Far away from home, Real Kashmir players focus on Durand opener

Real Kashmir FC's players and support staff try to settle down in their new assignment when they take on Chennai City FC in its opening group 'C' match at Kalyani Stadium on Wednesday.

Real Kashmir players arrived in separate batches from Srinagar for their opening game in Durand Cup.   -  PTI Photo

Gripped by a sense of anxiety about folks back home, the Real Kashmir FC’s players and support staff tried to settle down in their new assignment more than 2300 kms away.

Here to play the Durand Cup, the Real Kashmir players arrived in separate batches in the last couple of days as travelling out of Srinagar became difficult owing to security situation in the Kashmir valley.

The last batch of players and support staff reached late on Monday evening after one of the owners of the team, Sandeep Chattoo, activated all the resources in his command to organise a safe transit of the players. The reception at the city by the organisers was warm and cordial, and that helped the team weather the difficulties they had to face in assembling at the Srinagar airport from their respective homes. Some of the players started a day early to be able to reach the airport on time to catch the flight.

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“We had to face some hardships and difficulties which happen when you have such extraordinary situation. But the players showed the right attitude and we could bring the full team that we had planned to bring. We are now focusing on the tournament,” Chattoo said.

“Yes we are worried about our families as we could not contact them. But we are professional footballers and are now focusing on our next game,” said Danish Farooq, the star midfielder of the team, as Real Kashmir takes on Chennai City FC in its opening group 'C' match at Kalyani Stadium on Wednesday.

Like Chattoo and Farooq, head coach David Robertson also sought to focus on the team’s immediate assignment. “I do not have any issue with the happenings and that is the reason why I also got my son (Mason) here. We are now focusing on getting back in shape as we did not have any pre-season training.”

“Though we have beaten them (Chennai City FC) last season but it is early in the season and we will try our best to seal a win,” he said.