A triumphant Real Kashmir FC Unit.(Real Kashmir/Twitter)
A triumphant Real Kashmir FC Unit.(Real Kashmir/Twitter)

After IFA Shield win, new-look Real Kashmir hope for I-League glory

The start has been alright, with Real Kashmir winning the IFA Shield last Saturday ahead of the I-League season beginning from January 9 next year in a bio bubble in Kolkata.
By Rutvick Mehta | Mumbai
UPDATED ON DEC 22, 2020 09:24 PM IST

Real Kashmir FC’s Scottish coach David Robertson felt like he had been “hit by a bus” when he checked into his hotel room in Kolkata after flying into India from the UK.

“I got a Covid test done before leaving the UK, I got a test when I landed in India. There was so much paperwork to do. It’s just surreal, really. I took a day-and-a-half to get here, and honestly my body was in bits,” Robertson said during a virtual media interaction on Tuesday. “But that’s the desire to come back and try to put on a good show and hopefully at the end of the season - whenever that is - it’s all worth it.”

The start has been alright, with Real Kashmir winning the IFA Shield last Saturday ahead of the I-League season beginning from January 9 next year in a bio bubble in Kolkata. With no football since the previous I-League edition was suspended in March, a relatively new-look squad of fresh recruits and players assembling at different points of time, Real Kashmir went straight into competition mode for the December 6-19 tournament. That, with merely a couple of days of training as a full squad before their opening match on December 6.

“We trained together just 2-3 days before our first game, we’ve got almost a new squad, a lot of us haven’t played for 7-8 months, there was virtually no training and we went straight into games,” Robertson said. “I just think there must be something magical in that yellow jersey and badge. You’d think the players haven’t trained or played a lot together, but this just shows the desire of the players, the club, and everything about the place. Playing for Real Kashmir, at times, is not easy but every hurdle that’s thrown in front of us we somehow manage to get over it.”

The IFA Shield is laced with history and prestige but for the last few years it was only played as a youth event. Back with its senior status this year, the tournament was fought between four I-League (Mohammedan Sporting, Gokulam Kerala and Indian Arrows played besides Real Kashmir) and eight Calcutta Premier League teams. Real Kashmir had five unbeaten matches, including a 2-1 win against George Telegraph in the final. The competition might not have been close to what the team will expect to face next month in the I-League, but it gave the young club its first silverware since its formation four years ago. Enough motivation to aim for better outcome in this I-League than their third and fourth place finishes in the previous seasons.

“It was a great ending to win the competition. What is does do is show that we are a good side this year, and it gives us a lot of confidence going into the first I-League game. We’ve only been together for two-and-a-half weeks. We’ve trained as much as we can, put in double sessions. The IFA Shield success flew past quickly, and it has given players so much desire that they’re playing with a smile on their face,” the 52-year-old former Scottish footballer turned coach said.

Relegated to second division in the country’s football structure, the I-League has lost a lot of its sheen with prominent clubs East Bengal and Mohun Bagan switching to the top-tier Indian Super League (ISL). Real Kashmir are also eager to work their way up towards the ISL, with I-League winners set to get direct entry into the ISL in 2022 and 2023.

“Our expectations get higher each year,” Danish Farooq, the club’s star midfielder and local face from Srinagar, said. “I want this club to go much higher, whether I’m here or not. I want this club to play in the ISL one day; that’s my dream as well. I think this club deserves to play in the ISL. And hopefully we’ll get it done together.”

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
Lionel Messi waves to fans. (Getty Images)
Lionel Messi waves to fans. (Getty Images)

Will Lionel Messi exit the guild of one-club players this year?

By Bhargab Sarmah, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 08:24 AM IST
  • Barcelona have denied involvement in the scandal but following Monday’s events, the spotlight is back on the club, and it remains to be seen where it leads Messi.
Close
Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player to score at least 20 goals in each of the last 12 seasons in Europe's top five leagues. (Juventus/Twitter)
Cristiano Ronaldo has become the first player to score at least 20 goals in each of the last 12 seasons in Europe's top five leagues. (Juventus/Twitter)

Ronaldo marks 600th league game with landmark goal as Juventus beat Spezia

Reuters, Turin
UPDATED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:44 AM IST
  • The Portuguese guided in his side's third goal late on after Alvaro Morata and Federico Chiesa had struck earlier in the second half.
Close
Gabriel Jesus celebrates his goal. (Gabriel Jesus/Twitter)
Gabriel Jesus celebrates his goal. (Gabriel Jesus/Twitter)

Jesus hits double as rampant Man City go 15 points clear with Wolves win

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 03, 2021 07:37 AM IST
  • City scored three late goals to wrap up victory and move onto 65 points with 11 games left to play ahead of Manchester United on 50 points with a game in hand.
Close
Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino(REUTERS)
Paris St Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino(REUTERS)

