I-League | Real Kashmir FC prepared for the season


Moving out will kill the essence of playing at home: Chattoo

Real Kashmir FC seems destined to forever be battling a lot more than just opponents on the field. For a club born to try and heal the scars of the massive 2016 floods in the State, it has been an achievement to reach the top tier of the I-League in just two years. The ongoing situation in the valley has not made things easier but the club insists things are as good or as bad as anywhere else.

“We are as prepared as any other State or city. We have the same assurances that any government gives to any club. We expect more people to turn up for the games than last year. The situation is like anywhere else, all these are mere excuses,” co-owner Sandeep Chattoo told The Hindu in an exclusive interaction.

Started by Chattoo and Shamim Meraj, the club has managed to retain its entire coaching group, almost all its foreign players and most of the domestic ones from last season, a testament to their trust in the club and its officials. It has also led to the club aiming higher than its third-place finish last year.

More than just a club

“It’s more than just a football club. The positivity coming out everyday is very important, it’s an unreal feeling. It’s the only hope for the youth in the State and we cannot let them down. Guys like Hammad and Danish are stars there, their faces on the hoardings. It means a lot.

“We have achieved something beyond football — we have managed to get the people together. When you see 20,000 young Kashmiris in the stands and policemen standing behind them clapping with them, being part of it — you do not imagine that in Kashmir. We have broken those barriers through football,” Chattoo added.

Asked if the team was prepared to play home games elsewhere, Chattoo insisted there was no reason to move out of Srinagar the first place. “If we cannot play on our own TRC Ground and home fans cannot see us play, the whole essence is lost. Things happen everywhere. Last year we went to the North-East, there was a curfew for six days but we didn’t complain,” he said.

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Printable version | Dec 14, 2019 9:54:33 PM |

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