Tom Ossen led Sri Lanka in first ever football tour of Far East | Daily News

Tom Ossen led Sri Lanka in first ever football tour of Far East

Tom Ossen, a product of Dharmaraja College, led the Sri Lanka Football Team in the first ever tour of the Far East in 1958.

During that period, Ossen was attached to the Kandy Municipal Council as Playgrounds Instructor and played football for Young Stars SC and Kandy League.

Though he is no more, his service for football is remembered. In 1958 when the Sri Lanka Football Team toured the Far East, Ossen was invited to lead the country.

Later, he was the coach of the Peradeniya University, Kandy Association Football League and a top grade FIFA referee. He handled the whistle in many games at club and international level.

The first ever tour took place in 1958, where a 20-member team left on a six-week tour of China via Rangoon.

This tour was organised by the Chinese Embassy in Sri Lanka. Ossen who had been playing for the country from 1952, was a top class player.

Before this tour, Ossen led the Sri Lanka Team against Madras. At that time football matches were played against Indian Teams like Madras, Mysore, Hyderabad, Delhi etc.

On this tour of Far East, Ossen’s Deputy was Andrew Fernando, who was just a year junior to Ossen at National level.

In the previous year, in 1957 Fernando had helped the Lankan team to beat Burma together with another Kandy product T. O. M. Deen.

These two players netted a goal each to give the country a 2-0 victory.

M. M. Hashimdeen of Victory FC and Ben Ferreira of Southern SC, Galle were the two goal-keepers.

Hashimdeen, then known as the ‘Prince of goal keepers’ had thrilled the spectators, at home and overseas with his superb job between the post.

The full backs were Christopher Ranasinghe, Bagoos Saldin and E. P. Solomon. In fact, Ransnghe, played for Sandhurst and the Army Southern Command.

He was a fine fullback with powerful kicks. Saldin, who played for Old Joes SC was a crack full back and Solomon who played for Saunders FC, was the best left-back at that time.

Besides Ossen, the other halves were M. P. B. Dissanayake, K. A. Premadasa, Eric Perera and M. A. Karunarthne.

The latter was known as the most scientific and stylish half-back in Sri Lanka and in Asia. Dissanayake played for All-In-One SC and then Perera of Saunders FC was another fine player.

The forwards were right-extreme T. S. Jaymon, the third product of Kandy in the team, came from Kingswod College Kandy, who played for CR and FC.

The left-extreme was B. Ariyadasa of Saunders FC, who was also well known for his hard work. K. D. Soapal of Kotehena was tight inside and T. O. M. Deen was the centre forward.

Left-inside place was occupied by Policeman L. Bernadus (Jr) from St. Benedict’s College and he also played for Rowland’s SC. The team was under the watchful eyes of D. S. Abraham and this was the 20 which was on the historic tour.