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News for 16 December 2019

All the news for Monday 16 December 2019

Thierry Weil (CEO FIH): “FIH Pro League is an excellent stage”

“The decision for three home venues is the best which could have been taken!”

In just under 30 days the FIH Pro League begins its second season with games in China. The German men start just two weeks later with two away games in Spain. Thierry Weil, CEO of the world governing body FIH has given in an interview with www.hockey,de an analysis of the (league’s) first year, the expectations of the soon-to-start season and his view of the future development of “the strongest league in the world.”

Mr Weil, the FIH Pro League is entering its second season. You yourself have spent most of your professional career in adidas and FIFA in football and were not even with the FIH at the time of the development of this product. How do you personally judge the Pro League?

Thierry Weil: “I rate it a very good product! Purely the fact that in the FIH Pro League every single game is a home game for one of the two opponents – which is not the case in other tournament formats – is a huge plus point. There were a few ‘teething troubles’ such as too demanding travel. Here it was important to protect the health of the players and to keep the commitment of their clubs. That is why we have halved the travelling for the coming season in which the teams in the one season have two home games with half of their opponents and two away games with the other half – which is reversed in the following season.”

Many clubs have the impression that the FIH has little consideration for the Club hockey of the big European nations.

Thierry Weil: “I preach the opposite. The club structure is extremely important for the sport of hockey as the foundations of Top-Hockey were laid there. I will always say that we must introduce into the other continents the club structure which has existed in Europe for so long. We must for the future of the Pro League sit down with the clubs so that these can plan better. At best not four years but eight years in advance.”

As 2020 is an Olympic year – from your viewpoint what importance has the Pro League?

Thierry Weil: “I believe on the one hand that the FIH Pro League is an excellent stage to make every Olympic team better known in its country. It is also offers the best sporting preparation because they regularly play against the best teams in the world and develop further.”

But the coaches are aware of the great pressure.

Thierry Weil: “I hear this and that. Some coaches use the opportunity which we gave them with the announcement of a 32-strong squad and give many players the chance to perform at world class level. Others always use the same players and prefer in the Pro League the chance to prepare a team for a championship. That seems to me to be a question of philosophy.”

How have you taken it that in the first year in Germany it was so difficult to inspire fans for the FIH Hockey Pro League?

Thierry Weil: “We were very surprised because we know of other numbers from Germany when world class hockey is shown. That in the USA or China fewer fans come, as hockey is a developing product there, was to be expected for us. But not in Germany. The reasons are for sure multi-layered – from the scepticism of clubs as to how far the Pro League influences the national game to the marketing of the matches. We ourselves started very late with the communication.

How did you react to it?

Thierry Weil: “We sat down with the new board of Carola Meyer and analysed the situation.

The decision to no longer hold the matches only in North Rhine-Westphalia but also in Hamburg and Berlin was the best which could be made. Together we want to bring the Pro League closer to the fans, to generate more euphoria.”

Were there other nations where everything ran as well as you would have hoped for?

Thierry Weil: “Everything would be an exaggeration  but in the Netherlands, for example, we had full stadia and a great atmosphere and the KNHB were smart by not staying in their national stadium but took Pro League games to different hockey venues. In Australia, of four venues, two were super and two not so. We analyse all this with the countries and further develop the League.”

And how will it be for the FIH Pro League in future?

Thierry Weil: “Our current planning runs until 2022 but we want to continue it as long as possible! There will be a change which I see as very important. From 2021 we are launching an International Cup with the eight next ranked teams. From these every year one will be promoted and the bottom one in the FIH Pro League will be relegated. It is only my personal opinion but there must be relegation. A closed league, as now, will become uninteresting.”

Translation by Mike Haymonds

UCD’s magic eight; Tarf produce stunning performance against Railway

Clontarf’s John Mullins surrounded by Railway tacklers. Picture: Max Fulham

UCD won the only men's EYHL tie on the agenda at a canter; Clontarf were in divine form in Leinster Division One; round-up of the men's weekend action

UCD completed the pre-Christmas men’s EY Hockey League programme with a resounding 8-0 win over Annadale to move back into the top three.

