American Football fever hits Sri Lanka


Dilroy Fernando, Director-EFLI, Sri Lanka (4th from left) speaks at the media briefing held to unveil the first EFLI tournament at CR&FC, Longden Place, on Monday. Also in the picture are Sandy Grossman (left), Director- Production Television, Tausif Sheikh (2nd from left), Director - EFLI India, Sunday Zeller (3rd from left), EFLI Founder and Co-CEO and Brigadier Priyantha Samaratunga, Chairman, Sugathadasa Stadium. (Pic by Kamal Wanniarachchi)

by Chathura Pinnawala

Sri Lankans will get their first taste of American Football during the first season of the Elite Football League of India (EFLI), which will be held at the Sugathadasa stadium, commencing today.

The month long tournament will feature eight teams, namely; Pakistan, Bangalore, Delhi, Pune, Kolkata, Mumbai, Colombo and Kandy.

Initially, only one team from Sri Lanka was slated to participate, but with the tournament being hosted by Sri Lanka, the organizers have decided to hand one more team from the country, a slot.

The semi-finals are scheduled for August 19, while the final will be played a week later, on August 25.

Dilroy Fernando, Director Sri Lanka-EFLI, speaking at the media briefing held at the CR&FC on Monday, said that it is bound to be an exciting tournament and called on Sri Lankans to come in their numbers to the Sugathadasa stadium and witness American Football, which attained cult-status in the United States, in a short period of time. He also said that many rugby players from Sri Lanka are to representing various sides. Among them are Mohamed Sheriff, Bilal Hassan, Zulki Hameed, Shenal Dias and Ashan Karthelis.

Originally, the first season was scheduled to be hosted by India in November 2012, but Tausif Sheikh, Director-EFLI, India, said that they settled on Sri Lanka because of the cost-effective factor, since it was the first tournament of its kind.

Carlton Sports Network will telecast the matches in Sri Lanka, while Ten Sports is the global provider.

Tournament Schedule:

Week 1 - July 25

Pakistan vs Bangalore

Delhi vs Pune

Kolkata vs Kandy

Colombo vs Mumbai

Week 2 - July 30

Kolkata vs Pune

Mumbai vs Pakistan

Colombo vs Bangalore

Kandy vs Delhi

Week 3 - August 2

Pune vs Bangalore

Colombo vs Kolkata

Delhi vs Pakistan

Mumbai vs Kandy

Week 4 - August 5

Mumbai vs Kolkata

Delhi vs Bangalore

Colombo vs Kandy

Pune vs Pakistan

Week 5 - August 9

Mumbai vs Pune

Kolkata vs Pakistan

Kandy vs Bangalore

Colombo vs Delhi

Week 6 - August 12

Colombo vs Pakistan

Mumbai vs Bangalore

Kandy vs Pune

Kolkata vs Delhi

Week 7 - August 15

Kolkata vs Bangalore

Colombo vs Pune

Mumbai vs Delhi

Kandy vs Pakistan

Semi-finals - August 19

Final - August 25

(Note: The time slots for the matches in the first round are 1.00 pm, 3.00 pm, 5.00 pm and 8.00 pm. The matches will start at these times in the respective order given in the schedule)

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