Former Sri Lanka and Renown SC captain Dudley Steinwall has been appointed as the Head Coach of the Sri Lanka National football team.
Steinwall was the assistant coach of the Sri Lanka team for the past two years and was given the job after Sampath Perera resigned earlier this month.
“The next 20 months will be crucial ending with the SAFF Gold Cup end of next year. My target is that,” Steinwall told in an exclusive interview with ThePapare.com.
Sri Lanka was knocked out of the group stage of the 2015 SAFF Gold Cup even though they managed to win against Nepal in their opening match.
“There are around 10 core players that I’ve identified for the 30 man squad and all the others have the opportunity to be included in it. I am looking to have the squad at U25 age level but anyone who is over that age limit and performs well has the chance to make the squad,” he added.
“I’m also looking at some U19 players who have impressed during the schools tournaments including St.Henry’s College boys. I’ll be having a close look at all the major tournaments to identify talents and up until late next year squad positions are open. So everyone needs to perform at their best to keep the place,” Steinwall mentioned.
Steinwall’s football career started with St.Joseph’s College, Anuradhapura and Sputnic SC where he represented Sri Lanka in different age groups and went on to captain them as well. In 1992 at the age of 17 he joined Renown SC tasting success on many an occasion while captaining for six years.
In his three years at Saunders SC from 2001-03 he won the Premier League in 2003, then represented Negombo Youth from 2004-2007 where he was captain and coach. During that period he led Negombo Youth to their only Premier League title as well as FA Cup and Champions of Champions trophy.
Steinwall finished his career in 2009 at Ratnam SC with the FA Cup win also as a captain and coach while he is also a AFC ‘A’ License certified coach. Furthermore he has coached S.Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia and Royal College while his final club assignment, before he took over as Sri Lanka’s assistant coach, was with Blue Star SC.
He first donned the national jersey in 1992 and played until his retirement in 2009 with over 100 caps. Steinwall was the Sri Lanka captain from 2002-2007 where he captained the side in 74 internationals.
Sri Lanka has been starved of international matches during the last 3-4 years unlike during the early and mid-2000.
“I have put forward a plan where we gain international exposure from playing friendlies home and away. There are FIFA International friendly dates and we are planning on having matches, especially here in Sri Lanka in that time,” he added, where there are friendly dates in July, August, September and November.
Steinwall’s assistant coach will be former Crystal Palace FC coach R.Devasagayan, who led the unheralded side to an unprecedented Super 8 stage while defeated the likes of Java Lane and Air Force while drawing against the strong Army SC side.
“I have asked for trainer because we are lacking in fitness, which has been the issue from during my time, and I will be focusing more on technique and tactics,” he stressed on.