Ali Empey set the ball rolling, scoring just a few minutes into his debut for the club having switched from Three Rock Rovers in midweek.

Belgian exchange student Gauthier Beirnaert struck twice – in what was his last game before returning home – before the end of the first quarter, effectively ending the contest very early on. Andrew Meates added a fourth before half-time and further strikes from Ewan Ramsay, Peter Lynch, Empey and Guy Sarratt closed out a comprehensive success.

For the students, it keeps them right in the frame for a playoff place for the first time but, for Annadale, their tenure in the division looks already to be in real peril.

The competition will return on February 1st with a round of back matches postponed from November with Dale travelling to their nearest rivals at the bottom, Pembroke, who are four points better off. Lose and the writing will probably be on the wall.

In Leinster Division One, meanwhile, Clontarf moved a big step toward a maiden crown at this level as they hammered nearest rivals Railway Union 5-0 in a surprisingly one-side affair.

Kevin Murray tapped in a corner rebound; Luke Hayden grabbed the second and then Jordan Edmonds scored a glorious openside shot into the bottom corner for 3-0 at half-time.

Railway got little change from the Tarf defence throughout with Scott Beattie, Davyn Keuter and Timmy Cullen to the fore. They did have a fourth disallowed before Keuter dragged in one which stood.

Kevin Mullins then completed the result with a cracking strike on his backhand, reversing to the top corner off the inside of the post, crowning a rowdy affair with plenty of cards.

Portrane strengthened their hold on third place with Chris Neville and Stephen Rogan both scoring in a 2-1 win over Avoca, all the goals coming in the first half.

Rathgar overcame the in-form Dublin North 3-2. Alan White gave Gar the lead in the second quarter from a drag flick following a number of corner. Dublin North equalised early in the third quarter with some individual brilliance from Adrian Sweeney who lobbed Matt Breton in the Rathgar goal.

Railway Union’s Chris Reilly tackled by Clontarf’s Jordan Edmonds. Picture: Max Fulham

Davíd Meade put Rathgar back in front from a deflection. Andy Malcolm made it 3-1 after a well worked move to find him at the back post. The lead was back to one after North caught Rathgar on the break and the ball was sent to the back post for an easy Sweneey tap in – his sixth goal in three games.

Kilkenny moved up to sixth place with a 5-0 success against Weston, Henry Huston the main hitman with two goals. Dublin University scored their second win in succession when they beat Bray 5-1, two goals from both Robbie O’Hanlon and Greg Arrowsmith.

Leinster Division One returns on January 25, 2020.

Men’s weekend results.

EYHL: UCD 8 (A Empey 2, G Beirnaert 2, P Lynch, E Ramsay, G Sarratt, A Meates) Annadale 0

Leinster Division 1: Avoca 1 (R Couse) Portrane 2 (C Neville, S Rogan); Clontarf 5 (K Murray, L Hayden, J Edmonds, D Keuter, K Mullins) Railway Union 0; Dublin North 2 (A Sweeney 2) Rathgar 3 (A White, A Malcolm, D Meade); Dublin University 5 (R O’Hanlon 2, G Arrowsmith 2, P Temperley) Bray 1 (J Collins); Weston 0 Kilkenny 5 (H Huston 2, H McDonnell, A Atkinson, E Walshe)

The Hook

UCD outclass Annadale to move back into the top three

Students remain right in the frame for a playoff place for the first time

Stephen Findlater

Guy Sarratt was on target for UCD in the 8-0 mauling of Annadale. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
UCD completed the pre-Christmas men’s EY Hockey League programme with a resounding 8-0 win over Annadale to move back into the top three.

Ali Empey set the ball rolling, scoring just a few minutes into his debut for the club having switched from Three Rock Rovers in midweek.

