Jul 31, 2015

FOREIGN STARS PROMISE MOTHER OF ALL BATTLES

Double champions Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) and Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) are poised to make an impact with a greater bite in the 2015 TNB-Malaysian Hockey League beginning with the Charity Shield at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil on Sunday.

Coached by K. Dharmaraj, KLHC dominated the TNB-MHL from 2010 to 2013 until THT arrived last season to surprise the four-time champions.

This show of strength between the two giants, however, continues this season with little separating the two clubs who are set to parade an array of foreign stars while the rest of the pack in the six-team league that includes Sapura HC, Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL Young Guns), Maybank and Tenaga Nasional Berhad have also fortified their campaign after last year’s hiccups.

Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) Chief Executive Officer, Logan Raj, said the assimilation of Malaysian juniors, seniors and foreign players in the TNB-MHL augurs well in the national body’s search for ‘new blood’ in its transformation exercise towards building a stronger team for the 2020 Summer Olympics.





“Our Olympic dream was dealt a bitter blow in Antwerp, Belgium recently and we need to get back on track. We believe the 2015 TNB-MHL will deliver emotionally high level matches between competing teams,” said Logan at the official launch of the TNB-MHL in Kuala Lumpur today.

“The League can only get better with quality players and this will give the juniors and seniors a greater opportunity to play better hockey against strong oppositions,” he said, adding that MHC will also be introducing video referrals during matches.

“This is merely a measure for us to bring the League on to a new platform and familiarise ourselves with the practices currently employed the world around,” he added.

THT and KLHC kick-off the Premier Division of 2015 TNB-MHL League with the Charity Shield match while TNB host Maybank and Sapura HC entertains UniKL in opening matches at the National Hockey Stadium on Sunday.

KLHC have signed the services of six Pakistani players in their 2015 foray - Waseem Ahmad, Fareed Ahmad, Muhammad Umar Bhutta, Ali Shan, Muhammad Usman and Ahmad Ajaz.

Of their local flavour KLHC, who have spent big bucks to get their act right this time around, have in their stable penalty corner drag flicker Razie Rahim, goalkeeper Roslan Jamaluddin, defender ShukriMutalib and midfielder Nabil Fiqri.

THT coach Sarjit Singh, however, has his options open far wider with Argentineans Pablo Javier Trevisan, Nicolas Cicileo, Jose Leandro Tolini and IgnicioQuilez in the side which also includes Pakistan’s Ahmad Shakeel Butt. This is the first time Argentineans will feature in the MHL since its inception in 1978.

And to add more bite, the Terengganu outfit have seven national players to complement their foreign strength as they defend their league and overall title. They are goalkeeper Hafizuddin Othman, defender AzlanMisron, midfielders Shahrun Nabil and FitriSaari and forwards FaizalSaari, Tengku Ahmad Tajuddin and FirhanAshaari.

As for UniKL Young Guns, they are certainly aiming for a semi-finals spot with coach Arul Selvaraj drawing inspiration on the experience of HaziqSamsul, Baljit Singh, IzwanFirdaus and MeorAzuan who featured in the World League Semi-finals in Antwerp. Their foreign signings are Richard Sykes, Patrick Neil Schultz and Jethro Ray Eustice.

The Project 2016 coach has 10 players from the Junior World Cup trainees squad enlisted into UniKL. They are Sufi Ismat, ZulPidausMizun, Maxhans Christi, AshranHamsani, AzwarRahman, NajmiFarizal, Nor Azrul and Ezry Mustafa.

Except for TNB, coached by Nor SaifulZaini, who will once again rely on local talents, Sapura and Maybank have entered the fray with several foreign Pakistan signings.

National coach Tai Beng Hai has named Khasif Ali, Muhammad Imran, Abdul Haseem Khan and Mohamad AzfarYaqoob to lead Sapura’s attack, Maybank will also add something in the form of Imran Butt, Muhammad Irfan, Muhammad Toseeq, Muhammad Waqas and India’s Deepanshu Bhargav.

It is going to be a remarkably euphoric 2015 TNB-MHL season for fans!

Jul 14, 2015

HANIF AND SHANJI ON CLOUD NINE!

Two lucky Liverpool fans will be riding their brand new SYM E Bonus 110 motorbikes to watch Liverpool FC play Malaysia XI on July 24 at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

Mohd Hanif Abdul Halim and Shanji Sivaji, who had purchased the match tickets in June, are the first two winners of the lucky draw held in conjunction with Liverpool Tour 2015 Kuala Lumpur, promoted by ProEvents International Sdn Bhd.

