All the news for Tuesday 30 April 2019
FIH Men's Series Finals Kuala Lumpur 2019 - Day 5
Kuala Lumpur (MAS)
Results 29 April
CAN v BLR (Pool A) 6 - 2
WAL v AUT (Pool A) 0 - 2
BRA v CHN (Pool B) 2 - 3
MAS v ITA (Pool B) 2 - 4
Fixtures 1 May (GMT +8)
17:50 CAN v CHN (Cross-over)
20:05 MAS v WAL (Cross-over)
Final Pool standings
|Rank||Team||Played||Wins||Draws||Losses||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
|Rank||Team||Played||Wins||Draws||Losses||Goals For||Goals Against||Goal Difference||Points|
Austria advance to Series Finals semis
By Jugjet Singh
Austria’s Bernard Schmidt (left) and Wales’ Benjamin Francis tussle for the ball in Monday’s FIH Series Finals Group A match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil. BERNAMA PIC
BUKIT JALIL: Austria came to the FIH Series Finals looking for a semi-final slot but never dreamt of making it automatically by topping Group A.
More so with Canada as their main hurdle.
But the World No 19 achieved it when they defeated Wales 2-0 on Monday at the National Hockey Stadium here and finished ahead of 10th-ranked Canada on goal difference.
Canada and Wales, who finished third, will now play in the crossover play-offs.
Dominic Uher (37th) and Florian Steyrer's (55th) made all the difference for the indoor world champions by scoring one goal each.
"We came here to finish among the top three teams in our group. It has turned out to be an amazing tournament for us. Now we have a few days rest before we start the second part of our journey," said Austria captain Xaver Hasun.
And Hasun attributed part of their rise in this tournament to indoor hockey.
"We don't get a chance to play field hockey much because of winter, so all the players here play indoor as well as in the leagues in Europe."
When they first arrived in Malaysia, they were wary of the food and weather, but they have acclimatised and are now enjoying both.
"The weather has been good as it rains often, while the food is delicious. We were wary of both before coming here, but now, we are feeling at home," he added.
New Straits Times
Austrian skipper proud of his team’s feat despite the heat
By T. Avineshwaran
PETALING JAYA: For Austria’s hockey team, making the journey to Malaysia for the FIH Series Finals is a big step.
All the team members are indoor hockey players and playing field hockey under the sweltering heat at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil has been a daunting affair.
And that’s why captain Xavier Hasun is so proud of his team after they checked into the semi-finals by emerging as the Group A champions.
Yesterday, the world No. 19 Austria whipped Wales 2-0 to book an automatic spot to the Friday semi-finals on goal difference.
“Field hockey in Europe is different from Malaysia. It’s super hot, and all teams in this tournament are competitive,” said the 25-year-old Hasun, who has more than 110 caps.
“We had to deal with the heat and humidity. We have not played in this kind of conditions, but I’m glad that we’ve done okay so far.
When asked whether the faster pace of indoor hockey helped with their gameplay, Hasun said: “FIH tournaments are tactical and defensive. Indoor is quicker, and there are lots of emphasis on attacking.“We’re playing well here because our players play in Germany and Belgium. The leagues there, whether outdoor or indoor, is pretty competitive,” added Hasun, who is pleased that his team made the semi-finals despite short preparation. “We just wanted to be in top three to play in the knockout stages and we’ve reached our target.”
In the other Group A match, Canada thrashed Belarus 6-2 as they finished second in the group with six points, while Wales, also with six points, finished third by goal difference.
Belarus, who did not get a single point, will play in the 7th-8th placing match on Thursday.
The Star of Malaysia
Darkest day in Malaysian hockey
By Jugjet Singh
Malaysia scores a goal against Italy in Monday’s FIH Series Finals Group B match at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil. PIC BY ROSELA ISMAIL
THE national team performed ‘act two of their comedy show’ in the 4-2 defeat to World No 32 Italy in Monday’s final Group B match of the FIH Series Finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil.
But the joke was on them, as nobody else was in the mood to laugh at their pathetic antics.
The result is a new low for Malaysian hockey. The World No 13 will now play Wales in Wednesday’s crossover playoff.
Canada will face China in the other playoff, while Italy and Group A champions Austria have earned direct entries into the last four.
When Malaysian coach Roelant Oltmans was asked what went wrong?
"Everything, I'm shocked and disappointed because I never expected this result. I can feel the anger of Malaysian hockey fans.
"All I can say to them (fans) is that we will perform much better against Wales on Wednesday and bring back their faith in the team," said Oltmans.
