Sri Lanka National Football Team’s custodian Sujan Perera has been stranded in the Maldives due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
Sri Lanka’s prolific shot-stopper is among the many that are stuck in the Maldive Islands including former Sri Lanka goalkeeper Mohamed Azwar, who works as a goalkeeper trainer. Sujan was in the Maldives full filling his professional contract for Club Eagles in the 2019-20 Dhivehi Premier League.
The Eagles finished 2nd in the Premier League, six points behind champions Maziya Sports & Recreation Club. This helped the Eagles book a Play-Off spot in the 2021 AFC Cup – a great achievement for both the club and Sujan.
Eagles were scheduled to face TC Sports in the semi-final of the FA Cup before the Football Association Maldives had to call-off the tournament after the country declared a ‘medical emergency’ in the last week of March.
By this time Sri Lanka had already closed down the airports leaving Sujan with no-way of getting back to his home country.
“We only had a medical emergency but five days ago they (authorities) found a Covid-19 patient in Male. Then they immediately locked down the city. There are 86 patients now. They are working on it to control this situation,” mentioned Sujan speaking to ThePapare.com.
The former Sri Lanka captain, who became a father back in January is patient in his hopes to reunite with his wife and daughter but fears it will take longer than expected. Ever the selfless Sujan focused on the plight of the other Sri Lankans living in much harder conditions – a true captain indeed.
“It has been tough but I’m doing fine here. My team Club Eagles is taking good care of me. They help me with everything but there are so many other Sri Lankans struggling here.
Life can be harder for them in the future if this continues. There are so many people who work outside of the City. Now, it’s all locked down so even they can’t come to the City and find food.
Life in the Maldives is different. Not like other countries. So many islands surrounded by the beautiful ocean. So everything should be sent from the City to the islands. They are trying their best in this situation. In a situation like this, it’s better to return home but some Sri Lankans who work here don’t want to go back as they can’t sacrifice their jobs. So hope that Sri Lankan Embassy will find them and help them with everything they need.
Even if we want to go back so badly there are some procedures. Sri Lankan government, medical staff, and all the forces are trying their best to control this situation. There are thousands of people in the quarantine centers. We should wait and let the government work on these procedures even though we are having a hard time. Let’s work together and help the government to control this properly.
I stayed like this for more than 3 weeks now. I pray that I can see my baby daughter and my wife very soon. Flying back home is my only hope but most importantly let’s help the Sri Lankan government to solve this properly so they can focus on helping us. Let’s be patient and calm until they help us. Let’s work together and fight together against COVID-19.” Sujan added.
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ThePapare.com contacted the General Secretary of the Football Federation of Sri Lanka, Jaswar Umar, who had this to say;
“We contacted Sujan, Aswar, and a few others in the Maldives. We will be coordinating with the Government and the necessary authorities and will do everything we can to bring them home soon. For now, I have contacted the FAM (Football Association of Maldives) and asked them to help and look after our players.”
As mentioned by Sujan, we hope the Sri Lankan Government and the Sri Lankan Embassy in the Maldives make necessary arrangements to help the Sri Lankans living in the Maldives.