Football coach delivers trophies like kicking goals | Sunday Observer

Football coach delivers trophies like kicking goals

From left- MH Roomy, head coach, Colombo FC holds the Vantage FFSL President’s Cup with Hanif Yusoof, the club’s patron and Saif Yusoof, the founder, owner and president of Colombo FC
From left- MH Roomy, head coach, Colombo FC holds the Vantage FFSL President’s Cup with Hanif Yusoof, the club’s patron and Saif Yusoof, the founder, owner and president of Colombo FC

Football players and fans heaved a sigh of relief when the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) announced the revamp of the domestic tournament under the name Vantage FFSL President’s Cup.

One of the prominent clubs in the fray was Colombo FC, coached by Mohamed Hassan Roomy that went on to clinch the championship and the man behind their success was none other than the coach himself who put in an indefatigable effort to see his players reach the pinnacle.

A product of Zahira College, Colombo, Roomy hailed from a family of footballers starting with his father. His three brothers also donned school jerseys and graduated to club level.

Beginning his football career from a tender age, Roomy represented the College with distinction and led them to win several championships, which could be rated as the golden era of schools’ soccer. He toured Hong Kong, India and Bahrain with the junior National teams where he won several awards for his extraordinary skills.

When he was in peak form in the schools’ arena, he was called for National duty in 1996 and went on to dribble the ball for them until 2002 as a highly skilled back division player which was his favourite position.

Roomy was recruited by the Air Force and served for 12 years as their Sports Officer and Aircraft and Domestic Firefighter. Aware of his football skills the Air Force management requested him to play for them in the top division and he gladly obliged to end up captaining the team in 2006.

Roomy changed gears down the line and decided to hang his boots and opted to get into coaching which was his dream. He showed gratitude to his Alma Mater and joined them in 2010 to play a pivotal role in restructuring and development.

He transformed Zahira to winning ways and annexed the All Island Schools Soccer Championship for four years which was a unique achievement in his life. His coaching prowess did not go unnoticed and was entrusted to coach the Sri Lanka women’s team and the National under-16 side.

While coaching Zahira he was invited by Colombo Football Club to take over as their coach in 2010 and ever ready to take up challenges he grabbed the opportunity.

He turned Colombo FC into champion unit, a major force to be reckoned with in the local football scene guiding them to win the Silver Cup 2010 tournament in his very first year.

They went on to win it again in 2012 and while maintaining the winning streak Roomy and his team crossed the biggest hurdle by winning the prestigious FA Cup in 2015 which is the most acclaimed prize in Sri Lanka football involving over 700 teams island-wide from the initial stage of the competition.

Roomy also produced six players to don the Sri Lanka jersey and was instrumental in winning several other tournaments culminating in bagging the Vantage FFSL President’s Cup to add to his list of achievements at a unique juncture as it was played after a long lapse amid the Covid-19 constraints.

The end result was that Colombo FC had the rare distinction of winning all tournaments on offer in the country under Roomy’s coaching.

If Roomy has anyone to thank, he will not waste time in paying a glowing tribute to his school’s coach Nizardeen and the late PD Sirisena, the former legend who motivated him to take up coaching.

Discovering the potential in Roomy, the FFSL supported him to obtain his Asian Football Confederation ‘A’ license diploma which only a few in the country have acquired.

Current employer Saif Yusoof who owns Colombo FC and trusted him to the fullest will be the first to say that Roomy has the best credentials to put his hand up some day for a job with the Sri Lanka team before he decides to retire.

And no one could be more proud than Roomy’s wife Fathima Niroza who has been a pillar of strength to him along with his parents.

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