Lankan soccer stars honoured at Gala awards ceremony
The historical colours night and the awards ceremony of the Football Sri Lanka (FSL) was staged covering four spectacular events in the football fraternity last week at the Monarch hotel in Kotte with a gala function.
The much awaited and well deserved historical event was held to felicitate the 1995 soccer team led by Sampath Perera who put up a swashbuckling performance to win the SAFF tournament along with awarding colours for the incumbent national soccer team for their prolific performance in the recent past under the leadership of Sujan Perera. This event more over focussed on crowning the recently concluded Super League winners and the participating teams while launching the inagural Inter Provincial Soccer Tournament played for ‘Nidahas Trophy’ played to coincide with the 75th Independence of the country which is scheduled to kick off this week.
Shenal Sandesh of Blue Star the ‘Golden Boot’ and ‘Most Valuable Player of the Tournament ‘ possess with his awards. He is the highest Goal Scorer (10 goals) in the Tournament.
The brainchild behind intitating this yeoman project was Jaswar Umar the FSL president and his team who put out an untiring effort to make it a success which eventually ended up with great success unfolding a new chapter in the Sri Lankan soccer history. Just concluding half way through his tenure, Jaswar was fully focused to fete the 1995 soccer heroes who brought honour and fame for the country ousting the mighty Indians in the final in Colombo. All members of the team were given a grantof Rs.100,000 each in addition to a replica, which apparently was highly commended by the football loving public.
The inaugural Super League Tournamnet which concluded recently involving 10 top teams, subsequently was also initiated by him, was tagged as the only semi-professional tournament in the country. The winners Blue Star carried away the prestigious Super League Cup and the cash reward of rupees five million. The runners-up Sea-Hawks claimed over three million while the third and fourth placed teams snatched three and two million each respectively. The FSL never let any participating team go empty handed as team Blue Eagles who were slated last took away one million rupees.
Meanwhile, with plan to form the national team for the upcoming International event calendar, the inaugural Provincial tournament is organised which will be a useful one to scout the potential talents to don the National Jersey. Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa who graced the occssion as the chief guest was jubilant over the progress of the present football regime and said “ It is great and a unique occasion in Sri Lankan sports especially with football to hold such an event. We know football is undoubtedly the worlds most popular sport with big money involved. But in our country it has failed to gain the momentum until the recent past after 1995 triumph. That achievement is great and that team made the county proud. We are happy to see our national team perform well and showing positive signs with improvement in every game.I feel with the present Football administration we are on the right path to reach success.”
“As the sports minister and my Ministry staff are making all endeavors to extend our fullest support to boost the game and to become a major force in our region. With sports we want to create a healthy environment for people to prosper while achieving a sports economy worth over one billion dollars.” concluded Namal.
“It was a much needed event for our local football. Our heroes who bought honour and fame were overlooked. But it was a tremendous achievement by our boys in 1995 whom we are honouring today. As the governing body we will be failing in our endeavours if we dont recognise them.” It is quite visible that with our short stint in office we have focused on various aspects to put things on the right path with the support of the sports minister and his ministry. Gradually we are creating a monarch in football where results generating. We assure our stake holders we will achieve the lost glory with our strategic plans. With our vision of Restart-Football we look forward to take the country to great heights in this game.” Said Jaswar.