In the awake of two humiliating defeats at the hands of Palestine and Bahrain in the AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers Head Coach Nizam Packeer Ali responded to social media criticism.
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The Sri Lanka U23 football team lost their first two matches to Bahrain and Palestine 9-0 each. In the awake of this dismal and humiliating performance, social media platforms started to point fingers at the Head Coach and the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) management.
Head Coach Nizam Packeer Ali responded to the criticism through a comment on social media to the Facebook page Save Sri Lanka Football.
He stressed on the sacrifices he had made to get where he is and the reasoning behind the selection/non-selection of certain players.
“I have sweated and spilled blood on the field while playing for my country and I am still trying to do so as coach, with a plan which you don’t know. There are more like me who are in the selection committee, who selected players for the U23 National team from day one to-date.
For your kind information two previous great National players are on this tour as officials observing and will give an overall report of the Technical staff and the players.”
Packeer Ali, who was appointed as the National Head Coach in February 2018 for a two-year term, played for the country from 1976 till the mid 80’s and captained the country in 1979.
The selection of the team was a major talking point on all social media platforms as groups questioned the exclusion of several players who performed exceptionally well in the recently concluded Dialog Champions League and Premier League Division I.
With the Sri Lanka Squad being announced for the 2020 AFC U23 Championship Qualifiers, a lot of the talk has been on a few ….
Packeer Ali went on to point out the selection process while scouting for the players and conducting trials across the country.
1. I watched almost all the Champions League matches played in Colombo and outstations.
2. Observed the ThePapare organized school tournament and selected players.
3. Traveled to Jaffna, Mannar, and Kinniya for selection.
4. Invited the ‘B’ pool players for selection.
5. Each player had four days of his time to show his talent and not 20 minutes as done before.
6. All selections were done in the presence of four past National players as selectors appointed by the Ministry of Sports.
7. We selected 85 players at the start, pruned it to 52, and pruned it again to 32 and at last to 23.
Packeer Ali had strong words and went on to say he will be taking legal action against the social media pages for dragging his character through the mud, insulting him publicly on social media, giving false information about him to the public and comparing him to Chandika Hathurusinghe the Head Coach of Sri Lanka Cricket.
Ali is a house hold name in the football fraternity and has been the head coach of many local football clubs. He has won numerous titles with Negombo Youth, Jupiters SC, Police SC, Ratnam SC and Java Lane SC in domestic competitions.
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His international pedigree extends to Maldives, Bangladesh and India where he has won domestic titles, being head coach of clubs like Abahani SC, Mohammedans SC and Sheikh Jamal from Bangladesh, Eagles SC, Thinadoo Zuvaanunge and Meem Veyvasu of Maldives and Chirag United in the Indian I league.
He went on to say that he still gets lucrative offers from foreign clubs and he left a position of Technical Director of an NGO group in Maldives, where he was being paid double the salary paid by the FFSL, in order to come serve his motherland.
“I am a true patriot, I have served my country as a player and coach too and still trying my best to the development of football in Sri Lanka. You all watch football sitting at a desk and criticize but we work on the field morning and evening under the sun and rain. We neither criticize nor complain but work our hearts out for the improvement of football in Sri Lanka by making players.”
Indirectly Packeer Ali spoke about the lack of experience of the current players in the squad and lack of match experience as opposed to the other three teams in the group. He concluded stating he had to start from scratch when he took over as the head coach.
“Lastly I took this job without anything, I had to find players for the National team, be rest assured when I leave this position I’ll make it easier to the person who will succeed as head coach.”