By Shamseer Jaleel
Former Isipathana skipper, National Under-20 sevens and fifteens vice-captain and National XV-a-side skipper and CR & FC player Omalka Gunaratne signed up with CH & FC for the 2020/2021 rugby season.
Omalka, who played for the Sailors and crossed over to CR, had some outstanding seasons for both the club and at the national level. As a cracking number 8, he will add more power to CH, who have already signed up players, such as Kevin Dixon, Wajid Fahmy, Janidu Dilshan, Joel Perera, Panduka Angammana, and Sharmala Weerasekera, who crossed over from the Red Shirts.
CH & FC will be led by former Thomian and national Sevens skipper Sudharshan Muthuthanthri, with some senior players, such as Gayan Weeraratne, Madushan, and Sudam Sooriyarachchi, to add some much-needed experience to the outfit. They will be coached by National Junior Assistant Coach and former Thurstan Coach Rohitha Rajapaksa.
Former Royal rugby skipper, national XV-a-side player, and present CR & FC President Ted Muttiah, speaking to Daily FT on losing out on players, said: “Players switching clubs is not new. We have a young, talented core group, which we will continue to build on. Considering the pandemic, our focus is beyond season 20/21.”
Speaking further, Ted said: “Players are professionals, and we continue to build club equity in their professional and personal growth. Remuneration is a part of the overall appeal. On its own, it seldom, if ever, is a sustainable motivator. So, the club has decided against continuing with the league-wide practice of paying a ‘sign-on bonus’ at the start of a season. The practice has no leverage to the player’s performance during the season. We have introduced a performance-based reward scheme, which all stakeholders have embraced. The framework is being ratified by Sri Lanka Rugby (SLR). We will share details in due course.”