Full back T. A. Silva was an excellent place kicker | Daily News

Full back T. A. Silva was an excellent place kicker

St. Paul’s College, Kandy later renamed as Sri Sumangala College, is another leading institution in the hill capital, which has played a pivotal role in the field of education along with sports . Even though they had a long standing history in sports, the game of rugby was reintroduced in the 1990’s and they were able to produce a few talented players to the National team The first player to be unearthed from the school was Bandula Wijesinghe, who played for Police and Sri Lanka with distinction from 1969 to 1975 as a winger . T. Ajith Prasanna de Silva was one of the prolific players who was inculcated with some natural talents in handling the oval shaped ball which earned him several credentials in the game.

Better known as T. A. Silva in rugby circles he was born in 1975 in Bogambara Kandy.

The late T. Somaratne was his father who was a businessman and mother was Nayanawathi Bogahapitiya a housewife.

He had three elder siblings with Upul who also served in the Army and played rugby for quite some time. Nishantha and Priyantha are the other brothers who are self-employed living in Kandy.

Ajith joined his school in 1983 and went on to complete his schooling career in 1996. Even though he became popular in rugby it was the game of football which he took up as his primary sports discipline at school. He engaged in soccer at college from the junior teams starting up from under-13 and went on to captain the under-18 team. Until the late 1980’s, rugby was not listed in the school sports calendar, after it was halted in the early 1970’s. He was the first captain to coincide with football to lead them in the under-15 age groups after the reintroduction of rugby and went on to play in the first XV team from 1991 to 1995 seasons, which was coached by Nihal Ananda who taught them the basics of rugby . They were slated in the ‘B’ division and he went on to lead the college first XV side in 1995. With his participation in football, he was transformed to a top class place kicker. Saman Edama was his senior team coach.

After his school career, one of his friends Borden who was a football player with Army had introduced him to play football. After he was selected by the Army in 1996, he continued to play football.

His playing skills were spotted by the relevant officers who invited him to take up rugby in the Army.

From 1997 to 2008 he donned the Army rugby jersey even though he served them until 2019 as an officer. He captained them in 2008 and was coached by P.G. Gunawardena. Before he led them, he played under Kaplia Knowltan and Ajith Peiris’s captaincy as full back in XV-a-side while playing as the scrum half in the sevens arena.

An unforgettable incident during his tenure as a player, was when they beat the mighty CR and FC in 2004 in the knockout tournament. After a 24-all full time score, the game moved to extra time to find the winner. During the extra time it was Ajith who fired a 45-metre penalty kick to surge them to a nerve tingling victory, about which he is still proud of. Before joining the Army he played a season with Kandy Youth team.He was a superb place kicker who piloted Army and Sri Lanka to victory on many occasions

He was called to represent the National team in 2004 and played in both forms of the game until 2008. With the Sri Lanka XV-a-side team he toured Kazakhstan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Singapore, Dubai and India.

He was adjudged ‘Most Popular Rugby Player’ in 2004 and toured with the under-23 Football National Team in 1997. In 2004 he played the Rugby Asiad under Pradeep Basnayake while in 2007 played under Jeewa Galgamuwa’s captaincy in the Rugby Asiad in Colombo

After quitting all forms of rugby, he started his coaching career in his specified area, the place kicking. He coached Royal College rugby teams as Kicking Coach from 2015 to 2019, At present, he is to be contracted by CR and FC in the same capacity.

His wife is K.B.Sithara and has three children Ahinsa 21years, Oshan son 17 years and Matheesa son 15 years respectively.