It’s an extraordinary tale of football which is taking shape in the valley. A tale that will be told to every kid about how football united the valley together in between curfews and strikes.
Now there’s a ray of light(beaconing hope) of football and the dream is developing in the eyes of every kid in the valley to one day become a footballer and represent the region more broadly our vast and beautiful country.
One kid who is on a mission to represent his country will be Danish Farooq an attacking midfielder who is striving under the tutelage of Real Kashmir Coach David Robertson. Danish is an idol a hero back in the valley who is an inspiration to young local kids playing in the streets and coming through the academy of Real Kashmir.
Real Kashmir’s project is going strength to strength with each passing season their recruitment has been spot on in every department either its players, coaches, or member staff.
Their Chairman Sandeep Chatto is anchoring everything perfectly with David Robertson’s vision. Their home turf is a natural beauty. It’s a wonderful experience watching matches from those Cottage type Stands. (of course, all that will be missed).
So, David Robertson prefers a possession-based fluid productive style of play that flourishes upon transition counter-attacks. The Snow Leopards rely heavily on Mason Robertson to either make those darting runs from the Centre-Back positions and cause menace with his towering headers also his special set-piece ability. You would often see layoffs to the winger and some overlapping center back plays.
Last Season they missed that deadly striker who can create a menace of himself in the opposition box and finish chances(last Season Robin Singh literally missed some sitters). But this Season they have rectified that mistake by bringing striker Aser Dipanda from Round glass Punjab FC.
Notable Transfers made by Real Kashmir :
The Snow Leopards have done some decent business ahead of the upcoming season this is evident after they became IFA Shield Champions.
They brought in pace, power, and experience in the forwarding line by adding Lukman and Aser Dipanda(From Punjab FC) may be one of the most dangerous pairs to face this season. Dicka was the Top-scorer in the I-League last season with 12 goals.
While Lukman has made his statement of being a potent threat by leading the Goal-scoring charts in IFA Shield. They bought two quality keepers in Mithun Samanta(East Bengal) and Anuj Kumar(Hyderabad FC) to contest for NO.1 spot and replace outgoing Phurba Lachenpa to Mumbai City FC. Abash Thapa has been added to the team as a quality left-back. Veteran Afghani Centre-Back Zohib Amiri and Pawan Kumar(Northeast United) are also signed to provide solidity at the back.
Bazie Armand’s departure will leave big gaps in the field. Scottish winger Kallum Higginbottom, Loveday, Aaron Katebe, Gnohre Krizo have been released to implement the new AIFF ruling(3+1) i.e 3 foreigners+1 Asian registered Player, and also to Balance their books in this ongoing Pandemic. Another Notable Outgoing that will be missed is a talented winger in Ritwik Kumar Das who left for Kerala Blasters.
Real Kashmir FC Full Squad:
Goal-Keepers:- Mithun Samanta, Anuj Kumar .
Defenders:- Mason Robertson, Zohib Amiri, Pawan Kumar, Abhash Thapa, Sena Ralte, Arun Nagial, Dharmaraj Ravanan, Shahid Nazir.
Mid-fielders:-Chesterpoul Lyngdoh, Farhan Ganai, Khalid Qayoom, Pritesh Shirodkar, Samuel James Lyngdoh, Shakir Ahmad Sheikh, Adnan Ayoub.
Forwards:- Aser Dipanda Dicka, Danish Farooq, Lukman Adefemi.
New signing Lukman was the top scorer of the IFA Shield tournament. it’s highly likely the pacey Nigerian striker will take this rich vein of form into I-League this season. The combo of Lukman and Dipanda can cause utter havoc in I-League defenses.
Apart from strikers, Danish Farooq will provide creativity and grit in attacking-mid(Sometimes he becomes Bruno Fernandes So do check it out). I believe the centre-back pairing of Zohib Amiri and Mason Robertson will keep things tight at back and also pop a goal on the other end at the set pieces(As we have already witnessed from Mason Robertson in previous seasons).
Mason Robertson scored 10 goals and 3 assists in 31 I-League matches for the Leopards. this tells you how potent he is at scoring goals even though he plays centre-back.
Season Prediction – Champions
Some Eyebrows will be raised towards me asking How?. My answer to all is just one word that’s their Coach David Robertson. Last Season they finished 4th thanks to the poor finishing of Robin Singh otherwise they will be 2nd.
They have one of the settled squads ahead of season Key players like Mason Robertson and Danish Farooq are kept hold of despite interests from ISL clubs.
They will be brimming with confidence after winning the IFA Shield which makes them favorites to win the I-League this season. Also if we observe carefully Sudeva Moonlight, Mohammedan SC are new to the league so most probably they will falter Churchill Brothers and Gokulam have been raided by Mohammedan So they are weak.
Aizwal, Neroca, TRAU are financially weak in Pandemic so we are left Chennai City FC and Punjab FC to compete with the Snow Leopards for the Title.
Although their squad is very thin few injuries could crumble their season but if they go through a season without injuries then they are there to compete at the very top and may even win the Championship.
It’s my heartiest request for you to follow Real Kashmir and Support them fully ahead of the new season In a few years’ time we will hopefully be cherishing them at the big ISL stage.
The Snow Leopards will face Tiddim Road Athletic Union(TRAU) on 10th January at 4:00 PM (IST) in their opening I-League Fixture telecasted live on 1sports.
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