According to Jaswar, this initiative is to make the public realize what our lads were capable of 26 years ago to make the country proud, which sadly, has faded away. He intends to make this gesture a stepping stone to encourage more players to take up the game and expand the reach of football throughout the country with his own vision of ‘Restart-Football’.
Even though the then Football administration presented cash prizes to the heroes of that team, subsequent administrations completely forgot about them, nor did they look into their welfare. Some of them were living under difficult circumstances, as apart from football, their educational level was not of a high standard. In that final against India on April 2, 1995 substitute player W.K.D. Sarath with a diving header scored the golden goal in the 108th minute of extra time off a low cross from Roshan Perera from the left flank. The match had to be halted during half time due to heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightning and resumed after nearly three hours and went on till midnight, until the golden goal was scored.
The winning team was led by York and Air Force defender Sampath Perera, who is presently employed at FSL in the coaches educating section. Mohammad Amanullah, who scored three goals in the tournament including two from difficult angles, won the man of the tournament award and Lalith Weerasinghe was awarded the Outstanding Goalkeeper Award.
The 1995 team comprised: Sampath Perera (Capt), Roshan Perera, Mohammed Amanulla, K.M. Kabeer, Lalith Weerasinghe, T.S. Gajanayake, J. Hashimdeen, Jagath Rohana, Anton Wambeck, Priyantha Liyanage, Manjula Sirisena, H.N.T. Gamage, P. Ferdinands, R. Imtiyaz, L. Ajith Prasanna, M. Rafi, Isuru Peeras, M. Riza, R. Hettiarachchi, Anton Silva, W.K.D. Sarath, S.M. Riswan and C. Steinwall.
Jaswar eager to create history by making radical changes
Meanwhile, Jaswar is taking adequate measures to uplift the standard of the game by making internal and external reforms in the football arena. As an initiative, he plans to establish an organizational structure framework which will enable them to achieve their goals as a team. Among them is to curtail the number of Exco members from 28 – which came in for high criticism – to a maximum of 15. By establishing this Exco, he intends to segregate the responsibilities to each member to play a key role in achieving their targets. He also intends to establish a regional based Task Force, and National player contracts are to be elevated with higher pay with additional perks purely based on the outcome of performance and fitness on three tiers.
With an intention of scouting for talent island wide to build a strong national pool, FSL is gearing up for the AFC under-23 Asia Cup Uzbekistan 2022 qualifiers tournamnet to be held in the State of Qatar later this year. Jaswar further stated that negotiations are taking place to appoint two foreign fitness trainers, and to set up a special research and development unit to create a scientifically based football policy. He hinted that 95% of the work is complete for the implementation of a new constitution, which was a
long-standing issue for many administrations in the past. Moreover, all Leagues are to be assisted with financial and technical support to revamp their own activities, followed by massive staff re-structuring beginning next month.
Super League to re-commence in mid-August
The inaugural ‘Super League’ tournament which Jaswar was the brain child of this tournament, was halted midway due to the National team’s involvement in the World Cup qualifiers in South Korea earlier this year, is to resume in mid-August at the Race Course Stadium. All clubs are to be given three weeks’ time to prepare themselves for the matches. The Super League was suspended due to the pandemic after only 14 matches were completed.
On completion of the Super League, a ‘Super Cup’ knock-out tournament is to commence. The bottom four teams at the end of the main tournament will
battle it out in the play-offs, which will be held in two legs, and the two winners will join the other six teams to complete the quarter-final line up. From the semi-final stage onwards, matches will consist of two legs to determine the eventual finalists.