Real Kashmir coach waiting for UK govt assistance to be with ailing mother

With commercial international flights suspended, David Robertson, son Mason and wife Kim are waiting on the UK government to employ evacuation measures to take them back home.

David Robertson has faced his fair share of challenges in his three years as head coach of Real Kashmir Football Club, but the latest predicament may be the toughest one yet.   -  Nissar Ahmad

David Robertson has faced his fair share of challenges in his three years as head coach of Real Kashmir Football Club, but the latest predicament may be the toughest one yet.

Having endured the security lockdown and communications blackout imposed in Jammu and Kashmir last year, Robertson is now stranded in a Srinagar hotel on account of the ongoing lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic threat. With commercial international flights suspended, Robertson, son Mason (who plays for Real Kashmir FC) and wife Kim are waiting on the United Kingdom government to employ evacuation measures to take them back home to Scotland.

The Robertson family is particularly worried about David’s mother, who was recently diagnosed with cancer. “My mother, who lives in Aberdeen, just finished her second chemotherapy session. If anything were to happen, it would be just horrible. I want to be close to her - to support her at this tough time. My dad is caring for her, but he is not in the best of health either. My siblings drop off groceries outside their home. It’s a tough situation, all over the world,” David told Sportstar from a Srinagar hotel run by Real Kashmir co-owner Sandeep Chattoo.

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Tougher restrictions

“We’ve contacted the British High Commission in New Delhi to help us return home. It could be a few days, a few weeks - it is a case of sitting and waiting. We also have (English winger) Kallum Higginbotham, four players from Africa and a few U.K. coaching staff with us here in Srinagar. All of us foreigners face a similar situation,” David, a former Rangers FC and Leeds United player, said.

David stated that the latest restrictions have been tougher to handle than the security lockdown and communications blackout. “It is never easy in Jammu and Kashmir. That’s why I keep coming back - there are so many challenges to tackle. Last season was tough (due to the security lockdown and communications blackout), as we did not have internet and could not call home. But at least the team was together, and we could play football," David said.

The 51-year-old is grateful to Chattoo for his support. “Chattoo is staying here with us in the hotel. He is away from his family as well. There are around 20 hotel staff with us here; no one is allowed in and out. We’re all helping each other. There is a lot of responsibility placed on Chattoo. He’s doing everything possible to keep all of us comfortable,” David said.

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