The annual Leeds Madrasa's football tournament returned once again for its seventh annual event.
The tournament has been a huge success in previous years with many teams oversubscribed. This year some 600 people came out to cheer on the young players.
Over 25 teams made up of children from ages 7 - 14 years attended the tournament at Thomas Danby Sports Centre in Leeds. It’s organised by Ilyas Salim and Hafiz Waqas who work with children and young people across Leeds who attend after-school religious education provisions known as Madrasas.
Ilyas Salim, Managing Director at Scent Salim and Chaplain at Sheffields Children Hospital was one of the organisers of this event commented: "As part of the Child Friendly Leeds ambition, it's really important the local clubs and madrasa's are involved with fun opportunities to encourage children to try new and different sports whilst making new friends.
“Many parents come to watch their children and it's a fun day out for many children, some who are firm disadvantaged backgrounds.”
Winners are given medals at the concluding ceremony after the tournament and players are handed out prizes from Scent Salim. The winning teams this year were Ibraheem Masjid in Beeston and Al-Hasan Leeds.
Is watching badminton not doing it for you? Tiddlywinks a bit too tiddly? Does curling just not get your engine revved? Get your pads on, buckle up, and make sure you’ve got a parachute as we present you 15 of the world’s riskiest sports.
We’ve looked into some of the craziest, most death-defying sports in the world, from base-jumping off buildings to facing down the horns of a bull. Each has the number of deaths, locations it’s done, and important facts – as well as a risk factor, so you can find one just right for how deadly you want to go.
Some of the riskiest sports include the real-danger of high altitude mountaineering and surviving the environment, with 286 people dying climbing Everest alone; and off-piste skiing for thrill-seekers which causes over 100 deaths every year, and an uncharted number of injuries.
Ambassador Mohammed Bhana: “My 8 year-old son kept on nagging me, asking me to take him to a Town game. I said I’d take him if he learned his times tables, which he did – all the way to 12!”
Huddersfield Town Football Club (HTAFC) has appointed Bradford man Mohammed Bhana as an Ambassador of the Club, to help its presence grow in the Asian community.
The Asian football fan market has been one, which Bhana says, most football clubs have "not paid much attention to".
However, Huddersfield Town Commercial Director Sean Jarvis has made it clear that Huddersfield Town is committed to enticing more Asians living in West Yorkshire to come to matches as part of the long-term strategy to grow the Club.
The club says that they don’t care what background their footy-lovers come from, the Club says it will listen to fans, regardless of their background; everyone is welcome here.
Bhana, first came into contact with the Terriers through Huddersfield Town’s Schools Focus initiative, which provides cheap match-day tickets to youngsters across Kirklees and beyond.
Mo admitted that if it weren't for his son’s persistence, then he wouldn’t have been offered the role or even have come to the John Smith’s Stadium.
“My 8-year-old son kept on nagging me, asking me to take him to a Town game,” explained Bhana.
“I said I’d take him if he learned his times tables, which he did – all the way to 12. That’s how much he wanted to go and experience a match!
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, and my wife was also a bit apprehensive about going; we had a few misconceptions because we had never been before.
“For a start, we didn’t realise how passionate and loud the fans would be, and the high quality of the football was also something we didn’t expect. We thought that Huddersfield was a small club, but we now know that’s not the case!”
Since being offered the role as an Ambassador for the Club, Bhana has been working with the advertising team at Huddersfield Town to create match day posters and adverts in both Hindu and Urdu to attract a more diverse group of fans.
“I don’t know any other Club that has actively reached out to the Asian community in such a way; most teams do nothing at all from what I can see.
“Even though it’s only been a few months, I think the town-posters don’t need to be translated into Hindi or Urdu anymore – just in English because people have now seen that Huddersfield has made an effort to reach out to them.”
Bhana adds that some initiatives that have been set up recently, with the aim of engaging Asian community, have been very well attended.
“Huddersfield Town has made it clear that it doesn’t matter what ethnicity you are, the only colours that matter are the ones on the Club’s shirt,” explains Bhana.
“I think this is good, not just for the football club, but for Kirklees as a whole because it helps to bring people together.”
Huddersfield Town currently sits fifth in the Sky Bet Championship table and Mohammed believes now the Club has reached out to the Asian community it is beginning to attract a larger following; especially due to the team's exciting brand of football.
“More people are starting to realise that they don’t have to travel to Liverpool or Manchester to watch first class football; they could just go a few miles down the road and watch football just as good, if not better, at Town for much less. “There’s no need to support a club from another part of the country when you have one on your doorstep that you can get involved with.”
ALL SMILES: Mr Gareth Cleasby, Mr Tim Nixon, Leeds United first team player and mid-fielder Kalvin Phillips, Miss Katie Radford, Mr Craig Scirrow
Allerton Grange school students get footy tips from LU first team player and mid-fielder, Kalvin Phillips
Leeds United first team player and mid-fielder, Kalvin Phillips, visited Allerton Grange School at the start of term to lead a training session with 60 girls from across year groups.
News of the appearance spread quickly around school with students eager to catch a glimpse of the VIP in the flesh. A few lucky super fans were able to meet Kalvin and shake his hand; the down to earth footballer was more than happy to pose for photographs and hand out signatures. The visit was an unforgettable experience for everyone involved.
The event was organised by Miss Radford, in partnership with Leeds United Premiership Foundation, as part of our joint commitment to promote girls’ football at grassroots level.
Since the partnership was formed two years ago, the Foundation have provided a Coach to run girls’ football every Thursday after school, as well as a Development Officer who has arranged fixtures across Leeds with other schools involved.
During the session Kalvin was on hand to give feedback on technique to the girls who were playing friendly 5 a-side matches. At the end there was an opportunity to ask questions which, along with the training exercise, was recorded by LUFC TV and will appear online.
Miss Radford, Teacher of PE, said “This has been such a fantastic opportunity for the girls at Allerton Grange School to meet a first team player from our local football club.
“Getting the chance to train with a professional like Kalvin doesn’t happen every day and it’s worked well to shine the spotlight on girls playing football.
“Through the partnership with the Leeds United Premiership Foundation we have been able to increase participation from girls across all skill levels.”
STRONGER TOGETHER: Children and coaches celebrate 10 years of the academy
Testimonial tournament celebrates 10 years of Manningham
Ten years ago, Manningham Football Academy held its first training session, with 20 children turning out at the local sports centre for ‘a bit of a kick around’.
This past week, over 100 youngsters from across the local area gathered at the same spot for a special testimonial tournament, where slices of cake were served up alongside a game of football.
Over the last decade, the club has overseen the sporting development of thousands of children.
Weekly training sessions have helped launch five junior sides and also provided a number of aspiring coaches with the chance to earn their FA coaching badges.
Founded by Khalil Hussain in 2006, the ‘Manningham born and bred’ qualified coach has always been passionate about sport and says he was delighted to celebrate the latest milestone on Thursday 22nd December.
“In all honesty I didn’t think it would be as successful and as brilliant as it has been,” he said. “It’s just amazing how it’s all turned out.”
He added: “I just want to make sure that young people from my community have access to football and get the chance to play the beautiful game.
“It’s also about moulding them to become better people and socialise with new friends.
“We’re here to be those people to support them through that process.”
Khalil established Manningham Academy with the aim of getting one child into the setup of a professional football club.
CELEBRATIONS: Khalil Hussain founded Manningham Football Academy in 2006 and has helped train over 5,000 young players
Although he is still striving towards this goal, he says he is willing to continue his highly praised work for the benefit of the children.
“I did have a vision of getting young people to the next level to play semi-pro football and that’s still the vision I have today,” he said. “I thought, if I could do that, then I could retire.
“Looking at where we are today, it might be another 10, 20 or 50 years before we achieve this but as long as the children are enjoying themselves I’m happy to keep going.
“I genuinely enjoy working with young people in the community at this grassroots level and that’s why I do it.
“It’s about giving young people that opportunity. Bradford gets less segregated through sport because our kids go out there and mix with other areas.
Former Bradford City midfielder, Des Hamilton, was amongst the special guests at the anniversary event last week and was full of praise for the exciting setup.
He watched on as children from as young as 10 showed off their talents in the specially organised tournament before helping with the trophy presentation.
With the chance to eventually play open age for the academy should a semi-pro club not offer any places, there is certainly motivation to succeed in Manningham.
“We have one of the most diverse teams in Yorkshire in our open age setup,” Khalil added.
“There are black, white, Asian and Eastern European players, all playing together. It’s not just about the football but they are actually really good and have achieved three promotions already.”
POWER IN NUMBERS: With over 600 supporters today, the Bangla Bantams have seen a rapid growth in numbers since it was founded in February last year
Local fans group picks up national award
A Bradford City supporters group, which aims to encourage greater participation in football from members of the South Asian community, has landed a national award.
