Michael or Lewke – rugby has to go on
The domestic rugby season is virtually over. The Mercantile Sevens, which was normally played during this period, will be played in January 2007. Sri Lanka will participate in the Asian Games and have a tough task to beat China if they are to keep their medal hopes alive. The other event is the participation of the Sri Lanka Juniors in the Junior Asiad to be played in Chinese Taipei.
While the game on the field takes a short recess action moves to the administrative corners of rugby in Sri Lanka. This includes the review of last year's performance and the appointment of new custodians to take the game forward. This will be the center of attraction in the clubs, provincial societies as well as the main body; The Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union. It is show time in all these institutions. It is the time of showing what you have done or what you propose to do.
The union, which normally has its Annual General Meeting in February, is expected to have its AGM in January 2007. The reasons for the change it is hoped are done for the betterment of the game. The Performance of the SLRFU in 2006 has been without much conflict and confrontation and the game has moved several notches up the ladder. There have been instances of clash of objectives, with a player taking the administration to courts. This has to be accepted in a democratic set up and issues solved as when they arise. For confirmation of what has been achieved and where the union is financially we may have to wait for the annual report. For the time being it is sufficient to say that there has been progress on the field and financially the union has improved. The Union has found funds not only for the national teams and events but also will spend on the schoolboy team that is leaving to Taipei. A major disappointment however is the cancellation of the RWC qualifying games as well as the Asiad, which was to be held in Colombo in November. If not the Union would have been on very good financial grounds. The mere satisfaction of last year and happiness by looking back into history will not take the game forward to attain higher standards in the future.
The two year term of Priyantha Ekanayke has come to an end and time has come for a new Captain to come on to the ground . The captain will have to carry the game forward and to greater heights as we cruise along the path to higher levels. He has not only to get the support of the clubs he has to win the confidence of sponsors who are a very important part of the game.
There has been speculation on who will take the baton and continue the run fro the next two years. I understand the incumbent vice President Michael Jayasekera will be a candidate to take the affairs of the Union forward. Jayasekera who is the current Vice president is a well-known rugby personality who played for Havelock's Sports Club and also represented Sri Lanka. He was also the President of Havelock's Sports Club and has been involved in coaching .
Throwing the hat into the ring as a contender is a confident Nimal Lewke. A Police and Kandy SC Rugby player Lewke captained the Police and played representative rugby. He has also been a school, club junior national and national coach. He has also been the president of the referee’s society and a Vice president of the Western Province Rugby Football Union.
Both contenders are of a strong Rugby Background. Jayasekera is a successful mercantile executive who at present is a Director of A leading blue chip company. Lewke is a very senior Police Officer and at present holds the rank of a Deputy Inspector General of Police and is the Commandant of the STF.
Therefore both have a good administrative and management back ground in addition to their achievements on the rugby filed. The success of the individual in their quest for leadership is in the hands of the Provincial bodies that have a vote in the selection of the key office bearer. It is a question of who has been able to impress those who have a say or more precisely a vote. In this issue there is also a role for the clubs to play as the provinces consists of nominees of the clubs. The final decision will be based on the position taken at this level and is dependent on their perception of who will be able to lead the game forward in the next two years.
It is a clash of the giants for the top spot. At the end of the day whatever the outcome rugby must be the winner.