Idrees Ali

Bandipora boy makes it to ‘J&K U-19 Football’ National squad

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Shafayat Ahad to play at National level in Odisha

Srinagar, Nov 24: Bandipora district of late has produced promising sports persons be it the likes of valley’s cricket sensation Manzoor Dar or world Kick-boxing Champion Tajamul Islam and this time Shafayat  Ahad, 17, a budding footballer from Hajin Bandipora has added another feather to the district  by making it to J&K Under-19 State Football team.

“It is a big achievement for me as no one in Bandipora has been selected for under-19 nationals in the recent times. My hard work has paid off so far and my journey is very long,” Joyous Ahad told Kashmir Images.

Shafayat started to play football with Wahab Sports, an amateur football club in Hajin and then he picked up very fast and represented J&K in school games

“I am very lucky that half of family members, including all my brothers, play football and my father was also interested in the game. I have received a lot of support from my family,” says Ahad.

One of his close friends said: “Every time he plays he catches the eyeballs of selectors after joining RKFC Academy he has evolved a lot.”

In 2016 and 2017, Ahad played in U15, U17 I-league for Real Kashmir Football Club (RKFC).

Ahad caught the attention of selectors last year when he was called for Indian U-19 national team camp.

Ahad says his selection for Indian U-18 National Camp was a big milestone for him. “Thousands of players take part in the trails of National Camp and only few are selected.”

Ahad plays as strikers. His coach, Ajaz Ahmad, at Real Kashmir Academy is all praises for him.  “He is very hard working. Despite living in far-flung area he is very consistent. He never misses training sessions,” says Ajaz. “He is one of the best players in RKFC academy has got. His pace and finishing ability is phenomenal. He will go long way.”

The nationals are going to be held in Odisha and Ahad knows it is a big opportunity for him. “This is the platform were players are spotted for Indian National Team and my performance in the Nationals is a big test for me, says Ahad.”Every footballer dreams of playing for the National Team and I am working hard for the same. I also want to make it to Real Kashmir Senior team.”

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