How did the national rugby coach go missing?
Sri Lanka rugby is in the wilderness as the local rugby officials are
looking for their national coach who has gone 'missing'.
With less than a month to go for that all important 2006 Rugby Asiad
in Colombo, Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union is looking for their national
coach Willy Hetaraka who has gone 'missing'.
The SLRFU has been looking for Hetaraka for the last nine days and
has been unable to find any clue on the mysterious disappearance of
their national coach.
According to the SLRFU, Hetaraka has been contracted until August,
2007. Its CEO, Dilroy Fernando said they have signed a contract with the
coach, initially for one year, extendable for three years. But why the
SLRFU let the coach to go for a less important rugby tournament in
Bangkok is yet to be known.
Fernando defends the SLRFU decision, saying that their original plan
was to commence training for the Asiad only from October 12. Though, in
our view, that too was too late, our ruggerites are yet to start
training with a week behind schedule.
The big question is that why the SLRFU advanced the domestic
tournament if they were to let the national poolists idle between the
conclusion of the domestic season and the commencement of the national
pool practices for the Asiad?
But Fernando said the SLRFU was forced to do that as the Central
Province and Defence Services took their teams for a tournament in
Bangkok. But the Union must realise that the national duty comes first
and not a
less important 80s tournament in a spicy city like the Thai capital.
On the other hand, we understand that Hetaraka has told the local
officials that he would like to see some of the Lankan players in action
at the Bangkok tournament.
Though this man did not have time to witness the key Central versus
Western Inter-provincial tournament match at which almost all the
national players were seen in action, he went all
the way to Bangkok to see the local players performing.
However, the SLRFU defends its decision to grant leave to Hetaraka.
Fernando says they only granted "three and a half days leave" and that
they "had to do that" as the national poolists were not under training.
what the SLRFU should have done was to plan our strategy with the
coach and commence early training for the premier rugby tournament in
Especially at a time when our players get an opportunity to play on
home soil before their supporters, we should have made the full use of
our resources to fare well at the Asiad. The SLRFU should have well said
a firm 'No' to Hetaraka, who is a paid employee of the union, as
Fernando claims. At the same time, the SLRFU should not have ratified
of the Defence Services, Central Province and CR & FC for a 'joy
ride' as the Asiad is around the corner. Even the tournament in Bangkok,
who was an under 80kg event, will not do any good for our players as the
Asiad would have the 'heavyweights' in this part of the globe.
Not only the national coach, but the national selectors too seem to
be less interested. At a time where they should have kept a close eye on
national poolists. There were hardly any selectors at most Caltex
Inter-provincial tournament matches.
Now that the SLRFU has been unsuccessful in tracing the whereabouts
of their own national coach, they now plan to obtain services of
Tulagesi Tavita to succeed Hetaraka. But what 'Laga' could do with the
within the next three weeks is left to be seen. Former national coach
C.P. Abeygoonewardena is expected to be Tavita's assistant.
True that the present SLRFU Ex-co, under its President Priyantha
Ekanayake has taken some sensible steps to inject professionalism to
local rugby administration. But the pathetic way of handling the
and delaying the training schedule of the national pool would
definitely have a serious impact on Sri Lanka Rugby.
Sri Lanka should have well commenced their training for the Asiad at
least six weeks ahead of the tournament. The Union should understand
that there are no short cuts or crash courses in rugby. Only the hard
way and dedication would lead any team to success.
The way things are happening, it seems that Sri Lanka would throw
away the golden opportunity they got to show their colours before home
crowds as the Asiad returns to Sri Lanka after one and a half decades.