Sri Lanka’s Matildas face question time ahead of Asian meet | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka’s Matildas face question time ahead of Asian meet

Trixi Nanayakara
Trixi Nanayakara

Sri Lanka’s veteran netball players have rebuked the head coach of the National team Thilaka Jinadasa who they charge with paying more attention to district programmes and neglecting the needs of the team which is set to contest the Asian championships scheduled to begin in four months time in Singapore.

One of the veteran players who did not wish to be quoted told the Sunday Observer that Jinadasa’s primary function was the Sri Lanka team and the Asian meet but that her focus was instead about conducting training session in the districts.

“Our concern is that she (Jinadasa) is spending her coaching time away from the players with only four months left for the Asian Championship”, the veteran netballer charged.

Thilaka Jinadasa

She also questioned the logic of looking for new players in the districts with the Sri Lanka pool already formed. Sri Lanka is now ranked 25th by the International Netball Federation world rankings which is a slump.

The main grouse that these veteran players have is that Singapore has a New Zealand coach while Malaysia has enlisted an Australian, coaches from the world’s best two countries. Sri Lanka ended runners-up at the last Asian Championship held in Thailand in 2016. Jinadasa however denied that she was more interested in coaching district players and neglecting her Sri Lankan charges.

“I always have an eye on my national duties”, said Jinadasa. “But according to my contract I have to look after the national coaches in the districts as well and my weekends are reserved for that”.

Jinadasa said that the Sri Lankan players are currently under training and a recommendation has already been made to invite foreign teams to play against them in the build-up to the Asian meet.

“I have suggested to the (Netball) Federation to invite an Australian club team. Since I took over I have made the players work rigorously on their fitness and they have shown tremendous commitment. Today, there are 20 players in the pool eager to develop and make the country proud”, claimed Jiunadasa.

The president of the Sri Lanka Netball Federation Trixi Nanayakara said that they are working towards providing the national players with the best preparation ahead of the Asian championship while Singapore and a European country have shown interest to play in the island along with a club team from Australia.

She also said that the International Netball Federation’s Coaching Advisory Panel Committee chairperson Jill McIntosh is scheduled to conduct a two-week training course for coaches in the country.

“With the preparations that we have put in place we are confident that we will be able to put up a good show at the Asian Championship”, said Nanayakkara.

Sri Lanka’s highest world ranking was 14th when the island won the 2009 Asian Netball Championship. Since then Sri Lanka has been gradually going down in the rankings.