Thursday, February 28, 2008

Faisal vows to keep temper in check

Junior World Cup trainee Faisal Saari has vowed never to hit another player again.

The 17-year-old Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) player was red-carded for hitting fellow national junior trainee Harvinder Singh of Tenaga Nasional on the chest with a hockey stick during their MJHL Division One match on Sunday.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) technical committee have handed him a five-match suspension.

BPSS coach Yahya Atan (pic) said he was disappointed with Faisal’s action, more so as he was voted the best player in the National Under-16 tournament in Kuala Lumpur last year.

“As a national junior player, he should be setting a good example to others in the MJHL and not show his temper by hitting a player with a stick,” said Yahya.

“His action could affect his chances of making it to the Junior World Cup next year as the national coaches would not want such players in the team.

“But he has regretted his action and has promised never to repeat it.”

Yahya said the five-match ban would rule Faisal out of their remaining four league matches.

Faisal represented the national Under-16 team for a tournament in Germany last year. He also featured in the eight-nation invitational tournament in Kuala Lumpur last month.

BPSS have nine points from three wins and a defeat and are in third spot in the nine-team Division One league.

They face two tough matches this weekend – against double champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) on Friday and former overall champions Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) on Sunday.

BJSS and Tenaga are both tied at the top of the standings with 12 points.

MBPJ, who won the overall title in 2006, are in fifth spot with four points from three matches.

Yahya hoped they would be able to overcome the two teams this weekend to stay in the running for a place in the quarter-finals.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bad boy Akram can kiss league goodbye

The MHFNSC-Milo Junior Hockey League season is effectively over for Mohd Akram Jamil of Division Two outfit Penang Free-USM.

The player has been referred to the Malaysian Hockey Federation’s (MHF) disciplinary board for his red card offence in the match against MSN Malacca on Feb 23. Apart from an off-the-ball incident, he was also alleged to have used foul language on the umpire.

With only five matches to go for Penang Free-USM, and with the red card carrying an automatic five-match suspension, Akram can kiss the league goodbye.

Akram will remain suspended until the disciplinary board meet and decide on his punishment.

He was among four players who were red-carded in last weekend's matches.

The other three — Petaling Jaya City Council’s (MBPJ) Mohd Naim Ibrahim, Bandar Penawar Sports School’s Faisal Saari and MSJ-Batu Pahat’s Mohd Zaid Mohd Shah — were given the marching orders for off-the-ball incidents. It may also be the end of the season for these three players if their teams do not make the second round of the league as they too have been given an automatic five-match ban for their red card offences.

The decisions were taken by the MHF technical committee, headed by MHF secretary Hashim Mohd Yusof, on Monday night.

Meanwhile, the technical committee have decided to postpone all matches on March 7-9 in vie of the general election.

These matches will now be played from March 10-12. The committee added that they would complete the MJHL by March 30.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Mohd Isa gets five-match ban for red card

The MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League technical committee showed they are serious about tackling indiscipline when they suspended MSS Perlis’ Mohd Isa Nor Azmi for five matches for an off-the-ball incident.

Mohd Isa was shown the red card for the incident in the 56th minute of the match against MSS Kelantan on Feb 16. He had earlier been shown the yellow card and has now accumulated 12 demerit points.

Under the tournament rules, he will have to serve a mandatory two-match suspension. But the technical committee, chaired by MHF secretary Hashim Mohd Yusof, decided to add three more matches to his ban.

This is the first time that the MHF have imposed such a heavy punishment on a player for a red card incident.

MSS Perlis stand-in-manager Shurizan Mansur yesterday described the five-match ban as “too harsh” and said they would file an appeal.

Monday, February 18, 2008

All matches on March 8 postponed

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) have postponed all the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League matches scheduled for March 8 due to the general election.

These matches will now be played on March 9. Matches earlier scheduled for March 9 will be played on March 11.

The preliminary round will end as scheduled on March 16 but the final for the overall title will now be held on March 29.

Fahmi out for whole season with fractured finger

Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) forward Mohd Fahmi Faiz has been ruled out for the rest of the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League season because of injury.

The 16-year old, who has been with the team for the last three years, was expected to play a big part in BJSS’ push to retain both their titles – league and overall – this year.

