Sports

National soccer coach given ultimatum

by Champika Fernando
National soccer captain Duddley Steinwall is confident of his team doing well against Laos in the 2006 FIFA World Cup Preliminary competition Asia Zone encounter to held on November 29 in Laos. The match will be followed by a match on December 3 where Sri Lanka will host Laos at the Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo.

" We lost all the six matches earlier, but we have gained lots of experience by playing against some of the best teams in the Asian region. Thatís what we were lacking in the past and I hope we will perform well against Laos," Steinwall said.

The eighteen-member national team left last morning for the opening encounter accompanied by coach Brazilian Marcus Ferreira.

" Itís not fair to expect overnight results from us. We are still in moving away from the amateur status to semi-professional status. Itís a long journey and it takes lots of time to reach our ultimate goal of becoming one of the professional soccer playing nations," an optimistic Steinwall said.

He further said that his team was mentally prepared to take up the challenge from Laos in the opener despite the losses.

" No one likes to lose and itís the same with us. But our main problem is the lack of experience for which none of us are responsible. As I said above it takes time," he further said.

Meanwhile these matches will decide the fate of Brazilian coach Marcus Ferreira who has failed to produce what was expected of him as coach.

" This will probably be his last chance as we have given him enough opportunities in the past. But we cannot sack him immediately as we have to find a replacement for him," an FFSL official said.

Team

P.K. Sanjaya, Cristeen Fernando, K.M. Fuard, S.P. Wickramasinghe, Isuru Perera, Duddley Steinwall (Captain), Niroshan Abeysekera, Kasun Jayasuriya, E.B. Channa, N.H. Hameed, J.D.R Rathnayake, I.P. Perera, Imtiyas Raheem, S.D. Thilakeratne, Chathura Maduranga, M.M. Azmeer, M.H.M. Hassan, Sandun Devinda.


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