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Want to have a lot of Kashmiri youth in Real Kashmir FC: Coach Robertson

‘When I first came to Kashmir, there was not much there. But Real Kashmir has given something to the people. Every state needs a club that people follow, and that kids want to play for’.



It was in 2018 that Real Kashmir FC, a football club from the Himalayan region earned a place in the Hero I-League. Since then, the Kashmir based club, also nicknamed as ‘Snow Leopards’, has gone on to take Indian Football forward together in a region where football has “brought people closer”.

The Snow Leopards’ Scottish head coach David Robertson has been with the club since its time in the Hero Second Division League and has been an integral part of the journey that has turned the TRC Ground in Srinagar into a cauldron feared by the opposition. Now in his fourth season at the club, gaffer Robertson feels that he owes it to the people of Kashmir to come back.

“I’ve had a few other offers over the years, but I just feel that I owe it to the people of Kashmir and everyone associated with the club, to come back and continue the work,” Robertson said to i-league.org. “I’m not doing this for the financial gains nor am I using this as a stepping stone. I want to make an impact. Every time I go back home, I look forward to coming back here. I’m glad I did this.”

“When I first came to Kashmir, Lonestar Kashmir was the more popular club and we would attract only around maybe 200 spectators to our games in the Second Division. The spectators were mostly men and it was more of going out in the afternoon to watch a bit of football,” Robertson stated.

“But things started to grow once we made it to the Hero I-League. I remember when I had first taken over back in the Second Division, we barely had any infrastructure and to see the club grow from that to the professional unit that it is now, is immense,” he further stated.

Real Kashmir FC have left such days far behind, attracting thousands to the stands, with queues for the matchday tickets stretching for almost a kilometer.

“Nowadays you can see people from so many walks of life thronging into the stadium. Football has really brought people together,” he continued.

“You not only have men and women, but you also get to see grandparents and grandchildren coming to the stands and it’s amazing how football has brought them all together. It has been nothing short of a fairytale.”

“I’ve played and coached at so many places, but the atmosphere in Kashmir is unique. In places like the USA, it’s more of a case of putting on the jersey and pretending that you support the team,” stated Robertson. “Here in Kashmir, it’s pure passion.”

While the Snow Leopards have certainly left their footprints on the icy peaks of the Himalayas, it has been a bit of a different experience for the Robertson family on the personal front.As the coach himself describes, he had a “comfortable lifestyle” back in the USA with his family, before he decided to take up the job at Real Kashmir in January 2017.

“My wife was initially disgusted at my decision when I decided to leave my comfortable lifestyle behind and hop on a plane to Kashmir. But I think looking back now, everyone realises how big a part of my life this has become to my family and me,” said the Kashmir gaffer.


While the club surges forward, currently taking part in the 2020-21 Hero I-League season, the long-term aim of Real Kashmir remains to bring forth more local players to the fore, and give them a platform to shine.

Robertson believes that such opportunities would also bring hope to the people of Kashmir.

“When I first came to Kashmir, there was not much there. Once you are done with your day’s work, there’s not much to do in the evenings. But Real Kashmir has given something to the people. Every state or two needs a club that people follow, and that kids want to play for,” he said.

“We eventually want to have a lot of Kashmiri youth in the team. Currently, clubs like Aizawl, NEROCA, and TRAU have a lot of local players. That is what we want to do in the long term. It just gives more hope to the people in Kashmir. We’ve seen Danish Farooq grow so much as a crowd-favourite in the last few years. We aim to produce many more Danishes over the years,” said the 52-year-old.

While the current season is being played without any fans in the stands, Robertson feels that the New Normal will increase the appreciation that people have for the beautiful game.

“I’ve noticed this with the players. When they returned to training after 8-9 months away, they all had a smile on their faces. They had a new appreciation for things they were previously taking for granted,” explained Robertson. “I think it will be the same for the fans. Sadly, our fans are not there in the stands but we always play for the people of Kashmir. This club belongs to them. These are difficult times, but once things open up, the fans will also appreciate the game even more.”

