People in thousands turned up to remote Bangus valley, in Kupwara district in northern part of Kashmir on Monday to witness the final of “Bangus Valley Soccer tournament”, under lights.
Mohammaden Sports Sopore and SW Ashkura Baramulla clashed in the final at Baki Aker ground, Rajwar, where according to a statement of Jammu and Kashmir Football Association (JKFA), thousands of football fans gathered to witness the match.
The organisers, District Football Association (DFA) Handwara, a unit of JKFA, had arranged the lights for the match with the help of generators.
The crowd thoroughly enjoyed the 60-minutes of high voltage football match at the place which is always in news for other reasons.
Since afternoon, people from adjoining areas of the venue, had started to gather at the place. They came in cars, bikes, trucks, tippers, load carriers and whatever form of transport they could avail, to reach the ground.
“In my life time, I have never seen such a crowd in this area. Unfortunately, we have suffered immensely in the last 28-years due to close proximity of the area to the LoC. More than twenty thousand people gathering at one place and that too without any security arrangements in Kashmir these days is an achievement in itself,” said Aijaz Sofi, chief patron DFA Kupwara.
Zamir Thakur, who is the president of JKFA, said that holding such an event in remote area near LoC is possible only due to the wholehearted support of people of Kashmir.
“I along with office bearers of JKFA was present at the venue till 11:30 pm and I didn’t feel that this place is close to the LoC. Such was the enthusiasm of the football fans that for a moment, we forgot whether we are near border or in Srinagar.”
Thakur, who is also Treasurer of All India Football Federation (AIFF), said that many such events are lined up in other remote areas of the state. “We want to take the game of football to every remote corner of the state as it is poor man’s game. However, for that government needs to develop infrastructure in remote areas.”