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Kashmiris in Kerala feel nostalgic watching RKFC play

Kozhikode (Kerala): It was the 69th minute of the game on Saturday and the sound of pompoms and drums by Gokulam Kerala FC fans, which had arrived in thousands to support the host team, almost dominated the stadium.

By then, Gokulam Kerala FC had already scored a goal against Real Kashmir, the dream debutantes in the ongoing I-League.

Suddenly on the north of the stadium, a voice echoed: goal ha chui, goal ha chui (there is a goal, there is a goal).

In a crowd of over 13000 football fans, Yawar Ubaid’s celebration stood out as Real Kashmir FC’s midfielder Surchandra Singh scored the all-important equalizer as the game ended in a draw.

Ubaid, a businessman dealing with handicrafts and other traditional Kashmiri handmade goods in Kerala, had travelled around 70 kilometers to Kozhikode to watch his team play.

“There can be no happiness than watching my home team playing here and then entirely dominating the opponent. I feel like I am in home today,” he said, while displaying a victory sign to the players.

Ubaid, who describes himself as a ‘football freak’, said he is a passionate follower of Real Kashmir FC.

“Unfortunately, I could not watch them play at home as my work never allows me to visit the valley during winters,” he said.

Ubaid had closed his shopping outlet for a day to cheer for his native team.

“My family members are also somewhere in the stadium. RKFC has a huge fan base here and many were sorry for not making it to the game today. Even some who do business in Chennai are eagerly waiting for the upcoming match,” he said.

Shakir Ahmad, a Baramulla boy, who works as a salesman in Kerala had also skipped his day’s work to watch the RKFC’s game against Gokulam FC.

“Danish (Real Kashmir striker) is a household name here as well. I read about the club from newspapers and decided to watch them play here today,” he said.