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    No regrets despite threat: Valley soccer coach

    New Delhi: Argentina-born Juan Marcos Troia who has battled all odds in his mission to teach football to Kashmiri youth for last four years is being forced to leave the Valley as he has been receiving death threats for the last three months.Marcos ignored visa problems, a difficult situation in Valley and even the killing of his dogs. But now, after receiving death threats, the celebrated coach is thinking hard about packing his bags for good.The coach who lives with his wife and three daughters said, "The last three months have been very difficult for my family. I have received constant threats and I am worried for the safety of my family.""I lock the door from outside when ever I go out of the house so that my family feels safe inside the house." Marcos said.This was not the first encounter of the family with violence."It all started in January 2011 when one of my dogs was mysteriously killed. The next day my second dog was poisoned and a couple of days later, my vehicle was vandalised and the brakes failed," Marcos added."I went to the police station with one of my boys. They refused to lodge an FIR and two months later, I have not even got the postmortem report," Marcos said."I got a midnight call from someone who identified himself as a local politician’s son on March 26. He said I should leave the state within four days, otherwise you know what will happen," Marcos added.Marcos said that he had a great experience during his stay in Kashmir and despite of all the problems he will never regret his decision to live in Kashmir."Kashmiri players are very talented and they grab things very quickly but the lack of infrastructure and facilities is a major concern," Marcos said.So far Marcos has sent three players to Brazil for training with some leading clubs under an exchange programme which saw some upcoming players from the Brazil visiting Kashmir as well.When asked what he thinks of the future of football in India he said, "One think is very clear a pear tree cannot bear an apple, if the amount of money and attention which is given to cricket is given to football the situation of Indian football will be very different that what it is now."Marcos met Union sports minister Ajay Maken during Maken`s tour of Srinagar and has been assured of the Centre`s support.Marcos said, "I hope that the help which has been promised by Maken comes in two to three months. I don’t want to wait for another four years for it. My players have worked very hard and expect support from the government as well so that we could channelize the energy of the Kashmiri youth away from violence."Marcos has been in trouble several times in the past as well. He was allegedly beaten up by security forces at the height of Amarnath Land Row agitation in 2008 but the matter was later resolved amicably.He was asked to leave the country in 2010 as the Union Home Ministry had refused to extend his stay in the valley. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah intervened to ensure that he continues to coach the youth of the valley.