It was a win-win situation for the team and for the coach. While Real Kashmir FC became the first club in the Valley to enter the I-League in May, job offers for coaches are rather heavy and fast.
The Srinagar-based club was created by two friends – Sandeep Chatto and Shamim Meraj – to help the community recover from the devastating floods of 2014.
"For me, loyalty is everything – I'm here for the cause – for Kashmir, but beware, it's not just the team that's benefiting, but when I joined the I-League, I received four offers It's both ways of doing this. "
"This team, its players, its owners are very important to me, I'm always there for this team, of course, the day I feel like I'm not the best person for the job … I'll be there first person to call it quits, "said Robertson, who had been found at a fairly famous Scottish man, Sir Alex Freguson, who had played for the Rangers and Aberdeen.
Robertson, with his frowning face and muscular physique, is certainly not the friendliest person to question.
However, it is only until you can not talk to him. Make a perception that, in a jiffy, can also turn badly. And who knows it better than Robertson himself?
He wanted to leave Kashmir as soon as he arrived here for the first time.
"I had never been to India, let alone Kashmir, and I thought Kashmir was hot, like the rest of India, but to my shock, when I was reached the airport here, there was snow in the winter. "
"Power outage, no internet … I was ready to leave." But then, the club owner persuaded me to stay and now I'm so happy that he l & rsquo; Did it, "he said.
Robertson, who worked in China and Uganda before, was in New York when an agent put him in touch with Meraj – the co-owner – and even before he knew he was in Kashmir.
Last year, when asked to sign the agreement, the coach admitted that there was a lingering apprehension at home about Kashmir that did not exist. was not the safest place.
But at the time, Robertson considered this place as "as safe as any other country in the world".
"Kashmir is much safer, in fact, it is safer than many places in the world.Of course, if you are in the wrong place, you will have problems … and this is true for so many places, be it Phoenix, Glasgow.
"The trick is to exercise good judgment and you will have no problem here," he said, adding that, had there been "security problems", he would not have called his Mason son of Scotland to play for the club here.
The 23-year-old midfielder had left Peterhead and joined the club for a full-time contract.
"I could see myself in him when he landed here for the first time – it was different for him as he had entered a movie set.
"However, the players here have put it at ease." And that was the only concern I had then, I did not want anyone to think that because it was is my son, he is here and that there is favoritism.If he is good, he will do it, "he said, referring to the day when his son joined the club.
Soon, my wife and daughter will also come to the valley, and this will be the first time too, he added.
But to be fair, adapting to the Indian way of life takes time. This is even more true when you are in Kashmir, and that list includes creating an appetite for the very alluring "Wazwan". and to endure the Indian "bad weather"
"Here the weather is horrible and I tell everyone, they pray five times a day, whatever it is, it's something that I understood and respected."
"But then there are so many excuses … A player was not able to train on time because his bike was punctured." Now, this thing has happened four times. Yes, for proof, he would send me a picture of the flat tire – just that it was the same picture every time, "he said, barely able to control his laughter.
That said, the players also had complaints against the coach – and if they said it jokingly.
While veteran midfielder Khalid Qayoom was asked to make an almost impossible sacrifice of the irresistible "white meat balls" (Gushtaba) for football, Farooq's Danish said the coach, who knows little or no Hindi language, has somehow chosen Hindi abuses and uses them against them during the training.
"Wow woh bowl of hain by unhe matlab kisi ka nahi pata (yes, he is abusing.But he does not know the meaning of any of them)," said Danish smiling, in his feeble attempt to repair the damage already done on his part.
But giving tough competition to the coach's poor Hindi was one of the English imperfect, if not more, of the local player, and senior player Shah Nawaz Bashir could not help but recount such a fun conversation when someone else was in trouble. one asked for communication between the coach and the players.
"There is a player – I can not name – who is not very good at English Once after the match, the coach called him to say," You really dribble well. Continue like this for the next matches. "
"Now, unable to queues and queues, he came to me and asked me:" Bashir bhai, know me it burna khela tha? "(Brother, am I? have I really played so badly?), "he said, assuring this correspondent that he finally conveyed common sense.
Last check, the coach really works a lot on his hindi. New words recently added to the vocabulary include: Paneer (cheese) and Alloo (Potato).
As long as it does not spoil the winning recipe of the team, we will not see anyone complaining, let alone the inhabitants of the Valley.
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