Sri Lanka enlists Serbians for major handball boost | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka enlists Serbians for major handball boost

Matic Nedeljko (right) and Nenad Kraljevski the two handball coaches from Serbia who will be coaching the Sri Lankan teams (Pic: Vipula Amerasinghe)
Matic Nedeljko (right) and Nenad Kraljevski the two handball coaches from Serbia who will be coaching the Sri Lankan teams (Pic: Vipula Amerasinghe)

Handball is an Olympic sport and many countries in the European region are fielding strong teams at the highest level. Sri Lanka too is endeavouring to enhance its standard of handball especially in the Asian region and have enlisted the services of two foreign coaches.

Addressing the media at the NOC auditorium, retired Maj. Gen. Dampath Fernando president of the Handball Federation of Sri Lanka (HFSL) said that they had made several requests to the International Handball Federation (IHF) to assist Sri Lanka with high performance coaches. For this the IHF has sent two coaches from Serbia who will be in charge of the men’s and women’s national pools.

They are Nedeljko Matic and Nenad Kraljevshi who are special guests of the army who will be lodging with the players at the Army cantonment hostel in Panagoda. Maj Gen Fernando also said that the Secretary of the NOC Maxwell de Silva had taken a personal interest to procure the coaches and that Sri Lanka was now in a better position to performan at the South Asian Federation Games that will be held in Nepal in December.

Coach Matic will be in charge of the men’s pool while Nenad will coach the women players. The pools began training about one and a half months ago at Panagoda but it is only one week after the Serbian coaches arrived.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Observer, Matic said that like in other countries there are several teams participating in league tournaments and the best players are picked to form the national pool.

“There are not many teams here to choose the best players from. Most of these players are from the defence services who just go through the motions without much competition. Without competition it is difficult to gauge the standard of the players,” noted Matic.

“The mentality of the players too has to be strengthened. They must be able to fight back instead of giving up when a mistake is made. For this there has to be many teams competing,” said Matic.

“Sri Lanka players must also be exposed to many foreign tours and compete with players of higher standards. Only then that your players will learn and improve.”

The Serbian also said that there must be many school children participating in the game. It is from here that they can continue to playing at club level and step into the national pools. Without school teams there will not be much progress in the game, he said.

However, it was a surprise to note that there are 58 schools involved in the game in Sri Lanka. “Already two children are in the national pool,” said Maj Gen Fernando.

But Matic’s facial expression was not too good when asked about the facilities available in Sri Lanka for handball. In short he said that there are no proper facilities at all for the game here.

He said that the game needs recognition after the SAF Games.

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