Belgian exchange student Gauthier Beirnaert struck twice before the end of the first quarter, effectively ending the contest very early on. Andrew Meates added a fourth before half-time and further strikes from Ewan Ramsay, Peter Lynch, Empey and Guy Sarratt closed out a comprehensive success.

For the students, it keeps them right in the frame for a playoff place for the first time but, for Annadale, their tenure in the division already looks to be in real peril.

Since Callum Robson, Peter Caruth and Ryan Getty departed for pastures new in the summer, it has been a rough campaign with only an opening day point against Corinthian to show for their efforts. They are conceding an average of over six goals a game.

The competition will return on February 1st with a round of back matches postponed from November with ’Dale travelling to their nearest rivals at the bottom, Pembroke, who are four points better off. Lose that one and the writing will probably be on the wall with 10 games to go.

In Leinster Division One, meanwhile, Clontarf moved a big step toward a maiden crown at this level as they hammered nearest rivals Railway Union 5-0.

Both sides went into the contest with a perfect eight wins from eight but the tie was surprisingly one-sided as first half goals from Kevin Murray, Luke Hayden and Jordan Edmonds had the bulls in dreamland.

Australian Davyn Keuter and Kevin Mullins completed the rout for a three-point at the halfway stage in the league.

And Clontarf’s campaign can get even better should they land the Neville Cup on St Stephen’s Day when they meet reigning champions Three Rock Rovers. Success there would be a first-ever senior trophy for the club.

The Irish Times

Loreto make big move to close the gap on Pegasus

Loreto closed the gap significantly at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League with two wins over the weekend, moving within two points of leaders Pegasus.

Women’s EY Hockey League


Belfast Harlequins 2 (J Dennison, J Watt) Pegasus 4 (S McCay 2, L McKee, N McIvor)

Pegasus moved five points clear at the top of the EY Irish Hockey League on Saturday evening following this comfortable win over Harlequins at Deramore. Pegs led 2-0 and 4-1 but their hosts battled all the way and enjoyed plenty of possession in the second-half although they were unable to match the champions’ more clinical touch in front of goal.

Harlequins coach Phil Mills said: “I thought we showed them too much respect in the first-half but we fought back well although we’re naturally disappointed to lose.”

Shirley McCay broke the deadlock in the 10th minute when she slapped home the opening penalty corner of the game.

Six minutes later, Lucy McKee doubled the Pegasus lead when she was on hand to tuck home a rebound from McCay’s initial shot. In the 25th minute, Julie Dennison reduced the deficit with a brilliant run and shot after working her way along the baseline after latching on to a Jenna Watt pass.

But Quins conceded shortly afterwards, McCay driving home another set-piece with the aid of a defender’s deflection to make it 3-1 at the break. Niamh McIvor added number four three minutes after the restart, deflecting in McCay’s corner to virtually settle the contest.

In the 49th minute, Watt pulled another goal back from a penalty corner variation after delivering the injection but Quins were unable to add to their tally, despite some late pressure.

Catholic Institute 2 (E Ryan, R Pratt) Cork Harlequins 3 (E O’Leary, A O’Shea, L O’Shea)

Cork Harlequins recorded their first win of the season to jump above their Munster rivals, coming from a goal down in Rosbrien. Emer Ryan got the only goal of the first half to give Insta a 1-0 lead.

Quins started the second half more aggressively and began to create chances with Emma Barber, Niamh O’Leary and Leah O’Shea putting in strong performances while the Limerick hosts looked dangerous on the counter via Naomi Carroll.

The game turned with two goals in quick succession in the third quarter via Emily O’Leary and Amy O’Shea before Leah O’Shea gave them an insurance goal with five minutes to go.

Rosie Pratt pulled one back in an end-to-end final five minutes, profiting from a turnover, but Harlequins held on for the result.

Loreto 3 (G Donald, S Evans, H Matthews) Railway Union 2 (Z Delany, S Hawkshaw)

Loreto moved into second place on Saturday evening with a feisty 3-2 win over Railway Union at Beaufort with goals late in the second, third and fourth quarters, Hannah Matthews winning the day with less than two minutes to go.

