Army SC are one of the powerhouses in the Sri Lankan top division, and are also the reigning FA Cup champions after beating Renown SC 3-1 in the final of the 2015 FA Cup.
One of the fittest and best drilled teams in the league, their squad is full of top local talent with a good mix of experience and youth.
Army has last won the league in 2008/09 and this year they have a great opportunity to add another title to their cabinet.
Home Ground – Army Grounds, Diyagama
Club Captain – Madhushan De Silva
Coach – Mohamed Fawmy
Army SC would be disappointed with the way their 2015 DCL campaign ended, falling short of glory at the final hurdle to end up in 3rd place at the end of the Super 8 stage.
Things started with signs of promise as they went through the group stages with only a solitary defeat to Air Force, registering 25 points courtesy of 8 wins and 1 draw.
However draws against Crystal Palace and Renown cost them in the Super 8s as they lost the must win final game against Colombo FC to miss out on the title. They had better luck in the FA Cup though, emerging victorious 3-1 over Renown in a heated affair.
“We dropped 4 crucial points last season which was why we missed out on becoming champions last year. We didn’t give up in what became the final against Colombo FC but ultimately missed out on a great chance to win the title,” shared Coach Mohammed Fawmy.
Army continued their good run of form, building on their FA Cup glory to go through the group stages of the DCL 2016 unbeaten.
They dropped points only in a goalless draw away to Solid SC winning all their remaining games to top Group A with 22 points.
Their forwards have been exceptional with Madhushan De Silva, Sajith Kumara, Mohammed Issadeen and Thivanka Chandrasekara all being amongst the goals.
They have been rock solid at the back as well, conceding just 4 goals throughout the group stage.
“After our loss last season we were motivated to win even more and we were able to achieve one of our targets with the FA Cup triumph last season. We have been unbeaten so far and hope that we can remain unbeaten throughout the next 7 games as well to win the title,” shared skipper Madhushan De Silva with ThePapare.com.
Mohamed Issadeen – Madhushan De Silva – Sanka Danushka – Kumara Sirisena
Mohamed Issadeen may often find himself being the oldest player on the pitch but age has not diminished his passion for scoring goals and the veteran striker finds himself, yet again, at the top of the scoring charts for Army. He has been injury prone as of late and his fitness will be key if Army want to do the double.
Madhushan De Silva has seen his game reach great heights this season since taking over the captaincy and the winger possesses one of the best left boots in the game at the moment, regularly notching up goals and assists. His leadership and contributions down the flank will be important for Army in the Super 8s.
Sanka Danushka has seen a renaissance in his career since last season, making a comeback in to the national setup on the back of some brilliant performances and his form has continued in to this season as well.
An unsung hero in Army’s FA Cup triumph, goalkeeper Kumara Sirisena made some important saves early on in the final to keep Army in the game. His steady performances in goal have helped him become one of the best goalkeepers in the league over the course of the last 2 seasons.
Super 8 expectations
“There is good competition within my squad for places which gives me options to use players in different scenarios. We have a good reputation in the football arena, but I don’t want to make promises about winning the trophy because there are many talented teams who all want to beat us. We have to work on maintaining winning momentum and try our best to win the trophy,” said Coach Mohamed Fawmy, summing up his thoughts on the Super 8s.
Army has one of the best squads going into the Super 8 stage. They possess excellent squad depth with each player having a more than adequate replacement ready to take his place. They can be vulnerable against teams that play fast paced football and teams like Renown and Air Force will prove to be tough matches for the Soldiers.
Army SC go in to the Super 8 stages as one of the favourites to win the title and the pressure will be on them to continue their unbeaten run all the way to DCL glory. They have the tactics and the personnel, and it most likely will be their match against Renown SC that will be the key.