Revitalizing Kashmiri football: The role of competitive tournaments
Ishfaq Ahmad and Sajid Yousuf Dar commend Reliance Foundation Youth Sports for filling the void of competition in Kashmiri football, foreseeing positive developments in the sport.
Former India footballer Ishfaq Ahmad, now the head coach of Real Kashmir FC, underscored the pivotal role that competitive tournaments play in honing the skills of players and elevating the game in the region. Speaking after the Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) conducted grassroots football competitions in the U-21 category, Ishfaq expressed optimism about the positive impact on Kashmiri football.
Ishfaq, who also served as the head coach of the Indian U-16 men's team, applauded RFYS for addressing a longstanding issue – the lack of competitive opportunities despite dedicated day-to-day training. "Now, RFYS has taken this fantastic initiative, and it is a positive sign for Kashmiri football," Ahmad told PTI.
He emphasized that these competitions would enable players to assess their abilities, contributing to both mental and physical development for upcoming matches. Ahmad's perspective, rooted in his experience coaching various Indian football teams, highlighted the transformative potential of such initiatives.
Sajid Yousuf Dar, former head coach of the Indian senior women's national team and current football coach at the University of Kashmir, echoed Ahmad's sentiments. He thanked RFYS for collaborating with the University of Kashmir, stressing the importance of collective efforts to propel football in Jammu and Kashmir to new heights.
Dar emphasized the historical absence of such initiatives in the region and expressed gratitude for RFYS's involvement, particularly in the education sector. "This is what we need, and we need to put efforts together to take the football of J-K to the next level," Dar stated.
Following the successful U-21 category tournament in collaboration with the University of Kashmir, RFYS is poised to expand its impact by organizing similar tournaments in the U-15 and U-19 categories for boys and girls. This strategic approach aims to foster a robust football ecosystem, nurturing the talents of the younger generation and propelling Kashmiri football into a new era of competitiveness and excellence.