Mohd Fahmi fractured a finger in the opening match against BJSS Juniors. He will be out of action for five months.

The BJSS team are leading the Division One standings after two matches, having defeated their juniors 4-0 on Friday routing SM Tuanku Besar 5-0 on Sunday.

Though disappointed to lose Mohd Fahmi to injury, BJSS coach S. Prakash was happy with his team’s winning start to the season.

“We will now have to go on with just 19 players for the rest of the league. It has been a good start but I want to see a more consistent performance from the team,” he said.

“The players are not playing as fluently as I want them to and we need to focus on our team work over the next few days.”

Prakash was unhappy with hiplayers for not sticking to his game plan. “The players were too attack-minded and forgot their defensive duties.”

He said their next two matches – against Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) and Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak) – would provide a better guide to their chances of retaining the league title.

“MBPJ and Olak have better sets of players and I’m sure they will be gunning for us to boost their title charge. I will be pushing my players hard in training over the next few days,” he said.

While MBPJ started their campaign with a 2-2 draw with Anderson, Olak went down 1-2 to Tenaga.

Keeping pace with BJSS are Tenaga Nasional and Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS), who both enjoyed two wins out of many matches in the opening weekend.

Tenaga defeated Anderson 3-1 in Ipoh while BPSS beat SMK Datuk Taha 3-1 and BJSS Juniors 6-0.

In Division Two, debutants MSS Kelantan are the early pacesetters with three wins from as many matches. The chasing pack includes teams like MSN Malacca, MSSM KL and BPSS Juniors.

The opening weekend also saw a glut of goals. In Division One, a total of 33 goals were scored from eight matches while the 15 matches from Division Two produced an astonishing 72 goals.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Title holders BJSS, Bandar Penawar and Tenaga record second straight win

Defending champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) kept up their winning ways in the MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League with a 5-0 victory over SM Tuanku Besar (TBSS) in a Division One match at the Tampin Hockey Stadium yesterday.

It was their second win in as many matches and they now lead the nine-team standings with six points. On Friday, they were 4-0 winners over BJSS Juniors.

Bandar Penawar Sports School (SSBP) and Tenaga Nasional also completed the weekend on a winning note.

SSBP whipped BJSS Juniors 6-0 at the Bandar Penawar Hockey Stadium while Tenaga proved a handful for Anderson by winning 3-0 at the Sultan Azlan Shah Stadium in Ipoh.

All three teams are on six points with goal difference separating them.

Four teams – Anderson, TBSS, SM Datuk Taha and Petaling Jaya Municipal Council (MBPJ) – are on one point from a draw after two matches.

BJSS coach S. Prakash said that they needed to keep up the winning momentum to stay ahead of their rivals.

“It is good to start off with a win and we must keep it going.

“For us the idea is to take one match at a time and keep collecting the points. There are other teams who can chase us,” added Prakash.

In the match against TBSS, five different scorers were on target for BJSS.

Ahmad Termidzi Ismail started the ball rolling in the ninth minute with a field goal followed by Mohd Shahram Zali in the 25th minute from a penalty corner conversion.

BJSS were in full control and in the 34th minute a field attempt by Mohamed Shaifulhafiz Jaafar allowed them to take a comfortable 3-0 lead at half- time.

Mohamed Izat Hakimi and Mohamed Shafiq Ahmad then added the other two goals in the 48th and 50th minutes.

In Ipoh, goals by Mohamed Shafiq Othman (19th), Meor Mohamed Ridhwan (44th) and Mohamed Hafizul Akmal (48th) gave former champions Tenaga victory.

It was the same story down south with the SSBP side enjoying full control over BJSS Juniors to walk off with a six-goal win.

Faisal Shaari and Mohamed Noor Fareez scored a brace each for the sports school while Eldon Lemery and Mohamed Shaidful Nizam contributed the other two goals.

In Division Two, newcomers MSS Kelantan are the early pacesetters with nine points after three wins in as many days.

Yesterday, they defeated winless Penang Free School-USM 2-0 to add to their earlier wins over Matri (5-0) and MSS Perlis (3-2).