“At first it was really hard to believe that I won the motorbike,” said an elated Mohd Hanif. “It is a timely gift for the Hari Raya festival and I will also ride the bike to the stadium. I am looking forward very much to seeing Liverpool in action.”
Three more bikes are also up for grabs. All you have to do is purchase tickets for the Liverpool FC match against Malaysia XI and automatically qualify for the lucky draw. 

The closing date for entry is July 24. For further details please go to www.proevents.com.
Match tickets for Malaysia XI v Liverpool FC are priced at RM58 (student), RM88, RM158, and RM228 with a limited number of VIP seats available at RM428 and RM328.
Tickets are now available for purchase via online at ticketpro.com.my, hotline +603-7880-7999, Ticketpro outlets as well as New Balance and Sports Empire outlets.

Jul 10, 2015

FREE RIDES TO CATCH THE LIVERPOOL MATCH!

ProEvents, the match promoter for Malaysia XI vs. Liverpool FC on July 24, has collaborated with Uber to offer free rides to all ticket holders to get to and from Bukit Jalil National Stadium on match day.

All ticket holders that purchase a match ticket via ticketpro.com.my will receive a promo code which will entitle them to the free rides! All they have to do is apply the promo code, UBERPROE, within their Uber app.

"We are thrilled to partner with Uber to offer fans with free rides to make it as easy as possible for them to get to and from the stadium" said San Boon Wah, Managing Director of ProEvents International. "In addition, they will also have a chance to win Meet & Greet passes to meet Liverpool players."

Match tickets for Malaysia XI vs. Liverpool FC are priced at RM58 (student), RM88, RM158, and RM228 with a limited number of VIP seats available at RM428 and RM328. All tickets are now available for purchase via online at ticketpro.com.my, hotline +603-7880-7999, Ticketpro outlets as well as New Balance and Sports Empire outlets.

STRONG CAST FOR JDT AND BORUSSIA DORTMUND SHOWDOWN

Eight-time German Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmundare geared up for a stellar performance against 2014 Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim at the Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Hassan Yunos Stadium in Larkin tonight.

The Malaysian chapter of Borussia Dortmund’s Asian Tour, supported by the club’s main sponsor Evonik, is BVB’s second stop after the full-house capacity encounter against Japanese J-League club Kawasaki Frontalein Tokyo.

The match is held in collaboration with the 2014 groundbreaking development partnership by the former UEFA Champions League finalists and JDT or more commonly known as Johor Southern Tigers.

The deal will see both sides sharing coaching and training information and exchanging players in the future in developing youth football in Johor.

Among Borussia Dortmund’s stars in Johor Bahru are Japan’s Shinji Kagawa, who returned to Signal Iduna Park from Manchester United last summer, Marco Reus, Mats Hummels, new signings in midfielders Gonzalo Castro and 19-year-old Julian Weigl who has great potential to develop, and goalkeeper Roman Bürki.

For fans who followed BVB during the success of the 1990s, BVB international ambassador Karl-Heinz Riedle and youth coordinator Lars Rickenare also among the Black and Yellow contingent on the tour.

The Crown Prince of Johor, His Royal Highness Brigadier General Tunku Ismail Ibni Sultan Ibrahim, who is also the President of Johor Football Association, said he is extremely excited with Borussia Dortmund’s presence in the state following successful cooperation between the two clubs.

“This is a long-term agreement between us and Dortmund. I’m serious about the development of football in Johor and I want to see it move up to the next level,” said Tunku Ismail. “Today marks a new chapter in JDT’s development plans and  with BVB on our side, we are confident of achieving     positive results.”

“I would like to express my appreciation to BVB for this wonderful collaboration and we will work from here onwards. This match serves as a good opportunity for Johor fans to witness an exciting experience,” added Tunku Ismail.

The deal allows Dortmund to expand their reach in Asia following the 2014 opening of a team office in Singapore. The club is well-known in the region as the home of Japan star Shinji Kagawa and also hosted Malaysian Gary Robbat for a training stint.'

Borussia Dortmund’s Chief Executive Officer, Hans-Joachim Watzke, said the club’s first Asia trip since 2007 reflects BVB’s long-term global strategy.

“The people in Asia want the chance to see the stars first-hand, and this is a wish that we would like to take into account. The Bundesliga’s presence in Asian TV markets is increasing. That, in turn, will help us to become better known and more visible,” said Watzke.