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Barca coach Ronald Koeman has said Lionel Messi was like “a tyrant” during training at Barcelona.

The Argentina star raised the bar at the Camp Nou club as he developed into one of the greatest to ever play the game before departing to join Paris Saint-Germain this year. “Lionel Messi has obscured everything. He was so good and he won,” Koeman told Voetbal International, as reported by goal.com.

“Of course he had good players around him, but he made the difference. Everyone seems better than they are because of him. This is not a criticism, but an observation,” said the Barcelona coach.

Koeman, who worked with the Argentina star for a year before Messi left the club for Paris Saint-Germain said, “I knew how good he is, but it’s still nice to see it up close every day. Everything you would like to teach a football player, in recognising situations, in taking the ball under pressure, in ball speed, in finishing; with Messi everything is a 10 Not normal, not normal!

“When we did a finishing practice during training, there were sometimes players who started to hit easy balls, a bit of fooling around. But with Messi everything was: boom, boom, boom, boom. Never frills, everything functional. And always wanted to win everything.”

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Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) captain Eoin Morgan has said that it is really pleasing to finally see his franchise play a ‘fearless brand’ of cricket that is associated with him and head coach Brendon McCullum. Rahul Tripathi and Venkatesh Iyer played knocks of 74 and 53 respectively as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) defeated Mumbai Indians by seven wickets here at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Thursday.

With this win, KKR has risen to the fourth spot in the points table. “It is extremely pleasing. We want the best for everybody in the dressing room, the aggressive cricket that we have shown in the last two games is exactly what suits the talented guys in our changing room. I know some of them might feel alien to take risk after risk, but that is exactly what we want them to do. They are seriously talented, batting and bowling, and we want them to get better,” said Morgan while replying to an ANI query during a virtual post-match press conference.

Before entering this match, KKR had a dismal record against MI, registering just six wins in a total of 28 games, but Iyer and Tripathi helped the franchise turn around their fortunes. “I do not think it is one player (Venkatesh Iyer) that has changed the outlook of the team. The last two games have been, the superstars in our side have been the bowlers. That allowed our opening pair to play their natural game. Venkatesh played an innings against MI that would match a guy who has played 50 IPL games. The freedom in which he has played with has really been imposing. He has continued on with his form, but I do not think it is one player. It has been a collective performance which has been set by our bowlers,” said Morgan.

Earlier, Quinton de Kock’s 55-run knock helped Mumbai Indians post 155/6 against KKR in the allotted twenty overs. For KKR, Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson scalped two wickets each. “I think the quality of our spinners means that they can bowl in conditions that are not friendly to spin bowling. I do not think Abu Dhabi is, the two games we have played here, the ball has not spun much as compared to the last time we played here,” said Morgan.

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Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) opening batsman Venkatesh Iyer has impressed one and all with his hitting ability in the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 season, and he has now revealed that his style is inspired by none other than former India skipper Sourav Ganguly.

Rahul Tripathi and Venkatesh Iyer played knocks of 74 and 53 respectively as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) defeated Mumbai Indians by seven wickets here at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Thursday. With this win, KKR has risen to the fourth spot in the points table while Mumbai Indians has slipped to the sixth position.

“Honestly, KKR was the first franchise I wanted to get in because Sourav Ganguly was the captain initially so I wanted to get into KKR first. Got picked by the franchise so it was a dreamy moment for me. Everyone was very welcoming , I got a lot of gifts. I am a huge fan of Dada, he has got millions of fans around the globe and I am one of them. He has played a huge role in my batting,” Iyer told teammate Rahul Tripathi in a video posted on iplt20.com.“I used to bat right-handed when I was very young but I wanted to exactly replicate Dada, how he hit sixes and the way he batted. He has played a very big role unknowingly in my life. I was really waiting for my opportunity and I knew I am going to get my chance,” he added.

