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Jaffna school girls achieve impressive football tournament triumph

Mahajana College became the first school in the Northern Province to win an island-wide women’s interschool football tournament.  

The girl’s football team from Mahajana College of Tellippalai, Jaffna recorded a 1-0 win over finalists Parakramabahu Central College of Polgahawela, Kurunegala on 19th December 2019 at the City League Complex in Colombo. The winning goal was scored in the 17th minute by Saanu Baskaran.

Captain Tharmika Sivaneswaran, who led her team to victory, spoke to IBC Tamil following her team’s victory.

“We are all greatly elated following the victory which has been our dream for many years.” she said.

When questioned about fear and how they handled the pressure of the tournament, she responded:

As you can expect we were nervous about the occasion and we have suffered a long run of defeats in the past. In the past 6 years we have fell short of achieving the trophy. This year we set out with a determined mindset to succeed despite suffering quarter final exits in previous years. I think our team unity and individual effort and hard work is the reason we progressed onto the semi-final this year. When we reached the semi-finals we were adamant that we would go back to Jaffna with the cup and not settle for second place. We were motivated by the pride a win for our school would bring and played with a drive and passion. The team unity was the main reason we won.”

Asked about how she dealt with the burden and responsibility of captaincy she responded:

“We needed our team to win. Our coaches were unable to help once we were playing and it was in my hands to keep playing well. The coach and I are aware of the player’s capabilities and their best positions. During the match it became very tense and making such decisive choices was very challenging. However scoring a goal was the main goal but to also defend resolutely.”  

Team Coach Sivamaharasa Santhakumar was asked about how proud he was with his team’s victory. He was particularly delighted with the performance of player Gowri Surenthiran:

“It’s taken us around 7 years for us to achieve victory in this tournament since we first formed our girls football team. In 2013 we achieved a 3rd place finish at a tournament hosted by Samaposa. I have personally coached 9 of the current Sri Lanka national team footballers for the U14 girls team, one of whom is Gowri who was part of this team. She has previously vice captained Sri Lanka to victory against Bhutan, where she was awarded as the best performer after netting 3 goals. I am delighted to be able to guide this team to become champions.”

Winning goal scorer Saanu Baskaran revealed her thoughts on scoring the winning goal:

“I was presented the chance to put my team in the lead in the 17th minute. I knew that I had to score with this opportunity because of how finely poised the match and opposition was. There were sections of the crowd that were anxious and others that were supportive and I was confident by using this support I could tuck away my chance.” she told IBC News.

The full video of the interview conducted by IBC News can be seen here.