Bangla Bantams secured the first ever ‘Fans for Diversity Award’ at the Football Supporters’ Federation Awards held in London earlier this week.
With up to 600 supporters, the fan group has grown rapidly in numbers since setting up in February 2015, with the help of BEAP Community Partnership.
Run in conjunction with the anti-racism group, Kick it Out, and the Football Supporters’ Federation (FSF), it has helped men, women, boys and girls interact with Bradford City Football Club by attending games and community events.
On receiving the award, founder of the group, Humayun Islam – a devout football fan himself – said it was both an honour and a surprise.
DEDICATED TO DIVERSITY: Humayun Islam picked up the ‘Fans for Diversity Award’ at the Football Supporters’ Federation Awards on behalf of the Bangla Bantams
“We didn’t expect it all,” he said. “With so many worthy nominations for such a mainstream award, it came as a bit of a surprise to be honest when we were named as the winners.”
He added: “It means so much because the award recognises all the work we have done to increase fan participation, with supporters from all backgrounds taking part in these projects and going to see football games at Bradford City.
“It also recognised that within the Asian community a lot of people do like football but there are more effective ways to properly engage them with their local football club.”
The Bangla Bantams beat competition from five other fans' groups to clinch the award, with clubs including Derby County and Southampton, represented on the night.
“With the support of the Fans for Diversity initiative, I think we can continue to grow the organisation into a real project for change,” Humayun added.
“We have brought the community together through this project and only have plans to continue the work we have been doing since last year.”
The FSF is the democratic organisation representing the rights of fans and arguing the views of football supporters in England and Wales.
With more than 500,000 supporters, they petition for a host of initiatives including the promotion of safe standing areas in stadiums, lower ticket prices and the protection of clubs.
Members are made up of individual fans and members of local supporters’ organisations throughout the professional structure and many more from further down the football pyramid.
ON FIELD AND OFF FIELD PROBLEMS: The challenge of getting more Asian footballers into the top tiers of the English game remains a priority
Representation number ‘must increase’
As Premier League clubs continue to spend millions of pounds on players from around the world, one demographic is still missing in the country’s favourite sport – Asians.
Currently, the only player of British Asian descent playing in the Premier League is Swansea City’s Neil Taylor, while Adil and Samir Nabi at West Bromwich Albion, Aston Villa's Easah Suliman and Liverpool’s Yan Dhanda are among a host of prospects hoping to make it into the top tier.
With such little representation across the top tiers of the game, Asians are struggling to make their mark on the pitch.
Sporting Equals, the UK's leading charity promoting ethnic diversity in sport and physical activity, have been working to create a more reflective game.
This week, they have announced the continuation of their strategic partnership with the UK Asian Football Championships – now in its 18th year – as they help to raise the profile of Asians in football.
The event is organised by the Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association SEMSA and in partnership with Glasgow City Council, Glasgow Life, Rangers Football Club and Celtic Football Club.
STAR PLAYER: Neil Taylor is currently the only player of British Asian descent playing in the Premier League
Arun Kang CEO Sporting Equals commenting on the partnership said: “We are delighted to be able to support the Asian Football Championships in its eighteenth year of being.
“Even though this is a momentous achievement in itself it is still sad to think that after 18 years, there still remains a lack of Asian footballers at elite level here in the UK.
“We feel that greater thinking needs to be carried out by influencing bodies to promote Asian football talent.
“However, in this instance, we congratulate the fantastic commitment and support of the Asian Football Championships who have kept alive this issue to empower Asian footballers, coaches and volunteers."
Kash Siddiqi is one of only nine Asian footballers to have played in the Football League and is a big supporter of Sporting Equals.
Commenting on the existing problems in the game, he said: “It is great to see initiatives such as the Asian Football Championships taking place. The event provides a great platform for Asian football talent.”
Paul Elliott, former Celtic FC player and the first black professional footballer to sit on the FA Council, is supporting the championships.
With preliminary games set to be played at Glasgow Green Football Centre before the final is staged at Celtic Park, he has more connection than most to the tournament this year.
“Whilst it is great to see significant numbers of professional footballers from the African Caribbean communities it is concerning that, in comparison, south Asian communities have yet to break through in any significant number,” he said.
“More thought and understanding is needed of the challenges that have prevented Asian players to enter the elite game in the UK.
“This tournament helps to keep shining the light on this important issue and I congratulate Sporting Equals and SEMSA in supporting and organising it.”
BUILDING RELATIONS: Faith groups and community groups came together in Dewsbury last week for the fourth annual Let’s Unite event
Archery, football and a whole lot of fun
Local youth group, Kumon Y’all, had another hugely successful ‘Let’s Unite’ event on 16th July when the British Army and West Yorkshire police joined local faith leaders for a day of uniting communities.
The annual event, now in its fourth year, saw over 1,000 people turn out to join in with a range of activities, including the flagship football tournament.
Those who attended were also able to enjoy an army assault course, archery combat and activity stalls whilst building up multi-faith relations as they played.
TARGET ACQUIRED: The army test their skills on the archery
Volunteers from the youth group even cooked up a storm on the BBQ, serving burgers to footballers who had worked up a sweat on Savile Town Sports Field.
Three six-a-side tournaments took place - one for Years 7 and 8, another for Years 9 and 10 and a game for the over-40s which was a real crowd pleaser.
Farook Yunus, group leader at Kumon Y’All, said the event was growing every year and was delighted to see so many community groups represented.
ON POINT: The archery combat activity was introduced for the first time this year, pictured are members of West Yorkshire Fire Service
“I believe the event was absolutely fantastic,” he said. “I've seen it grow into something which truly marks a day in history and a day which we are going to be remembered for.
“From the first year, having no hope of it being a tremendous success, to the fourth year, with over 1,000 people attending, it’s been a great achievement.”
Eventual winners in the over-40’s football tournament were the Withesthorpe sports club whilst the Hamara Foundation claimed success in archery combat.
OPENING DIALOGUE: Kumon Y’all group organiser, Farook Yunus, said involving the army in such a community event in Savile Town had never been done before
Amongst those taking part in the archery was the ever active Dewsbury South MP, Paula Sherriff, who provided a particular highlight of the day for many of her on-looking constituents.
“A stand out moment for many was when Ms Sherriff got hit on her behind during archery combat as well as all the soldiers playing against the firemen in a game of archery combat,” Farook added.
“Ms Sherriff absolutely loved the event, so much so that when she went to the Houses of Commons, she mentioned it to the other MPs that were there.”
GOALTASTIC: Mo Waqas was beyond proud of his footballing protégés who were ‘a joy to coach’
U-19 Football team ‘kept going when it got tough’
Laisterdyke Leadership Academy has had a ‘pitch perfect’ sporting season this year, after their Under 19 football team clinched the local school league title with a thumping final day victory.
After a nerve-wracking draw with St Bede’s in their penultimate fixture, the plucky and talented team thrashed local rivals Carlton Bolling 4-2 in a gritty matchup to sweep up the accolade.
Coaching the teenagers to the top was Mo Waqas, who is also a Learning Support Teacher at the academy.
He said jubilantly: “This is the first time we’ve won it. The team got very close to winning last year. To make things even better, this is the first time the post-16’s have ever won the championship from this school too.”
Mr Waqas said the team “are easy to coach” because they’re “a fantastic bunch of lads.”
He continued: “The boys are amazing. There’s strong camaraderie between them and they all know each other - as the majority play Sunday League as well.
“They have the right chemistry, a lively team spirit and adopt a ‘never-say-die’ attitude which has been clearly demonstrated this season.”
Amongst the championship-winning team was 18-year-old Huzayfa Dad.
He said: “It feels absolutely brilliant to win. After the hard season, we got our hands on the trophy and finally got the plaudits we deserve.”
VICTORIOUS: Laisterdyke Leadership Academy have enjoyed a flawless season’s football, becoming U-19 champions
Also playing for Laisterdyke was 16-year-old Danyal Yasin, who laces up his boots for the Thornton Grammar team at Sunday League too.
He said: “We followed the manager’s philosophy of ‘keep going when it gets tough’. This led us to victory.”
Lee Allington, Director of PE at the school, said: “These lads have been with us all the way through the school from Year 7 and to see them as they are now is a real honour.
“The team have left a legacy for the rest of the school and have helped build up the reputation of Laisterdyke. They’ve done very, very well.”
MEGA RICH: Sheikh Mansour has a net worth of over £20bn and has helped establish Manchester City as one of the world’s top clubs
Mansour’s millions keep blue moon shining bright in Manchester
Sheikh Mansour’s impact at Manchester City is one which cannot be overestimated.
Since acquiring the club eight years ago, the Citizens have transformed from mid-table mediocrity to European powerhouses, winning two league titles, one FA Cup and two League Cups.
This season, Manuel Pellegrini’s men may have finished empty-handed in the silverware department yet a Champions League semi-final showing, alongside European qualification for 2016/17 has ensured their place amongst the elite remained intact.
