CH&FC beefs up with Fiji and Kenya players to dominate league tournament

By Ravi Nagahawatte

Colombo Hockey & Football Club (CH&FC) expects to field several expatriate players for the upcoming Caltex Inter-club league rugby tournament, President of CH&FC Shane Dullewa said on Tuesday.

Dullewa said that the club would be strengthened with the recruitment of foreign players from countries like Fiji and Kenya.

According him, CH&FC, also known as Gymkhana Club, will have the services of Fijians Manoa Driu, Apisi Nagata Rogu, Iligsa Salu Salu (the trio from Fiji) along with Ernest Ngong Chianbah and Ottou Stefan Augustin (from Kenya).

Interestingly, Driu is the son of Mansanga Quoro who represented CH&FC some years ago, while Rogu is the nephew of Apisai Nagata, who also had several seasons of rugby in Sri Lanka, representing CH&FC. Driu and Salu Salu have already represented the Fiji national under 24 team.

‘As the oldest rugby playing club in the island, CH&FC faired poorly last season and finished seventh out of eight teams. It’s time to reverse CH&FC’s fortunes this season and that’s why the club decided to take the opportunity of fielding foreigners this season,’ Dullewa said.

The Sri Lanka Rugby Football Union (SLRFU) has granted four out of eight clubs contesting the league championships permission to field two foreigners at any given time during a game. According to the rule which permits these four clubs to field foreigners, one of the expatriates will have to play in the three quarter line while the other will have to play as a forward.

According to an SLRFU source, a club can register any amount of foreigners in their side, but can field only two, any time during a game.

The source stated that Havelocks Sports Club had also registered expatriate players for the 2011 inter-club league rugby season.

The two other clubs which are allowed to field expatriates are Police Sports Club and Army Sports Club.

The top four clubs in the league, champions Kandy SC, Ceylonese Rugby & Football Club, Air Force Sports Club and Navy Sports Club are not permitted to field foreigners this season on the account of finishing within the top four in the points table last season.

The league rugby championships are sponsored once again by lubricant giant Caltex. The 2011 rugby season is expected to kick-off this week with matches scheduled in Katunayake, Welisara and Colombo.

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