Joes undisputed football kings | Sunday Observer

Joes undisputed football kings

The champions St. Joseph’s College players Sachinthaka Perera (captain), Kavindya Rupasinghe, JADS Jayasinghe, Shenal Sandesh Pingho, Rony Joy, Jonathan Thomas, PIS Fernando, RE Fernando, ASLD Silva, Shenal Suriyage, D. Cramer, IPS Rashminda, Pathum Gimhan, N. Lakshithan, Anas Hussain, OT Jayawardene, KAD Perera, M. Denver, CJE Pietersz and Rogan Fernando with the Renown President’s Trophy
The champions St. Joseph’s College players Sachinthaka Perera (captain), Kavindya Rupasinghe, JADS Jayasinghe, Shenal Sandesh Pingho, Rony Joy, Jonathan Thomas, PIS Fernando, RE Fernando, ASLD Silva, Shenal Suriyage, D. Cramer, IPS Rashminda, Pathum Gimhan, N. Lakshithan, Anas Hussain, OT Jayawardene, KAD Perera, M. Denver, CJE Pietersz and Rogan Fernando with the Renown President’s Trophy

St. Joseph’s College lived up to their rich football tradition as they beat Royal College 2-1 to net in the All Island Under-18 Division One tournament for the Renown President’s Trophy for the third consecutive year in a thrilling encounter at the Sugathadasa Stadium last Sunday.

The performance by the Joes gave very little or no chance for the other top schools like Zahira College, Maris Stella College, De Mazenod College and St. Patrick’s College Jaffna who have been forced to play second fiddle over the past three years.

The tournament, organized by the Sri Lanka Schools Football Association and sponsored by Renown Sports Club and it’s subsidiary Renown Football Academy is recognized as the premier football tournament for schools in the island.

The Joes also won the Papare All Island Under 20 Championship while their junior team pocketed the Under-14 title to leave no doubts that they can be branded as the kings of schools football.

The match itself was a battle between attack by the Joes and defence by Royal and there was no stopping the former who were always in the hunt for the title.

The Joes could have scored more goals but as expected Royal’s defence could not relax at any stage until the final whistle was blown.

Royal also had their chances through counter attacks but the Joes defence also held firm as the first half ended in a 0-0 stalemate.

At the start of the second half the Joes made a tactical change by bringing in Pathum Gimhana, which altered the course of the game. Star striker Shenal Sandesh was fouled inside the penalty box and the referee had no hesitation in awarding a penalty to the Joes.

Shenal Sandesh picked himself up and duly converted the spot kick to give the Josephians the lead in the 50th minute.

After this Royal made some inroads into the Joes territory and equalised 1-1 through Mohamed Ameen in the 58th minute.

Both sides were determined to break the deadlock and their supporters were kept on the edge of their seats. Royal had their chances as did the Joes who were thwarted by goalkeeper Mohamed Asad.

At the end of full time the scores still read 1-1 but in the opening minutes of extra time the Joes delivered the knockout punch as a magnificent cross-kick by substitute Pathum Gimhan was headed in by Kavindya Rupasinghe and their supporters burst into ecstatic celebrations.

None could have been more pleased at the end of the match than Crispin and Robert Peiris the founders of Renown Sports Club and Renown Football Academy the promoters of the tournament in an age when football at national level is in the dumps.

The champion St. Joseph’s team was led superbly by Sachinthaka Perera who controlled the midfield and set the tempo for the team throughout the tournament. He was ably assisted by vice captain Kavindya Rupasinghe the hero of the Joe-Pete big match who continued his knack of scoring goals at vital moments.

Shenal Sandesh was adjudged the best player and top goal scorer of the tournament.

Goalkeeper Sasindu Jayasinghe, defensive player Osanda Jayawardene and forward Sasun Rashminda played their parts well along with Rony Joy, Jonathan Thomas, Lucien de Silva, Isitha Fernando, Shenal Suriyage, Pathum Gimhan and Anas Hussain.

St. Joseph’s College has one of the best if not the best academy in the country according to analysts under the watchful eyes of its sporting rector Fr. Travis Gabriel.

The Soccer Advisory Committee which oversees football at St. Joseph’s College is led by Emmanuel Balendra who has several past captains including Yogendran Cruze, Peter Asirwatham, Jerome Ambrose, Sritharan Peeris, Mohamed Fazal and Angelo Aloysious.

The champion team was coached by former Sri Lanka player Anura Sampath.

 

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