According to the recently published Forbe’s Rich List, City are the sixth richest team in world football with an estimated worth of £1.33bn.
Only long-standing European heavyweights – Real Madrid (£2.5bn), Barcelona (£2.46bn), Manchester United (£2.3bn), Bayern Munich (£1.85bn) and Arsenal (£1.4bn) – are above them.
Premier League rivals, Chelsea (£1.15bn) and Liverpool (£1.07bn) languish further down the list.
With a net worth of over £20bn, Sheikh Mansour has poured money into the blue half of Manchester.
A member of Abu Dhabi’s ruling Al-Nahyan family, everything from stadium expansions to training facilities and of course some of the biggest names in world football, has all been funded by the 45-year-old.
Away from the football field, he has also lavishly spent his fortune, recently purchasing a 20,000 acre-estate in south west Spain for a rumoured £42m.
He is the fifth of 19 sons of the founding father of the United Arab Emirates.
REVOLUTION: City’s fans have been enjoying a taste of the big time in recent years
SUPERPOWER: Members of the Chinese national football team pose for a group picture in 2011
Country aims to become global force in football by 2050
China wants to become a ‘world football superpower’ by 2050 and aims to get 50 million of China's 1.357 billion children and adults kicking the ball by 2020.
Another aspiration the country has is by 2020, they would like to have at least 20,000 football training centres and 70,000 pitches in place.
President Xi Jingping is a big football fan and has said previously that he wants China to win the World Cup over the next 15 years.
While China shines at the Olympics and Paralympics, the country has only every competed in one edition of the world’s biggest football match - in 2002 - but the Chinese Football Association is planning to do a lot more than just qualify over the next few years.
The men's team was number 81 in the world in a ranking released by International Federation of Football Association, also known as FIFA, on April 7th, 15 places higher than the rankings from late March.
The rise was aided by a 2-0 victory over Qatar in a 2018 World Cup qualifying match, a victory that helped the squad narrowly avoid elimination.
The women's team was ranked No. 12 in the world by FIFA as of March 25th.
INCLUSIVE ATTITUDES: Dr Dan Kilvington has been studying the reasons why British Asians are being sidelined in the football industry
Asians excluded from football?
A new book which explores the exclusion of British Asians from football and makes recommendations for achieving equality in the industry has been published by a Leeds Beckett University academic.
In his book, ‘British Asians, Exclusion and the Football Industry’, Dr Dan Kilvington, a Senior Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at Leeds Beckett, presents his extensive new research collected from interviews with players, coaches, scouts, managers, fans, and anti-racist organisations and highlights both historical and current reasons for the exclusion of British Asians from football.
Dr Kilvington said: “I've been researching into this area for almost a decade now but it all started following a conversation with one of my university lecturers in 2007.
“Dr Amir Saeed, a passionate and enthusiastic figure, asked me: 'where are the British Asian footballers'?
“I couldn't provide an answer and neither could he. It was like I found my calling. The more I investigated, the more I began to understand the complexity behind this exclusion.
“It was clear that barriers were in place and investigating them, talking about them, writing about them and attempting to challenge them became my work.”
Dr Kilvington then went on to conduct almost 100 interviews with individuals and groups from all spheres of the game over an eight year period.
He said: “The book explores overt and covert racism, highlights both male and female experiences and discusses the similarities and differences between Asian heritage communities, such as Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi, from across England.
“It provides a critical overview of equality and inclusion initiatives which aim to increase the numbers of British Asians in the game, in all areas.
“I also make recommendations for reform pitched at football's key stakeholders which are believed to help achieve greater equality and inclusion.”
The book, published by Routledge, draws on case studies, one of which centres around Bradford.
Dr Kilvington said: “Despite Bradfordian Asians' passion, enthusiasm and love for football, no one from the South Asian community has managed to maintain a career in the professional game. I carried out in-depth research within Bradford, consulting ex-professionals, former academy players, coaches, scouts, managers and PE teachers.
“What I found was that there is a lack of grass roots opportunities within locales which are densely populated by Asian heritage communities; while the local and national scouting networks tend to overlook such communities and environment, for many reasons.
“The future looks promising for the next generation of male and female British Asian youngsters. Following the move from the subcontinent, the priority for the first generation was work and home.
“For the second generation, leisure became more important and the football seeds were sown.
“For the third generation, these seeds are bearing fruit as opportunities are now more readily available while links with the professional game have been established and maintained.
“Encouragingly, there are now more British Asian players with professional contracts in English football than ever before. Some of these players have fantastic potential and could hold down regular spots at top clubs, showcasing to the wider world that 'Asians can play football'.
“However, we shouldn't get too carried away just yet as a considerable amount of work is to be done if we are to see British Asians not only playing the game, at all levels, but taking up coaching, scouting, refereeing positions, and so forth.”
Dr Kilvington believes that football's key stakeholders have been slow to react to the British Asian football exclusion.
“Yet, positive steps have been taken in recent times. In 2015, the FA launched the 'bringing opportunities to communities' four year plan.
“Creating more grassroots opportunities is essential. Therefore, we need more volunteers and coaches stepping forward to help create new clubs and teams. Institutional bodies can play a key role in supporting this through providing access to funding.
“These clubs must be networked with professional and semi-professional clubs in the locale so they can signpost their more gifted players to better clubs so they can further their football development. I also suggest that the Chelsea Search for an Asian Star should be rolled out countrywide so that recruiters have the chance to watch young British Asian players in action because traditionally, scouting networks have overlooked British Asian players.
“Coach education is also important as some coaches still embrace archaic stereotypes and believe that British Asians cannot succeed in football due to physical and cultural differences. With more British Asians in the game, and therefore more role models, these stereotypes will be challenged.”
REASON TO CELEBRATE: Bristol Rovers were overtaken by the billionaire Al Qadi family last week
Investors target promotion at football league club
Bristol Rovers are the latest English club to be snapped up by overseas investors, with the Jordanian Al Qadi family acquiring the League Two outfit.
Mr Wael Al Qadi, who describes himself as a lifelong fan of English football, is already a member of the executive board of the Jordan Football Association. He has now taken up the role of President with The Pirates with immediate effect.
The former Chairman of Swansea City, Steve Hamer - who has played a key role in the deal - will remain with the club as the new Chairman, replacing Nick Higgs, will step down.
Mr Al Qadi, aged 46, and a father of four, was educated at Westminster School and Boston University. His family is rumoured to have a wealth in excess of £1.4billion.
He commented: “I’ve been a passionate football fan all of my life and I'm excited to become involved with Bristol Rovers, which has such an amazing heritage and loyal fan base.
“We really see the potential of this great club. Bristol Rovers has always been known as a family club and it is my family’s wish to maintain that tradition, through our own involvement and commitment.
“Whilst we will be investing in the club, we also want to see the club grow organically and we will be introducing a good recruitment policy, new structure, a new academy system that will produce a flow of players into the first team.
“We believe in a mix of home grown youth and experience to achieve the success this club and the region deserves.”
Hamer added that he was confident the move would be hugely beneficial for the club as they attempt to climb up the football league ladder.
“I truly believe they can deliver the success for the club and its fans, which they deserve,” he said.
“We would like to place on record our thanks and recognition for all the hard work Nick Higgs and his team have done in the past.”
Higgs added: “I sincerely believe that Bristol Rovers can count itself as being very fortunate to attract the interest of Mr Al Qadi and his family.
“This club and the region deserve to have considerably more prominence on the football map.
“The board promised the fans on many occasions that it would only agree to the sale of the club if the right person expressed a serious interest.”
STRIKER: Karim Matmour joins Huddersfield Town as they sit 16th in the SkyBet Championship table
Huddersfield bolster attack with Algerian international
Life at Huddersfield Town has certainly picked up since David Wagner took over the reins at the John Smith’s Stadium and with the signing of forward, Karim Matmour this week, fans have even more reasons to be optimistic.
The free agent has signed with the West Yorkshire club on a short-term contract until the end of the season with Town able to extend the deal by a further year at the conclusion of the current campaign.
30-year-old Matmour has played 30 times for Algeria and has almost 300 games under his belt, across the Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2.
His most recent club was Kuwaiti side, Al-Arabi, who he joined in the summer of 2015 after leaving German side Kaiserslautern.
He has been handed the number 10 shirt at Huddersfield and links up with Wagner’s men immediately.
Wagner commented: “Karim is a good player, who I know well from his time in Germany. He is quick, has great endurance and is a very good person also, which is very important. It is not normal that we would be able to get a player of his quality with no transfer fee.
“He can play in all four attacking positions; on the right, on the left, as a number 10 or number nine. This strengthens our forwards and will help me make good decisions to keep them fresh.
“He knows the ideas we want to bring onto the pitch and should only need a couple of weeks for his fitness to be ideal; he has been training with Strasbourg for some time and is like Jonathan Hogg in that his base of fitness is very good.