Italy coach Robert Da Ga said they did not think about the possibility of winning.
"My prediction was a 4-4 draw as I believed in my team but I was only half right. We played world class hockey, all 18 players deserve this victory for giving their 100 percent," said Da Ga.
Italy made very few mistakes, and deservingly took a ninth-minute lead off their first penalty corner.
It was delivered by Thomas Keenan, whose floating attempt beat goalkeeper Hairi Rahman on his right side.
Hairi used both his hands like a soccer goalkeeper to stop the attempt and was promptly replaced with second goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman.
The first half saw many hasty attempts at goal, and luckily Faizal Saari's penalty corner drag in the 26th minute tied the match going into the half-time break.
Italian captain Agustin Nunez handed his mates a temporary lead in the 31st minute, but Razie Rahim cancelled it via Malaysia's fourth penalty corner in the 35th minute.
However, the day belonged to Italy as Nunez scored his second in the 43rd minute before Francois Sior added the fourth in the 45th minute.
RESULTS: Group A: Canada 6 Belarus 2, Wales 0 Austria 2; Group B: Malaysia 2 Italy 4, China 3 Brazil 2.
P W D L F A Pts
AUSTRIA 3 2 0 1 8 2 6
CANADA 3 2 0 1 9 6 6
WALES 3 2 0 1 5 4 6
BELARUS 3 0 0 3 3 13 0
P W D L F A Pts
ITALY 3 3 0 0 9 3 9
MALAYSIA 3 1 1 1 12 8 4
CHINA 3 1 1 1 8 8 4
BRAZIL 3 0 0 3 2 12 0
New Straits Times
Malaysia hockey reach new low after defeat to Italy
By T. Avineshwaran
KUALA LUMPUR: It was a day to forget for Malaysian hockey.
The national players reached a new low when they lost 2-4 to world No. 32 Italy in the FIH Series Finals at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.
The defeat means Malaysia finished second in Group B with four points and will face Wales in a crossover match tomorrow.
Malaysia dominated proceedings but found it hard to breach Italy’s defence, which was led admirably by goalkeeper Francesco Padovani.
Italy drew first blood in the ninth minute through Thomas Keenan whose floating penalty corner went past an out-of-sorts Hairi Rahman, who was then replaced by substitute keeper Hafizuddin Othman.
The pressure was on for Malaysia as they looked to equalise, but in the 15th minute, Padovani pulled off a double save from Razie Rahim’s penalty corner.
Malaysia finally sounded the board when Faisal Saari thumped in a beauty off a penalty corner in the 26th minute to equalise for the hosts.
Malaysia started on the wrong foot in the third quarter when Mattia Amorosini’s stray shot from outside the D was connected by captain Agustin Nunez to give Italy a 2-1 lead in the 31st minute.
Their lead, however, lasted only four minutes, when Razie Rahim scored for Malaysia off a penalty corner when his shot was too powerful for Padovani.
All that hard work was undone again when Angel Nunez’s deflection off Keenan’s penalty corner fooled Malaysia’s defence in the 43rd minute.
Two minutes later, a moment of calamity from substitute keeper Hafizuddin gave Italy their fourth goal through Francois Soir.
The players and the coach Roelant Oltmans certainly have lots to answer, and fans would surely hope that the team would save their blushes against Wales.
The Star of Malaysia
Keeping hockey clean through education
One, often overlooked, aspect of a hockey player’s life is being aware of anti-doping protocol. Hockey is lucky in that it is recognised as one of the sports with very few doping issues but, with more prize money available at more events, there is always going to be a risk that someone might be tempted to take performance enhancing or pain-masking medication that strays outsides the limits of what is acceptable.
It is a situation about which Canada’s Scott Tupper is unequivocal: “We all have friends who take stuff but, as an athlete, we can’t do that. It may look like great fun at the time but is it better than being an elite athlete? I think anyone who has to think about that perhaps isn’t going to make it as an elite athlete anyway.”
In a bid to stay ahead of any potential problems, the FIH is pushing ahead with updated procedures and a new education programme aimed at players, team staff and spectators.
Education booths were launched at the first of six FIH Series Finals, in Kuala Lumpur, which is where we caught up with veteran striker Tupper and one of Canada’s rising stars, Jamie Wallace.
“As an athlete, we would prefer to play in a sport that is clean and runs on a level playing field," says Tupper, who is also on the FIH Athlete Committee. "For FIH to take the initiative and ensure that hockey remains clean is a really good move.
