EFLI: 5 Colombo Lions Players to Watch

EFLI: 5 Colombo Lions Players to Watch

EFLI Colombo Lions Team Logo
Photo courtesy of Colombo Lions EFLI Facebook

The Colombo Lions, a team representing Sri Lanka in the Elite Football League of India, had a remarkable first season as they made it to the semifinals. The Lions lost to the Pune Marathas, who would later be crowned champions of Season 1. After finishing the regular season with five wins and just one loss, the Lions have quite the foundation for making a run at the championship in Season 2.

5. Viraj Nanayakkara

EFLI Colombo Lions Ref
Photo courtesy of EFLI Facebook

5. Viraj Nanayakkara

EFLI Colombo Lions Ref
Photo courtesy of EFLI Facebook

Although kickers don't get much attention in American football, Viraj Nanayakkara deserves some after scoring the most points for a kicker in Season 1 of the EFLI. He converted on five of the nine extra-point opportunities, and was the most efficient kicker in the league when it came to drives ending in three points. Nanayakkara also holds the record for longest field goal made (31 yards).

4. Hussain Sameen

EFLI Colombo Lions Helmet Player
Photo courtesy of EFLI Facebook

4. Hussain Sameen

EFLI Colombo Lions Helmet Player
Photo courtesy of EFLI Facebook

The Lions’ success in Season 1 was largely determined by their defense. Colombo was second in the EFLI in interceptions. Hussain Sameen made one of the biggest plays of the season when he intercepted a pass and returned it for 73 yards. Being just one of two defensive players who scored a touchdown, expect Sameen to cement the Lions’ pass defense in Season 2.

3. Ashean Karthelis

Colombo Lions Yellow EFLI
Photo courtesy of Colombo Lions EFLI Facebook

3. Ashean Karthelis

Colombo Lions Yellow EFLI
Photo courtesy of Colombo Lions EFLI Facebook

The stats for Colombo’s receiving corps is hardly impressive. Nadir Haseem led the team with 40 yards on the season, but it’s important to remember that the Lions did much of their damage via the rushing game. Ashean Karthelis, second in total receiving yards for the Lions, caught 83 percent of passes thrown to him. As the team continues to learn and adapt, it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see Karthelis utilized more in Season 2.

2. Thararaka Wijesuriya

EFLI Colombo Lions Tharaka interview
Photo courtesy of EFLI Facebook

2. Thararaka Wijesuriya

EFLI Colombo Lions Tharaka interview
Photo courtesy of EFLI Facebook

Thararaka Wijesuriya, simply put, was the most important part of Colombo’s success in Season 1. Wijesuriya led the team in rushing yards, totaling 298 in 45 carries. He averaged 6.6 yards per carry, with his longest run being 25 yards. Of the five touchdowns the Lions scored in Season 1, Wijesuriya had four of them. Wijesuriya established himself as a force to be reckoned with in the EFLI for many seasons to come.

1. Zulker Hamid

EFLI Colombo Lions Jersey
Photo courtesy of EFLI Facebook

1. Zulker Hamid

EFLI Colombo Lions Jersey
Photo courtesy of EFLI Facebook

While the Lions used a two-quarterback system for the majority of Season 1, Hamid got the most snaps and production. Colombo preferred attacking on the ground versus in the air, but Hamid’s 61.1 percent completion rate was one of the best in the league. Hamid racked up 190 passing yards for the season and averaged nearly 7.0 YPC when running the ball himself.


Around the Web