State Football Academy whistles into action

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SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir first state owned football academy was Thursday launched officially by Minister for IT and Sports Imran Raza Ansari at Synthetic Turf TRC Ground that houses the academy.

The academy owned by J&K State Sports Council is first of its kind will see aspiring footballers get skill and fitness training under ace footballer Mehraj Ud Din Wadoo and a certified group of coaches and fitness trainers.

As of now, 100 footballers have enrolled into the academy to chisel their skills.

Amid much fanfare, the inaugural ceremony besides Ansari was attended by Health Minister Bali Bhagat, secretary J&K State Sports Council Waheed Ur Rehman Parra, officials of Jammu and Kashmir Football Association, officials of JKSSC, ex-footballers, footballer Ishfaq Ahmad, academy technical director Sajid Yousuf, Director State Cricket Academy Mubashir Hassan and various other officials.

Ansari stressed on footballers to showcase their talent without getting bogged down what was happening around them. He said that the academy was long due as football community had yearned for it over the years.

“I dedicate this football academy to the youth of J&K. The core area of Mehbooba Mufti led PDP government is youth development and in youth development sports is listed on number one. Everyone knows whenever we provide the opportunity to the youth of Jammu and Kashmir in the field of his interest he has excelled in that field, citing example of states renowned footballer Mehraj Ud-Din Wadoo or players of yesteryears they always have brought laurels to the state,” Ansari told a group of trainee footballer and support staff soon after inaugurating the academy.

The sports minister said that he wanted youth to sport smile on their faces.

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“There are some elements hell-bent on snatching away smiles on your faces. I want you to keep yourselves involved in sports wholeheartedly. We aren’t short of talent and I am sure if given opportunities they will excel at the top level,” he said. He also announced Rs 2 crore funds for the academy.

Bhagat said his department (health) was also planning to launch a major football event titled ‘Play for health/khelo sehat kay liye’ and urged youth to take part in sports activities.

Parra said that his department would give all kind of platforms for aspiring players to make progress in their careers.

“It is important we recognise talent in our players and encourage them to excel in their field of interest. This football academy will give players chance to train under the trained coaches. I am sure they will benefit from Wadoo and co.,” he said.

Wadoo-director of the academy- said he would try to work on both skill and fitness level of players.

“It is important we don’t over coach players. Give them an environment where they can express themselves. I would want them to improve their skill level and make sure they have a concept of fitness ingrained into them from very beginning. A fit body with strong mental strength is important for any player to succeed,” said the star footballer who has represented almost all major clubs in Indian domestic circuit.

 Former footballer Mohammad Shafi Nari, Majid Kakroo, Mohammad Yousuf, and SA Hameed besides others were honoured for their services to the sport.

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