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Next big thing in football in J&K or Prey to Land Grabbers?

Monitor News Bureau

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Google Ushkura and the top three search hitsareUshkura branch J&K Bank, Beacon HouseUshkura School and Ushkura monastery.Historically,Ushkurais the ancient city of Hushkapura founded by the Kushanking Huvishka, who succeeded Kanishka. In present times, this part of the Baramulla townmay not hold any recognition, yet it is a much talked about place among the football fraternity – reasonbeing the eagerly awaited state-of-the-art residential football academy planned to be developed by the prestigious J&K State Power Development Corporation (JKSPDC).
JKSPDC, a wholly-owned state PSU of the Government of J&K,besides committed to green energy generation in the state of Jammu and Kashmir is proactive in discharging its Corporate Social Responsibility. Within the ambit of its CSR activities, development of sports infrastructure and grooming of the sporting talent in the state is taken as a priority activity.
Football being a very popular sport in J&K, an initiative to promote this sport was taken by JKSPDC by establishing its official football team in the year2011 in consultation with the J&K Football Association. Systematic approach to team building including a transparent selection process paid quick dividends by winning the Senior Division League tournament conducted by J&K Football Association in the first year of its establishment. This was followed by other major wins including Christmas Gold Cup in Jammu (2012). After a short suspension period, the official football team is up and running again and recently in November, 2017, has emerged as the 2nd runner up in the coveted Police Martyrs tournament organized by the J&K Police.
Apart from running its official football team, JKSPDC has focused on the larger goal of reinstating the past glory of the state as a powerhouse of football by grooming the local talent through a well-structured residential training programme.Accordingly, an ambitious plan of establishing an international standard residential academy with the intake capacity of around 50 resident players was chalked, which was given the nod by the then government in 2013. Theproposed academy envisaged cateringnot only to the state but the whole northern region of the country.
THE ACADEMY
Location – Land being an integral part of the infrastructure project with huge cost implications in present time, it was quite easy for JKSPDC to give shape to the idea due to availability of existing infrastructure at Ushkara, Baramulla comprising of adequate open area and a large number of buildings. Besides, the site was thought to be ideally located for a football academy being in the close proximity of the Baramulla town (behind St. Joseph High School) at a distance of less than 300 mts from National Highway. Originally,the site was a residential complex for the engineers and other staff involved in the construction of 105 MW LJHP, which was commissioned in late 70’s. With the successful commissioning of the LJHP in late 70s, the residential buildings felt vacant, and simultaneously the site felt prey to the neighbouring land encroachers, During the break down of law and order of the state, this colony was occupied mostly by unauthorized elements which became a source of great resentment in the area adjoining the colony. It was with great difficulty that JKSPDC could get the colony evicted from these elements for the proposed football academy.
Cost – As per the project DPR (Detailed Project Report), theestimated cost of the project is Rs. 10.37 crore.
Completion Time – It was scheduled to be completed within a span of 2 years starting 2013-14 as per the original timelines set up in the DPR.
FACILITIES:
Football field:The academy will have an international size football ground with (115mx75m) playing area and minimum 1 m safety area on all sides for the players. The field will be provided turf with natural grass as per the guidelines .The entire field will be provided camber to facilitate natural drainage on all sides. The playing field area will be secured by chain link fencing on all sides. Surface drain will run all along the periphery of the field to cater the natural drain water of the field which will be connected with the main drain for its disposal to keep the ground clear from any water logging. The field will be provided with areas for fourth referee and technical areas on both sides of the fourth referee as per the guidelines of the sports authorities. Modern techniques for irrigation and other maintenance requirements of the field will also be in place.
Futsal fields–Futsal being a proven skill honing game which increases technical and tactical speed, the main football field will be supplemented by two number futsal fields on its northern and the western sides.
Pavilion block:The academy will have a double storied building (pavilion building) on the eastern side of the football field. The building is sufficiently distant from the fencing of the football field. The ground floor of the building will have two change rooms for the match playing teams with seating facilities, space for massage areas and separate wash rooms. It will also have space for change room of the referees. The first floor will accommodate seating area for VIP’s and media gallery for watching the games.
Multipurpose block: A three-story building is proposed to be constructed on the western side pavilion block. The ground floor of building will have dining hall for the players along with kitchen storage area.
Gymnasium: A gymnasium and recreation area will also be part of the multi-purpose block. The gymnasium will be equipped with all modern facilities for fitness training of the residents. The 1stand 2nd floor will be used by players for boarding. Dormitory accommodation is provided in the plan for the players in these floors with combined bathroom blocks.
Swimming Pool:The academy will have a swimming pool on the western side of the football field adjacent to the futsal field is also planned to be set-up for the resident trainees.
No doubt that the proposed academy will usher in a new era of modern footballing setup in the state, critical analysis of the proposal at the nascent stage assumes much importance. While the idea is noble, the execution has hardly complemented it. The academy was given the nod in 2013, but like all other state projects, this projects has also gone to the dogs. For one reason of the other, the project has failed to pick up despite grand inauguration by the then Chief Minister in September 2013.Moreover, authorities have failed to uphold the sanctity of the commitments of the CM of the state.

