When one speaks of Sri Lanka football, Manilal Fernando’s contribution for the game should be weighed in gold. His great services towards the game were remarkable. He was a veteran football administrator and helped everyone on and off the field. When the history of football is spoken about the influence and guidance given by Fernando are immense.
Manilal, a product of Tissa MV Kalutara and Ananda College, was a top sportsman during his school days. He played football and was an athlete at Tissa MV. After coming to Ananda College he played rugger as a prop forward. At Law College he played cricket and later turned out for Kalutara Town Club.
He is the one who incited a new turn during his period with the construction of a fully-fledged football house with the help of FIFA, AFC and Holcim. This facility came into operation mainly due to his efforts on May 15, 2001. The Football House ‘the headquarters’ has all what is needed for the game. He also built the Baddegana Training Centre, developed football playing grounds at Kalutara (by constructing a stadium), City Football League, Matara, Badulla, Vauniya and Hatton.
He has also helped several lesser known footballers, coaches and referees. At present some are in top positions mainly due to him. He also helped several people to go overseas for training; some of them to officiate in matches while others went as Match Commissioners. He was instrumental in helping coaches gain AFC status as referees and linesmen.