SRINAGAR: Downtown Heroes FC, an I-League aspiring football club from Srinagar’s Old City area, in collaboration with Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council (JKSC) on Saturday launched its Under-12, Under-14 and Under-16 age group based football academy and League at Islamia College Ground, Srinagar.
Formed in 2019, the Heroes in a press release said the initiation of the Academy for grassroots football was with the aim of “reviving football legacy of Old City”.
“The teams and academy were inaugurated by Secretary Sports Council Nuzhat Gul at Islamia College Ground Hawal which is in the heart of the old city of Srinagar. Among others present on the occasion were President J&K Football Association, Zamir Thakur, DFA President, Fayaz Ahmad Sofi, J&K Bank Head Coach, Hilal Ahmad,” the release said.
The League for kids will continue for a month and will be played at the Islamia College Ground in Hawal, Srinagar. While the Academy will also continue its operations at the same ground.
“In Kashmir, Old City of Srinagar is known for producing top class footballers who went on to represent J&K at National and International level. Old City was known as hub of the football in Kashmir but in recent past has lost its touch with the most followed sport in Kashmir,” the release added.
Speaking at the event, JKSC Secretary Ms Nuzhat Gull said that Downtown was known for stone-pelting but now its buzzing with footballers. She further told a news gathering agency that kids were bored at their homes for two years because of COVID-19 restrictions and the resumption of football and other sports activities have given the kids something to cheer about.
She further added that around 3000 games will be played in J&K this year and that about 1.50 lakh youth and children will be involved.
Meanwhile, Downtown Heroes Football Club’s Chairman, Irfan Shahmiri in a statement said:
"Today’s event is a step forward in making our dream come true. The goal is to develop a football academy which will nurture talents of youth at different age levels with a top professional level team. There is evidence that such sports activities translate to improvement in academics as well. Its also a great way channelling energy of the youth and keeping them away from social evils like drugs which have unfortunately growing rapidly in Srinagar.”
“We want football to be again popular in the old city again. We have developed a robust framework to produce not only star footballers but star individuals. This academy would be open for all old city players,” Shahmiri added.
Sports promoter Gulzar Khan was also presented an award of appreciation on the occasion.
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