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Sunday, 16 January 2011

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Manilal Fernando - a healthy crop of talent to FIFA Executive Committee

FOOTBALL: No doubt about it, President Mahinda Rajapaksa must be very happy, after seeing his countryman Manilal Fernando becoming the first Sri Lankan to be appointed into the FIFA Executive Committee. Manilal seems to have an endless capacity to surprise, his country and make Sri Lanka Football very proud of its achievements.

After several years of modest, almost inconsequential participation in football in the Island, a huge congratulation and a round of applause to Manilal, and to his loving mother Kamala, who has given the much needed support to her son, and his wife Mano. They have been with you in all your football promotional activities, There are two more who also gave Manilal support and backing to push him into the international arena. They are late J.S N. Anandaraja and present CEO Chyristantha Perera.

Manilal's contribution to football in Sri Lanka is invaluable. Few forget the glorious moments of sports in the past, but remember the part played by promoters for the promotion of the game. If that is so the name of Manilal should never be forgotten in the field of football in Sri Lanka from AFC and now to FIFA.

The year 2011, is going to be a great year for Manilal and football when he holds the post of FIFA Executive position until 1915.

Manilal a product of Tissa M.V. and Ananda College Colombo has contributed his best for football. A great promoter who gives everything and takes nothing. He is keenly involved in football and mixes with people in all walks of life, a master in promoting football activates and a man with a vision.

While at Tissa MV, he was a top athlete and a footballer. At Ananda he played rugger as a front row forward and was a member of the Ananda College team in he inaugural William Gopallawa Shield games against Vidyartha College. While at Law College he played cricket and also later turned out for Kalutara Town Club at cricket.

He was a executive member of Sri Lanka Cricket when Sri Lanka won the World Cup. Then he was a senior Vice President of the NOC. At rugby, a ardent supporter of CR & FC and gave a big hand to put up their new club house.

His sincerity and personal integrity is never in question. A gentleman to a fault, his personal charm and ability to make friends in the football arena, from even the lowest ranks of society makes him a popular personality. He has the unenviable gift of making people feel exalted and raising their spirits with a few words to comfort or express support, where others in sports fail. 'He is a man who says, don't worry', "I am there with you".

He is a true champion of the game. For the game of football he has done his best. He is a philanthropist, a social worker and above all a trusted loving friend to everyone. He is blessed with a heart of gold. He is quick to respond to anyone in distress and has very generously doled out money to help the people.

He is man who got the necessary funds to put up the Football House at Reid avenue, Football Training Center at Baddegama. He also re-developed the football grounds at Kalutara and few other grounds in the South, North, Up-Country and City Football League grounds. His aim is to go for a up-to-date football stadium, for which, the only person who can help him is President Mahinda Rajapaksa by getting a suitable site.

When history of football is recorded, the name of Manilal will stand alongside with the greatest football promoters and administrators this country has seen.

A peep into what happened at the AFC Congress in Qatar-Manilal Fernando, and Thailand's Worawi Makudi were the luckiest to win seats on the FIFA Executive Committee as AFC representatives after voting at the 24th AFC Congress. There were two seats up for elections with four candidates. Also in the frame were Japan's Kohzo Tashima and China's Zhang Jilong. Manilal Fernando picked up 23 of the 45 eligible votes while Worawi gained 24 votes to retain his seat on FIFA's decision-making body.

Manilal was happy with his position, happy to see his good friend, Mohamed Bin Hammam elected as the AFC President for a third term after being elected unopposed at the 24th AFC Congress. Bin Hammam, who became AFC President in 2002, was the only candidate in the election and his victory was confirmed by acclamation from the delegates representing the AFC's 46-Member Association.

AFC Executive Committee 2011-2015 of the AFC, President Mohamed Bin Hammam (Qatar), FIFA Vice President HRH Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein (Jordan), FIFA Executive Committee Members: Vernon Manilal Fernando (Sri Lanka), Worawi Makudi (Thailand), AFC Vice Presidents Yusof Al Serkal (UAE), Zhang Jilon (China), Ganesh Thapa (Nepal), HRH Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmed Shah (Malaysia), AFC Female Member (South & Central), Mahfuza Akhter (Bangladesh)

AFC EXCO Members: H.E. Shk. Ali Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa (Bahrain), Dr. Hafez I. Al Medlej (Saudi Arabia) Sayyid Khalid Hamed Al Busaidi (Oman), Praful Patel (India), Makhdoom Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat (Pakistan), Ali Azim (Maldives), Lee Boo Aun Winston (Singapore), Tran Quoc Tuan (Vietnam), Zaw Zaw (Myanmar), Ganbold Buyannemekh (Mongolia), Kohzo Tashima (Japan), Richard K. Lai (Guam)

Note:The positions of AFC Female Vice President Moya Dodd (Australia) and AFC Female Executive Member Kim Sun-hui (DPR Korea) were not up for election.

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