Tuesday, June 30, 2009

HAZIQ WHO SAYS HISTON FC


Fallon rules out move for Malaysian

HISTON have moved to distance themselves from reports suggesting they are signing Malaysian midfielder Haziq Zikri Elias.

Malaysian-based newspaper The New Straits Times published a story yesterday (Wednesday, 17 June) claiming the teenager had been offered a contract to "play professional football for Histon FC".

And a similar story was later published on the Blue Square Premier's official website.

But Stutes boss Steve Fallon, chairman Gareth Baldwin and under-18s manager Ian Hart have all dismissed the reports and have no knowledge of the player.

Zikri Elias had a spell in Hitchin Town's reserves side last season and, according to the New Straits Times, had previously been part of Stevenage Borough's under-18 setup.

Fallon said: "We've got some trialists coming down in pre-season, but we've definitely not signed that lad and his name doesn't ring a bell."

M-LEAGUE, MORE WITHDRAWALS


The reported withdrawal of UPB-MyTeam FC is just the tip of the iceberg as so far as withdrawals are concerned.

I managed to contact several of my close associates in the state FA's, and I can safely say that another three teams, and mind you these are not club but state teams that are on the verge of pulling out of the Malaysia Cup competition.

Their grouse, is mainly the lack of funding, but they did pose an interesting question though, why is the season so long? In the past the M-League used to commence sometime in November and by August most of the teams are already letting go of their players, as after 30 days the last match, they have to pay the players half month salary, meaning a substantial savings of their budgets.

This time around, no thanks to some brilliant administrators, the league or rather the competitions for the teams stretch almost a year, from January till October, hence teams in the quarterfinals will have to have the players on full payroll for a whole year, unlike the past where it was seven months on full pay with the rest on half pay.

But in the end the parent body will not own up as they are always right and stand to benefit with collecting fines from withdrawals.

However will they have the guts to ban their affiliates this time around? Or will there be bailouts for the affiliates and not the clubs.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

M-LEAGUE FORMAT


Introduction

There has been calls to revamp the current competition structure of the M-League from several quarters. The proposal below is an opinion I suggested to FAM last season.

Background

Currently the structure of the M-League is as follows:

Super League – 13 teams
Premier League – 13 teams
FA Cup – 30 teams
Malaysia Cup - 18
President’s Cup – 25 teams
Youth Cup – 25 teams
FAM Cup – 8 teams

The odd number poses problems to fixtures and the clubs face problems in preparing teams for the Presidents and Youth Cup due to budget constraints. On the top of that we have to accept the fact that the M-League is more state based as the clubs have problems attracting the fans despite having some quality players in their ranks. Copy of the tickets sold list is attached to justify this argument.

Another issue is that by having such a structure, it gives little or no time at all for the national teams to train thus severely affecting our prospects at the international level.

Hence a new structure is proposed to overcome this situation and the wisdom of the members of the FAM Competition Committee is needed to further discuss the proposal and amend it accordingly if the principle is accepted.

SUPER LEAGUE

Format

All 14 state teams playing in the Super League together with Police and Armed Forces.
The 16 team league will be played on a home/away basis with each team playing 30 matches over the season.
The top 12 teams at the end of the league fixtures will qualify to play in the Malaysia Cup competition

Eligibility of Players

The teams will have to register a minimum of 10 professional players and have the option of registering players with playing contracts that are gainfully employed elsewhere.

Development

It is compulsory for all the 16 teams to have teams in the President and Youth Cup

Subsidy

The 16 teams will receive a subsidy from FAM, the amount to be determined by the Exco.


PREMIER LEAGUE

Format

There will be two divisions in the Premier League, to be named Premier 1 and Premier 2, each having 10 teams.

All current club teams playing in the Super League and Premier League qualify for the Premier One League. The teams are: Johor FC, Upb-MyTeam FC, Brunei DPMM, KL Plus, KM Naza, PKNS, Proton Selangor, Felda FC, Shahzan Muda and Harimau Muda.

The Premier Two will comprise of the current 8 teams playing in the FAM Cup and another two teams are to be included by FAM.

The 10 team league will be played on a home/away basis with each team playing 18 matches over the season.

The top 4 teams, of the Premier One League, at the end of the league fixtures will qualify to play in the Malaysia Cup competition. The bottom three teams of Premier One will be relegated and the top three from Premier Two will be promoted.

Eligibility of Players

The teams will have the option to register professional players and have the option of registering players with playing contracts that are gainfully employed elsewhere. Amatuer players are encouraged.

Development

The club teams do not have to have teams in the President and Youth Cup

Subsidy

The teams will not receive any subsidy except for the four teams that qualify for the Malaysia Cup.


FA CUP

Structure

The competition will be open to all teams in the country provided the club teams receive endorsement from the State FA.

The maximum number of teams for the FA Cup will be as follows:

State Teams – 14
Police
Armed Forces
Premier One – 10
Premier Two – 10

Another 14 places will be made available to club teams recommended by the State FA’s.

Format

The first and second round format will exclude the 16 teams from the Super League and 10 teams of Premier One.

The third round will include teams from Premier One and Super League.

All the matches will be a single match format, no return legs, the exception at the semi finals stage.

A TALL ORDER


A place in history beckons for Tai Beng Hai and his team should they emerge as The top team in the Champions Challenge II in Dublin next month.

For no Malaysian team has emerged as Champion in any international tournament, with the exception of the Sea Games as far as one can remember.

The Malaysian "B" team were runners-up to Holland in the Rene Frank Trophy held in Malaysia in the late 70's. For the record the national team finished third.

And in the 1981 Intercontinental Cup, which served as the qualifier for the Bombay 82 World Cup, Malaysia were runner up to Russia.

Besides that Malaysia qualified for three Azlan Shah Cup finals, in 1985,2007 and 2009 but always ended up the bridesmaids.

Malaysia go into the Champions Challenge II as the second highest FIH ranked team, behind Japan.

But they will have to contend with the likes of Poland,Russia,France and hosts Ireland for a place in history and promotion to Champions Challenge I.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation has set the team a target, emerge as Champions.

But setting targets seem to be a norm. It makes no difference if teams achieve the targets or not.

Beng Hai was set two targets, a top two finish in the depleted Azlan Shah Cup field and top four in the Asia Cup.

He achieved both but remains interim coach and there is no guarantee that if he delivers at Dublin he will get a contract to helm the team for the next two years.

The big question here is what if Beng Hai fails to steer the team to the number one spot at the Champions Challenge?

Will MHF remove him with less then five months left for the World Cup qualifiers?

Is there a back up plan in place to secure another coach which we are all unaware of?

One thing is certain though, its a tall order for Beng Hai and his boys in Ireland.

Let's wait and hope for the best and that's all we can do.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

NOTHING CHANGES


Malaysian hockey continues to target short term goals in their quest to achieve international results.

Rather then looking at a lower age group, MHF is now bent on starting a compulsory Under 18 league at state level.

And they are placing their hopes on players in this league towards a better performance in the 2013 Junior World Cup.

The decision, taken at the MHF Management Committee meeting chaired by Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah is baffling to say the least.

For there is in existence in Junior Hockey League that caters for the Under 19's hence a duplication of a league at state level will serve no purpose whatsoever.

A clear case of being penny wise and pound foolish, MHF should really be looking at developing players between the ages of 8 to 14, as that is where players pick up bad habits which prove to a bane to coaches as they move up the ranks.

Short of saying that the hockey affiliates were akin to their football brothers, as they had failed to contribute effectively towards developing players, Tengku Abdullah opted to divide the blame between the affiliates and schools.

