The Sri Lanka National Football Team left the island to take part in the first ever AFC Solidarity Cup which will be held from the 2nd to the 15th of November in Kuching, Malaysia.

In an exclusive interview with National Team Head Coach Dudley Steinwall shared his thoughts about the friendly match against Cambodia, training and the upcoming Solidarity Cup.

It (Cambodia tour) was a good experience for us in preparation for the AFC Solidarity Cup. We hadn’t played an International match in over 10 months. It was mainly individual mistakes rather than tactical mistakes which cost us the goals. By now we have rectified those mistakes,

Photos: Sri Lanka National Squad Practice Session | Solidarity Cup

Sri Lanka National Football Squad Practice Session | Solidarity Cup 2016

“Defensive transition was our problem. The compactness wasn’t there when I analyzed the video and also when we got into the attacking 3rd, creating and controlling the ball was lacking,” Steinwall spoke on the Cambodia tour.

Steinwall, like many other current coaches prefers a possession game which he is trying to implement at the national level.

“As a coach I like to play possession football without kick and run, that is my philosophy. From the defending third to the attacking third gradual built-up is what I am looking at. Yes there will be an occasional long ball but possession football is what we are going to play,” he added.

Sri Lanka has been plagued with a few injuries which have resulted in two future prospects losing out on the squad.

“Afam (Akram) and Dilip (Peiris) are good young players. Gnanaruban (Vinoth) was my no.1 striker as well. It was a big loss losing Gnanaruban. We added a few more players, six in fact, and they have done well in training,” he went onto say.

Photo Album: AFC Solidarity Cup (Malaysia 2016) – Press Conference

“Our main target is to get into the semi-final of the Solidarity Cup,” Steinwall expressed on his and the team’s main target.

With Captain Sujan Perera having to leave the country soon after the Cambodia tour to participate in the FA Cup in Maldives for the Club Eagles, the onus has been on senior vice-captain Nipuna Bandara and vice-captain Mohamed Rifnaz to keep the squad on their toes.  

“We went to Cambodia with a new team and a new coach. It was more of a learning curve for all of us. It was also about learning from mistakes,” Nipuna Bandara mentioned about the difficult international friendly after over ten months.

Bandara along with the squad is positive about the upcoming Solidarity Cup.

“We added six new players. It was a big risk for the squad and for the coach because they got to practice for only 1-2 weeks, but they did really well. We rectified out mistakes and made good progress in training.

“We are going in for the win. We have a good mixture of young and experienced players so I am positive we will do really well,” a determined Nipuna Bandara finally added.2016-AFC-Solidarity-Cup group fixture