Stars Come Out at Asian Football Awards 2013


Asian achievers honoured at Wembley Arena

ASIAN achievers in the world of football have been honoured at a star studded event at Wembley Arena.


The inspirational efforts of British Asians working in football were recognised at the second annual Asian Football Awards 2013.


Among the big winners on the night were Swansea City and Wales defender Neil Taylor, Cardiff City’s Kim Bo-Kyung, Tottenham doctor Shabaaz Mughal –who helped save the life of Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba when the player collapsed during the FA Cup quarter-final in March 2012 – Brentford FC scout Manisha Tailor, Wigan Athletic FC scout Irfan Kawri and grassroots coach Bal Singh.


The Feyenoord and Norway midfielder Harmeet Singh won a Special Recognition honour, while highly rated teenager Yan Dhanda, aged just 14 and the first player of Indian origin ever to sign for Liverpool FC, won the Up and Coming award.


Presenters of the 16 awards included high-profile representatives from British football and media, such as England internationals Gary Lineker, Dion Dublin and Ray Parlour, BBC TV presenter Manish Bhasin and the PFA’s Brendon Batson.


Speaking at the event, Batson said: “Asian football is in a great place. England are on the look out for talent. Talent is the only currency you need. We want to see young players coming through. There is an untapped pool of talent and we really need to exploit that.


“The importance of these awards needs to be recognised at all levels. For every player fortunate to play at the elite end, they started at grass roots level. We need to support the development of grassroots football and increase the level of participation. This will help Asian football grow. We need to see greater numbers in the academies. We want those people involved in Asian football to progress to become charter standard clubs.”


The Asian Football Awards (AFA) aim to improve the awareness of the positive impact made by Asians within the UK football industry and to engage with organisations and individuals to help increase participation levels.


AFA founder Baljit Rihal said: “I can proudly say that the Asian Football Awards has already encouraged more Asians to get involved in every aspect of the game, and will continue to do so. Our vision remains to support the growth of UK Asians in football.

“Since our inaugural event last year, the support from across the industry has been astonishing, but we are not just concerned with increasing Asian participation on the field. Our aim is also to help make the hierarchies of organisations that govern football more reflective of the society within which we live.”


The hosts for the awards evening were BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan and Sky Sports News presenter Dharmesh Sheth, while the judging panel included representatives from The FA, The PFA and Kick It Out, as well as the chief executive officer of International Airlines Group, Willie Walsh, the BBC Sport presenter Manish Bhasin and Amit Bhatia, the vice-chairman of Queens Park Rangers FC.

The AFA are also continuing their engagement with grassroots football. In association with Goals Soccer Centres they hosted the first Asian nationwide five-a-side tournament – The AFA Trophy – throughout May and June, with more than 200 teams taking part.


The Awards have Goals Soccer Centres as their headline sponsor, and are also supported by The Football Association, Kick It Out, The Professional Footballers’ Association, Show Racism The Red Card and Sporting Equals.


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