As a Chelsea fan I’m delighted
Abhishek Bachchan, one of the worlds leading Bollywood stars, and Jaz Dhami, the UK’s Bhangra singing sensation, both have given their backing to Chelsea’s Search for an Asian Star campaign. Abhishek urged young players to sign up to the project.
Abhishek who is a huge Chelsea FC fan, underlined the importance of the programme which is designed to give a much needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game.
Bachchan said, “I know how important it is for young Asian kids to get involved with sport, not just to reach the top but to enjoy themselves, meet new people and be part of a team. As a Chelsea fan I’m delighted that my club is taking a lead on providing these amazing opportunities for Asian players and would urge everyone with a love for the game to sign up and take part.”
Bhangra star Jaz Dhami joined the Chelsea players at Cobham as he got behind Chelsea’s Asian Soccer Star campaign. He was treated to a tour of the training ground and watched the players being put through their paces before being presented with his own Chelsea shirt by player Florent Malouda.
Afterwards, Jaz spoke about his involvement in the campaign, aimed to bring more Asian youngsters into the professional game. “I’ve really enjoyed seeing the players here at Chelsea,” he said. And added,
“But the main reason for me to come down is to support the campaign and get Asians involved in football. I have been working very closely with a number of sporting bodies in encouraging more Asians to get involved in football as I want to help break down boundaries and encourage more Asians to get involved in the game.”
“It’s a fantastic campaign because Asians don’t have the path, they don’t have the direction to see where they can go in football, so if I can help make a difference it would be great.”
You can count the number of Asian professional players in the UK almost on the fingers of one hand and Jaz who is also a qualified coach believes this has to change. “I am a football fan myself, I’ve always had a big passion for football, but I think a lack of involvement is to do with parental pressure, many Asian kids aren’t pushed towards football, so my main aim is to break down barriers and support them as well as I can.”
“It is a fantastic initiative that not only gives young Asians a chance to break into professional football, but also provides a platform to lift awareness of football within the Asian community which I feel is important in trying to get more Asian kids involved in the game. I will be attending the tournaments which will take place over the bank holiday weekend to offer my encouragement and support to this extremely proactive project.”
The tournament will take place on the second May Bank Holiday weekend (29-31) for players from Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi backgrounds aged eight to 13-years-old.
Participants will be judged on a series of matches and tests specifically designed and used by the Chelsea Academy to examine speed, skill and ability.
One player from each age group will be selected for a week’s training with the Chelsea Academy squads during the summer with any player meeting the required standard being offered the chance to be signed by the Blues.
Last year’s initiative saw 350 young people attending the Cobham training ground and the three winning players training and turning out for Chelsea teams during the summer. Two of last year’s winners have since gone to be signed by Leyton Orient and Southend.
Chelsea Football 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.
Applications are now open but places are limited for each day. To register for the trials please visit the Chelsea website http://www.chelseafc.com/page/AsianSoccerStar.