“This is one of his main qualities. His English is also good, which is important.”
Matmour began his career at the academy of hometown club, RC Strasbourg but moved to Germany to turn professional at SC Freiburg.
Moving on to represent Borussia Monchengladbach, Eintracht Frankfurt and Kaiserslautern, he made 101 appearances in the German top division – scoring five times – and 163 in Bundesliga 2, scoring 21 goals.
During his time at now high-flying Gladbach, Matmour represented Algeria in the 2010 World Cup, coming up against England in a Group C encounter in South Africa.
IN IT TO WIN IT: Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa has plans in the pipeline for the world football’s governing body
Asian football boss has his eye on the beautiful game
As FIFA’s presidential election race heats up, Asian football boss, Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al Khalifa, is aiming to be the perfect match for the sport’s governing body with officials feeling the pressure from the organisation’s crisis.
Football's world governing body is currently facing criminal investigations in Switzerland and the United States, where 41 officials and sports entities have been slammed with corruption charges.
Switzerland's prosecutor is also investigating FIFA's awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar. Interestingly, all candidates for the presidential hot seat are presenting themselves as ‘reformers’.
The president of the Asian Football Confederation, Sheikh Salman, has his own plans in the pipeline for changes at the sport’s top organisation. His plans include splitting FIFA into separate ‘business’ and ‘football’ entities.
He said reform is an ‘ongoing process’.
Sheikh Salman says he also wants to be a very different style of president to the man he supported for many years - Sepp Blatter - who has now been banned from FIFA.
He adds that he sees the role as non-executive and wants to delegate rather than what he terms ‘micromanage’.
ON THE BALL: Lord Mayor of Bradford, Cllr Joanne Dodds, joins in the fun
Innovative soccer school gets kids off the street and on to the pitch
A Bradford based voluntary organisation - which provides young children with Futsal style football coaching - has become a huge success in the city.
Futsal is a small-sided, fast-paced, indoor football game which has become popular around the world thanks to famous footballers playing it when they were young.
Current stars of the football world, who improved their moves from the freestyle skills of futsal in their youth, include Christian Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Locally, in Bradford, Futsal FC United was founded by Usman Iqbal, who was studying for a coaching degree at university. Together with Wahid Rasib and Bash Mahmood, the student formed a small project which initially started with just five children.
A year later and the club has blossomed, with over 100 children attending training and classes every weekend at the Frame 2 Complex.
TEAM SPIRIT: Futsal FC Utd is a big hit with the kids in Bradford
Youngsters aged between five and 14 years are queuing up to join the FA-affiliated club with backing from the local community.
The soccer school aims to tackle anti-social behaviour and take children off the streets so that they have an alternative to the boredom that often leads to crime.
The club’s first Annual Awards Event had the Lord Mayor Joanne Dodds in attendance on Saturday 2nd January.
Co-founder of the club, Wahid Rasib, said: “The Lord Mayor was gobsmacked when she saw what we have achieved in such a short space of time. She had never seen a project like this with so much community cohesion.
“We have white kids, Asian kids, Afro-Caribbean kids and they all work together. What glues people together is the football.”
Wahid wants to take Futsal FC United to every school in Bradford. The club charges each child £3 a session which covers the cost of the facility and the equipment but under-privileged kids can get a discount.
He added: “The kids can be difficult but we focus on discipline in our sessions.
“It is fun but there is a school atmosphere which means that even kids from social services can come along and mix well.”
READY: Zico led Goa FC to the top of the ISL this season and will be hoping for victory in the play-offs
The second annual Indian Super League (ISL) came to a dramatic close last weekend as Goa FC secured their first league title with a 90th minute winner.
Having trailed by two-goals-to-nil at half time to Delhi Dynamos, who themselves would have clinched the league with victory, Zico’s men pulled off an amazing comeback with three goals in the final 22 minutes.
Romeo Fernandes brought Goa back into the game with his first goal, before doubling his personal tally just one minute later to level the scores.
With a draw not good enough for either side, both teams pushed for a winner before a second goal of the season for Spaniard Jofre secured all three points for the visitors.
With the league title now in the bag, the top four teams in the league will face off in a play-off format to see who wins the ISL Shield.
Following their eventful fixture last Sunday, Goa will once again face-off against Delhi Dynamos whilst Atletico de Kolkata and Chennaiyin FC make up the other tie.
Speaking ahead of the first play-off leg, Zico said: “I hope we can improve from last year. We came to the semi-finals and lost.
“This year, I hope we can reach the finals and do our best there. I think we fulfilled all the expectations we had. We played good football, played a good game and now we are here.
“I just think that our players are a little bit more experienced from the players last year so they will be used to it.
“But it is a completely different team. We changed 14-15 players. Not only is us, Delhi also have a completely different team.”
Elsewhere, Colombian Stiven Mendoza was awarded the golden boot after hitting 11 goals in just 13 games for Chennaiyin. Former Barnsley forward, Iain Hume, finished second in the goal-scoring charts with 10 goals.
OUT: Jon Stead puts his head in his hands after Bradford City’s 3-0 defeat to Reading on Monday
City miss out on dream Wembley trip
With just 90 minutes of football separating Bradford City from a dream place in the FA Cup semi-finals. Monday night’s clash with Reading was always going to be a big one.
Unfortunately, for the hundreds of travelling Bantams fans, and the thousands watching across the country, the fairytale ending was not to be as the West Yorkshire outfit went down by three goals to nil.
Early strikes from Hal Robson-Kanu and Garath McCleary sent the Royals into a ten-minute two goal lead before Jamie Mackie rounded off the scoring moments after city were reduced to ten men.
Filipe Morais was dismissed for a high challenge on Chelsea loanee, Nathaniel Chalobah, who set up Mackie to all but finish off Phil Parkinson’s men.
Bradford were aiming to reach the final four of the competition for the first time in over one-hundred years yet were ultimately beaten by the better side on the night.
Speaking after the loss, Parkisnon said: “We have to be immensely proud of what we have achieved in this competition.
“Obviously tonight (Monday) is tough to take, we wanted to progress and we had a great support cheering us on, but we have to quickly move on.
“Reflecting on what we have accomplished, we have so many great memories from this season's FA Cup.
“We can take that with us for the rest of the season and beyond. We have eleven games to go in the league and we must look to that now.
“No-one in the league, apart from Sheffield United earlier in the season, has had to deal with the amount of high profile games we've had recently.
“The lads have done terrifically well with it all, however, and we're going to have a good go at things now we have a clear run in the league.”
Reading will now face-off against Arsenal at Wembley Stadium on Saturday 18th April.
REMEMBER: £620 was raised by pupils from St Matthews CE Primary last month, pictured (l-r) head teacher, Mr Bob Curran; Bradford City player, Filipe Morais; and Burns Unit representative, Jing Tay
Budding football stars from a Bradford school shot past the goal of raising £600 for a local charity last month, marking the 30-year anniversary of the city’s worst sporting disaster.
Boys and girls from St Matthews CE Primary laced up their football boots in February to take part in a sponsored penalty shoot-out in aid of the Bradford Burns Unit.
The event, held in the school hall involving children from reception through to Year 6, had been organised to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the Bradford City Fire Disaster.
On 11th May 1985, 56 people lost their lives and 258 were injured as a stand at Valley Parade went up in flames. In the aftermath of the tragedy, the burns unit was established.
Last week, on Thursday 26th February, a cheque for £620 was handed over to Bantams player, Filipe Morais, and Jing Tay, from the Burns Unit, on behalf of the school.
Head teacher Bob Curran said it was the second time pupils had raised money for the unit and were proud to be involved during the anniversary year.
“In 2013 we raised £1,500 for the unit with a sponsored spell,” he explained. “This time, in the 30th anniversary of the Bradford City Fire Disaster, we chose a football theme with a sponsored penalty shoot-out.
FOOTBALL: Kai Petty, Haleema Hassan and Madia Sadiq all took part in the school’s penalty shootout competition, organised in line with the 30th anniversary of the Valley parade fire
“We are very grateful to all who sponsored the children and are proud of the money-raising efforts of the pupils, as well as their penalty shoot-out skills.”
The burns unit is completely funded by the support of Bradford City Football Club and public donations.
Mr Tay, explained how money raised by St Matthews pupils would help ensure the charity can continue to conduct their vital research.
“All money donated to the Burns Unit goes directly towards funding research as it has for the past 30 years,” he said.
“We rely on Bradford City Football Club and initiatives like this to keep us running with every donation important in helping us to continue operating.
“We want to say a thank you to the school who have donated this money and well done on hosting such a successful event.”
Hyde Park stretch lead at top as chasing pack stumble
Super Six 4-3 NFA
Super Six claimed their first win of the season in an action-packed encounter with high-flyers NFA, who lost ground on top spot.
