For the first time in its history, a Kashmir based football club has qualified for the final round of the Hero I-league 2nd Division.
Srinagar based Real Kashmir Football Club did this on Sunday in style after remaining unbeaten and topping their group in Round 1 campaign of 10 matches.
The group had local rivals lonestar Kashmir FC, Delhi United, Hindustan FC, Delhi Dynamos (Reserves) and FC Pune City (Reserves).
“Coached by Rangers FC legend, David Robertson, the Real Kashmir team is the most religiously diverse team in India and more importantly, in these times, based in of Kashmir,” said Shamim Mehraj, co-owner of the club.
“We have local Kashmiri Muslims boys, Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and also Buddhists. Few other teams in India can claim such diversity,” he added.
“Real Kashmir going all the way is an achievement as Kashmir is the most difficult place in India to run a club because everything is so uncertain here.
“We are only a two-year old club and for a new club to compete with old timers is a huge privilege.”
Formed in April 2016 Real Kashmir is one of the two I-league clubs in the Valley.
The final round slated to be held in Bengaluru from 24 May will have old established teams like Ozone FC from Bangalore, TRAU from Northeast and Hindustan FC from New Delhi apart from Real Kashmir.
The winner will go on to be promoted to the I-league 1 where likes of East Bengal and Mohun Bagan ply their trade.