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ASSOCIATION FOOTBALL IN SRI LANKA
History of Football in Sri Lamka
FOOTBALL as history has recorded it was born as far back as the year 200 B.C. when the Chinese, Greeks, Romans and Dutch engaged in kicking about the inflated Bladder of an animal.
However, it was Medieval England that the sport was organised and a meaningful look given.
The British can rightfully claim to have introduced association football to the world at large. They, on their ‘Colonization Campaigns’ had their troops and naval fleets wherever they went; and those troops engaged in Football Competitions wherever they were stationed.
In Sri Lanka too, the British soldiers and sailors engaged in the game of football on the sprawling Galle Face Green, in Colombo; and the ‘Planters’ in the hill country.
The Colombo Association of Football League was inaugurated on the 4th of April 1911.
The Football Fraternity of Sri Lanka was at the beginning made up of members of the Armed Services and the Police all under the Command of ‘White Sahibs’.
It will be of interest to record that, during the period when most of the sports were dominated by the ‘White Sahibs’, there was one whose achievements on the Football field shone out whiter than the ‘White Sahibs’. That gleaming star was none other than the late M.A. Akbar affectionately dubbed ‘AKBAR THE GREAT’. That outstanding Goal Keeper the only non-white to play for an ‘All White’ team touring India. It was whilst on this tour that Akbar was offered a fabulous salary by one of the fabulously rich ‘Maharajahs’ in India to play for his team and coach it.
Following on the footsteps of Akbar, were numerous other stars in the Football Firmament Peter and Chris Ranasinghe, Bagoos Saldin, Tom Deen, Rumy Packeerally, T.S. Jayman, S.M. (‘Bullet’) Noor, Mahinda Aluvihara, the brothers Hasshim Deen, Capt. C.S. Fernando - to name but a few.
However, cheap politics, greed and the hunt for cheap popularity have blinded the way of thinking of most persons and created extreme corruption, replacing honesty and sincerity of thought and action. If these cancerous maladies are gotten rid of this Island Home ours will without any doubt - be a far, far better place to live in!