Salim Mushtaq: A Rising Star Ready to Break Through

Salim Mushtaq - Promising player from Kashmir

Kashmir is a place which always amazes us. The lush green valleys, the mountain of snow, and the people, each aspect of Kashmir is beautiful.  The heaven on the earth is also one of the places where football has gained much momentum in the past decade. Kashmiri and Indian football fans of yester generation still remember the legend of Abdul Majeed Kakroo who played for Kolkata giants East Bengal and Mohun Bagan and became the first player from Kashmir to captain the Indian National team. He was the man who made the people of Kashmir fall in love with football in the 1980s. Fast forward to 2024, another player from the same area is working hard to make it big in the Indian football scene and this article is all about him.

Salim Mushtaq, a 19-year-old centre-back, has vast experience for his age in Indian youth football. The man from Srinagar started his journey in football at the age of 7 when he joined Universal Football Academy (UFA). He spent 3 years at UFA and learned the basics of the game. He then joined Lone Star FC after attending the trials and subsequently gave trials for Minerva Punjab FC. The U13 Youth League title was added to his portfolio during the 2 years he spent with the Minvera Punjab team.

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Mehrajuddin Wadoo is my idol in football. He is also from Kasmir and I am also a defender like him. He had decent stints with various ISL clubs and I want to impress the audience and football pundits like he did,” Salim said.

Salim can play as a centre back and left back, and he is comfortable with keeping the ball on the feet. The ability to contribute in attack and to unleash scorchers from outside the box makes him a bright talent who can be accommodated in any team.

After the stint with Minerva, I joined ATK Mohun Bagan where I got the opportunity to play in Calcutta Football League and U15 Youth League. However, due to the COVID pandemic, I had to go back to Kasmir after 3 years“, he added.

After returning home, Salim spent a couple of years with the Kashmiri teams. His spell at Real Kasmir and Sports Council Football Academy gave him the opportunity to play in the J&K Premier Football League, Srinagar League, and Police tournaments. Out of the three-youth leagues conducted so far in Jammu and Kashmir, his team won all three of them.

My agent, who is also my friend, informed me about the Empire FC. I had a chat with the owner of the team and I decided to move to this club.

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Empire FC, under Salim’s leadership, reached the quarter-finals of the BDFA C Division last season. While playing for Empire FC, the Sporting Goa team came to Bengaluru to play the I-League 2.  Then he contacted Climax Lawrence, the coach of Sporting Goa, which paved his way to the Goan giants. At present the “The Flaming Orange” team has plenty of center-backs, however, Salim is confident that he can challenge them for a place in the starting XI. He will join the team in August and participate in Goa Pro League followed by the I-League 2. If he can make the most out of the opprtunities provided, he can attract the attention of I-league scouts.

I am ready to work hard so that I can be a regular in the match squad. 3 years down the line, I want to see myself in an ISL club and my name in the national team roaster. Mumbai City and Kerala Blasters are the clubs where I want to play,” Salim concluded.

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