The proposal to hold such a league was a recommendation from the Development Committee and is subject for discussion at the MHF Council meeting scheduled for next month.

If the idea is to expose the youngsters, then rightfully MHF should take a leaf out from football by enforcing a regulation for teams in the Malaysian Hockey League to field two Under 18 players at all times during a match. This will force teams to scout for talented youngsters who will get top level exposure hence speed up their maturity.

On another note, MHF should run a study as to how many states have a league, even at senior level, to start with.

Tengku Abdullah also added that finishing 12 in the Junior World Cup was due to the team being unlucky in the preliminary round stage.

He contends that losing out to Spain on goal difference was nothing to be ashamed off but reiterated that losing out on the 9th spot was disappointing to say the least.

But while the Juniors failed to achieve their target, two of their players, Faizal Saari and Marhan Jalil were selected to the Champions Challenge II which will be held in Dublin next month.

REVAMP ALL YOU WANT


It has been reported that FAM has directed its Competitions Committee to revamp the M-League yet again.

A proposal to this effect was tabled and accepted at the FAM Competitions Committee in March last year yet never saw the light of day as it did not come from the Secretary General nor his able Deputy at that time.

I know for a fact of the proposal as I had done the proposal and substantiated it with figures of match attendances but why it never went to the FAM Council, maybe God can answer that.

It may not be a fool proof proposal but at least it was accepted with provisions to make changes.

Let me dig my hard drive and look for it, and publish it here.

MALAYSIAN HOCKEY FORGOTTEN COACH

Arul Selavaraj seems to be the forgotten man of Malaysian Hockey.

Despite there being “widespread”’ changes in the Malaysian Hockey Federation, Arul has been left in the cold, to fend for himself.

Over the years this ex-international has ventured out on his own, paying scant respect to the notion that a Malaysian hockey coach cannot survive beyond the nations boundaries.

But he has proven his critics wrong and today he is the Assistant Coach of the Ireland hockey team that will lock horns with Malaysia at the Champions Challenge II in Dublin next month.

Below is an account by Arul on hockey in Ireland and how the team is preparing for the Champions Challenge.

We train twice as Regional sessions in three different centers.(Belfast, Dublin, Cork), The domestic league season stretches from October to May hence we have very few sessions during these period. 60 % of the team comes from Dublin and the average age of 24 and 56 caps

They do the gym session on their own and we get together maybe once a month for 1 ½ days. Of the squad six players are students n the rest are working, occupations range from a teacher, fireman, accountant etc.

Only the head coach is fulltime as Irish hockey runs as a business. They have to find their own sponsors. They have CEO, Marketing Manager to run the association.

My role is as Asst coach of the Irish team and I run most of the Dublin session with another coach

On a personal front, I manage a club called Glenanne and we have qualified for the EHL 09-10 season, which is the biggest hockey event in Europe)

I guess I’m the only Malaysian who has been involved in two different national teams , South Africa and Ireland

I am keen to comeback only if the offer is right and to manage a long term plan, be it Junior or Senior. I see our Malaysian hockey as similar to Indian and Pakistan hockey and cricket, there is so much of talent but no achievement due to lack of management skills.

My experience and exposure overseas has provided me with an insight on certain aspects where the Malaysian team is lacking.

Besides Malaysia, India and Pakistan are the only hockey teams in the world trains fulltime nd players are paid, but have no worthy achievements to show of late.


IRELAND MEN
Champions Challenge II Squad.

Player Club Caps

David Harte (GK) Pembroke W 32
Iain Walker (GK) YMCA 15
Ronan Gormley (C) Pembroke W 75
Tim Lewis Pembroke W 41
Joe Brennan Glenanne 17
Conor Harte Pembroke W 19
John Jackson Loughborough 17
Graham Shaw (V/C) Glenanne 129
Stephen Butler Glenanne 143
John Jermyn Cork C of I 92
David Hobbs (V/C) Cork C of I 128
Geoffrey McCabe Banbridge 40
Andy McConnell Three Rock Rovers 7
Eugene Magee Banbridge 81
Timmy Cockram Lisnagarvey 74
Mitch Darling Three Rock Rovers 20
Alan Sothern Pembroke W 16

Management
Paul Revington (Coach); Peter Jackson (Manager); Craig Fulton (Asst. Coach); Arul Anthoni (Asst. Coach); Nigel Henderson (GK Coach); Stephen Barry (S&C) Sinead Murphy (Physio); Tristan Seaton-Stednam (Video)



Sunday, June 21, 2009

JWC - GERMANY CHAMPS


The German domination of the Junior World Cup continued as they swept their fifth title since the inception of the tournament in 1979.

Despite being a goal down, the German well-oiled machinery were too slick for the Dutch, as they ran out 3-1 winners.

Holland tried to play like Germany, opting to let their opponents come at them, and paid the price for it as Germany took their chances well.

But the turning point of the match had to be the moment of indecisiveness by Dutch keeper Pirmin Blaak in the 57th minute when the score was still tied at 1-1.

Blaak miscued his attempted clearance and the ball hit his defenders leg and bounced into the direction of Florian Fuchs who had the simplest task of slotting into an unguarded goalmouth.

After that goal, the Dutch players wilted under pressure and conceded the third goal rather tamely.

Holland went ahead in the 22nd minute through Mink van der Weerden. But Germany equalized two minutes later through Marco Miltkau.

Then came the blunder by Blaak and Jan Fleckhaus rounded up a perfect night for the Germans by scoring the third in the 61st minute.

Man of the Match: Florian Fuchs (Germany)
Top Scorer: Mink van der Weerden (Holland)
Best Goalkeeper Niklas Sakowsky (Germany)
Best Player of Tournament Simon Childs (New Zealand)
Fairplay Germany

JWC AUSTRALIA FINISH THIRD


After the semi finals, Australian coach Jason Duff described the 3/4th placing match as a match between two grieving teams.

But at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium, despite the steady drizzle, it was far from that.

For Australia were firing on all cylinders as the romped to a 4-1 win over New Zealand.

Australia opened scoring in the 11th minute through Timothy Bates before twin brother Michael Bates scored the second in the 22nd minute.

Timothy scored his second, and Australia’s third in the 27th minute for a halftime lead of 3-0.

New Zealand reduced the deficit in the 48th minute when Joseph Barthmelow converted a penalty corner.

Though Australia were playing with nine men at one stage, with Tristan White shown the red card and Matt Ghodes a yellow, the Kiwis failed to take advantage of the situation.






JWC FINAL PREVIEW



They say familiarity breeds contempt.

And that will be the best way to describe the final of the Junior World Cup between Germany and Holland at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium today.

The traditional foes at European level will now take it one step higher, to the world junior level.

Germany have a rich tradition in the Junior World Cup, dominating it in such a manner, from 1982 to 1993, that led to others thinking finishing runner up was akin to being de facto champions.

Three of the four titles the Germans won,1982, 1985 and 1989, was under the tutelage of Paul Lissek and the other, in 1993 with Bernard Peters.

Though both went on to coach the German senior sides, that will not be the case of current coach Uli Forstner.

For he is destined to give up coaching after the JWC and will assume a yet to be determined position in the DHB.

And winning the JWC will be the perfect farewell present.

"Holland have a good penalty corner set up and that is what we have to counter," said Uli.

"It is their set pieces that worry us and I have planned something."

The Germans play slick hockey, patient yet lethal when they counter attack.

