THE Kashmir FA continued their historic week of announcing their first ever international friendly by unveiling their new head coach; former Silsden Under-23’s coach Sohail Abbas.

Sohail, who went viral not long ago for being a highly-ranked wheelchair football coach, had the opportunities to meet the likes of Sir Alex Ferguson, Paul Pogba and Petr Cech, gaining national attention. Speaking exclusively to the Bradford T&A about his latest move, Sohail said: “It’s an exciting project. When it was pitched to me at first, it was something I couldn’t really get my head around, because it was international football coming to Bradford and you don’t really expect it. But I met with the guys behind it and they went into more detail and I realised it was a big opportunity, not only for myself but for the players.

“Some of these players have played at amateur level or at semi-pro level and have never really had the opportunities, so the opportunity to play international football local and in the UK, it was something that was really appealing.

“Last time I spoke to you guys I wanted to get to semi-pro and to build a team, and I’d been doing that in Bradford and building an amateur Saturday side. It wasn’t something I really looked into, but when it was put in front of me it was something I couldn’t get my head around, but when I looked into it I realised I had an opportunity here that people would literally bite my hand off for.

“This was something that I probably won’t get offered again, and I’d be working with the best players not just up north but also down south, but to get the opportunity to work with the top, top players. I just really couldn’t say no to this, so I’m happy it was brought to the table.”

Sohail and the Kashmir FA will play their first international friendly on the 29th of August, as the newly formed side welcome the Cargos Islands to the Horsfall Stadium for a 3PM kick-off, with players such as former Bradford (Park Avenue) and Guiseley winger Tabish Hussain likely to feature: “Squad wise I’ll be honest with you, there’s not much to select from. It’s difficult obviously because of the requirements we have to make sure we get the right players.

“Tabish (Hussain) is someone I don’t even have to speak for, he’s already known to everyone up north and in Yorkshire. Tabish is probably one of the hottest prospects to come out of the UK. It’s good to have him on board, he’s of course a former Pakistan national player and he played in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers, so to get him on board was exactly what we were looking for.”

The Kashmir FA will be representing a large community, something Sohail feels pride in: “Responsibility, like I said with the players, in the Asian community football is something we’ll go see with our uncles and parents but football is not seen as this massive thing, it’s just football. But when it comes to representation we want to bring a different audience in, we want to get the Asian community to come along and to support their own.

“The responsibility is for those who don’t really involve themselves in football, for them to think that these guys are flying the flag for Kashmir, and we don’t want to get too political with the stuff that’s happening but our plan is to make people proud, to make the Kashmiri people proud and to try bring the people of Kashmir, from China, India and Pakistan all together in sport.”