The Thaabit Ahmed Football Academy (TAFA) is based in Colombo, Sri Lanka and is a privately run sports academy with branches in Colombo and Galle.
TAFA was founded in 2009 with just 5 students. Since then it has grown to support the football development of over 200 students from 4 - 15 years of age, with links across the globe.
With its core values of ‘enjoyment’, ‘development’ and ‘respect’, backed by its three pillars of ‘coaching’, ‘exchange’ and ‘foundation’, TAFA aims to build a healthier Sri Lanka, where sports and fitness is not an afterthought but a way of life. With a dedicated team of coaches and operational staff, TAFA aims to provide a fun, safe and professional environment for students to be trained on more than simply sport, but to mold their characters to become better citizens.
We believe in educating the youth of Sri Lanka on the importance of teamwork and leadership utilising fitness and sport as a platform for this. What our young athletes learn on the pitch mirrors lessons they can apply to their day to day life.
Our moto is ‘believe in your dreams’ and my dream for the past 10 years has been to encourage children to play sport in a fun, safe and professional environment. This year we celebrate 10 years of growth and as such we have introduced Trooper Rugby and Trooper Elite. I invite you to scroll through our website and enjoy what we have to offer.
Founder's note: Thaabit Ahmed
Thaabit Ahmed -
Founder/ TAFA Head Coach
After a short playing career representing Saunders SC and the Navy Sports Club in the Sri Lankan Premier League Thaabit decided to focus his attention on full time professional coaching and that’s when he came up with the idea for TAFA. He received his FA level 2 football coaching license from Liverpool, UK and is working on his UEFA B License with the Welsh Football Association.
Fun Fact: Thaabit is a licensed Advanced Open Water diver.
Fiona Molligoda Smyth -
Head of Operations
Fiona has been a secondary school PE teacher for 14 years and has been head of department for 6 years. Her U14 basketball team has been top of the borough for the past 3 years; her netball team winning the past 2 years. Fiona has achieved A* to B grades with the past 2 cohorts she has taught in GCSE PE. She has worked in Sri Lanka before as the head of PE at the British School.
Fun Fact: Fiona has played rugby with the most capped England female rugby player.
Bilal Hassen -
Head Coach Trooper Rugby/ Director Trooper Elite
Bilal has represented Sri Lanka in both Rugby and Water Polo. His qualifications include ASCA (Australian Strength and Conditioning Association), World Rugby Coaching Level 2, FINA (International Aquatic Federation) and a BSc in Sports Management.
Bilal also coaches the Royal College water polo team, who have in 2019, won for the third consecutive year.
Fun Fact: Bilal loves Cheetos.
Jade Moore -
Head of Coaching (Football)
Jade has played football at academy standard for both Manchester and Liverpool. She has represented her County and has won regional trophies. She has received her FA level 2 coaching qualifications, multi-sports award and is a qualified swimming instructor. This is her third year in Sri Lanka and she is avidly looking forward to the start of the girls only clubs.
Fun Fact: Number 1 on Jade's bucket list is to go skydiving.
Alex Hobbart -
Assistant Operations Director
Alex has represented Australia in Athletics (100m, 200m and 4x100m relay). She has a BA in Comms, majoring in PR & Journalism. After having 2 children Alex re-trained in the field of fitness, receiving her level 3 and 4 certification in personal training.
Fun Fact: Alex loves doing handstands.
Rameez Rafeek -
Rameez has represented the Sri Lankan Airforce Club in Rugby. Previously he coached The Royal College Under 11 & Under 13 Junior Rugby teams. His qualifications include a BSc in Business Management and he is an expert in the Travel Industry.
Fun Fact: Rameez loves to cook.
Faye O'Toole -
Faye has represented Liverpool playing at academy level from the ages of 12 to 14. She has gained several qualifications including her FA Level 1 in coaching in football and futsal and a multi sports award. Faye has coached across the North West of England from grassroots upwards and has also coached in Kings College, Madrid, Spain.
Fun Fact: Faye loves dogs.
Thilini Senanayaka -
Thilini has represented Sri Lanka in Women’s Rugby from 2002 to 2017. Winning the Bowl Championship in 2005 and the Plate Championship in 2013 at the Asian Games. Both were firsts for Sri Lanka. Thilini has received her SLQF level 3 Diploma in Sports Massage Therapy and is currently completing her SLQF Level 3 Diploma in Sports Science.
Fun Fact: Thilini loves Rugby.
Rayan Weerakoon -
Rayan was sportsman of the year, (awarded All Round Games Excellence) at Trinity College, Kandy. He has represented Sri Lanka in the Rugby 7’s second Asian Youth Games, is a 3 times undefeated Junior National Boxing Gold Medallist and has representedthe CH&FC Rugby team, 3 years in a row. He is the youngest Sri Lankan to receive a Strength and Conditioning level 2 Certificate and holds certifications in Coaching level 1 and Medical level 1.
Fun Fact: I have camped in the Serengeti.
Mohammed Irfan -
Mohammed currently works as an IT Executive and has a PGD in Computer Networks. He has represented his school in the U19 Rugby team and has his IRB level 1 in rugby refereeing. He has officiated for schools and clubs and has volunteered his time to Kingswood rugby academy to develop the junior rugby squad. Mohamed has also served as a liaison officer for the Asian International Rugby Sevens.
Fun Fact: Mohamed plays the guitar and sings.