Zara Delany gave Railway a first quarter lead when a penalty corner was not fully cleared. Grace Donald, however, equalised on the stroke of half-time and the hosts went in front from play in the 52nd minute thanks to skipper Sarah Evans from play.

Sarah Hawkshaw levelled the game at 2-2 with nine minutes to go, leaving it all to play for but it was Loreto who grabbed the winner from a penalty corner, Matthews with a direct hit from the top of the D.

Pembroke Wanderers 1 (A Naughton) Muckross 2 (S Cannon, S Barnwell)

Muckross moved up to sixth place as Sophie Barnwell’s 50th minute goal earned them a 2-1 win over Dublin 4 rivals Pembroke at Serpentine Avenue, their second victory of the campaign. It was all square at half-time with Susie Cannon opening the scoring before Aisling Naughton was credited with the Pembroke goal to make it 1-1.

The crucial moment saw Barnwell on the back post to tap in after a lovely piece of skill from Anna O’Flanagan from a penalty corner. Pembroke had plenty of pressure in the closing phases but Muckross held on for an important win.


Catholic Institute 2 (R Pratt, N Carroll) Loreto 4 (H Matthews, S Torrans, J Meeke, S O’Brien)

Loreto cut the gap at the top of the women’s EY Hockey League to two points with a strong away win in Limerick to complete their pre-Christmas series in second place. It was built around a strong first quarter in which both Sarah Torrans and Siofra O’Brien found the net with Jessica Meeke adding the third goal from a corner for 3-0.

Rosie Pratt pulled one back from a corner and it was game on in the second half when Naomi Carroll chipped in. But Hannah Matthews got the last goal of the game for the second day in a row from a corner for a vital three points on the road. 

UCD 2 (L Tice, N Carey) Old Alex 2 (D Duke 2)

Two Deirdre Duke goals in three minutes along with a Carolyn Crampton penalty stroke save combined to earn Old Alex a 2-2 draw, keeping them in third place in the table with UCD in fifth.

The students dominated large tranches of the contest but they could not make full use of their opening and ended up paying the price. They did go 1-0 up in the eighth minute when Michelle Carey did much of the approach work and Lena Tice finished off a great goal.

It stayed that way until three minutes into the second half when they produced another classy team goal, Ellen Curran passing to Michelle Carey and on to Sarah Young in the D. She picked out the perfect ball for Niamh Carey to slot home.

But from Alex’s first corner, Deirdre Duke found the net in the 47th minute and three minutes later, she had her second to level the match at 2-2. It opened the gate for an end-to-end final quarter with both sides having their chances but none more than Tice from the penalty spot after a foul on Niamh Carey. Crampton denied her, however, and so Alex retained their hold on a point.

The Hook

Scottish Men’s Indoor National League 1 serves up big results

There is nothing certain in sport, take the case of Inverleith, they beat Dunfermline 7-3 in their opening game of the indoor first division, then saw off rivals Grove Menzieshill 6-4, and finally proceeded to succumb 7-6 to bottom side Clydesdale in their final match.

Grove Menzieshill also had their own challenges. In their opening game they drew 6-6 with Grange, they then lost to Inverleith, but rallied to see off Uddingston 7-3.

At the end of all of this, Inverleith have a two point lead over Grove Menzieshill with Dundee Wanderers only three points further adrift after back-to-back wins over Uddingston and Western Wildcats.

It was mixed fortunes for the front runners in the opening exchanges of Men’s Indoor National League 1, Inverleith saw off Dunfermline Carnegie, then just after Grove Menzieshill were held to a draw by Grange.

Inverleith stamped their authority on opponents Dunfermline Carnegie by taking a three goal lead in the first eight minutes, Patrick Christie scored twice from open play while Ewen Mackie added another from a penalty corner.

By half-time the score had advanced to 5-2, Stephen Dick and John Stephen were on target for Inverleith while Michael Ross and Andrew Doyle replied for the Fifers.