From the offset, Raza Rafique's men were pressing their opponents and causing problems in all areas of the pitch, with a fine strike from Wasim Rashid giving his side a deserved lead.
Moments later, Rippon Ali came close to equalising, before the scores were brought level after a fine finish out of nowhere from Kabir Miah.
With half-time approaching it was Super Six who once again edged in front just before the referee’s whistle, as a precise through-ball from Rashid picked out Rafique who slotted the ball past the keeper.
NFA came out determined in the second half and it took just a few minutes before the scores were level again. Monjo Ali’s quick-thinking at a kick-in found Rippon Ali in space who managed to turn his man and score a fine goal.
Super Six still looked very dangerous and it could have been 3-2 moments later but for a fine save from Haseen Bashir.
The league’s bottom side went ahead for a third time in the match when Rashid was put through on goal after a fast counter-attack before Rafique added a fourth shortly after.
NFA did pull one back late on with Miah getting his second of the night with a brilliant left-footed strike from a tight angle but Super Six held onto to a remarkable victory.
MOTM - Wasim Rashid fired in two great goals and also picked up an assist in a standout performance.
Jubodhol 4-0 Samba FC
A double from Nurul Hussain helped Jubodhol to an impressive victory in a one-sided affair against Samba FC last week.
The Bradford side bossed possession early on with Hussain playing up front and causing problems as he directed Jubodhol's attack.
And it was the forward, along with Abdul Kareem, who got the early goals which all-but settled the game.
Shazad back in the side for Samba also had a chance early on as he cut inside from out wide position and shot just over.
Jubodhol started the second half again with more of the possession and it was Shummel who scored the third after some neat work on the left, cutting inside to score low a shot on his weaker right.
Moments later some great work by Hamid for Jubodhol created a chance for Shummell who should have had his second of the night yet his effort went way over the bar as he attempted the lob.
Shazad for Samba did test the keeper with a shot late on but Jubodhol continued to push and NurHussainul got his second to end the night with an impressive win to keep them in third place.
MOTM – A brace from Nurul Hussain rounded off a dominant display from Jubodhol
Tetleys Tino 1-0 Old Bacca Boys
Shazad Hussain got the only goal in the game after a hard fought victory which resulted in two sin-bins for OBB.
The two sides were evenly matched early on with the Abrar brothers for TT testing the goalkeeper with some fierce shots, whilst Ajmal Abrar's effort was also well saved.
TT gained confidence as the game went on and created the early chances in the second half with Ajmal and Afzal combining with a delightful one-two only for the shot to be saved.
After dominating the second half, the goal of the day came when Shazad for TT was through on goal and a fabulous dink over the keeper gave them a well deserved victory.
Meanwhile, Sultan Khan and Tajamal Hussain both were handed their marching orders late on for OBB who will be disappointed to have fallen further behind the league leaders after some fine results in recent weeks.
MOTM: Shazad Hussain claimed the only goal of the game in an important win for TT
Al-Aqs 1-0 Half a Dozen
A late goal from Nawaz guided his side to a narrow victory over Half a Dozen as Al-Aqs moved further clear of the bottom of the table.
The strugglers have claimed points from league leaders Hyde Park and second place NFA in recent weeks, so when they came up against Half a Dozen on Thursday evening, it was always going to be a close affair.
Al-Aqs created their first opening on five minutes when Dilal Ahmed played in Aminul Hoque but his effort was saved by the keeper.
Moments later Aminul was again denied by the keeper after quick thinking long throw from the keeper.
HODC were set up well with new signing 'Jugsy' causing Al-Aqs a few problems and Ali also coming close with an effort just wide of the goal.
Yet, with the game looking likely to end in a stalemate, Nawaz got the only goal of the game in the second half to break the deadlock and earn Al-Aqs all three points.
Man of the Match - Aminul Hoque proved a persistent threat for the victors throughout the game
Hyde Park FC 3-0 Borussia Teeth
Goals from Waleed Akhtar, Kadeem Walker and Jameel sealed a vital win for Hyde Park as they opened up a three point cushion at the top of the table.
Idris Hussain's Hyde Park showed touches of class and looked confident from the start when Waleed Akhtar played a one-two with the excellent Walker to open the scoring.
The SLUK leading goal scorers were not able to break down the Hyde Park defence as they showed the rest of the pack why they are the favourites to take the championship.
Hamza for BT did come close early on when he took on Waleed down the left but his shot was saved by the keeper. Hamza then played a cutback pass to Atif Din whose shot was once again saved by the keeper.
Ibrahim Malik came on for Hyde Park and from that point, they went on to dominate the game, with the playmaker setting up Jameel to claim his side’s second of the game.
A third came shortly after when the lively Walker produced a fine finish to seal the victory.
Man of the Match - Kadeem Walker continued his fine form this year with another two goals
Player of the week
Super Six’s Wasim Rashid had a day to remember as he bagged a brace and also claimed an assist as Super Six shocked high flyers NFA, triumphing with a 4-3 scoreline.
Since entering the league, Super Six have certainly shown their intent to climb off the foot of the table and with performances like last weeks, their rise up the league seems almost inevitable.
Leaders open up gap whilst Borussia Teeth extend unbeaten run to six games.
Super Six Team
Tetley’s Tino 1-1 Borussia Teeth
Borussia Teeth extended their unbeaten run to six league games last week, yet still lost ground on the leading pack, with a 1-1 draw against Tetley's Tino.
The high-flyers have enjoyed a recent upturn in form since their last defeat against NFA back in September, yet were behind almost immediately with a goal inside the first minute.
Ajmal Abrar struck the campaign’s fastest goal of the campaign to put TT in front with a fierce strike.
However, the lead wasn’t to last too long with hotshot, Hamza Ismail, once again finding his name on the scoresheet to take his tally up to 15 for the season and subsequently level the game.
After a draw last week Teeth were looking for all three points to stay in the top four but TT are known to defend well and kept them at bay.
As the second half restarted, early chances fell to both Fahim Rahman and Afzal Hussain who were unable to find a way past opposing keeper, Ziyad Hussain.
Hamza then once again came close to bagging yet another goal close for Borussia with a decent effort, before TT had chances of their own.
Hasan Noshi and Nadeem went close for TT with powerful strikes, yet it was forward Fahid Rahman who was left with his head in his hands after some clever footwork saw him put through on goal before striking the ball straight at the keeper.
As time went by, the game looked to be fizzling out into a draw until Atif Din went through on goal, only to be taken down by TT’s Ajmal. The defender was shown a red card and despite having to leave the field of play, he may have very well saved his team a valuable point.
MOTM: Tetley Tino’s Nadeem was the standout performer on the night and was unlucky not to put his side ahead in the second half
Hyde Park 2-0 Samba Boys
Tyler Bussue scored a goal either side of half time to secure a comfortable win for Hyde Park FC as they held on to their spot at the top of the table.
The league leaders dominated the game throughout and Bussue could have added more goals if his shooting boots had of been on.
The Samba Boys on the other hand, despite appearing to set up well and opting for a very aggressive approach, fell behind through an early goal making it an uphill battle from the start.
With no Key ‘Pin man' Shazad available for Samba, the side struggled up front, lacking that bit of quality in the final third of the pitch.
The second half was much the same story with the highlight move seeing Idris Hussain and Ibrahim Malik involved to put Kadeem Walker through on goal who should have got the third for Hyde Park.
Late chances fell to Waleed Akhtar and Walker once again yet the game finished just 2-0, as the table toppers bounced back from last week’s draw with Super Six.
MOTM: Kadeem Walker from Hyde Park once again showed why he was so important to the team with a fine showing
NFA 1 - 0 HODC
A goal in the first half from Monjur Ali was enough to seal a single goal victory for NFA against Half a Dozen Cousins as pressure was kept on Hyde Park at the top of the table.
Numerous chances fell to NFA before the goal with Rippon Ali coming close and hitting the post before Kabir Miah hit a shot just wide.
Another brilliant chance fell to Kabir when Mohibur Rahman found him with a first time pass only for him to also miss the target.
The deadlock was finally broken when Jahangir Miah played in Monjur Ali to finish of a fine move as NFA remained only behind the leaders on goal difference.
MOTM: NFA’s Kabir Miah helped his side continue to put pressure on leaders, Hyde Park
Al Aqs 0-0 Old Bacca Boys
Two games and two clean sheets for Al Aqs, saw the high-flying Old Bacca Boys lose ground on top spot following a goalless draw last week.
OBB had to settle for a point in a game where they brought the most attacking threat yet Asim Rashid, in the Al Aqs goal, could not be beaten.
Sultan Khan set the pattern of the game when his shot was saved by the keeper after skipping past two players before Ali came close on two occasions.
At the other end of the pitch, Dilal Ahmed worked tirelessly for Al Aqs who carved a few chances of their own towards the end of the game and could have taken all three points, if Wasim was able to convert his chances.
