By Susil Premalal reporting from Bangladesh
Sri Lanka Head Coach Nizam Pakir Ali believed that the Sri Lanka Football Team is progressing on the correct path towards becoming the number one side in the South Asian region by 2020.
He made these observations after Sri Lanka were eliminated from the semi-finals of the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup Tournament in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Sri Lanka went down to the defending champions India 0-2 in their Group ‘B’ opening encounter but held the Maldives to a goalless draw in the second outing.
As both Sri Lanka and the Maldives were level on points the second semi-finalist was decided on the toss of a coin according to the tournament rules.
However, the lady luck favoured the Maldives and Sri Lanka were sent packing home.
But Coach Pakir Ali said that the team showed a great amount of commitment during their two games and also the players proved that they have the stamina to last the full 90 minutes of play.
“I was really concerned about the nutrition for the players during the preparations for this event and now they are really producing the results” he said.
Pakir Ali also stressed the fact that Sri Lanka’s poor performances in the recent past was not due to short of talent but mainly because the players were lacking in international exposure.
“With a short term plan I have been able to lift the game in the country to a certain extent and my target is to produce a champion outfit for next year’s South Asian Games,” added Pakir Ali.