Sri Lanka’s foot­ballers pre­par­ing for SAG - FFSL

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS - BY SUSIL PREMALAL

Anura De Silva, (Pres­i­dent) and Jaswar Umar, (Sec­re­tary) of the Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion of Sri Lanka (FFSL) say that with the South Asian Games (SAG) as the tar­get, na­tional pools of both men and women have be­gun train­ing for the Kath­mandu com­pe­ti­tion 2019.

Foot­ball at the SAG is an event for U-23 play­ers. The Se­nior Na­tional Men’s coach Rumy Pac­k­eer­ally is han­dling the U-23 team as well while the women’s team is trained by na­tional coach Ti­lak Alphonso. Af­ter an is­land wide tal­ent search, 80 play­ers were se­lected from over 200 as­pi­rants for the men’s U-23 na­tional pool.

The women’s na­tional U-23 pool com­prises 29 play­ers. The men’s team is train­ing at Bad­de­gana Foot­ball Com­plex in Kotte while the women’s pool is train­ing at the Su­gath­adasa Sta­dium and Tor­ring­ton grounds.

The women’s pool un­der­went a train­ing pro­gramme in Bahrain last De­cem­ber and played three friendly matches to gain ex­pe­ri­ence.

In ad­di­tion to the Kath­mandu Games, the women’s team will be par­tic­i­pat­ing in the South Asian Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion (SAFF) women’s foot­ball tour­na­ment.

They will be gain­ing more in­ter­na­tional exposure and ex­pe­ri­ence as a re­sult. The men’s na­tional team participat­ed in the SAFF men’s foot­ball cham­pi­onships

held in Bangladesh last year. They gave a much im­proved per­for­mance than in pre­vi­ous years and missed the chance of qual­i­fy­ing to the semi­fi­nals by a whisker.

The core of the se­nior na­tional men’s team is aged U-23 and form the nu­cleus of the side for SAG. The na­tional men’s team com­prises a fine blend of ex­pe­ri­enced and young play­ers which bodes well for the fu­ture. The men’s U-23 side will be tak­ing part in the AFC U-23 cham­pi­onships and World Cup qual­i­fiers this year ahead of SAG. Prior to that the Sri Lanka team participat­ed in two in­ter­na­tional foot­ball matches against Laos in Laos last month where they lost the first game 2-1 and the next game ended in a two all draw. Af­ter that in the World Cup qual­i­fi­ca­tion round in Ma­cau, Sri Lanka lost the first match 1-0. The sec­ond leg was to be played in Colombo on June 11 at the Su­gath­adasa Sta­dium but due to the se­cu­rity rea­son in Colombo, the match was called off by AFC.

The AFC is set to resched­ule but a date has not been re­ceived as yet.

Sev­eral other matches are also sched­uled in the fu­ture in prepa­ra­tion for the SAG.

The Fed­er­a­tion hopes to trim the na­tional U-23 pool to 30 there­after be­fore the fi­nal squad will be cho­sen. Pac­kee rally says Sri Lanka is tar­get­ing the gold medal at the SAG though In­dia is the main con­tender.

Bangladesh Vs. Sri­lanka match ac­tion (File Photo)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Sri Lanka

© PressReader. All rights reserved.