Saturday, 1 October 2011

Jose Brasa joins World Series Hockey brigade

MUMBAI: Jose Brasa will soon be back in India. The Spaniard, whose contract was not renewed by the sports ministry after the 2010 Guangzhou Asian Games despite the national team's good showing, will be coaching one of the eight teams in the inaugural edition of World Series Hockey, scheduled to begin from December 17.

He's not the only one. Dutch coaching great Roelant Oltmans, who lost out to Michael Nobbs for the Indian chief coach's job, will be there too, along with Andrew Meredith of Germany. The other names are Harendra Singh, Rajinder Singh, Vasudevan Bhaskaran, Jude Felix and Gundeep Singh. The coaches will play a key role in terms of advising the franchisee during the all critical 'draft process' of player selection.

Brasa, who guided India to silver medal at last year's Commonwealth Games and a bronze at the 2010 Asiad, said he was looking forward to the WSH assignment, his past bitter experience with the hockey mandarins notwithstanding. "I never had any problems with the players, my problem was with the officials. I can't wait to meet the players, it would be great to train them again," Brasa told TOI from Spain.

Chetri named captain as Sandeep, Sardara return for Australia tour

NEW DELHI: As part of a rotation policy, goalkeeper Bharat Chetri was on Thursday named captain while the controversial duo ofSandeep Singh and Sardara Singh have been recalled to the Indian hockey team for the tour of Australia starting next month.

Veteran midfielder Ignace Tirkey has been appointed as Chetri's deputy.

The 27-year-old custodian, who has 114 international caps to his credit, will replace Rajpal as the skipper and will lead the country for the first time in his career.

PR Sreejesh, who shot to limelight with his super show in the final of the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy against Pakistan, is the other goalkeeper in the 22-member squad.

During the tour of Australia, which will conclude on November 5, India will play a four-nation nine-a-side International Super Series tournament and another International tournamentfeaturing Pakistan and the home team.

The squad was announced after a selection trails at the SAI centre in Bangalore on Monday, which was attended by Hockey India selectors BP Govinda, Syed Ali, Thoiba Singh and AB Subbaiah besides government observer Dilip Tirkey.

Among notable inclusions, both Sandeep and Sardara, who were handed a two-year ban by HI for indiscipline only to be lifted later, have found a place in the squad.

Former captain Arjun Halappa, who missed the Asian Champions Trophy in China due to a groin problem, also returned to the team along with Tushar Khandker and Bharat Chikara, who have also recovered from injuries.

Rajpal will continue to lead the forward line which also has the young Yuvraj Walimiki who retained his place by virtue of his impressive performance in China, Sarvanjit Singh, Gurvinder Singh Chandi and Danish Mujtaba among others.

The selectors have also named five stand-by players in Nanak Singh (goalkeeper), Birendra Lakra (midfielder), Mandip Antil (forward), Chinglingsana (forward) and Roshan Minz (forward).

One of the HI selectors, AB Subbiah later confirmed that Chetri's appointment is part of a rotation policy through which chief coach Micheal Nobbs wants to create a group of leaders from among the senior players.

"It's part of a rotation system as Michael Nobbs' idea is to create a thinking group in the team, who will share more responsibility. He wants to groom 5-6 senior players as leaders," Subbiah said.

"So, from now onwards till the Olympic qualifiers next year, you will see a new captain in every tournament," he added.

Apart from India and hosts Australia, the other two teams in the tournament to be played from October 20 to 23 are Pakistan and New Zealand.

The format is played on the normal dimension field but with many changes like an additional one metre wider goal and one player must be in the attacking half at all times.

Also, there can be only two defenders besides the keeper to stop penalty corners and there must not be more than four players from the attacking team for taking these set pieces.

The attacking players have to stand outside the 23 metre line before they receive the out push from the backline and the penalty corner must be executed within 25 seconds.

However, in the case of long corners it is five players versus five, but again the attackers have to be outside the 23 metre area.

If the scores are level after 30 minutes, penalty shootout will be applicable where the striker is allowed only eight seconds to score starting from the 23 metre line.

