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9th May 1999

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Pubudu promising Leg spinner

Mahanama schoolboy Pubudu Sathyapala showed his capabilities as a promising spinner in the recently concluded inter-school cricket season by grabbing 84 wickets.

The leg spinner played his best match against Sri Rahula Matara where he ended up taking a match bag of 13 wickets. He also performed well with the bat scoring 400 runs.

Pubudu had always showed the knack for spinning the ball during the four years he has represented the school in first eleven matches.

He came into the limelight in his second year with the senior side claimimg 73 wickets. The following year he snaired 67 batsmen and also was the deputy of the side.

And when he looks back at his performance during the past three years Pubudu says he could have taken hundred wickets. But he missed reaching that golden fig ure last year by just thirteen wickets.

"I think that luck was not on my side", says Sathyapala who adds that he was hampered in his effort due to bad weather conditions.

Sathayapala was called for the under19 trials but says that the effort he put in was not enough. "I hope to play in the 'Youth World Cup' which is to be staged here next year " Sathyapala concluded.

Pubudu who is tipped to lead his school team next year says that he hopes to continue his cricket career by playing for clubs. (RN)

Review of the 2nd South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championships held in Goa

India maintains superiority

By Annesley Ferreira

Team-work. That's what was missing from the Sri Lanka team which participated at the Second South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championships in Goa.

Team-work is essential for a side which is striving to go places in the Asian region. Sri Lanka is capable of this provided they put their heads together and play cohesively.

For this a long term plan should be introduced in training, on the whole, for at least a two year period not just for four, five or six months, with discipline playing a vital role coupled with fitness and superior modes of play. Then only results will emerge.

India vs Bangladesh

Defending champions India could not find their rhythm infront of a full house accommodating 35,000 spectators. Both sets of forwards played attractive football, but poor finishing deprived them of a win, which saw India and Bangladesh share a point each from the draw.

U.L.Rana the captain of the Bangladesh team was picked as the most valuable player of the match and was awarded Indian rupees 10,000 .

Sri Lanka vs Maldives

Maldives, the runners-up were held to a nil all draw by Sri Lanka. The Lankans have not beaten the Maldives for the last five years.

The chief offenders in not scoring in this match for Sri Lanka were skipper Roshan Perera and M. Amunullah with at least three chances going a begging.

In good position to score, Roshan Perera saw the ball go through his legs.

The red card was shown of Abdulla Waheed which resulted in him being deprived of playing in two matches.

Sri Lanka's defender Mohammed Anees was picked as the most valuable player of the match and was awarded Indian rupees 10,000.

Bangladesh vs Pakistan

Bangladesh playing with better cordination broke the hoodoo of scoreless draws downing Pakistan by 4 goals to nil, after leading 2 nil at the half time.

For Bangladesh the sport popular than cricket played on a semi professional basis, centre forward Iqbal Hussien scored their first goal in a goal-mouth melee adding one more before the short whistle through the boot of right inside Alfaz Ahmed.

Centre half Pradip Kumar Prodder was shown the yellow card in the 42nd minute by Malaysian referee S.Selearajen.

In the 65th minute left inside Mizanur Rahman scored through a floater and three minutes later Rahman scored the fourth goal of the match and his second.

Bangladesh could have further increased their margin of victory missing four other sitters.

Alfaz Ahmed of Bangladesh was picked as the most valuable player of the match and was awarded Indian rupees 10,000.

Nepal vs Sri Lanka

Nepal created football history defeating Sri Lanka for the very first time by 3 goals to 2.

History was also created by centre forward Naresh Joshi who score the tournaments first hat-trick.

The scores were 2 all at the short whistle.

Joshi scored in the 3rd minute and the 40th minute while Sri Lanka scored their two goals through a penalty by skipper Roshan Perera in the 22nd minute and M.Amanullah in the 44th minute.

Joshi sealed victory for Nepal with his third goal midway in the second half. Joshi was picked as the most valuable player of the match and was awarded Indian 10,000 rupees.

India vs Pakistan

Play-maker Bacichung Bhutia scored both goals for India to seal victory. Incidentally Bhutia has been signed up to play for Arsenal in the English Football League next year Bhutia for his two goals scored was picked as the most valuable player of the match .