Earlier, Quinton de Kock’s 55-run knock helped Mumbai Indians post 155/6 against KKR in the allotted twenty overs.

For KKR, Prasidh Krishna and Lockie Ferguson scalped two wickets each. KKR will next lock horns against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) on Sunday.

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IPL 2021: With every win, there’s more self-belief, says KKR spinner Sunil Narine



The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) unit is in a great mood after winning both their games in the second leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL). While they thrashed Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore by nine wickets on Monday, the team won by seven wickets on Thursday against Mumbai Indians.In-form spinner Sunil Narine believes the team is in great mood and winning two games at the start of the second leg will help motivate the boys to keep firing on all cylinders in the remaining matches.

“It’s a good mood once you win cricket games, and it’s a perfect start. And can only build from strength to strength. It’s a good motivation, after winning two [games]. And it just sets the tone, and is more or less a confidence booster for the games coming,” he said in a video posted on KKR’s twitter handle.

“With every win, there’s more self-belief. Today was a perfect game after doing well in all departments of the game be it batting, bowling and fielding. It is very good once you do that consistently you’re going to win 90 per cent of the games, and if you continue doing that…build momentum never know what can happen,” he added.

While Narine won the Man of the Match award for figures of 1/20 from his four overs, what made his achievement special was that he picked the all-important wicket of MI skipper Rohit Sharma. Narine said it is always special to dismiss Rohit in any form of cricket. In fact, the West Indies bowler said that good outings in the CPL and The Hundred has helped him stay in momentum for the IPL.

While Narine rose to the challenge with the ball, it was Rahul Tripathi and Venkatesh Iyer who stole the show while chasing MI’s total of 155/6 in their 20 overs. Rahul remained unbeaten on 74 off 42 balls and Iyer hit a 30-ball 53.

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Delhi Capitals pacer Anrich Nortje on Friday said he does not think about bowling fast when he goes out to the park to play for his team. Delhi Capitals is currently at the top spot in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 points table. The side had defeated SunRisers Hyderabad on Wednesday by eight wickets. Nortje had managed to take two wickets in the match, including the scalp of opening batsman David Warner.

But what impressed everyone was the pace he generated. “It is a question I get a lot. It (bowling fast) is not something I think about when I am on the field. Obviously, when you are training and are working on your strength, that is when you think about it. This is what motivates me, when I am on the field, I am just trying to hit the length,” said Nortje while replying to an ANI query during a virtual press conference.

“It is about finding the right lengths, whether it is with the new ball or old ball. Yorkers and bouncers in between, every wicket is a bit different. It all depends on how the wicket is playing. I think it is about trying to adapt every day as quickly as possible. It is just about adapting and finding the right line. It is about taking the pitch out of it,” he added.

When asked about fitness update on Marcus Stoinis, Nortje said: “We are just waiting on some results. He looks good, he is fine. I spoke to him this morning, but we are just waiting for some results. He had gone for a scan.”

Talking about Avesh Khan as a fast bowler, the Proteas pacer said: “There are some of us who have been looking at him on how he has been landing his yorkers. He has been so good for us. It was nice to see him in India on how he landed his yorkers when the pressure was on him. It was nice to see how he has been progressing. I am sure he is holding on to his yorkers for the games where the pressure is on. He has got a bright future ahead of him.”

Delhi Capitals will next square off against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. “Abu Dhabi wicket is a bit on the slower side. We have to be quick to assess. It is not going to be an easy game, heat will be a major factor. Hopefully, we can just control our skills. We need to focus on how we go as a side. We are looking forward to tomorrow,” said Nortje.

When asked about the captaincy of Rishabh Pant, Nortje said: “It is difficult to say after one game. Obviously, just simple things, he is good with angles, really nice to have him as a wicketkeeper and captain.”

