Sri Lanka National Football Team will embark on a month-long tour of Qatar, Laos leading up to the 2022 World Cup Qualifier on 6th June in Macau and South Asian Games (SAG) in December 2019.
The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) ……
A squad of 31-players will take wing to Doha, Qatar for a two week intensive training camp where they will prepare for two friendly matches against Laos National Team who are also in the first round of the World Cup Qualifiers. The team will be in Doha from 12th until 25th May.
From there a squad of 26 will travel to Laos where they will play against Laos on the 28th and 31st May in preparation for the match against Macau.
The match itself against Macau has now been shifted to a stadium close to mainland China as the Macau National Stadium which is under renovation will not be ready by 6th June.
Speaking exclusively to ThePapare.com General Secretary of FFSL Jaswar Umar explained the thought process on the preparations for the qualifiers as well as the SAG 2019;
“We planned to stage three friendly matches in Colombo as preparations, however due the security concerns we have changed the plan. We chose to travel to Laos direct from Doha before going to Macau as conditions are similar in both countries.
We will play 2 friendly games and travel to Macau on 03rd or 4th June depending on flight schedules. Since the game is played close to mainland China we decided to stay in Laos.”
Only 23 players will be travelling to face Macau for the first leg of the qualifiers and the remaining players will return home. The coaching staff have been given clear objectives in terms of the qualifiers and SAG.
“Macau is team we can win, we believe the capability and preparation is there. The message is very clear to qualify for the group stage. We are very positive, we have seen the training programs. For SAG the target is at least to secure a Bronze medal,” Jaswar added.
On the 2nd leg to be played on 11th June in Colombo,
“We hope the situation in the country will be normal by 11th June. We will be writing to Sports Ministry and the Defense Ministry to obtain extra security for the matches. Also, we will have strict security process in the stadium itself with special transport arrangements.”
After the qualifiers against Macau the focus will shift to the South Asian Games where Sri Lanka will aim for a medal and upon which the future of the coaching staff will be decided.
“Preparing for SAG we are trying to hold three International Friendlies in the country. This all depending on the security situations. If we are not able to host, we might travel abroad to play international friendlies.
The coaching staff contracts will be evaluated after SAG performance. We have set targets we have given them reasonable time frame, we have given them authority. It’s up to them to come up with the goods. If we don’t perform well in the SAG, we will have to re think the entire stratergy.”
The FFSL is also looking to establish and revamp competitions as currently the development programs are all on hold due to security situation.
“Competitions will be revamped, and re-structuring is in process. In a month or two we will come up with new competition modules and competitions. We seriously thinking how football can help as football is a global sport for every community. We are really looking to use football to connect communities to heal the wounds.”