Football: Kenkre FC upbeat on achieving promotion to I-League

Kenkre FC players during a training session.
Kenkre FC players during a training session.
Hari Kishore M

Kenkre FC, a football club that identifies themselves with giving opportunities to youngsters, have been no different when approaching I-League qualifiers. With big dreams in their eyes, Kenkre FC are keen on approaching the I-League qualifiers with zeal.

Kenkre FC head coach Akhil Kothari told AIFF that it has been a difficult time for the players preparing for the tournament.

“As competitive football has not yet resumed in Mumbai, we visited Hyderabad for a short preparatory camp. We played a couple of practice matches in our build up to the qualifiers. It’s not an ideal situation but our efforts and intentions have always been progressive and positive as a club.”

Kenkre FC was founded in 2000 under the patronage of former national level footballer and coach Adib Kenkre. The community-based club has always had the vision to promote youth and guide players to the pinnacle of the game in India. They will now be looking to establish their presence on the biggest stage as they aim to earn promotion to the I-League.

Read: Chesterpaul and Ryntih FC aiming to get I-League football back in Shillong

With teams competing across India in various age groups, Kenkre FC have now established a team in the Indian Women’s League as well. This has been achieved through organizing tournaments, football festivals, elite youth competitive matches, football clinics and also tournaments for children in various NGOs across the city.

In a squad brimming with talent, Kothari is happy with the options that he has going into the tournament as well. He said:

“Our team, Kenkre FC, comprises a mix of local talent and talents from across the country. We have assembled a talented competitive squad who will aim to leave their mark and showcase themselves in a positive manner.”

Kenkre FC not worried about bubble fatigue

Sports in the time of COVID-19 undergoes a tumultuous process of organizing and maintaining a bio-bubble, in the best interests of players and officials alike. Under strict regulations, the bio-bubble can act as a deterrent at times. Many players cite fatigue of staying inside a bubble for months. The bio-bubble presents its own challenges, but Kenkre FC's coach is not worried about it.

“Sport, in general, teaches you to overcome many challenges in life. The bio-bubble is just another challenge. There is a lot of emphasis on team-building activities as we look forward to having a good I-League Qualifiers 2021 campaign.”

Kenkre FC skipper Yash Mhatre said the mood is buoyant in the team.

“The mood amongst the squad is upbeat and positive. Our squad comprises of young talented players, and they are determined to make the most out of this opportunity.”

Mhatre added that the ambition of Kenkre FC and its players is very clear - to earn promotion to the I-League.

“We have come to compete in the qualifiers with the intention to earn a promotion. Mumbai, despite its huge football fan-base, doesn’t have a team playing in the I-League. We want to make the state of Maharashtra proud and earn promotion, which will inspire budding players from our state to compete at the top level.”

Also read: Indian Women’s football team spruce up for friendly match against United Arab Emirates

Edited by Aditya Singh
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