St.Henry’s forced to be present in two places at once

St.Henry’s forced to be present in two places at once

The Kotmale U19 Schools Football Championship and the Samaposha All Island U15 Championship will happen simultaneously according to the dates allocated by Football Federation of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Schools’ Football Association respectively.

The dates allocated for the U19 tournament is from the 3rd to the 5th of November whereas the U15 Samaposha Championship is scheduled to be played from the 4th to the 7th November.

St. Henry’s College, Jaffna which will play in both tournaments have conveyed their displeasure at how these two tournaments have been scheduled.

St. Henry’s emerged victorious in the Jaffna district beating city rivals St. Patrick’s in the U15 category during the competition held on the 13th of September.

The senior St. Henry’s lads came to Colombo for their quarterfinals in the Kotmale U19 competition and trumped Maris Stella College, Negombo in a rather one sided tie, setting up a date against their old foes Zahira College, Colombo in the semi-finals.

At the conclusion of the quarterfinal stage of the Kotmale U19 competition the dates and venues for the semifinals were announced during mid-October. However, the dates for the All Island U15 competition were announced at the end of the month of October.

All the teams for the Samaposha U15 championship have been requested to be present in Wennappuwa which will host the tournament this year on the 3rd of November. The fact that the semifinals are likely to be played on the same day has caused a lot of anguish and St.Henry’s College, Jaffna are made to feel like they’ve been hard done in this particular situation.

Speaking to regarding this complication, the coach of St. Henry’s college, Jaffna said,

“We have already received the letter for the Kotmale Championships. However only during the end of last month (October) did we receive information regarding the Samaposha tournament.”

“Being present at two tournaments at the same time is impossible for the coaching staff, school teachers and supporters of St. Henry’s. We consider this an injustice.”

“Especially considering that the finals are to be played in Jaffna, our U15 players would have had the opportunity to view the matches and gain experience from it. However that does not seem to be a possibility under the current situation” he said further.

When asked whether they have taken measures to protest about this situation, he went on to say,

“The dates were announced for the Kotmale tournament knowing that they have already allocated the same dates for the Samaposha championships.”

“However, we spoke to the Jaffna district coordinator regarding this matter. Even he claimed that he had spoken about this matter to the relevant authorities and that they have responded saying nothing can be done concerning the situation”

“Nonetheless as soon as we received the letter on the 31st of October we responded with a letter of our own to the relevant parties.”

When spoke to the Jaffna district coordination in this regard,

“This is certainly a disadvantage for St. Henry’s College, the dates for this tournament was announced with a complete knowledge of that other competition dates being announced.”

“Even though we issued a petition to the schools’ football association regarding the matter, they informed us the dates that have been announced cannot be changed.”

Considering the situation, the coaching staff of the U15 and U19 teams along with the teacher in charge for St. Henry’s College are faced with a crisis.

The Kotmale U19 championship happens to be a significant tournament for the Jaffna region and considering the current situation the young lads of St. Henry’s college will seemingly miss out on the opportunity of experiencing the semifinals and finals of the championships this year.

The secretary of the Schools’ Football Association Nalaka Dissanayake had this to say to,

“We are firm in our stand regarding the Samaposha Championships. The Football Federation of Sri Lanka didn’t even consult us when deciding the dates for the Kotmale Championships.”

“Both competitions concern two different age categories (U15 and U19) hence I don’t think it will affect the team (St. Henry’s College) as such.”

What is noteworthy is that St. Henry’s have been one of the top schools in the schools’ football arena of late. They have established themselves among the elite as this is one of the rare occasions where the same school is representing different age categories in All Island Championships.

Considering the above it is fair to deduce that having two national championships at the same time is quite the inconvenience in St. Henry’s point of view.

Moving forward better communication between the Schools’ Football Association and the Sri Lanka Football Federation will help prevent such situations which cause a lot of discomfort to the participating schools.