If is German precision on one side, the attacking flair of the Dutch that has caught in the imagination.

In Peter van Ass, they have a wily coach, who is not only media friendly but tactically sound.

And he was modest when asked if he wanted to be known as the coach that wins the Junior World Cup.

"What is important is that Holland wins," said van Ass.

"Germany are a great side but that does not mean we will be pushovers. It is important that my players maintain the structure throughout the match."

So will Germany take home the trophy for the fifth time?

Or will we see a fifth winner as Holland etch their name on the trophy to join one time winners in the likes of Australia, Pakistan, India and Argentina?

The stage has been set and if I was a betting man, my money will be on Holland.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

INDIA WILL HOST 2010 WORLD CUP SAYS FIH



India will play host to the 2010 FIH World Cup.

And in order to provide an assurance to teams, a Four Nation Pre World Cup Tournament will be held in either December or January.

To top it all, Pakistan have said that they will participate in the tournament which will be used as a yardstick to determine the preparation of India as the hosts for the World Cup scheduled in March next year.

In revealing this FIH President Leandro Negre said that he has sought and was given the assurances by the Indian government that all facilities will be ready by October this year and that adequate security arrangements will be in place.

"Holding the World Cup in India is a certainty. World hockey stands to benefit as hockey is in the heart of the Indian fans," said Negre at a press conference on the sidelines of the Junior World Cup in Johor Bahru.

"There were some problems with regards to the governing body but all of that is resolved and I am happy to say that their constitution has been approved by FIH.

"India will hold a tournament in December or January and I am told by Pakistan that they will participate if invited.

"So really there is no cause for concern."

The President also revealed that they had secured a title sponsor for the World Cup.

There is no denying that holding the World Cup in India will be commercially viable for FIH as it has multi national companies that will pay top dollar to be part of the World Cup, not forgetting the income from broadcasting rights.

When asked if Australia had voiced concern with regards to security, Negre had this to say,

"We have held discussions with Australia and even with a security company that is providing the security aspect report for the Australians for the Commonwealth Games.

"We will continue to get feedback and advise from them but am glad to note that they have not said anything about not participating."

On Malaysia's readiness to play host if India could not, Negre said the FIH was grateful as Malaysia have always had the interest at heart.

JWC, MALAYSIA FINISH 12


Malaysia played its worst match in the Junior World Cup and in the process ended up in the 12th spot of the final standings, thus equaling their worst performance in the history of the JWC since its inception in 1979.

Malaysia ended up 12th in 2001 in Hobart and four years later were 10th in Rotterdam.

Much was expected from the team as MHF had set a top four target, but the team slipped eight places to finish 12th. And they played as if they had no interest to finishing 11th.

Belgium scored in the 26th minute through Felix Denayer an doubled their advantage 30 seconds from the halftime whistle through Simon Gougnard.

Amaury Keusters made it 3-0 before the Malaysian boys decided to wake up from their slumber and Izwan Ahmad Tajuddin reduced the deficit in the 43rd minute.

R. Nadesh scored in the 69th minute to give the fans something to cheer about, but it was too little too late.

Japan defeated Egypt 2-1 to finish 13th while Singapore avoided the wooden spoon when they defeated USA 3-1 to end up in the 19th spot.

Friday, June 19, 2009

JWC - GERMANY V HOLLAND FINAL


You were not born a winner, and you were not born a loser. You are what you make yourself be.

And with that came to an end the dream of the New Zealand team as they went down fighting in the semi final of the Junior World Cup at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.

Holland edged past the Kiwis, winning 4-1 after going behind in the early stages of the match.

And they will take on four time winners Germany who squandered a 2-0 lead to win 3-2 via golden goal against pre-tournament favourites Australia.

For Holland and Germany, the steeper the mountain the harder the climb the better the view from the finishing line as they contest for the title this Sunday in Johor Bahru.

It was heartbreak for New Zealand who took the lead in the 22nd minute through Simon Childs.

Holland drew level in the 39th minute when Jan Willen Buissant scored in the 39th minute.

Mink van der Weerden converted two penalty corners in the space of two minutes, the 60th and 62nd minute, to put Holland 3-1 ahead. Robbert Kempperman put the nail in the coffin by scoring in the 65th minute.

Australia were the early aggressors as the Germans are more then happy to allow them to attack. Aaron Kleinschmidt fails to score with only German keeper Nikhlas to beat but forces a penalty corner in the 2nd minute. However Timothy Bates attempt goes wide.

The German crept back into the game and opted to attack on the Aussies right. Typical German hockey was played, patient and long balls. Benedikit Fuerk misses a golden chance as he fails to connect.

Ten minutes into the match and play is centered around the midfield with no clear cut chances created.

Australia’s Jacob Wheton misses a sitter as he fails to deflect a cross by Matt Ghodes in the 15th minute.

German patience pays off as they break away on a counter with Florian Fuchs scoring in the 18th minute. Germany 1 Australia 0

Another sitter missed by Wheton in the 24th minute as he fails to deflect with the German goal gaping.

Germany go 2-0 ahead as they convert their first penalty corner with Patrick Schmidt scoring in the 26th minute.

Aaron Kleinschmidt pulls a goal back for Australia a minute before halftime.

Second half commences with Germany on the attack but the Aussie thwart their attacks with cool defending.

Australia equalizes in the 44th minute as Matt Ghodes goes on a solo run and his reverse stick attempt from the top of the semi circle beats German keeper Nikias. Australia 2 Germany 2.

Germany miss a clear chance when Schaht fails to connect at the far post in the 48th minute.

Australia then took control of the match as Germany rely on high balls over the Dutch defence but to no avail. Both teams are cautious as there are 15 minutes left on the clock.

Australia awarded penalty corner in the 63rd minute but waste the opportunity by hitting it wide.

Germany scored the golden goal in the 4th minute of extra time through Florian Fuchs and make a final date with Holland.


CLASSIFICATION MATCHES REPORT


It was a face saving day for the Asian teams as Pakistan and South Korea won their classification matches.

Pakistan finished fifth when they beat dethroned champion Argentina 4-1 at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in Singapore.

Meanwhile South Korea stage a dramatic fight back at the Johor Banhru Hockey Stadium, after being 3-0 down to defeat Spain 4-3 to take the 7th spot.

Pakistan scored off a penalty corner converted by Aamir Shahzad in the 6th minute but Argentine drew level ten minutes later through Guido Barreiros Lopez.

Shafqat Rasool scored a brace in the 45th and 64th minute to give Pakistan a 3-1 lead before Abbas Haider scored the fourth goal in the 65th minute.

Spain went ahead through Alex Casasayas in the 6th minute before Javier Garcia Chicote scored the second four minutes later.

The European champions extended their lead through Diego Arana in the 30th minute but Korea reduced the deficit through Kang Moon Kweon on the stroke of halftime.

Lee Dong Hyun scored Korea’s second goal in the 49th minute before Jeon Byung Jin equalized with two minutes of play left.

The Spanish were shocked and before they could blink, Korea scored the winner in the very next minute when Kang sent in an unstoppable penalty corner attempt high into the net to give them a 4-3 victory.



JWC SEMIS PREVIEW



What the Coaches Say

Paul van Ass (Holland)
It all boils down to the structure and how the team will adapt to it during the match. New Zealand are not going to be easy as they play with their hearts. Hockey is not an individual sport and as such we have our work cut out since the Kiwis play as a team rather well. I have great respect for them. We have come this far and want to take a step closer to winning the trophy as Holland have yet to win it.

