By Harsha Amarasinghe
Former Sri Lanka captain Pradeep Basnayake who was elected as the new President of Central Province Rugby Football Union (CPRFU) highlighted the need for new rugby stadiums and clubs as part of his plan in developing the game in the Hill Capital.
“At the moment we have so many schools playing rugby in Kandy and every year we have about 200-300 players coming out of their schools, but there is only one ‘A’ division club and there is no ‘B’ division clubs at all, so this is something we need to find solutions for. If someone is willing to come forward in establishing new rugby playing clubs in Kandy, it will definitely be a huge step forward. The other thing we have to look at is the grounds; the only two rugby grounds we have at the moment is the Pallekele Stadium and Nittawela Rugby Stadium, so there is a need for new rugby stadiums as well,” the former double international told Daily Mirror in an interview having taken the reigns from the long standing former President Tuan Dole, after being nominated by Dimbulla Athletic and Cricket Club and Darrawela Club.
The former Trinity second row claimed that he observes some development in sevens rugby and women’s rugby in the recent yes, but is not satisfied with overall development.
“Well, I think Sri Lanka have made some progress in sevens rugby as well as women’s rugby, however, I am not satisfied with the overall rugby development in Sri Lanka. We should look at it differently, rather than changing so much, we should specifically look at player development,” added the former Sri Lanka captain.
The Kandy players in particular have come under heavy criticism in recent years for making them unavailable very often for the practice sessions of national squads.
“Listen this is an issue we have had from our days. I stopped playing rugby in 2004 and even at the time we had this issue. What I think is that SLR should have to have some clear policies which are clear for everyone so in future we may not have situations of this nature. On the other hand the game also needs to be more professional in Sri Lanka. Sometimes it’s difficult to force players in matters like this, but if you have the right policies in place, the players themselves will feel the need to take part in the practices of the national squad, but the important fact is to have some clear policies,” explained the former Kandy Sports Club captain.
Having had an incredibly successful career as a player and a coach, Basnayake said that he felt ‘it’s high time’ for his generation to come forward.
“Well, I think I had a good career as a player, coach and even a selector, so I think it’s high time that people from our generation take over the administrative roles. I don’t want to be too critical about how things have moved in the last few decades and we have to be appreciative as well, but I think it’s time for a fresh vision,” concluded the new CPRFU President.
Pic courtesy: thepapare.com