FOOTBALL IN KASHMIR: THE FUTURE PLANS

  • BADRUL DUJA
  • Publish Date: Sep 17 2018 3:10AM
  • |
  • Updated Date: Sep 17 2018 3:10AM
FOOTBALL IN KASHMIR: THE FUTURE PLANSGK Photo

This week AIFF officials compromising of Senior Vice-President Subrata Dutta and Sunando Dhar, CEO I-League, along with Jammu & Kashmir Football Association President Zameer Thakur were on their much anticipated visit to Kashmir to introduce AIFF’s new development plan for Kashmir region. Subrata Dutta spoke to the Kashmir Ink about their important visit to Kashmir, future of Indian football and the love of football in Kashmir.

 

Excerpts from the interview:

 

IN KASHMIR ONE IS A SUCCESSFUL FOOTBALLER IF HE GETS A JOB IN J&K BANK, JK POLICE OR ANY OTHER DEPARTMENT. WHEN JOB SECURITY IS THE GOAL, HOW CAN THE BOYS PLAY IN ISL, I-LEAGUE OR FOR THE COUNTRY?

 

If boys are playing football for job or for reservations in educational institutions, I don’t blame them. I don’t blame their parents if they tell them to play football not only for passion but also for getting employment as parents’ concern is their career and nothing else. If football becomes a better career than bank job, Govt job, or any other job then only they will shift their focus on football as profession. Football as career option is what we have to provide them. If you look at I-League 1st division, 2nd division, players playing in these leagues are earning more money than what a bank employee or Govt employee earns. These players are professional footballers having fame, money, respect and are source of inspiration for many. We have to make football as professional career for them which is better than employment in Govt or semi-Govt institution.

 

WHAT IS THE WAY FORWARD? HOW ARE YOU GOING TO SPOT THE TALENT WHICH IS IN SCHOOLS, WHICH IS IN GROUNDS, WHICH IS ON THE STREETS? NOT ALL TALENTED CHILDREN ARE INTO PROPER TRAINING SYSTEM. HOW WOULD YOU CATCH THEM YOUNG?

 

In Kashmir there is school football system all across. School children are playing this sport with passion and love but they don’t know how to pursue this sport ahead. We have to bring them into mainstream sport, we have to provide them roadmap so as they have a definite path. Not only the school children, their parents have to get involved. We have to make sure that their parents are sure about their football passion and about their future in football as parents have important role to play for the love of their children. Right from the school level bring them into mainstream sport where they know what they are playing, what future do they have with this sport and opportunities which they have to avail.

 

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO DO THAT?

 

We have to give them clubs, competitions at tender age. We have senior division A, division B for seniors but no divisions for juniors. Age group football tournaments are required for junior football. Under 13, under 16, under 18 tournaments with several division for school children so that all football loving children can play and it wouldn’t be restricted to only A division team. Apart from this, JK must have ‘baby from age 3 to 6.’ It’s need of the hour, baby leagues for primary school children of 3 years of age to 7 or 6. It will be in small grounds which is easy for kids in schools but they have to play, we have to make them play. As per sports scientists, kids should love this sport, let them sleep with the ball, let them dream about playing football, let football be their toy. Then only they will pursue this sport as their profession. They have to treat football as their playing toy and career toy.

 

WHY SHOULD A KID OF AGE GROUP OF 3 TO 7 PLAY FOOTBALL AND NOT ANY OTHER SPORT LIKE CRICKET ETC. WHY THE KIDS WOULD CHOOSE FOOTBALL?

 

When you were a child the first time a child starts walking he has a ball in front of him. He has two options, he can kick the ball or pick the ball, what does he do? He kicks the ball. This is football, it is inherited into humans, it is in our genes. When the same boy becomes a grandfather he picks the ball so that he throws it to his grandson and again the grandson kicks the ball. That’s why this sport is played in more than 200 countries and not among 11 countries like cricket.

 

WHAT FOOTBALL TEACHES IN PRACTICAL LIFE?

 

Football is a service to society. It teaches you application of knowledge, you understand values of life, education is incomplete without sports. When a footballer becomes role model in society we all know the contribution he provides to the society through the medium of sports. Sports is part of education, it teaches you application of knowledge which is important for success in life and success in life justifies life. 

 

HOW WILL YOU IMPLEMENT SUCH IDEAS AND PLANS PRACTICALLY?

 

FIFA is supporting our new developmental plan where AIFF has appointed Football Development Officer Mr Bilal Punjabi for Kashmir region who will work with AIFFs Development manager Rohan Reddy for the development and promotion of  football in Kashmir region. Under this project we will pay for the salary of this officer and we are introducing baby football leagues in Kashmir across all districts as part of development plan for Jammu & Kashmir Football Association. For each baby league a sum of 85 thousand rupees will be provided to carry out the whole process. 

 

FUTURE OF KASHMIRIS IN INDIAN FOOTBALL TEAM?

 

Success of Real Kashmir is in front of you. Now they are qualified to play in senior division of I-League and also matches of I-League will be played in Kashmir also. Kashmiri football lovers have to support Real Kashmir FC as it represents Kashmir. Football is the most popular sport in Kashmir, now Kashmiris have their own club in I-League, they have to support their club and I am sure if they do so you will see Real Kashmir clinching closer towards wining I-league cup. Thus Real Kashmir FC will act as agent of change and peace to the valley which is very much needed.  Kadhmiris love football and they are passionate about this sport, now they have their own team in I-League, if they support their team it will reciprocate with winnings more and more games.

 

HOW IS NORTH EAST PRODUCING EXCELLENT FOOTBALL PLAYERS?

 

Because they see football as career and as profession. They have hundreds of role models as inspiration for them to take this sport as their career. As many as 78 players from North East are playing in ISL, I-League first and second division. And it’s not about their topology, race; they are not as healthy as Kashmiris are. They only have role models, seriousness which is why they are successful in football. 

 

WHAT ABOUT INDIAN FOOTBALL TEAM AT INTERNATIONAL LEVEL. WHEN WILL INDIA PLAY THE WORLD CUP? 

 

Our target is 2026 WC, as FIFA has decided that 48 countries will play 2026 WC in which 8 Asian countries will participate. India’s ranking among Asian countries is at 14 so we have to improve from 14 to get into the list of 8. That’s our challenge, and as per FIFA ranking we have improved from 173 rank to 96 rank. I am sure if we focus on under 15, under 17 tournaments, lay more emphasis on grassroot football, I see no reason why we can’t play in 2026 World Cup.