By Mohd Hanief
Real Kashmir F.C created history in May this year by becoming the first club from Kashmir to qualify for I-League, and it made headlines everywhere. Now, as the I-league has begun, Real Kashmir is in the news again as they made a stunning entry in the tournament by defeating Minerva Punjab FC in their own backyard.
In Kashmir weather was good as usually is in November – but this time around, it snowed early which disrupted power supplies and damaged tonnes of apples. People were distraught – they needed warmth. And warmth returned to the valley in the form of a football match at Astroturf TRC ground. Thousands of people marched towards TRC, some making their way from far off districts like Kupwara and Shopian. This wasn’t only a football match; it was more like a cultural event first of its kind in Kashmir. People only had one name on their tongues Real Kashmir F.C.
Naturally, Real Kashmir supporters had very good reasons to show their support. In a place like Kashmir which is marred by decades of bloody conflict, something very unexpected had begun taking shape, I-League had begun in Kashmir for the first time. The sitting area saw some stands being named after legendary footballers of Kashmir such as late Farooq Khan, and Mohd Yousuf Dar and Majeed Kakroo, both them watching the match live in stands.
Cheering from the stands was also former CM of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah, who has been quite vocal and supportive throughout. Other dignitaries from politics to sports field were cheering them from the stands. The match was also being telecasted live through different platforms, and everyone in Kashmir was glued to screens. In the end, the match ended goalless and Danish the new face of football here was declared Hero of the match for his stellar performance on the pitch.
It was a historical moment for Kashmir, hope this was a starting point for many historical events in the coming future.