Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR) on Wednesday made a haughty announcement that Kandy players would be included in the final pool subject to the condition test supervised by K. Kumara, based on which the Kandy players including Danush Dayan continued to work hard not knowing they are about to be stabbed in the back once more by SLR and the Ministry of Sports.
A top official from SLR told the ‘Daily Mirror’ yesterday (14) “I received a call from the ministry that other clubs have objected to CR & Kandy players being drafted into the national squad without playing the tournament, as such SLR will receive a letter from DG (Director General) relating to the objections and stating that those players will not be permitted although the matter was discussed. As SLR we have done the best to have the best national squad. We (SLR) shall await the letter from DG as related to me just now - it’s fair and unfair,” the source stated in a message.
When contacted by the ‘Daily Mirror’, Sports - Director General Amal Edirisooriya confirmed this stating that the decision was made upon the ‘objection from the other clubs.’
The ‘Daily Mirror’ can confirm that Sri Lanka 7’s captain Danush Dayan as of 8.30p.m yesterday (14) had no clue that their chances of representing Sri Lanka in the Asia Seven Series had been destroyed despite being informed to prepare for a condition test 24 hours earlier.
This means some of the very best players in Sri Lanka such as Srinath Sooriyabandara, Jason Dissanayake, Kavindu Perera, Danush Dayan, Roshan Weeraratne, Richard Dharmapala would not even be considered for selection.
Police Sports Club had planned to organize a 7’s tournament on October 30 & 31, but SLR also wanted to have a tournament on the same dates, however Police came out victorious in that battle overcoming the parent body of the particular sport; so who is calling the shots?
SLR then made the Police SC tournament the selection trial, so anybody not taking part in the tournament would not be selected for the Sri Lanka national team.
Kandy Sports Club are very successful, no other team has won as much as they have in the last three decades, so they are cocky. They have a policy which requires at least three months preparation before any major tournament which meant that they did not agree to send their players to a tournament that was organized out of the blues. However, this left a number of Kandy SC players totally helpless because Kandy SC were not sending a team and selectors wouldn't pick players who would not represent a team at the said tournament.
Kandy have a number of exceptional players, but not as many leaders on and off the field. This group of players who were left with no choice found a brave leader in Danush Dayan who risked playing for Kandy SC or Sri Lanka again by fighting back, forming a team called ‘Kandy Kings’ which would feature Srinath Sooriyabandara, Jason Dissanayake, Kavindu Perera and many other top players.
At one point Kandy had said they had financial difficulties in addition to the so-called policy which at the end of day people have to respect. Alas Dayan found sponsors and the group were very serious about taking part in the selection trial – otherwise known as this tournament organized by Police SC.
Then they were told last week that they cannot take part in the tournament because players must be put into a bio-secure bubble, but players are only getting into that bubble next week. So, who is making these decisions?
However, since it looked like a monumental mistake to leave out nearly 15 national players, SLR tried to get some of them into the final pool which simply makes sense and is reasonable to state the least. That was on Wednesday (13), but within 24 hours they were made to look like idiots as that decision had to be changed, stating that other clubs have objected to the idea of letting Kandy players in.
The ultimate outcome of this matter which goes to the very root of a rugby player’s desire to represent his country would test the standing of SLR and its future as the sport’s governing body, for as at present they are only dancing to the tune of the Sports Ministry. One cannot ignore the fact that at the end of the day, it is the sport that would suffer.
Sports Minister Namal Rajapaksa is a former Sri Lanka rugby captain, so either he simply does not care about winning the Asia Sevens Series or believes that Sri Lanka 7’s rugby team is better off without the likes of Srinath Sooriyabandara, Jason Dissanayake, Danush Dayan, Roshan Weeraratne, Kavindu Perera, Richard Dharmapala Tarinda Ratwatte and Buddhima Piyarathne. The jury is still out!