The 13th edition of Sri Lanka University Games (SLUG) has already begun giving all the rights to the University of Ruhuna to set the stage for the biggest sporting festival of the inter-university sports arena. Over 7000 students are expected to compete in 22 sporting events this year. As this sports festival gets underway, all eyes of football-loving fans will be on this year’s football tournament. Teams across the country are getting ready to sort out who is the best in the upcoming football season.
This year’s edition will see a total of 13 teams come together once again chasing the title, Sri Lanka University Games Football Championship. The competition is fierce. Teams will surely put their efforts on the line for their respective universities. Eventually, the best of the best will lift the trophy at the end of the coming weekend.
Teams from 13 different universities islandwide have been drawn into four groups for the tournament and the teams in each group will play in a single round-robin format. After the group stage top two teams will progress into the quarterfinals. The winners of quarterfinal matches will proceed to the semifinals. Semifinal losers will compete in a consolation final while the winners will advance to the finals.
The draw for this year’s tournament is as follows. The top spot in each group was decided based on the performances in last year inter uni championship.
Group A: SAB, JAF, UVA
Group B: PER, EST, RUH
Group C: COL, SJP, KEL
Group D: MOR, WAY, SEA, RAJ
Last year Inter University Championship (IUC) ended up with University of Sabaragamuwa grabbing the championship trophy beating the University of Peradeniya in a dramatic final decided by penalty kicks held at Uyanwatta Football grounds. After an exciting consolation final match between Moratuwa and Colombo, University of Colombo was able to secure the third place of the tournament.
Sabaragamuwa, led by S. Subaraj, is coming into this year’s tournament on the back of a strong performance in Inter University Championship and has been on the rise ever since its victory. Sabara picked up the FA Cup in university level beating Colombo 5-0 at the final and is now ready to take on the club level from next season. They enter the SLUG tournament with the confidence of this iconic victory.
Pera will be eager to start their season strongly with a very experienced squad and will be ready to avenge their recent loss in the finals in last year’s IUC. Being runners up in the university level FA Cup, Colombo will also be quietly confident of doing well in this year’s tournament under the leadership of Indika Priyadarshana. After losing the third-place playoff in IUC, Mora, led by Asitha Abeysinghe, will be back with a bang to take down a few giants along its way to the finals.
Ruhuna will be hoping to take advantage of playing at home grounds. After their failure to advance into the semifinals in last year’s tournament, they will be under huge pressure to win on home soil. But if they play to their best this time, they will be a genuine threat in this year’s tournament.
Other teams that were knocked out at the group stage in IUC last year are expected to improve their performance before they find themselves left too far behind their rivals. But now that they may have hopefully learned from their mistakes, it will be tough to predict the competition in this year’s tournament.
Looking back into the SLUG history, Jaffna was able to win the championship in 2016 with Japura being the 1st runners up and South Eastern University grabbing the third place. Three years later since their victory, Jaffna will be back with a squad full of experience to win over the championship once again to their alma mater. They will be competitive as usual and will be one of the teams to watch this season.
This time SLUG XIII will see rivals go head to head battle for the title and each team will compete to win with the same passion as any other year. The first rounds of the tournament kick off this Friday with the championship game set for Sunday. Kicking off in both Uyanwatta stadium and Kotawila Stadium, this time the tournament certainly promises to be the best yet. Opening match of the tournament will see Moratuwa take on Rajarata at Uyanwaththa ground while the clash between Wayamba and SEA will take place at Kotawila Ground. Get yourselves ready to witness this championship showdown from 30th of August. We, Moraspirit will bring you every goal as it goes in. So, let the countdown begin!