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Meet Sanan Iqbal, the first player of Real Kashmir FC from south Kashmir

Sanan Iqbal proved his game, even though Football is not very mainstream in the region.

Sanan Iqbal Bhat, a young boy from southern Kashmir’s Shopian district, has been selected as the goalkeeper for Real Kashmir Football Club.

Hailing from Bungam area in main town Shopian, the 20-year-old Sanan became a State-level player and is now a source of inspiration for the local boys, especially after being named as the Real Kashmir FC’s new goalkeeper.

Despite all odds and hardships, the young Sanan kept his love for sports alive, even after facing a series of problems, including the death of his father, Mohammad Iqbal Bhat.

Sanan Iqbal says that his father died due to cardiac arrest, which affected his teenage years and almost landed him in depression but his uncle & mother stood by him and supported him throughout.

“They gave me courage, support and helped me realize my dream of playing football, at the highest level in Jammu and Kashmir,” he says.

His uncle, Mubarak Ahmad, said, “We supported him fully after his father’s death but also encouraged him to continue his studies.”

“In southern Kashmir, especially in Shopian, there is lack of infrastructure for sportsmen. Having said that, Sanan’s success is quite inspirational,” his uncle adds.

Sanan Iqbal proved his credentials as a player, even though the game is not popular in the region.

After clearing 12th standard from Greenland School Shopian, Sanan is currently pursuing a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Iqbal Institute of Technology & Management in Srinagar.

The player was in 8th standard when football, as a game, caught his attention. Since then, he never looked back and is doing wonders in the game. Prior to joining Real Kashmir FC, he played with several football clubs in the district.

Sanan Iqbal believes that if better infrastructure is provided, there are many youth like him who can excel as sportsmen.

In his message for the youth of Kashmir, Sanan says that youth need to work on their talent and utilize their energies for positive things. “Be positive and don’t touch drugs, as it destroys your life,” he appeals.

Meanwhile, local youth in the area, including Sanan Iqbal, expressed their anger against Youth Services and Sports Department for failing to provide the required platform for the sportsmen.

Aneeb Malik, local youth from Shopian, appealed the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha to help develop the much-needed infrastructure for the Valley’s sportsmen so that they can polish their talent and be successful.

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Dil-Paziir (Urdu; meaning ‘heart-pleasing’) is a special edition positive news series brought to you by Digpu, sourced from conflict areas, starting from Kashmir. Our local journalists have successfully shared many inspirational stories from the valley – from the invention of E-Charkha, automatic ventilator in Kashmir, stories of brotherhood through to the first-ever cricket tourney for Blind sportsmen, all the stories make us awe-struck. These are NOT FOR REPRODUCTION.

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Aasif Ganaie

Aasif is a journalist and a news enthusiast based in Jammu & Kashmir. He voyages to explore and uncover the stories that need to be told. With a special focus on data journalism, the journo also writes about happenings, events and everything that matters.

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