OBB will be disappointed to see a five point gap open up between them and the joint league leaders, whilst Al Aqs continue to show signs of improvement.
MOTM: Al Aqs’ Imran Khan picked up the individual accolade as he helped his side to one of their best results this season
Jubodhol 2-1 Super Six
A close encounter between one of the league’s top teams and the bottom side may have finished 2-1 to the favourites, yet Super Six once again showed major signs of improvement.
The win sees Jubodhol move up to third place with a vital victory with Abdul Kareem and Hamid Ali strikes guiding the side to victory.
Ali could, and should, have had picked up his second goal of the night but only to see the Super Six keeper to pull off a smart save.
Super Six did pull one back with Wasim Rashid scoring a fine goal, yet as full time approached, they were unable to find the elusive equaliser succumbing to a single goal defeat.
MOTM: Abdul Kalam was
Haseeb Ahmed Soccer League
Player of the Month
Borussia Teeth’s Haseeb Ahmed picked up October’s Player of the Month award after bagging an incredible twelve goals in the last four games.
His return from injury has helped lift his side to fifth place in the league and at present, the Teeth are unbeaten in their last six games since his return.
STAR: Brazilian midfielder, Elano, is enjoying his time in India, bagging eight goals and flying high in the league’s scoring charts.
When India announced that the country would be launching its first major football competition, the eyes of the world were drawn to what Sepp Blatter labelled as ‘one of football’s sleeping giants’.
With a population of much more than one-billion, the nation has all the potential to become a major player in the world’s favourite sport, even if it may take a number of decades, and a lot of investment, to achieve it.
Nonetheless, the Indian Super League (ISL) which finally kicked off at the start of October, has proven quite the hit with fans all over the world.
An average attendance of almost 24,000, similar to that of Italy’s Serie A and higher than France’s esteemed Ligue 1, certainly shows that fans are getting behind the star-studded teams.
One player who has lived up to his billing is the Brazilian star, and former Manchester City midfielder, Elano, who leads the league’s scoring charts on eight goals, five adrift of his nearest competitor.
His performances for Chennaiyin FC have helped the side climb to the top end of the table whilst fellow big name players, such as Katsouranis, Anelka and Trezeguet all have a couple of goals to their names.
LAUNCH: The start of the first ISL went off with a bang with a special opening ceremony last month.
The one noticeable thing missing from the scorer’s charts is perhaps the inclusion of any Indian players with only Atletico de Kolkata’s Cavin Lobo reaching the two goal milestone.
There is no denying that the ISL is still in its early stages of development, yet the response it has received shows clearly that it has the potential to grow into much more than an annual two-month tournament.
Star names seem to be enjoying their time in South Asia and the chance for national players to train and play alongside the likes of some of world’s football most respected journeymen can only be positive.
The inaugural ISL concludes next month yet expect it to come back bigger and better in 2015.
Chasing pack fail to capitalise on dropped points whilst Monday league also launches
Old Bacca Boys 1 – 1 Borussia Teeth
With both sides looking to gain ground on top spot, Old Bacca Boys and Borussia Teeth faced off in a close encounter which either team could have won, yet neither eventually did.
Both teams were coming into the game full of confidence following convincing displays last week, and it was Old Bacca Boys who had the best of the early chances.
Arman Yasim eventually opened the scoring for the Boys with a comfortable finish, temporarily moving his side to within one point of top spot.
However, when facing off against the league’s most lethal strike force, it is always going to be a challenge to keep a clean sheet, as Old Bacca Boys soon found out.
Goal-machine Hamza Ismail was a constant threat throughout the game and finally found the back of the net, to claim his 14th of the season.
The sides both had chances to win it late on yet as time ran out, it seemed the Bacca Boys and Borussia Teeth were happy to settle for the point.
The point moves Old Bacca Boys to third spot, just three off the leading pack, whilst Borussia remain fifth, three points from their opponents.
MOTM: Hamza Ismail has now bagged 14 goals in just 10 games and continues to lead the league’s scoring charts
NFA 0 - 0 Al Aqs
The opening fixture of this week’s Soccer League failed to produce any goals as NFA lost the chance to take temporary lead at the top of the table, drawing 0-0 with Al Aqs.
It is the second goalless draw in a row for NFA, who failed to find a way past an inspired Al Aqs defence.
Asim ‘Jimmy’ Rashid was in fine form as the shot stopper refused to let anything pass into his goal, frustrating the favourites with a string of fine saves.
Al Aqs first draw of the season may be their best result this campaign, whilst NFA will be wondering why they weren’t able to bag one goal, against a side that had shipped 11 in their last three outings.
MOTM: Asim Rashid’s fantastic display in the Al Aqs goal ensured his side earned a valiant point.
Hyde Park 1 – 1 Super Six
After watching their closest rival drop points in an unlikely encounter with Al Aqs, Hyde Park knew that a win over the league’s bottom side would propel them two points clear at the top.
However, as is the case with the unpredictable game of football, things didn’t exactly go to plan for Hyde Park.
The table-toppers faced off against Super Six, who impressed last week in a narrow 1-0 defeat at the hands of Tetley’s Tino.
Things seemed to be going to plan when Tyler Bussue claimed his tenth goal of the season to put the high flyers ahead. Yet, with only one minute left on the clock, Razza Rafique fired in a fine goal to deny Hyde Park a cushion at the top of the league.
MOTM: Hyde Park’s Waleed Akhtar impressed from the first to the last whistle.
Samba FC 1 – 0 Tetley’s Tino
After an unfortunate defeat at the hands of Borussia Teeth last week, Samba FC picked up their third win of the season this week with a 1-0 triumph against Tetley’s Tino.
Imran Khan grabbed the only goal of the game whilst the notoriously leaky defence, which had shipped 26 goals in just nine games previously, stayed strong throughout.
Qammar Hussain starred for the victors to guide his side to a deserved win against what had been the league’s joint best defence, conceding just three goals before this week’s fixture.
MOTM: The ever reliant Qammar Hussain picked up this week’s individual accolade.
Jubodhol 1 – 0 Half a Dozen
With teams above them slipping up, last week’s team of the week Jubodhol took full advantage, making it back-to-back wins as they defeated Half a Dozen by the solitary goal.
Hamid Ali once again found his name on the scoresheet with the only goal of the game.
All four sides above Jubodhol drew, meaning they gained ground on this year’s high flyers.
MOTM: Nurul Miah’s fine passing display was a highlight in the one-goal affair.
Player of the week:
Old Bacca Boys may have lost the chance to move to within one point of top spot yet Suliman Khan still delivered a stand out performance to earn the individual accolade of Player of the Week. His side will have to step up their performance next week if they are to triumph over an Al Aqs side who will be full of confidence following their goalless draw with high flying NFA.
TRIUMPHANT: The Palestine All-Stars team clinched the national title last month after defeating the nation’s best five-a-side teams. Team pic includes: Adam Zaman, Anees Younis, Aadam Chhibda, Abdullah Mayat, Muhammad Omar, Aamir Aswat, Rafaqat Hussain, and Youssef Elmanea.
A five-a-side team from Kirklees showcased their skills to the rest of the country last week as they won a nationwide competition held at England’s training base.
Palestine All-Stars, made up mostly of students from Dewsbury and Batley, qualified for the StreetGames Football Pools Fives national championship after success in their regional contest.
Competing at St George’s Park, in Burton-upon-Trent, the local team came up against squads from up and down the country, kicking off the competition against the Scottish representatives - Summerston.
Despite a humbling defeat, the All-Stars bounced back to qualify from their group and advance into the knockout stages and eventually made it all the way to the final.
As fate would have it, the North-East representatives were once again drawn up against Summerston and with the national title just one win away, a close encounter was always expected.
Eventually winning 2-1 in the final, the All-Stars, claimed the prestigious trophy ahead of the 11 other regional teams who had qualified for the finals.
SKILLS: Abdullah Mayat runs with the ball as the All-Stars progress in the tournament.
Team representative, Adam Zaman, from Dewsbury, said he was delighted to lift the trophy following an ‘amazing experience’.
“We had initially qualified for the tournament after winning the North-East regional competition and so were invited to the national championships last month,” he said.
“The experience there was one I’m sure none of us will ever forget.
“As well as having the chance to play against some of the country’s top five-a-side teams at St George’s Park, we also met former England manager, Graham Taylor, and Under-21 manager, Gareth Southgate, which was fantastic.”
Going into the final, Zaman added that the whole team wanted to bounce back with a win, following an opening game defeat, and did just that to lift the trophy.
“We knew what we were up against when playing the Scottish team in the final,” he continued.
“They had beaten us in the first game which made us even more motivated to show what we can do, so when we won, it was just crazy.”
Gareth Southgate, national ambassador for the StreetGames Football Pools Fives, praised the standard of football on show throughout the tournament.
Before the final he said: “If the standard of the football so far is anything to go by then this should be an absolutely fantastic final – and what better place to hold it than at the amazing facilities at St George’s Park.
