The Sunday Leader

Malik — The Man Behind The Magic Of Kandy Sports Club

By Hafiz Marikar

Malik Samarawickrama

Many seem to have forgotten those glorious moments of Kandy Sports Club rugby, but there are still a few who remember the part played by promoters, one such person is former Royalist Malik Samarawickrema.

Malik’s name is a house hold name in the game of rugby. He played for Royal College as a scrum half from 1966 to 1968  along with the famous Jagath Fernando, H.C.P. Malwatte, A.J. Yusuf, B. Livera, C.R. de Silva, D.J. Perera, R.Thurairatnam, Brian Baptist and G. Mohamed to name a few.

After leaving school he joined the CR & FC and  played for them as a scrum half in a class of his own.  He also played for the Low Country in the Caper Cup game against Up-Country and also was a member of the Sri Lanka President’s XV. He hung up his boots in 1977 and became a great promoter of the sport, and today in the field of rugby he is the undisputed king maker.

It was Samarawickrema who brought Kandy Sports Club to its present standard through his knowledge and experience. Kandy Sports would not have reached its present position in the field of rugby, if he had not helped from the side lines to win the league 13 times since 1992 and the Clifford Cup 15 times in 16 attempts — that too since 1992  and also the sevens from the year 1999 to date 11 times.

All the good work by Kandy Sports Club has been due to Malik’s solid backing. He is a  disciplinarian and a man who knows the game well having given his best for rugby at school, club, province and national levels.  As in the past, he will be standing by his favorite Kandy Sports Club team in ensuring another wonderful season.

Samarawickrema joined the Nittawela club in the early 1990s, and from the day he stepped in,  Kandy Sports Club has gone from strength to strength both in the rugby field and administration.  It was he who  advised  and helped the officials to do up the grounds, and  today it is probably the  best rugby ground in the country. He was instrumental in adding the  tiers right round the grounds, and the modern pavilion was built by  Malik  and he named it after his good friend, the late Gen. Denzil Kobbekaduwa.

When he joined Kandy Sports Club,  this club with a long history of the game, had not won a single championship, though they entered the cup finals in 1954, when the tournament was only five years old and lost to CR & FC and in the following year, in 1955 entered the cup finals and lost again to CR & FC. The next final was in 1969 and in that year too they lost to CR & FC and in 1978 lost to Havelock SC in the cup finals.

They first won the Clifford Cup in 1992, from there onwards they have been winning championships after championships, and today this club is known as the champion rugby club home to  the country’s best players.

Malik was the founder of the Singer/SriLankan Airlines International Sevens. He helped the organisers to conduct the tournament for 10 long years, but this time they failed to organise it as the governing body failed to do the needful with the IRB.

His contribution to sevens rugby is invaluable.  This great rugby promoter can be called as the godfather of Kandy Sports Club. This international sevens tournament, which was brought into celebrate 125 years of Kandy Sports Club in 1999, was one of the most successful international tournaments to be organised in Sri Lanka.  The tournament was recognised, firstly because of the efficient administration of the tournament which is essential if rugby is to develop and expand, and secondly because it introduced new teams and players which is vital to maintain high standards of play.

With these twin objectives in mind, the founder of the tournament Malik and the Kandy Sports Club committee set up all possible means to develop this competition.  Malik’s sevens went from strength to strength and as a promoter he has  helped many players to hit the top in the sport.  Due to Malik’s contribution, the Nittawela club has maintained very high standards since 1992.  Malik is used to saying that whilst it is difficult to reach the top, it is more difficult to stay on top and Kandy Sports Club being the only club out of Colombo, has stayed at the top for a decade.

Malik was one time in the Longden Place committee, and later in the SLRFU as Treasurer, Vice  President, President and also one time Sri Lanka team manager.

When the history of rugby is recorded at Nittawela and  the controlling body, the name of Malik Samarawickrema will stand  as one of the  greatest administrators  of this sport. He now becomes  the first trustee of a club which has won the League, Clifford Cup and the Sevens more than any other club.

2 Comments for “Malik — The Man Behind The Magic Of Kandy Sports Club”

  1. tyrell morrison

    of course i have been a keen folower of kandy sports club rugby hailing from kandy maliks name is no stranger to rugby we as people from kandy should show a great grattitude to him. if he did not cross over to kandy and helped us we still would have been the famous club wher most of the clubs targeted getting bonus points we as kandyans say a big thank you to Mr. Malik for all his greates support and looking forward to his continued support on behalf of kandy i say may you be with our club for many more years may god bless you T…H…A…N..K..Y..O..U.. VERY MUCH

    • thariq

      i do agree that he’s the godfater of kandy sc, kandy will be nothing without him! LOL!
      i feel bad for the players who joined kandy for big money moves!
      in sri lanka you can only be professonal rugby player if you only join malik! some of the top players who did not want to lose their dignity didn’t want to join him because they had dignity in their poverty! so who ever is trying to praise the godfather of kandy sc must know the benifits malik reciev frm the players! HE WILL MAKE AN OFFER THEY CAN’T REFUSE! lol! rugby is developed in among the players who only play for malik as favour to the poor players who has no choice! i hope u knw what i mean! and the beautiful game can not get any currupted! theres no passion in the club scene or the national scene! i hope and pray that he wouldn’t get involved in the most passionate schoole rugby scene! everyone is more passionate about the school rugby than anything! god bless sri lankan rugby!

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