Meet the Rugby Schools
After a gruelling season in the B Division last season and a subsequent promotion to contest the A Division knockout tournament last season, the rugby players of Zahira College Maradana are bubbling with enthusiasm as they take up position among the giant teams this season.
The lads from Maradana are assured of matches against teams like Science, S. Thomas’, Trinity, Wesley and Prince of Wales in the Division 1 segment of the inter-school league rugby tournament. This is why they were working hard over the years under the watchful eyes of coach Shamly Nawaz who is continuing in the reigns for another year.
They struck gold in the first outing itself this season, beating Science College Mount Lavinia at Ratmalana. The scores were 13 all till the last few minutes and there was a clear instruction from the coach to the boys at this juncture of the game. The instruction was, “Play to the pattern and the result was a match winning try,” Nawaz told Nation during an interview done at the Zahira College rugby ground.
The lads from Maradana are certainly not programmed. They are allowed to play their game. “Each player is very advanced compared to the times we played school rugby. Every player knows his role in the team and contributes to the team’s goal,” he said.
According to Nawaz, the players can take the physical punishment when they contest teams in the A Division tournament. “What is tough for them is the pressure applied by the crowd. We have to mentally prepare them and will be obtaining the services of a motivator,” said Nawaz as he spelt out the plans for the challenging season ahead.
Nawaz saw Zahira’s journey into the A Division as a long one with the players taking several small steps in reaching their target. He said that the step by step approach was essential, largely because the mental game was as important as the physical challenge.
Everything is provided to the boys and to top it up, Zahira College Rugby has attracted sponsorships from Phoenix (Main sponsor), KFC (Food sponsor) and RBN (Clothes sponsor). Looking at all what the team has Nawaz had this to say, “We all know that retaining the slot in the A Division is going to be harder than getting into this group”.
This season the side is led by Azar Irfan while his deputy will be Shifaz Amath. The side will retain the services of seven seniors from the last season. As many as 40 boys are attending practices this season with the dream of wearing the First XV jersey. Nawaz said that the school authorities have for this season formed an under 18 pool which will supplement the school’s main rugby team. According to the coach, Zahira College will be looking at young blood to strengthen their hopes this season. Nawaz will be assisted in coaching this season by Dilan Soysa.
Zahira College is an academic institute which has produced several illustrious rugby players. In an era where school rugby teams are mushrooming, there is no need for this academic institute to create that environment for rugby. It’s already present. Anyone stepping onto the grounds at Zahira and seeing the boys running after the oval shaped ball can feel the rugby buzz in the quaint way a doctor hears, through his stethoscope, the pumping of the heart. Zahira rugby is alive and kicking!
Azar Irfan (Captain), Shifaz Amath, Yuzraan Lantra, Hassan Razick, Muammar Deen, Hohammed Lantra, Ahamed Booso, Mohammed Faumy, Tuan Nassar, Haaazik Fhuazi, Dilshan Manampperu, Mohammed Shamhil, Mohammed Faiz, Mohammed Suhaib, Mohammed Iqbal, Abdul Rahuman, Mohammed Fowzulhaq, Mohammed Atheeq, Mohammed Abdeen, Mohammed Samsudeen, Mohammd Sinhawansa, Tuan Thajudeen, Mohammed Shazaan, Mohammed Kudhoos, Mohammed Nizlar, Maas Youhana, Mohammed Aniff, Abdul Salam, Mohammed Furkhan, Abdul Hakeem, Mohammed Mubashshir, Mohammed Kitchilan, Ahmed Aslam, Mohammed Fazal