Srinagar: Arun Malhotra, a former international football player from J&K who is presently a member of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) Technical Committee, claims that the Indian football federation places a special emphasis on discovering J&K’s football talent.
Arun recently visited Kashmir and engaged with kids and different football teams. To have a firsthand look at the amenities and goings-on, he went to several sporting grounds in Srinagar city and the surrounding area.
“The newly formed AIFF body with Kalyan Choubey as President has the vision to take football to the grassroots level. Being an ambassador of AIFF, I assure you that AIFF has a special focus on developing football in J&K. I have been visiting grounds, meeting players, coaches and getting their feedback,” Arun Malhotra said.
“Let me tell you that J&K has huge potential and we can have better footballers from this place reach higher levels,” he said.
The former India player said that as a Technical Member he can support local talent to reach higher levels.
“Being an AIFF Technical Committee member, I assure you that every support will be provided to talented players to polish their talent. Talented players will be taken care of to reach higher levels,” he said.
“We will reach all villages, nooks and corners of J&K to introduce football. Talent hunt exercise will also be initiated,” he said.
Malhotra said that there is a need to develop modern football psychology among youngsters.
“We need to develop football psychology, with stamina, football sense, and techniques among the youngsters,” he said.
Malhotra was part of the winning India squad in the LG Cup 2002. Apart from representing the National team, Malhotra had also played for some of the top clubs like Mahindra United, East Bengal and ONGC. After he hung up his boots, Malhotra got involved in football development at the grassroots level in Jammu & Kashmir.
About the local talent and potential he said, “During my playing time in J&K, I played most of my football in Kashmir. I still get a lot of love from the fellow players who have played with me and those who have watched me playing here,” The former India player said.
He said that he gets invitations every day from Kashmir to meet and interact with players. He was also thankful to the I-League aspiring club of Kashmir, Downtown Heroes FC who recently honoured him.