Peter Miskimin (New Zealand)
To make it this far is already a great achievement for New Zealand hockey. We are very pleased as prior to this our best international achievement was the gold medal at the Montreal Olympics. Holland are a great team, a rich history in hockey. It will be tough but not impossible as we have nothing to lose.

Jason Duff (Australia)
We are well prepared to take on Germany. It will be left to be seen how our opponents will cope with the tactics we have in store for them. The Germans are physically strong and tactically sound so we have to apply a game plan that can neutralise them.

Uli Forstner(Germany)
Australia are a difficult team, be it at senior or junior level. They defend well and are dangerous on counter attacks so we have to be alert at all times. Nonetheless we aim to surprise them and have figured out how best to beat them.

Australia v Germany

The German's have won the Junior World Cup four times, in 1982, 1985,1989 and 1993. And they have finished on the podium, as runners-up in 1979 and in third place in 1997 and 2001.

Germany have the edge if the numbers game is taken into account. The Aussies have only won the title once, that was in 1997 in Milton Keynes, they have made the final three other times, in 1982, 1989 and 2005.

And playing on Malaysian soil seems to favour the Germans as they defeated the Aussies in the finals in 1982 and 1989 when Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh hosted the World Cup respectively.

For German coach, Uli Forstner, he is hoping that the numbers fortune will continue for this is the third time he is taking charge of the German juniors.

He took the team to a third place finish in his debut as coach in Hobart and 2001 but Germany failed to make the semis in 2005.

"I am looking to be third time lucky," said Forstner.
"And I am calling it quits as a coach after that. And no I will not be reconsidering it even if we win the trophy.
"Australia are the favourites but we aim to surprise them. They play as a unit and are superior in all departments but I am optimistic of our chances."

The two teams played to a 1-1 draw in the preliminary round. But Australia have the edge as the runners-up of the previous tournament have gone on to win the title in the following years.

"I will be more then happy if that continues," said Australian coach Jason Duff.
"We are fit and raring to go so really I must say that I am confident we have what it takes to make the final.
"It will be close as Germany have tactical discipline and will be hard to break."

The two teams have delighted hockey fans from both sides of the causeway with their free flowing hockey.

So it will no doubt be a highly charged match with only a goal to separate them.

New Zealand v Holland

Other then the customary congratulatory and well done messages, the New Zealand hockey team has not received any indication of any financial gratitude for making the semi final of the Junior World Cup.

And that does not bother them at all for the team is focused on making the final this Sunday.

"The players have a mission to complete and are not too concerned about it," said New Zealand coach Peter Miskimin.

"Our priority is to make the final and we are under no pressure. The players have gone through a lot and know what a difference it will make to hockey back home if we do well.

"I am proud of my team for making it this far and am confident we have what it takes to overcome the Dutch."

Standing in between them and a place in the final is Holland, a team that has shown the pedigree of a potential champion.

The Kiwi players had to fork out Euro 4,000 each to play in the JWC.

But the sacrifice has been worth it for only 70 minutes stand between them and a place in history.

For the best ever international achievement for New Zealand was the gold medal they won in the 1976 Montreal Olympics.

The two teams met in the group stage during the first round and it ended in a 2-2 draw, a result that ensured the exit of India.

Both teams have something in common though, for it was also in Canada that Holland made their only appearance in the JWC, during the 1993 edition in Vancouver.

If the Kiwis had financial issues, the Dutch faced a different problem altogether.

"I had 16 players flying in on June 3 with another two joining us a few days later," said Dutch coach Paul van Ass.

"So realistically we have only being playing as a team since the tournament started.

"We have yet to get our hands on the trophy and that is our aim. But New Zealand have been impressive so we must not underestimate them."

The two teams have all to play for, and it will undoubtedly be a match that will be too close to call.

Will the burning desire and fighting spirit of the Kiwis prevail over the tenacity and intelligence of the Dutch?

Only when the final whistle is blown at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium tomorrow night will we know which team's dream continues.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

JWC FIXTURES


Tentative Fixtures (Subject to FIH)

Friday

Time Placings Venue

1700H – 15/16 Placing Singapore 2 England v South Africa
1730H – 7/8 Placing Johor Bahru 1 Spain v South Korea
1730H – 5/6 Placing Singapore 1 Argentina v Pakistan
2000H – Semi Final Johor Bahru 1 Australia v Germany
2000H – Semi Final Singapore 1 Holland v New Zealand


Saturday
Time Placings Venue

1700H – 13/14 Placing Singapore 2 Japan v Egypt
1730H – 11/12 Placing Johor Bahru 1 Malaysia v Belgium
1730H – 19/20 Placing Singapore 1 USA v Singapore
2000H – 9/10 Placing Johor Bahru 1 India v Poland
2000H – 17/18 Placing Singapore 1 Russia v Chile

JWC MATCH DAY 9 REPORTS

For the first time in the history of the Junior World Cup, no Asian team will see action in the semi finals.

Germany, four time winners of the trophy (1982, 1985, 1989 and 1993) will take on Australia whose only trophy was in 1997 at Milton Keynes.

In the other semi final, Holland, who have yet to win the trophy will square off against New Zealand who are making their first appearance in the semi finals since the JWC was inaugurated in 1979.

Since 1997, the runner up of the previous tournament has gone on to emerge as champions in the following edition, India did it at Hobart in 2001,after finishing runner up in Milton Keynes four years earlier, while Argentina who finished runner up in 2001 emerged as champions in 2005 in Rotterdham.

So going by that equation, Australia who lost to Argentina in the 2005 edition should go on to win the tournament here, but they will find the going tough against the Germans.

Though New Zealand lost 2-0 to Australia, they went through as South Korea failed to win against Pakistan.

Australia scored through Joshua Pollard in the 26th minute and Aaron Kleinschmidt in the 33rd minute.

Pakistan showed what good sportsmen they are when they did not hold back as they defeated South Korea 5-1.

For Pakistan, besides giving them the opportunity to play for the 5/6th placing, the match offered nothing more then salvaging their pride.

But rather then doing an “Asian Solidarity”, for South Korea could have qualified had New Zealand lost, Pakistan played one of their better games in the tounament.

Abbas Haider opened scoring in the 4th minute before Mohd Zubair extended their lead.

Haseem Khan scored the third goal in the 29th minute and the Koreans were shocked.

Two more goals via Mohd Zubair (45th minute) and Hassem (68th minute) ensured Pakistan a top six finish as the Koreans who scored a consolation via Kang Moon Kyu in the final minute, were left dumbfounded as to what happened.

Malaysia drew 2-2 against Egypt to assure themselves of a place in the 11/12 against Belgium on Saturday.

Meanwhile Chile defeated United States of America 2-1 in a match played at the JB Hockey Stadium.

Chile opened scoring through Steven Richter in the 12th minute and extended their lead when Martin Rodriguez attempt was deflected into goal by USA keeper Kevin Segeren. Jonathan Ginolfi reduced the deficit in the 63rd minute for USA.

Chile will play Russia for the 17/18 placing while USA will take on hosts Singapore to see who avoids the wooden spoon.

EARLIER REPORT

Holland and Germany played to a 1-1 draw at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium Group E tie this evening.

Thus Holland top the Group and will play the runner up of Group F, to be determined after the Australia v New Zealand match later tonight, also at Singapore.

Should Australia win, then Korea could sneak into the last four if they defeat Pakistan by three goals in a match that starts simultaneously in Johor Baru. And Australia will lock horns with Germany for a place in the final.

