Manil Fernando confident of winning FSL election | Daily News

Manil Fernando confident of winning FSL election

Dr. Manil Fernando
Dr. Manil Fernando

Dr. Manil Fernando is confident of being elected President of Football Sri Lanka (FSL) and believes that he has the support of more than 45 Leagues that are ready and willing to see his dream come true.

Dr. Manil has no hidden agenda but a deep rooted passion for football and as a professional he intends to give of his best to rejuvenate the game at all levels.

"That is going to be a herculean task as nothing much can be achieved within a mere one year considering that Sri Lanka is ranked 204 out of 206 football playing countries.”

But, a top priority on his agenda would be amending the Constitution as soon as possible, as it has now become a must and something that is being demanded and monitored by FIFA, the World governing body for football.

Another important point on his agenda is proper development of the infrastructure, which right now is a bit of a problem.

Dr. Manil said the first step in order to develop the game will be to focus on developing basic football related infrastructure facilities in the country and also by initiating pro-active programmes to spike an interest in the game, especially amongst the youth.”

“Grassroot level initiatives, including fundamental and transformative changes in key areas such as administration, competition planning, youth and women participation, digitisation, coach and referee education etc. must be introduced in order to truly develop the sport.”

Dr. Manil believes that even in the presence of deeply rooted divisions, shared experiences can be an effective nation-building tool and can have a tangible effect on bringing the community together.

“Football could be made use of to create this shared experience amongst the community by forging a common identity, where individuals see themselves as a part of a nation as a whole, as opposed to specific racial, religious or other groups.”

“This concept has been comprehended by the international community which has placed importance on sport,” he said.

“Sri Lanka possesses a wealth of talented and skilled youngsters, especially in the sport of football. Yet, this potential remains squandered and hidden as the schools and clubs do not have much to offer with regard to football.”

“All children, regardless of gender, race or religion deserve the opportunity to excel in their passion. Thus, we as a nation, have a responsibility to develop football in order to provide our future generations with a competitive and appropriate platform to engage in this sport.”

“Currently there is no professionalism in the governing of football in Sri Lanka. Committee meetings are not held frequently as required and the minutes are not documented accurately while a budget is not presented and analysed before implementation.”

“It is then no wonder that the game is suffering. There are some leagues that are inactive while others have been suspended from membership and all leagues find it difficult to organise competitions, development programmes with the mere Rs. 300,000 allocated per league annually.”

Dr. Manil said he has strategic plans to secure the FIFA grant of US $11.5m for the next four years, which will be a great boost for the game.

Nevertheless, he expects that all stakeholders will support him to win the election as it would then enable him to embark on his mission to see his vision and dream become a reality.