30.03.2013 in Interviews by admin 0

Shazny Mohamed: Airtel-Manchester United ‘Rising Star’

Shazny Mohamed fell in love with the ‘beautiful game’ at a tender age. Ever since he can remember he wanted to be a professional footballer. At a time, when kids his age were admiring pop stars and movie actors, Shazny was idolizing football legends such as Pele and Maradona; his free time was spent out in the yard playing football or in front of the TV watching videos of his idols in action. Shazny’s natural talent was recognized at an early age and as a youth he played for Zaheera College Colombo and the Sri Lankan National Youth Team. Later he joined the Colombo Football Club; and his dream came true when he was picked for the under 19 Sri Lankan National Team.

Today Shazny, is a key employee at Peri Logistics, Sri Lanka’s dominant perishables logistics company and a fully owned subsidiary of Expolanka Holdings. He played a pivotal role in the Expolanka football team that won the Mercantile Football Division A Championship in 2011 and 2012. In fact, Shazny scored all five goals at the 2012 final in which Expolanka beat HNB 5-1.

One of the major highlights of Shazny’s football career was when he was picked in 2012 by Airtel and Manchester United F.C as one of Sri Lanka’s ‘rising stars’ and was given the opportunity to train at Old Trafford for ten days. Shazny was one of the twelve players who were chosen out of 500 participants. Coaches from Manchester United came to a pre-training camp held in Ragama and made the final selection.

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“They were very impressed with the talent of the Sri Lankan youngsters”, Shazny says, “Every participant was skilled and I was overjoyed when I was chosen as one of the twelve”.

The team of twelve ‘rising stars’ left for Manchester in November 2012; they were trained by the legendary Manchester United coach Mike Phelan.  The team toured the old city taking in the sights and visiting the world famous Manchester United football museum. The ten days were rigorous and the youths from Sri Lanka experienced football in a novel way.

“When you compare Sri Lankan football and English football, it is a totally different ball game. They are at the pinnacle of the sport while we still have a long way to go”, Shazny says, “The training that we received from Manchester United is fantastic. They spent a lot of effort to condition our brains on how a player should concentrate on football and nothing else during a match. Everything from dribbling to passing to taking penalties were taught to us from a different perspective. It was very exciting”.

Shazny also commented on the humility of the Manchester United players.

“Rio Ferdinand, Rafael, Phil Jones, David De Gea and Federico Macheda joined the training session and gave us invaluable advice. They even posed with us for photos. We were all amazed that they were so humble. Later on we had the opportunity to witness them in action against QPR. It was an electrifying experience and there were around 66,000 spectators. Manchester United won the match 3 goals to 1 and Wayne Rooney was the star player”.

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Shazny speaks of the Expolanka family with loads of affection.

“I am so proud to be part of the Expolanka family”, Shazny says “The support that we receive from the management is incredible. I would not have been in this place today if not for Expolanka.  Expolanka is a company that recognizes and encourages the talent of its employees and I know that they are proud of my achievements.  I hope to continue to play for the Expo football team and I believe that we have the talent to do even better next season”, he concludes.

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