Sri Lanka football turned around in crucial year as players come under scrutiny | Sunday Observer

Sri Lanka football turned around in crucial year as players come under scrutiny

24 January, 2021
Sri Lanka football players listen to a lecture by head coach Amir Alagic
Sri Lanka football players listen to a lecture by head coach Amir Alagic

The National football pool of 22-players (4 goal keepers and 18 field players) successfully completed the first phase of their training camp on Friday in preparation for the FIFA World Cup (Qatar 2022) and AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers (China 2023) of which the Preliminary Joint Qualification Round-2 matches begin from March this year.

Sri Lanka Football(SLF) hosted the camp at its National Training Centre, Beddagana lasting 15 days under the watchful eyes of coaches Amir Alagic and Amir Doksanaltic.

Emphasis was mainly focused on general endurance, mental preparation, model play and testing which will continue for another three months.

According to head coach Amir Alagic, the camp was professionally conducted with two training sessions per day including tactical video presentation followed by a lecture from expert guest speakers.

The morning sessions focused on strength, mental and individual training while afternoon sessions focused on group and team tactics. Players responded well although tests showed a significant decline in fitness and body composition areas which was due to the stoppages incurred without regular training.

Nevertheless SLF believes that with the overall camp scheduled to last three months a proper analysis will indicate the development of fitness, technique and nutrition, while tactics and mental improvement will be addressed separately.

Next week the camp will recommence for a further 11 days after which the players will be released to their clubs for further preparation to compete in the pro-league in February followed by the inaugural Super League Tournament scheduled to kick in April.

But analysts also contend that camps alone will not be able to lift the standards of the players unless they are involved in match situations which is the ultimate test for a player.

Last year they had just two months of competitive football without any international friendlies while the enlisting of overseas players with Sri Lankan parentage has also being put on hold due to immigration issues in the aftermath of the global pandemic.

But Amir contends the FIFA games will serve as a warm-up tournament for the forthcoming SAFF tournament in September and wants the government sector to expedite the ‘Catapult’ analysis system available to SLF and the national team which will enable them to raise the standards of the players in all aspects.

Currently, some paperwork is done to recruit a performance analyst.

“I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the Sports Minister for extending his valuable assistance to Sri Lanka Football. Development of football cannot depend merely on one individual. It has to be a collective effort and should be run as a state-project if they are to see rapid development of domestic football,” said Amir.

Meanwhile SLF is to recruit a UEFA qualified fitness coach to look into the players fitness who could join the Sri Lankan contingent before the FIFA games in March.