New Delhi [India], November 11 (ANI): Ever since their promotion to the I-League in 2018, Real Kashmir FC have emerged as a major force to be reckoned with in Indian football.
The key reason behind this is the ardent football fans of the club. In the last few months amid COVID-19 outbreak, the Snow Leopards have strengthened their fan connection with an extensive outreach programme that covered numerous parts of the region.
According to club chairman Sandeep Chattoo, a key objective behind the programme was to go "above and beyond" and reach out to the grassroots levels, and spread the positivity that the club has generated in the area.
"With the club being here for four years now I realized that we need to go above and beyond what we are already doing. At the Hero I-League level, people love to watch the team. It is a form of entertainment and thus, we made sure that the outreach programme has to go to the grassroots level with the activities we did," said Chattoo in an AIFF release.
"If we could bring so much positivity out of the club from Srinagar, I feel that going to different districts in the interior of Kashmir can also make these places more accessible to people and share the same positive feelings that football brings. All in all, it has been a fantastic experience," he added.
The outreach programme was started in July this year with the aim of reaching out to all districts in Kashmir in order to attract maximum local youths towards the sport and scout for young talented players as well.
Since July 22, the RKFC Reserve team and youth sides (U-18, U-15 and U-13) have played a combined total of 54 matches -- exhibition and tournament games -- in different parts of the region such as Sopore, Baramulla, Chadoora, Pulwama, Anantnag, Pampore, etc.
"Fortunately the club has done well in the I-League and the people of Kashmir look up to the club as something they own. A large number of boys and girls have been part of the programme and everyone wants to get involved with the team," said Chattoo.
"It is very heartening. By going to the local level -- the idea was to extend our roots into numerous areas so that the club will have a base everywhere and potential talent in every village and district can be tapped," the club chairman added.
A key aspect of the initiative has been the club's #ShePower programme, started in order to promote women's football, which featured the launch of the club's U-14 women's team in September -- with over 60 girls taking part in the trials on the first day.
RKFC also plan to launch U-18 and U-10 age-group teams for women in the future. (ANI)