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Sunday, 8 February 2009





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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. Joseph's College.

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 1961.

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 available.

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.

In university

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.



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