“This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of the competitors to show what they can do in the same place where England’s very best train for their international duties.”
Despite their success in the five-a-side game, many members of the All-Stars team are now competing in 11-a-side competitions locally in Kirklees.
In 2006, a football academy was set up in the heart of Bradford to bring sport to children and now, just eight years later, this same club is flourishing with two junior sides and one senior outfit storming the city’s leagues.
The Manningham Football Academy was initially developed through the United Youth Forum with the aim of increasing participation numbers in football, whilst also getting healthy, making friends and gaining confidence.
Four years later and the first competitive side was launched, the Manningham All Stars Under 12’s – now Under 16’s, before a second Under 12 unit established in 2012 and a senior side followed in 2013.
CHAMPS: Manningham All Stars’ senior setup celebrated a championship winning season last year despite only setting up in 2013
Success was almost instantaneous for the open age side who, this past season, have picked up the league title, whilst also making it to two cup semi-finals.
Competing against teams from all across West Yorkshire, the senior’s had a campaign to remember and celebrated alongside their junior colleagues at a presentation ceremony in the city last weekend.
Senior team manager, and club chairman, Khalil Hussain, said it had been a year to remember and thanked the players, coaches and sponsors for their support over the past 12 months.
He said: “This year has seen the Manningham All Stars gain valuable experience, it has not been an easy ride but everybody has worked extra hard to make our dreams a reality.
“We will build on this season’s success and hope to bring more silverware home. All this would not be possible without our sponsors TyreTrax, Sheikh Ayub Solicitors and Auto Tech who have all supported the club passionately and with 100 per cent commitment.”
The team’s rapid development is also partially down to the charity, StreetGames, which changes lives and communities through sport.
The charity specialises in bringing sport to disadvantaged communities across the UK by supporting a network of projects such as the Manningham Football Academy.
With the 2014/15 season just around the corner, Manningham All Stars is recruiting players for new Under 8’s and 11’s sides, as well as for the already established under 15’s, under 17’s and senior setup.
If you are interested in signing up please contact Jerry, on 07790 874 122, or Barry, on 07931 391 176.
England’s top football division is likely to welcome a host of new faces over the summer yet one player who has already booked his place in the top flight is Burnley’s very own Waqas Azam.
Following the Clarets’ promotion last weekend, the 17-year-old defender will be one of the very few Asian footballers registered in the Premier League next season.
His agent, Shehneela Ahmed, who became the world’s first Asian female football agent recognised by the FA last year, said she was delighted to see one of her clients progress so quickly in the sport.
PROSPECT: 17-year-old Waqas Azam currently plays for Burnley FC’s youth team, yet following the side’s promotion to the Premier League, he will be just one of a select few Asian players to be registered in England’s top flight
Speaking previously, Ms Ahmed had stated that her long term ambition was to increase the number of Asian footballers in the top division and with Burnley’s confirmed promotion; it seems her targets are beginning to be met well ahead of schedule.
She said: “Waqas [Azam] has a great future which lies ahead of him and will be a great role model for Asian youngsters across UK.”
Azam, who was born and raised in Burnley, is just one of Ms Ahmed’s growing list of clients and she says she has enjoyed paving her career path since leaving her last profession.
“It’s a challenge for me but I do look forward to it,” she said.
“To date I have been dealing with hardcore criminals so what can be so difficult when it comes to dealing with footballers, managers and agents. I have to start from somewhere.”
The female football agent added her belief that training programmes across the UK, like the one at Burnley, are currently offering young and aspiring footballers a greater chance of breaking into the professional game.
She said: “One must realise that youth development programmes are an important stepping stone to one day playing professionally.
“Talent alone is no longer enough. Desire and commitment are the most important attributes for young footballers - if you are good enough, you are good enough and you will make it.
“In my last few visits to football clubs and academies, I have seen some great young players, their touch and control is impressive.
“I have enjoyed the fact that they are all so keen to learn and experiment. With myself making my presence, I hope that visits like this further inspires these youngsters to be great.
“I think the best way to motivate young football players is through positive reinforcement, incentives and rewards that motivate them to do the things you want them to do.”
With Waqas Azam making inroads for Asian footballers across the country, and Shehneela Ahmed by his side, the prospect of having more Asian stars compete in England’s top flight in the future could well and truly be a reality.
Two-time world champion Amir Khan has lent his support to Chelsea’s Asian Star initiative as the club’s ground-breaking programme returns for a sixth year in May.
The former world champion and 2004 Olympic silver-medal winning boxer is amongst the most famous Asian sportsmen in the world and had no hesitation in giving his support to the project, designed to tackle under-representation of Asian footballers throughout the game.
‘Asian Star’ initiative gets thumbs up from boxing icon
Eden Hazard launched Asian Star 2014 in February with this year’s event due to take place on Monday 5th May at the club’s state-of-the-art training ground in Cobham, with places still available for players aged between nine and 12.
Amir Khan said he was delighted to support the initiative and hoped it would have a ‘huge positive effect’ on young people and the communities they live in.
He said: “Chelsea’s Asian Star programme is now in its sixth year and is a great way to get more Asian kids in to sport.
“It can be a massive boost for Asian football and I'm sure that it will help more young players from Asian backgrounds get the chances in the game that their talent deserves.
“It is well documented that there are only a few British-Asian professional footballers and the Asian Star programme is addressing that and letting people from the Asian community know that they can play football, the talent is there and there are clubs willing to nurture those skills.”
When the project begins, the aspiring footballers will be judged on a series of matches and tests specifically designed and used by the Chelsea Academy to examine speed, skill and ability.
The club will also be inviting managers, coaches and scouts from clubs at all levels of the game to identify talented youngsters and information will also be on hand for Asian players to find clubs in their area.
“It is not just about finding the football stars of the future it is about getting youngsters interested in sport in general, which in turn leads to healthier lifestyles for the children involved,” Khan added.
“The opportunities that the programme offers can be of huge benefit to the young people involved and I wish all those taking part the best of luck.”
Applications for this year's tournament are now open via www.chelseafc.com/asianstar or firstname.lastname@example.org
Pupils from Lady Royd Primary were thrilled to welcome Bradford City striker James Hanson to the school last week to speak about his move from co-op shelf stacker, to Wembley goal hero.
The towering centre forward spoke to pupils about the motivation and determination needed to succeed in life and about his own accomplishments in football.
SPEAKER: Lady Royd Year 5 pupils, Sahar Qureshi and Emily Johnson, welcomed Bradford City forward, James Hanson, to the school last week
After a short montage of the club’s finest goal scoring moments, and a sing-along to the Bantam supporter’s song, the 26-year-old was happy to answer questions from his enthralled audience of young fans.
He talked about his love of football from a very young age and playing for Huddersfield Town Academy, a team that is still his favourite today.
Hanson started his senior career playing semi-professional non-league football with Eccleshill United and Guiseley, balancing his football career with a job in his local Co-operative supermarket.
With 46 goals scored in just two seasons he said he was ‘delighted’ to catch the eye of Bradford boss Stuart McCall who immediately signed him for Bradford City, where he has been a fan’s favourite since 2009.
Born and raised in Bradford, he admitted that being a professional footballer is his absolute dream job, especially playing for his local team and even better when the team is playing well.
“I have been at Bradford City now for six years and I love every minute of it,” he told his young admirers.
Asked about his training and particularly how he scored so many goals, James explained how he trained every day, with the schedule dependent on the matches ahead.
He put his goal-scoring success down to shear hard work and having the right attitude and encouraged all the children that, whatever they chose to do, these were certainly the best qualities to adopt.
Finally, as might be expected, he was asked about that winning goal against Aston Villa that secured Bradford City’s historic place in the League Cup final at Wembley.
“I had not scored for a while so I was particularly pleased with that goal” he said. “It felt like the best feeling in the world when it went in the back of the net.”
Staff at Lady Royd added their gratitude to the striker for calling in to the school, with Mr Sheard adding: “He is a very inspirational young man and a great role model for our young pupils…and of course he is from Bradford.”
A professional footballer turned coach has set up a one-of-a-kind sports academy in Yorkshire as he hopes to pass his love of sport onto the next generation of stars.
FOUNDER: Jameel Nawaz started up the J3 Sports Academy to get as many people involved in sport as he can, from his speciality in freestyle football to many other sports
Jameel Nawaz, from Halifax, launched the J3 Sports Academy in September last year. With a team of qualified coaches by his side, the club aims to improve the participation in sport from youngsters aged between six and 13-years-old, as well as older teens and adults, whilst also teaching the skills and techniques needed in an array of activities.
From mixed martial arts (MMA) to cricket, rugby to football, and even freestyle football, the academy is a one of a kind with set-ups operating in Bradford and Halifax. Whether you want to turn professional in a sport, improve your skills, or just get fit, the academy has dedicated coaches in different fields to help you achieve your goals.
