ZRF to host first Asian Football Festival
The Zesh Rehman Foundation (ZRF) will be holding its first Asian Football Festival at the Streatham-Croydon Rugby Club in Thornton Heath on Sunday 7 September 2014.
The FREE event aims to encourage more children (boys and girls) from Asian backgrounds to participate in grassroots football and be signposted towards local junior clubs and activities, where they can play more regularly.
Kids will be given the opportunity to learn from professional club coaches with the event being delivered by ZRF football coaches who are part of the Premier League and PFA funded ‘Sidelined-2-Sidelines’ (s2s) coaching programme, an initiative that has supported coaches from within the Asian community in finding roles at professional clubs including Brentford, Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers to date.
ZRF Founder and former Fulham defender Zesh, who is currently plying his trade in Malaysia with Pahang FA, said: “This event is not a talent identification day or about giving talented Asian footballers the opportunity to showcase their skills in front of scouts from professional clubs. It is about the 100% rather than the 1%.
“I’ve always been conscious of ensuring all our programmes are representative of the wider community but it is key we deliver targeted programmes to empower under-represented groups to join mainstream teams.
“The Premier League and PFA have been very supportive of our work and without the initial Sidelined-2-Sidelines funding this programme may not have got off the ground.”
Premier League clubs Chelsea FC Foundation and the Crystal Palace FC Foundation will also be present on the day to support delivery and promote the different football sessions available to children across South London.
Riz Rehman, Director at the ZRF, said: “Following on from delivering our s2s initiative, we now have a cohort of qualified male and female coaches from a number of different Asian backgrounds including Bangladeshi, Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Tamil who work at professional clubs across London.
“This event will allow these coaches to showcase their coaching abilities and be advocates within their communities to motivate parents and inspire more younger children to foster a love for the game.
“There are many children playing recreationally but there is still a lack of representation amongst children from Asian backgrounds playing competitive grassroots football within FA affiliated clubs across the country.
“More players represented at grassroots clubs will widen the opportunities for Asian players to be identified and recruited within development centres and academies.
To find out more about the festival visit the Events section on the ZRF website.