A New Zealand win will give them top spot, hence a semis tie against Germany. Should the match end in a draw, the it will be Holland v New Zealand and Germany v Australia in the semis scheduled for Friday night.

Germany took the lead in the 12th minute through Jan Fleckhaus but Holland equalized through Jan Willem Buissant in the 38th minute.

Meanwhile European champions Spain lost 4-1 to Argentina and will now play for the 7/8th placing.

Spain opened scoring through Gabriel Dabanch as early as the eight minute and held on to the lead going into the halftime breather.

However Argentina scored two goals in the space of two minutes through Juan Cruz Agulleiro in the 40th and Nahuel Salis in the 42nd minute.

The South Americans added another two goals through Martin Gabriel Genharot (49th minute) and Leandro Tolini (56th minute).

They will now await the result of Pakistan v South Korea and Australia v New Zealand to find out who they will play for the 5/6th spot.

Meanwhile Belgium blanked Japan 6-2 in a match played at Johor Bahru. They will play either Malaysia or Egypt for the 11/12th placing on Saturday, depending on the result of the match between the two teams later today.

In Singapore, India vented their frustration of missing out of the top eight by demolishing England 9-0. They will now take on Poland who assured themselves of a top ten finish when they defeated South Africa 5-4 in a match played this morning.

TALKING COCK (RATHER SEEING COCK)



Well, if the webpage above is to be believed, then Malaysia cannot finish lower then eight in the Junior World Cup. For that pix was taken during the Malaysia v Spain game and it shows that Malaysia were leading 3-0. There were so many calls that those at the JB Stadium received, and I believe many went to sleep that night thinking Malaysia had made the semis, only to get up the next morning to find out they had been duped. So how come we are playing in the 9-16th placing? Surely another candidate for Talking Cock.

THE TERRY WALSH INTERVIEW


Terry Walsh was a terror on the pitch during his days when playing for Australia. Having coached over the last two decades, Walsh is in a position to provide insights on the state of hockey at present. I caught up with Walsh during his stay in Johor Bahru for the Junior World Cup.

Question: Having seen some of the matches, what is your opinion on the quality of play in the JWC?

Terry Walsh: Due to the 2 venue format I have not seen all the teams play but as expected there is a significant variation in the level of play teams are exhibiting. For me the cultural variations exhibited by teams is more pronounced at the U/21 age group level than at senior level. The top level teams are producing performance levels which are impressive.

Question: Do you agree on the increased number of teams and the format of play?

Terry Walsh: There is no doubt that the overall growth of the game improves with 20 teams. However the complexities involved would seem to increase with 2 separate venues, naturally. The exposure for the teams outside the top 8 is a key issue for the development of our game globally. As we move forward the ability to see how a 2 pitch venue can handle this number of teams, or even more, is interesting to contemplate. Obviously the format for this tournament was driven significantly by climate parameters.

Question: The autoplay rule is to help speed up play, so does it really help?

Terry Walsh: This rule requires umpires to have a significant feel for the game as interpretation of appropriate usage is diverse. The physiological implications of this rule will gradually unfold but my sense is that this will become a key tactic in creating major tempo changes in matches. Ultimately this could lead us beyond the present physiological preparations for a tournament as teams endeavour to take a further advantage in the physiological edge. It is clearly an addition to the power options available to teams.

Question: What rule changes will you suggest to make the sport more spectator friendly?

Terry Walsh: Playing the ball above the shoulder is confounding. Why not permit danger to be the key factor in the receiving or playing of high balls? Conjecture as to the ball being above shoulder height at the point of reception in field play compared to legally saving a high ball from a goal shot seems unnecessarily confusing. My view is that our rules have moved away from black and white – indeed many are extremely ‘grey’. Creating ambiguity is confusing not just to spectators but also to players and I sense also for the umpires.
For the very top level I think we need to have a semi professional circuit of umpires.

Question: Having coached in Malaysia, and having kept abreast with its developments, where would you place Malaysian hockey 15 years after you left?

Terry Walsh: My sense is that Malaysia is now further from the top level of International performance. This is not enhanced with a disjointed approach to development. Quite frankly there needs some very tough administrative decisions made if there is to be success. There is a lot to be said for planning and implementing effective processes...but it won’t happen overnight. One wonders where the coaching development programs implemented in the early 90’s are today.

Question: Who do you pick to win the JWC or your pick for the last four?

Terry Walsh: Somehow I sense the New Zealand group will make it through. In the end I think they will join Holland , Australia and Germany. From there my reading of it would be that Australia’s exhibited power will be difficult to maintain in the end against Holland. Having said that the finals will bring something special. One thing is for sure, it will be very tight.

Question: What is your role in Fieldhockey USA?

Terry Walsh: My role is ‘USAFH Technical Director of High Performance’. My responsibilities are primarily to the direction and guidance of the International Programs at senior, junior and development level for both the women’s and men’s programs. USA hosts the Junior World Cup for Women in Boston during August this year while our senior National Teams vie for positions at the World Cups next year. We are pleased with our progress but the road in front of us is a very long one. However I see that USA can be a major contributor in the International scene, especially in the women’s program. We have plenty of numbers on the women’s side but it is clear our numbers must build on the men’s side as we only really have less than 30 players to choose from for the present Junior World Cup challenge.

Question: Will you consider a coaching position if approached for the 2012 Olympics?

Terry Walsh: My focus is now not in coaching a specific National Team. My role with USAFH is all encompassing and extremely challenging. Assisting to bring USAFH to the Olympic arena as a regular and consistent competitor in both the Women’s and Men’s programs is challenging and somewhat daunting. Our progression to date has been encouraging. I do understand this is a long term project but 2016 should see us be able to realistically assess our development. But in the end this project will continue to evolve.

JWC WEDNESDAY PREVIEW


Will Australia do a Holland and let New Zealand into the semi finals of the Junior World Cup?

Will another Asian country, this time South Korea, bear the consequences of another friendly draw that will see them out of the semis?

Will these teams, Holland and Australia eventually pay the price with New Zealand going on to win the JWC?

These are mind boggling questions on the lips of those at the JWC.

But before one jumps to conclusions, there is not an iota of proof that matches are being fixed to allow certain teams through into the next round.

India cried foul when they missed the cut as Holland drew with New Zealand 2-2, despite leading 2-0 at one stage.

And Korea will probably do the same if Oceania neighbours Australia and New Zealand play to a draw tomorrow at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.

The reality is that both India and South Korea have themselves to blame as they left their fate in the hands of other teams.

If they had both won their matches against the Kiwis, then questions like this would have never arisen.

The fact of the matter is that New Zealand are a great team, and they deserve their place in the second round and the semis.

While other teams can boast of sponsors and government backing, the Kiwis are at the JWC due to their family financial support and money from the players pocket.

This is unheard of in India, Korea and in Malaysia there would probably be a mutiny of sorts if players had to pay their way to a tournament.

So I for one will not begrudge Australia should they allow New Zealand a draw.

Thus the cast for the semis would have been completed on Wednesday, with Australia playing Germany while Holland to take on New Zealand.

And I pick Holland to play Germany in the final on Sunday, though I would love to see New Zealand fairy tale continue by defeating the Dutch in the semis and the Aussies in the final thus laying to rest the conspiracy theories that have plagued the JWC.

2010 WORLD CUP IN MALAYSIA?


Earlier it was merely a speculation. But it could soon become a reality as Malaysia have been placed as first reserves to host the 2010 World Cup.

This will now cast serious doubts on India playing hosts as many countries have expressed reservations, though not through official means, about going t India next year due to security reasons.

