eLanka | Sheriff-excellent ruggerite-by Althaf Nawaz


Mohamed Sheriff


Zahira College, Colombo has played a phenomenal role in producing several sportsmen excelling in various sporting disciplines, especially in the game of soccer. More or less they are the undisputed champions in the school’s arena for several decades. Mohamed Sheriff was one of them who changed gears from soccer to rugby due to his extraordinary kicking skills when his school rugby team was in search of a place kicker, who later ended up playing top class rugby while donning the National jersey bringing honour and fame to the country.

Mohamed Sheriff who was born in 1985, was a key player of the Zahira soccer team. He never had an intention of handling the oval shaped ball in his life. While being engaged in football, where he was blessed with some exceptional kicking skills.he was asked to fill in a vacancy in the college rugby side, who were short of a player of his calibre, who was blessed with kicking skills,while being able to display the same with conversions in rugby, where he ended up playing for the school rugby team. Based on his performance, he was part of the under-19 Sri Lanka Youth Rugby team that toured Malaysia.

Subsequently, while he was performing exceptionally as a rugby player, St.Peter’s College, Colombo spotted his talent and offered him a scholarship to join their academy and play for the school in 2003 to which he responded positively. He locked horns for them for two years before he joined CR and FC which was the first club he represented as a school leaver. He was included as full back for the team which he really enjoyed playing from 2005 to 2008 season.

Just in two years, after joining the CR he was called for National duty in 2005 and surged ahead until 2013. During his tenure as a player in the National side he participated in several tournaments like Singer Sri Lankan Rugby Sevens, Hong Kong Sevens and Rugby World Cup qualifying matches against Kazakhstan, China and Hong Kong, South Africa and Singapore. He was also an active member of the National team in 2012 which clinched the ‘Plate Championship’ at the Shanghai Sevens tournament.

He joined Havelock Sports Clubs in 2012 when they emerged League and Club Sevens Champions after quite some time. In the 2009/10 season he went onto don the Kandy Sports Club jersey . In the 2007 season he was adjudged as the Caltex best three quarter while receiving the ‘Best Full back player for year’ award in 2012 at the completion of the Dialog League.

He took part in the Rugby Asiad in 2011 and 2013 and also represented the country at the Rugby Sevens and XV tournaments from 2005 to 2013 which included the Hong Kong Sevens, Asian Games, Singer Sri Lanka and Carlton Sevens respectively. He also contributed immensely as a player at the Mercantile Rugby Sevens from 2005 to 2011 representing his employers namely Seylan Bank, EMJAY International Pvt Ltd., Access Lanka and MAS Holdings rugby teams where he was adjudged the ‘Most Valuable Player’ in 2009 and 2011 tournaments.

After he called it a day as a player, he took over coaching both school and clubs. As an initiative he took over coaching of his school St. Peter’s College in 2013 with the first XV Rugby Team. He went on to coach them with their under-18 and 20 Sevens (Cup Champions in 2013) and took over S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia as coach of the sevens and the XV-a-side team 2015. (came to Cup semis in sevens in 2015). He also coached the Havelock SC sevens team in 2013 and 2014 seasons (runners up in 2013 and Cup Champions in 2014)

He has the distinction of completing the IRB (International Rugby Board) Level-1 in Strength and Conditioning and trained under International Rugby Trainers for the past few years for the National Team, Club Teams and Carlton Tournaments (2005 to date)

He is currently serving as the assistant coach of Royal College first XV since 2018 which won the League Championship in 2018 and 2019 followed by retaining the Bradby Shield in 2018 and 2019. He is continuing his passion for rugby and keeping in touch by coaching Royal College He has two sons Mohamed Zidane who is eight and Momahed Mikail five years old.

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