Football chiefs kick out politics in massive futuristic drive | Sunday Observer

Football chiefs kick out politics in massive futuristic drive

17 October, 2021
Jaswar Umar (centre), President of Football Sri Lanka spells out his plans further inspired by the showing of the team at the SAFF championship in the Maldives flanked by Ranjith Rodrigo (VP) and KPP Pathirana (VP)
Jaswar Umar (centre), President of Football Sri Lanka spells out his plans further inspired by the showing of the team at the SAFF championship in the Maldives flanked by Ranjith Rodrigo (VP) and KPP Pathirana (VP)

Incumbent President of Football Sri Lanka (FSL) Jaswar Umar, along with his Senior Vice President Ranjith Rodrigo, briefed the media after witnessing the performances of the national team at the SAFF Championship in Male and their progress so far and outlined their future plans in developing and uplifting the standard of the sport.

The Sri Lanka team concluded their 12-day tour of the Maldives which revealed several positive signs.

Jaswar was mainly instrumental for this with his untiring efforts in facilitating the national team’s endeavor with a training session in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and was pleased with his team’s performance at the SAFF Championship

He is confident that the players will now be fully focused in winning the inaugural quadrangular tournament scheduled to be kicked-off in early November with the participation of hosts Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Maldives and the Seychelles.

“We are analyzing how many players are eligible to represent the national team in the future based on their performance, said Jaswar.

“When a player says goodbye to the sport, he makes some plans for his future. It remains to be seen whether he will become a coach or move on to another aspect of football. We are making plans for them to secure their future after playing.

“We have to ensure that children who take to football will have a secure future. When that happens, parents will begin to think of football, which at present is the case with cricket,” added Jaswar.

He also hinted that the national football coach would change in the near future. “The current national coach has been recruited for the post of Technical Director. He is paid according to the post.

“According to FIFA rules, both positions of technical director and coach cannot be held by the same person. So, there will be a change in the future. Our national football coach is qualified. But we will hunt for a qualified coach to suit the national team while identifying the shortcomings,” Jaswar explained.

Expanding further, Rodrigo said that the football administration has realized that the national coach was somewhat disappointed in the recent past.

“He had no appreciation forthcoming from the past football administration. They had deployed officials who could not work with the national team. So how can they advise the coach? When the coach instructs something, there was no positive response from the staff.

“But now circumstances have changed and he (national coach) is working with a free mind and independently. We have never influenced him. President Jaswar has taken the responsibility to look into the issues of the national team and the entire executive committee has empowered him to do so. We decided that he (Jaswar) should be directly involved in every competition of the Sri Lanka team. Marcos Pereira, who worked with us in the mid 1990s has been re-contracted as the trainer of the national team and the under-23 team,” said Rodrigo.

Rodrigo further stressed that the lack of international competitions came into focus in some areas and the shortcomings will be addressed match by match so the players will be able mature into the top shelf.

He further disclosed that steps would be taken within the next two to three months to appoint an internal auditor to regulate the funds of FSL in a transparent manner.

“I suggested this in the past, but nothing was done and big financial problems arose. Now the administration has been formalized. Even those who opposed our election have been given the responsibility to work in the committees.

“A special task force has been appointed with the President’s new vision. Provinces have been divided under the purview of the Vice Presidents. We don’t need any enemies and have no grudge against anyone. We have buried the past. Post-mortem reports are not required. All doors of the Football House are open for everyone to work together for the development of the game.” said Rodrigo.

He also revealed that a relief program was launched to distribute 5070 bags of dry rations to all members of the leagues affected by the pandemic, including officials and referees from the second week of October.

The football boss responding to media queries said that steps have been taken to change the logo of Football Sri Lanka by holding a Council meeting through zoom technology.

“We have changed our emblem and Amendments to the Constitution is our next primary goal. The Ministry of Sports is holding a discussion on the draft Constitution. It is a rule that we must submit the Amendments to the Constitution to the AFC and FIFA for approval, and then re-submitted to the Sports Ministry for approval.

“There will be no change in the leagues. The Referees’ Association and the Coaches’ Association have the right to vote. The leagues now have two or three votes. There is a suggestion that it should be pruned down to one. All this is under discussion,” Jaswar Umar explained.

“We are developing the game island-wide moving away where earlier it was limited only among a few groups. Now everyone is talking about football. The administration has opened the doors and is transparent and provided the opportunity for the people of the country to air their views. We have no desire to stay in power forever but intend to keep up the good work. If voters say they do not want us, we will go home. I hope that the member associations will give us another three years to reap the benefits of the journey we have embarked on.” Jaswar added.

“Although a memorandum of understanding was signed with the Qatar Football Federation between 2013 and 2015, the former administration failed to carry it out,” said Rodrigo.

“Legal drafts are under process after we met the President of Qatar Football and we are to sign a memorandum of understanding again. Qatari officials were upset the way the previous administration handled the bilateral ties depriving the healthy relationship established previously. But after our visit they agreed to assist Sri Lanka with the new President’s vision of “Restart-Football”. Several other countries have shown their desire to help us in the future.

“We are also focusing on revamping women’s football, which needs urgent attention if the game is to be developed among the lasses. It will give a great opportunity to the girls attached to the Police and the Tri Forces to get back to football. We have appointed Olivia Gamage as the Acting Chairman of Women’s Football,” revealed Rodrigo.