On an occasion most appropriate, Real Kashmir Football Club (RKFC) has presented its fans in the union territory a Daughter's Day gift by announcing the formation of an all-women's team, which will compete at national tournaments. This team, RKFC chairman Sandeep Chattoo said, will be for the daughters of Jammu and Kashmir "as we believe that girls have tremendous sporting potential and can go miles if trained properly".
Keeping in mind the popularity of the sport among girls, Sandeep gave the command of this team to his wife Poonam, who is originally a resident of Coorg in Karnataka and married to him for the last three decades. Though she doesn't have any background in sports other than watching the RKFC team's preparations during I-League, Poonam is a confident woman as she feels that given a chance, the girls of the valley can go a long way.
"Phew! Yes, it is a daunting task assigned to me but knowing the girls of Kashmir, I am confident that results will be brighter. You see, girls of the valley have been doing so much without any help, and now we at the RKFC want to channel their potential in the right direction," said Poonam, whose broken Kashmiri often forces her team into peals of laughter. "I simply love the way these girls smile. I think that smile is an answer to all miseries that they have been suffering because of violence," she said.
— Real Kashmir FC (@realkashmirfc) September 21, 2020
At present, registration for building an under-10 and under-14 team is underway and the response is tremendous, she said. Poonam said following the success of RKFC in the I-League, the club was flooded with mails and requests from girls for starting a similar initiative for them. "But the situation is well-known here...any initiative taken is riddled with so much of if's and but's. That's when we started this 'She Power Programme' with DPS Srinagar - run by renowned educationist Mr Vijay Dhar," she added.
To begin with, there will be a joint football team of RKFC and DPS that can compete at national levels, she said. Poonam noted that after joining hands with DPS, they felt confident about providing the girls security. "We were sure about one thing: that we are able to provide a nice and secure platform for girls where they do not need to fear for anything."
Dhar, whose school has been doing exceptionally well in studies, sporting and extra-curricular activities, feels there is scope for more work in the field of sports. "As of now, RKFC is doing a superb job as football is being played almost everywhere in the valley. And with their (RKFC) expertise, we are able to harness talent of young students," said Dhar who did not forget to mention the role of parents of the girls, who have come out in support of the joint initiative of DPS and RKFC.