Sarmad Hafeez aims to engage more than 60 million Kashmiri youngsters in sports
Sarmad Hafeez aims to engage more than 60 million Kashmiri youngsters in sports

Ishfaq Ahmed, a native of the country and a former international player, has been hired as the camp’s head coach.

16 July, Srinagar: For the first time ever, Srinagar is hosting a national camp for the U-16 men’s football team, marking a historic moment in the history of sports in Jammu and Kashmir.

The camp’s star attraction is native son and former national team player Ishfaq Ahmed, who has been named as the head coach. The main coach, Ishfaq, has had multiple I-League coaching experiences with teams like the Kerala Blasters, but this chance is among his most cherished.


The Under-16 men’s squad will compete in the SAFF U-16 Championship in Bhutan in September once the National camp concludes.

When asked about this, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar, Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor of J&K, remarked that this first-of-its-kind National camp would mark a new era in the growth of sports in J&K. He continued by saying that during the last several years, Jammu and Kashmir’s sports infrastructure has been greatly improved thanks to the government’s honest efforts.

The Advisor went on to applaud the J&K Sports Council (JKSC) for their multifaceted approach to improving the state of sports facilities in the state, which has allowed for the holding of events of such national significance.

It is a wonderful privilege for J&K to host the national U-16 boys’ team coaching camp in Srinagar, said Sarmad Hafeez, secretary of YS&S in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. He said that there are many football fans in Jammu and Kashmir, and that the training of the national young squad in Srinagar will be a huge inspiration to the local kids.

Nuzhat Gull, secretary of the Sports Council, expressed gratitude to the government for facilitating the first national football camp in Jammu and Kashmir. I am certain that by holding the national football camp, the J&K Sports Council would advance to the next level as a leading sports organisation, as Nuzhat Gull put it: “Sports Council has hosted many important events, both national and international.”

General Secretary and Administrator, AIFF, Shaji Prabakaran, said, “AIFF expresses its sincere gratitude and thanks to the J&K administration for hosting India U16 team coaching camp in Srinagar.” He specifically thanked the Sports Council for their assistance.

When asked about the news, head coach Ishfaq Ahmed declared his excitement, saying that holding the U-16 camp in Srinagar is an unprecedented step for a number of reasons. “First, we never had the chance to hold a National Camp, and this is the fulfilment of a promise by our President Kalyan Chaubey and Secretary General Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran to make the game a pan-India affair,” he stated.

With the help of the J&K government, J&K football is contributing to the growth of the sport throughout the country, according to Arun Malhotra, a former international player for J&K and current member of the AIFF’s technical committee. After intensive reconnaissance in the East, West, North, and West regions, Arun claimed the squad of probables had been selected for the camp.

There have been Santosh Trophy, Federation Cup, and Hero I-League matches played in Jammu and Kashmir before, but this is the first time a national football camp of this scale has been organised there. J&K Sports Council had a better argument for hosting the national camp because of the similarities in climate between Srinagar and Bhutan.

In other news from the sporting world, Srinagar’s Downtown Heroes FC will compete in this year’s Durand Cup.

It has been three years since the Downtown club’s establishment, and in that time they have made great success in carving out a space for themselves within J&K football circles, as well as in the I-League second division, and they are now preparing to compete in the 132nd Durand Cup-2023.

Muheet Shabir, the club’s 6.5-foot custodian, Hyder Yousuf, Shahmeer Tariq, Zubair Akhoon, and Parvaij Bhuiya, their star striker, are all players widely tipped to make significant contributions to Bangladeshi football in the future. Hilal Parray, the club’s coach, is certain that his players can make the national team.

Meanwhile, open selection trials for Pencak Silat were conducted at Indoor Stadium Pologround Srinagar today in preparation for next month’s 11th Senior National Pencak Silat Championship-2023 in Nashik, Maharashtra.

Approximately 280 athletes, both men and women, from 15 district units participated in this selection process, and they will soon attend a coaching camp in Srinagar for 21 days under the guidance of the J&K Sports Council.



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