Tamil Eelam team at CONIFA World Football Cup
The Tamil Eelam football team is among the 12 international teams taking part in the CONIFA World Football Cup underway at Ostersund, Sweden from June 1 to 8.
CONIFA (Confederation of Independent Football Associations) is a sports body comprising of teams not affiliated to FIFA, the official world football association.
The Tamil Eelam football world cup squad
The Tamil Eelam Football Association’s website states that its objective is to “advance and nurture the talents of aspiring Eelam Tamil football players, represent Tamileelam in a global arena and foster national identity, and provide an accessible platform for Eelam Tamils around the world to participate and compete at an international level.”
The website described Tamileelam as “an occupied state on the island of Ceylon (now called Sri Lanka) in the Indian Ocean.”
Giving the history of Tamil Eelam, the website stated: “Prior to the succession of the Portuguese, Dutch and British occupation of the island, there were two distinct kingdoms on the island of Ceylon: the Tamil Kingdom in the north, and the Sinhala kingdom in the South.
“For the ease of administration, the British amalgamated the two distinct nations into a single entity. The British gave Ceylon independence in 1948, handing over control of the entire island to a Sinhalese government, based in Colombo in the south, which renamed the island to Sri Lanka.
“The Sinhala state's oppression of the Tamil people began in various forms almost immediately. A series of laws that discriminated against Tamils were implemented, attacking everything that defined the Tamils as a distinct nation.
“These included replacing English with Sinhala as the official language of Ceylon. This resulted in many consequences for the Tamils, including the impediment of employment opportunities unless they learnt Sinhala.
"The educational systems and policies were also changed to restrict the admission of Tamils into Universities and Colleges, thus limiting their academic advancement and career opportunities.
“Sinhala colonisation of traditional Tamil areas started in the 1950’s, and was intensified in the 1980’s with the security forces clearing out Tamil villages and replacing them with Sinhala settlements. Colonisation continues unabated even today.
“With all democratic attempts to prevent the systematic Genocide having failed repeatedly, an armed struggle for independence began. The armed struggle for freedom ended in May 2009 with grave crimes against humanity being committed by the Sri Lankan forces against the Tamil civilians.
“The systematic genocide of the Tamils by the Sri Lankan state continues even today in different forms, including ethnic cleansing, gendercide and cultural genocide. Tamils in Tamileelam, the Diaspora and allies from around the world have been strongly advocating to the international community for the independence of Tamileelam as the only solution to prevent the ongoing Genocide of the Tamil Nation.”
Meanwhile, CONIFA has stated that it received a letter from the football association of Azerbaijan over its invitation to Nagorno-Karabakh in the current world cup, requesting them to prevent the participation of the team as “Nagorno-Karabakh region was part of the Republic of Azerbaijan.”
In its response, CONFIFA stated: “In fact this is what ConIFA is all about: Giving unrepresented regions, people, minorities, nations and isolated territories the chance to represent them through football. Without judging on the political situation or the dependence or independence of Nagorno-Karabkah we will insist on our invitation...
“The ConIFA World Football Cup and furthermore the ConIFA in general is about bridging the world and representing the unrepresented. It is a fact that Nagorno-Karabakh is self-controlled today and in particular, and this is one of the major facts for us, that the Artsakh Football Federation is neither a part of the AFFA nor any other FIFA member.
“This means that football in Nagorno-Karabakh is totally isolated from the world community and Nagorno-Karabakh players and clubs neither get the chance to enter any international matches nor play in international cups.
“We think that people from each angle of the world should have the chance to play international football and to represent their culture!”
The Tamil Eelam Football Team is as follows:
Umaesh Sundaralingam- Canada
Hariendran Selvananthan- United Kingdom
Sivaruban Sathiyamoorthy- Germany
Kathiravan Uthayanan- United Kingdom
Prashanth Ragvan- France
Mayuran Gnanasegaram- Germany
Prasanth Vigneswararajah- Canada
Kevin Nagendra- United Kingdom
Mohammed Naseer- France
Christman Gunasingham- Italy
Menan Nagulendran- Canada
Gvinthan Navaneethakrishnan- Germany
Mathanraj Uthayanan- United Kingdom
Rounsan Vallipuram- France
Arison Rajasingam- Canada
Gajendran Balamurali- Germany
Mayooran Celliah- France
Medical Staff Theepan Thurais- France
Assistant Coach Hariesh Pavalaghanthan- Canada
Media Coordinator Apeeram Aru Balasingam- Canada
Head Coach Ragesh Nambiar- United Kingdom – TWL Bureau