SrinagarThe second phase of the first Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (MMS) Memorial Football Tournament is scheduled to begin in Kashmir Valley from March 15, a statement from Jammu and Kashmir Football Association said on Wednesday.
The statement said that majority of the matches of the second phase will be played at Syntethic Turf, TRC Ground Srinagar.
The first leg of the event, being organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Football Association (JKFA) under the auspices of State Sports Council and on the directions of All India Football Federation (AIFF), which started August last year, JKFA said, saw more than 1400 matches played. It said that around 700 matches will played at different venues across the state.
The aim holding the tournament, the statement said, is to unearth the hidden talent in all corners of the state including remote areas.
In Srinagar district 104 clubs/teams participated in the first phase of the event and 280 matches of premier division, super division, A, B and sub junior categories were held between August and December 2017. Similarly, in Baramulla 107 matches were played while in Sopore 99, Pattan 78, Kupwara, 54, Handwara 66, Bandipora 55, Hajin 51, Budgam 77, Ganderbal 102, Pulwama 27, Pampore 59, Anantnag 54, Shopian 32 and Kulgam 35 matches were played. 896 matches were played in districts/zones in the first phase of the event while 69 matches were played in inter-district category. The JKFA is holding 196 further matches of youth league in all 10 districts of the Valley, the statement said.
Over in Jammu the second phase of the tourney is already in progress.
In Jammu region, 128 matches of senior division and junior division were played in Jammu district in the first phase while 421 matches are either in progress or to be played in Udhampur, Doda, Kishtwar, Kathua, Poonch, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi, Samba, Kargil and Leh districts, the statement said.
In inter district of Jammu province further 28 matches have already been completed. In all 2100 matches will be played in the event, out of which 1401 are already completed.
After first phase, J&K Bank, J&K Police, Real Kashmir I-League Club, Lonestar Kashmir FC I-League Club, AGs Office team, Maharaja Sports Club have qualified for the final phase of the premier division while two teams among Bandipora XI, J&K Bank Academy Srinagar, Jammu United, Jammu, Shaheen Sports, Jammu, J&K Bank Academy Jammu and J&K SFA XI will vie for the premier division berth.
More than 500 football teams and clubs with over 12000 players and over 1500 team officials are participating in the mega event, first of its kind in the history of J&K football. After the success of the first phase, the JKFA has requested all the clubs and teams to cooperate and participate in the event in full strength.
The event is being sponsored by J&K Sports Council. A spokesperson of the JKFA while thanking the Sports Council for sponsoring such a mega event said the winner and runner up teams at district level and inter-district and state level shall be awarded cash prizes and merit certificates in the upcoming award functions. The sports gear and sportswear is being provided to the selected participating teams by the JKFA. Besides the players are also being provided refreshment and other facilities.
JKFA President Zamir Thakur said, The event turned out as a mega hit among the football fans in 2017 and we are hopeful it will in long run help us to find raw talent from across the state. Football has given the state 30 international players and is most popular game here. It has history of more than 100 years in valley and from that time it has come a long way. From last few years, it is regaining its popularity and we are sure that this event will bring it back the lost glory.
Football which is the most popular game in Kashmir has today touched its zenith in popularity. In seventies and eighties Kashmir along with Kolkata, Kerala and Goa was considered as hub of football in India. With the formation of two I-League clubs in recent years by two business groups of the Valley, we are hopeful that the game of football will bring more glory to the state in coming years," Thakur said.
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