it turned out thereafter.
UniKL are favourites to make it into Cup final
PETALING JAYA: The bet is on Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) to feature in the TNB Cup final.
But head coach Arul Selvaraj said the two-legged semi-final would be a different ball game for his boys.
UniKL, who are the league champions, are unbeaten and won 11 successive matches to stamp their supremacy in Malaysian hockey.
Their opponents Maybank have stated they would take a cautious approach against UniKL after losing 1-5 and 1-2 in the league.
Arul has urged his charges to stick to their game and not tweak anything.
“I want my boys to play like how they normally do. Right now we are just rectifying some individual errors.
“We are getting better in every game and I have to say the momentum is with us.
“The confidence is there and as a coach I believe my players will continue their gallant run.”
Arul expects hitman Razie Abd Rahim to shine at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium.
“It’s a faster pitch which suits Razie.
“He will definitely have an advantage during penalty corners.”
The Star of Malaysia
Vickneswaran believes Terengganu are the underdogs
By T. Avineshwaran
PETALING JAYA: Terengganu coach I. Vickneswaran said his team are the underdogs in the semi-finals of the TNB Cup against Tenaga despite winning in their last encounter.
The east coast side won 5-3 in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) and will be taking them on again at the Tun Razak Hockey Stadium today. The return leg will be held at the same venue on March 28.
Vickneswaran said the team helmed by Nor Saiful Zaini are the favourites as his players as much more fitter and experienced.
“If you look at the league standings, they are above us. They beat us in the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup and have done well in the league. So it makes sense to call them favourites,” said Vickneswaran.
“Right now training has been going well and we have to plot our plan well. Some players have fitness concerns and are racing against time.”
The players are league top scorer Jang Jong-hyun (quadriceps pull), Rashid Baharom (shoulder), Azri Hassan (fever) and Firdaus Omar (broken finger).
“We will only know today if they can play in the first-leg. They are key players especially Jang. He did not feature in our last two matches and I hope he plays in the first-leg.”
Vickneswaran said playing at 3pm in the second-leg would also be a telling factor as he believes the Tenaga players, who are younger and fitter, will have an advantage.
“They have lots of national players who are young and capable of playing in any conditions.”
Nor Saiful said both sides have a good chance of making the final but added that Terengganu will have a point to prove after losing to them in the Tan Sri P. Alagendra Cup and also in the league.
“It’s anyone game in the two-legged semi-final. I have told my players to get a good score-line in the first-leg to ensure that we are not under pressure for the return leg.”
The Star of Malaysia
Teen Che Shahrul tries to keep his cool as he stands in for top keeper
By Aftar Singh
KUALA LUMPUR: Tenaga Nasional youngster Che Shahrul Azmi Che Saupi (pic) has some big shoes to fill in the absence of the country’s No. 1 goalkeeper S. Kumar.
Kumar, 39, will be out of action for two months after suffering a muscle tear in his right thigh in a Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) match last Friday and Che Shahrul is seen as the right fit for the role.
The 17-year-old Che Shahrul of Negri Sembilan helped Malaysia win their first-ever gold medal in the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires, Argentina, last October and Tenaga coach Nor Saiful Zaini is counting on him to deliver.
“We’ve named Che Shahrul in the Tenaga Nasional squad because he played well in the Youth Olympic Games. We’ve faith in him,” said Nor Saiful.
“I’m confident he will give his best in the league and overall Cup although he is playing in the MHL for the first time this season.
“It’ll be a good learning experience for Che Shahrul. In the match against Maybank last Sunday, he played well and we did well to win (7-2).”
Che Shahrul was happy to stand in for Kumar but admitted he was nervous.
“I’m playing at the senior level for the first time. Kumar is a keeper with vast experience and he’s also my idol. I lack the experience playing against top clubs but I’m ready to learn,” said Che Shahrul, who is waiting for his Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) results.
Che Shahrul is a student at Tunku Mahkota Ismail Sports School (SSTMI) and has represented the school in the Under-19 Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) since 2017.
And last year, SSTMI emerged as double champions, landing the league and overall titles.
Che Shahrul said he has done well as a junior keeper and hopes to be a world-class goalkeeper in the next few years.
Tenaga wrap up their league fixtures against Terengganu at the Tun Razak Stadium in Jalan Duta today.
Whatever the outcome, Tenaga will still finish second in the league and face Terengganu in the semi-finals of the overall Cup.
Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL) clinched the league title on Wednesday with a total of 31 points with one more match to play against TNB Thunderbolt today at the Tengku Abdullah Hockey Stadium in Bangi.
The Star of Malaysia
New teams in the mix as 2019 season bullies off in Nairobi
By BRIAN YONGA
Sailors' Douglas Nyerere (left) celebrates with team mates Abraham Muse and Timothy Obonyo after scoring against Multimedia University. Sailors won 2-0 to qualify for the 2019 Men's Premier Hockey League. PHOTO | MAGONGO KENYA |
Technical University of Kenya (TUK) and Oranje Leonas will debut in the 2019 Kenya Hockey Union women’s Super League that begins this weekend at the City Park Stadium, Nairobi.
This season will also see the return of Mount Kenya University to the men’s National League after a three-year absence.
Oranje Leonas is a Kenya Hockey Union (KHU) development side that was formed a few years back to act as a feeder to the national team. It comprises players aged between 18 to 20 years.
According to the KHU assistant fixtures secretary, Moses Majiwa, the time is ripe for the development side to be thrown into the thick of action.
“We are looking at another exciting season and the addition of these two teams will go a long way in improving the game especially the women’s game which does not have so many teams,” Majiwa said on Monday.
Last season, KHU made changes to the men’s and women’s Premier Leagues.
An additional league referred to as Super League was introduced to both competitions.
The men’s Super League winners, Sailors earned promotion to this season’s 10-team Premier League. Three sides namely Parkroad Badgers, Kenya College of Accountancy University and Nakuru dropped from the top-flight league.
The National League was as a third-tier competition, with Bungoma Farmers securing promotion to the Super League to take up the spot of Kabarak University, who were relegated.
Kenyatta University Titans were crowned champions of the inaugural women’s Super League, with Lakers from Kisumu finishing second as both teams secured promotion to Premier League.
Vikings, who finished last in the women’s Premier League, will play in the Super League this season.
"The women's Premier League has, however, been increased from seven to eight teams for the 2019 season and hopefully we will settle at 10 teams eventually after gradual growth,” said Majiwa.