“I knew sooner or later I will get my due but at the same time I feel sorry for many deserving players who have been sidelined for years while those who didn’t deserve got it way back.
Stating that he should have been coffered the State award at least five years back, star JK footballer, Ishfaq Ahmad, is happy having finally got the coveted award this year.
“Thanks to Allah, finally the state authorities found me worth the award. At times I felt I should have got it much earlier but, since now I got it, I have no complaints,” Ishfaq told Greater Kashmir over phone.
He said that his being overlooked for the award over the years shows that there are no set criteria for selecting the players for the award and the current policy is flawed.
“I knew sooner or later I will get my due but at the same time I feel sorry for many deserving players who have been sidelined for years while those who didn’t deserve got it way back,” he said.
“There should be some kind of a body that should take account of all sports players of the state especially international players and their performance and anyone who deserves should get this award,” he said.
Ishfaq who recently signed in I-league for Pune FC said that he has bagged many awards over the years but the state award will be a special one.
“I have bagged various awards and trophies over the years in various parts of the world. However, to get the highest award of JK is special. I was always talking to myself why I still have not got this and what I was lacking. Then I realized that it is not me but the bureaucratic system that is at fault,” he said.
“I have always rendered my services and played for the State’s pride, be it Santosh trophy or any other event. I like to see my own people cheering behind me to score a goal in our own backyard. Though I almost daily play in front of huge crowds but home crowd atmosphere is something special,” he said.
About his immediate plans, Ishfaq said, “I recently signed in I-league for Pune FC City and will be representing them in the League for the season. Before this I was part of Indian Super League (ISL) first edition for Sachin Tendulkar owned Kerela Blasters that reached finals before being battered by Suarav Gangully owned Kolkata side”.
“These two leagues are the toughest and biggest football leagues of the Country. To keep myself up to the standard I have to really work hard on fitness. It is not an easy job to stay at the top of form for more than 10 years,” he said.