Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Chennai to host Asia Cup hockey

The 7th Men's Asia Cup hockey will be held in Chennai from September 1 to 9.

The significance of this Asia Cup is that the FIH will take this tournament for World Ranking, a release from the Indian Hockey Federation said today.

All the matches of the Tournament will be played under FIH tournament regulations, governing two pool competition with the classification matches.

Pool A: Korea, Malaysia, China, Singapore and Sri Lanka.

Pool B:India, Japan, Bangladesh, Hongkong and Thailand.

Malaysia drawn in tough group for Asian Cup

The national men's hockey team have been drawn in a tough group of the Asian Cup in Chennai from Sept 1-9.

Malaysia are drawn in Group A with Doha Asian Games champions and runners-up South Korea and China respectively. The other teams in the group are Sri Lanka and Singapore.

Group B comprises India, Japan, Hong Kong, Bangladesh and Thailand.

Pakistan, which finished third in the Doha Games, have pulled out of the tournament.

National coach Sarjit Singh lamented the draw, saying, "Our target was to do well in the tournament to improve our world ranking so that we would get a favourable draw for the Olympic qualifier next year."

Drawing against the Koreans and China has made that job tougher, he said.

Sarjit, who guided the national team to the runner-up spot in the Sultan Azlan Shah tournament in Ipoh in May, is expected to name the team one week after the TNB-Malaysia Hockey League (MHL) ends on July 28.

MHF makes five changes for Beijing

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) today made five changes to the national hockey team that had played in the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup in May when they named their final 18 for the Beijing Goodwill tournament.

The five who have been left out are Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin, Mohamed Shukri Mutalib, Ismail Abu, Mohamed Razie Abdul Rahim and S. Bubalan.

The replacements are Mohamed Sallehin Ghani, Mohamed Soffian Mohamed, Mohamed Madzli Ikmar, Hafifi Hanafi and Anuuar Sham.

The tournament in Beijing is an Olympic Test event and will be played from Aug 8-13 at the venue where the Games will be held in 2008.

Besides Malaysia and host China, the other two teams in the four-nation meet are Australia and Pakistan.

The team was named yesterday after a selection meeting chaired by MHF deputy president Tunku Abdul Majid.

National coach Sarjit Singh said that some of the more experienced players had been left out as they wanted to opt out of the meet.

"Ismail Abu is getting married while Shukri and Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin have exams. We have a chance to expose another five players and this will allow us to pick our best team for the Asia Cup in September.

"Although this is a test event we have tried to pick the best players available to us. We want to do well," he said. Tenaga Nasional player Mohamed Madzli Ikmar returns to the squad after being left out in January. He last played in the Doha Asian Games last year and was among the several seniors players dropped from the national side.

Hafifi Hanafi is making his senior team debut while the others have been in and out of the national team over the past six months.

The team will leave for Beijing on Sunday. The team heading for Beijing: S. Kumar, Khairulnizam Ibrahim, Megat Azrafiq, Zulkifli Rejab, Engku Abdul Malek, Baljit Singh, Mohamed Sallehin Ghani, Mohamed Soffian Mohamed, M. Jivan, Mohamed Shahrun Nabil, Kelvinder Singh, Mohamed Madzli Ikmar, M. Jiwa, S. Selvaraju, Azli Misron, Chua Boon Huat, Hafifi Hanafi and Annua Sham.