South Asia – Japan U16 Football Tournament is organized by the Japan Football Association (JFA) along with the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) for the first time in the island.
The four countries to tale part in the tournament are Nepal, Bhutan, Japan and Sri Lanka.
JFA initiated this program and proposed FFSL to conduct this program in Sri Lanka under the slogan “Sport for Tomorrow” program which was designed by the Japanese Government. The intentions of the Japanese government to carryout Sport for Tomorrow program is to expand sports value and assist Olympics and Paralympics Movements.
32 players have been selected for the Sri Lanka U16 pool for the upcoming U16 Four Nations tournament which would be held in March 2017.
The target is to reach out to more than 10 million people in over of 100 countries within a period of 7 years starting from 2014 till 2020.
This is one of the international commitments that Japan made in return of being awarded to host the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics Games.
The tournament is scheduled to be held from 11th to 14th March in Sri Lanka at the Race Course International Stadium.
ThePapare.com learns that Sri Lanka U19 cap Jude Suman who was in the 32 member pool has been withdrawn from the squad due to him suffering from dengue. Suman, the brother of Sri Lanka cap Gnanaruban Vinoth, will be replaced by St.Peter’s College’s Ishan Danusha who has the ability to play in any outfield position.
During this Tournament, organizers have planned to conduct seminars to be conducted by the coaches of participating countries to share their knowledge and experience of youth development in their countries.
This tournament was organized as a preparational tournament prior to the SAFF U16 Championship and the AFC U16 Championship respectively.
Speaking to the media the Chief Public Relations Officer for the Japanese embassy Mr. Yusuki Tanaka expressed his views, “Both governments have come forward initiating this tournament as a sign of further strengthening the bond between the countries.”
Speaking to the media the President of the FFSL Mr. Anura De Silva mentioned “It’s a good opportunity as the Japanese government has come forth in helping our country along with two other countries (Bhutan, Nepal) in this tournament.”
Further in explaining the selection of the Sri Lanka squad for the forthcoming tournament he further stated, “The Education Ministry along with the Schools’ Football Association held selections and chose a 40 man squad initially. Later it was narrowed down to 32 men who are training at the moment”
“The Japanese government has allowed the other three countries to include selected senior level players to ensure that the teams are up to the standard and quality of the Japanese U16 team,” he further claimed.