By Susil Premalal
The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) has made all arrangements to commence residential training for the national pool at the National Football Training Centre in Beddegana, Kotte today.
The 18 players selected for the first phase training reported to the training camp yesterday to undergo PCR tests conducted by doctors attached to the Sports Ministry’s Institute of Sports Medicine, according to Asif Ansar, National Pool Manager and Competition Manager, FFSL.
Since the players will be returning to training after a period of three months owing to the coronavirus outbreak, head coach Amir Alagic said he will focus on fitness during the first seven days before continuing training following the strict guidelines drawn up by health professionals.
Alagic will focus on transforming the style of Sri Lanka’s football from the 4-2-4 to a 4-3-3 formation during this non-contact individual skills training programme which will run in cycles of 21 days of training followed by a four-day break for the players.
national pool and officials
National Pool: Prabath Ruwan Arunasiri (Blue Eagles SC), Mahendran Dinesh (SL Police SC), M. Chalana Chameera (Saunders SC), Sivakumaran Rubanraj (Renown SC), H. Niran Kanishka (Colombo FC), Y. Duckson Puslas (New Youngs FC), S. Jude Supan (Renown SC), B.M. Charitha Rathnanayake (Colombo FC), M.A. Asikoor Rahuman (Defenders FC), M.N. Afeel Mohamed (Colombo FC), M.N. Mohamed Fazal (Colombo FC), Mohamed Shabeer Razooniya (Colombo FC), M. Rizkhan Faizer (Java Lane SC), L.M.O. Sajith Kumara (Defenders FC), M. N. Abdul Basith (Colombo FC), L.H. Kavindu Ishan (Blue Eagles SC), Rifkhan Mohammed (SL Police SC), K. Dilip Suraj Pieris (Renown SC).
Head Coach: Amir Alagic, Team Manager: Asif Ansar, Assistant Coach/ GK Coach: Amir Doksanaltik, Assistant Coach: Mahinda Galagedara, Interpreter/ Video Analyst: Shehan Silveira, Fitness Trainer: Kavinda Ransiru Jayathilake, Physio: Abdul Barsith, Kit men: Mohamed Fahim, Roshan Pradeep.
His immediate task would be to prepare the national team for the three second round matches of the 2022 Doha FIFA World Cup Asian preliminary qualification stage.
Sri Lanka is scheduled to play North Korea on October 8 (away), South Korea in Colombo on October 13 and Lebanon on November 12 (away). Sri Lanka lost the first leg matches against these teams played on a home and away basis.
Alagic said his focus is on achieving good performances than results in these internationals since he has begun training with a younger group of players with the ultimate goal of winning the 2021 South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Championship.
“Our players are not professionals. They need time to adapt to the system. I want a losing side to believe that they are capable of winning. My ultimate goal is good results at the SAFF Championship. In the World Cup qualifiers I want them to come up with good performances and not suffer big defeats. I want the younger guys to raise their hands,” said Alagic.
The Bosnian-born Australian national wants to instill a sense of national pride in the squad during the residential training.
“I have instructed the Sri Lanka anthem to be played in the camp daily. Players should start to be proud to play for Sri Lanka. No national team likes losing a game. But you have to learn to give whatever you have for the country, like in the war. This is the kind of feeling I want to give back to the players,” said Alagic, who has mentored top sides in Europe and Asia.
The former assistant coach of Werder Bremen in the Bundesliga was to change the face of football in Sri Lanka.
“We are trying to open a new chapter in football by replacing the old structure. We want to create a winning strategy for Sri Lanka football. Coronavirus is a hard situation for everybody but I am saying it is a blessing for Sri Lanka. With valuable time ahead we will be able to squeeze the gaps between us and the so called advanced countries. Everything starts from the bottom line. We have created files of where we want to go in four years time. This is time frame we are trying to achieve,” said Alagic, who wants to raise the profile of Sri Lanka football.
“Everybody knows how football is played in Brazil. They play with plenty of flair. In Germany it is strong and combative football. When you ask about Sri Lanka nobody knows. We have different styles. When they come to the national team it is a big problem for any national coach because they don’t know what to do. The players are confused,” he said.
“Obviously we want to play attacking football. This is written in the national curriculum. What you want to do is learn from the best. I am coming from Europe. I want to implement it here because we are not doing that just right now,” said Alagic, who wants to create profiles of players for the positions they play.
Former skipper and experienced goal keeper Sujan Perera has not been included in the initial training pool because he is undergoing self-quarantine after returning from Maldives where he plays for a club as a professional. He is expected to join the national pool later on.
Three new faces have been included in the 18-man national pool. They are Mahendran Dinesh, Sivakumaran Rubanraj and H. Niran Kanishka.
We are trying to open a new chapter in football by replacing the old structure. We want to create a winning strategy for Sri Lanka football. Coronavirus is a hard situation for everybody but I am saying it is a blessing for Sri Lanka. With valuable time ahead we will be able to squeeze the gaps between us and the so called advanced countries