Havies Breaks With Tradition; Appoints Selvam As Captain
By T M K Samat
IN a dramatic departure from tradition, Havelock SC has appointed as 2012 captain a player who joined the club only last season.
Normally, the 1915-founded club appoints one of its senior players, counting five-six seasons, as leader. But it made its first exception at last week’s AGM by giving the job to Dilip Selvam, the 29-year-old former Kandy SC flanker, who appeared in Havelock’s colours only midway last season.
Though Havelocks enrolled Selvam, a former Trintian, at the beginning of the 2011 season, his duties in the coaching staff of his old school’s team prevented him from playing for his new club for the entire first round of the league. His first game was in the opening game of the second round, in which the Havelocks turned tables on the Navy.
His appointment was not without debate, but, as one official said “for a decision that flew in the face of tradition, surprisingly the issue didn’t balloon into a serious controversy.’’
The dramatic turnaround in Havelock SC’s fortunes last year, from no.8 in 2010 to no.3, apparently is what inspired Selvam’s appointment. “It’s only natural that we want to build on the momentum of last year – and for that you need a good leader, and popular consensus of the team was that Selvam was the man for the job,” said Thusitha Peiris, the club’s head coach last year. “I think his greatest asset is his long association with a winning outfit (Kandy SC), and hopefully the winning ways he’s accustomed to can be transferred to a team that’s seemed to accept defeat as norm over the past several seasons.’’
Another advantage that could accrue benefit from Selvam’s appointment is the chance of again making Trinity a reliable supplier of young talent to the club. The Nimal Maralandes, Ken de Joodts, Sumanasekeras, Y. C. Changs and Dias de Singhes of the 50s; the Gamini Fernandos, Glen vanLangenbergs, Jupana Jayawardenas, Gogi Tillekeratnes, Sunderalinghams of the 60s and Shafi Jainudeens, Lanil Tennekoons and Jeffrey Yus of the 70s were all Havelock’s stalwarts of their respective eras.
The rise of Kandy SC, Havelock’s less affluent membership and sparse sponsorship conspired to stop the supply from Trinity. But Asanga Seneviratne’s role as financier of the Havelocks last year, the one-time regular Clifford Cup holders promises to take the club back to its half-forgotten times of glory.
The hiring of a foreigner as head coach is on the cards, with Thusitha Peiris as assistant.