“As an elite athlete you are very conscious about what you are doing. As a young athlete, your friends are probably taking some substances but you know the consequences if you do that and get caught. It is just important to steer clear of the things that might get you into trouble. I think if you have made the decision to pursue a career as a top athlete, it is not a difficult decision.”
Most of the players and coaching staff from the eight participating teams at the FIH Series Finals visited the education booths at the event, where they were invited to take part in a doping-related quiz that highlighted some of the areas that might trip an athlete up. Both the athletes and members of the public were also able to ask questions about the process of anti-doping.
Bryan Mo, who is the FIH Sport Services Coordinator and responsible for the FIH anti-doping programme, was on hand to offer advice to the athletes. He was delighted with the amount of interest the education booth received.
"These guys are complete professionals and want to know that they are doing the right thing," he said. "The general consensus from talking to the athletes and coaches is that they are proud that hockey is high among the 'clean sports' and they want it to stay that way. The quiz was a bit of fun but it also highlighted some very serious issues, including how important it is to keep checking that any supplement or medication you are considering taking are accepted under anti-doping rules."
Despite only being 19, Wallace is no slouch when it comes to anti-doping protocol. It is something the Canadian national team takes very seriously. “Through the junior program, we did a lot of training through the Canadian Centre for Ethics in Sport, CCES (Canadian NADO) so we have been educated on what we can use in terms of supplements," says Wallace.
"As a young guy, there are a lot of influences around, so it is important to understand that the risks are just not worth it. It is important to stay professional at all times. Through the national team we do a course on anti-doping each year and I do another course through my university so I consider myself very well informed in this area.”
If Wallace enjoys a long international career then it is an area in which he will become even more expert. National athletes in Canada receive financial support each year, but to receive the support, they have to complete two online courses annually. As Tupper points out a little ruefully, after 14 years on the national program, he is well-versed in anti-doping procedure.
To read more about the updated FIH anti-doping procedures, click here.
2019 FIH Pro League (Women)
30 Apr 2019 19:30 (GMT+2) GER v USA (RR) Hockeypark, Moenchenglabach
Live streaming and full game replay on https://fih.live (Geo blocked if there is TV coverage)
FIH Match Centre
FIH Pro League Scouting Report: USWNT vs. Germany
In anticipation of the U.S. Women's National Team's upcoming FIH Pro League match, here is a scouting report you’ll want to review before the starting whistle.
Game Day: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Time: 1:30 p.m. ET
Location: Hockey Park, Mönchengladbach, Germany
Live Stream: Don't miss a second of the FIH Pro League action and watch the USWNT take on Germany this Tuesday. The FIH has signed a four-year media rights agreement with Bleacher Report Live for the territories of Canada and the United States. Bleacher Report Live is operated by Turner Sports, a division of WarnerMedia. The platform, which is Turner’s live sports streaming service, will be the primary destination for all fans to watch FIH Pro League matches. Click here for the FIH Pro League live stream landing page.
FIH World Ranking: 5
Head to Head: The last time these two teams met was at the 2017 FIH Hockey World League Semifinals in Johannesburg, South Africa in the title game in front of a sold-out crowd at Wits University. After being scoreless at the half, Germany found the backboard in the third quarter. USA used pure grit and determination to find the equalizer off a penalty stroke late in the game. This forced shootouts where USA came out on top 3-2 to become champions.
Prior to that was in the quarterfinal round of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. Despite undeniable heart and hustle present in USA’s performance, the red, white and blue fell to Germany 1-2, ending their Olympic Games campaign.
Head to Head
4 Previous Matches
What You Need to Know: Following their wonderful Olympic bronze medal success at Rio 2016, Germany have continued to look like a team that can challenge the very best in the world. They produced some sparkling performances at the Vitality Hockey Women’s World Cup London 2018, defeating South Africa, Argentina and eventual bronze medalists Spain to top the Pool and reach the quarter-ﬁnals. Spain’s Red Sticks gained revenge against
Die Danas in the quarterﬁnal match, edging to a 1-0 win over their European rivals. Despite that surprise defeat, Germany’s outstanding displays in the pool phase provided plenty of evidence that the current Germany team, coached by former Belgium men’s international Xavier Reckinger, are a class act.
The initial squad named by Reckinger for the FIH Pro League contains plenty of quality and youthful promise, being led by hugely experienced defender, midﬁelder and captain Janne Müller-Wieland, who has over 250 caps to her name. Charlotte Stapenhorst is one of the best young attackers in the game, while Lena Micheel, Elisa Gräve and FIH Young Player of the Year Award 2018 nominee Nike Lorenz are wonderful talents that over the coming months and years are only going to get better.
