National stars, Kasun & Imran return with a wealth of experience
by Gamini Perera
Sri Lanka National football teams ace striker, Kasun Jayasuriya and the stopper back, Imran Mohammed returned to the island during the weekend.
These two players were on a contract in India, representing the Indian Bank in the ongoing Indian National League championship.
According to coach Marcos Ferreira, Kasun and Imran were called by the FFSL to represent Sri Lanka at the forthcoming SAFF championship to be held in Dacca, Bangladesh in the early part of January, 2003.
Both missed the tour of Vietnam in Sri Lanka due to their commitment in India.
"The experience we gained in representing the Indian National Bank in the All-India national football league was immense. We travelled all over India, playing in places like Goa, where we met the famous Churchill Bros. SC, Delhi, Calcatta and Chennai, to figure in the league round matches. Playing against such strong teams helped us to gain the vital foreign exposure, too," said striker Kasun Jayasuriya to The Island on Wednesday at the Football House when the national team is hard at practice, both in the mornings and the evenings.
"We are being coached by the famous S. Sathyan, who led India with much credit.
The Indian Bank team is a blend of youth and experience and we enjoyed every bit of it, playing with such a friendly and formidable side, "said Imran Mohammed, a key defender in the national football team of Sri Lanka.
Both players were in India for 20 days, playing in the Indian Football League circuit and will return to the Indian Bank team after their commitment with the Sri Lanka team in Bangladesh is over. They will return to India on January 23, 2003.
The Indian Bank is faring well in the league championship, having won five of the 7 matches they played, with the two Sri Lankan players, playing for the Bank.
Sri Lanka is expected to meet Afghanistan on January 10, India on January 12, and Pakistan on January 14 in the league round.
If they come out on top Sri Lanka will go into the next round due to be played here.
Meanwhile, the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) has appointed Major Achchala Samarakoon as the manager of the Sri Lanka contingent to Dacca which is scheduled to leave on January 6, 2003.
Samarakoon replaces Harold Anthony as manager, Nat. team. Maj. Samarakoon is an old boy of Ananda College, Colombo and had represented Ananda at rugby as a centre-flanker.
He is the secretary and the manager of the Army Sports Club football team, which is taking part in the ongoing Premier League championship 2002/03.
On Wednesday, two under-23 players from Vavuniya joined the national pool, after being observed by coach Ferreira at the trials held at the Reid Avenue last month.
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