S.P. De Silva the 80 year old double international | Daily News


S.P. De Silva the 80 year old double international

He is an unsung sports hero who came from the backwoods of Kalutara. I met him at the Mattegoda bus stand, drenched in sweat as it was a steamy hot day, from there it was another bus journey. As is the case freelancers have to do it alone and they say there is “no gain without pain!”

S.P appeared to look thin and wiery and was a man of few words, as I found out later his deeds were quite outstanding. He was a brilliant left extreme who played for the army together with players in the calibre of pint sized Amidon who was a brilliant dribbler from Kandy. Ramaswamy, Karunapala Fernando too played with him Neville Abeygunawardene was the coach recalled S.P.

He also stamped his class in Rugby and at this point would like to mention about the write ups he got from the famous sports writers of yester year.



At 32 when most other rugby players have gone to fat. Sena Premachandra De Silva proclaims, ‘I‘ll continue with it till I die drop dead. He can continue doing just that, but he will never meet with a finer hour of glory than the one that wrote a new chapter in local rugby last week. As army rugby’s first non commissioned officer leader S.P. De Silva brought the Clifford Cup symbol of local rugby supremacy, the soldier’s way.

An old boy of Kalutara Maha Vidyalaya who brought glory to the Army in no small measure.


The booming left footed kicks of Army’s outstanding Sri Lanka’s rugby and soccer player Seekkuarachchi Premachandra de Silva popularly called SP will be missed. The 43year old lieutenant hung up his boots to take an appointment in the Middle East.

SP began his professional career by joining the first field Engineers as a Sapper and served under Brigadier P.D.Ramanayake. After a successful career of 23years as a servicemen and sportsman.

At school he captained the soccer and cricket teams in 1957 and 1958. His rugby career with the Army started in 1963- as a center three quarter and a place kicker under Colonel Bertie Dias. Two years later he moved to the full back spot and took the kicks at goal with Col. C.S. Fernando and warrant officer Y.T. Ousman. In 1970 De Silva won his Sri Lanka cap and played under Hadji Omar as a scrum half and in 1973 led the Army to share the Clifford Cup with Police led by Nizam Hadjireen.

S.P. regards Capt Roy Tissera and Col Sena P. De Silva, Tony Sirimanne, Nimal Maralande and Ken Murray as the outstanding players ‘during his time’ and Navy Lt Comm. Darley Ingelton the best referee.

His best match was in the 1982 Knock –out final between CH& FC and Army. CH were well in the lead and SP missed an easy penalty and conversion. But with10 minutes left he put out two superb 45 yard drop goals to give the army a 16-9 win.


Silva’s soccer career was equally colourful. He won his national cap in 1965 when he was chosen to play under Neville Abeygunawardene and later that year was in the ‘Ganefo Games’ in Indonsia. He captained the National team from 1970 to 1973.

His best match was for Sri Lanka(led by Hashim Dean Snr) against Pakistan in 1968. Sri Lanka won 3-1 with S.P, Zainulabdeen and Amidon getting goals.


By Lawrence Machado(Sun-28-6-81)

Army would have wished for a more stylish victory over Kandy Sports Club having dominated play for over half the game.

Using their ace place kicker S.P.De Silva the soldiers came back on the victory trail by six points to climb to fifth place in the Clifford Cup table. Though both teams went in at full steam, neither stooped to dirty tactics which was a welcome respite from the previous day’s proceedings at Police Park. Kandy taking the field without their play maker Nimal Malagamuwa however scrum half Lakshman Dullewa coming out with colours. Dullewa’s penchant for loose play, that marks him as a forward, saw him attack the defense with commendable ease. He opted to keep play with his mobile forwards who were however baulked by the wall of defense put by the Army.

Kandy were impressive in rucking where they won all the loose mauls with their distinctive style.The soldiers had no clue for the workmanlike attitude of their opponents in the rucks and conceded valuable ground. Full back Shaibdeen was a tower of strength for the visitors and rescued the team on numerous occasions with some well-directed kicks. Kandy were leading 4-0 at the breather after the resumption the soldiers cut the lead with a penalty conversion by veteran S.P. de Silva. This gave them more inspiration and the homester’s swarmed all over the Kandy goal area in a vain attempt to score a try. S.P. De Silva clinched the game for the Army when he put over a simple penalty in the 34th minute.

Today S.P.DE Silva leads a quiet but active life. He has done not only our country proud but also the Army. This unsung ex Army soldier should get his due soon, they say ‘old soldiers never die, they just fade away.’ On request his contact number could be made available.

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