For 14 years, Bradford resident Khalil Hussain has been a proud ambassador of the ‘Kick Racism out of Football’ campaign and the latest event last week reaffirms his position as a leader in promoting diversity.
With eight schools from across the city coming together for a day of football, the Springwood Primary school learning mentor’s annual event was a huge success.
Supported by Manningham Football Academy, Oasis Lister Park Academy, Bradford City Council and Bradford City FC, the day involved skills and drills lessons as well as a kick it out workshop before an afternoon tournament.
All teams were made up of a mixture of pupils from each school, with every competitor awarded with a medal for their participation in the day’s events by Bantams star, James Meredith.
Khalil is a self-proclaimed ‘football enthusiast’ and currently helps run a number of local teams, as well as the Manningham Football Academy at the Sports Centre.
His passion for promoting the ‘Kick it Out’ campaign has seen him host a number of events throughout the past decade and he explained why he believes these events are so important.
He explained: “The main reason I hold this event every year is because I want to break down barriers and I want to help children find their similarities with one another through football.
“I live, breath and sleep football, so whenever there is the opportunity to get involved with an initiative like this, I always push it as far as I can.
“This is the 14th year we have done this and it is fantastic to see so many children turning out and enjoying themselves every year. By interacting with other kids they may not have known before, it also helps build new friendships between people which is something we support immensely.”
One student who has not only partaken in the event, but also helped out as a volunteer at last week’s programme is Oasis Lister Park Academy student Imran Yousaf.
The 18-year-old jumped at the opportunity to help out on the day and explained why he believes the campaign is not only fun, but also educatory, for the children.
“When I used to join in with this, I just remember it being a lot of fun,” he said. “You get to meet lots of new people and obviously at first you might be a bit shy but everybody gets over it and it is always a lot of fun.
“Initiatives like this are very important because there are a lot of incidents which may be highlighted in the media where racism is at the top of the game. It’s always good to remind the kids that no matter what colour they are, they are all equal.”
Mick Driver, Sport Development Officer for Bradford City Council, helped organise the day’s activities and reiterated Imran’s statement.
He added: “I have helped arrange kick it out events with Khalil in the past and am always happy to get onboard.
“There were eight schools who came down today from different parts of the authority. Every team was made up of boys and girls from different schools because at the end of the day it’s not just about the football, it’s about getting on and mixing with new people.”