Srinagar: Brazilian football coach Juan Marcos, who has been coaching Kashmiri players for several years, Thursday expressed happiness over the national award to Ashvin Kumar`s documentary `Inshallah Football` but added that his programme has been facing serious hardships in the Valley.
"I am extremely happy to hear about the award to the director of the documentary, but it does not make much difference to my work in Kashmir as I have been facing serious hardships here," Marcos said.
He said his coaching programme has been banned by the Jammu and Kashmir Football Association, creating a major hurdle to his coaching ambitions in the Valley.
"My aim is only to coach the local boys and exploit their natural talent for the game, but unfortunately this has received a serious setback because of the ban," Marcos said.
Marcos sent six local players for training to Brazilian football coaching academies last year.
"The boys have returned after undergoing training there and obtaining certificates. They are now training others in the academies I have set up in different districts. Everything went well till the local football association wrote to the government to ban my programme. I was told that my programme has been banned because I am a Christian missionary, which is totally wrong," he said.
Marcos had been training local players at the Polo Ground in summer capital Srinagar, but after the ban he is not allowed to use the ground for his programme.
"I continue to train in other smaller grounds, but am extremely disappointed by the decision of the local football association," he said.
Marcos and his wife Priscilla are living in Srinagar for the last seven years.