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Shafi Jainudeen - an ace of a rugby full-back

Shafi Jainudeen was lucky that his parents lived in Kandy in close proximity to Trinity and Trinity it was which gave him an all-round education on the lines that Derryck Aluvihare spoke of when he said "a Trinity education is what a Trinitian gets when he is not attending class."

Out of the classrooms it was rugger that took his fancy. His first foray into the game was in 1965 when he played in the U17 team captained by Ajith Abeyaratne.

In 1966 he was in the 1stXV captained by Glen Van Langenberg; '67 and '68 under Ajith Abeyaratne and captaining the side in 1969 to win all their matches with handsome margins except the SPC game which was drawn 3-3.

No other school scored a single point against Trinity. In the four year period under review Trinity lost only to STC 3-8 in 1966.

Some of the best who laced their rugby boots were his colleagues: Glen and Ajith as captains; Jupana Jayawardena, Mark Sundaralingam, Alex Lazarus, Gogi Tilekeratne, Isphanan Omar who now masquerades as Izwan, Nihal and Tikri Marambe, Mohan Balasuriya, Seevali Samarasekera, John Furlong, Irwine Howie, Russel Tennekoon and Y.S.Ping.

Like any other Trinity ruggerite except for Kavan Rambukwella, straight out of school, he played for the star-studded Kandy Sports when Denzil Kobbakaduwa and Y.C.Chang wanted to have the best three-quarter line. The line was manned by Jayantissa Ratwatte, Chang Fa, Seevali Samarasekera, Fredrick 'Goofy' Prins, George Jayasena and Shafi as full-back. They beat Havelocks, Kandy Rugby Football Club, CH&FC and faced CR&FC captained by Mohan Sahayam in the Finals. It was a game that they might well have won had referee Darley Ingleton not gone back on his decision: Jayan was tackled in possesion by Indrajith Cumaraswamy and as the ball fell back, Chang Fa picked up the loose ball and touched down with Ingleton running behind, his hand raised to signal thr try but, unaccountably, he blew for a knock-on.

1970 saw Shafi sporting the chocolate and brown jersey of Havelocks who were, under the captaincy of Jeff Rutnam the Joint Holders of the Clifford Cup. In 1974 Havelocks, captained by Desmond Harridge won the Clifford Cup outright.

Shafi played for Colombo Clubs, captained by Noel Brohier, against London Welsh in 1972 and in the same year, for Colombo Clubs captained by Anton Benedict against the Emus In 1974 Shafi was in the Asiad team captained by Desmond Harridge.

Whilst in Colombo he was employed by Freudenbergs and he had a galaxy os sports stars as his colleagues, chiefly Roy Dias, Lanil Tennekoon, Tajone Savanghan, Hafi Abdeen, Jeff Rutnam, Rohan Perera, Ruwan Samarasekera and Mohamed Anvar.

In 1975/76 he had an year's stint with Hayleys before spending 25 years of his life in Dubai, then going to Kenya, Bangladesh, Singapore and one year as CEO of McLarens. He has since settled down in Sydney, Australia where i he is the General Manager of PLM Global Management Pty Limited a Company dealing in global transportation.

Two who have been instrumental in the growth of his life are Rohan de Silva and Ajith Abeyaratne and he his for ever grateful to them.

 

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