[India], Nov 6 (ANI): History was etched in the arenas of Indian football when the first I-league game between Real Kashmir Football Club and Churchill Brothers was played at the at TRC Turf Ground, here on Tuesday.
A total of 10,000 people including players, fans and management had turned up to bearing testimony to this historical moment.
Danish Farooq, who also bagged the hero of the match award, was optimistic of the milestone opening more opportunities for the Kashmiri players.
"It is a proud feeling as we are playing in front of local crowd. We were excited to host the match here and the fans were also thrilled. I hope this event will bring more opportunities for Kashmiri players. In future, players from Kashmir will also feature in the national team," Danish said.
Sarmad Hafiz, Secretary of Jammu and Kashmir sports while underlining the importance of this game, said, "It is a very important day for us. This is the first game and the response of the people and fans is fantastic. More than 10,000 spectators have come to witness this wonderful game. Kashmiris are great sport and football lovers. It is just a beginning. We will have many more such tournaments in near future."
Further adding that there is no paucity of facilities in Kashmir, he stated, "We have 10 more home games which will be played throughout winter season. There are great facilities here. We have a turf stadium which was prepared in a short period of time and there is another Federation Internationale de Football Association approved stadium - Bakshi stadium - which will be ready in the next 4 months. There is no reason why we cannot host national and international matches."
Sajid, a spectator who had come to watch the game asserted that the game will revive the sport in the valley. "The way Real Kashmir played here was impressive. The locals were enthralled to see players from home town play here. Now, more people will throng the stadiums."
Dawda Cessay, Churchill Brothers Football Club forward emphasized that it motivates the local lads to take up the game. "It was a great honour to play the first home game. It was not a bad game. Coming from second division, is a big motivation for local kids to support the team. It was great atmosphere chanting and shouting. It was a tough game and it wasn't easy," said the Gambian national.
When quizzed on the global reputation of Kashmir, he said, "Kashmiri people are nice and chant my name. I don't see any negativity from crowd. Events like these should be held in future as well." (ANI)