J&K faces Uttarakhand in Santosh Trophy opener

JAMMU: Hosts Jammu and Kashmir shall be playing against Uttarakhand in a group-B inaugural match of the 73rd National Football Championship for Santosh Trophy North Zone (qualifying round) at holy town of Katra in district Reasi on February 11.

Though the first match of the day-one shall be played between Chanidgarh and Delhi at 11 am, the inaugural match is scheduled to be held at 2 pm soon after the formal opening of the tournament b the Advisor to the Governor, K Vijay Kumar, who has consented to be the chief guest.

This was informed by the Secretary, J&K State Sports Council (JKSSC), Naseem Javed Choudhary while addressing the media, here today. The event is being organised by the JKFAunder the aegis of All India Football Federation (AIFF). The competition is actively supported by JKSSC, Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and J&K Bank Ltd.

"It was endeavour of the Governor, Satya Pal Malik and Advisor (Sports), Vijay Kumar to take sports beyond the boundaries of twin capital cities of Jammu and Srinagar by way of holding the mega events at other districts.

So, it was decided to expose the qualify infrastructure raised by the SMVDSB at the national level by taking events of repute to the holy town of Katra.

The CEO SMVDSB, Simranjeet Singh was kind enough to agree to the request of JKFA for the venue and other logistic support," said Secretary, who has been made organising secretary of the tournament.

Earlier, JKFA president, Zameer Thakur gave details of the event and disclosed the fixtures amidst naming of the State team. He said that JKFA makes all out efforts to take sports to the district level in the entire state despite constraints.

Also present were Director Sports, SMVDSB, Ashok Kumar, treasurer JKFA, Surinder Singh Bunty and president, DFA Jammu, Sheikh Mehmood.

Top domestic event

Before the start of the National Club Football League in 1996, the Santosh Trophy was considered the top domestic championship in India. The tournament organised every year with 31 teams divided into zone/groups so as to qualify for the tournament through the preliminary round.

It was for the fourth time that JKFA has been given the responsibility of hosting of the prestigious with earlier events being in 1978 (Srinagar), 2008 (Jammu/Srinagar), 2016 (Jammu) and now in 2018-19 (Katra in district Reasi).

8 team, 2 groups

Eight states from North India shall compete in this championship. The participants included Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Uttrakhand, Chandigarh and host Jammu and Kashmir.

As per the fixture, issued All India Football Federation (AIFF), there shall be total 12 league matches to be played on single leg format. Participating eight teams have been divided into two groups and the top team from each group shall qualify for the final round. Group-A: Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. Group-B: Chandigarh, Delhi, J&K and Uttarakhand.

MOU with Vector X

In the meantime, the JKFA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a leading sports manufacturers Vector X.

A Jalandhar (Punjab) based company, Vector X shall sponsor playing apparels and officials footballs to J&K State teams participating at the National level events. The agreement, between JKFA and Vector X, singed today, shall be for a period of three years.

The J&K Squad

Rashid Nalkand, Nirdosh Salgotra, Gagandeep Singh, Vivek Gulati, Gautam Mehra (Captain), Faisal Thakur, Amit Kumar (U-21), Shahid Sheraaz (U-21), Gulshan Kumar, Rohit Kumar, Sanan Tariq, Shaiker Ahamd Sheikh (U-21), Ishan Gupta, Ali Asif Khan, Adanan Ayoub (vice captain), Akif Javeed, Furkan Zargar, Touseef Ahmad (U-21) and Amritpal Singh. Officials: Satpal Singh (Head coach), Rajesh Kumar (Assistant coach), Dr Shahid Shamim (Physiotherapist), Vijay Kumar (Trainer), Zahoor Teli (Team Manager), Abdul Majeed Kakroo (Technical Director)

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