Sri Lanka veteran stickers open World Cup 2018 bid against hosts Spain

Monday, 23 July 2018 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Seated from left: S.H.M. Kuthubdeen, Fazeer Laheer (Manager), Ashok Pieris (Captain), Hafiz Preena (Coach), Ananda Silva (Vice-Captain),Indrawansa Herath, D.C. Perera and Duncan DevendraStanding from left: Marlon Jacobs, Manuja Gunawardena, Mahir Mohideen, Godwin Solomons, Lloyd Fredrick, Mario Joseph, Saman Vandalan, Linus Xavier, Anura Bandara, Shihar Aneez and Nadith Kudagama

The Sri Lanka national Masters hockeyteam will start their first ever World Cup bid against hosts Spain on 27 July at the Masters Hockey World Cup 2018 which is scheduled to be held in Barcelona from 27 July-5August.

The team, made up of 18 former national hockey players who represented the country between 1978 and 2008, will also play against England (28July), France (29July) and Italy (30July) in their round robin matches. 

Australia, Germany, Argentina, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, Scotland, Denmark, the US and Oman will be the other countries featured in this year’s World Cup organised by the International Masters Hockey Association. 

This will be the first time a Sri Lankan Masters hockey team is selected to play in a World Cup and the team is led by 56-year-old veteran CH&FC player, former Royalist Ashok Peries, who represented the national team from 1987-1996. 

Ananda Silva, a D.S. Senanayake Old Boy and former Sri Lankan national stickerwho represented the country as a defender for more than a decade in the 1980s,was appointed the vice-captain.

The team comprises some of the most illustrious hockey players this country has produced like former BRC player S.H.M. Kuthubdeen, a defender who has played more than 50 international games for the country including at the Asia Cup 1982 and led the national team in 1986 in a test series against Russia in Colombo and Sri Lanka’s 1990 vice-captain and Assistant Superintendent of Prisons FazeerLaheer (former CH&FC captain), who will also be the manager of the team.

Sri Lanka’s forward line will be strengthened by Nadith Kudagama (Sri Lanka 1995-1999, Royal College Hockey Club), a fabulous Sri Lankan dribbler who was selected for the Asian Combined Hockey team in 1997, Saman Vandalan (Sri Lanka 1995-2002, Wennappuwa Sports Club) who also was in the 1997 Asian combined team, IndrawansaHerath (Park SC, Matale), the 1996 national team captain, Mahir Mohideen (Sri Lanka 1983, Former BRC), Lloyd Fredrick (Sri Lanka 1992, Old Benedicts HC), Godwin Solomons (Sri Lanka – 1996-99, CH&FC) and Duncan Devendra (Sri Lanka 1994-1996, CH&FC). 

The defending half positions will comprise Anura Bandara (Sri Lanka 2002-2010, Sri Lanka captain, Asia Cup 2008 and Air Force Hockey Club), Manuja Gunawardena (Sri Lanka 1997-99, Royal College Hockey Club), Mario Joseph (Sri Lanka -1996-2001, Old Peterite Hockey Club), Linus Xavier (Sri Lanka 1996-1998, Old Benedicts HC) and Marlon Jacobs (Sri Lanka 1992, Old Benedicts HC). 

Both D.C. Perera (Sri Lanka captain 2002 and CH&FC) and Shihar Aneez (Sri Lanka 1996, Royal College Hockey Club) will be guarding the net.

The teamwill be playing in Europe for the first time. 

The team is chosen by the selectors of the Sri Lanka Masters National Hockey Association (SLMNHA), a body approved by the Sports Ministry,after continuous weekly training sessions for nearly the past one year and is coached by Hafiz Preena, who represented Sri Lanka from 1973-83.