Maldives vs Nepal

Maldives needing to win their match to be in contention of a semi final berth did likewise in depriving Sri Lanka the chance when they beat Nepal by 3 goals to 2.

Centre forward Shah Ismail scored with the kick-off in a sole effort. Maldives led 1 nil at the short whistle.

In the 9th minute of the second half, striker Kumar Thapa was shown the yellow card. Hari Khadka kicked correct a penalty awarded to Nepal in the 26th minute of the second half.

In a goal-mouth melee M. Wildhan scored the second goal for Maldives.

Substitute Mausoon Abul Ghafoor scored the third goal for Maladives. Hari Khadka scored the second goal for Nepal in the 44th minute and his second in the match.

Maldives skipper M. Ibrahim was picked as the Most valuable player of the match.

SEMI FINALS: India vs Maldives

India booked their berth into the finals with a 2 goals to 1 win over Maldives who could not put their act together with stray passes.

Baichung Bhutia and captain Bruno Coutinho scored a goal each for India in the 32nd and 86th minute while Maldives solitary goal came off the boot of M. Wildhan.

Bruno Coutinho was picked as the most valuable player of the match.

Nepal vs Bangladesh

Bangladesh beat Nepal by 2 goals to 1 to book their final berth. Seventeen-year-old Mizamur Rahman scored Bangladesh's first goal in the 54th minute off a good cross from left extreme Rahman Munna in the 60th minute while Hari Khadha scored Nepal's solitary goal in the 86th minute.

The most valuable player's prize was won by Alfaz Ahamed.


India maintained their form with intelligent play to win the Second South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) cup defeating Bangladesh by 2 goals to nil and carried away the 50,000 prize with Bangladesh winning 25,000 .The Indians led 2 nil at half time.

Indian captain Bruno Coutinho scored their first goal in the 27th minute while Bhutia scored the second goal for India.

Bhutia was picked as the most valuable player of the match and also the most valuable player of the tournament which carried him the award of 25,000 .

Maldives won the third place play-off against Nepal by 2 goals to nil. M. Wildhan and M. Ibrahim scored a goal each for Maldives.

FIFA assistance

Keith Cooper the Director of Communications FIFA speaking on the FIFA media services at the seminar held at Don Sylina Hotel in Goa said that each controlling body of football numbering 203 is receiving 1 million US dollars per year while region bodies are given 10 million US dollars for the development activities of the sport per year.

Goa's soccer contest

India makes a comeback

By Gamini Perera

The fourth South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) conducted Coca-Cola football championships held in Goa's Nehru Stadium proved to be yet another ground-breaking event.

The championship was won by the defending champions, India beating their opponents, Bangladesh by 2 goals to nil last Saturday.

Football is reaching towards professionalism throughout the Asian region, as South Asian countries are seriously looking into their own prospects.

The inaugural regional event kicked-off in Kathmandu, Nepal more than a dozen years ago and the last SAFF championship, for the Gold Cup was also held in Nepal, in September, 1997 in Kathmandu's solitary national stadium, known as the Ranga Sala.

The SAFF championship has now been given a new lease of life, thanks to a hard-working team of officials of the region, who had realised the true level of football in the region.

Sri Lanka's own J.S.N. Anandarajah, a senior vice- President of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) has been the general secretary of the SAFF for the past years and had done yeoman service as an experienced and accomplished administrator. The energetic Anandarajah has always advocated that South Asian football needs a collective effort to develop the sport in the South Asian region.

Incidentally, South Asia is home to one-fifth of humanity and perhaps closely knitt. Yet, none of the countries had been able to make a break in the international football scene. India, the largest nation both populationwise and geographically areawise in the region came into the Goa championship as the reigning champions.

Professional line

India, once the leading football nation in Asia, has managed to move along professional lines. But, even then taking into consideration India's present standard, the level of Indian football has much catching-up to do to regain its pristine position held years back.

The prominent players in India are said to be imported ones. Hence, today, only a few Indian soccerites have been able to enjoy the fruits of professionalism.

