In the aftermath of Harin Fernando’s resignation as Sports Minister of Sri Lanka following his party candidate Sajith Premadasa’s defeat in presidential election, there are few prominent politicians, who are lobbying for the vacant position.
Especially, Mahindananda Aluthgamage and Johnston Fernando have emerged as Front Runners to Become Sports Minister after Harin Fernando resigned from the post on Sunday, Cricket Age reliably learns.
In addition, two other former Sports Ministers – Dayasiri Jayasekara and Faizer Mustapha – are also lobbying for the post again after their party candidate Gotabaya Rajapaksa won the election empathetically to become the 7th executive president of the island.
However, Gotabaya’s own nephew Namal Rajapaksa looks most suitable person to become the Sports Minister of Sri Lanka, purely because of his sporting history. A former national rugby player, Namal has always been passionate about Sport. A member of parliament, Namal also posses insightful knowledge of Sri Lanka’s most cherished game – Cricket.
After too many tried and tested, old and passive Sports Ministers, Sri Lanka in last one year saw the young and dynamic Harin Fernando at helm and experts in Sri Lanka are on the opinion that Namal, at 33, is the best person for the post.
“He is not only young, but also passionate about the Sport. And it’s not only about cricket, as he is a former national rugby player. It makes him an ideal person for the Sports Minister post” a close associate of Namal told Cricket Age.
For Namal also, the Sports Ministry portfolio will do wonders. It was believed that he has been groomed as a successor of his father Mahinda Rajapaksa, Sports Ministry will provide him the international exposure at such young age, that will be beneficial for him in longer term.
“He is mature enough to handle a responsible and glamours ministerial portfolio like Sports. It will give him an opportunity to involve at international level as well” his close associate added further.
Also, Namal shares a good rapport with majority of Sri Lanka cricketers and has always been very supportive to them! Right now, Sri Lanka Cricket is blessed with plenty of young cricketers, who are ready to make their mark at international level. In this particular time, a Sports Minister like Namal Rajapaksa, with no outside influence or pressure, can surely do wonders for Sri Lanka cricket!
Namal played rugby for S. Thomas’ College representing the school in all age groups – under 9s, 13s, 15s and 17s. In 2000, he led the Sri Lanka national under 16 team. Namal first played for the school’s senior team in 2002 and captained the 1st XV team in 2005. He also led the Sri Lanka under 19 team in 2004. Then, he joined Cardiff University and played in the university’s rugby team from 2005 to 2006. He also played for City University London from 2006 to 2009. In 2009, he first played for the Navy SC, who he captained in 2010-11. In 2010, Namal was invited to play for the Sri Lanka national rugby union team and in 2013 was appointed the team’s captain, a position he retained until he retired from competitive rugby in July 2014.