Restart football, last chance for football: Two men on election collision | Sunday Observer

Restart football, last chance for football: Two men on election collision

2 May, 2021
Jaswar Umar-Manil Fernando
Jaswar Umar-Manil Fernando

With football in Sri Lanka ranked 204th from 210 nations, two men of contrasting styles are vying for the top post in the game’s administration at an election to be held on May 31.

One is medical doctor Manil Fernando, son of former football president Manilal Fernando, while the other is the incumbent general secretary of the governing body, Jaswar Umar. Fernando has been at the helm of the Kalutara District Football League over the past decade and served in various capacities including being the chairman of the FFSL’s Medical Commission.

He was also a member of the Medical Committee of both the Asian Football governing body and FIFA and served as a vice president of the FFSL from 2013 to 2015.

“From 2013 nothing much has happened with the standard of the game. I have been in the executive committees for the past three to four years and all are merely discussing but nothing concrete is happening.

“Either I have to leave the Federation allowing them to do whatever they want or I have to try and do it myself. This will be my final attempt to do something,” said Fernando a product of Holy Cross College College Kalutara.

Fernando’s rival Jaswar Umar is one of the celebrated administrators who believes his visionary Super League championship to introduce professionalism is the start of a revolution for the sport in the country to bring it on par with other nations under the banner “Restart Football” that he has now turned into “Clean-up Football”.

“Our football is not where it deserves to be. This is due to poor vision and lack of management of football affairs. We have talent, resources and commitment. Sri Lanka football has lost its face and value and reputation in public.

“We were in an extraordinarily strong position in South Asia in 1995, but from then on, we have fallen to the worst place and are at the bottom of Asia,” said Umar who is a product of Royal College.

He holds a Diploma in Advance Sports Management from the International Olympic Council and participated in many international forums and courses in areas of football marketing, competition management, FIFA Integrity Programs and football Commercial Law.