However, countries like, Bangladesh, Maldives and Sri Lanka have been moving towards creating the atmosphere of professionalism in football. In Nepal, professionalism in football has yet to hit the pitch. Some clubs in Kathmandu have tried hard to give a professional look to football, but there is a lot yet to happen before that day dawns.

Professionalism, is the added incentive for football to stay as the most popular sport in the region. But different countries have different contexts to deal with, while grooming professionalism into football.

New heights

The Goa championship has certainly helped the football level of the region to achieve new heights. Hence the countries in the region should be able to set a target of meeting other Asian football powerhouses after a given period of time. These countries should exchange the expertise of each other in order to build the base for football in the region.

The major responsibility of shaping the region's sports is still in the hands of the respective governments. Unfortunately, the governments of the region cannot do much for sport due to the poor economic condition of the people. This factor has created a grave problem in these countries to bolster sporting activities. The only way is to get sponsorship deals through business houses, which the local Football Federation is doing with great success. But, the business fraternity which financially supports football must be charmed with good and result-oriented performances. Then, and then only will they stick to their sponsorship packages.

In retrospect

In retrospect, the 1997 SAFF championships in Kathmandu, was covered by this writer, was never bereft of action, all throughout the preliminary stages and the semi-finals. Weak as well as strong teams displayed their soccer skills before packed audiences. Some teams, including Sri Lanka felt unfortunate for having made a premature and unexpected exit from the tournament.

The 1997 tournament kicked-off with host country taking on Pakistan. Before a bewildered and vociferously partisan crowd, Nepal fell to the ground with a big thud. Pakistan beat Nepal, 2-0. Subsequently, Nepal fell ousted from the championship.

Bangladesh, who did exceedingly well this year, played an ordinary match against Maldives in 1997 which was their opening match. In their very next outing fell apart in the fag end of the match against a lucky and more tactical Indian outfit. The whole of Bangladesh was shocked, leave aside the German coach and the accompanying officials.

Bangladesh was at the mercy of the India vs. Maldives encounter. But, India did not oblige by thrashing Maldives, 4-0. Bangladesh in their turn drew 1-1 against the Maldives.

Sri Lanka beaten

The semi-finals brought the match favoured and much talked about, Sri Lanka team facing the Maldives. Most surprisingly, the Maldives who entered the field as minnows humbled Sri Lanka. 2-1. The aftermatch saw a free-for-all, with both teams resorting to fisticuffs. The propaganda of "Fair Play" was dealt a telling blow.

The second semi-final saw an almost hyped India taking on Pakistan, who played according to a stereotyped manner. The Pakistanis were shot down by 2 goals to nil.

This match was absorbing and the spectators were given their monies worth.

Gough's fury could be World Cup showpiece

By Bernie Wijesekera

Twenty-eight-year-old Darren Gough is yet another great fast bowler to hail from Yorkshire.

There are many greats, from this country, who have done proud for England. Two of them have left an indelible mark in the annals of English cricket - the late Sir Len Hutton and fast bowler Freddie Trueman, a miner's son who tormented many a batsman with his fiery bowling.

Joined by Brian Statham the duo helped England dominate the international scene.

The fury of Gough in the coming short game - The World Cup could be the showpiece. He will be joined by 'Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis (Pakistan) Glen McGrath (Australia) and Allan Donald and Shaun Pollock ( S. Africa), in the meadows of England this summer.

Gough's quick rise to fame in the bowling fraternity has been a source of inspiration to English cricket fans despite suffering crushing defeats in the international scene. Unlike in the past England cricketers have been too soft and hadn't the killer instinct to fight back.

Shane Warne, in his biography, has made reference to two players, who never give up - Darren Gough and Mike Atherton the rock hard opener, who fights to the end.

Gough, has the guts to bowl with vicious swing and pace and has given that much needed dose of grit to the English bowling. He is a likeable character that also gave colour when in full cry. But the only drawback is that he has been injury prone like many fast bowlers.

A bundle of energy always rarin' to go like his former Yorkshireman Trueman has inspired England to some heart-stopping wins, in his short stint in the Test arena.

When England toured Australia in the 1994-'95 series he was a green 24-year- old player with only four Tests behind him. The English cricketers hadn't the fighting qualities. But here was a youngster among the lot, who was full of enthusiasm and the burning desire to win.

