Selectors fired for not entertaining Kandy SC rebels, says Dr. Maiya
Chairman of the National Sports Council, Dr. Maiya Gunasekera who was
asked to go on a fact-finding mission, by the Minister of Sports and
Public Recreation Gamini Lokuge, on the recent withdrawal of 12 Kandy SC
players from national pool practices over the selection of CR and FC
number eight Dushanth Lewke as captain for the impending tour of Chinese
Taipei, said that in his view one of the main reasons for the removal of
the Jupana Jayawardene led selection panel was for their steadfast
refusal to accommodate the Kandy SC players at practices.
Minister Gamini Lokuge dissolved the previous selection panel of
Brigadier Jupana Jayawardene and formed a new five-member panel led by
The famed Consultant Surgeon of Nawaloka Hospital, Dr. Gunasekera
said that at an inquiry conducted by the National Sports Council headed
by him and officials comprising Kiran Atapattu, B. L. H. Perera, Sports
Ministry Secretary S. Liyanagama and also involving the SLRFU Council
and the previous selection panel, both Brigadier Jupana Jayawardene and
the SLRFU President had spoken about the past behaviour of Kandy SC
players when chosen for the national pool hence they should not be
entertained at practices under such circumstances.
Dr. Maiya Gunasekera insisted that the Minister had carefully studied
the findings of the National Sports Council before dissolving the
Brigadier Jupana Jayawardene led selection panel, as they were not
willing to entertain the Kandy SC players at practices saying those very
players had behaved in similar unbecoming manner in the past.
Asked whether the National Sports Council has acted with vested
interests in Minister Gamini Lokuge, forming a fresh five-member
selection panel headed by Rohan Abayakoon, Dr. Gunasekera was eager to
know what gains his Council could have with the Minister appointing a
new panel of selectors.
“Only thing I have not done is refereeing in rugby,” he said.
“I have coached, been a manager, a physio, a doctor, I have also been
a former Chairman of Selectors, and I have also been a former SLRFU
“So, there is nothing for me to achieve in rugby.”
Dr. Maiya Gunasekera continuing further noted that both Kiran
Atapattu and B. L. H. Perera cannot ever aspire to be the SLRFU
President as they have never played ‘A’ division rugby, which is a prime
requirement according to the Union constitution.
He stated that therefore it will be clear to the readers as to who
the person or persons with vested interest are.
The former Sri Lanka, CR and FC and Royal lock asserted, that to
suggest the National Sports Council had recommended to the Minister of
Sports and Public Recreation to remove the Jupana Jayawardene led
selection panel, was the ultimate slight on Minister Gamini Lokuge, who
counts over 30 years of experience, as a prominent politician having
served in the Government and Opposition at various stages of his
“If someone thinks the Minister (Lokuge) can be taken for a ride then
they are sadly mistaken,” he explained. “The Minister knows what is
right and what is wrong. “He is an experienced trade union leader and
knows his onions and he, I think, has taken everything on board before
dissolving the previous panel of selectors.”
Dr. Gunasekera added that of the two other members of the National
Sports Council, including ex IGP Indra de Silva, Kiran Atapattu is none
other than the Cabinet appointed advisor to the Minister of Sports and
that even B. L. H. Perera is a respected sports official.
He emphasised that the National Sports Council were not a bunch of
jokers who could be swayed by every Tom, Dick or Harry and that they had
gone on a fact-finding mission before putting across the findings to the
Minister who took action subsequently.