Agence India Press
Srinagar: Younis narrates his story for the first time before someone. But he looks relieved as he speaks. The senses of comfort were understandable.
Younis Rafiq, 18, has been playing for three years in International Sports Academy Trust (ISAT). He began planning a football career at seven. From his childhood days, Younis used to watch the games of his father in the playgrounds. “My father was playing for State Road Transport Co-operation (SRTC). I grew up practicing with him,” recounts Younis.
At least son of a driver can dream a big. There is no hurdle of dreaming a professional footballer. “I wish I play for a big club like Barcelona, Real Madrid and Liverpool.” From his very young age his is representing a club. Younis is the captain of ISAT Gopalpora. Gopalpora, a hamlet of Budgam district of Kashmir, east of Srinagar city. Younis’s family migrated ten years before from Maisuma, Lal chowk, to the place.
He has played inter district tournaments from Wathora and Jawahar Nagar higher secondary. Last year in April he played in Hyderabad for junior Hydra Club. He has been awarded best player of the tournament in 2009 in Ganderbal. “We reached to final but lost to Ganderbal,” Younis sighs deep and Continues, at the same time, the best player award proved a morale booster for me,” says proudly.
Younis the younger of his other two siblings. His elder brother is working as a salesman in Rajbagh help his father to earn for family. The family is very supportive for Younis. They want Younis to excel in this field, encouraging at every step of his decision to achieve his desired goals. “My parents have provided me a bike, so that I can reach on time on practice or matches,” Says Younis.
During his childhood there were limited sources for people in Kashmir, so had he. “When I was a child we would have single football,” recalls Younis. “Coach has provided us more than 25 balls to play and practice,” Says and points towards his coach.
For him Coach Juan Marcos is more than anybody else. “Coach is like our father in a bigger family, I love coach,” he told to Agence India Press, appreciatively and smiles.
Sitting on the ground stands looking at the playground, where other boys are practicing. His heart and soul is in the ground, shows his passion about the game and love for the sport. “I want to play for my club, my motherland Kashmir,” says Younis in a confident voice while kissing his club’s logo.
Wearing yellow uniform (upper) with a jersey number nine less than one of ten, which is of his favourite player’s jersey number Lionel Messi of Barcelona—a Spanish soccer club. But he wants to play with the same number proved as lucky for him. He is playing as a striker in the team of ISAT. He also wants to strike for his club, family, nation and for his luck also. “You have to be ready for your nation, serve for the same whenever needed, luck will favour you accordingly,” he adds enthusiastically.
Unemployment is the main problem that haunts Kashmiri youth, according to Younis. But for him it is matter of fate. He shares his future plans in a different way, “Look if I have to choose my carrier option, I will go for football.” But at the same time, he emphasizes that education should be acquired to get the full benefits of any sport or game. “Education is must for understanding sports spirit. It can lead to successful paths,” he says encouragingly.
Recently during practice he got injured and lost his consciousness. He was taken to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh Hospital (SMHS) hospital and then referred to Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of medical sciences (SKIMS), where he was admitted for one night. “I jumped to do a header but another boy also jumped to head the ball. His head hit back side of my head and I lost consciousness, I know nothing after that,” Younis explains. Passion to play football didn’t die, instead grew more in his heart after the incident. “I came up with more dedication and strength as my parents supported and advised me to take full rest to play better football.”
Younis is thankful to God for having kind parents while gazes towards the sky. (AIP NEWS)
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