Exclusive Interview with KNFC Coach Salim Khan on their recent success

Founded in 2013 by Salim Khan, KNFC (Kapadia Nagar Football Club) has cemented their place in the fraternity of Mumbai Football, setting an example of how a new and rookie club must approach the modern football in the city of dreams. The ongoing MDFA (Mumbai District Football Association) 2017-18 season witness both the KNFC clubs – KNFC (Naseeb) and KNFC (Kapadia Nagar) securing a promotion into the First Division and Second Division, respectively.

KNFC Founder and Coach Salim Khan

KNFC Founder and Coach Salim Khan

All the hard work and dedication which started five years ago have reaped the rewards this season. Footballcounter spoke exclusively to Founder and Coach Salim Khan regarding their recent success where he discussed the structure and philosophy of the club and most importantly, the motivation behind all the young players at the helm in the club.

“Before the start of the season, I expected my Second Division team to reach the qualifications (playoffs), whereas, in the Third Division, I was hopeful that my team will learn and gain from the exposure they were getting,” said Coach Salim Khan when asked about the expectations before the season got underway.

Both the KNFC teams are filled with young players. With such an inexperienced team, KNFC still managed to gain promotion which is quite astonishing. The players seemed motivated throughout the season which did the trick for Salim Khan’s team. “My players are very passionate about football. Winning or losing is not really a factor when it comes to matches. We just try to give our best and enjoy the thrill of it while we can,” the Coach added.

KNFC - Third Division team

KNFC – Third Division team

KNFC suffered various setbacks throughout the 2017-18 campaign. Coach Salim felt delighted that the players showed courage and dedication which helped them pass all the hurdles. “When you look at that we were against a group of death, injuries, inexperience, lack of resources and examinations, we decided to take it match by match. And for what we have achieved, I couldn’t have asked for more from my players, many of them juggle jobs and belong from tough backgrounds. I owe immense gratitude to their dedication, support of their parents and our many many well-wishers. Our will to not give up has been our main asset.”

Regarding KNFC’s long-term project, Coach Salim said: “Our motto says, ‘Soar high’ for a reason. We aim to reach the top level and believe in actual work. We hold practice sessions four times a week and make sure that the players do not lose their touch by any means in their training. We have started training U-12 and U-14 students who have a desire to play football. Next season we’re planning to start a baby league to train students who are newbies.”

“In addition to that, we’re scouting slums and low-income housing society where there is talent but they have no platform to showcase it. Since we have a no-fees regime going on for the last five years, it would be very helpful to these aspiring players,” Salim Khan added.

Coach Salim concluded the interview after discussing the immense growth of football in Mumbai and what further initiatives must be taken to ensure more improvement: “Yes, there has been growth in the recent years but that shouldn’t necessarily mean that no further steps are to be taken. People who are not able to afford such training and nurturing, and have a certain urge to play, should be helped. More grounds and training facilities should be made and other such steps to promote the prevalence of football in Mumbai.”