Peter Ranasinghe stole the limelight from young days
FOOTBALL: Peter Ranasinghe, is no doubt, the pride of Sri Lanka's
Football Association during the post-war period and is a product of St.
Peter Ranasinghe - quick to show his prowess in football.
Peter's in born talent was spotted while he played inter-school
matches and started his big soccer when he was selected as a substitute
for the Colombo (Central) Colours team in the Inter-District tournament
(later National Championships) of the Ceylon Football Association. It
was difficult to overlook his skills, although he was wafer-thin in
stature, but had the pedigree-his brother Christopher and his father's
reputation made him one of the soccer greats in the country.
Peter, was quick to show his prowess and at the age of 19, climbed to
the top when he was selected to represent Ceylon in the Second Asian
Quadrangular tournament in Rangoon, Burma in 1953. Incidentally, Peter
was the only player with boots in the team. He turned out to be the best
player for Ceylon and played a clean game of soccer with the knowledge
that he had gathered.
In the third Asian Quadrangular tournament in 1954 in Calcutta, Peter
captained the Ceylon team and did well to draw with India 1-1, lost to
Pakistan 1-2 recorded the first ever win, defeating Burma 2-1 in the end
India became champions and Ceylon runners-up.
After his top-class performances in India, he was dubbed 'Peter the
Great' as he was the hero among the football crowds in Calcutta where
football is still the `second religion'. Superb display by the Ceylon
team was due to the methodical training given by late D. S. Abraham,
Chief Playground Instructor, Colombo Municipal Council from 1958 to
Abraham hailed from Jaffna, was a top-class sportsman. From then on
Peter was an automatic choice to any top national team whenever, he was
Peter captained the Ceylon team in the Olympic Football Tournament's
extra-preliminary round `tie' against India on 22 December 1963 at the
Sugathadasa Stadium. He also led Ceylon against the Pakistan Football
Federation team who toured Ceylon in 1956.
Peter left St. Joseph's College around 1951 to join the University.
At the peak of his football career he was captain of the national team
and crowned his scholastic achievement with an honours degree in
Mechanical Engineering from the University of Ceylon. Perhaps he is one
of the rare exceptions where sports and studies went together.
Later he was appointed as an Assistant Lecturer in the University in
1956. Peter then left for the United Kingdom on a Federation of British
Industries Scholarship in February 1958 and returned in 1959 to assume
his post as Assistant Lecturer.
From January 1961, Peter was the Research and Designs Engineer of
Colombo Commercial Company until he migrated to Australia in search of
`greener pastures'. His winning smile in victory or in defeat was an
inspiration to his colleagues on or off the field.
He was a household name when it came to football.