Unlike the 70-minute game, the duration is 30 minutes with two halves of 15 minutes each, thus making it fast and furious with fitness and athleticism playing a key role.

India will begin their tour with a match against Australia A on October 17 followed by another against New Zealand the next day before embarking on their nine-a-side event, which has the sanction of FIH.

This is the first time such a format is being played internationally and the organisers have coincided the event with the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at Perth.

Apart from the nine-a-side event, India will also play an international tournament featuring Australia and Pakistan at Busselton and Bunbury in Western Australia.


Goalkeepers: Bharat Chetri (captain), PR Sreejesh

Defenders: Manjit Kullu, Rupinderpal Singh, VR Raghunath, Sandeep Singh.

Midfielders: Ignace Tirkey (vice-captain), Gurbaj Singh Vikas Sharma, Manpreet Singh, Vikram Pillay, Arjun Halappa Sardar Singh

Forwards: Danish Mujtaba, Ravi Pal, Sarvanjit Singh, Rajpal Singh, Yuvraj Valmiki, SV Sunil, Gurvinder Singh Chandi, Tushar Khandker, Bharat Chhikara.

Standbys: Nanak Singh (goalkeeper), Birendra Lakra (midfielder), Mandip Antil (forward), Chinglingsana (forward) Roshan Minz (forward).

The following is schedule of India's tour of Australia: 

October 17: India vs Australia 'A' October 18: India vs New Zealand

International Super Series nine-a-side tournament at Perth: 

October 20: India vs New Zealand (Two Matches) October 21: India vs Pakistan (Two Matches) October 22: India vs Australia (Two Matches) October 23: Final and 3/4 Place

International tournament: 

October 26: India vs Australia at Busselton October 27: India vs Pakistan at Busselton October 31: India vs Australia at Bunbury November 1: India vs Pakistan at Bunbury November 3: Final.

FIH says India face Olympic ban

NEW DELHI: Field hockey's world governing body has warned India it could miss the London Olympics even if it qualifies due to an ongoing tussle over who runs the sport in the country.

The International Hockey Federation (FIH) said it was not in favour of a settlement brokered by the Indian sports ministry that would see rival bodies Hockey India (HI) and the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) jointly run the game.

In a letter to the sports ministry, FIH president Leandro Negre said his federation only recognised Hockey India as the governing body for the sport which had exclusive authority to enter national teams in international events.

The FIH wants the government of India to "advise HI and IHF not to proceed with the implementation of their broad arrangement," Negre wrote in the letter dated September 27.

The FIH also wants the Indian government to settle the money owed to it for organising the World Cup in New Delhi in March last year.

"If the above is achieved... there will be no more concerns about the participation of Indian hockey team in FIH-sanctioned competitions such as London 2012 Olympic Games," Negre wrote.

The FIH had earlier this month taken away the elite eight-nation Champions Trophy from India and awarded the hosting rights to New Zealand over the same governance issues.

Sports ministry official Rahul Bhatnagar told reporters the ministry would soon meet Indian Olympic Association and hockey officials to finalise a reply to the FIH.

India failed to get direct entry for next year's London Olympics after finishing third at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China, and will now play in a qualifying event.

The eight-time Olympic champions missed out on the 2008 Beijing Olympics after losing in the qualifying tournament.

FIH threatens to thwart India's participation in Olympics

NEW DELHI: The FIH has issued a veiled threat to block India's participation in the 2012 London Olympics in case the government does not grant Hockey India the status of National Sports Federation and if all lawsuits, including the one filed by IHF against it, are not terminated.

Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH), the world governing body of the game, shot a letter to sports secretary Sindhusree Khullar, asking the government to comply with the requirement of the IOC charter and FIH statutes.

The FIH, in the letter, reminded the government the points which were agreed upon when its president Leandro Negre met sports ministerAjay Maken.

Just before Negre's arrival, FIH had stripped India of the hosting rights of Champions Trophy and moved the elite event to New Zealand because of the game's governance issues.

