Jammu and Kashmir Government’s move last year to boost sports in a larger perspective was a welcome sign especially when the state’s youth is involved directly in the turmoil. On the contrary a last year Second Division I-League football team, Real Kashmir FC became the first club team from the valley to play on a foreign soil when they took on third-tier Scottish League club Stenhousemuir in July last year. Earlier to this some of the Valley players were picked by Spanish clubs. All this happened at a time when the Valley was undergoing terrorism and related violence. After cricket, football has gained popularity in the Valley. An indicator to this is that earlier the game used to be played during summer months only but now events can be seen organised throughout the year. The Jammu and Kashmir Football Association (JKFA) which was first formed in 1964 claims to have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of youngsters interested in the sport in the past years. Even though the game had seen a slump in between but it has been one of the oldest sports being played in the Kashmir Valley. Historians believe football was introduced in Kashmir in 1890 by a British missionary, Canon CE Tyndale Biscoe in whose name the Tyndale Biscoe School stands. The Valley has produced several top football players for the country. Footballer Mohammad Yousuf Dar became the first senior footballer of the state to represent the country in 1970s. Abdul Majeed Kakroo, represented India from 1981 to 1989. There is a need to promote sports in a holistic manner so that the youth energy can be diverted for productive purposes. With its scenic clime and weather promoting sports in Kashmir surely would bring dividends provided there should be a sincere effort from the agencies involved.
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