Jack Jamieson and Dick again from a set piece scored second half goals for the Edinburgh side, Magnus Ferrier replied for Dunfermline, leaving Inverleith 7-3 winners in the end.

A double from Cammy Golden gave Grove Menzieshill the best of starts against Grange, but by the interval it was the Edinburgh side who were 3-2 in front through strikes from Simon Naughton, Dan Coultas and Mitch Tait.

As the second half progressed the score remained tight at 4-4, Albert Rowling and Golden for his hat-trick scored for the Taysiders while Alan Johnston replied for Grange.

The Dundonians seemed to have grasped the initiative through Jamie Golden and Rowling again to advance the score to 6-4 with only four minutes left. However, a late surge from Grange, Naughton for his own second and finally Duncan Riddell tied up the contest at 6-6.

Western Wildcats returned to winning ways with an 8-3 win over Clydesdale in their opening game of the day.

The contest was over in the first 12 minutes, Andrew McConnell opened, followed by a double from brother Joe, and Rob Harwood added a fourth before Chris McFadden pulled one back for Clydesdale.

The second half was a similar picture, Andrew McConnell and Harwood both added a second to their personal tally and further goals came from Hamish Galt and Fraser Moran, although Struan Walker got a couple for the Titwood-based outfit.

A five goal lead at the interval put Dundee Wanderers in the driving seat against Uddingston, Elliott Sandison (2), Bobby Ralph, Sean Dowie and Callum Ross did the damage.

Campbell Coghlan and Josh Cairns from the spot lead a brief Uddingston comeback, but Sandison`s hat-trick and Ken Gibb ensured a 7-2 victory for Wanderers in the end.

The second session game-of-the-day was between Grove Menzieshill and Inverleith, the Edinburgh side took the honours 6-4 to open up a five point gap at the top of the table.

After nine minutes the Dundonians had opened up a 2-1 lead, Jamie Golden and Olly James were on target while Derek Salmond struck back for Inverleith.

But from then on the first half belonged to Inverleith with goals from Salmond again to level, Ewen Mackie, Patrick Christie and Charlie Jack for a convincing 5-2 advantage.

Grove Menzieshill pulled the situation back to 5-4 through a double from Cammy Golden, but just when a share of the points looked a possibility, up popped Jack Jamieson to score Inverleith`s crucial sixth goal and the three points.

A good day at the office for Grange as they followed up their draw with Grove Menzieshill with a 5-2 win over Dunfermline to advance their points tally to five.

The Edinburgh side were 3-1 up at the interval, a double from Alan Johnston and another by Josh McRae was countered by a single by the Fifers` Andrew Doyle.

Dan Coultas and McRae again brought the Grange tally to five with Martin Daw providing Dunfermline`s only reply.

Uddingston doubled their points tally with a narrow 4-3 win over Clydesdale. The match was tied at 2-2 at the interval, Blake Hinton and Connor Evans scored for the former, only to be cancelled out by Ryan Cummins and Chris McFadden.

Uddingston`s Josh Baxter and Clydesdale`s Andy McAllan advanced the score to three each in the second half, but Baxter notched the winner for the Lanarkshire side with two minutes to go.

Wanderers completed a double for the day with a narrow 3-2 win over Wildcats. Nothing to choose between the sides in the first half, Joe McConnell`s early opener was met by a strike Wanderers` Cammy Bell.

Bell put Wanderers in front eight minutes into the second half, and that was followed by Elliott Sandison for 3-1, Rob Harwood pulled one back for Wildcats with two minutes to go, but then failed to achieve a share of the points.

In the additional matches, with only a single point in the bag Clydesdale produced the result of the day with a 7-6 victory over leaders Inverleith.

Inverleith were the dominant force in the first half with a 4-1 advantage, Patrick Christie (2), Jack Jamieson and Stephen Dick were on target with Andrew Allan getting the consolation.

It all looked over when Christie made it 5-1 early in the second half.

But then came the Clydesdale revival, Struan Walker (2), Allan for his second, David |Nairn and Chris McFadden brought the score back to six all with three minutes left.

In a dramatic finish Walker scored his own third for the shock result of the tournament so far.

In the final match of the day Grove Menzieshill took advantage of Inverleith`s fall from grace to move within two points after a comfortable 7-3 win over Uddingston.

A first half hat-trick by Cammy Golden laid the foundation while Olly James added another to the Taysiders`s 4-2 lead at the interval, Campbell Lochrin and Stevie MacKenzie replied for Uddingston.

After the break Grove Menzieshill added four more through Golden again, Albert Rowling, Jamie Golden and finally Euan Cuthill, with Connor Evans getting a consolation for the Lanarkshire side.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

Goals and convincing performances in Scottish Women’s Indoor National League 1

The question is, who can put the breaks on Dundee Wanderers retaining their indoor title? Having seen off traditional rivals Clydesdale Western in some style, the Taysiders sit on maximum points after five games.

Clydesdale retaliated to retain second spot with a convincing win over Inverleith and push them back into third spot.

Clydesdale powered into a 12 goal defeat of Grange in their opening encounter with Marjery Justice top scorer with four. Also there were two goals each for Millie Steiger, Jen Eadie and Laura Mann.

Vikki Bunce was the catalyst behind Dundee Wanderers 3-1 win over Hillhead with a brace of penalty corner strikes and another from open play, Katie Fleming got their consolation.

In the all-Edinburgh encounter Inverleith continued their good form with a 2-0 win over Watsonians, a result that keeps them in touch with the leaders. Both goals came in the first half through captain Sarah McKay and then Sarah Jamieson. The second half was goalless and Inverleith took the three points.

Grove Menzieshill continued their challenging sequence after going down 6-5 to Edinburgh University. Robyn Robeson (2), Makenna Grewe and Georgia Jones gave the students a 4-1 half-time advantage, Issy Folan getting the Taysiders` only counter.

Grove Menzieshill pulled the score back to 4-4 in the second half with a double from Sam Sangster and one from Holly Duval. But the students stepped it up with Robeson getting her hat-trick and Jones another before Ellie Stott got a late consolation for Grove Menzieshill.

In the second session Hillhead finally got some points on the board with a 5-0 win over Grange. There were doubles each for Katie Fleming and Rachel Osborne with Zoe Irvine getting the other.

In the game of the session Dundee Wanderers reserved their best performance of the season to see off title rivals Clydesdale 4-0. The Taysiders were sharper, a yard faster and 100% committed to the occasion, and consequently rarely gave the Glasgow side a look-in.

The Dundonians were two up inside the first five minutes, Emily Dark opened with a direct shot at a penalty corner after three previous attempts, then at another set piece a switch to Vikki Bunce doubled the Tayside tally.

Then just on the interval Dark made it 3-0 with a vicious low shot at another penalty corner… and the contest seemed over.

Clydesdale had some chances from both open play and penalty corners but failed to find the net. Wanderers` fourth came from open play through Millie Skidmore, and the champions maintained their perfect record.

There then followed a brace of draws – a little unusual in the indoor game.

Inverleith lost their 100% record when they were held to a 2-2 draw by Edinburgh University, but still advanced to the ten point mark, in second spot and just behind Wanderers.

Makenna Grewe put the students ahead twice during the contest, only for Inverleith`s Carly Bisset and Katie Swanson to level for a share of the points.

That was followed by Grove Menzieshill getting their first point of the competition with a 3-3 draw against Watsonians.

Sam Sangster put the Taysiders a goal up in only three minutes, Nikki Stobie levelled, only for Ciara Forgie to restore Grove Menzieshill`s lead by the break.

Second half strikes by Suzanne Hamilton and Heather Tait seemed to secure the points for the Edinburgh outfit, but with a couple of minutes left Sangster equalised, this time from open play.

