School soccer to recapture its past glory | Daily News


 

School soccer to recapture its past glory

Sri Lanka Schools Football Association (SLSFA) with a new team of officials elected at their Annual general Meeting, held at the beginning of the year, is very much focused to revamp the game which apparently has fallen to a low ebb.

After a disastrous two years of administration the Ministry of Education (sports) initiated to hold fresh elections to throw out the previous regime, which did nothing but held positions without conducting the scheduled tournaments as per their annual football calendar in all age categories. Football undoubtedly the world’s most popular game is in a pathetic state at the grass root level structure, which is now in a spot of bother. The new regime appointed by the MOE headed by Dilruk Jayawardena had met all the stakeholders of the game recently and are in the process of restructuring the entire system while infusing some life to it.

The game which attracted several hundreds of schools has dropped down to a very low level due to the inconsistency of the governing body. The best example is that the under-18 age category which involved around 150 schools island wide has come down to mere 50. The junior tournaments involving under-12 and 14 started with several hindrances and stoppages, which ultimately perished without completing. Shifting the tournament to several locations resulted in most schools pulling out of the tourney. Adding salt to the wound they reduced the playing timings as per their convenience without complying with the rules of the game. Some matches were played 25-minutes each half which ultimately became the laughing stock.

The one and only tournament which came to the limelight was the “Papare” sponsored under-20 tournament, which gave some consolation to the football loving public in the schools arena. Some of the popular tournaments like the “Brazil Cup”, Milo Inter Schools Tournament are a few to be named have perished from their calendar. Due to the inefficiency of those officials, the live wire behind the tournaments, the all important sponsors have pulled out of these tournaments, which is now in trouble waters.

“We are very focused on rejuvenating the game as soon as possible. It is very unfortunate to see the game of football has reached a low ebb, due to poor management of the previous regime for reasons better known to them. But me and my team are really working hard to put things back on track provided we get the prior approval from the concerned authorities. We intend to hold at least the senior age category matches for this year due to lack of time with the outbreak of covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, what we can assure the football loving public is that the world's most popular sport will go from strength to strength in Sri Lanka to reach the pinnacle” said Dilruk Jayawardena, President of SLSFA

“We met the National Governing body, the Football Federation officials and discussed the matter with them. We got their directive and the blessing to restart the tournaments. They have shown their interest to assist us in whatever way possible.” he further added.


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