Babes Zahira set for big bang at schools basketball | Sunday Observer

Babes Zahira set for big bang at schools basketball

The Zahira College squad: Seated from left: Akthar Ameer (Captain), Asanka Perera (Asst. Coach), Ahnaf Khan (M.I.C.), Samson de Mel (Head Coach), Ashfaaq Ahamed (Vice Captain). Standing from left: R. Fathany, M. F. M. Nafeel, Sūd Ibrahim, M. R. M. Rikaz, M. Minhaj, Hussein Ziyard, M. Ruzaik, Abdul Hameed,        M. H. M. Hishni. Absent: Ashir, Abdul Majid, Abdul Hadi, Asthak
The Zahira College squad: Seated from left: Akthar Ameer (Captain), Asanka Perera (Asst. Coach), Ahnaf Khan (M.I.C.), Samson de Mel (Head Coach), Ashfaaq Ahamed (Vice Captain). Standing from left: R. Fathany, M. F. M. Nafeel, Sūd Ibrahim, M. R. M. Rikaz, M. Minhaj, Hussein Ziyard, M. Ruzaik, Abdul Hameed, M. H. M. Hishni. Absent: Ashir, Abdul Majid, Abdul Hadi, Asthak

With a history of just four years in the sport, Zahira College has climbed the ranks in big league basketball and will contest this year’s all-island inter school championships scheduled to commence next week.

Zahira which made the grade only in cricket and rugby in the past knew nothing about basketball and only dreamed of taking on the heavyweights in the game.

That dream became a reality when former Sri Lanka bronze medal winning player Samson De Mel accepted an invitation to coach Zahira and walked in to take up the challenge.

“A lot of our success is due to the hard work and commitment of the boys and the support from the school principal Trizvi Marikkar, master in charge Anaf Khan, prefect of games Mushin Arif and everyone who plays a backstage role”, said a modest De Mel who also coached his old school St. Sebastian’s College, Mahanama College and Good Shepherd Convent Kotahena. He is assisted by Asanka Perera.

De Mel hails from a sporting family and his son Sanitha de Mel is a former Youth International who captained Sri Lanka at the Cricket Youth World Cup in 2012 and played basketball. Twenty boys teams are lined up to stake a claim for the championship and Zahira is slated alongside S. Thomas’ College, St. Benedict’s College, De Lasalle College and Lyceum International Wattala.

The other schools contesting are Royal College, St. Peter’s College, St. Joseph’s College, St. Sebastian’s College, Ananda College, DS Senanayake College, Maris Stella, Asian International, Gateway International Colombo and Kandy, St. Joseph’s Wattala, Colombo International School, Lyceum Nugegoda, St. Michael’s Batticaloa and Angel IS Jaffna. 

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