Pathana to end season with a bang

By M Naushad Amit
Rugby and Isipathana are synonymous. The tradition of rugby is such at Isipathana College, Colombo who celebrated the 50th anniversary of rugby recently and, coincidentally produced their 50th player to the national team. Though the rugby crazy school continues producing players to the top level year after year, Isipathana has been unsuccessful in meeting the challenges and maintaining their dominance during the recent times.

With some schools going a few steps ahead of them in the league, Isipathana rugby has been stagnant remaining midway in the top group for a few years. But present rugby coach Shamly Nawaz was of the view that Isipathana has performed much better than what their position on paper indicates.
“Though we ended up at No.5 last year and currently remain at No.6 in the Division I ‘A’ points table it does not mean that the standard of our rugby has gone down. It’s just that we are going through a bad period which can be fixed with a bit of extra commitment,” Nawaz said.

Nawaz’s sensible statement comes as a true assessment of a young rugby outfit that made a remarkable comeback to their league rugby campaign after suffering two straight defeats. In the first week, Isipathana was at the receiving end against St. Peter’s after losing the curtain-raiser of this year’s President’s Trophy Singer Schools Rugby League by 27-8 which was followed by a close 22-15 defeat against Kingswood, both at their home turf in Havelock Park.

“We came out with lots of hope against St. Peter’s as it was a vital game for both teams. Though we managed to match up with them on skill levels and performance we completely failed against their power. We fixed our failures from the first game and went flat out against Kingswood but a last minute mishap took the game away from us though we led right through the match.”
Isipathana recorded their first win of the season against S. Thomas’ by 30-24 and continued their success against Wesley by 35-15 and against St. Anthony’s by a narrow 16-15 last week. Compared with their failed start this season, Isipathana has done a lot of homework and amendments to make others feel their presence in the competition.

“The boys worked perfectly as a team during the recent 3 games to end up winners. But in a way the initial couple of defeats have had a major impact on the team’s present approach to the game. We always played our matches with great and serious passion. But disappointments always lead to success and that’s what has motivated the team at present. I’m really pleased the way the boys are performing at the moment,” Nawaz who has been serving as coach since 2008 added.

Isipathana may have never expected to be where they are at the moment before kicking off their campaign 6 weeks ago. The school which is well known for its running rugby even skipped the 7s tournaments this season to seriously focus on the 15s version of the game. They could have missed a few pieces of silverware in 7s rugby, which they are experts at, but Nawaz affirmed that skipping the shorter version of the game really helped the team focus on other phases though not obtaining a perfect kick-start as expected.

“We lost only the services of 3 senior players from last year’s team. Definitely our intention was to top the league and win the championship but instead we had to face the shocks. Isipathana never went searching for slots in the league. We always planned our campaign aiming at the top and it will be the same in the future,” he further added.

Isipathana could be considered as unlucky in the league in a way after having almost the entire team from last year. Last year though the team improved far better than the beginning the coach said he was not all that happy the way Isipathana finished. But in comparison they have improved a lot better this year and are currently not aiming for places in the group. According to the coach their main aim is to win all the remaining matches in the league.

“On the field the players make their own decisions unless it’s a vital call. Sometimes they did not make the correct calls in the first two games but now they have learned to be more watchful and tactical. Isipathana always had good thinking players and as the coach it’s my duty to help them make the correct choices. After all it’s the 15 players who will have to move around and do the right job for the team and the school. I think now the players have improved a lot and are doing a perfect job as expected. At Isipathana the players, the coaching staff and all those who are involved in rugby work together like a family and a very good ending to the season will make us all happy,” Nawaz said in praise of the teamwork displayed in Pathana rugby.
Isipathana rugby squad: Danushka Sooriyarachchi, Prasad Madushanka, Nipuna Devinda, Mukshith Kuthdoos, Sajith Suhaib, KR Dharmadasa, Deshan Arachchige, Tharindu Siriwardana (Captain), Mohamed Rizwan, Prasad Devinda, Shanaka Kumara, Kavinda Wimalachandra, Akalanka Pramodha, Uresh Fonseka, Malik Jumad, Eshana Wettasinghe, Manuka Siriwardena, Udaya Kumar, Gayashan Maldeniya, Ganindu Weerasinghe, Anjana de Costa, Prashan Attanayake, Shenal Dias, Sumedha Udesiri, Umayanga Sooriyabandara, Shenal Deelaka.


SLT builds ties with people of Jaffna

Sri Lanka Telecom (SLT) Netball Association, in collaboration with the Jaffna District Netball Association held a friendly netball tournament “Uthuru Mithuru Pipena Kekulu” at Jaffna Central College grounds in order to develop ties with the people of Jaffna.

Mrs. Rubini Vardalingam, the Additional Government Agent of Jaffna was the Chief Guest at the event, which was attended by several SLT Officials, President and Members of Jaffna District Netball Association and Mrs. Padma Baddewela, Assistant Director of the Sports Ministry.

Two teams from SLT and seven schools from the Jaffna District participated in this tournament including Kokuvil Hindu College, Kokuvil; Sandilipai Hindu College, Sandilipai; Ramanathan College, Chunnakam; Sri Somaskantha College, Puttur; Union College, Thellipalai; Methodist Girls’ High School, Point Pedro and Vada Hindu Ladies College, Point Pedro. Union College emerged overall winners of the tournament, while Ramanathan College became the 1st runner-up and Sandilipai Hindu College the 2nd runner-up.

Especially after opening up of the North and East, SLT has extended its fullest support to the Government of Sri Lanka to upgrade and expand its communication network to these areas, in order to cater to the needs of these customers. This netball tournament is another such endeavour to further relationships with the people of the area.