Recap of Germany's Previous Game: No. 5 Germany was the dominant force in the opening two quarters against No. 10 China on Sunday and took a throughly deserved 2-1 advantage into halftime. The hosts found themselves behind after just two minutes when poor marking allowed Peng Yang complete freedom in the Germany circle, with the China striker's backhand finding the bottom right corner of Julia Sonntag's goal. Die Danas turned things around thanks to the penalty corner prowess of Nike Lorenz, who found the target either side of the quarter-time break to put Germany in control. Germany had numerous opportunities to extend their advantage, but another defensive lapse gave China a huge chance to equalize as Zhong Mengling and Zhang Xiaoxue burst through on goal but failed to find the net with only goalkeeper Sonntag to beat.
Germany remained the better team in the third and fourth quarters, eventually establishing a 3-1 lead in the final period when Hannah Granitzki’s clever reverse pass was emphatically converted by Lena Micheel before Charlotte Stapenhorst hit the post with an outrageous chip over China goalkeeper Ye Jiao.
Germany wrapped up the points with seven minutes to play thanks to Rebecca Grotto’s low penalty corner drag flick, helping Die Danas to both avenge last month’s 2-1 defeat against China in Changzhou and build confidence ahead of the meeting with USA in Mönchengladbach on Tuesday (30 April).
Germany's Roster: Click Here
USFHA media release
Ward pleased with progression following victory over Germany
Great Britain’s men continued their strong start to the FIH Pro League with a fourth away win from five matches, this time a 1-0 victory in Moenchengladbach, ahead of their first home match of the competition on Saturday 4 May against Spain.
Also securing a clean-sheet over Germany, Great Britain now hold the joint best defensive record in the FIH Pro League, and Ward was delighted to see the hard-work in training pay-off:
“It was a brilliant result against Germany, the boys were fantastic, and I think it just shows our maturity going out and beating them in their back yard. I think our commitment in deep defence and our shape is something that has massively progressed, we’re just getting better and better.
“Going out there and keeping the ball out of the net is massive and it’s an honour to everyone really. The way we’re playing with a compact defence shows and it’s nice to see in the stats that we are keeping the ball out of the net.
“We’ve just got to keep doing what we’re doing and build on that. We’ve still got a lot left to give and we’re only at the start of our journey, we just need to keep giving what we can and we’ll get better and better.”
Great Britain can look forward to a first home FIH Pro League match on Saturday when Spain visit Lee Valley Hockey and Tennis Centre, and if the reverse fixture is anything to go by, it’s set to be a thrilling game:
“The Pro League is bringing lots of goals and exciting hockey and I don’t think it gets much more exciting than a 6-5 victory from 4-1 down, so I think we’re giving what the fans want.” said Ward when reflecting on the last time the two sides met in Valencia, “I hope Saturday’s game is just as good!”
“Both sides like to play attacking hockey with a lot of flair, it could be down to who can take more of their counter-attacking chances.
“I’m excited to play a home game, hopefully coming back to Lee Valley this weekend we’ll be able to go out and put in a cracking performance in-front of our own crowd.
“Our first home game is going to be massive for us. We’re hoping for a big crowd, whatever happens as long as people there get behind us it makes a massive difference to us.”
With the women’s team playing their first home FIH Pro League match whilst the men’s team were away in Germany, Ward revealed how the squad kept up to date with the game in London:
“I’ve been following quite a bit of the women’s matches so far in the Pro League.
“We finished training on Saturday and got the game up on a laptop to watch the USA match as a group. It was great to see them win the shootout and get a couple of points on the board, hopefully they’ll be able to build from that this week and beat China on Friday.”
Following their dramatic shootout conclusion last time out, watch Great Britain’s women face China in their second home match of the FIH Pro League with tickets available HERE.
Tickets for Great Britain’s men’s first FIH Pro League home game, which gets underway at 12pm, are also available for purchase by clicking HERE.
Great Britain Hockey media release
Kookaburras Forced Into Two Changes Due To Injuries
Hockey Australia today confirms the Kookaburras have been forced into two changes to their 18-member team to play Argentina in the FIH Pro League on Sunday.
Forward pair Trent Mitton (finger) and Dylan Wotherspoon (hamstring) sustained injuries in the 4-3 win over New Zealand in Auckland on Thursday and have returned to Australia.
As a result, Corey Weyer and Aaron Kleinschmidt have been added to the initial 18-member team named for the Pacific leg matches.