This made him a popular cricketer on the field and the Aussie fans had a great liking for the Yorkshireman, who was a great crowd- puller. He proved a challenge to the Aussie batsman bowling with sustained accuracy and with hostility.

In the Sydney Test batting at No. 9, he scored a gritty 51 and followed up with 6 for 49 off 18.5 overs. In this Test on two occasions he received a standing ovation from the fans.

A likeable personality, put aside with his cricketing heroics. He played hard on the field, but maintained a high standard of sportsmanship on and off the field which proved a decisive factor for winning much admiration.

After this Test match he was tagged as a hero and helped England to overcome its woes.

He faced many setbacks, but never gave up. In the 1998 tour of the West Indies he had to pull out with a hamstring strain. But midway was back for the S.African domestic series. In the first Test he suffered an injury to his hand. But was determined to come back. Well he did it against the S. Africans in the decisive Test. England set S.A. 219 runs to win, an easy target.

But Gough, had charged with fury and saved the day for the 'Lions'. He ripped through the Proteas, picking up a career best of 6 for 42 - 17 wickets at 22.82 for the 130 overs he bowled in the series.

Well, he bowled England for their first significant series in 12 years.

A fully fit Gough could be a scourge to any opposing side, and a sheer delight for the fans to watch when in full cry.

Then in the last triangular series in Australia Gough ran riot against the Sri Lanka top order at the MCG on Jan. 19.

He tore through the frontline picking 4 for 10 in his first seven overs. And ended up with 4 for 28 in 10 overs.

It was only Ranatunga 76 (run out) and Upul Chandana (50) who stood up to save the day with a 92-run stand for the sixth wicket. The Lankans lost by 7 wickets.

Gough, is sure to revel on the green English pitches in the coming World Cup and help England's cause to uplift their sagging morale. In a mode to show his appreciation, Wedisinghe has a huge poster of him prepared for his fans and anybody writing to his address 242, Colombo Road, Kurunegala could receive this poster free.

Wedisinghe hungry to thrill fans

By Channaka de Silva

At just 28 years, Ananda Wedisinghe was beginning to get a sense of contentment. Just as most of the other youth of his age were taking the first steps towards their future moves, Wedisinghe had already achieved all of his life's dreams. He was the undisputed champion of the country in his favourite sport, had earned a country-wide fame for his skills, was a millionaire businessman with a successful trade, was happily married with four kids. What more could you ask for ?

Wedisinghe thought it was time to settle down to lead a quiet, normal life and he decided 1999 was going to be his last year in competitive motor cycling in which he had accomplished so much.

But was it only the feeling of contentment ? Hardly.

Having contested in the hot league circuit of Motocross in Japan continuously for over nine years, Wedisinghe had seen what the competition was all about and on what esteem the riders were held. The treatment meted out to the competitors here by organisers was deplorable as Wedisinghe saw it. It was really bad because every club which held competitions was like that, according to Wedisinghe.

Then why did he stick to the sport for so long ? It was because his love for his fans. "The last thing I want to do is to disappoint my fans. I love them. I love to see them thrilled. I love to see the happy smile in their faces, to see them psyched-up which makes them cheer. I want to entertain them. That is the only reason for me to be still in it." said Wedisinghe.

Though reluctantly, Wedisinghe thought it was time he bade farewell to the fans. But just as he was making up his mind, at this year's Fox Hill races in Diyatalawa, there was an incident which changed it all.

Some officers from Caltex, the country's foremost sponsor of Motor Sports, visited him in the paddocks and offered him a sponsorship. He immediately changed his plans to retire and gleefully accepted the offer. Not just because it was money, but because he knew there was somebody other than the fans who appreciated his skills. It was just the boost he needed to continue his quest to satisfy fans.

Ananda Priya Wedisinghe was born to an average family in Jayanthipura, Kurunegala. His father Siripala was a motor cycle racer par-excellence and dominated the circuit during his time. Siripala Wedisinghe had earned fame and appreciation of fans but not money.

