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Real Kashmir FC seek government help after I-League promotion

Real Kashmir FC coach David Robertson said his side’s team spirit helped them clinch the 2nd Division title and qualify for next season’s I-League

football Updated: Jun 01, 2018 09:45 IST
Bhargab Sarmah
Bhargab Sarmah
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Real Kashmir FC,I-League,David Robertson
Real Kashmir FC became the first football club from Jammu & Kashmir to gain promotion to the I-League.(AIFF)

Real Kashmir FC’s 3-2 win over Hindustan FC on Wednesday secured them the 2nd Division League title and a place in next season’s I-League. It was also the least dramatic game in the final round involving the club from the valley.

In their opening game against Ozone FC, Real Kashmir came back from 2-1 down to win 3-2 in the dying moments of the match.

Three days later, Kashmir were staring at defeat against Tiddim Road Athletic Union (TRAU) FC in the second half stoppage time before another late goal helped them secure a point.

Reflecting on the successful campaign, head coach David Robertson said the belief and desire of his players helped them come back from adverse situations.

READ | Real Kashmir FC become first J&K football team to gain I-League promotion

“Against Ozone when we were 2-1 down, I ended up changing the formation to three at the back, two midfielders and five forwards and then we got a goal. As soon as we got a goal, we had a go at them again. The team just had the desire and belief and they managed to get the winning goal,” said the Scotsman.

“Against TRAU, we played well in the first half but then went 2-1 down. TRAU were causing us problems and I personally thought that we would lose the game. We changed the formation again just to have a go and we just managed to score right at the end,” Robertson explained.

“I think it’s more down to the team spirit than the tactical stuff; the players’ never-say-die attitude got us back in both the games.”

Owners call for government help

The club’s owners said on Thursday that they will approach the state government in the coming days to help them prepare their home ground for the next season.

Real Kashmir are based out of the Tourist Reception Centre (TRC) Ground in Srinagar but there are concerns over its readiness to host top-flight football.

READ | Ranko Popovic quits as coach of ISL side FC Pune City

“The TRC Stadium has a lovely turf but it needs an immediate infrastructural upgrade. There are no toilets, no proper dressing rooms. Now is the time for the government to step up and help us out,” said club owner Shamim Meraj.

“We will reach out to the government in a day or two and explain to them our position,” he added.

Co-owner Sandeep Chattoo reiterated Meraj’s concerns. “We need to have the infrastructure in place for the top division. Even if we have to spend money out of our own pockets, we will do it because we owe it to the I-League,” he said.

First Published: Jun 01, 2018 09:45 IST