Inverleith`s bubble burst somewhat when they went down 6-1 to a Clydesdale side still smarting from their Wanderers art in the lesson of the indoor game.

However, the Edinburgh side did take the lead in nine minutes with a penalty corner conversion by Carly Bisset.

But three goals in four minutes towards the end of the first half, Kayleigh Justice followed by a penalty corner strike from Jen Eadie and another set piece from Millie Steiger, gave the Glasgow side a 3-1 interval lead.

There were further goals in the second half for Clydesdale through Laura Mann, Eadie again and finally Bronwyn Shields.

Wanderers finished off a perfect day with an 8-0 victory over Edinburgh University. Again Vikki Bunce was in charge with four goals, making her total for the day at eight, Amy Snell scored twice while Emily Dark and Heather Howie completed the scoring.

Scottish Hockey Union media release

MHC to let go of all hockey coaches except Oltmans

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) are letting go of all their national coaches except for chief coach Roelant Oltmans (pic) as part of a major revamp to revive Malaysian hockey.

In the wake of Malaysia’s failure to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, the contracts of all their local coaches that expires end of this year are not extended.

Those affected are national assistant coach Stephen van Huizen, national women’s coach K. Dharmaraj, national junior coach Nor Saiful Zaini, Mohd Nasihin Nubli, Lailin Abu Hassan and Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi.

Ironically, Oltmans, the man relied on to help Malaysia qualify for the Tokyo Olympics, is spared.

MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal said they wanted a new set of coaches.

“Oltmans will not be affected as he has a two-plus-two year contract and he will be in charge of the national team during the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh (from April 11-18), ” said Subahan, after chairing the executive board meeting yesterday.

“We have set a KPI (Key Performance Index) for him in the tournament. We will review his performance after that.

“As for the other coaches, we’ll give them a two months’ leave. During these period the local coaches will be allowed to coach clubs in the Malaysian Hockey League (MHL) next month.

“We are being fair to these coaches. We’ll see their performances during the MHL for two months before we hire a new group of coaches on March 1.

Subahan added that they would also form a panel to review the national team’s poor showing in the Olympic qualifying matches against Britain in London last month.

Malaysia lost with an aggregate of 9-3 to Britain as they lost the first match 4-1 and second match 5-2.

Subahan said they were disappointed as they had given the national team all the support and experts to help them in the Olympic qualifying matches but still, they failed.

“We want to know why our players failed and prevent it from happening in the future, ” he added.

Malaysian hockey have not featured in the Olympics since Sydney in 2000.

The Star of Malaysia

Dharmaraj slams MHC for sudden coach-lay-off decision


Disappointed: K. Dharmaraj said coaches released by MHC will find it hard to get coaching jobs with MHL teams as the league starts in three weeks’ time.

KUALA LUMPUR: It’s unfair.

National women’s hockey coach K. Dharmaraj is stumped by the Malaysian Hockey Confederation’s (MHC) decision to let him go together with five other local coaches.

The MHC, on Saturday, decided not to extend the contracts of Dharmaraj, national assistant coach Stephen van Huizen, national junior coach Nor Saiful Zaini, Mohd Nasihin Nubli, Lailin Abu Hassan and Megat Azrafiq Megat Termizi – that runs until end of this month.

These coaches were however, given some reprieve.

They are released to coach the clubs in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) starting on Jan 10.

The MHC will gauge their performance during the league before they name the new set of coaches by March 1.

MHC’s tough stance in their bid for a revamp of the coaching setup is understandable as the national men’s team have failed to qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. They have, however, decided to keep national chief coach Roelant Oltmans, who has a two- plus-two-years contract.

Dharmaraj says the decision is baffling.

“My contract ends this month and I will be without a job for two months. And I have a family to support, ” said Dharmaraj.

“The league begins in three weeks’ time and in such a short time-frame which club will hire me?

“Most of the clubs already have their coaches for the MHL. There are several small clubs like UiTM (Universiti Teknologi Mara) but they can’t afford to hire me as their coach.

