Press Trust of india

Competitive tournaments key to taking football in J-K to next level: Coaches

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Srinagar:  Former footballer Ishfaq Ahmed has said competitive tournaments were key to honing skills of players for taking the game to the next level in Kashmir Valley.

Reliance Foundation Youth Sports (RFYS) conducted one of the country’s premier grassroots football competitions here in the under-21 category. It is set to conduct tournaments in U-15 boys and U-19 girls categories as well.

These tournaments will give the much-needed match experience to young players in Kashmir and they will now be able to judge themselves, Ahmed, who is currently the head coach of Real Kashmir FC, said.

“It is a fantastic news for the youth teams. They have been training day in, day out, but the lack of competition was a big issue here. Now, RFYS has taken this fantastic initiative and it is a positive sign for Kashmiri football,” he said.

“This will help our younger generation to develop both mentally and physically…,” he said, adding it would help in taking the game to the next level in Kashmir Valley.

Ahmed has earlier coached Kerala Blasters FC and the Indian Football Under-16 men’s team.

Former head coach of Indian senior women’s national team Sajid Yousuf Dar said such initiatives were lacking in Jammu and Kashmir earlier.

“I thank Reliance Foundation Youth Sports for coming forward and collaborating in the education sector with the University of Kashmir. This is what we need and we need to put efforts together to take football in Jammu and Kashmir to the next level,” Dar, who coaches the football team of the University of Kashmir, said.

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