Simran Jhamat, who played for Sporting Khalsa FC is now the England Captain for her age group.
On May 28-29, 2016, the Shaheedee Football and Hockey tournament, organised by WASA (Walsall Asian Sports Association) and KFF (Khalsa Football Federation), took place at Aston University in which 15,000 people attended.
WASA are a Midlands based organisation endeavouring in promoting sports for all but, in particular, raising the profile of British South Asian’s in football.
The tournaments teams of various age groups ranging from Under 9s to Over 35s and around 75 teams will be competing each weekend. The Football teams number 40 senior (600 players) and 40 junior in football (450 players).
The beautiful game, football, and hockey take precedence but the event also included a weightlifting competition and a martial art display/show match; two sports which are immensely popular amongst the Brit-Asian community.
The Walsall Event 2016
It was the first of five grassroots tournaments taking place in the summer of 2016; the other destinations include, Barking (June 11-12), Derby (June 25-26), Birmingham (July 9-10) and Leicester (July 23-24).
In 2016’s tournament, Staffordshire County Cricket were also introduced to proceedings and they provided a taster session for the many children who attended.
The organisers hope to have cricket youth teams participate in a knockout tournament to coincide with the existing kids hockey fixtures in the future.
WASA have maintained an exemplary record in setting the standard in organised football for Asians, and as a result have received acknowledgement from the F.A as well as local clubs.
The Birmingham FA has ensured that scouts nationwide have been informed whilst West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Aston Villa, Wolves and Walsall FC all assure the attendance of scouts and representatives from their clubs.
Some of the players who have participated in the Shaheedee Tournaments have been scouted and gone on to play their football at higher levels:
- Joshveer Shergill currently plays for the WBA Colts which are West Bromwich Albion’s youth academy.
- Netan Sansara is playing for Norwegian Premier League outfit Fredrikstad having previously played for Walsall, Dundee, AFC Telford United, Corby Town, PAEEK, FC Vestsjælland and Boston United.
- Malvind Singh, currently at Mansfield Town, has also had loan spells with York city and Evesham United.
- Rikki Bains, presently playing for Bedworth FC has played for a slew of clubs; some of which being Coventry City, Accrington Stanley, Corby Town, Macclesfield Town and Darlington.
However, the biggest Success so far is Simran Jhamat (above), a young lady who played for Walsall team Sporting Khalsa FC and now an England Captain for her age group.
She started playing for Aston Villa at the age of 9 and then for England at the age of 13. She can play as a striker or midfielder and still plays for both club and country.
Other Major Achievements
- In 2003, for the first time there was live radio commentary of an Asian football match
- In 2004, Asians girls’ football was put on show (and since a Walsall club, Sporting Khalsa FC have the only Asian Girls senior football team in the Country)
- Considerable media interest, resulting in two documentary features on Asians in football and WASA contribution to Asian football development
- International interest and media coverage from far as field as Canada, Scotland, France, India to name a few.
- WASA in partnership with the F.A’s Kicking Racism out of football programme offered a blue print for Asian football development across the country.
- Acknowledgement for contribution to positive living in a multicultural community – Bruce George M.P 2010
- 2012 Olympic year football Festival enjoyed by 16517 people which is the tournaments highest turn out ever.
Senior Hockey Team Results
Belgrave HC 5 – 3 G Nines HC
Youth Football Team Finals Results
U8 Winner: Punjab United Derby
U8 R/U : Indian Gymkhana Hounslow
U9 Winner: Sikh Hunters
U9 R/U : GNG Leicester Lions
U11 Winner: Liddar Sports Athletico
U11 R/U : Indian Gymkhana Hounslow
U13 Winner: Sikh Hunters
U13 R/U : Punjab United Wolves Lions
U15 Winner: Meltis Corinthians
U15 R/U : Wolves Sports
Tally Singh, Head of WASA, says:
“The aim of this Tournament is to encourage and promote Asians in all sports to a wider audience. We ultimately hope that these individuals will progress into professional leagues and further inspire others.”
Senior Football Team Results
Premier Division – IGK Hounslow 1-1 SS Slough (IGK Hounslow won 2-1 on Penalties)
Division 1 – IGK Hounslow Reserves 3-0 SP Wolves
Division 2 – SP Youth Birmingham 2-2 Meltis Corinthians Bedford (SP Youth won 5-3 on Penalties)
Over 35’s – Smethwick FC 3-2 Punjab United Derby
WASA have now been organising the Walsall event since 2002 and the tournament has gone from strength to strength as the years have passed.
The tournament magnificently showcases the positive work of Asian football development initiatives and highlights their importance as the attempt to boost the numbers of Brit-Asians in English Football.