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Secretary General assures Sri Lanka will perform their best in front of the home crowd and positive atmosphere
COLOMBO (Sri Lanka) – The South Asian nation of Sri Lanka has been to the FIBA Asia Cup 7 times, but have only had one appearance in the last 2 decades. In order to get back to the Asia Cup for the first time since 2009, Sri Lanka will have to go through Group F of the Asia Cup Qualifiers where they will face Jordan, Kazakhstan, and Palestine.
Secretary General of the Sri Lanka Basketball Federation, Dr. Chula Senaratne, feels that there has been a great effort put forth to match the standards of the teams within each group as much as possible.
“This will give much weaker teams a chance to play their best to keep their hopes a live,” said Dr. Senaratne.
As the 26th ranked team in Asia according to the FIBA World Ranking Presented by Nike and the lowest ranked team in the Asia Cup Qualifiers, Sri Lanka will have a lot of work to do. Nonetheless, the federation, team, and players, have already put in an admirable effort on their parts to get the team here.
Sri Lanka swept through the SABA Pre-Qualifiers before finishing in 4th place at the West Region Pre-Qualifiers on their way to a spot at the Asia Cup Qualifiers.
“It feels great to be here!” exclaimed the Secretary General. “Considering the limitations we have faced due to the minimal resources and insufficient funds in 2018, Sri Lankan basketball players did an excellent job to beat their regional opponents and to qualify to contend with better teams.”
In a basketball environment that is growing and eager to develop like in Sri Lanka, there are going to be sacrifices that will need to be made. The federation has put in much effort to make sure that this will be the least of worries for the team and the players in order for them to focus on being their best on the court.
“The Federation did it’s best to encourage the players and the coaching staff which has managed to get the best out of them,” Dr. Senaratne said. “The Sri Lanka Basketball Federation has never let them feel the burden.”
Sri Lanka are not a big basketball nation – at least not yet, anyways – but the fans have gone out of their way to show immense support for their team and players. Star player, Praneeth Udumalagala, averaged 17.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists per game at the Pre-Qualifiers which garnered enough love to be voted most favorite player of the Western Region.
Now, those fans will get a chance to root for their national team right on their home turf at the Asia Cup Qualifiers. They will be hosting Kazakhstan (November 26) and Jordan (November 29) in the second window, before Palestine comes to town on February 19, 2021. It will certainly be a next step for basketball development in the country that the Federation is looking forward to see.
“Hosting a competition of this caliber is a great honor to our country and the best recognition for the Basketball federation,” added Dr. Senaratne. “By conducting our role as hosts at the best level proves that we have the capability to host more international level games like this.
“On the other hand, as a team, Sri Lanka will perform their best in front of the home crowd and positive atmosphere.”