Real Kashmir is going to be the first team to represent the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the I-League this season. They became the champions of the second division I-League last season. In the eve of the opening match of I-League, we caught up with the star midfielder of Real Kashmir- Nadong Bhutia.
The man from Kalimpong is known for his pace in game and he is also one of the most experienced players in the team. He excerpts with us the story behind his teams long run to this elite stage, the reasons behind the success and also their future plans.
● TalkSports 24X7:This is going to be the first season of Real Kashmir in India’s top flight football. What’s the feeling in the camp?
□ Nadong: We are all very excited to start our new chapter in I-League and hope that we can perform positively by winning matches. We had a fantastic performance previous year that promoted us to this elite level. God always have a plan for everyone and I expect that whenever I get chance to play with the ball I will be happy and will enjoy the game.
● TalkSports 24X7: Being one of the most experienced players in the squad how is the rapport with the young lads?
□ Nadong: We had a bunch of young boys last year even there were local lads from Kashhmir in our team and this year as well we have them so the chemistry has grown much deeper as we continue to play together. The coach wants us all to have the winning mentality and we are on his point. We have no such junior or senior in the team, it’s the experience that differs among us so we share that with everyone in the team and that definitely helps us a lot on and off the field.
● TalkSports 24X7: Previous season Minerva Punjab won the I-League starting as the minnows. Do you think Real Kashmir is a major contender for the league this year?
□ Nadong: Definitely, because nobody knows our team, we are a newly formed team the first team representing whole of Jammu and Kashmir in the I-League with a mission to uplift the football of Kashmir. The management is very professional and we are confident as a team. Our focus is gaining maximum points from the away games and it will turn our home games a bit easier to win.
● TalkSports 24X7:Why the private clubs are performing better than the fan based clubs of India such as East Bengal and Mohun Bagan?
□ Nadong: Firstly it’s the professionalism that they lack, every team has a bad day and a good day but we never get blamed by the coach that because of this player we had a bad day rather he says today the team did not play well so it’s the kind of philosophy that pushes and inspires the players to do well. Secondly, the coach should be the master mind of the team as he knows the team best. We have got a great man as our boss. He has been a legend from Scotland and he has played Champions League so the owner and other officials never interfere or involve in the team as it’s the coach who takes the final decision on the team. This is very important and it definitely creates more chances to win the game, but is missing down there in Kolkata. Finally you should have good grass root program that acts as supply line for the team.
● TalkSports 24X7: What’s your opinion about the youth teams of Real Kashmir?
□ Nadong: AIFF had already mentioned all clubs to maintain grass root programs well and we already have very good grass root level, last year they went to Scotland this year they went to Borussia Dortmund for the grass root camp. So our club’s motive is to build the grass root level for the future upcoming players in Kashmir.
● TalkSports 24X7: What’s your take about the current FIFA ranking of India?
□ Nadong: I think it’s again the grass root program that is leading us front as now India has got a number of good grassroot programs with a lot of talented coaches associated to it. U-17 World Cup 2017 also has acted as a boost as it hascreated an urge in India to do better it has created much more chances. Yesterday Jaden Sancho of England who played here in the U-17 World Cup scored for Dortmund against Atletico Madrid. In our country too Komal Thatal and Dheeraj are doing brilliant jobs in the ISL. Not only the boys, the women team is also performing very well. So I think it’s the well planning and management that is paving the way forward for India towards glory.
● TalkSports 24X7: Will you like to give any message to the fans of Real Kashmir?
□ Nadong: We had an unbeaten run last season as we won all of the 13 matches, so I am positive about the team and we wish to win our first match against Minerva. The fans of Kashmir love football and they have been a constant support to us and wish to win the matches for them. We at RKFC give more than hundred percent for the team and wish our supporters will definitely fill the stand in the home matches. We thank all for their constant love and support and wish we will have more support in the upcoming days.
● Rapid Fire :
○ Favorite International Football Player– Luis Suarez
○ Favorite Indian Football Player- Sunil Chhetri
○ Person you admire to be– My father
● TalkSports 24X7: Thanks Nadong for your time!
□ Nadong: My pleasure!