President of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) Anura De Silva has welcomed players based overseas, who are eligible and are keen in representing the country, to come for trials, he revealed at the recently concluded Sri Lanka v Macau 2nd leg pre-match press conference.
A long-standing query stood as to why players based abroad are not included in the current national football team.
Those eligible to represent Sri Lanka include Wazeem Razeek, the 24-year-old midfielder born to Sri Lankan parents in Germany, who is currently playing for Rot-Weiß Erfurt in the fourth tier of German football. He’s valued at 175,000 Euros in the transfer market and working to obtain his dual citizenship.
His two brothers, Mohamed Razeek (22 years) and Mushakir Razeek (20 years) are playing for BFC Dynamo II and Turkiyemspor Berlin respectively. The pair is also eligible to play for Sri Lanka.
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Another who has the option of playing for Sri Lanka is Nikki Ahamed (28), who was a part of the Chelsea FC squad for the Champions League in 2010 and is currently playing for the Metropolitan Police.
The recent inclusion to the squad Marvin Hamilton (30), seems to be the only player who might go on to represent the Sri Lanka team in the near future. He is in the country currently, to work on his dual citizenship.
Speaking to the media on the matter, Anura De Silva welcomed those who are interested in representing the country, to come for trials;
“Marvin Hamilton and we had very good communication, we requested him to join the training squad in Qatar. He trained for the duration and also played in the friendly match against Qatar Military. He went back to UK and now he’s here again to work on his dual citizenship. He’s determined to play for the national team and we have seen his potential. We are happy that he is with us.
Waseem Razeek also has to get dual citizenship and he has applied, so we are waiting. Even his brothers need to get dual citizenship in order to play. They must come for a trial again and see whether they communicate with the other players and progress with the players and how best they can perform.
Nikki Ahmed of Chelsea FC was not willing to come, and he was not ready to play for Sri Lanka.”
Head Coach Nizam Packeer Ali however had a different view and wanted to see the commitment from the foreign based players,
“Hamilton has come for his passport matters. He asked me if he can come and train and attended a session. This is the dedication he has and what we like to see.
Razeek too came for training before the SAFF. He had a discussion with the Team Manager. Verbally he assured his keenness to play for the national team. He was with us for a couple of training sessions but then he couldn’t continue.
If they (overseas based players) are really keen, they should approach the Federation the proper way.”
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He was also critical of Sri Lanka not having or producing strikers and stressed more on the development of local strikers and youth players,
In Sri Lanka we are lacking strikers. We had some fantastic strikers in the recent past. We don’t have local strikers. If we look at the top club teams, most of the strikers are foreigners.
If we depend on them, how am I to build up players. Are we going to depend on foreign players? We want to develop the local players also and whoever wants to join definitely, there’s a chance.
But will they be 100% with us, will they be serious? This is the question. A coach can’t take a risk, I have to train. This is a young team; a team being built for the future so for that I need the whole team with me.
The FFSL made a good decision to introduce players between 18-20 years to be part of the Champions League squads, from there we selected the best players for the National Squad.”
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