Over the last week I received a SMS from an important person in the sports fraternity asking me if I had any knowledge of national hockey players being involved in match fixing. My reply was yes, that I had heard of such allegations but it was not for monetary gain but for other reasons.
So the 8-1 defeat at the hands of Australia, as reported below, did not come as a shock to me as there had been signs that some form of silent protest was being conducted, obvious to many but some in MHF were a denial mode.
Contradicting statements by the coaches of the team on why some players were omitted from the Aussie Tour did not help matters. While the Chief Coach said that the players were rested due to the fact that they played in three tournaments in the first six months of the year, his assistant was quoted in another daily as saying that the players were dropped due to poor form in the Champions Challenge Tournament in Dublin earlier this month. I will add on the quotes from the duo for readers to judge by themselves.
So was the trashing at the hands of Australia to be expected given that so many different type of stories are emerging of late. Is the decision by a senior player Azlan Misron to announce his retirement a sign that a few more will follow his footsteps? Is it because some of these players are victims of cleansing efforts by a select few? Is it because there is a concentrated effort by some to tarnish the ability of the Chief coach so that others can take over? Is there any truth to the silent protest notion?
One thing is certain though, a player who is astudent at BJSS did not fly with the team and is expected to fly to Australia to join his teamates tomorrow due to the delay in seeking approval from the Education Ministry as there is a blanket ban on students traveling due to the swine flu issue.
Why were the MHF officials slow to get the required approval or was it a case that they were not aware of such a ruling when all in the sports fraternity knew such a regulation was in place since last month? A classic case of incompetence but then again that is what MHF has become since its officials are busy playing politics to survive while hockey slides away.
Several answers are required, so Mr. Deputy President, or rather Chairman of the Team Management Committee who wants all the powers, will you care tto respond to all of this, or will you do another drama....
The Kookaburras preparation for the ABN AMRO Hockey Champions Trophy - Men 2009 tournament appears to be well on track, with Australia disposing of Malaysia in a clinical fashion tonight in Adelaide.
In what was the Kookaburras first appearance in Adelaide since 2002, the early stages of the match played out according to script, with the world number 2 Kookaburras dominating the 16th ranked Malaysian team.
Although Malaysia was able to deny the Kookaburras first penalty corner attempt, an early Australian goal appeared to be a mere formality.
After several minutes of peppering their goal, eventually the Kookaburras opened the scoring, with veteran Brent Livermore scoring at the ten minute mark.
Playing the match at a ferocious pace the Kookaburras continued to attack, and when Fergus Kavanagh scored at the 14 minute mark the signs already looked ominous for Malaysia as the Kookaburras showed no mercy.
The crowd were given further reason to cheer after a long pass from Jamie Dwyer found a diving Grant Schubert in the circle for the Kookaburras third goal of the half. As the only South Australian member of the Kookaburras squad, Schubert was understandably pleased with the goal, given that tonight was his first international match in front of his home crowd.
Malaysia seemingly settled following the initial Kookaburras onslaught, but again the class of the Kookaburras proved too strong, with home town hero Grant Schubert scoring his second goal of the match just minutes before half time.
Things didn’t improve for Malaysia after half time, with young Victorian Chris Ciriello continuing his good form from a recent European tour to convert the Kookaburras’ first penalty corner for the evening.
In a sign of how bad Malaysia’s night was going, the Kookaburras next goal came via a penalty corner shot which although initially stopped by the goalkeeper, somehow still found its way to the back of the net.
Only minutes later the Kookaburras recorded their seventh goal, with Malaysia leaving Jamie Dwyer unchecked in the circle at their peril with the two time player of the year making easy work of his one on one with the goalkeeper.
Despite trailing heavily on the scoreboard Malaysia continued to persist, eventually getting some reward when a well worked ball penetrated the Kookaburras defence at the 62 minute mark via Ismail Abu.
The Kookaburras responded immediately, with Ciriello scoring his second goal of the night from a penalty corner to seal a convincing victory for the Kookaburras.
The Kookaburras will play Malaysia again in Adelaide on Sunday 26 July before facing off again against Malaysia, Canada and Australia A in Canberra from Wednesday 29 July until Sunday 3 August.