Competition for places in South Asians in Football XI will be ‘fierce’

Daily News
15 Min Read
Competition for places in South Asians in Football XI will be ‘fierce’

Competition for a place this year’s British South Asians in Football Team of the Season will be fierce, says one of the landmark initiatives co-founders.

Former Eastern Eye sports editor Zohaib Rashid and Sky Sports News’ Dev Trehan joined forces to launch the first-of-its-kind team last year, celebrating the on-pitch achievements of British South Asians in The Game.

The team was showcased at the home of Northern Premier League side Sporting Khalsa FC last summer ahead of their South Asian Heritage Month friendly with reigning Kent Senior Trophy champions Punjab United.

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It will now go on display at Brentford’s Gtech Community Stadium at the Football Association’s Your Game Your Way event on Wednesday evening, held in partnership with Team Grassroots.

Rashid told Sky Sports News: “It’s been a big season for a number of players at both club and international level, and competition to get into this year’s British South Asians in Football Team of the Season will be fierce.

Arjan Raikhy Dev Trehan South Asians in Football Team of the Season

Image: Arjan Raikhy was one of the guests of honour when the Team of the Season went on display at Sporting Khalsa. Raikhy went on to make his professional league debut for Leicester City earlier this year

“Players have been entrusted with the captain’s armband, made historical debuts at confederation tournaments, scored important goals at World Cup qualifiers, and put in important shifts for their clubs.

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Take a look at some of Yan Dhanda’s best goals for Ross County

“As the season reaches its climax, it will be interesting to see who makes the starting XI in the second annual British South Asians in Football Team of the Season.”

Dillon De Silva continued his good form by scoring Sri Lanka’s opener in their 2-0 win over Bhutan in the inaugural FIFA Series.

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Wealdstone winger De Silva signed off for international duty with a goal against Fylde in just his second start for the Stones after joining following a spell at Torquay United.

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Former Manchester United starlet Zidane Iqbal scored his first international goal as Iraq thrashed Philippines 5-0 in World Cup qualifying in Manila.

The FC Utrecht midfielder, whose mother is Iraqi and father is Pakistani, took the ball on the bounce and smashed past Birmingham City goalkeeper Neil Etheridge from a tight angle.

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Iqbal made history in December 2021 when he appeared in the Champions League game against Young Boys, with Sky Sports News exclusively revealing he had become the first British South Asian to play for Manchester United.

Easah Suliman, Rahis Nabi, Harun Hamid and Imran Kayani were all involved in Pakistan’s matches against Jordan.

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Pakistan were beaten 7-0 in Amman on Tuesday after losing 3-0 to Jordan at home in Islamabad last week.

Athwal: IWL success is ‘just the beginning’

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Club president Raj Athwal has told Sky Sports News that Odisha FC’s historic Indian Women’s League (IWL) triumph is “just the beginning”.

A stunning hat-trick from former India U17 captain Lynda Kom helped the team to a 6-0 win against Kickstart FC, with Odisha securing their maiden IWL title after finishing two points ahead of Gokulam Kerala.

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“This momentous triumph delivered by our women’s team is testament to the passion and work of so many people across the football club,” Coventry-born Athwal told Sky Sports News.

“And it is just the beginning for us as a team and a leadership group.

Odisha FC president Raj Athwal speaks to Sky Sports News' Dev Trehan at the House of Lords

Image: Odisha FC president Raj Athwal speaks to Sky Sports News’ Dev Trehan at the House of Lords

“It’s been a collective effort, from our work to promote gender equality at a local level, right the way through to now becoming the first Indian Super League side ever to have their men’s and women’s teams qualify for Asian competition.

“Our women’s players are not only the pride of the state of Odisha, they are the pride of Indian football.”

Action-packed Women’s Football Weekend

Millie Chandarana and Kira Rai led the way for British South Asians in Football as the girls took centre stage

Image: Millie Chandarana and Kira Rai both helped their teams to 2-1 wins at the weekend

Millie Chandarana enjoyed a historic moment with her team-mates on Women’s Football Weekend after Blackburn Rovers beat high-flying Southampton in front of a record crowd at Ewood Park.

A 2-1 win over the Saints moved seventh-placed Rovers on to 26 points – their highest-ever Championship points tally – with four games still remaining.

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Kira Rai’s Derby County also won by the same scoreline as they warmed up for Sunday’s East Midlands derby against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground with a 2-1 win over Fylde.

Asmita Ale started Leicester’s five-goal thriller at home to Brighton, with Elisabeth Terland’s late strike earning the visitors three points in a 3-2 victory.

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Riya Mannu made her third successive Birmingham City matchday squad as Blues got their title challenge back on track with a 2-0 win against Lewes.

The 17-year-old forward, whose recent displays in training earned praise from head coach Darren Carter, was first named on Birmingham City’s bench for the goalless draw with Blackburn Rovers earlier this month.

Riya Mannu takes a moment to celebrate with Sky Sports News' Dev Trehan after making her Birmingham City debut

Image: Riya Mannu takes a moment to celebrate with Sky Sports News’ Dev Trehan after making her Birmingham City debut

Mannu made her Blues debut in a 4-0 win away at Reading, with Sky Sports News revealing the Indian-heritage teenager had become the first British South Asian to play league football for Birmingham City Women.

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Simran Jhamat started for West Brom in their Black Country league derby away to Wolves at Molineux.

Mariam Mahmood and Wolves’ Layla Banaras also featured as the home side ran out 2-0 winners to consolidate their grip on fourth place in the table.

British South Asians in Football

For more stories, features and videos, visit our ground-breaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.

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