Breaking out the decades-old taboo, Kashmiri girls are now exploring the prospects of choosing football as a career. Just a few years back, there were no platforms for Kashmiri girls to learn and play football but with some positive change in the Kashmir valley, new football clubs are being opened to harness the raw talent of the young girl footballers. First female football coach of Kashmir Nadia Nighat says that, “Just a few years back, a girl playing football in Kashmir was a big taboo but now as the mindset of people towards girl child is changing and girls are been given equal opportunities in every field, football has gained popularity among many girls.”
Recently, Lonestar Kashmir FC (a local football club) launched an all-girls football club in Srinagar. Nadia said that, “Earlier there were no platforms for these girls but now football academies are starting clubs meant only for girls, which is good step to harness the raw talent of Kashmiri girls.”
Jammu and Kashmir football association president Zameer Thakur said, “Football has been an all0time favorite game in Kashmir but women footballers were not given enough chances. With more such clubs for girls, we will be able to produce players of international caliber.”
A young girl Nuzhat who is a new entrant in Lonestar said, “Kashmiri girls have got enough talent to prove their metal in any given field but what we missed was a proper platform, which is now been provided to us.” Another girl footballer Insha Majeed said, “I want to pursue football as a career but for that I need proper training and exposure, which only is possible if there are more and more such clubs for girls.”
The central govt under the leadership of Prime Minister Narender Modi has also taken several measures to promote sports culture in Kashmir. The union sports ministry has been hosting several sports programmes under “Khelo India”. The ministry also launched its first water sports academy in Kashmir.