MSN Malacca are second on seven points after two victories and a draw while MSSM KL are third, also with two wins and a draw.

Affiliates in the dark over Under-16 hockey tourney

This year’s Under-16 hockey tournament is in a real mess.

Consider this.

The Malaysian Hockey Federation (MHF) had set March 8-16 as the dates for the tournament to be held in Penang.

Last month, Penang informed the MHF executive committee that they wanted to change the dates. The committee shot down the proposal and said they would hold it on the same dates at a different venue.

Until now, the MHF have not informed the states of the new hosts.

To make matters more confusing, the Sukan Teras unit of the National Sports Council (NSC) have told certain states that the tournament has been postponed.

This has led to states like Negri Sembilan to scrap their Under-16 inter-district tournaments.

“This is all simply confusing. We have been trying to get some answers but nothing is forthcoming from the MHF. All we are being told is that we will be informed later,” said one state secretary.

MHF secretary Hashim Mohamed Yusof could not be reached for comment yesterday.

This is not the first time Penang have created such a mess.

Last year, they were picked to host the Under-21 tournament. They kept postponing it until the MHF decided to call it off.

But MHF deputy president Tunku Abdul Majid Idris then stepped in and forced the competitions committee to hold the tournament in Kuala Lumpur in late December.

Is it going to be a case of deja-vu?

BJSS rout Juniors in opening match

Defending champions Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) got their MHF-Milo-NSC Junior Hockey League campaign off on a winning note when they beat BJSS Juniors 4-0 at the Tun Razak Stadium.

A brace by Azreen Rizal Nasir (12th, 20th minutes), and a goal each from Faridzul Afiq (42nd) and Mohd Izzat Rahim (59th) sealed victory for BJSS.

Apart from a hand injury to youngster Mohd Fahmi Faiz, BJSS coach S. Prakash was happy with their opening match.

“It was a good workout for us. The players are more settled now that the first game is out of the way,” he said.

Former champions Tenaga Nasional also won their opening match, edging Old La Sallians Association of Klang (Olak) 2-1 at the Pandamaran Hockey Stadium in Klang.

Tenaga led 2-0, courtesy of goals by Faisal Yacob (24th minute) and Mohd Hafizul Akmal (40th). Olak replied through skipper S. Vel Murugan in the 32nd minute.

At the Tampin Hockey Stadium, SM Tuanku Besar drew 2-2 with SM Datuk Taha.

Mohd Khaireen Mohd Zain and Mohd Nazri Azman scored for Datuk Taha while Norazlan Abdul Ghani and Mohd Marlan Mohd Jalil replied for Tuanku Besar.

There was a goal feast in Division Two, with 32 goals being scored in five matches.

In a match between two newcomers, MSN Malacca hammered SS Alam Shah 13-0 at the Seremban Two Hockey Stadium.

MSSM KL beat Penang’s Mutiara Impian 5-0, MSN Kelantan scored a similar win over Matri of Perlis and Bandar Penawar Juniors whipped SAB College 4-0.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Debutants MSN Malacca set ambitious targets

Malaysia Junior Hockey League (MJHL) debutants MSN Malacca have set themselves lofty targets – finish top of Division Two and qualify for the final of the overall title.

Malacca's optimism stems from the fact that nine players, who helped the State clinch the national Under-21 title in Kuala Lumpur last month, will be leading their MJHL challenge.

“The prospect of us doing well in the league depends on how we fare in our opening three matches on consecutive days. If we can pull through with three wins, then we will be more than ready for successful debut,” said team manager Francis Leong.

“Our target is to go all out to top the league and then to set our focus on making the final for the overall title.”

MSN Malacca open their campaign away in Seremban against SS Alam Shah tomorrow, followed by a trip to Johor to play Sultan Abu Bakar College and Bandar Penawar Sports School over the weekend at the Bukit Serendit Hockey Stadium.

The team have been training since late last year, preparing for the Under-21 competition, the Terengganu Malaysia Games (Sukma) in June and the MJHL.

Barren Tenaga aim to spark a revival

Seasoned campaigners Tenaga Nasional have gone three seasons without lifting a single trophy.

This year, they hope to win at least one of the two titles at stake in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League, which begins tomorrow.