The FIH letter, signed by Negre, mentions seven issues, including the payment India owe to FIH with regard to hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

The FIH has asked the government to "advise Hockey India and the Indian Hockey Federation(IHF) not to proceed with the implementation of the broad arrangement reached on July 25" with regard to governance of the game in the country.

The FIH has also asked the "government to recognise Hockey India under its guidelines as the National Sports Federation with complete and exclusive authority to govern men's and women's hockey in India, in respect of both national competitions and Indian participation in international competitions.

The letter also says that the Indian government will not fund or support any hockey event, which is not sanctioned by FIH and/or Hockey India.

Apart from asking the government to clear all the dues by writing to the concerned bank, the FIH wanted all lawsuits and other claims about who has the right to govern hockey in India, to be resolved and terminated.

"If the above is achieved, then there will be full compliance with the requirement of the IOC Charter and the FIH statutes and there will be no more concerns about the participation of Indian hockey team in FIH-sanctioned competitions such as London 2012 Olympic Games," the letter read.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Rajinder criticises Nobbs for discouraging players

JALANDHAR: Former national coach Rajinder Singh strongly criticised Indian hockey team's Australian coach Michael Nobbs for his assessment that it will be a Herculean task for the erstwhile champions' to qualify for next year's London Olympics.

"The statement by Nobbs that qualifying for theLondon Olympics will be a difficult job is highly discouraging. It will only hamper India's Olympic preparations. The coach is criticising his own team and that is unacceptable," Singh said.

"He should avoid making such kind of statements. Sports ministry should also take serious note of his comment. I know that it's difficult to qualify for the London Olympics given the tough qualification round but a coach should refrain from making irresponsible statements," he added.

Nobbs, who in his first assignment coached India to gold medal in the inaugural Asian Champions Trophy in China, had said that India has a long way to go and their chances of qualifying for the London Games are very remote.

India, who boasts of eight Olympic gold medals, missed the 2008 Beijing Games cut for the first time in 80 years.

"I know it's very tough to qualify for the London Games but one should never lose hope. He should encourage players and not discourage them. What kind of message is he sending to the players that coach does not believe in their abilities?" he asked.

Aditya Thackeray felicitates hockey sensation Yuvraj Walmiki

MUMBAI: City boy Yuvraj Walmiki, who is fast emerging as a sensation in Indian hockey, was felicitated by Yuva Sena president Aditya Thackeray on Sunday.

Aditya also presented Walmiki a cheque of Rs 1 lakh at a function held on Saturday.

"I will always try my level best in performing for my country," Walmiki said on the occasion.

Former hockey stars Mir Ranjan Negi and Dhanraj Pillay, who were also present on the occasion, wished Walmiki luck for the future.

Walmiki was part of the Indian hockey team which won the Asian Champions Trophy in China recently.

The 21-year-old scored during the penalty shoot-out against Pakistan in the final to help India take an important lead and eventually win the tournament.

Indian girls beat Korea 2-0 to win bronze in Asia Cup

NEW DELHI: Indian girls defeated defending champions Korea 2-0 to win the bronze medal in the 3rd Girls U-18 Asia Cup hockey tournament at Bangkok on Sunday.

The goal scorer for India were Navjot Kaur (38th minute) and Anupa Barla (49th).

India dominated the proceedings, despite Korea holding on goalless in the first half.

The Indian strikers led by Skipper Poonam Rani, Neha Goel, Navjot Kaur and Anupa Barla exhibited classic skills pushing the Korean defenders constantly.

The Indian midfielders Deep Grace Ekka, Balvinder Kaur Mehra and Nikki Pradhan constantly fed the forwards with well measured and accurate passes.

Deep defenders Jaspreet Kaur and Sandeep Kaur alongwith goalkeeper Bigan Soy stood out strongly to deny the Korean forwards any space in the Indian striking circle.

In the last edition of this championship at Shanghai in 2009 India had finished 5th.

The Indian Team shall be returning to Delhi on Monday.