Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], July 3 (ANI): With an aim to give a flip to football activities in Srinagar, particularly among the budding football players, the Jammu & Kashmir Sports Council in collaboration with Downtown Heroes Football Club organised a football league for the players under the age-group of 12, 14 and 16.
The league will continue for one month and all matches will be played at the football ground of Government Islamia College of Science and Commerce.
Speaking to ANI, Secretary of Sports Council Nuzhat Gul said, "Downtown is our Shehar-e- Khaas or main city of Srinagar and this Shehar-e- Khaas is the heart of Srinagar city and government and football associations are trying to make football popular in the area. We want to make these budding players heroes of the game and life with a positive attitude."
He said that the government is presently providing funds and other things for the upliftment of sporting activities across the Kashmir Valley.
"The participating budding footballers lauded this step taken by the sports council and football clubs as they were bored in their homes for the last two years due to lockdown and COVID pandemic. They were happy to participate in this football league. Earlier, Downtown was once famous for stone pelting, but with the passage of time, stone-pelting incidents have decreased and youths are continually participating in sports activities and these types of events will definitely boost the sports culture among budding players of old Srinagar city," she said.
As per our sports calendar, around 3000 games will be held this year and around 1.50 lakh children will involve, she added.
Mod Muteeb, a budding player who participated in the league, said he is very happy that a football league is being organised for children.
"I am very happy because earlier there was no football academy for children under 12, 14 and 16. This is the first academy. It is too much fun here, everyone is playing here. This is very helpful for our future and for our bodies. There should be more such academies and leagues in the city for children," said Mod Muteeb.
Another budding player Hamzah said this league has given opportunities to children. "People in Kashmir don't play football, even they don't know about it and that's why I want more football stadiums should be opened in the city," added Hamzah.
Rayaan added how the kids were sitting at home for the last year due to the pandemic and got an opportunity to come out and play due to the organisation of the league.
Another player Seyan Mir said this activity will keep all the kids healthy and fit. "Before this, we were sitting at our home. This is also good for our future as this will keep us fit and healthy. Other children should also play football to remain fit as it will help fight against coronavirus," added Seyan.
Raik Jan says that such activities should be done daily so that they can remain fit and healthy.
Mohd Hanief, the football coach, told ANI that the motto behind this league is to create professional players and to keep children away from anti-social activities.
"We are inaugurating this academy for children under 12, 14 and 16. We already run an academy for youngsters in Downtown. The motto behind this league is to create professional players and to keep children away from anti-social activities like drugs. Sports keeps the person fit mentally as well as physically," said Mohd Hanief.
He further said they are following all the COVID-19 SoPs.
Kaiser Ahmad, Chairman of Downtown Heroes Football said this league will continue in the future.
"We want to bring change in Downtown and we are making a small effort to contribute to the society. We have a separate academy for children under 12, 14 and 16. We are trying to promote this sport and give exposure to players. We have also planned to take good players to Dubai," he said.
The Downtown Football League was inaugurated by Nuzhat Gul in the presence of young players and local residents of the old Srinagar city. (ANI)