Jun 20, 2016


Local sepaktakraw fans are in for some exciting times with the revamped SepakTakraw League (STL) Malaysia 2016 edition, with all matches to be broadcast live for the very first time.

Viewers can tune into Astro Arena (Channel 801) on Astro TV and Astro on the Go from 23rd September 2016 every Friday, Saturday and Sunday for live sepak takraw action, which will culminate with the grand finals on 11th December 2016.

Nishant Sehgal, General Manager of Asia Sports Ventures said, "We had over 4 million viewers for the 2014/15 inaugural league and in 2015, this went up to 5.1 million. This is a sure sign of progress in our quest to make STL the best sepaktakraw league in the world. ASV also aims to enhance fan participation and create a stronger connection over the league’s rebranding exercise with the   introduction of the #inimilikkita campaign.”

With all eight teams from the previous season returning this year, the quest for the ultimate sepaktakraw glory in Malaysia will be even more challenging as the league's talent pool is further consolidated with only eight fixed players per team roster. The competing teams are Penang, Kuala Lumpur, Johor, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kedah, Malacca and last year's STL Malaysia champions, Armed Forces (ATM).

To rev up the thrill factor, a new format will be introduced where each team will play against their opponents twice during the regular season. The top four teams with the best win-loss record will move on to the semi-finals.

Lee Choong Khay, Astro Vice President of Sports Business, said, “We are continuing our efforts to increase the popularity of sepaktakraw. To this end, Astro Arena will be doubling its live broadcast of STL to 90 hours in season 2016, as well as providing match highlights, behind the scenes coverage and in-depth reporting on the teams and players. With such extensive coverage of STL, our sponsors and partners will have a more effective platform to reach the growing number of STL fans.”

He added, “Since 2010, Astro has been investing in Astro Arena, Malaysia’s first and only dedicated 24/7 local sports channel that showcases local sports and our athletes to a larger TV audience in Malaysia and beyond. This has certainly come true for sepaktakraw with every season of STL.”

A grand cash prize of RM40,000 awaits the winner, while the runner up will walk away with RM20,000. The third-placed team goes home with RM10,000, while RM5,000 goes to the team finishing fourth.

"The joint decision between ASV and PSM to consolidate the teams into a single Regu squad is targeted at increasing the level of competition in the league which in turn will help the development of our national team by having our players play with only the top sepaktakraw players in Malaysia in preparation for our quest for gold in the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games 2017," said Dato’ Haji Ahmad Ismail, President of Persatuan Sepaktakraw Malaysia (PSM).

Running in tandem with STL 2016, will be the STL Division I, which will consist of the remaining PSM affiliated teams, where the top 2 teams will be promoted to STL in the next edition while the 2 teams with the worst win-loss record will be relegated to STL Division I. Division I updates will be available exclusively on all STL social media platforms.

Dato’ Haji Ahmad added, “With the creation of STL Division I, we have created a platform which will enable all our players to continue honing their skills. The prospect of moving up into STL for the next season will definitely increase the skills level of our Division I team players.”

Jun 7, 2016

MHC adds another feather to its cap

The Malaysian Hockey Confederation (MHC) officially launched its 1MAS coaching website at the National Hockey Stadium in Bukit Jalil yesterday.

Information on the website comes mainly from the wealth of knowledge and experience picked up by MHC Technical Director, Terry Walsh from coaching in Europe and Asia.
   "It is a new initiative and visual learning programme which will help all players and coaches from around the country," said Walsh at yesterday's launch. "It is not meant to be prescriptive but information sharing.

"We are trying to make it as open as possible for anyone and everyone to go online and have a look at what we have produced. It is basically an education process as we look forward to going into the inner depths of the country's hockey fraternity."

  The website's content is mostly on the development of skills into the highest level, simple playing concepts, what they mean and how to go about it," added Walsh. Also present at yesterday's launch were MHC Deputy President, Prof Dr Shamala Subramaniam, independent member Ahmad Najmi bin Abdul Razak, Chief Executive Office, Logan Raj, 1MAS Director of Development Tai Beng Hai and 1MAS coaches.

   Prof Dr Shamala was all praise for the exceptionally good work Walsh has done into producing a great platform for the future of Malaysian hockey.

   "This website will serve as the digital platform for the hockey fraternity to harness the knowledge and resources that  Terry has developed and so willingly shares with players and coaches." said Prof Dr Shamala. "It is intended to serve as a critical and complementary partner to the existing avenues of knowledge transfer."

   This platform will be a huge advantage for the younger generation who are keen on picking up the game and for coaches who can add to their knowledge of skill development and understanding what the coaching concepts are all about.

