Baramulla, July 17 (IANS) The garrison town of Baramulla, which has been in news for all the wrong reasons in recent years, Tuesday came alive cheering a Jammu and Kashmir football team in a goodwill match against the once-famed Kolkata's Mohammedan Sporting.
Over 10,000 football lovers watched the home team win the exciting match by a solitary goal at the Prof. Showkat Ali Stadium in this north Kashmir town.
The enthusiasm among the local youth and as well as old-timers was at its peak when the J&K XI attacked the Sporting goal and every move and shot was loudly cheered.
In the first half of the game, the J&K XI appeared to be battling hard to keep the ball out of their half as the Sporting players mounted pressure through their all out effort to score against the local team that had defeated the visitors in Srinagar's Bakshi Stadium Sunday.
In the second half of the match, exactly two minutes before the final whistle, J&K XI's Ishfaq, wearing number eleven jersey took the opponent's goalkeeper by surprise, shooting from just outside the penalty area.
As Ishfaq netted the ball, the crowd at the stadium went into raptures. Although Sporting tried their best, the equalizer did not come as the referee blew the final whistle.
Violent mobs attacking security forces with stones, mobs resorting to arson and blockade of the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway, has been the story of this town for years.
It is probably for the first time since separatist violence started here in early 1990s that this town has seen so many smiling faces of youth cheering and jeering for all the right reasons.
Sports has finally done something for the town that politicians have failed do many for years, bringing back the cheer and thrill to the hearts of the local youth.