Srinagar, Jan 9: Furqan Ahmed, one of the talented J&K football players, has been awarded a scholarship by the Oil and Natural Gas Corporations (ONGC) to further his football career.
The goalkeeper from Srinagar's Gangbugh Byepass area recently participated in the J&K Santosh Trophy team in Kerala and would benefit from the coveted scholarship programme.
Through this programme, ONGC offers suitable scholarship options to sportspeople who are finding it difficult to continue their athletic pursuits because of the costs involved.
To avail benefits of the scheme, thousands of sportspersons from all over the country apply for the scholarship. Out of them, the talented footballers are selected by the ONGC sports department and then are provided monetary benefits.
Furqan who currently plays for FC-1 club has received communication from ONGC about his selection.
"We are pleased to inform you that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) has decided to grant you a sports scholarship in support of your pursuance of a career in the game of football,” read a letter issued by Jagdeep Singh, Manager (OL), ONGC to Furqan.
As per the current scholarship status of the programme, Furqan will receive Rs 25000 per month for three months which will be later extended to one year.
Furqan is one of the fast-emerging footballers in J&K who has played his trade at various levels over the years.
Coming out through J&K Bank Football Academy, Furqan has gone on to play for Real Kashmir FC Reserves and the Main side. He has also represented Sudeva FC Delhi in I-League and has also played for JKSPDC. At present Furqan is part of the newly formed professional team FC-1.
"I am happy to receive this scholarship as it will help me to continue my passion, which is playing football. Without financial support it is always difficult to pursue your dream," said Furqan.
"I am highly thankful to ONGC people and all those who have helped me in getting it. I am also thankful to all those who have supported me over the years including coach Manzoor Dar," Furqan said.
Furqan said that the security of monetary and other benefits through this scheme will help him to continue his training.
"To continue my passion and dream of achieving success at a higher level is going to become a bit easier now. With the help of this scheme I will be able to continue my daily training," he said.
Meanwhile, former India International footballer from J&K who works at ONGC Arun Malhotra said that he is happy to see a footballer from his native place getting help from ONGC.
"I had heard about it and had received positive feedback from the concerned department. It is very good to see someone getting the benefit of the scheme which is going to help boost his career," Arun Malhotra said.
"J&K has got football talent in abundance and there is need for a support like this. I am happy to see my own department coming forward in this direction. I hope more such schemes are launched and more and more players from J&K get its benefits," Arun said.
J&K Football Association (JKFA) Chairmain election committee Wasim Aslam termed it a great boost for football in J&K.
"Congratulations to Furqan and it will help boost the morale of our players. Arun has also played a great role not only in this but many upcoming projects for the benefit of budding footballers," Wasim Aslam said.
"Are our elite and private sector listening? Why don't they also come forward and contribute by investing in budding players and game," sajid veteran sports journalist Sajid Hamid.