Srinagar, July 16: In a significant milestone for the sports ecosystem in Jammu and Kashmir, the region is hosting its first-ever national camp for the U-16 men’s football team in Srinagar.
The camp is distinguished by the appointment of chief coach Ishfaq Ahmed, a former international footballer and a native of the region. Ahmed, who has previously coached in the I-League with teams like Kerala Blasters, considers this opportunity as one of the most significant moments in his career.
Following the national camp, the U-16 men’s team will participate in the SAFF U-16 Championship scheduled to be held in Bhutan in September this year.
Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to Lieutenant Governor J&K, expressed that this groundbreaking national camp will set a new phase in the history of sports in J&K. He acknowledged the sincere efforts of the government in enhancing sports infrastructure across the region.
Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary, Youth Services and Sports (YS&S), expressed his delight at hosting the national U-16 boys’ team coaching camp in Srinagar. He highlighted the passionate football fan base in J&K and the motivation it will provide to witness the national youth team training in Srinagar.
Nuzhat Gull, Secretary, Sports Council, thanked the administration for their support in hosting the first national football camp in J&K. She expressed confidence that the J&K Sports Council would graduate to the next level as a premier sporting body by hosting such prestigious events.
Shaji Prabakaran, General Secretary and Administrator, AIFF, extended sincere gratitude to the J&K administration for hosting the India U16 team coaching camp in Srinagar.
The head coach, Ishfaq Ahmed, expressed his excitement, emphasizing that hosting the U-16 camp in Srinagar is a unique move that fulfills the promise of making football a pan-India affair.
Arun Malhotra, former international J&K footballer and technical committee member AIFF, commended the progress of J&K football and hoped for success in the upcoming SAFF U-16 tournament.
This groundbreaking national football camp marks a significant moment for Jammu and Kashmir, as it demonstrates the region’s growing contribution to the sport in the country.
In other sports-related news, Srinagar-based Downtown Heroes FC is set to participate in the prestigious Durand Cup this year. The club has shown remarkable progress since its inception and is now gearing up for the 132nd Durand Cup-2023.
Furthermore, open selection trials for Pencak Silat were recently held in Srinagar for the forthcoming 11th Senior National Pencak Silat Championship-2023, with around 280 athletes from 15 district units participating.
The J&K Sports Council continues to support and supervise coaching camps, nurturing local talent and promoting diverse sports in the region.