This academy would become a real success if the design is developed by an international level consultant. Since residential academy is still an alien concept in the country, international expertise from the design stage would only augment the purpose of establishment of the academy, albeit at an incremental cost. Down the timeline, Ushkura colony may or may not have become football academy, but let it not be prey to land grabbers and unwanted elements!
Views are author’s personal. Can be reached at [email protected]

 
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Ganguly backs Dhawan to shine at ICC World Cup

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Mumbai:There is not a bowler in the world that can stop Shikhar Dhawan when the opener is in determined mood and the left-hander will be crucial to Indias hopes at this years Cricket World Cup, former captain Sourav Ganguly has said.

Dhawan smashed 97 not out off 63 balls in Delhi Capitalsseven-wicket victory against Kolkata Knight Riders in Fridays Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at Eden Gardens, much to the delight of Ganguly, an advisor to the Capitals.

Captain Virat Kohli and his deputy Rohit Sharma are India`s batting mainstays in one-day cricket but Ganguly puts Dhawan, who has 16 centuries from 128 ODIs with a 93-plus strike rate, in the same league.

 

“The three best players in one-day cricket — Dhawan, Rohit, Virat,” Ganguly told the IPL website. “When he (Dhawan) gets set and gets in he`s unstoppable.

“All I expect from him is determination. When he is determined, no bowler in the world can stop him.”

Dhawan`s second fifty of this IPL season, which catapulted Delhi into the top four, augurs well for India ahead of the May 30 to July 14 World Cup in England and Wales.

Along with opening partner Rohit, the onus will be on Dhawan to give India strong starts in the tournament and the southpaw has performed well on English soil.

Named man of the series in their triumphant 2013 Champions Trophy campaign, Dhawan was also the tournament`s leading scorer four years later when India lost in the final to Pakistan.

“If he gets set, he takes the game away. This is how he plays for India,” Ganguly, who led India to the final of the 2003 World Cup, later told reporters. “He`s a class act.”

Two-time champions India begin their World Cup campaign against South Africa in Southampton on June 5.

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Olympique Lyon’s Champions League spot under threat after Nantes defeat

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London: Olympique Lyonnais` Champions League qualifying hopes were hit as they were beaten 2-1 at Nantes in Ligue 1.

Third-placed Lyon, who hold the final Champions League qualifying spot, were undone by Anthony Limbombes late free-kick after Martin Terrier had cancelled out Kalifa Coulibalys opener for Nantes.

Lyon are on 56 points with six games left, six ahead of fourth-placed St Etienne, who play their game in hand at home against Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.

 

It was Lyon`s third straight defeat in all competitions after they were knocked out of the French Cup semi-finals by Stade Rennes and lost at home to lowly Dijon in the league last weekend.

The result leaves an even bigger question mark over coach Bruno Genesio`s future, with the club set to make a decision on whether to extend his contract at the end of the season.

With Nabil Fekir, Memphis Depay and Marcelo on the bench, Lyon got off to a bad start.

Coulibaly opened the scoring in the 11th minute after collecting a though ball from Majeed Waris.

Lyon were shaken by the hosts but weathered the storm and equalised one minute before the interval when Terrier curled a fine shot into the back of the net to finish off a counter-attack.

Limbombe earned Nantes victory seven minutes from fulltime with an inch-perfect free-kick, lifting the Canaries up to 15th in the table on 34 points.

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Defender Gomez sign two-year contract extension in East Bengal

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Mumbai: East Bengal fans will heave a huge sigh of relief after their star defender Borja Gomes decided to sign a contract extension with the club and not follow Jobby Justin to go out. The Kolkata-based club is in the process of becoming a part of the ISL next season with I-League’s future looking bleak.

East Bengal came agonizingly close to lift the I-League title yet again this season before Chennai City FC eventually won it as the Kolkata club finished second.And with I-League looking to either get dissolved or set to get demoted to the second division, it was important for East Bengal to finish high on the table.

However, that wasn’t enough for the club to retain their star striker Jobby Justin, who signed a pre-contract with two-time ISL champions ATK just after the I-League ended and the Super Cup was in its quarter-final stage. But, the club was quick to react after that setback and on Friday handed a two-year contract extension to Spanish defender Borja Gomez.

 

“East Bengal FC are pleased to announce the renewal of contract with Borja Gomez Perez for the next two seasons,” the club said in a statement.

“According to him, this is the best team and ‘fans are the best in India’,” the statement added.

The Madrid-born La-Liga star, who is nick-named as the ‘Senapati’, was one of the key members for the club last season and has been a motivator for the team both on and off the field. Gomez has previously played for Granada CF, Real Oviedo, Hercules CF, Real Murcia and more before East Bengal had signed him from UD Sanse in January last year.

East Bengal has already announced their bid for ISL in a board meeting and are currently waiting for the terms to get financially acceptable.

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