dabble with schools rugby now?
By Bernie Wijesekera
Bryan Baptist gives us his views on the SLSRFA trying to
rake in the gate money from school rugby matches and other issues.
Q: What is your view on this proposal?
A: The first question is "Why now?" School matches
are crowd-pullers unlike the Club games. Schools have so many expenses
during a season. The schools should have the right to decide on
the venues of their games. I personally feel that schools should
retain 100% of their gate money. Instead of pulling out from the
League Tournament because of such a threat, schools should organize
a separate Tournament if the SLSRFA decides to go ahead with demanding
part of the gate receipts. Even if it were a proposal, I am very
disappointed with such "thinking".
What about playing foreigners in our Club & National teams?
A: As regards the Club Tournaments, I am happy that the
Hon. Minister of Sports has permitted clubs to play 2 foreigners
in games. Last season there was more "life" in the games
and also our teams were able to up grade their standards. However
the strangest thing is that whilst other countries include foreigners
in their teams when participating in international tournaments (as
per Rules and Regulations), Sri Lanka has failed to include foreign
players in our teams participating in such tournaments.
If the rules permit foreigners to be included in National Teams
then we should do so.
What is wrong with our rugby? We talk of winning and come back losing
A: We are not professional. I have already given my proposals
after the two tours I went on as Manager. The Sri Lanka Training
Squad must be financially well supported if we are to compete amongst
the best Asian rugby planning nations.
calls for sponsorship. Sponsorship will be forthcoming if sponsors
are convinced that their investment will be worthwhile and also
that they receive due mileage on their products. Dilmah Tea in Sri
Lanka Cricket is an example. My experience as Manager of the Sri
Lanka Rugby team at the Asian Games was rewarding. I was able to
assess the strengths and weaknesses of our team. I have video-taped
copies of most of our games and some videos of other games as well.
No one seemed to be interested in them - so why worry?
don't seem to have a sense of urgency. We need committed people
with a vision. Identify where we should be in 5 years and plan now.
The Under-19 team led by Rajith Jayasundera that recently participated
in the Junior Asian Rugby Football Tournament [ARFT] performed reasonably
well. We should build on such a base. Dushanth Lewke is another
promising Sri Lanka ruggerite. Well, I can go on and on but what
is the use?
Do you intend coaching any sides this year?
A: I have not decided as yet.
Why do you think we lost in Dubai and South Africa?
A: I have not seen the games. I hope videos of our games
were brought back.
Do you think that Sri Lanka has a future?
A: Rugby has a future here. The question is whether we
have a good future or a bleak one? We must not delay any longer.
All this squabbling must stop. Let not there be heartburn and infighting.
All problems have solutions - this is my sincere view. Others' opinions
must be taken into consideration. Above all - BE FAIR.