Political virus strangling Sri Lanka rugby | Sunday Observer

Political virus strangling Sri Lanka rugby

            Rugby in Sri Lanka may be far from reaching an exulted or passionate level that cricket has gained, but it has acquired an ugly reputation for being the most politicized of all sports in the country that its keepers are yet to find a formula to destroy what they say is a virus.  The extent to which rugby has been devoured by club politics could not have been seen any worse than when as many as 17 new faces took wing last night wearing the Sri Lanka emblem to contest a four-nation Asian tournamen
Rugby in Sri Lanka may be far from reaching an exulted or passionate level that cricket has gained, but it has acquired an ugly reputation for being the most politicized of all sports in the country that its keepers are yet to find a formula to destroy what they say is a virus. The extent to which rugby has been devoured by club politics could not have been seen any worse than when as many as 17 new faces took wing last night wearing the Sri Lanka emblem to contest a four-nation Asian tournament in Taipei. Administrators say they cannot recall in living memory if ever so many freshmen were in a Sri Lanka squad. But what they know is that the scourge is the result of one club Kandy SC dominating or allowed to hold sway that its well paid players turn their backs on Sri Lanka representation. From a list of 12 experienced hardcore players from Kandy SC in the Sri Lanka preliminary squad, eight withdrew for reasons that were frivolous according to Sri Lanka Rugby officials. “In no other sport in the country do players say they don’t want to be selected to wear the national cap or jersey than in rugby and this is a disease from the hill country that we have to destroy,” said Sri Lanka Rugby’s firebrand deputy president Rizly Illyas. He said they’ll be forced to enforce a regulation that can ban players from representing their respective clubs who pull out from national duty without a valid reason. One player had even gone into extremes to withdraw from the Sri Lanka squad over the omission of a close friend who was not selected indicating how childish even politics could be. “We cannot be hero-worshiping players to play for their country. For them their club is before country and this is their mindset. “We have put in place a process for good governance and we will now have to act accordingly against players with such attitudes,” Illyas warned. The 17 new faces were seen off by sports minister Harin Fernando who hoped the team will provide a spark to reignite a country struggling to shed a self-inflicted fear psychosis more than a month after last month’s bombings. “Given what happened to us and the situation (bombings) we were faced with, a win will mean so much to the country,” Minister Fernando told the players. A former player at St. Joseph’s College, Minister Fernando sees rugby as the only form of human activity that teaches a lesson of triumph through tragedy that other sports may not offer. “You all depend on one another to score a try in rugby by falling, hurting and bruising yourselves and this is an experience that you will never gain or value from anything else. All of you know this,” said Minister Fernando.

Rugby in Sri Lanka may be far from reaching an exulted or passionate level that cricket has gained, but it has acquired an ugly reputation for being the most politicized of all sports in the country that its keepers are yet to find a formula to destroy what they say is a virus.

The extent to which rugby has been devoured by club politics could not have been seen any worse than when as many as 17 new faces took wing last night wearing the Sri Lanka emblem to contest a four-nation Asian tournament in Taipei.

Administrators say they cannot recall in living memory if ever so many freshmen were in a Sri Lanka squad.

But what they know is that the scourge is the result of one club Kandy SC dominating or allowed to hold sway that its well paid players turn their backs on Sri Lanka representation.

From a list of 12 experienced hardcore players from Kandy SC in the Sri Lanka preliminary squad, eight withdrew for reasons that were frivolous according to Sri Lanka Rugby officials.

“In no other sport in the country do players say they don’t want to be selected to wear the national cap or jersey than in rugby and this is a disease from the hill country that we have to destroy,” said Sri Lanka Rugby’s firebrand deputy president Rizly Illyas.

He said they’ll be forced to enforce a regulation that can ban players from representing their respective clubs who pull out from national duty without a valid reason.

One player had even gone into extremes to withdraw from the Sri Lanka squad over the omission of a close friend who was not selected indicating how childish even politics could be.

“We cannot be hero-worshiping players to play for their country. For them their club is before country and this is their mindset.

“We have put in place a process for good governance and we will now have to act accordingly against players with such attitudes,” Illyas warned.

The 17 new faces were seen off by sports minister Harin Fernando who hoped the team will provide a spark to reignite a country struggling to shed a self-inflicted fear psychosis more than a month after last month’s bombings.

“Given what happened to us and the situation (bombings) we were faced with, a win will mean so much to the country,” Minister Fernando told the players.

A former player at St. Joseph’s College, Minister Fernando sees rugby as the only form of human activity that teaches a lesson of triumph through tragedy that other sports may not offer.

“You all depend on one another to score a try in rugby by falling, hurting and bruising yourselves and this is an experience that you will never gain or value from anything else. All of you know this,” said Minister Fernando.

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