“We’ve made it our goal to maintain close long-term ties to the people in the region and to learn from each other. Current informationsuggests that an estimated six million Japanese people have a strong interest in BVB,” he added.

Dortmund's global shirt sponsor Evonik and kit supplier Puma, both of whom have regional bases in Singapore, will help in branding initiatives in the region. The Bundesliga's media rights marketing arm, DFL Sports Enterprises, has an Asian office based out of Singapore and will work closely with the club to achieve strategic branding goals.

Borussia Dortmund remains Europe's number one club in terms of attendance figures and was the only club in the 2014/2015 season - just like in previous years - to break the sound barrier with an average attendance of over 80,000 fans per home game.

With an average attendance of 80,424 spectators, Borussia Dortmund topped the rankings across Europe - ahead of FC Barcelona (77,632), Manchester United (75,335), Real Madrid (73,081) and FC Bayern Munich (72,882).



Jul 9, 2015

Steve McMahon: Nathaniel Clyne must hit ground running at Liverpool

England right-back Nathaniel Clyne is a good signing by Liverpool but the former Southampton player will need to hit the ground running at Anfield, according to former club captain Steve McMahon.

The 24-year-old has agreed to a five-year deal with the Merseyside club but McMahon says there's no guarantee that the former Southampton defender will be an instant success.

"Clyne is a good, young English player with a bright future, but he will find out quickly that Liverpool is a very different kind of club to Southampton," Malaysia-based McMahon told ESPN FC.

"It's like a goldfish bowl at Liverpool while at Southampton you can a couple of iffy games and nobody pays that much attention."

McMahon added that Clyne will need to get forward and help Liverpool score more goals, which was a problem for them last season after the departure of Uruguay international Luis Suarez and injury-plagued campaign of England forward Daniel Sturridge.

"Clyne will be expected to contribute a lot in an attacking sense while taking care of his defensive job," McMahon said. "He will need find his form quickly because Liverpool must start next season well."

Clyne is Liverpool's sixth signing of the summer and will join former Southampton teammates Adam Lallana, Dejan Lovren and Rickie Lambert at Anfield.

"I think it's strange that so many Southampton players have joined Liverpool in the last year or so," McMahon said. "Why can't Liverpool own scouting system find these kind of players?"

McMahon added that he was looking forward to seeing Livepool's new-look squad in the game against the Malaysia Select XI at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on July 24.

The match is organised by Pro Events and tickets are available at www.ticketpro.com.my.


Man City legend Peter Barnes: Liverpool should name Milner captain

Liverpool should immediately appoint new signing James Milner as club captain to increase their chances of English Premier League success in the 2015-16 seasons, according to Manchester City legend, Peter Barnes.

Barnes says that ex-City midfielder Milner is exactly the kind of player that coach Brendan Rodgers needs to turn around the Reds' fortunes and could turn out to be the best of more than half a dozen summer recruits to Anfield.

"Everyone at Manchester City was sorry to see James go because he was the kind of player who was consistent, week in week out, and would score important goals in all competitions," Malaysia-based Barnes told ESPN FC.

"After Steven Gerrard's departure, Liverpool should make Milner their skipper and let him play anywhere he wants in the midfield, whether it's central or in a wider role.

"He's only 29, is one of the fittest players in the league, and could

Barnes made his comments as the Reds continued pre-season training ahead of their Asian and Australian tour. They will play two games against A-League sides Brisbane Roar and Adelaide United, in between matches against the Thai All Stars on July 14 and a Malaysia XI on July 24.

"Milner should have started more games for City and the club will definitely miss him," added former England international Barnes, who played more than 150 games for the Sky Blues during two spells in the 1970s and 80s, winning the 1976 League Cup. "City's loss is Liverpool's gain and I expect him to be a success straight away at Anfield."

As for Mario Balotelli -- another ex-Manchester City player -- Barnes believes that Liverpool have little option but to play the moody Italian at the start of the coming season, despite his meagre return of one league goal in the 2014-15 campaign.

"With a fitness cloud above Daniel Sturridge, Brendan Rodgers may need to rely on Balotelli upfront," Barnes said. "And who knows: he may actually come good. Mario played well for City during his time with us and has the talent to score goals for Liverpool too.

"What Rodgers needs to do is to start Balotelli every game and hope that he will regain his confidence. On his day, he's a potential match winner."

