Carrom: CFSL keen to retain playmaker Chamil in Sri Lanka

Monday, 10 September 2018 Sport

Almost one-third of his objectives are accomplished as said by Carrom Federation of Sri Lanka (CFSL) President, Parakrama Basnayake, but the retired Director of Customs is facing an unexpected challenge outside his purview. 

Basnayake, who took over the CFSL 10 months ago had many challenges and obstacles to conquer, and he methodically put the sport back on the board. 

With a little more to do, the most vital part of all, Basnayake is suddenly left on a blank plank, with the reigning national champion, Chamil Cooray announcing that he will leave Sri Lanka. 

Cooray's announcement comes soon after Sri Lanka clinched the 5th World Carrom Championship held in South Korea. 

With Sri Lanka set to host the Asian Carrom Championship in November, Basnayake is rather shaken by the fact that Cooray will be out of the country for some time or maybe forever as he looks to accomplish his remaining goals. 

"The players have proven that Sri Lanka is capable of dominating the world in carrom. It's a known fact that India is the strongest country in this sport and they have won the world title four times. But our Men's team were able to break that hoodoo, the Women's team almost had it but next time, we are confident of making a clean sweep in all departments. For that there's a little more work to be done," Basnayake, obviously elated by the world title win, stated. 

Among the remaining set of goals, Basnayake plans to reward the players according after categorising them respectively. 

His observations from the 5th World Carrom Championship after comparing Sri Lanka players with those from other countries says that the locals should be at least made semi-professionals. 

"It's one of the most important facts in any sport nowadays. Before joining the CFSL, I did not know that carrom is a big sport, but now I understand that there is a huge following throughout the island. And the players are well known to many. To justify that, the CFSL is doing all that is possible and perhaps way beyond our limits." 

Carrom has become a growing board sport in the world and is well taken up through Europe and the Asia Pacific. 

India treats its players as professionals and that has paid dividends over the years until last month. 

To maintain the earned glory, Basnayake has many plans upon his gunny but implementing those is the challenge, with the monetary factor playing a big role. 

"Chamil (Cooray) deciding to leave the country for his own benefit is unstoppable, but if we look at it from carrom's perspective Sri Lanka is losing the gem of the crown. We need him and Nishantha (Fernando) to build up and nurture the next generation of players for Sri Lanka. Right now they are the mentors for the rest of the national players and also the upcoming players. They also act as the coaches to the Women's team." 

"Chamil comes above the rest at present, though we have many plans ahead for carrom. I have come here with a mission and it is a privilege to have a very active set of officials at CFSL as my colleagues. We need to look at forming second string, development squads as well as forming junior squads and taking the sport to schools. All these will be possible if we could attract sponsors and the rest will fall in line," said Basnayake.

Carrom: CFSL keen to retain playmaker Chamil in Sri Lanka