Prolific flyhalf and legendary Kandy Sports Club player Fazil Marija took to Instagram to announce his official retirement as the 32-year-old is set to hang up his boots at the end of this Dialog Club Rugby season.
Having tasted triple crown success at Kingswood College, Marija made his professional debut that same year for his hometown club in 2004. The Kandy SC legend has changed the landscape of the sport in not only his hometown but the entire country during his 13-year-long stint.
In his statement, the veteran added that he is always grateful to the sport he loved and played for 23 long years.
“I was just 18 years old. I had not even finished school yet when I started playing it as a profession. Since then, this game has earned me bread and butter, everything I have achieved in my life I owe to rugby”
In 14 club rugby seasons, Marija has ended up being on a league title-winning side on 12 different occasions while captaining the side to victory twice.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to hang my boots and retire after completing 15 years of professional rugby in 2018” he went on to say.
Having captained the national sevens and fifteens outfits on numerous occasions, the Kandy flyhalf has been one of the nation’s treasures over the years. One of Marija’s greatest triumphs will be when Sri Lanka won the Asia Division I Rugby Championship in 2015 sending Sri Lanka to a record best World Ranking of 38.
He leaves behind a legacy under the #10 jersey that will be written in gold in the annals of Sri Lanka Rugby.
Read the full statement:
I will be officially retiring from Sri Lanka Rugby and Kandy Rugby after the 2018 season. My love for rugby began when I started playing for my school Kingswood College when I was 9 years old. I have played and loved this sport for over 23 years.
I started playing rugby professionally in 2003 when I was just 18 years old. I had not even finished school yet when I started playing it as a profession. Since then this game has earned me my bread and butter, everything I have achieved in my life I owe to Rugby. I am lucky to have been born to a gifted family that helped me recognize my skill and help pursue it.
It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to hang my boots and retire after completing 15 years of professional rugby in 2018. The season we will be starting next month will be my final season for the Kandy Sports Club, the club that has been home to me for nearly 15 years. The lessons I have learned from playing for this prestigious club under some of the greatest rugby players cannot be measured.
Rugby is still in my heart as it has always been and my decision to leave gives me much sadness. I am taking this decision to make way for new talent. I have dominated the number 10 jersey in the club and national side for 15 years and it is time to pass it on.
I will not leave without giving something back to the great sport that has given me so much. I have started Sri Lanka’s first Rugby Pre-School ‘School of Rugby by Fazil Marija’ with the intention of teaching the basics of rugby to children aged 3 years to 7 years so that they are well groomed when they start playing for school.
I would first like to thank Mr.Malik Samarawickrama who has been nothing less than a father to me and has helped me become the man I am today. I also want to thank all the coaches who I have trained with locally and internationally for helping me develop my skills and giving me the opportunity to show my talent on the field. I would like to thank all the team mates I have had for the past 23 years for sharing the best years of my life with me. I thank all the journalists who have written about my achievements and let the world know what we have do.
Credit: Fazil Marija Instagram
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