By Susil Premalal
The ‘FFSL President’s Cup 2020’ invitational football tournament which was scheduled to kick-off on July 26 has been postponed to August 9 due to the spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.
The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) decided to organise an invitational pre-seasonal football tournament to bring back the football atmosphere and to promote football entertainment.
“We were hoping to grant approval for this tournament. But after the recent spiral in the coronavirus outbreak, we had no option but to advise postponing the start of this tournament because of the health situation in the country. The Premier Cricket League tournament which was scheduled to commence on July 14 was also put off in addition to a Kabaddi selection trial meet on July 15,” Dr Lal Ekanayake of the Institute of Sports Medicine, which comes under the Ministry of Sports, said.
The top 24 teams in the country based on the last available points table, were invited to take part in this competition which will also serve as a platform to scout new talent for the national team in preparation for the 2022 FIFA Doha World Cup (Asian zone) second round qualification matches which were rescheduled by the AFC (Asian Football Confederation).
Sri Lanka are scheduled to play three World Cup qualifying matches against North Korea (away) on October 8, South Korea in Colombo on October 13 and Lebanon (away) on November 12.
The 20 participating teams in the FFSL President’s Cup 2020 are: Defenders FC (SL Army FL), Colombo FC (City FL), Blue Star SC (Kalutara FL), Sea Hawks FC (SL Navy FL), Renown SC (City FL), Ratnam SC (Colombo FL), Up Country Lions SC (Nawalapitiya FL), Blue Eagles SC (SL Air Force FL), Red Stars FC (Beruwela FL), New Youngs FC (Wennappuwa FL), Matara City Club (Matara FL), Java Lane SC (City FL), Saunders SC (City FL), SL Police SC (SL Police FL), Serendib SC (Mawanella FL), Crystal Palace FC (Gampola FL), Super Sun SC (Beruwela FL), New Star SC (Colombo FL), SLTB SC (NSSA) and Moragasmulla SC (City FL).
The matches are to be held at the Sugathadasa Stadium and Racecourse stadium within closed doors following health guidelines.
FFSL had made arrangement to stream selected matches live through their official YouTube Channel ‘Sri Lanka Football TV’ for fans to enjoy local football.