Dr. Manil has the cure for FFSL ills | Sunday Observer

Dr. Manil has the cure for FFSL ills

A rising and shining star in the football firmament and administration in the country is Dr. Manil Fernando, son of the famous Manilal Fernando who dribbled football to a different level in the game and its administration when he was heading the Football Federation.

Dr. Manil hails from a high pedigree of football. His father Manilal during his reign in the game and its administration worked hard and did wonders for the player, game and administration.

Manilal rewrote Sri Lanka’s football by scoring goals that were never before scored in the history of the game here. Using his legal brains, he got world football administrators in the Asian and world scene to concede and appreciate his contribution for the betterment of the game.

He took the local game’s administration to a different level being elected to the Executive Committee of FIFA and dribbling further and serving on its Legal Committee.

Not satisfied at that he was elected as Vice President of the Asian Football Confederation and had the credentials to become its President. These were positions and only dreams of previous Lankan administrators but never before attained.

Manilal also used his influence to get FIFA to build the imposing ‘FOOTBALL HOUSE’ for its administration considering the FFSL never before had a headquarters of its own. Once it was built he had a picture of him hung at the entrance with ‘I lived my dreams’ in bold letters.

So coming into the game’s administration son Dr. Manil brings with him the tremendous experience and expertise a sound and rich heritage of his father to kick start his career in taking the game to a different level in administration and on the playing field.

Dr. Manil is the Chairman of the Kalutara Football League and many leagues aware of his keenness and ability to do things for the game have urged him to take over the country’s football administration and to use a biblical term “lead them into the promised land.”

Young Dr. Manil has from the time he got his pulse on the game at quite a young age, watched the ills that afflict the game and is confident that he has the panacea for its ills.

Dr. Manil is also the head of the Medical Commission of the FFSL and once served as the Chairman of the Youth Football Development Committee.

Dr Manil who is a no-nonsense man has used those in the administration to give priority and work to find and get the national pool players back into training after the coronavirus setback.

Sri Lanka’s first goal should be to work hard to get a strong team for the South Asian Federation Games and the second round of the FIFA 2022 Doha World Cup qualifiers which was postponed indefinitely. “This should be FFSL’s first priority,” said the doctor.  

Dr. Manil says that the football pool must get back to immediate training giving the players the proper health protection. And who is better than Dr. Manil to provide all-important health protection.

Dr. Manil is also happy to have with them the Bosnian born football coach Amir Alagic with an European  pro-licence and revealed that the FFSL has no intention of getting rid of him but retain him at whatever cost. Dr. Manil is confident that the Bosnian born coach has it in him to take the game to the next level.     

Today with cricket being the game and every mother and father wanting his son to don pads, other sports unfortunately suffer. Cricket is where the money bags are and you can’t blame the mothers and fathers.

Football is known as the poor man’s game, yet there are football enthusiasts who want to play football. Football is one of the nicest games to play and watch especially when strikers and dribblers are in action. It is played for 90 minutes and the thrills and spills are many.

Dr Manil will do well to concentrate on schools and Municipal Park players. In the past when Sri Lanka’s game was tops, many were the gems that were found in the schools and parks.

When one talks about football in the Municipal Playgrounds the name that promptly comes to mind is that of that lover and efficient promoter of sports BA Jayasinghe who was the Municipal Commissioner.

Jayasinghe employed top cricketers, footballers and netball players and they in turn did not let him down winning trophies regularly. In cricket he had former Charity Commissioner DH De Silva to steer its fortunes, in netball it was Nanda Rodrigo the all court player and in football it was Denzil Walles my class mate at SBC and friend.

How Dr. Manil must be hoping for players of the caliber of Peter Ranasinghe, Mahinda Aluvihare, Eric Perera, Tom Deen, PD Sirisena, Azeez, Zainulabdeen, Edward Wickremasuriya, MA Ameer, Nizam Hajireen, SP de Sylva, Nithi Nicholas, Subani Hashimddeen, Judy Preena, Amanullah, Roshan Perera, Alfred Dias, goalkeepers MM Hashimdeen, Oscar Wijetunge, Issac Wenaden, KB Pussella, Lawrence Fernando, Gratien Amerasinghe, Harold Anthony, Lionel Pieris, Damoderam Chandrasiri, Lalith Weerasinghe and several others whose names do not come to mind.

Players of the above named caliber come only once in a life time. They were naturals who knew what to do when they had ball at their feet. They would hit the net or defender with dexterity and coaches did not have to constantly hammer it into them that scoring goals was what the game of football is.

Anyway here’s wishing Dr. Manil all the best in bringing back the glory days of football and attracting back the crowds that are now dwindling from the game.    

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