Posted on October 18, 2018

The down to earth Sri Lankan Ambassador to Qatar - HE ASP Liyanage along with family and friends greeted and welcomed the Navy rugby team as they arrived at Hamad International Airport early yesterday, ahead of tonight’s eagerly awaited Mecure Cup clash against Doha at the Doha Rugby Football Centre.

Navy players and officials posed for pictures with the Diplomat as well as supporters before crowds gathered outside to catch a last glimpse of the athletes holding their phones high and waving at the smiling players seated inside their bus. During the welcome, His Excellency assured the Rugby Union and its affiliated clubs the full support of the SL Embassy and community in Qatar. 

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Liyanage said, “Travelling for matches can cause all types of challenges, however, our community is delighted and excited the Navy has chosen Doha to showcase their rugby prowess, it epitomizes the club’s history and its strong affiliation with its supporters”. “Sri Lanka is indisputably a country that loves sport and its athletes. Supporting our teams away from home is an essential attribute of our rugby community. We have a tremendous love for rugby and desperately wait to offer our backing tomorrow night” he said.

After several months of planning and preparation organizing committee member and Lions, RFC President Nimo Amit also welcomed and addressed the Navy contingent. He said, “Doha is a very welcoming city and shares many of our cultural values back home. I am sure you will enjoy the warmth of our rugby culture that awaits you here”. “Being the first time for you in Doha, I can assure you the experience will be like no other. It’s a historic moment for you and us and I hope you get the chance to appreciate Qatar and its people as much as we appreciate your visit”.

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Friday evening’s preseason is the first for the Navy Club in Qatar and second for Doha who is reeling off a close loss after hosting Colombo last week. Navy is last year's Sri Lanka League runners-up and will be looking at going one better this year using the Doha match as a platform to the Dialog premiership title. Their campaign will kick off on November 12 against the Police club. Meantime, Navy Chairman, Rear Admiral, Desappriya Hettiarachchi said he is overwhelmed by the support of Qatar and is looking forward to his side being tested by the top Qatar rugby club.

"This is an exciting trip for us. It’s an important game for both clubs and our future relations”.