Srinagar, Jan 15: Young footballers Tajamul Islam, Faizan Waheed, and Huzafa Ahmad have been dubbed the future of Indian and J&K football by coaches and former players.
The 22-member India Under-17 team for the friendly against the UAE and Uzbekistan was announced on Friday and includes the three young players Tajamul Islam, Faizan Waheed, and Huzafa Ahmad Dar who have been a part of the National camp for roughly the past year.
India is scheduled to play a friendly match against UAE U-20 National Team in Dubai scheduled to be held on January 16. On return to India, the team will play two friendlies against Uzbekistan on January 22 and 24 in Goa.
Tajamul Islam, a goalkeeper from Sopore, Faizan Waheed forward from Narkara Budgam and Huzafa Ahmad Dar from Srinagar are also part of the squad. The coaches of the trio term these youngsters as the future stars of J&K and Indian football.
Both Tajamul and Faizan have been groomed and nurtured at J&K Sports Council Football Academy. They are the products of the SFA and have trained under Sports Council football coach Javaid Ahmad Sofi.
Javaid said that both Tajamul and Faizan are the products of the academy and it is great to see them shining on the National stage.
“It is an honour to see your students getting selected for the National side. Nothing else can bring the coach more happiness than this. They are talented youngsters who have got bright future,” said Javaid.
The SFA coach said that Tajamul started with SFA from the under-15 level and then went on to play for the Under-18 side in the top leagues of J&K.
“Tajamul hails from Sopore. After getting selected for SFA, he started training in Sopore and then went on to play for our Under-15 side. He was promoted to the Under-18 side, representing SFA JKFA leagues held in Srinagar,” Javaid said.
About Faizan, the coach said that the youngster has been associated with SFA from a young age.
“Faizan who hails from Narkara Budgam joined SFA at a young age and has represented Academy at Under-13, 15 and Under-18 levels. The Under-18 side is our main team which plays in main league events of J&K. We promote extraordinary players into our main team and Faizan was one of them,” he said.
Javaid said that both Tajamul and Faizan have been part of the India camp for around one year and are now included in the National side.
“They have talent and dedication to make it big. They are the future stars of J&K and Indian football,” he added.
Incharge of SFA, Mehraj ud Din Wadoo said that the Sports Council’s academy is turning out as a feeding nursery for National junior sides.
“There are around 10 players currently at various levels who have come out from SFA. From the Under-17 India side to the Under-20 there are players who were groomed and nurtured at SFA. Also, we have now players from SFA in I-League and ISL. It is all due to the efforts of SFA coaches and officials who have worked really hard,” Wadoo said.
Huzafa Ahmad Dar who hails from the old Burzullah area of Srinagar is the product of J&K Bank Football Academy. He has been part of India’s junior side for around one year. He has already represented India in AFC Cup in Sri Lanka and is reckoned highly.
“Huzafa Ahmad joined J&K Bank Football Academy as a new recruit and instantly impressed everyone. He is a talented youngster who has got a bright future. He is a regular in India junior side now and trains with J&K Bank Academy whenever he comes for vacation back home. We are proud to see a youngster like him shining at this level,” said J&K Bank Football Academy coach Manzoor Dar.
“Players like Huzafa, Tajamul and Faizan are making all of us proud. They are the future stars and we may see them playing for the senior National team soon,” Dar added.
Meanwhile, J&K Football Association has also congratulated the three youngsters for their selection in the National squad.
“Congratulations to Faizan Waheed, Tajamul and Huzaifa for making us proud. Best wishes,” JKFA statement said.