When his father unexpectedly passed away, Ananda was just fourteen years old. But he vividly remembers his exploits in places like Katukurunda, Nuwara Eliya and Katunayake, and how Siripala brought home loads of trophies after every outing. His domination lasted from 1972 to 82 on bikes such as Yamaha RD 350, Gillera 500 and Triumph. Siripala owned a garage at which he continued after his wife's father.

Since father's demise, his mother Rosmalie Fathima went through many hardships but always made sure that her three sons and the daughter did not feel it as Wedisinghe recalls.

As he was growing old, Wedisinghe was beginning to get a feel of life's hardships. Though motor racing was in the back of his mind, it could not come up as the financial problems were more pressing.

In 1988, when he was barely 17, Wedisinghe went to Japan seeking green pastures. "Then motor racing or nothing else was on my mind except thinking how to help my family lead a decent day to day life." Wedisinghe recalled.

In 1990, Wedisinghe entered into a motocross event in Japan for the first time in his life and won it. That victory in the Novices race injected him the impetus he needed. Wedisinghe continued to actuate his in-born skills and emerged third in the novices league in Japan that year.

The following year, Wedisinghe came back to Sri Lanka and took part in the first race on home soil at the Nuwara Eliya Motocross where he won the 125 cc Novices race.

In the 1994-95 season in Japan, Wedisinghe competed in the Enduro event and came third in the year's league on his KDX 125.

In 1996, Wedisinghe took part in the international four stroke season in Japan and in the hottest race, finished 12th among the best motocross riders in the world in the category.

For nine continuous years, Wedisinghe has been pitting his skills in Japan and has obtained the MFJ (Motor Federation of Japan) licence with which he can take part in the world motocross championships at any location in the world. According to Wedisinghe, he is the only Sri Lankan to get this licence. This licence permits him to race at the second highest level in the world and had been awarded only after years of racing in Japan where he managed to accumulate points for his victories. "You have to achieve a certain number of points to get the licence" Wedisinghe explained.

Meanwhile, a Japanese girl stole his heart. Wedisinghe got married to Rumi in 1990 when he was just 19 and today has two daughters and two sons.

Today, he owns three highly successful business institutions in Japan by the names Auto Plaza Ananda International, J1 Trading and TNT (Try and Trust Corporation). Through these companies he is exporting and importing vehicles from and to Japan.

His domination of the Sri Lankan Motocross scene is already legendary. Since 1993, he has been beaten only once in Sri Lanka. Fox Hill in Diyatalawa has been his favourite hunting ground where he has won the Open event without a break from 1993 for seven years. Narammala, Pannala and Nuwara Eliya were the other places graced by him.

Being at the top he is still disappointed with the treatment meted out to the competitors. "The organisers don't see any difference between the rider who goes to the shop to buy bread and the rider who competes. The shabby treatment puts you off. There is no insurance. This is a highly dangerous sport. If somebody gets hurt only God will help him. The organisers will ask 'are you hurt ?' and that's it. There are no proper medical facilities at the venues. Other basic facilities are also inadequate. You can't improve the sport without these." a disappointed Wedisinghe claimed.

"We are not informed of the races by some organisers. We only get to know that a race had taken place when we see it in the newspapers. Some clubs are organised to despise us" he said.

But he has started to see light at the end of the tunnel. "Now with the initiatives of certain individuals and organisations like Caltex give us a notion that things could turn to better in the future."

The most dangerous of motor sports, motocross has given him many injuries including near death. But Wedisinghe remains adventurous.

He had a nasty fall in a competition in India when another competitor collided with him at a jump. Then more recently, he had a fall in Japan which broke both his wrists.

Today his wrists are working on steel rods inserted in an operation. Then last year, he had the worst of them all when at Nuwara Eliya he fell and another rider accidentally rode on the stomach of fallen Wedisinghe. He had a huge hump in the back when internal bleeding accumulated in that area.

He could not wear his jacket because of the hump, but being the keen rider he was, Wedisinghe refused to go to hospital for treatment and competed at the Fox Hill on the next day with the hump.

Most amazingly he still managed to win the Open event and three other events and was rushed to hospital soon afterwards for a serious operation.