World number two Australia takes on world number four Argentina in Buenos Aires on Sunday 5 May from 7:30am AEST.
Kookaburras coach Colin Batch said: “A lot of our guys haven't been to Buenos Aires before so it’s a different challenge. Argentina are tough opposition playing at home.
"We need to get into the time zone. We’ve got seven days to adapt to that and we need to put in a good performance."
The Kookaburras are currently third in the FIH Pro League standings, behind Great Britain and Belgium.
The matches will be televised live by Kayo Sports and on FOX SPORTS 505.
Sunday 5 May 2019 – CeNARD, Buenos Aires
Argentina v Hockeyroos – 5am AEST
Argentina v Kookaburras – 7:30am AEST
Kookaburras 18-member team:
Athlete (Hometown, State)
Jacob Anderson (Mackay, QLD)
Daniel Beale (Brisbane, QLD)
Joshua Beltz (Hobart, TAS)
Andrew Charter (Canberra, ACT)
Tom Craig (Lane Cove, NSW)
Matthew Dawson (Killarney Vale, NSW)
Blake Govers (Wollongong, NSW)
Jake Harvie (Dardanup, WA)
Jeremy Hayward (Darwin, NT)
Tim Howard (Wakerley, QLD)
Aaron Kleinschmidt (Melbourne, VIC)
Tyler Lovell (Perth, WA)
Flynn Ogilvie (Wollongong, NSW)
Lachlan Sharp (Lithgow, NSW)
Josh Simmonds (Melbourne, VIC)
Corey Weyer (Biggera Waters, QLD)
Jacob Whetton (Brisbane, QLD)
Aran Zalewski (Margaret River, WA)
Hockey Australia media release
Uzbekistan hockey team wins first tour match
LAHORE : Uzbekistan hockey team defeated Tariq Butt Academy Manga Mandi by 2-1 in the Pakistan Training Tour of Uzbekistan Hockey Team first match here at Johar Hockey Stadium on Monday.
Uzbekistan overcame Pakistan’s Tariq Academy 2-1. From Uzbekistan, Raslan Setlico slammed in both the field goals while from Tariq Academy, captain Imran Ramzan converted the only goal.
Punjab Hockey Association (PHA) Secretary Col (r) Asif Naaz Khokhar graced the occasion as chief guest.
Meanwhile, to pick up teams for Pakistan Hockey Federation (PHF) development squad and Punjab side, 40 probables played a 20-minute practice match at National Hockey Stadium under the watchful eyes of Pakistan Navy coach Junaid. Forward Khubaib Ahmad emerged as star of the day for his side as he fired in two fabulous field goals to guide Team A to a thumping 2-0 victory over Team B.
Dohmen and De Greve reflect on Waterloo’s incredible EHL journey
©: Frank Uijlenbroek / World Sport Pics
For Waterloo Ducks captain John-John Dohmen, he said that the gruelling Euro Hockey League schedule last week was extra tough on him as he still recovers from the illness that ruled him out of the World Cup.
The midfielder led the WatDucks to a first ever Belgian club success in the EHL, a real defining figure in their success. It was just the second time his side had reach the KO8 in seven attempts in the EHL, let alone advance to the FINAL4 and ultimately the title.
And Dohmen said it was amazing to finally prove themselves on this elevated stage.
“We had never done a good campaign in the EHL,” he said. “It’s the first time we have shown our real level. Of course, we had to defend a lot because Rot Weiss were really good but that was part of the strategy, to defend hard with courage, and we showed a lot of character.”
As for his personal week, he explained he is still in recovery mode from December and managing his health.
“It was not easy for me to leave the team in India but we won so the end of that story was good and I was really happy with that. I am still sick which not everybody knows and under medication so its not always easy for me, especially this week with four games in six days – it is a lot harder than the past but I think I managed it really well!”
While Vincent Vanasch drew obvious credit for his outrageous performances between the posts, Dohmen was keen to also praise the younger element of his team who played a crucial role.
Among them, William Ghislain was named the ABN AMRO Talent of the EHL, scoring in both the FINAL4 and the GRAND FINAL.
“I think he is the most talented player in the team,” Dohmen said. “This week he understood he could make the difference and when he is playing for the team, he did just that.
“In the past, it was not always the case and we have spoken a lot with him and this was the perfect example for young guys. He played amazing. It’s always the same – when you play for the team, you play better yourself.”
Coach Xavier de Greve added the young guns really made their mark:
“Just unbelievable: it’s a very young team and they listen all the time to the coaching.
