In flood-lit stadiums, this ‘conflict’ leaves thousands of Kashmiris hopeful for a better tomorrow
Two teams. A well-lit stadium. Over 30,000 people cheering. A rare sight in conflict-ridden Kashmir. Bandipora felt alive at an hour its people prefer to remain indoors.
A football match that created a buzz across Kashmir. It was the Valley’s first ever night football match, played on August 23 in Bandipora. Thousands of people came out — a sign of a successful social media campaign — to watch Srinagar against Sopore. And yet, no one seemed to have a favourite. Whoever played well found enthusiastic support from the spectators.
The two-hour spectacle started around 7:30 pm to much fanfare. But the three young boys who looked the happiest in that flood-lit stadium were Ubaid Sofi, Mir Wajid and Azhar Ali. It was this trio which first thought of having a night match of football in the Valley.
Ubaid Sofi, 22, said, “I studied outside Kashmir. I have seen closely how people enjoy the nightlife outside Kashmir, which Kashmiris stand deprived of. Besides, I wanted to see Bandipora making positive news. So, we started to give shape to the idea, with whatever little pocket money we had. Bandipora had never seen such a thing before, but it was happening right in front of …read more