In revealing this, Malaysian Hockey Federation president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah said that the International Hockey Federation will have to make a decision soon.

"One thing is certain, we have no intention of taking it away from India," said Tengku Abdullah.

"It is FIH that will have to make that decision and all we can do is step in to help the world hockey fraternity."

He said that the FIH president will be in Johor Bahru this weekend and he could see the facilities himself as Johor Bahru is one of the venues being considered, the other being Kuala Lumpur.

While Malaysia are being diplomatic, not wanting to be seen as taking away the World Cup from India, there would be problems in determining just who plays in the World Cup assuming Malaysia hosts it.

This is due to the fact that India qualified as hosts whereas Malaysia are due to play in one of the qualifying tournaments.

FIH could increase the number of teams to 14 or 16 as was the case in 2002 in Kuala Lumpur.

If there are 14, then there would be an additional place available in the qualifiers. As it stands there ought to be three qualifiers with the top team making the World Cup.

However FIH have not decided on the venue for the qualifiers nor the grouping for the 18 teams yet. Hence FIH could just hold two qualifiers with 9 teams in each qualifier and two spots offered to the teams.

The other option would be to increase the teams to 16, thus having 3 additional spots and maintain the three qualifiers with the top two making the World Cup.

Still it boils down to FIH and the Indian issue as they have complied with the FIH requirements to amalgamate the men and women federations into one, hence the birth of Hockey India two weeks ago.

Monday, June 15, 2009

JWC DAY EIGHT REPORTS


Germany, Holland and Australia have assured themselves of a place in the semi finals of the Junior World Cup.

The fourth spot will be determined on Wednesday as both South Korea and New Zealand are in the running.

The Kiwis need only a draw against Australia while South Korea need the Aussies to win and they will have to score at least three goals past Pakistan to sneak through on goal difference.

While Germany survived a scare to beat Spain 5-3 after leading 3-0 at one stage, Australia were comfortable 3-1 winners over South Korea in the match played in Singapore.

And hosts Malaysia too stayed in contention to make the 9/10th placing as they came from behind to register a 3-1 win over South Africa as Poland were held to a 1-1 draw in Singapore.

Germany sounded their intentions to book their place in the last four as they went 3-0 up in the first 20 minutes.

Martin Haener converted two penalty corners in the 7th and 15th minutes before Felix Oldhafer added the third in the 19th minute.

But Spain did not yield even though they were down 3-0 and their fightback started in the 28th minute through Gabriel Dabanch. Two minutes later the deficit was reduced to 3-2 when Diego Arana scored.

Suddenly Spain were on fire but Tobias Matania increased the German advantage in the 43rd minute only to see Dabanch reduce it to 4-3 in the 46th minute.

Try as they did Spain could not find the equalizer as Germany scored their fifth in the 63rd minute through Marco Miltkar.

Australia scored two early goals at Matt Ghodes scored in the 6th and 14th minutes with Timothy Bates scoring the third in the 54th minute.

South Africa scored first when Anthony Vervoot converted a penalty stroke in the 16th minute.

Malaysia were undaunted and drew level through Faizal Saari, who scored is seventh goal of the tournament, in the 19th minute.

Mohd Nor Hafiq scored in the 63rd minute to put Malaysia 2-1 ahead and Izwan Firdaus rounded up the scoring by deflecting a penalty corner set piece in the 67th minute.

Holland arrived in Johor Bahru some five hours before their match against Argentina.

And upon stepping into the lobby of the Puteri Pan Pacific Hotel, they made a beeline towards the Junior World Cup trophy which was being displayed.

One could see the hunger in the eyes of the Dutch players as they admired a trophy that has yet to be hoisted by a victorious Dutch team.

“It is a beautiful sight,” said Holland coach Paul van Ass.

“Hopefully this time around we can do what so many before us have failed to achieve, that is to take it home with us.”

That dream could well turn into a reality as Holland defeated defending champions Argentina 3-1, and in the process became the first team to qualify for the semi finals.

And for Argentina, the dream of retaining the trophy has evaporated, and not since the Germans stranglehold in the 80’s has any team successfully retained the trophy in succession.

Holland took the lead in the 24th minute when Jan Willem Buissant’s low push during a penalty corner caught Argentina keeper Federico Bermejillo off guard.

But Holland lost their numerical advantage the very next minute as Valentin Verga was sent to the sin bin.

Argentina pressed Holland into deep defence and scored the equalizer in the 32nd minute when Guido Martin Barreiros Lopez deflected in past Pimin Blaak in the Dutch goal.

Holland scored their second through Mink van der Weerden in the 48th minute when he picked up a penalty corner rebound to sent an unstoppable shot into the roof of the net.

And five minutes later the Dutch extended their lead when skipper Klaas Vermeulan deflected past Argentina custodian Fedrico Bermejillo.

Pakistan have bowed out of contention from the semi finals of the Junior World Cup when they lost to New Zealand 4-2 at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in Singapore.

The win gives the Kiwis a great chance of making the semi final as they have four points from two matches. A draw against Australia on Wednesday will suffice, that is if Australia win their match against South Korea later tonight.

The Kiwis had a great start, scoring two goals in the opening 12 minutes through Nick Wilson (8th minute) and Stephen Jennes who converted penalty corner (12th minute).

Pakistan pulled one goal back through Muhamad Waqas in the 15th minute and were on level terms in the 45th minute through Abbas Haider.

Their joy was however short lived as the Kiwis surged into a 3-2 lead thanks to Hugo Inglis two minutes later. And Simon Childs put the issue beyond doubt by scoring the Kiwis fourth goal in the 62nd minute.

In the 9th to 16th classification matches, Japan defeated England 2-1 at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium.

Japan scored in the first minute through skipper Ryota Kubo but England equalized in the 42nd minute via Chris Griffiths.

Kubo assured his team of all three points by scoring the winner in the 58th minute and Japan stay in contention for a 11/12th placing should they beat Belgium on Wednesday.

In Singapore, India defeated Belgium 4-0 and need a draw against England on Wednesday to make it to the 9/10th placing match scheduled for Saturday.

TAKING MALAYSIAN HOCKEY INTO THE FUTURE PART TWO


The “11 v 11” game has for many years choked, like a cancer tumor, the vigorous development of young hockey players.

As stated 30 years ago in India it should be replaced by another type of competition, which should be tailor-made for children less than 13 years old.

Hockey tactician, Horst Wein feels that games like Mini Hockey (3 vs.3 on 4 goals) for 8-9 years old, 6-a-side Hockey or Indoor Hockey (10-11 years old) and 8-a-side Hockey (12-13 years old played on ¾ parts of the regular field), offer the adequate frame (space and amount of players) for the children to express their creativity and inspiration in a more healthy environment that does not contain the demands and the stress of the 11-a-side game with their adult- orientated rules.

Frequently, the game 11 v 11 is still used now-a- days as the preferred practice method for preparing the weekend match. It should be replaced by more attractive and from the learning point of view, more efficient simplified games which use fewer players.

“As proven in the last few decades, hockey in Malaysia will not progress through an accumulation of league matches with the 11 v 11 tournaments and international competitions as the MHF thought,” contends Wein.

“Only through a systematic development of an original, effective and attractive educational management, which helps to unlock and develop the innate potential and the personality of their young population.

“When hockey in Malaysia continues to do what it has done always, it will not become more popular with the youth and besides it will never reach any further.”


JWC PREVIEW MONDAY JUNE 15




The Asian challenge in the Junior World Cup could well come to a premature end if Pakistan and South Korea lose their matches against New Zealand and Australia respectively.