Last year, Tenaga finished third in the league and lost to Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) in the final for the overall title.

“We have retained eight players from last year’s squad and the boys are more than ready to give their best after more than one month of training and practice matches with the senior squad,” said K. Rajan, who has been made the team manager this season after coaching the Tenaga junior team since 1996.

The eight players who featured for Tenaga last year are goalkeeper Mahadi Suliaman, defenders Mohd Rashidi Nordin and S. Anesh Kumar, midfielders Mohd Syafiq Othman and forwards Mohd Hafizi Non Aseli, R. Ramesh, R. Dinnesh and Harvinder Singh.

Rajan said the 19 players registered for the team would be offered jobs with Tenaga Nasional if they performed well in the MJHL.

Former internationals Lailin Abu Hassan and Nor Azlan Bakar will coach the team this season.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Yahya: Time for Bandar Penawar to go for the title

Bandar Penawar Sports School (BPSS) are into their sixth year in the Malaysia Junior Hockey League. And this time, they have set very high targets – win the league and make the final for the overall title.

The majority of the players have been with the team since 2003 and coach Yahya Atan (pic) feels that the time has come for them to challenge for one of the two titles at stake this year.

“The target is go all out to finish top in the league and try to make the final for the overall title,” said Yahya yesterday.

“It is not going to be easy but since the team was formed in 2003 we have improved each year. And it is time we get into the title.”

The team will, however, have to achieve their targets without three players from last year’s squad. Mohd Nor Hafiq Abdul Ghaffar, Mohd Andika and Mohd Azzami Adabi have joined Batu Pahat-MSJ, who are Johor’s Sukma team.

The overall strength is still there with 16 players remaining together over the last five years.

BPSS won the Division Two title in 2006 to gain promotion to Division One last year.

Last year, they finished fourth in Division One and made it to the semi-finals for the overall title for the first time. They lost in the last four on penalties to eventual champions Bukit Jalil Sports School. In the play-off for third placing, they were edged to MBPJ.

“It was our best year in the league and the players are starting to show their worth. I expect a better performance this year and we are targeting the final (for the overall title) this year. We would have been stronger had the three players stayed with us but I think we still have enough experience to achieve out targets,” said Yahya.

Apart from his side, Yahya expects three other teams to be involved in the title chase, with Bukit Jalil Sports School (BJSS) the favourites to retain both titles. Tenaga Nasional and Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) are his other picks.

“At the same time I would not discount teams like Anderson and SMK Tunku Jaafar. These two have improved over the last two years and could spring a few surprises,” he said.

Another reason for Yahya’s confidence in his team’s prospect is the fact that seven of his players are in the national training squad.

“This is always a plus point as they will be exposed to a higher level of training. Fitness and tactics will play a crucial part in the title run-up. We have to be ready from day one,” he said.

New Zealand edge Argentina to make the grade for Beijing

The New Zealand hockey team grabbed one of the three remaining places in the Beijing Olympics when they won the first qualifying event held in Auckland yesterday.

The Kiwis defeated Argentina 3-2 in the final of the six-team event.

France finished third after beating Ireland 2-1 while Trinidad and Tobago came in fifth with a 1-0 win over the United States.

In the final yesterday, New Zealand grabbed the winner through a golden goal by Brad Shaw in the last minute extra time after the match ended 2-2 in regulation time.

The other Kiwi scorers were David Koosof (49th minute) and Hayden Shaw (66th) while the Argentines replied through Lucas Vila (24th) and Mati Vila (52nd).

This is the second time that the Argentines have failed to make the grade for the Beijing Olympics. Last year, they lost in the final of the Pan-American Cup to Canada, who went on to secure the automatic berth from the continent.

The other two countries for the remaining places will be known after the qualifiers in Chile and Japan.

The second qualifiers, to be held in Santiago from March 1-9, will feature India, Britain, Chile, Austria, Bangladesh and Mexico.

The third qualifiers, to be held in Kakamigahara, Gifu in Japan from April 5-13, will have Malaysia, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, Poland and Italy in the fray.

The teams who had earlier qualified for Beijing are Australia, China, South Korea, Pakistan, Holland, Spain, Canada, South Africa and Belgium.