“William is a big talent; all these young guys need to keep progressing their mentality and are learning all the time. They got so much experience this week in the EHL and they are the future of the Red Lions and for the Ducks, too.”
As for his captain, he added: “It’s incredible because John-John has been sick since the World Cup but he has stayed focused with the team. He needs to have ‘free’ moments to himself before the EHL and the playoffs and he has comeback brilliantly for the team. We needed guys like him with his experience to control the game.”
And on Vanasch: “I think he’s just made another case to be world goalkeeper again! It’s just amazing; he is just The Wall.”
His side bowed out of the Belgian championship at the quarter-final stage despite a 4-2 win over Dragons on Sunday. They had lost the first leg 4-1, though, and de Greve reckons that result actually played a key role in their EHL success.
“We won this game with our young players who again set the example. So there are a lot of good things to be gained from this overall defeat.
“But if we had not received the slap to the face from Dragons 15 days ago, we would certainly not be European champions. This elimination will not make us forget our magnificent season."
Euro Hockey League media release
Openda: A legacy of unparalleled hockey achievements
By WASHINGTON AKUMU
Telkom Kenya women's hockey team coach Jos Openda gives instructions to players during a training session on April 17, 2019 at City Park Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
When the history of Kenyan hockey is written, Jos Openda’s name will be in golden letters. His contribution, especially to the ladies’ game, is indelible.
It is the year 2010. The scene is a stadium in Ghana, venue for the Africa Cup of Club Championship (ACCC). The Telkom Ladies Hockey Team has just beaten continental giants Al Ahly 5-0! The girls are in raptures. The singing is frenzied.
“I had done the unthinkable, fielding most of the 12 junior team players who had travelled for the championship, out of a player roll of 20. It was a huge gamble. But the young players were still naïve and lacked the experience to stay the course and win a tournament.”
It showed. The team, which had travelled as defending champions, lost most of its subsequent games and was left to scrounge for the last positions.
The camp was desolate. Inevitably, the coach was blamed for experimenting with young players when he had enough experience on the bench. The general feeling within the team was that its sponsorship deal with Telkom would be a casualty of the Accra debacle.
“I stood my ground and expressed my faith in the team, while defending my action. The Telkom management, through then communication lead, Angela Mumo, believed in us and embraced us. I promised her that the same team that had capitulated in Accra would conquer the continent a record number of times,” reminisces Mr Openda.
This they did, winning the ACCC a record 10 times, Mr Openda managing the technical bench in eight of those instalments. The only break in the string of continental successes came in 2017, when the trophy spent a few months in Ghana.
On the national scene, the Telkom ladies hockey team has won the league a record 21 times.
“To challenge ourselves, we set the goal of winning the league unbeaten and without conceding a goal,” says Openda.
Perhaps it is a measure of the team’s achievement that the long-serving coach can remember which teams have managed to score against the Telkom Ladies each year.
“USIU scored against us last year. A year earlier, only Sliders managed the feat. In 2016, only Strathmore sounded the board against us.”
On his part, Mr Openda has also been garlanded, winning the Sports Personality of the Year Awards (Soya) Coach of the Year two times. The team has become a key nursery for the national team, providing its bulk. The current national team roster has 14 players from the Telkom ladies hockey team!
Among the remarkable players who have benefited from his tutelage, Mr Openda names pioneers like the late Betty Kioni - who almost single-handedly propelled the team to win the Kampala instalment of the Africa Cup of Club Championships (ACCC) - Rose Mbulo, Judith Apiyo and Jackline Atieno have gone into coaching.
In the current team, there is Jackie Mwangi, a lethal striker who has topped the scoring charts in almost all tournaments the team has participated in.
Captain Tracy Karanja and Audrey Omaido are some of the exciting talents the team parades.
Openda credits the team’s success to the sponsorship by Telkom Kenya, which at 30 years, is probably the longest such partnership in the history of Kenyan sport, which gives the team semi-professional status.
The package consists of Sh10-12 million for local engagements and Sh9 million for international assignments.
“The sponsorship assures the girls of a regular allowance, which some have used to further their education and set themselves up in life. Medical insurance ensures that our players are well taken care of when they fall sick or are injured. It motivates them to give their all on the pitch.”
Other elements of the partnership include training grounds/facilities, training gear, playing kits and uniforms, training and winning allowances and facilitation during the National League, County leagues out of Nairobi and the annual continental showcase – ACCC.
“And whenever we travel out of the country, Telkom Kenya ensures we are well taken care of, putting us in a different class. We have never missed an ACCC,” he concludes.
