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German defender Jens here to give hope for youth

The youth of the country is the future and they should be given the priority at all times, said the German national soccer teams defender Jens Nowotny addressing a press briefing at the Football House. The press briefing was held to announce the ceremonial opening of the German-Sri Lanka Football Complex at Matara today.

Nowotny arrived in the island to represent the national team of Germany which funded the full cost of the complex. The cost of 250,000 Euros was the money that was spent on this project.

Jens Nowotny

Holgar Obermann

Uli Voigt

He further added that it was a pleasure to be present here for an occasion that is ready to help the youth of this country. This project is not only football but it has many aspects, it will help the younger generation to get together. They are the ones who are aspiring to be good citizens of a country, so it becomes an obligation for us to see them get the best from us. This is we as a team decided to donate this complex for youth who were badly needed the support after the tsunami catastrophe. The youth who were wondering what will be our tomorrow as they have faced the maximum penalty through nature. So this will surely give them an opportunity to become good citizens forgetting the sufferings of the past and enter the future with a hope.

He was highly impressed by the progress of the project and arrangements made for the opening and also thanked the local organisers for inviting him for this big occasion.

Uli Voigt the Media Director, German Football Federation said that he was surprised to face a press briefing with many mediamen in attendance. He too was of the view that the work of the complex has been a good success which will be of great benefit for soccerites as well as for the other citizens of this country to get together through football.

He said that the President of the German Football Federation Theo Zwanziger was a happy man to hear about the completion of the project undertaken by them on a highly successful manner. Uli also said that he was asked to convey his good wishes to all officials involved in project and to all Sri Lankans, while enjoying the benefits from the project that will see its inauguration today.

The Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany who was the chief guest said that he was a witness to the tsunami disaster in Dec. 26, 2004. I saw with my own eyes the devastation. Nearly 40,000 were buried and many were homeless. I saw the agony of the people who faced this crisis situation.

“My country is not a cricket playing country like yours. But football is a game that can bring people together in a very short period. We have proved this to the whole world. I have had many discussions with Manilal Fernando to bring solace to these tsunami victims.”

“When the call for the need came, I fully supported the issue considering it as a priority. This brought in good results for your country. Now it is time that you take the maximum use from this project to develop the game while helping the younger generation to useful citizens and to put Sri Lanka on to a good standing on the football arena.

Holgar Obermann FIFA project officer who supervised the full construction work visiting Sri Lanka on many occasions too was a happy man to see the work of the project keep to its deadline.

Obermann speaking said that the officials of the FFSL gave the fullest co-operation to carry out his mission smoothly. He said during his visits 200 teachers and 4,000 young soccerites were taught the basics and proudly add that they have keenly taken up with the game. This is a good sign for the development of the sport here.

Adding further told that I first visited Sri Lanka six months after the tsunami disaster. I really felt Sri Lanka needed help for the game to revive. With Manilal Fernando’s vision ‘Football for Hope’ we forwarded a report to the German Federation.

The Federation consulted the national team and the verdict to support the issue was unanimous, and I was appointed as the chief co-ordinator for the project. At the commencement when selecting venues we had to face few problems but we overcame these and today it has become a reality.

He thanked the German Ambassador for the assistance rendered during his visits to Sri Lanka. The people of this country now have a chance to develop football and also take a step forward in producing good citizens.

The Senior Vice President and Chairman Management Committee FFSL Manilal Fernando who played a vital role in finding sponsors and a venue for the project addressed the gathering.

Fernando happily said that the funds were used in a proper manner. The money transaction were done by the German Embassy and we had only to submit bills. The work went on smoothly as a result.

The completed complex is equipped with all modern facilities and hostel facilities for fifty inmates. This will help not only to the national team but also to all citizens of Sri Lanka. This project will also be used as a training centre for youth as all German officials are of the view that youth be given the best to become worthwhile people to the society. This project is sure to serve our motto Football for Hope. Keeping this mind the Southern Province also must make it a point to gain best use from this. He added that more additions will be done to improve the complex in the future with the support of various organisations and specially with the German community.

He paid a glowing tribute to Holgar Obermann for his untiring efforts in gaining the support from the German Football Federation and the national team.

Minister of Sports and Public Recreation, Gamini Lokuge, German Ambassador Jurgen Weerth the three delegates from Germany Uli Voigh, Jens Nowotny, Holgar Obermann, all officials of FFSL and many dignitaries from the Southern Province are expected to attend today’s ceremonial opening of the German-Sri Lanka Football Complex.



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