For path-breaker Real Kashmir players, football more than just a means of livelihoodJune 3, 2018
A hope for a better life not just for themselves but also for the troubled state they have put on the national footballing landscape — for the path-breaking Real Kashmir FC players, the ‘beautiful game’ is far from being merely a means to earn a livelihood.
Their odd jobs, family backgrounds, and determination to rise above it tick all the boxes for the story that is Indian sports. But just as any other story like theirs, it was nonetheless inspiring when the club, founded just a couple of years ago, qualified for the elite I-League.
A daily wage earner, who hopes he never has to go back to that job, a small-time private telephone company employee, and a cricket buff-turned footballer — it is a diverse group that makes up the team.
But what unites it is the game, famously described as a matter bigger than life or death by Bill Shankly — the man who transformed a second division Liverpool into the force that it became in Europe.
“It is very difficult to get a secure job in Kashmir. I work on daily wage in a dry fruit factory. From 7am to 9am, I have my football training and after that from 10am to 6pm I work at a factory and things like packing, sending parcels, etc.,” 22-year-old defender Suhail Ahmad Bhat told PTI.
Bhat, Amir Rehman (defender), Danish Farooq (midfielder) and Muhammad Hammad (defender) are all from Srinagar and in their early 20s. It wasn’t easy for them to pursue football given their diversely difficult circumstances but not they are hoping to inspire many more like them.
Bhat’s father is a diabetic and his mother a housewife. He has a family to care for while pursuing his passion on the field. All he earns after a day’s hard work is a measly Rs 300.