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DateLine Sunday, 13 May 2007

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Fijian Jimmy Bolakoro overstays his visa

RUGBY: Can Fijian national Jimmy Bolakoro represent CH & FC in the forthcoming Caltex 'A' Division League Rugby Championship which kicks off on Friday (May 18)?

This all depends not only on the Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU), but also the Immigration and Emigration Department as well as the Sri Lanka Police Department.

Bolakoro has been in the country now for the past three years and according to the International Rugby Board (IRB) rules and regulations, qualified to play for the country he has been a resident for three consecutive years.

However, according to the President of the SLRFU, DIG Nimal Lewke, who also heads the elite Special Task Force (STF) of the Police, whether the IRB rule is applicable to Sri Lanka is entirely a matter for the SLRFU to decide.

DIG Lewke further told the Sunday Observer that the Fijian, Jimmy Bolakoro, cannot stay any longer in Sri Lanka as his visa had expired on May 7, and that he is now staying in the country illegally.

Continuing, Lewke, further said that at the last Council meeting of the SLRFU, CH & FC's representative raised the question of Bolakoro's inclusion in the national side, but it was pointed out that the Fijian has not played any rugby for several years and that the request cannot be considered, as the national pool was picked on the performances of players during the 2006 season.

Furthermore, the SLRFU President, DIG Lewke, also turned down a request for a letter to the Immigration and Emigration Department recommending Bolakoro's extension of visa and wanted the Fijian to obtain a clearance certificate from the Police Department. Lewke said: "I cannot blindly issue letters to any individual as I am a senior Police official, not only President of the SLRFU".

Jimmy Bolakoro was involved in two court cases. First was when he was alleged to have committed rape on a foreign woman at a resort down south and then found in possession of illegal ammunition and firearms in the ceiling of his apartment in the heart of Colombo 7.

It will be recalled that Bolakoro represented CH & FC in 2003 under Milinda Jayasinghe which team also included three other foreign recruits in Kinijoji Rakata, Fred Moo and Alex Talia. He was also a member of the CH team in 2004 under Sameera Wijesinghe, which side also included three other foreigners in Rakata, Kala and Noa Nawaqarua.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka, who lost both games in the Asian Nations Cup very badly to Arabian Gulf (11-52) and Kazakhstan (6-71), will face a Committee to be appointed by the Council of the SLRFU as soon as the manager's reports are received.

DIG Lewke said that the reports will be discussed at the next SLRFU Council meeting, but the "facts are stubborn". The national pool never had a proper training schedule since the 2006 tournaments. The national pool must train throughout the year like other countries who have a programme for at least three years.

"The Committee to be appointed will comprise a Council member, Chairman of the Selection Committee, National Coach and a couple of senior officials who will look into the performances of the Sri Lanka team in the two Asian Nation Cup games and also ways on how to get into the next level" said DIG Lewke.

 

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