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File picture of Tharjani Sivalingam in action

Sri Lanka’s netball team selections have run into one controversy to another with the approach of the World Cup Tournament to be held in Sydney, Australia in August.

First it was the selection of the captain in Semini Alwis that brought about the turning of heads. The uncomfortable feeling is because she is the daughter of the head coach Deepthi Alwis.

Then came the controversy when selecting officials to accompany the team. They have to select a physio or a primary care attendant who has no qualification in this field at all. Sources told The Nation that this physio is a former national player who is simply given a chance to go on a trip.

“She can only lift a player out of court when she is injured but she does not have the qualification to even give a massage to cure any injury that a player may sustain during the matches,” said this source who did not want to be named for obvious reasons.
Normally a physio is selected from the list of professional people working in the Medical Unit of the Sports Ministry. This physio does not even know how to diagnose an injury so what is the use of taking such a physio?

The selection of this physio was done by the Netball Federation who violated medical ethics, if they had known there was such an ethic. Did they select her to give her a trip to Australia, is the question.

The Doctor on tour will be Dr. Lal Ekanayake who has accompanied several teams on various tours before. He is a competent physician that can be trusted.

No doubt Semini Alwis is a talented player for the future but she was often seated in the bench during the Asian Championships held in Singapore last year. Whether she has shown signs of vast improvement or not is known only to the coach, selectors and officials of the Sri Lanka Netball Federation (SLNF). Whether the selectors and netball officials were there to watch these players at training or not is also a question mark.

What are the criteria followed by the selectors when selecting the national team to participate in the game’s biggest tournament? They have selected three players from the Navy, three from the Air Force and the rest from other teams in Sri Lanka. There are 12 players plus three reserves picked to form the pool that went into training.

What was the criteria followed when selecting the captain? There was Gayani Dissanayake who was the vice captain during the Asian Championship and she was groomed to take over. Why was she not considered?

Sports Minister Navin Dissanayake told The Nation that he had sorted out all issues with the Netball Federation regarding the team composition especially the captain, when he met them on Thursday afternoon.

Semini Alwis will continue as the captain of the team. According to Minister Dissanayake she has the experience and was the vice captain earlier and she can continue.

“I don’t want to upset the present selections and the players as some players did not want to be selected back into the team. I cannot force them back into the team and will let the present team go for the World Cup in August,” said Dissanayake.

However, after this tour the Minister said that he will look into the netball set up and take necessary measures to avert any problems.

Regarding the physio that was selected the Minister said that this matter was not brought to his notice.