Jaffna’s 2nd TT Coaching Camp and C’ship

The General Secretary, Table Tennis Association of Sri Lanka and Joint Secretary, Old Boys Association, St John’s College, Nugegoda conducted the very first coaching camp for Jaffna’s table tennis players on May 15.
Twenty children from St John’s College, Jaffna participated at the coaching camp organised by Revd N Jameson Gnanaponrajah, Principal of St John’s College Jaffna.

On the same day at Central College Jaffna about 50 players participated from seven schools in a coaching camp organised by J Mohan, Secretary, Jaffna District Table Tennis Association. The coaching camp was sponsored by the Old Boys Association, St John’s College, Nugegoda.
The 2nd Jaffna district table tennis coaching camp was held on May 28 at Central College, Jaffna. The coaching camp was organised by J Mohan and three coaches from the Table Tennis Association of Sri Lanka Chandana Perera, General Secretary of TTASL, Thushara Sampath, Secretary, Sabaragamuwa TTA and Prabath Priyantha, Secretary, Ratnapura District TTA conducted the coaching camp.

Yesterday the TTASL together with the Jaffna District TTA conducted the inaugural table tennis championship at Central College Jaffna where nearly 90 to 100 players participated.
After the first coaching camp was held in Jaffna there was tremendous response from children in Jaffna especially girls who had been confined to their houses during the war. There have been several requests from children to have more coaching camps in Jaffna.
During the first coaching camp there were a lot of talented and enthusiastic players which is a good sign for the future. These children are due to participate in an inter-club team championship in August and the junior/ senior nationals at the end of October.


Pelé (Brazil)

14 games, 12 goals

For the avalanche of goals that Edson Arantes do Nascimento — Pelé — amassed in his career, with the total figure disputed but believed to be 1,284 from 1,375 matches, he is perhaps most fondly remembered, rather perversely, for two that he failed to score.
Remember the group game against England in the 1970 World Cup? When Pelé’s bludgeoning downward header from a cross by Jairzinho drew a save from Gordon Banks that still leaves the video viewer reeling in astonishment.
And what about the semi-final against Uruguay? When Pelé outrageously dummied Ladislao Mazurkiewicz, the goalkeeper, ran around him on the “wrong side”, retrieved the ball and semi-scuffed it narrowly wide of the empty net.

The latter was dubbed the “greatest goal never scored” but Pelé more than made up for it with a thousand or so others that did count. Add to that his entrancing dribbling, passing, pace and extreme power generated from shots or headers and it is not difficult to see why he was lauded as the real deal, the full package.
Not bad for a lad who grew up in poverty in Bauru, São Paulo, and who earned extra money by working in teashops as a servant.

“I was born for soccer, just as Beethoven was born for music,” he would utter, rather immodestly.
Most opponents, though, would concur. When Brazil won the World Cup in 1970, beating Italy 4-1 in the final, Tarcisio Burgnich, the Italy defender who had tried in vain to mark Pelé, lamented: “I told myself before the game, he’s made of skin and bones just like everyone else — but I was wrong.”
Pelé set records at will. He played for Santos at 15, for Brazil at 16 and won his first World Cup, in 1958, at 17. At 17 years 239 days, he became the youngest player to score in the finals; ten days later, he became the youngest to play in a final. He scored twice, in the 5-2 win over Sweden, and passed out in excitement at the end.
Four World Cups, three gold medals. Pelé’s contribution in 1962 may have been curtailed prematurely by injury, and a rugged Portugal ended Brazil’s involvement in 1966, but his “King of Football” crown will endure for ever. - [London Times]

(Next week : Franz Beckenbauer)


FIFA World Cup mascot enjoys tour with Emirates

DUBAI: Zakumi, the Official Mascot of the 2010 FIFA World Cup enjoyed an action-packed holiday in Dubai as he counts down the last few days to the kick-off of the biggest event on the world sporting calendar.
He flew in with Emirates and was welcomed to the airline’s home base by cabin crew representing each of the 32 nations taking part in the soccer spectacle in South Africa.

The fun-loving leopard was in no mood to take a break from football, though, and quickly rounded up some of the crew for a kick-about at Dubai International Airport.
He was then given the VIP treatment from South African cabin crew members Cindy Speirs and Gillian Scott who were in no doubt that he would have a ball in Dubai.
“Like Zakumi, all the football fans travelling with Emirates are going to get a great welcome,” said Cindy, from outside Durban, who believes Emirates’ multicultural crew will help make the journey to her homeland extra special.

“The crew is made up of more than 120 different nationalities and we are all really looking forward to connecting the world with South Africa.”
Emirates – an Official Partner of the 2010 FIFA World Cup – rolled out the red carpet for Zakumi and whisked him on a whistle-stop tour of all Dubai’s top spots before giving him a bird’s-eye view of the emirate from the helipad of the iconic Burj Al Arab.

Zakumi quickly pounced back into action when he found out he was going to be following in the footsteps of Tiger Woods, Roger Federer and Andre Agassi by getting to play on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab – the world’s most luxurious hotel.
Zakumi will be just one of many thousands of football fans to travel with Emirates this summer and captain Cliff Chetcuti is looking forward to taking them to the party.


Junaideen, manager of St. Anthony’s rugby team

Abubucker Junaideen, a former Antonian sportsman, was appointed as the manager of the St. Anthony’s College, Katugastota rugby team, by the Old Antonians’ Rugby Club headed by Rohan Daulagala.

Abu, as he is affectionately called by his friends, does a lot for Antonian rugby and has been supporting his school from his school days in the 1980s.
He is determined to see that the best possible facilities are made available to the rugby players of the school. (Mariks)