Kashmir’s Sajad Parray making big strides in Indian football arena

Kashmir’s Sajad Parray making big strides in Indian football arena
GK Photo

Srinagar, Jan 6:SajadHussainParray, the upcoming star of J&K football, is following his coach Mehrajud Din Wadoo and making significant steps in the Indian football scene. He is poised to make an impact in the remaining I-League season.

After recently signing with Indian Super League (ISL) team Hyderabad FC, the 20-year-old defender from Srinagar’s GundHassiBhat area of Lawaypora is now on loan to I-League reigning champion club Gokulam Kerala FC. A young footballer who wants to make a name for himself at the top level in the Indian football scene made an adventurous move by moving on loan from an ISL team to the I League.

Sajad is intent on achieving something bigger and more significant to leave his imprint after graduating from a grassroots development programme. At the under-15, 16, 17, and 20 levels, Sajad has already represented India. He was a member of the SAF Cup-winning India Under-20 squad from the previous year.

He was part of AIFF’s developmental side Indian Arrows in the I-League during the last two years and played around 22 matches for the team. With Indian Arrows closed this season by AIFF, ISL side Hyderabad FC signed the talented defender from Kashmir on a long-term deal. The team already has some big names in its squad and Sajad wants full game time, the footballer has agreed on a loan deal with Gokulam Kerala FC.

“I am really excited to be a part of this superb club,” said Sajjad said after signing for Hyderabad FC. “HFC is renowned to give chances and grooming youngsters and we have seen that over the last three seasons. It’s an honour for me to be part of this club, and I hope to grow as a professional in the coming seasons,” he added.

About his move to the Kerala side and playing in I-League instead of ISL which is currently the top league in the country, Sajad said, “ ISL is a bigger league and platform. It has got some of the well-known names of World football. With half of the season already gone and the team has settled on its core squad, I wouldn’t have gotten too many chances in playing XI. Gokulam Kerala FC’s move is a chance for me to get more game time and establish my credentials at the top level for the top team. It will also keep me focussed and game ready whenever Hyderabad FC want me back”.

Sajad joined football at the age of 14 years inspired by his brothers Aijaz and Adil who were local-level footballers. He was later selected for the under-15 side of J&K Sports Council Football Academy. His initial training was done by Muzamil whom he regard highly and by Sajid. Impressing everyone with his work ethic and dedication, Sajad was promoted to the senior side of the Sports Council academy. On that side, he got under the wings of Mehrajud Din Wadoo who was incharge of the Academy.

About Sajad’s recent success and ISL move, Mehrajud Din Wadoo who is currently Real Kashmir FC’s head coach said, “He is a good player with a bright future ahead. I know him for many years now as he was part of SCFA from its establishment. He played with us for many years. Looking at his dedication and talent we promoted him to our senior team where he played exceptionally well. Before joining Hyderabad FC he was a key player for Indian Arrows where he impressed everyone even more with his performance. I wish him all the best”.

About his work ethic, Wadoo said, “ Since he lives far away from Srinagar city centre, almost 10-12 km, he has to travel a lot. But I never remember that he was late for a session. Neither did he miss one. He is so punctual.”

Sajad has played in U15 SAFF Championship in Nepal and has also travelled to UAE, South Africa, Kuwait, and Malaysia as part of the exposure trips arranged by AIFF.

Sajadidolises Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos and local hero Mehrajud Din Wadoo and wants to emulate them.

“Since childhood, I am a big fan of Roberto Carlos. My brothers started to show me his videos, thereafter he has become my idol. Locally, it is always going to be Mehraj sir who is a legend in this part of the World,” Sajad said.

Sajad also said that coachShuvendu Panda has been a great support for him all these years during his stay with the Indian National junior teams.

Asked about the difference between football in Kashmir and outside he said, “ It is all about technicalities, exposure and facilities. In Kashmir, we have a natural talent who needs exposure and facilities to turn into technically sound players. Outside Kashmir, the focus from an early age is on technical parts and grooming. Back in Kashmir, we start it late and then find it hard to mould our Natural talent into technicalities”.

Sajad said that he is hopeful that more and more Kashmir footballers reach the top level.

“We have talent and whenever the opportunity arises, one has to grab that. Only after that can we find more Kashmir footballers in the top leagues of the country,” he added.

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