Pakistan are still licking their wounds after the 6-1 humiliating defeat at the hands of the Aussies at Johor last night.

And they face a New Zealand team brimming with confidence. Having sent India packing, New Zealand could well add salt to the wounds of those from the Indian continent by dispatching Pakistan as well.

And Pakistan coach KM Junaid is well aware of that fact.

He was man enough to admit his side was totally outclassed by the Australians.

"They did a blunder in the first minute and conceded a goal," said Junaid.

"But my team made blunders throughout the match.

"The defeat is hard to swallow but I must give credit to the Australians as they played extremely well.

"Defeats like this at times happen and it will be a test of character for the team to bounce back and win against New Zealand."

Australia were not surprised with the win but the margin of the victory was not something they envisaged.

And coach Jason Duff was naturally optimistic his team will only improve.

"The Koreans are a tough nut to crack as they are physically strong," said Duff.

"Pakistan had exposed some areas that we need to work on and if we commit the same mistakes then we will be in trouble against Korea."

As for Germany, their 3-1 win over Argentina gave them the boost before taking on Spain at Johor today.

Another win for Germany and Holland, who play Argentina, will assure the two European giants a place in the semis and end Argentina's defence of the title.

Though it may be premature, it looks as if Germany, Holland and Australia have one foot in the last four with either New Zealand or Korea making up the fourth team.

And when the dust settles at the end of the day, the maybe's will become certainties.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

JWC DAY SEVEN REPORTS


Australia gave Pakistan a lesson in hockey as they trashed the Asian giants 6-1 in a Group F match at the Junior World Cup in Johor Bahru.

The Aussie performance will undoubtedly make them strong favourites to march into the semi finals from a group that also comprises of New Zealand and South Korea.

Pakistan had no answer to the speed and precision of the Aussies as they sliced through their defence at will to hammer in five goals.

Although Pakistan had a dream start when Haseem Khan gave them the lead in the very first minute, they soon lost their plot as Australia dictated play.

Australia were back into the game when Timothy Bates equalized in the 15th minute and never looked back after that.

Pakistan could not cope with the pace of the Aussies and kept giving the ball away, but Australia did not capitalize.

Australia scored their second through Kieren Govers in the 20th minute before skipper Joshua White converted a penalty corner to give the Aussies a 3-1 lead four minutes later.

Australia were reduced to 10 men when Joshua Pollard was sent to the sin bin for playing the ball above his shoulder in the very next minute and this handed the initiative to the Pakistanis.

In the second half Australia added three more goals through Govers (41st minute), Matt Ghodes (64th minute) and Jacob Whetton (68th minute)

In Singapore, defending champions Argentina lost 3-1 to Germany despite taking the lead.

Argentina scored in the 28th minute through Augustin Mazzali with Germany netting the equalizer in the 33rd minute via Martin Hamer.

The Germans scored two late goals through Felix Oldhafer (63rd minute) and Patrick Schmidt (68h minute) to cast serious doubts on the ability of Argentina to retain the trophy.

In the 9th to 16th classification match at Johor Baru, hosts Malaysia w lost 2-1 to Poland.

The Malaysians looked jittery and were slow to adapt to the second pitch as this was the first time they played on that ground.

They kept conceding penalty corners and were guilty of giving the ball away to their opponents. And Poland took full advantage to score in the 28th minute through Piotr Baniewicz.

Faizal Saari scored the equalizer with his trade mark reverse stick from the top of the semi circle in the 33rd minute.

But Poland had the last say as Szymon Oszyjczyk scored five minutes from the end to give them full points and putting a dent to the Malaysian hopes of finishing 9th or 10th.

“We played our worst games today and the result is reflective of our performance,” said Malaysian coach K. Rajan.

“The defenders fell asleep and gave Poland so much of room so much so that we were laying out a red carpet to them to attack at will.

“It will be difficult but not impossible to finish 9th but our destiny is no longer in our hands as we have to hope some results go our way.

Their best ever achievement in world hockey was the Olympic gold medal in Montreal in 1976.

In the Junior World Cup they were not given a chance to make the second round but defied odds to edge out Asian giants India.

And their fairytale run continued at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium as New Zealand held Asian powerhuse South Korea to a 3-3 draw.

But New Zealand will be cursing their luck as they had taken a 2-0 lead only to hand the initiative to Korea who led 3-2 at one stage before the Kiwis rallied back to share the spoils.

The Black Sticks opened scoring in the 19th minute when Simon Childs scored. And they doubled their advantage through Stephen Jeness in the 26th minute.

But Korea fought back and in their second penalty corner, Jeong Yun Sang converted to reduce the deficit.

Korea stepped up the pressure but could not find a way past the Kiwi defence and the score at halftime stood at 2-1 in favour of New Zealand.

Korea found the equalizer in the 56th minute through Kang Moon Kweon before Jeong converted a penalty stroke I the 63rd minute to give them a 3-2 lead. But the Kiwis managed to equalize three minutes later through Joseph Barthmelow.

“ We were careless in midfield and let New Zealand take control and that is why we were 2-0 at one stage of the match,” said Korean coach Kim Jong Yi

“I had confidence in my players and instructed them to start pressing the Kiwis when they had possession.

“I am happy with the draw as it is one point rather then having none. Our game against Australia will determine our fate.”

In Singapore, Holland outclassed reigning European champion Spain 3-0 at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium.

It was sweet revenge for the Dutch as Spain had beaten them 1-0 in Euro U21 finals last year.

Hollad got their goals via Klaas Vermeulen (12th minute), Mink van der Weerden (33rd minute) and Valentin Verga (58th minute)

In a Group H classification match, Egypt showed their fighting capabilities as they came back from a 2-0 deficit to hold South Africa to a 2-2 draw thus keeping their hopes of a 9/10th placing very much alive.

Mohd Edris was the hero for Egypt as he converted a penalty corner in the 70th minute to earn hs team a draw.

South Africa had scored through Anthony Vervoot in the 21st minute and Brandon Panther in the 47th minute. Egypt reduced the deficit through Ahmed Abdelhakeen in the 52nd minute.

“ We look at it as two points lost rather than one gained. We are truly disappointed to have conceded a goal at that stage, “ said South African assistant coach Gareth Ewing.

But he was confident of handing hosts Malaysia a defeat when they square up against each other tomorrow night.

“We always play well against teams that are ranked higher then us and I expect it to be no different against Malaysia,” added Ewing.

“Having studied the videos of Malaysia, we have a good chance to get all three points.

In the matches played in the morning, USA defeated Russia 4-2 while Belgium beat England 2-0 in the placing matches to determine the 9-16th placings.

Singapore continued their losing streak, this time it was Chile who defeated them 5-3.

TAKING MALAYSIAN HOCKEY INTO THE FUTURE - PART ONE



" The hockey of the past we have to respect, the hockey of today we must study, and the hockey of the future we should anticipate.

Those are not words from a Greek philosopher but from Horst Wein, a renowned hockey tactician who has switched over to football for the last 20 odd years. In a three part series, Horst Wein shares with me the ills that plague world hockey and how Malaysia should approach development of the youngsters.

Horst is all for developing the right attributes for players from as young as eight and says that for Malaysian hockey to further develop, or for it to achieve international success, there is a tried and proven formula.

“This rigid and authoritarian coaching style does not develop intelligent players with awareness and responsibility,” contends Wein, a German.

“To get more intelligent players on the pitch in the future, coaches need to stimulate more and instruct less.”

