Ayub was a hockey player par excellence | Daily News

Ayub was a hockey player par excellence

J.M. Ayub
J.M. Ayub

One of the finest all-round sportsmen to come out of St. Sylvester's College in the 1960s was J.M. Ayub. A keen student of hockey, he played for the school under-14, 17 and 20 teams, being captain in 1968. He was a member of the Kandy Schools team in the under 17 and 20 teams in the All lsland school nationals.

His memorable moment was scoring the match winning goal for Kandy Schools seven minutes before the end to win the Nationals held in Matale in 1968. !t was tough to win a hockey tournament in Matale at that time.

Kandy’s defence was spearheaded by centre half J.M. Ayub was the scourge of the Matale attack. The chief guest at the Nationals was Commander of the Sri Lanka Navy, Rear Admiral Rajan Kadirgamar. After seeing Ayub’s performance he was recruited to the Sri Lanka Navy as an Officer Cadet. He was awarded school colours and the highest award Crown at the school prize giving. ln addition, his two brothers, Colonel Abdul Zahir and Junaid Mohamed Jhan also represented BRC and the National team.

At that time he was the only Sylvestrian in the Senior National hockey pool and also toured lndia with the Colombo hockey team in 1968. He also represented Sri Lanka Schools in the lndo-Lanka duel.As a schoolboy, he played for BRC which boasted of many internationals. He also played for Kandy Whites Hockey Club.

He captained the Navy team in 1974 and also played for Defence Services as centre half and was instrumental to win the All island National hockey championships in Badulla in 1973. He also played for Colombo HA in the Nationals and scored the only goal during the last five minutes and against the National team goalkeeper, late Johnny Martin of Mercantile HA.

He represented the Sri Lanka team and played in lndia in the Jawaharlal Nehru hockey tournament and also played in friendly encounters with Japan and West Germany under 23 teams. Against Japan, Ayub was instrumental in scoring the only winning goal and that too against the world’s best goal keeper in 1973. He was the only Sri Lankan ever to play for the Western and Southern Command of the lndian Navy in 1971 and 1972.

According to hockey pundits, Ayub was the most scientific centre half, cool headed and was an automatic choice for the National team but had to prematurely hang up his boots due to his career at sea as 3rd officer at Ceylon shipping Corporation and 2nd and Chief Officer at Saudi-Europe Lines. He coached Navy and BRC hockey teams.

ln 2013, Ayub captained the Ex-Navy hockey team against over 40 Navy hockey teams at the opening ceremony of the new hockey ground at Welisara. He also played for St. Sylvester’s veterans team in the tournament in Kandy.

He also played football representing the school under 17 team as a centre half. He captained the under-20 team and also the Kandy District Schools football team in 1968, being the only Sylvestrian to represent Sri Lanka Schools in 1968. He also played for the Navy and was the only Sri Lankan to play for Southern Command of the lndian Navy. He was at one time, Vice president of City Football League and was also Vice President and Chairman - Club Promotions at Renown Football Club. He was also a Vice President and Chairman - tournament committee of Sri Lanka Soccer Masters Association.

In cricket, he represented the school under 20 team in 1967, 1968 and 1969, as a hard-hitting batsman and an outstanding fielder. In the big match against Vidyartha College in 1968, sixers flew off his bat. He won colours for cricket at school and also played for the Navy.

Taking part in the Naval Officers Billiards tournament held at INS Venduruthy, Cochin, he entered the semi-finals and lost to Lt. S. Sardar of lndian Navy.He was Secretary and President of St. Sylvesters College, OBA, Colombo branch. Ayub was also Chairman - Organising Committee of Mahinda Aluwihare Memorial football tournament which comprised eight top clubs.