The inspirational efforts of British Asians working in football were recognised at the Asian Football Awards 2013, which took place at Wembley Stadium on Tuesday evening (8th October).
Among the big winners on the night were Swansea City and Wales defender Neil Taylor, Cardiff City’s Kim Bo-Kyung, Tottenham doctor Shabaaz Mughal – who helped save the life of Bolton Wanderers’ Fabrice Muamba when the player collapsed during the FA Cup quarter-final in March 2012 – Brentford FC scout Manisha Tailor, Wigan Athletic FC scout Irfan Kawri and grassroots coach Bal Singh.
The Feyenoord and Norway midfielder Harmeet Singh won a Special Recognition honour, while highly rated teenager Yan Dhanda, aged just 14 and the first player of Indian origin ever to sign for Liverpool FC, won the Up and Coming award.
A full list of winners is attached.
Presenters of the 16 awards included high-profile representatives from British football and media, such as England internationals Gary Lineker, Dion Dublin and Ray Parlour, BBC TV presenter Manish Bhasin and the PFA’s Brendon Batson. Bangra singing sensation Juggy D also performed.
Speaking at the event, Batson said: “Asian football is in a great place. England are on the look out for talent. Talent is the only currency you need. We want to see young players coming through. There is an untapped pool of talent and we really need to exploit that.
“The importance of these awards needs to be recognised at all levels. For every player fortunate to play at the elite end, they started at grass roots level. We need to support the development of grassroots football and increase the level of participation. This will help Asian football grow. We need to see greater numbers in the academies. We want those people involved in Asian football to progress to become charter standard clubs.”
The Asian Football Awards (AFA) aim to improve the awareness of the positive impact made by Asians within the UK football industry and to engage with organisations and individuals to help increase participation levels.
AFA founder Baljit Rihal said: “I can proudly say that the Asian Football Awards has already encouraged more Asians to get involved in every aspect of the game, and will continue to do so. Our vision remains to support the growth of UK Asians in football.
“Since our inaugural event last year, the support from across the industry has been astonishing, but we are not just concerned with increasing Asian participation on the field. Our aim is also to help make the hierarchies of organisations that govern football more reflective of the society within which we live.”
The hosts for the awards evening were BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Khan and Sky Sports News presenter Dharmesh Sheth, while the judging panel included representatives from The FA, The PFA and Kick It Out, as well as the chief executive officer of International Airlines Group, Willie Walsh, the BBC Sport presenter Manish Bhasin and Amit Bhatia, the vice-chairman of Queens Park Rangers FC.
The AFA are also continuing their engagement with grassroots football. In association with Goals Soccer Centres they hosted the first Asian nationwide five-a-side tournament – The AFA Trophy – throughout May and June, with more than 200 teams taking part.
The Awards have Goals Soccer Centres as their headline sponsor, and are also supported by The Football Association, Kick It Out, The Professional Footballers’ Association, Show Racism The Red Card and Sporting Equals.
List of winners for Asian Football Awards 2013
NON-LEAGUE PLAYER (sponsored by Inventive Sports)
Winner: Jasbir Singh (Solihull Moors FC)
Also nominated: Adnan Ahmad (Droylsden FC), Netan Sansara (Boston United FC), Jey Siva (Wealdstone FC),
Aman Verma (Stockport County FC)
AFA TOURNAMENT (sponsored by BritAsia TV)
Winners: West One Ballers
Runners-up: Bacca FC
BEHIND THE SCENES – ADMINISTRATION (sponsored by Premier)
Winner: Abu Nasir (Liverpool FC)
Also nominated: Naz Ali (Accrington Stanley FC), Harj Hir (Leicester City FC), Samir Singh (Arsenal FC)
SOUTH-EAST ASIAN PLAYER OF THE YEAR (sponsored by Korea Foods)
Winner: Kim Bo-Kyung (Cardiff City FC & South Korea)
Also nominated: Shinji Kagawa (Manchester United FC & Japan), Ki Sung-Yueng (Swansea City FC & South Korea)
WOMAN IN FOOTBALL (sponsored by Anthony Nolan Trust)
Winner: Manisha Tailor (Coach / Brentford FC scout & Rachel Yankey Football Programme)
Also nominated: Ayesha Abdeen (Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation), Mehrun Ahmed (Football Unites Racism
Divides), Samana Fazel (All Sports Women), Saddiqa Shan (Coventry University)
COACH (sponsored by Currencies 4 You)
Winner: Bal Singh (Khalsa Football Academy, Bedfordshire)
Also nominated: Judan Ali (Head of Elite Development – Chinese Taipei), Rehan Mirza (Pro-10 Soccer Academy,
Nottinghamshire), Pav Singh (Leeds United FC), Kam Uppal (West Bromwich Albion FC)
ASIAN TEAM (sponsored by Getty Images)
Winner: Mahal FC (Birmingham)
Also nominated: Albion Sports FC (Bradford), FC Leytonstone (east London), Indian Gymkhana FC (SSH) (west
London), Khalsa Football Academy (Bedfordshire), Punjab United Wolves (Wolverhampton), Sporting Bengal United
(Mile End, east London), Sporting Khalsa (West Midlands)
UP & COMING PLAYER (sponsored by Pinder Reaux Solicitors)
Winner: Yan Dhanda (Liverpool FC)
Also nominated: Dylan Lall (Brighton & Hove Albion FC), Samir Nabi (West Bromwich Albion FC)
INSPIRATION (sponsored B4U Network)
Winner: Irfan Kawri (Wigan Athletic FC scout / coach / mentor)
Also nominated: Sab Bham (Salaam Peace, east London), Kashif Siddiqi (Northampton Town FC / KSF Foundation,
west London), Akeel Tahir (Manchester United Deaf Team), Punjabi Wolves (Wolverhampton)
YOUNG PLAYER (sponsored by Sky Ex)
Winner: Adil Nabi (West Bromwich Albion FC)
Also nominated: Malvind Benning (Walsall FC), Jhai Dhillon (Stevenage FC), Josh Shama (Oxford United FC)
UNSUNG HERO (sponsored by Shampan Group and Shampan Foundation)
Winner: Butch Fazal (Chair National Asians in Football Forum)
Also nominated: Mesba Ahmad (London Tigers), Resham Basra (Managed Guru Nanak Gurdwara team in Bedford),
Mohammed Shahnawaz (Founder of Pakistan International 11 / FootballPakistan.com), Abdal Ullah (President
Stepney FC, east London / founder of Safer Neighbourhood Tournament / councillor)
MEDIA (sponsored by fc business magazine)
Winner: Amar Singh (Evening Standard)
Also nominated: Ravit Anand (Football Exclusives – non-League), Bobbie Chahal (Soccer AM – Sky Sports),
Jason Mohammad (BBC Sports), Reshmin Chowdhury (BBC Sports)
BEHIND THE SCENES – MEDICAL (sponsored by Majestic Health)
Winner: Shabaaz Mughal (Tottenham Hotspur FC)
Also nominated: Imran Alam (Clyde FC), Zaf Iqbal (Liverpool FC), Sangi Patel (Queens Park Rangers FC)
DEVELOPMENT PROJECT (sponsored by borro)
Winner: Salaam Peace (east London)
Also nominated: Chelsea Asian Star, Khalsa Football Federation, Muslim Women’s Sport Foundation, Sport Esprit
SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD
Winner: Harmeet Singh (Feyenoord FC & Norway)
PLAYER (sponsored by Goals Soccer Centres)
Winner: Neil Taylor (Swansea City FC & Wales)
Also nominated: Danny Batth (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Michael Chopra (Blackpool FC)