RATNAYAKE – competent ‘nayaka’ of NSC | Daily News

RATNAYAKE – competent ‘nayaka’ of NSC

Minister of Sports HARIN FERNANDO a former Josephian and CR and FC ruggerite is bestowed with a sense of vision. And that vision is the mission to improve sports all round and most importantly to fumigate and rid sports that is allegedly corruption tainted.

FERNANDO’S two missions have been well received by all sportsmen, women and sports people in the country. Regardless of one’s biases he should be assured of all cooperation in his endeavor to rid sports of all that is not sport.

While he wants all quarters to work like a well oiled machine and support the noble cause of Sports, he acted swiftly by appointing an illustrious and highly competent 14 team of National Sports Council that will serve a two year period -2019/2020.

The minister, when handing over the letters of appointment, extolled on the members that their main task will be to advice the minister on administrative matters and also matters connected to the developing of sports in the country, adding: ‘all you members are qualified in your respective fields and can serve the sports to reach greater heights in the future’.

In days gone by Sports Councils were appointed with fanfare and thereafter treated as a rubber stamp or a vehicle of convenience. It behooves the Minister to harness the talents of these illustrious council members to advice him without fear, call a spade a spade and bring about reform.

In turn, the Minister himself should feel confident and comfortable to take the advice. After all being a capable ruggerite, he should be able to take and give a tackle and do what is best for the team.

The members are of impeccable backgrounds. They will earn encomiums from all those who have improvement of sports in their agendas if the Council acts with a sense of purpose and not get trapped in bureaucracy and local politics. Honesty of purpose is paramount. And that purpose is the resurgence of the best in Sports for the County.

The team is led by former Maliyadeva, Kurunegala sportsman Army Commander Daya Ratnayake who like good wine needs no bush. When in the Army, Ratnayake did an exemplary and commendable job and was above all a shining example of what a serviceman must be.

Ratnayake was a top rugger player in the Army and won colours. He deservedly was an unanimous choice to head the National Chairmanship in the Sri Lanka Athletics Federation in 2012. He was also a member of the Sri Lanka Rugby Union.

I had the opportunity to serve with Ratnayake when Saman Amarasinghe, Director of Sports appointed a committee to pick the highly successful ‘National Sports Stars of the Year’ contest which culminated with President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremasinghe being the chief and Guest of Honour and can vouch for Ratnayake’s honesty and integrity and his vast knowledge of all sport. But the beacon in the pack is a former illustrious Mount Lavinia Thomian Professor Arjuna de Silva, MBBS,MD, SC, -(Oxon), FRCP (LOND), FCCP, Deputy President of the Anti Doping Authority who needs no introduction to the local and international sporting fraternity.

De Silva a sportsman at STCML was captain of Thomian rowing team and sported the country’s colours in this sport in 1983 and 1984. His medical qualifications and the positions he holds are too numerous to mention.

The other members of this council are – Director General of Sports Dhammika Muthugala,, Director General of Sports Science Sajith Jayalal, former Director Ministry of Education ( sports), Manjula Kariyawasam, Member of the National Para Games Association Lt.Col.D.T.L.S Karawitage,

Others are: Member of the Police Department former Director of National Intelligence Mohamed Hafiz Marso, former Test cricketer Sidath Wettimuny, former President SLRFU Asanga Seneviratne, Legal Expert Attorney at Law Panduka Keerthinanda, Veteran Journalist Asoka Gunatilake, star ruggerite Priyantha Ekanayake, veteran athlete and Project Officer Education Ministry Sriyani Kulawansa and Secretary of National Sports Council Shalika Kariyawasam.

JOSEPHIANS schools soccer kings

The cradle of football in the country which has always been the feeder to the national football grid – the Sri Lanka Schools Football Association came alive in successfully conducting the All Island under-18 Division 1 tournament for the Renowned President’s trophy at the Sugathadasa Stadium, recently.

St. Joseph’s College, Darley Road arguably produced the country’s best footballer ever Peter Ranasinghe, and richly carried away the Trophy beating Royal 2-1 in the evenly contested final.

Earlier they won the Papare All IsIand under-20 title while their juniors won the under 14 title to rightly earn the tag of schools football kings.

Schools football has always been the womb from which footballers were born and developed and grew to be respected country and international personalities. It warmed the cockles to see schools football coming alive again.

The final between SJC and Royal has been done and dusted and how the run of play ended needs no reiteration. After the game ended 1-all, with Shenal Sandesh spot on with a penalty, Mohammed Ameen equalized for Royal when the first session ended. Didn’t the Joes jubilate when Kavindya Rupasinghe hit the net with a header Christiano Ronaldo style signaling the winner for the Darley Road School.

According to football circles SJC has a well organized Football Academy under the efficient guidance of Rector Trevis Gabriel and a Soccer Advisory Committee comprising and steered by Emmanuel Balendra which includes several past captains in Yogendra Cruze, Peter Asiriwatham, Jerome Ambrose, Srithiran Peeris, Mohamed Fazal and Angelo Aloysius.

It is fitting to compliment Crispin and Robert Peiris founders of the famous Renown Sports Club who have always been in the scrum of Sri Lanka football attracting the promising young players from the Kotahena and Kochchikade area and making them football stars. Incidentally their father the late Vincent was a top class wrestler, who the writer had the opportunity of meeting and discussing wrestling in the company of the Guardian Angel of Armstrong Wrestling Club’s Anthony Gorgonis in the 1980s.

Wrestling was once a popular sport with a boy from the area, Alexander Fernando representing the country at the Olympic Games. Then there were the Rodrigo and Perumal brothers who kept wrestling alive and kicking in the country.

Then there was the late Old Benedictine Edward Jayewardene a school soccer Captain, School coach and Renown’s first coach who was a terrific mentor and created the path for Renown to even win the plum in the country’s football – the FA Cup-. Renown then had an efficient Secretary in Rex Fernando.

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