In a monumental achievement, St Joseph’s College secured their first-ever ESOFT Blue and Gold Hockey Sevens trophy on Sunday at Reid Avenue, fueled by the exceptional 3D skills of standout player Abner Fernando. The team’s undefeated record in seven matches, including a decisive 2-0 victory in the finals against the formidable St Thomas’ College Matale, showcased their dominance in the tournament.
Abner Fernando’s prowess on the field not only earned him the title of Best Player in the tournament but also played a pivotal role in setting up critical plays for his teammates. With Fernando’s precision passes, team captain Keith Joshua and Adrian Colin Fernando found the net, sealing the victory in the finals.
“We didn’t anticipate an easy win earlier, but our performance in the finals exceeded even our own expectations. Both my captain, Keith Joshua, and Abner Fernando, along with Bright Fernando, displayed exceptional hockey skills,” said St Joseph’s head coach Shane Sheron Ratnam, who also holds the position of Head Coach for the Sri Lanka Junior Men’s Hockey Team.
Abner Fernando’s unique 3D skill, allowing him to control the ball on his stick over long distances, is a rare talent that sets him apart. “The 3D skill has great potential for a national player. It allows you to carry the ball on the stick while maneuvering through the defence. Abner’s exceptional ability in this area was the key to his recognition as the best player of the tournament. Abner is truly outstanding,” Coach Ratnam added.
Last year, during the Under-21 Sri Lanka tour, Abner, Keith, and Bright Fernando were all part of the Sri Lanka pool but were later dropped. However, their skills were noted, and this time they demonstrated their commitment by diligently participating in practice sessions as a part of a nine-player group.
The team’s success was attributed to their strong teamwork and dedication, with the coaching staff, led by Coach Ratnam, playing a vital role in their preparation. St Joseph’s College also received support from various quarters, including old boys, parents, the Teacher-in-Charge Mary Syailaja, Assistant Coach Kavindu Nayomal, POGs (Parents Old Boys’ Guild), and Principal Rev. Fr. Ranjith Andradi, which further contributed to the advancement of hockey within the school.