Optimistic Openda yearns for more glory to remain unvanquished
By WASHINGTON AKUMU
Telkom Kenya women's hockey team coach Jos Openda is flanked with goalkeeper trainer Josephine Ataro (left) during a club training session on April 17, 2019 at City Park Stadium. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
I get to City Park Hockey Stadium in Nairobi’s Parklands suburb at around 6:30 pm on a balmy Nairobi evening. A training session for the Telkom ladies hockey team is underway.
“You are too slow!” a voice bellows from the touchline.
“High knees, high knees! Make sure it is the ground that is propelling you.”
“Angalieni vile Pauline anakimbia. (Look at how Pauline is running.) That’s how I want you to run!”
A few minutes later, after a punishing regime of sprints, the 20 plus players are clearly fatigued, but the man in a yellow jersey and black shorts with a whistle hanging on his wide-barreled chest, is unrelenting.
Later, during a practice match on Kenya’s only astro-turf hockey pitch, the board sounds for a goal, and his face lights up.
Welcome to the world of Jos Openda, long-serving coach of the Telkom ladies hockey team.
His story starts in Kisumu Boys High School, which was a bastion of boys’ hockey in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Telkom players during a training session at the City Park Stadium on April 17, 2019. PHOTO | CHRIS OMOLLO | NATION MEDIA GROUP
“We were unbeatable! We were playing international hockey! It was all due to the dedication of Aridhaman Singh Thind, our Maths teacher, who doubled up as the hockey coach. His was raw passion for the game. The boys took the skills learnt with them out of the school gate and Kisumu is probably the only town which had an inter-estate hockey tournament.”
Openda remembers a time when the teacher brought a coach, who was then fresh from taking India to the finals of the Gold Cup (an international hockey tournament), to share a few tricks with the boys
His face lights up when he recalls some of the big names that he played alongside in the legendary “KB” school team.
“Goalkeeper Emmanuel Oduol, Mike Omondi, Peter Akatsa, Simi Goyal, Parminder “Kake” Singh, George Jalang’o, Oguk Sidi…,” the names reel off his tongue effortlessly, and it looks like he could go on.
“When Kenya reached the finals of men’s hockey at the 4th All Africa Games in Nairobi in 1987, eventually losing narrowly to Egypt by a 1-0 margin, that success was built on this KB nucleus.
Coach Thind’s seed had germinated,” he says of Kenya’s biggest moment in men’s hockey.
That 1987 roster featured the likes of Simi Goyal, Parminder “Kake” Singh and Peter Akatsa, among others.
So, when in 1989, a colleague at the then Kenya Posts & Telecommunications Corporation where he was working as a technician, challenged him to coach the then nascent Telkom ladies hockey team, it almost looked like an inevitable reunion with one of his favorite high school sports. At that time, he was playing basketball for the KP&TC team.
Left the team
But he soon left coaching the team, only to return in 2002. He has never left since then, despite recent intimations to the contrary. So, when is he leaving?
“By hinting at my departure, I am psychologically preparing the four lady coaches I currently work, with for the inevitable. Nothing would give me more joy than seeing a lady coach sitting in the dugout for the team.”
“These days, I do not even sit on the bench. I take notes from the terraces and share with the coach during the game. They (my assistant coaches) are almost ready. The only area where they still need my intervention is in reading the game,” adds Mr Openda.
But there is another reason for Mr Openda’s apparent reluctance to leave.
“I want to leave the team when it has a future. The team has aged, and we are currently training a youthful crop, recruited from last year’s secondary school championships, to underwrite its future,” argues Mr Openda.
“Look out for this team. These girls will shock the hockey world! In about two to three months, I believe they will be ready to start integrating with the senior team,” a beaming Openda talks about 16 players, mostly recruited by his assistants from Tigoi and Kerugoya schools.
As the one-time hotelier drives out of the ragged parking lot for a journey to his Kano Kobura rural home to oversee a farming project he is currently undertaking, he lets me know that he will be back two days later for a game.
I have no reason to doubt him.
Kayla Whitelock returns to Manawatū club hockey
Kayla Whitelock marked her return to hockey by scoring for College. GETTY IMAGES
HOCKEY: Former New Zealand captain Kayla Whitelock has made a return to Manawatū club hockey, scoring for College in their 1-1 draw with High School Hockey Club.
The tightly contested draw on Saturday marked the 33-year-old's comeback to the turf, in a rematch of last year's women's final.
The first goal wasn't scored until the third quarter, when a break away from High School saw Casey-Mae Waddell find the back of the net and get High School on the board.
