Started by the Jammu and Kashmir State Sports Council’s football wing in September 2017, the State Football Academy at the Shere Kashmir Sports Stadium in Bandipora district is refurbishing the skills of young players (both boys and girls) in that area and is getting them back on the saddle for future matches. The creation of the academy not only enhances their skills but also makes it a convenient location for these players who initially had traveled all the way to Srinagar for training.

“We will train them here and if they improve their skills, we will help them get absorbed in professional clubs outside the state”, says Tahir Maqbool, Head Coach of the Bandipora Football

A report has been made regarding the reactions of these promising players. It would seem that they are highly appreciative of this step taken by the council, and say that it will help them enhance their skills in the game.

When interviewed, a player said, “Earlier there was no academy to enhance and nourish our talent. But now we are getting a great opportunity. Already three players of our academy have got greater places to play in and we hope that the number increases.”

“We can now manage our studies with the game as this academy has helped us in solving our traveling issues,” said another player.

The academy, having been awarded a 2-star rating by the All India Football Federation (AIFF) provides these players with the opportunity to participate in major tournaments like Junior League, Youth League, IFA Shield Durand Cup etc. (ANI). Up until now, 250 players have been selected and given training under three age groups – Under 13, Under 15 and Under 18 and in the near future, the Academy aspires to recruit 5000 players across the state.