Wein, the author of 31 text books - who is now stimulating football coaches of world- from well known football clubs as Inter Milan, Club Atlético Peñarol Montevideo, UNAM “Pumas” de México, Real Sociedad de San Sebastian, Club Nacional Montevideo, Cruz Azul, Club America (México) and Universidad Católica de Chile.

In the early 80’s Wein, then based in Spain, produced a hockey development model which helped to produce hundreds of fine talents.

And to the surprise of the rest of the hockey world, a decade later Spain won Olympic gold and silver.

“Once we give the children access to the forbidden fruit of adult information [competition], we expel them from the garden of infancy,” said Wein.

“It does seem as though, in many parts of the world and also in Malaysian Hockey, there are too many teachers and coaches of young hockey players still living in the Middle Ages. Why call it that?

“In the Middle Ages society knew only infants and adults. By seven or eight years of age, a person was already considered adult because he participated in adult activities: the child worked, ate, dressed, and behaved as an adult.

“For how long can we allow the ignorance of our coaches and especially of the administrators to continue to obstruct the natural development of the next generation of hockey players in Malaysia?”

Wein contends that our world of hockey reflects the current situation. Instead of children being able to practice their particular games, as in the past, in the streets or other natural settings, the increasing urbanization of the landscape does not allow the most of them to make use of the natural surroundings that their grandparents had for play.

“Besides having to play the game on artificial grass fields far away from their homes, in our advanced society young boys and girls—in many clubs and schools—must maintain rigid training methods and competitions, ”said Wein.

“These old-fashioned methods in no way respect the laws of nature or the children’s actual mental and physical capacities.

“Everywhere children are obliged to train and compete like adults, forced to adapt to rules originally intended for adults. The rush to introduce talented youth to the adult game has frequently resulted in their acquiring bad habits that later limit their performance on our senior teams.


Friday, June 12, 2009

JWC GROUPINGS SECOND ROUND


GROUPINGS – MEDAL ROUND

(1st to 8th Placing)

GROUP E
Argentina
Holland
Germany
Spain

GROUP F
Australia
South Korea
Pakistan
New Zealand

(9th to 16th Placing)

GROUP G
Belgium
India
Japan
England

GROUP H
South Africa
Malaysia
Egypt
Poland

(17th to 20th Placing)

GROUP I
Russia
Chile
USA
Singapore

JWC DAY SIX REPORT


Malaysia failed to make it to the second round of the Junior World Cup when they were held to a 3-3 draw by Spain at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium.

Needing a win, the Malaysian’s were done in by poor umpiring, something the FIH will never rectify as it is the Asian teams that suffer at the hands of incompetent umpires from Europe.

Still the Malaysians have nothing to be ashamed off as they played their hearts out and credit must be given for their fighting display especially when they were 3-1 down at one stage of the match.

Pakistan also made it into the second round by the skin of their teeth when they lost 2-1 to Belgium. Pakistan, Argentina and Belgium all finished with nine points.

But Pakistan made it due to a better goal difference having scored 15 and conceded 6 thus having a plus 9 advantage, while Argentina 17-7 were on 10 plus while Belgium at 13-6 had a seven goal plus. If Belgium had scored another goal, then they would have been involved in a penalty shootout with Pakistan.

However the talking point was the draw between Holland and New Zealand at the Sengkang Hockey Stadium in Singapore that ensured the exit of 2001 champions India.

The manner in which the match ended in a draw must surely leave a bitter taste in the mouth of the Indians.

This was because Holland had taken a 2-0 lead through goals by Verga Valentin in the 27th minute and Mink van der Weerden in the 44th minute only to concede twice in the final 20 minutes when Hugo Inglis in the 53rd minute and Simon Child in the 61st minute.

Although India defeated Poland 4-2, their 2-2 draw against New Zealand and 3-2 defeat at the hands of Holland put paid to their hopes of finishing in the top eight of the tournament.

Malaysia could not have asked for a better start as Faizal Saari gave them the lead in the 9th minute, his reverse stick hit giving Spanish keeper Francesc Mata no chance at all.

Spain found the equalizer in the 20th minute when Roc Oliva, playing with his thigh heavily bandaged due to an injury in the match against England, scored after the Malaysian defence were slow to clear the ball.

Malaysia were dealt a bitter blow two minutes later through a blunder by Belgium umpire Vincent Loos.

He failed to keep up with the ball and Xavier Lleonart made a reverse stick pass when the ball had clearly crossed the goal line and his pass found Javier Garcia who had the simplest of task to put Spain 2-1 ahead.

Spain went 3-1 ahead in the 49th minute when Xavier Lleonart scored but Harvinder Singh reduced the deficit in the 54th minute.

Khairul Azrain scored with ten minutes remaining but the grandstand finish Malaysia were hoping for never came as Spain held out to end with a draw.

South Korea qualified as Group C champions after coming from behind twice to hold England to a 2-2 draw at the Johor Bahru Hockey Stadium.

The match between Malaysia and Spain will determine which team joins the Koreans into the second round from Group C.

In Singapore, Germany and Australia will be involved in a penalty shootout to determine who will emerge Group B champions.

This came about as a result of identical number of points as well as goals scored and goal difference. Both the teams have 10 points with a goal difference of 11 as a result of 13 goals scored and two against.

In another match, Argentina defeated Egypt to seal their place in the second round and will await the Pakistan v Belgium match to see if they finish as champions or runner up.

With Holland certain of their place in the second round, the other spot will be decided between New Zealand and India.

The Kiwis need a draw while India needs to defeat Poland and hope that that Holland wins against New Zealand.

MIKE AS MHF GM


A former international is set to assume the post of General Manager of the Malaysian Hockey Federation come July 1.

Maninderjit Singh, who represented the country from 1990 to 2002 has received the nod from the MHF top guns and is said to be awaiting the official appointment letter from the National Sports Council.

“We have sent the request to the NSC and are awaiting their formal approval,” said MHF Deputy President Nur Azmi Ahmad.

Mike, as he is fondly known, has a Sports Science degree from University Malaya and was one of those instrumental in the 102 Group of Former Internationals that rallied for change in Malaysian hockey last year.

Although he was appointed as a member of the Wawasan Committee of MHF after the MHF elections, Mike had resigned from the committee as it had not met for several months after its inaugural meeting sometime in December last year.

The last person who assumed the GM position was K. Paramasivam, whose contract was not extended by NSC at the end of 2007.

RULES CHANGES NECESSARY


The time has come for changes to be made to the rules of hockey to make it more interesting as well as spectator friendly.

And with the speed of the game increasing each day, not only will rule changes allow more free flow of the game but also contribute towards reducing the number of injuries.

In calling for the International Hockey Federation (FIH) to have a serious look at making changes, renowned hockey coach Terry Walsh said that small changes made to the rules could lead to the sport flourishing, both in terms of spectator interest and higher quality matches.

Among the rules that Walsh would like to see changes too is the number of players on the pitch during a match.

“I hope that one day it will be reduced to just eight or nine players playing at any one time,” said Walsh.

“This will give more space to the players as with the current system of 11 players per team we find the space to be rather limited.

“Confining 22 players to the current pitch reduces free flowing hockey and there are just too many stoppages due to the infringements.

His reasoning to reduce the number of players as opposed to increasing the size of the pitch makes sense as it will be cost effective rather then laying new pitches.

Another rule that Walsh proposes to do away is the obstruction rule as it is pointless given the present circumstances.

This, Walsh contends hampers the flow of the game as players can shield the ball provided they move in one direction.