Barnes, who runs the Petaling Jaya-based junior soccer school Back To Basics, said he was looking forward to seeing the two former City players in action when Liverpool play the Malaysia XI later this month.

Organised by Pro Events, it is Liverpool's second trip to Malaysia in four years and tickets are available.





Jul 8, 2015

5 SEBAB PERLU MENONTON PERLAWANAN LIVERPOOL MENENTANG MALAYSIA XI

Kedatangan kelab Liga Perdana Inggeris (EPL), Liverpool ke Malaysia hujung bulan ini telah mendapat pelbagai maklum balas termasuk dari luar negara. Ada yang mengatakan perlawanan ini hanya sesuatu yang sia-sia dan digelar ‘sarkas’ namun disebalik kecaman-kecaman sebegini, perlawanan sebegini sebenarnya masih mendapat perhatian ramai dari peminat-peminat bolasepak khususnya di Malaysia.

Bagi para penyokong Liverpool di Malaysia mahupun peminat bolasepak tempatan, ada 5 perkara mengapa kedatangan The Reds ke Malaysia ini sentiasa ditunggu-tunggu.

1) Peluang menyaksikan barisan pemain baru Liverpool beraksi.
Liverpool telah melakukan banyak transaksi pembelian demi memantapkan pasukan pada musim baru ini. Kehilangan ketua pasukan berkarisma, Steven Gerrard pastinya menjadi satu kehilangan besar namun The Kops mendapat tonik baru selepas hadirnya bintang baru seperti James Milner, Joe Gomez, Danny Ings dan yang peling penting, Roberto Firmino. Milner antara pemain City yang kerap mendapat Manuel Pellegrini sementara Gomez dan Ings adalah pemain muda England yang semakin meningkat naik. Firmino pula antara bintang di Bundesliga selain menjadi pilihan utama sebagai penyerang skuad samba Brazil di bawah kendalian Dunga.

2) Harimau Malaya Bernafas Baru
Walaupun perlawanan kali ini dibarisi gabungan pemain import dan pemain Malaysia, namun ketua jurulatih Dollah Salleh telah menegaskan bahawa selepas prestasi teruk dalam 2 perlawanan kelayakan Piala Dunia baru-baru ini, beliau akan memanggil pemain-pemain muda yang beraksi dalam Sukan SEA Singapura. Ini sudah semestinya menjadi nafas baru buat bolasepak negara apabila pemain berbakat besar Nuridzuan Abu Hasan dapat menunjukkan aksi di peringkat tertinggi bersama skuad senior.

3) Kedatangan Liverpool Ke Malaysia Menjanjikan Pesta Gol
Kali terakhir Liverpool hadir ke Malaysia adalah pada tahun 2011 dimana ketika itu dibawah kendalian Kenny Dalglish, The Reds menghasilkan 6 gol pada pertemuan dengan skuad kebangsaan. Malaysia juga tidak ketinggalan membalas gol dengan menjaringkan 3 gol sekaligus menyaksikan 9 jaringan dihasilkan pada pertemuan tersebut. Tidak mustahil kunjungan kali ini juga akan menghasilkan pesta jaringan gol di Bukit Jalil.

4) Aksi Import Terbaik Liga Super Menentang Liverpool
Seperti pertemuan menentang Spurs pada Mei, Dollah sekali lagi ingin menggunakan khidmat 5 orang pemain import namun kali ini dengan barisan yang berbeza. Nama-nama seperti Dickson Nwakaeme dan Chad Souza antara yang menjadi perhatian setakat ini. Aksi mereka di Liga Super sememangnya telah terbukti berkesan, bagaimana pula jika mereka berdepan bintang-bintang Liverpool ini? Apakah Sakho mampu mengekang Dickson?

5) Menyaksikan Liverpool Di Malaysia Adalah Alternatif Untuk Yang Tiada Kesempatan Ke Anfield
Sebagai peminat Liverpool, pasti menonton pasukan pilihan mereka di gelanggang kerammat iaitu Anfield menjadi impian yang ingin dilaksanakan. Namun begitu, tidak semua orang bertuah untuk merealisasikannya. Tiket penerbangan ke England sahaja sudah mencecah ribuan ringgit. Bagaimana pula dengan tiket perlawanan serta kos penginapan di sana? Itulah sebabnya kedatangan kelab-kelab luar ini memberi satu alternatif atau peluang buat peminat-peminat di Malaysia bagi menyaksikan sendiri pasukan kesayangan mereka beraksi dengan kos kewangan yang lebih berpatutan.