Under-representation of Asians in football in this country could soon become a thing of the past - according to several leading figures in the grassroots game.
Speaking at The FA’s second Asians in Football Talent ID Best Practice Day at Wembley Stadium last week, Taff Rahman, director of coaching and development at Pro Touch Soccer Academy, said that he anticipated a major breakthrough in inclusion for minority ethnic footballers in this country.
“It’s all about giving giving pathways and support mechanisms to actually bridge that gap and I think we are on that bridge now. It’s just a matter of crossing it,” said Rahman, a UEFA A Licensed coach.
“We all want more kids playing - wherever they come from”
FA National Manager for Youth Development
Rahman was joined by over 65 coaches at Wembley’s Learning Zone, with delegates’ experience levels ranging from Level 1 upwards.
Mike Rigg, The FA’s head of talent identification and Nick Levett, The FA’s national manager for youth development, both spoke at the event. Brendon Batson also gave a talk about The FA’s COACH Bursary Programme, and Dr Colin King from the Black and Asian Coaches Association was on hand to answer questions.
The event forms a key component of English Football’s Inclusion and Anti-Discrimination plan, aiming to help widen football’s talent pool and address the under-representation of Asians in the game at all levels.
It brought together male and female, professional and amateur coaches from across the country, and followed a successful trial run at St. George's Park last year.
Rahman’s views were echoed by Balvinder Shekhon, community development manager at MK Dons: "It was great to see such a diverse group of people in the same room who are genuinely interested in making a difference.
"This is an exciting journey for, players, coaches and communities."
Levett added: “We all want more kids playing - wherever they come from.
"The coach can be a massive role model in a kid’s life. Certainly with the coaches that we have here today, they have the passion and dedication to support those kids.”