Wedisinghe still has the feeling of contentment but having received the backing which he longed for, his hunger to provide more thrills to the fans has grown. He now wants to continue for another seven years, till he is 35.

Shamly a talented ruggerrite

By Ravi Nagahawatte

Speak of raw talent in the local rugby circles and Shamly Nawaz's name will top that list.

Many of our rugby administrators probably kept a close eye on this talented lad ,who,with his style of play kept getting attention on the field from a very early age.

At present he is one of Sri Lanka's best bets for the number eight position which he proved whilst being a schoolboy when he got the nod to represent the country in the 1998 ASIAD.Many who watched him play saw talent in abundance.

Shamly needed little time to settle down in a sport which he showed a liking since twelve years of age .

He has fond memories of those early days in this robust game where he had used the time given during the interval to dabble in the sport. He also recalls how he was sometimes punished by his teachers for coming late to the class.

"The teachers just did not like us coming into the class drenched with sweat and with our clothes torn" says Nawaz.

Despite a wrist injury in his very first year on the field Shamly came back the next year without showing a trace of fear to represent the school in the All Island Under 13 Tournament.

"I have never encountered fear on the rugby field".

Shamly had a tough time as a kid as he was hampered with a calcium deficiency in his body from birth.

The bow legged shape in his legs had injected panic into his parents who had put their son under medical treatment for eight years. He remembers wearing a iron shoe to help correct the bend in his legs . But he remembers nothing of how he used to cry and howl in the night after those shoes were slid on to him.

The shape of his legs made everyone wonder whether the lad would one day become an ideal soccer player.

Shamly however had tunnel vision in the fifteen man game. That could be the reason why he has achieved what he wants in the sport.

"I have represented the country in three tournaments and I have played A division rugby in the domestic season . The only thing I want to do now is continue playing rugby ".

School rugby was what opened the doors for this youngster who had the honour of leading the junior national side twice.

And in school rugby he was always the synosure of all eyes.Commencinghis first fifteen carrer at the tender age of fifteen Shamly went on to wear the green gersey for five seasons, captaining the side in the last year. Be it a ruck , maul or a team mate in trouble Shamly was just a shout away.

Walana Mahanama bag three volleyball titles

By H.P.P. Perera

Panadura Walana Mahanama emerged winners of Under 15, Under 17 and Under 19 inter-schools volley-ball tournament of the Kalutara Educational Zone held at the Potupitiya Maha Vidyalaya Grounds. The competition was held under the instruction of Rohana Karunaratne, Director of Physical Education of Kalutara Education Zone and was organised by Kanthasiri G. Megamuwage, Physical Training Instructor of Wadduwa M.M.V. The event was sponsored by Lion Club of Wadduwa.


Under 15 - Panadura Walana Mahanama Vidyalaya

They were awarded the Lion Lady Kanthi Devi Perera Commemorative Challenge - shield.

(2) Dodangoda Miriswatta Maha Vidyalaya and were awarded the Lion G. Tudor Silva Commemorative Challenge Shield.

Under 17: Panadura Walana Mahanama Vidyalaya, and were awarded the Wadduwa Kalyani Pharmacy Challenge Shield.

(2) Dodangoda Miriswatta Maha Vidyalaya and were awarded the Wadduwa Bake House runner up challenge Shield.

Under 19 - Panadura Walana Mahanama Vidyalaya and were awarded the Wadduwa Lucksiri Stores Challenge Shiled.

Beruwala Madhya Maha Vidyalaya were awarded the Lion Rohana Silva runner-up challenge Shield.

Boys: Under 15: Potupitiya Maha Vidyalaya and were awarded the Singha Bandu Wimalasuriya Commemorative Challenge Shield.

Runner-up: Wadduwa M.M.V. They received the Alexis Fernando Challenge Shield.

Under 17: Potupitiya Maha Vidyalaya and were awarded the Lion Tudor Wickramasingha Commemorative Challenge Shield.

Runner-up: Panadura Sri Sumangala (Boys) Maha Vidyalaya and were awarded the Lion Nihal Jayasekara Challenge Shield.

Under 19: Potupitiya Maha Vidyalaya and were awarded the Lion Rohana Fernando Chal

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