PSG need to focus on all games, not just those against title rivals - Pochettino

Reuters, Paris
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 10:48 PM IST
PSG are second in the standings on 57 points from 27 games, two points behind Lille with Olympique Lyonnais in third on 56 and Monaco in fourth place on 55.
Close
Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma v AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - February 28, 2021 AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria(REUTERS)
Soccer Football - Serie A - AS Roma v AC Milan - Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy - February 28, 2021 AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria(REUTERS)

Ibrahimovic defends Sanremo role, stands by LeBron James comments

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:28 PM IST
The 39-year-old Swede has received criticism for agreeing to participate in four nights of the annual song contest in Liguria this week, as his club have Serie A fixtures on Wednesday and Sunday.
Close
Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - Semi Final First Leg - Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain - February 10, 2021 Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman reacts REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo/Files(REUTERS)
Soccer Football - Copa del Rey - Semi Final First Leg - Sevilla v FC Barcelona - Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain - February 10, 2021 Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman reacts REUTERS/Marcelo Del Pozo/Files(REUTERS)

Koeman says Bartomeu arrest bad for Barca image but focused on Sevilla Cup tie

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:20 PM IST
Bartomeu, who hired Koeman last August but resigned in October to avoid facing a vote of no-confidence, was detained on Monday along with CEO Oscar Grau in a probe related to allegations of improper management and business corruption.
Close
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith: File photo(Pool via REUTERS)
Aston Villa manager Dean Smith: File photo(Pool via REUTERS)

Villa's Grealish out of Sheffield United trip as 'frustrating' injury continues

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 06:41 PM IST
Grealish has still not recovered from a leg injury that he sustained in training last month but Smith said he was hopeful the England international will return to training later this week.
Close
File photo of Josep Maria Bartomeu(AP)
File photo of Josep Maria Bartomeu(AP)

Former Barcelona chief Bartomeu released day after arrest

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 06:37 PM IST
The statement said Bartomeu, president between 2014 and 2020, and his former adviser Jaume Masferrer, had made use of their right not to give a statement in court and the judge had agreed to their provisional release.
Close
Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid's stadium in the heart of the Spanish capital(Getty Imagess)
Santiago Bernabeu, Real Madrid's stadium in the heart of the Spanish capital(Getty Imagess)

Madrid: A city in love with football

PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 02:53 PM IST
  • Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu and Atletico de Madrid’s Wanda Metropolitano host games on alternate weekends all through the LaLiga season.
Close
The Indian football team with coach Igor Stimac. (AIFF)
The Indian football team with coach Igor Stimac. (AIFF)

Stimac names list of India probables for Oman and UAE friendlies

By hindustantimes.com, New Delhi
UPDATED ON MAR 02, 2021 01:40 PM IST
  • The final list of 28 players will be announced after the Indian Super League final.
Close
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.(REUTERS)
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.(REUTERS)

UK government offers $4M for 2030 World Cup bid with Ireland

PTI, London
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:59 AM IST
The English Football Association disclosed the financial assistance for a potential British Isles bid on Monday as it received fresh backing from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Close
Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Southampton - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - March 1, 2021 Everton's Richarlison celebrates scoring their first goal Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.(Pool via REUTERS)
Soccer Football - Premier League - Everton v Southampton - Goodison Park, Liverpool, Britain - March 1, 2021 Everton's Richarlison celebrates scoring their first goal Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.(Pool via REUTERS)

Everton beats Southampton 1-0 to be on verge of EPL top four

PTI, Liverpool
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 09:57 AM IST
Richarlison scored for the third consecutive match inside the first 10 minutes on Monday, and Everton held on to move within two points of fourth-placed West Ham with a match in hand.
Close
 Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.(REUTERS)
Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.(REUTERS)

Real Madrid held by Sociedad ahead of derby against Atlético

AP, Madrid
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:27 AM IST
  • Coach Zinedine Zidane's attempt to push Madrid forward by switching formations midway through the game against Real Sociedad backfired on Monday, leading to a 1-1 home draw.
Close
Mourtada Fall of Mumbai City FC scores a goal during the Indian Super League match between Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim.(PTI)
Mourtada Fall of Mumbai City FC scores a goal during the Indian Super League match between Mumbai City FC and ATK Mohun Bagan, at the GMC Stadium, Bambolim.(PTI)

The last four standing in ISL

By Bhargab Sarmah, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON MAR 02, 2021 08:20 AM IST
  • While Mumbai and Goa dominate possession, Bagan and NorthEast prefer to not have the ball.
Close
AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts.(REUTERS)
AC Milan's Zlatan Ibrahimovic reacts.(REUTERS)

Ibrahimovic set for spell on sidelines after adductor injury - reports

Reuters
PUBLISHED ON MAR 01, 2021 10:07 PM IST
Ibrahimovic, Milan's top scorer this season, was forced off during the Serie A contest on Sunday, with coach Stefano Pioli confirming after the match that he had picked up a muscle problem and would be evaluated on Monday.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP