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Tamil Eelam team departs from 'unforgettable' tournament

Emotional scenes followed Tamil Eelam's thrilling victory as the team said goodbye to the Isle of Man and to each other for the year.


The team, made up of Tamil youth from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the UK, were forced to say farewell to each other on Monday as players departed to their respective home countries to return to work or study.

Fan video of the team celebrating after receiving the third place cup.

Many European players who were formerly acquainted as football rivals in the Tamil sports scene, left with the promise of reuniting with their teammates at some of the many Tamil community football tournaments and sports festivals to be held across Europe this summer.

Shazil Niyas, described a similar situation in Canada saying:

“When it comes to league football, the other players and I are almost bitter rivals, but that’s all forgotten when you’re playing for your national flag. Playing for our nation unites us; it makes us a single unit. After an experience like this you can’t think of your teammates as anything other than family, even if you’re playing against them in a local tournament next week.”

Manager Ragesh Nambiar said that he was glad to have found players that gelled so well together and told Tamil Guardian that his job had been made much easier by the fact that players were proactive in discussing tactics and were able to independently form effective partnerships on the pitch.

French player Ronsan Vallipuram told Tamil Guardian:

“It is important for us all to stay humble; although we did well this year there is always room for improvement, and there may be better players out there for us to discover for the national team. Still, every single one of us is hopeful that we will be here again next year representing Tamil Eelam, and hopefully bringing home a cup.”

Tamil Guardian also caught up with Italian striker Panushanth Kulenthiran and Golden Boot winner for the most goals scored in the tournament, Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan to hear their thoughts on the tournament.

Summarising the team’s attitude for the whole tournament Menan Nagulendran from Canada, Tamil Eelam’s star scorer at the VIVA World Cup 2012, said:

“We started each day with an Ahavanakkam. I believe those moments of reflection were essential in giving us the motivation to play our hearts out. Sometimes you get seventy or eighty minutes into a game, you’re exhausted, you need that push to keep you fighting until the whistle blows; you need that reminder of who you’re playing for – the thousands of Maveerar, the thousands of civilians killed and the thousands continuing the Tamil struggle. It’s what gives us hope; it’s what keeps us together.”