At just 25-years-old, Jameel may be considered a young coach yet his enthusiasm for sport, and passion to help children get involved, has seen the academy already begin to flourish under his leadership.
Having played at the highest level, for clubs such as Huddersfield Town, Halifax, AFC Emley and Liversedge, he explained why he thought it was the right time to launch the coaching programme.
“After picking up a few knocks and injuries whilst playing football I thought now was the time to take up coaching,” he explained.
“Huddersfield Town put me through the training where I was able to collect my official coaching badges and it was after that that I decided to set up the academy.
“I’ve always felt strongly about giving back to the community and with the academy we try to help others sustain healthy active lifestyles enabling participants to fulfil their potential.
“J3 Sports Academy is not like others, who charge an arm and a leg to just get involved, rather a minimal fee which covers the cost of renting the facilities and paying our coaches.”
FOOTBALLERS: Around 80 children turned up to last Sunday’s football sessions at Calderdale College
Despite only launching last year, attendance figures are already very promising for the academy, with the Saturday and Sunday football sessions proving to be a big hit with the local children.
Running at Grange Technology College, Bradford, on Saturdays between 11am and 12pm, and Calderdale College, Halifax, on Sundays, between 2pm and 4pm, more than 30 children regularly turn up for the hour-long sessions.
Jameel was delighted to see so many youngsters taking up the sport he loves and hopes to see numbers continue to rise in the future.
“We are more than just a sports club and provide an opportunity for all to get involved,” he said.
“We aim to utilise the power of sport as a platform to inspire marginalised communities to get involved, whilst also tackling issues, such as racism and youth crime, by promoting community cohesion.
“Through some fantastic partnerships with schools and other organisations, we are already seeing a great number of people turn up to our events and hope to go from strength-to-strength.”
If you would like to get involved with the academy, whether that be in a coaching role or just taking up one of the many sports on offer, please contact Jameel at email@example.com
A Keighley resident, who was forced to give up playing football after being restricted to a wheelchair, is now dedicating his life to helping others achieve success in the beautiful game.
At just 21-years-old, Sohail Rehman has become a pioneer for disabled sports coaches after he became the first wheelchair-bound fully-qualified football coach in the world.
Suffering from spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), he was restricted to a wheelchair at 13-years-old after growing up playing football with friends in the street.
COACH: Sohail Rehman hopes to manage a football league club one day as he continues his progression as a coach
From then, he has not only achieved his football coaching badges but also helped launch his own project, Class on Grass, which helps develop young players grow into the sport.
The inspirational coach currently trains Sunday league teams in the local area and explains why he got into coaching.
“Growing up, watching the likes of Ronaldo and Messi, I saw these players, and yes they are very talented, but always remember there's a group of coaches who have helped them all the way,” he said.
“I was just proud to become a coach. I love to be out there on a cold morning coaching and people might find that hard to believe but I love it.”
Sohail studied sports technology at college, and worked with the Manchester United disabled supporters association.
HONOURED: Sohail was recently named as an ambassador for the Intouch Foundation, pictured here with InTouch National Mobile Soup Kitchen Manager, Faisal Tariq
His passion for the Red Devils was further increased when he received a personal letter from former manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, commemorating him for his achievement in passing his coaching badges.
The Manchester United legend is one of Sohail’s biggest idols and he said it was unbelievable to receive such a mention.
Despite receiving praises from the highest level, it is in fact the grassroots game where the local coach is currently enjoying spending his time, helping children achieve their potential in football.
“I coach every day nearly and I love it,” he said.
“To help local kids in the community develop their skills is my personal highlight. Every kid wants to be a footballer and I just want to help them in their quest.
“The fact that they gain such enjoyment from football is great to see.”
Earlier this month, the football enthusiast became the latest ambassador for the charity, the Intouch Foundation.
Speaking about the foundation, Sohail added: “It's amazing the work they do. To stand out there once a week to feed the community is amazing; it's a great feeling.”
Faisal Tariq, InTouch National Mobile Soup Kitchen Manager, added: “Sohail was selected as an ambassador for InTouch as he is a role model and inspiration to everyone around the world.
“No matter what obstacles life has thrown at him he has never stopped chasing his dream, Sohail for me as one of our ambassador gives us the motivation to keep doing what we do best at InTouch Foundation which is being InTouch with those who are in need.”
A Rochdale woman made history earlier this month after she became the first woman, from an Asian background, to officially qualify as an FA registered football agent.
Shehneela Ahmed broke the mould last week after English football’s governing body officially recognised her in the profession and she now hopes that her advances will open up the door for more Asian women to follow suit.
AGENT: Shehneela Ahmed made history after becoming an FA registered football agent following a career as a solicitor
“At the time when I applied to become a Football Agent I wasn’t even aware that there weren’t any Asian females in the role,” she explained, adding she knew that there were ‘only few females registered with the FA’.
“It’s only after I completed the course that I became aware of the fact and to me personally, this is a big thing.
“It’s a golden opportunity for me to promote females from other ethnic backgrounds to do the same. People are becoming aware that the sports world is no longer just for men with more and more females now involved in the industry.”
Born into an Asian Muslim family, Ms Ahmed grew up in a working class area of Rochdale before heading to Staffordshire to study Law, going on to do a Legal practice Course at Guildford Law College.
Initially working as an independent solicitor, the law professional is currently employed by one of the largest criminal Firms in the South West, working as a Duty Solicitor Criminal Advocate.
Her first venture into the football industry is likely to pose previously unrecognized challenges yet for Shehneela; it is all part of the job.
“It’s a challenge for me and I am looking forward to this. To date I have been dealing with Hardcore Criminals so what can be so difficult when it comes to dealing with Footballers, Managers and Agents.”
The former Lancashire resident added that she has now set herself a number of personal goals, besides that of promoting the industry amongst women.
“I want to show the Asian Parents that the Sport Industry is not a bad profession for their children and they should encourage their child to enter it,” Ms Ahmed said.
“It is a respected profession just like being a Lawyer or a Doctor. It is important that they get over any stigma which has surrounded sport in the past.”
Just a stone’s throw away from the old Millmoor Stadium, a community football club has been making great strides in resurrecting the sport in the area, with a specific focus on BME players.
United 4 Community FC was setup three years ago to allow prospective Asian football players the chance to get involved with football and with up to 40 players training every week, it’s fair to say the club has become a success.
Created off the back of research conducted between 2009 and 2010, the Rotherham-based club has already become an important hub for prospective Asian footballers in the local area.
Players travel from surrounding areas such as Eastwood, Ferham, and Masbrough and represent a wide demographic from Pakistani to Slovak, and Afghani to Yemeni.
united 4 community fc
An under 16 setup was even launched last year to move players from grassroots to club participation level.
The team currently competes in the Sheffield and District league Division F, in what is the first of many competitive teams which will hopefully take-off in the near future.
Team manager and one of the founders of the club, Nathan Carlin, has been delighted with the side’s performances so far this season, despite a ‘tricky start’ to 11-aside competition.
“I am really enjoying it and so are all the lads,” he explained. “Initially, when we first launched, there wasn’t a bug rush to get involved because a lot of the players have never actually played 11-aside at a competitive level.
“We have a big range of abilities in the squad but everybody really enjoys taking part in the games and training and it is great to see them improving every week.”
Mark Cummins, inclusion officer at Rotherham United Community Sport Trust, added that the football club is actually more than just a sports team and serves a valued role in the local community.
He said: “United 4 Community is more than a club; it is a vehicle for a much wider project.
“The players we have training with us also have the chance to attend youth clubs on Thursday night instead of just standing around on the streets.
“Likewise, we have held classes to teach them about the right lifestyles for professional athletes and to educate them in a way which is not only informative but also interesting.”
Players training with the team often come from working-class backgrounds and may struggle to pay for necessities in the sport such as travelling to games and kits.
United 4 Community FC therefore provides free travel to all its players for away games whilst the kits were kindly donated by local Rotherham Councillors.
A truly community club, based in one of the most deprived areas of Rotherham, United 4 Community pride themselves on their inclusive player policy. Zanib Rasool, Community Manager at Rotherham United Community Sports Trust, believes this approach has not only proved beneficial for the players but also for the whole community.
She said: “The club has gone a long way to tackling the barriers that were highlighted in our 2011 short film titles ‘They play cricket don’t they?’.
“It looked at issues faced by British Asians in grassroots and professional football, such as racism and cultural problems, yet United 4 Community is working hard to eradicate these issues.”
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.
WINNERS: The winning team on the day celebrate with their trophies, whilst every attendee was awarded with a medal
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.
KICK-IT-OUT: Bradford City star, James Meredith, presented medals to each competitor on the day and was happy to pose for pictures with participants
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.
HELPER: Bradford City Council Sport development Officer, Mick Driver, was happy to help organise the day and ‘promote diversity’
“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.”