Secretary, Youth Service & Sports (YSS), Sarmad Hafeez on Thursday said that Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) approved Bakshi Stadium would be ready by March 2019 for holding international events.
Sarmad was speaking during the inaugural match of the 'Kashmir Invitation Cup Football Tourney' which began at TRC Turf on Thursday. The tournament is being organized by Jammu and Kashmir Football Association (JKFA) and J&K State Sports Council (JKSSC) in collaboration with Youth Service and Sports (YSS) Department.
Further, Sarmad said that Bakshi Stadium is currently under upgradation and several innovative measures are underway to bring it to the level of international sports standards to inculcate sports enthusiasm among the State's youth. Also, he said that under Rs 44 crore renovation project, Bakshi Stadium is being exclusively converted into a world-class football stadium. "Stadium will be ready by March 2019, and it will be FIFA approved stadium," he said.
"We have been able to produce national and international level players because people in J&K have lot of interest in football. JKSSC and JKFA are working for promoting sports culture in the state," he said and added that Bakshi Stadium and TRC Turf Ground would be installed with international standard floodlighting system, which would help in organizing night sports activities. He said it would definitely boost the football culture across the region. "We are making efforts to produce best players in the valley as foreign coaches are training youth," Hafeez said.
Secretary YS&S said J&K would be holding Pre-I League matches under 'Kashmir Invitation Cup 2018' in which 8 teams (4 local and 4 from other states) will be participating. The 4 guest teams include Minerva Punjab FC (I-League champions), Bengaluru FC (ISL team), Delhi United FC and Sudeva FC, while 4 local teams include I-League Qualifiers and 2-Divisions I-League champions Real Kashmir FC, Lone Star Kashmir FC, State Football Academy and J&K Bank FC.
He added that these matches would be Pre-I-League matches and in the month of November, YS&S Department will for the first time ever host I-League matches in Kashmir.