Top notch Kashmir footballer is jobless

Hopes PDP led Govt would recognize his contribution

SAQIB MALIK
Srinagar, Publish Date: Nov 28 2015 12:07AM | Updated Date: Nov 28 2015 12:07AM
Top notch Kashmir footballer is joblessGK Photo

The 32-year-old Kashmir based International footballer Ishfaq Ahmad is without a job even after making Jammu and Kashmir proud. The state government has not recognized his talent and has left him to fend for himself.

Born and brought up at Barbar Shah locality, Ishfaq in his early days, played football bare feet at SP College ground. Ishfaq made Jammu and Kashmir proud by participating in the Asian Football Club championship on five occasions. Ishfaq was appointed by JK Bank when he played for the bank’s football team but his contract was terminated soon after he was selected for national and international football events.

“As an outstanding sportsperson I had hoped that government would recognize my talent and provide me with a job so that I concentrate on the game rather than worrying about my survival,” Ishfaq told Greater Kashmir over phone. 

“The paperwork for my government job never took off. I hope new sports minister looks into my case,” said Ishfaq.

Presently Ishfaq is representing Kerala Blasters in the ongoing Indian Soccer League (ISL) but he intends to impart the skills attained during 12 years of his football career to youngsters back home.  “The ISL team is owned by Sachin Tendulkar and the recognition I receive as a Kashmiri footballer is immense. I am also doubling up as the assistant coach for the ISL team but I wish I could do same for football back home,” Ishfaq said. Ishfaq rued his friend and fellow footballer Mehraj-ud-din Wadoo have been victims of state apathy. 

Ishfaq has got the honour of playing for Mohan Bagan,Salgaonkar and International 2013 KFC Cup. “Mehraj has represented India on six occasions while I have also played Federation Cup and National League Championship twice,” said Ishfaq, who earned distinction of being the only player from North India to captain Mohan Bagan in 2010-11. 

Ishfaq said he has lot of expectations from the Mufti Muhammad Sayeed led government. “My counterparts from other states have been doing state jobs for five to six years while also playing for clubs. I cannot even come to Kashmir and set up a business as it is time consuming. A secure government job will help footballers such as Mehraj and myself to conduct coaching camps in schools and colleges and work towards making football popular in Kashmir,” added Ishfaq.

Ishfaq has been tactfully avoiding taunts of family and friends who have been critical of him not been able to earn a livelihood in lieu of his contribution towards the state. “I have been talking to ministers and sports officials but even that has not helped me get a job. This is has disappointed me,” said Ishfaq, who is also an alumni of Gandhi College.

 

 

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