DK Pharma follows JMJ SC to the Super Division – A story of two unique sides

DK Pharma

Last season, JMJ SC achieved a milestone after gaining back-to-back promotion to book their berth in the MDFA First Division. Just a couple of weeks back, JMJ was crowned as the First Division Champions after defeating DK Pharma in the play-off final. Astonishingly, DK Pharma has taken a leaf out of JMJ’s book, a similar pathway which has been followed by JMJ.

Both the sides have now promoted to the MDFA Super Division, continuing an enthralling journey towards the top-flight of Mumbai Football. For JMJ, it was a third straight promotion, whereas, DK Pharma’s five-year wait is finally over following a staggering 2018-19 campaign.

DK Pharma was founded in 2000 by Rakesh Bakshi when they started their journey in the back-then lowest tier of Mumbai Football – MDFA 4th Division. As the years went passing by, DK Pharma made it to the First Division by 2014. With Football becoming popular among the young generation, the number of clubs in Mumbai increased drastically.

The league became competitive where gaining promotion to the upper divisions seemed like a huge achievement. Several clubs shut their doors in the process, citing the difficulty to sustain and dedicate their time to the football club. DK Pharma, on the other hand, had patience. For the first time since their foundation, they made it to quarters this season where they finished as the runners-up.

Their journey included a 4-1 win against Rhino, 7-1 win against I.C United, and a 3-0 win against Dadar XI and Blitzkriez. Their best performance came when it mattered the most. In the semi-final against YMCA, Pharma registered a whopping 6-1 win. It was their second biggest win of the season but none of the spectators expected such a demolition considering the score tied 1-1 at the half-time break.

Captain Omkar Shinde spoke to Footballcounter about the same: “First of all, I would like to thank my Coach (Jagdeep Singh) and Manager (Bhushan Patil) for giving me an opportunity to lead the team and my teammates for supporting me and performing so well that made us qualify for the final stage for the first time in the history of the club.”

Besides qualifying for the final stage of the First Division, DK Pharma also topped their group. The team kept working on their mistakes and rectify all the issues which they suffered at the start of the season. The one thing which remained constant was DK Pharma’s desire and hunger to go all the way. Although they lost the final at the hands of JMJ, it is not the end of a fairy-tale story but it is just the start of a yet another remarkable chapter.

It is quite remarkable that owner Rakesh Bakshi and Coach Jagdeep Singh made necessary arrangements for the club as it is based from Ambernath. For the ones living in Mumbai, as they can relate to it, this is quite extraordinary that the team has to travel far away to play in the MDFA League.

Talking about the struggle, the owner stated: “Availability of youngster’s and their dedication towards the football on a continuous basis was the most struggling part. We overcame this by introducing awards, rewards, and salaries for players in open selection system.”

Sustaining any team in India is itself a big task. Over the years, many sports teams have been started only to get shut a few years later due to the difficulty of sustaining the team. “Sports is not a priority for parents and the youngsters, which cannot be a source of earning a livelihood for player and family. Maintaining a club is not easy without generating funds,” he said.

Speaking about the club and revenue model, Mr. Bakshi said: “Our club is supported by our own manufacturing company and allocated yearly funds to maintain the team. The most important element we have created is our name and place in this game which attracts youngsters. We also support a few of them by giving them employment. We are taking care of the players by covering insurance and medical support which maintains a strong and healthy relationship between the club and players,” he concluded.

Mumbai Football has always thrived on the back of a clubs like JMJ SC and DK Pharma. With two of the most unique sides in the city gearing up for the next season’s Super Divison, one might wonder which club shall follow the same path next season.