“If I don’t have a club to coach in the MHL, then how can MHC gauge my performance.”

Dharmaraj guided the national juniors to win their first Junior Asia Cup in Melaka in 2012. The win enabled Malaysia to qualify for the 2013 Junior World Cup in New Delhi where they finished a creditable fourth among 16 teams.

Dharmaraj also led the national women’s team to finish runners-up in the World League Second Round in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 to qualify for the first time for the World League Semi-Finals in Antwerp, Belgium in 2018.

He also guided the women’s indoor hockey team to the gold medal in the recent SEA Games in the Philippines after coaching them for just one month.

There are questions on why Oltmans has been retained while his assistant Stephen has been shown the way out but the latter took the decision of MHC with an open heart.

“We did not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics and MHC have all the right to revamp the coaching structure. I accept the decision, ” said Stephen.

“I want the best for the national hockey team. It’s all about the team and not about the coaches.

“I’m already 61 and have been involved in hockey for 40 years as a player and a coach. We must be professional and allow new blood to take over.

“The MHL will be starting soon and I don’t think any club will hire me to coach them.

“I will take a break from hockey, ” added Stephen.

Nor Saiful did not want to comment but it’s obvious that he is shocked as well.

Nor Saiful, who guided Malaysia to finish third in the six-nation Sultan of Johor Cup in October, is an employee of Tenaga Nasional and he will continue to coach Tenaga in the MHL.

The Star of Malaysia

MHC to focus on 5s and indoor games

TWO hockey sports, the 5s and indoor game, will be given extra attention by the national body.

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) have appointed vice president Hasnizam Hassan to develop Hockey 5s and vice-president Shurizan Mansor to be in charge of indoor hockey.

“Indoor hockey and hockey 5s have the potential to qualify for major tournaments and also win medals. We will give both of these events more prominence in our four-year plan,” said MHC president Datuk Seri Subahan Kamal yesterday.

Malaysia’s indoor hockey team won gold in the men’s and women’s events at the recent Philippines Sea Games. Malaysia also became champions in Youth Olympics Hockey 5s in Buenos Aires last year.

“Indoor hockey has the potential to qualify for the World Cup and even win medals. We will combine it together with the Raja Ashman Academy in Ipoh and make Perak the base for development.

“As for Hockey 5s, we won our inaugural Youth Olympics gold medal and since the FIH have planned for its first World Cup in 2023, we want to be ready for the qualifier," said Subahan.

FIH will hold Continental Hockey 5s tournaments, which will act as qualifiers, and 16 teams per-gender will compete in the first World Cup.

New Straits Times

Switch from athletics to hockey pays off for Ariff

KUALA LUMPUR: A switch from the running track to the hockey field has done wonders for Perak’s Ahmad Ariff Daniel Mohd Shahrean.

He has been named as the best player in the TNB-MHC National Under-14 boys’ hockey tournament at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil which ended on Sunday. He earned the accolade for his defensive talens and also for converting six penalty corner goals in six matches.

However, he could not prevent Perak from losing to Johor 3-1 in the final.

Ariff was happy that he turned to hockey after ending his athletics career as a sprinter two years ago.

“I took up sprint event four years ago because of my height but I failed to clock good times in the 100m, ” said Ariff, who stands tall at 176cm (5’8”).

“I gave hockey a try and I enjoyed it. I was able to learn the basic skills fast.

His idol is Argentina’s defender Gonzalo Peillat, who has scored a record 176 goals in 156 matches from 2011 to 2019.

“I watched him play for Argentina in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in Ipoh last year and also in the Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) for Terengganu this season.

“He’s good and I want to become like him, ” said the Form Two student from SMK Gunung Rapat, who hopes to be a pilot one day.

“I’ve the height to tackle well in matches but I need to build up my muscles.

“I’m motivated after winning the award but disappointed that we lost in the final. I hope to join the national team in six years, ” added Ariff, who will represent Perak in the Malaysian Junior Hockey League (MJHL) next year.

The Star of Malaysia

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