served KSC when service was the most needed
* Down Memory Lane with Bernie Wijesekera
Quite a number of players of yesteryear have been
duly rewarded for their exploits. No doubt they richly deserve them.
But don’t forget those dedicated administrators, who worked
hard under trying circumstances. They kept the clubs and the sports
alive. They go unheard and unsung.
Kandy SC (rugby) fought a relentless battle for
survival during the 1970s. It was the likes of Leslie De Soysa who
served Kandy SC ungrudgingly was responsible for the upsurge of
fortunes here. Today somewhat weather beaten, Leslie still has the
spirit and courage to stand up and work.
|Leslie De Soysa
Leslie speaking about the manner in which he served
the cause of rugby explained “Ask Mr. Y.C. Chang. He was the
President of the SLRFU. The Clifford Cup quarter –finals was
played in Kandy. This was made possible due to the initiative taken
With a view to promote and develop, rugby in the
outstations, he played for KSC earlier and captained the team, before
migrating to Colombo. During this period I was the front office
manager at Hotel Suisse and offered board and lodging at a concessionary
rate for the 8 teams including the officials numbering around 225.
This was made possible thanks to the late Nihal
Perera, who was the General Manager. It was an instant success.
When asked Y.C. Chang to this effect. He said “I don’t
know whether Leslie de Zoysa had played any rugby. But he has served
Sri Lanka rugby well in whatever capacity”.He was mainly responsible
to hold the Clifford Cup quarter-finals in Kandy. Imagine for just
Rs.125 per person. Without beating about the bush I could say that
pint-sized Leslie did a king-sized job for the same.
Besides when he was manager of the Queen’s
Hotel during the period 1985-1995 he made a similar gesture for
visiting teams and officials.
Unlike the hardships the poor Kandy players had
to undergo running from pillar to post whilst playing in Colombo.
But teams from Colombo were made comfortable and
accommodated under one roof thanks to De Zoysa. He has been a member
of Kandy SC for 35 years. Two years as treasurer, 13 years as secretary.
Ten years as treasurer of the Central Province RFU.
Soft –spoken De Zoysa, leads a quiet life
at present with his family, at Siebel Place, Kandy. He has contributed
much for the game. Today some of the players from the Hill Capital
have become household names dominating the local rugby circuit.
Thanks to its past administrators, who worked tirelessly. Diminutive
Leslie was one of them.