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CSK beat RCB by six wickets to make it two wins in a row

After this victory, M.S. Dhoni’s Chennai Super Kings return to the top of the table ahead of Delhi Capitals on net run rate.



Chennai Super Kings (CSK) middle-order delivered after Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis provided a fantastic start with the bat as the team in yellow chased the target of 156 in 18.1 overs, defeating Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 6 wickets in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Friday.

After this victory, CSK returns to the top of the table ahead of Delhi Capitals (DC) on Net Run Rate (NRR). For RCB, things are getting a tad trickier, and they will need to get back to winnings ways soon, as the rest of the pack are catching up on them. For Chennai Super Kings, Ruturaj Gaikwad and Ambati Rayudu scored innings of 38 and 32 respectively. Faf du Plessis also scored crucial innings of 31 while MS Dhoni and Suresh Raina lead the team across the victory line with winning runs. For RCB Harshal Patel scalped two wickets while Yuzvendra Chahal and Glen Maxwell returned with one wicket each.Chasing 156, Chennai had a brilliant start as Ruturaj Gaikwad and Faf du Plessis took apart the RCB bowlers in the first six overs of the match. After the first powerplay, the CSK score read 59/0.

The duo continued with their carnage for a couple more overs as Yuzvendra Chahal provided the RCB with the much-needed breakthrough in the 9th over of the match. Virat Kohli took a sensational catch as Gaikwad walked back after scoring 38 off 26.

In the very next over, spin again did the trick for the team in red as Glen Maxwell removed du Plessis (31 off 26) after the South African found the fielder at short-fine. After losing two quick wickets, Ambati Rayudu and Moeen Ali stabilised CSK’s innings. Harshal Patel struck as Virat Kohli took another catch to dismiss Moeen Ali on 23. The Englishman walked back with CSK needing 39 off 36.

In the 16th over Harshal Patel got another one as he removed dangerous-looking Ambati Rayudu (32 off 22). Rayudu handed a simple catch to AB de Villiers at mid-wicket. MS Dhoni joined Suresh Raina at the crease with CSK needing 24 off 26 with six wickets in hand. In the 17th over, Raina after being held by Wanindu Hasaranga in the first four balls smashed 10 runs in the last two balls to take the momentum towards team in yellow.

In the next over by Mohammed Siraj, Dhoni smashed two fours as CSK then required two runs in the last two overs of the match. CSK then easily scored the remaining runs to steal the two points. Earlier, Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli starred with the bat as Royal Challengers Banglore (RCB) posted the score of 156/6 in their allotted twenty overs.

Devdutt Padikkal and Virat Kohli scored innings of 70 and 53 respectively for Banglore. The duo made a 111-run opening stand. But RCB middle-order failed to gain the benefit from the start provided by the openers. For CSK, Shardul Thakur scalped two wickets while Dwayne Bravo returned with three.Put in to bat first, Virat Kohli and Devdutt Padikkal provided a brilliant start to the RCB. The duo played some stunning shots and powered their team to a strong position in the first six overs. After the end of the first powerplay, the RCB score read 55/0.

The pair continued their carnage after providing a rollicking start to the team in Red. In the 12th over of the innings, Devdutt Padikkal raced towards his half-century. The left-hander brought up his sixth IPL half-century off 35 deliveries.

In the very next over, RCB captain Virat Kohli completed his half-century. Dwayne Bravo got the breakthrough for CSK in 14th over after he removed Kohli for 53 (41 balls).

In the 17th over, Shradul Thakur dismissed AB de Villiers and Padikkal on two consecutive deliveries. Padikkal departed for 70 off 50 while ABD made 12. Tim David’s debut with the bat didn’t last long as Deepak Chahar removed him in the penultimate over of the innings. Chahar just gave four runs and returned with a wicket in the 19th over.

Bravo then removed Maxwell and Harshal Patel in the last over as RCB finished with 156/6 even after such a good start provided by the openers.

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