Mumbai: Contradictory to Ishfaq Ahmad’s field of honour, the star Kashmiri soccer player was offered a dance teacher’s job. The Indian professional, who has represented the country for 14 long prosperous years and plays as a winger for the Kerala Blasters in the Indian Super League (ISL) was left stunned when a government job assigned him with teaching- singing and dancing to school students, according to a report in Hindustan Times.
In view of his remarkable contribution and forte, he was quite justifiably entrusted the job of a physical education teacher in December. However, recently he was asked to prepare schools kids for cultural activities for the upcoming Republic Day celebrations. “I am a footballer and they want me to teach cultural activities to school kids and prepare them for Rouf (a traditional Kashmiri dance form)…it is like asking an aeronautical engineer to assemble a cycle,” Ahmad told HT.
“It is an insult that the state doesn’t recognise the talent of its youth,” he added. What made the talented player disheartened was the lack of respect and even ‘humiliations’ which he have received from his own state. “The state could have provided me with a decent job where I would play football as well as train budding youngsters in football… like a coach in the state sports council or training forest department team. But I feel our state representatives have no sense to honour the heroes of the state,” he said.
“I can do a good job of coaching football enthusiasts in clubs outside the state and earn good money. But then my dream of doing something for the state won’t be fulfilled,” Ahmad said. “After playing for so many years, I thought that I will be a role model for the youth of my state. But when they will see me in this position how will they join sports,” Ahmad added.
Phone calls from HT to sports minister Imran Raza Ansari went unanswered. Secretary of the state sports council, Hilal Ahmad Parray, said he would look into the issue of adjusting Ahmad at a place where he would be able to coach youngsters. The 33 year-old, also serves as an assistant coach in the Kerala Blasters. Ahmed is one of two professional footballers, along with Mehrajuddin Wadoo, to come from Jammu & Kashmir. He is among a handful of Kashmiri youth who have succeeded in sports irrespective of the tensions which the state face due to years of militancy and unrest, that have often lead to cut short promising careers.