Thailand breaks down Malaysian wall to win inaugural Nations Cup

Thailand defeated Malaysia 2-1 in an epic final to clinch the inaugural Nations Cup 2016 at the Hang Jebat Stadium in Malacca tonight.
Malaysian head coach Frank Bernhardt made two changes in the first eleven from the squad that defeated Singapore 3-0 in Friday’s semi-finals. The German left out striker Adam Nor Azlin and midfielder Muhd Shahrul Hakim Rahim and introduced midfielder Muhammad Arif Anwar and defender Irfan Zakaria against the Thais.
On the opposite end, Thailand coach Worrawoot Srimaka made only one change in his starting line-up – resting midfielder Baramee Limwattana for Suradet Klankham.
Thailand showed great tenacity going in the final, displaying awesome speed and playing a more progressive game in front of a partisan crowd who had packed the Hang Jebat stadium 30 minutes before the 10pm kick-off.
Midfielder Suradet Klankham set the tone in the third minute for an explosive night by turning in a cross from the right flank. The ball struck the woodwork and rebounded near the boots of Worawut Namvech who made no mistake for Thailand’s opening goal with a blistering shot past goalkeeper Amierul Hakimi Awang.
The Thais made three more unwelcomed visits to the Malaysian goalmouth after this but none bore results. The early setback turned into a ‘wake-up’ call for Bernhardt’s boys who increased their tempo and enjoyed brief moments of pressure on their supposedly more illustrious opponents.
Safawi Rashid posted a well-timed cross from the left flank to a waiting Mohd Jafri Chew inside the box but the young tiger’s striker failed to make a clean stop with only goalkeeper Apirak Worawong in his way.
Local Malacca fans, however, had wanted more from their young guns who answered this call with the equaliser in the 35th minute from Nur Syamie Iszuan Amin. The midfielder picked a cross from Safawi Rashid inside the box and placed it well.
The second half was a touch-and-go affair though the Thais dominated the fourth quarter of the match with several close calls, especially one in the 68th minute when Worawut’s header in front of the goalmouth grazed the left post and went out.
But the Thais were far more poignant in their attacks and it was only a matter of time the Malaysian defensive wall was to crumble. This proved evident in the 78th minute as the Thais led by the three-man attacking machinery of Tanasit Siripala, substitute Montree Promsawat and captain Chenrop Samphaodi orchestrated their second goal.
Tanasit relayed a cross from the right to Montree, who together with Chenrop, had camped in front of the Malaysian goalmouth. The ball fell to Montree, who dummied one defender, and placed the ball to his captain who stroke home the winning goal.
Chenrop, however, was given the marching orders by referee Xaypaseuth Phongsanit from Laos in the 86th minute for a deliberate infringement. But the night belonged to Thailand who went on to celebrate their first-ever Nations Cup victory.
In an earlier match, Vietnam turned on the power in the second half to come back from two goals down to hold Singapore to a 2-2 draw and then delivered the lethal blow in the penalty shootout to win 5-4 and finish third in the tournament.
The Young Lions took the lead 2-0 with goals from Adam Swandi (41st) and Muhd Hazim Faiz Hassan (50th) but allowed Vietnam to fire on all cylinders through Huynh Tan Sinh (56th) and Ha Duc Chan (90th) to take the match into penalty shootout.
“I was hoping my team could win the match in 90 minutes as the boys were pushing until the end. Nevertheless, I am very happy at their performance today. To come back from two goals to force a draw and then win on penalties is commendable,” said Vietnam head coach Hoang Anh Tuan.
“But we have a long way to go before the SEA Games. I believe the Nations Cup has been a good tournament for the Under-21 players as it was a great experience. We came as underdogs and return with the bronze. This is a morale booster experience,” he added.
The match got off on a steady but cautious note though it was the Vietnamese who had a greater share of ball possession. Tien Linh blew away a 35th minute sitter while on the opposite end Muhd Rusyaidi Salime saw his 20-metre shot sail inches over the bar.
Singapore, however, catapulted to lead in the 41st minute, courtesy of an error by goalkeeper Do Sy Huy following a shot by attacking midfielder Adam. The goalkeeper got into position, sprayed his hand out ready to catch the ball which came at waist length but much to his horror saw the ball slip through into goal.
The Young Lions went 2-0 ahead 10 minutes later via a penalty and Muhd Hazim Faiz Hassan was spot but Vietnam rallied back to earn a penalty in the 56th minute. Defender Tan Sinh packed the ball neatly to the right of the net to reduce the deficit 2-1.
Vietnam, however, pushed Singapore to the limits in search of the equaliser. They came close in the 62nd minute when Tien Linh drove home a 15-metre shot but goalkeeper Hairul was in his element to pave it away.
But it was not over for the Vietnamese as they had the final say following a quick counter attack from the right and Duc Chan jabbed the ball past Hairul to wild celebrations in the Vietnamese camp.
Thai goalkeeper Do Sy Huy emerged the hero in the penalty shoot-out with a brilliant save from Muhd Shahrin Saberin.