College kept fighting and good positioning from Whitelock saw her score, tying the game up.
They had more chances throughout the game, but failed to make the most of their time in the circle, while High School spent a lot of time defending, but used their breakaway opportunities to their advantage.
In the other women's game Palmerston North Girls' High School drew with Wanganui 3-3, while Massey had a bye.
A repeat of one of the premier men's semi-finals from last year saw College beat Marist 2-1.
The pair last met in the men's playoff last year, when College lost to Marist in penalty shootouts.
This time College managed to pull ahead and take the win after a slow start.
Marist took the lead early on with a goal from Edmund Cousins, which was equalised by Aaron Purser, from College, scoring a stroke.
Both teams fought hard trying to get another goal, but it was newcomer Eden McCabe, from College, who managed to find the back of the net and to pull his team ahead.
In the other men's games, High School Hockey Club beat Massey 2-1 while Levin Hockey (Manawatū College Old Boys) beat Palmerston North Boys' High School 2-0.
This week Massey will take on Levin (MCOB) on Thursday in Levin while College play Boys' High on Saturday and HSHC play Marist.
In the women's competition, Girls' High play Massey, College play Wanganui and High School have the bye.
Robbie Matthews Q & A
Robbie Matthews has had a long successful association with hockey in New Zealand. Matthews was the first player to earn 150 caps for the New Zealand Women’s Hockey Team when she achieved this milestone in 2000. Matthews ended up playing 157 test matches for the New Zealand hockey team. Since her retirement she has continued to be involved in coaching several School, Association and Region teams. We spoke with Robbie about her career in hockey as well as what the future holds for her.
Tina Bell-Kake who played a number of years in the black singlet with Matthews commented ” 2ft Toomey as she was regularly referred to in her prime years will probably be still running around in her 90’s! She’s like an energiser bunny – definitely keeping those young ones honest for sure… she obviously didn’t run hard enough during her International career – she’s still running pretty well for an old bird”.
What is your role with Whanganui Sport and Hockey in Whanganui?
Operations Manager Hockey Wanganui. Oversee, manage and grow the business of hockey in Whanganui. I have just completed a New Water Based Turf project which we had down in time for the NZ Masters Games where Hockey is one of the key sports at that event. Whanganui now has 2 water-based surfaces in the city.
What experiences did you have with rep age group hockey?
I grew up in the Hawkes Bay and started playing at the age of 5. We moved to the King Country when I was 10 and my first taste of tournament hockey was attending ‘Country Week’ in Auckland as a 13-year-old playing for Waipa Ladies. I then played for King Country at the age of 14 in the third Division at National Tournament and then went on the next year to be selected as a 15-year-old to play for Waikato in the ‘K Cup’ first division at National Tournament.I never played for any Junior rep teams just women’s teams.
What were your career highlights?
There were 3 high points. Being the first NZ Women’s player to reach the 150 cap milestone, Playing at the Barcelona Olympics and being Selected for a World Eleven team which played a one off game at the World Hockey 75th Celebration in Egypt.
What was a main challenge that you had to overcome during your playing days?
Being a country girl, it was the amount of travelling you had to do to compete. However, because I was passionate about the game it was all worth it and helped make me the nuggety player I was. I was very fortunate that I had a very supportive family and extended family from the rural area that supported me and helped do a lot of fundraising to help me get to a lot of the NZ Tours.
What did playing for New Zealand mean to you?
It’s hard to explain really, it just was everything as I absolutely loved the game and particularly the challenge of playing other countries, it was a great test of character. I was so proud to play for New Zealand at that level and especially to be able to put King Country and places like Wanganui on the radar.
What is some advice that you would give to a young up and coming player?
Never be afraid to challenge yourself you learn so much and grow so much along the way. I am forever telling people that it’s when you find that space of really enjoying what you are doing that you will ultimately play your best. Love the challenge and love the game and especially enjoy playing with your mates.
What are things that you enjoy doing outside of hockey.
I love most sports but most of all I love riding horses. I love horse sports (Polox, Jumping and Hooning) When I finished playing hockey for NZ I took up Hunting (Tally Ho stuff) chasing hares with hounds and jumping fences on the great farming landscape we have here in NZ. I was lucky enough to become the Master of King Country Hunt for 6 years (the person that runs the hunt and looks after all the landowners and followers) and it’s a sport where there are not always a lot of women voted into this position. My sport background came in handy as I simply saw myself as Captain on the day and made sure all the team had a great day out on the hills enjoying the sport.
Hockey New Zealand Media release