Thus far, Zahira College rugby coach Shamly Nawaz remains quite content with the side’s accomplishment in the ongoing Schools Rugby League. However, with just two wins in five games, Shamly anticipates his side to finish on a high note as they have often shown exceptional resistance against top sides in the league this season.
Lately, we met the mastermind himself for an extensive talk over his past. Furthermore, we were urged to extend our discussing over to Zahira rugby as well.
Isipathana’s dominance and Zahira’s late outburst has signified Shamly’s influence as a coach but most viewers, particularly the youth is unaware of his achievements in the past. Therefore, we decided to hear from the man himself.
Born in Hambantota on April 4th, 1979, Shamly was extraordinarily active throughout his childhood.
“My mother used to recall an unusual activeness in me from the time I was born to this world. When I started to walk, my parents identified a problem with my legs. Actually, they were corrected. I learned my rugby after joining my school, Isipathana College, Colombo. I represented my school when I was 11 and continued to play until I was 20. I learned most of my rugby in my college. There were plenty of star class rugby coaches back then. I was able to absorb their coaching knowledge as well. Back in 1996, I was selected to captain the U19 side (first year) and was given the opportunity to retain the post in the following year,” said Shamly Nawaz, disclosing almost every little detail about his school life.
Understanding our enthusiasm to learn, Shamly went on to expose details of his life after school.
“I recall joining Havelocks SC in 1998. Then I crossed over to CR & FC, where I played until 2007. I was given the opportunity to captain the side in 2003. 1998 was another interesting year for me as I was allowed to make my national debut. I represented Sri Lanka in the Asian Games and Hong Kong 7s as well,” added Shamly Nawaz.
Shamly’s coaching career ignited as he took over Isipathana U12, U13, and U16 side. An all-island U16 tournament win boosted his confidence as a coach. Education-wise, Shamly completed his degree in Software Engineering at SLIIT.
Ultimately, he was wholly engaged in coaching Isipathana College and CR & FC until he joined Zahira College Colombo in 2014.
When questioned of his greatest achievement as a coach, Shamly was quick to enlighten us with a bit of inspiration.
“Actually, there were many achievements. Sometimes in coaching, you lose games but achieve a great deal. I think this year’s Zahira team has achieved a lot. And as a coach, I have achieved a lot seeing them play this way. So I believe, achievement is not always defined by victory,” said the mastermind.
Moreover, taking us through his daily routine, Shamly revealed that he spends a lot of time with his wife and kids. He gave a great deal of importance to his morning walk. Nonetheless, he spends most of his time coaching as it has shifted to a full-time job in the recent past.
Zahira’s recent outburst has certainly erupted as an incredible story in local school rugby. Shamly was right on the money with his observations as he shared his thoughts over this.
“I am extremely happy to see them progress in school rugby. This college had all the facilities to play rugby but they were not using it properly. So I just had to get the planning right in the first year. I also introduced the basic skills as skilled players often do wonders at the top level. This season we’ve come close to upset top opponents but we ran out of gas in the final minutes. I think it’s tough to get everything right with the atmosphere in this division. But now the side is slowly learning to play under pressure. If they get one big win, I think they’d continue to prosper this season,” answered Shamly Nawaz.
Deep down Shamly was a little sad as his initial plan was to remain undefeated in the first round.
“I believe the players can do better in the second round. It’s a tough league but finishing 2nd or 3rd will give me satisfaction,” he added.
Finally, we were curious to grasp Shamly’s thoughts on the league’s influence over national rugby.
“It’s really hard to find school boys commit to club level rugby. So if school leavers continue with rugby in the club level, the numbers selected to the national pool will certainly increase. I think there has to be an increase in the number of clubs as well. For rugby in Sri Lanka, it’s a waste to just lose talented school leavers,” concluded the Zahira College head coach.
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