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Galiph in Navy uniform

Renowned Navy and Sri Lanka sportsman Bin Galiph died aged 63. He played football for Navy, Defence Services and Sri Lanka. Bin was equally well-known as a ruggerite. He started his schooling at St. John’s College, Dematagoda and later joined St. Michael’s College, Kollupitiya where he excelled in sports. A fine team man, Galiph passed away on September 28 (Wednesday), while riding his motorcycle in Rajagiriya. He was knocked down and run over by a bus in a tragic accident. His Janaza was held at Maligawatha Muslim Burial grounds on Thursday.

Bin was an outstanding and a loveable sportsman in Navy’s football and rugby teams. “Bin,” as he was fondly known, had the distinction of playing in two Clifford Cup finals, first was in 1976 and the next in 1989. Navy has a long history in rugby. It was in 1961 that Navy Sports Club together with Division ‘B’ teams from Air Force, Army, Police and University were permitted to play alongside Division ‘A’ clubs like CR & FC, CH & FC, Havelock SC, Kandy SC, Dimbulla A & CC, Dickoya MCC, Uva Gymkhana Club and Kelani Valley Club in the Clifford Cup. The expanded competition allowed all thirteen clubs to play each other once on a home and away basis in alternate years. At the end of the season the best eight teams went on to play in a knock-out tournament for the Clifford Cup. It was in 1975 they competed for the first time in the “Division A” Rugby League, under the captaincy of P.L.B. Nandasiri.

In 1976 Navy ruggerites rewrote history in the country’s rugby book when they entered the final of the Clifford Cup. Galpih was a member of that team and played as full back. The side was led by Ilex Perera. They lost the final to Havelock SC by 15 points to 18. Both teams did their scoring through penalties.

The next final came in 1989 and Galiph was the vice captain and the team comprised players like Sampath Peries, Parakrama Samaraweera (Capt), N.K.D. Nanayakkara, Pradeep Dabare, Jeffrey Jamalon, Hilmy Saheed, Lal Wijesiri, K.P.L. Nissanka, Chulaka Herath, H.G.N.Wijerathne, Susantha Fernando, Mahindaratne and Jagath Priyaratne. They were coached by Brian Baptist. During that season, in the semis, they met Police and at the end of the final whistle it was a draw. During extra time there was no scoring. Then penalties were introduced. The goal kickers for Navy were Bin Galiph, Hilmy Saheed and Jeffery Jamalon. For Police Hafeez Marso, Nizam Jamaldeen and K.P. Subasinghe took the kicks yet there wasn’t a winner. In semi darkness Navy skipper Samraweera, after being given the option by referee Tony Amit called right during the toss of a coin.

In the final Navy went down to CR and FC 3-6. Then Navy’s next Cup final appearances came in 2010 and 2011, but they fell short on both occasions to Kandy Sports Club. At these finals Bin Galiph was a spectator. Navy’s next Clifford Cup final appearance wasn’t until 2014. One of the happiest at the stands that day was Bin.

Bin Galiph led the Defence Services Rugby team in 1988 against Valley Club of Hong Kong at Longden Place. Galiph’s team comprised N. Tennakoon, U.K. Rangith, T. Miskin, Lofty Perera, S. Wijarathne. N.K.D. Nanayakkara, R. Bandara, S. Ariyarathne Panda Wijarathne, H. Saheed, R. Ibrahim, Sumith Ratnayake, T. Wimalasuriya and Lawrence Silva.

Some of his teammates at Defence Service were Alphonso Rodrigo, M.F. Fernando, Nalin de Silva, S.P. de Silva, K. M. Navaratne, Rex Rahim, P.L.B. Nandasiri and G.B. Gunadasa. Bin was also a top class footballer and gave his best for Navy and Defence Services. He represented the country in both sports.

He joined the Navy in 1973 and left in 1995. He had to keep off from sports due to his knee injury. In 1996 he joined Delma and worked till 2011. Afterwards he enjoyed his retirement.

He leaves his wife Siththi Haleema Laxana, son T.S. Mursheed Galiph and daughter Siththi Sharana Rushda. May Allah’s blessing shower upon his soul and may he rest in peace.

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