Jeeva confident of continuing Kandy’s winning spree
Success in sport is one thing. Continued success is another. The onerous, even awesome, task of seeing that Kandy SC continues its near invincibility has fallen on the sturdy shoulders of it’s new captain for 2007. Jeeva Galgamuwa, who represented Kingswood at Rugger from 1996 to 2000 as a number eight and prop forward, is the player who has been placed in the hot seat. Jeeva was also the captain of the college swimming team.
He was a member of the Sri Lanka under 19 team that toured Taiwan to participate in the youth championship in 1999. The Sri Lanka team won the Bowl event.
Jeeva was a member of the Sri Lanka team from 2000 (his first year in Club rugby) to 2004, playing under the captaincy of Asoka Jayasena, Haris Omar and Pradeep Basnayake. Rugby has taken him to quite a few countries, Taiwan, Malaysia, Kazakhastan, Thailand (for the Asiad) and South Korea (Asian Games 2002) being among them.
Jeeva says that touring was an interesting experience, with a lot of traveling thrown in. Being part and parcel of the team, sharing in the fortunes or misfortunes of the team are all grist to the mill. The late Didacus de Almeida, Shane Dullewa and Ibrhim Hamid were his managers. The team he played in beat Malaysia in a test and repeated the feat in an encounter with China.
Looking back at the 2006 season, he says in was a tough one. Having lost out on a point or two as a result of a drawn game against the CH, they were always looking back over their shoulder to watch CR's progress. In a sense, they were playing catch up rugby.
Speaking of the youth tour of Taiwan, Jeeva says that Lasantha Mallikaarachchi, Jeevan Gunatilleka and Chamara Vithanage were outstanding.
Kandy’s new captain doesn’t agree that the gap between his team and the CR has narrowed. He feels that they have the beating of the Longdon Place Club. He harks back to the return encounter in Colombo where the CR made all the running and were poised to win the match and with it, the league. However, a stirring fight back by Kandy SC ensured that CR’s best efforts were stymied.
Jeeva feels it has been a privilege to play alongside some greats of Kandy SC- Nalaka Weerakkody, Sajeeva Jayasinghe, Harris Omar and Sajith Mallikaarachchi.
At Kingswood, Jeeva was coached by former Army winger Gunadasa and Ananda Kasturiarachchi. At Club level, he came under the whip of George Simpkin, C.P.P. Abeygunawardana and Laga.
Why is Kandy SC so successful. Jeeva puts it down to three factors – the total commitment of the players, the discipline enforced and the munificence of the sponsors.
With Kandy SC hunting for a foreign coach, the captain is bidding his time at present. He says the team is keeping fit. Strenuous practice will take place once the new coach arrives. As Jeeva says, everything depends on the approach of the coach.
Jeeva is supremely confident that he has the men and material at his command to ensure another successful year. His employer, Dialog GSM, is delighted with his appointment and hence it will be all systems go for Kandy SC’s captain elect. - AK