Vikas Sadiq of the Zesh Rehman Foundation has praised Chelsea’s Asian Star and urged youngsters interested in football to sign up for the ground-breaking initiative.
The scheme, the first of its kind undertaken by a professional football club, is designed to give a much-needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game with this year’s event taking place on Monday 25 May.
The Chelsea Foundation has been working closely with ZRF since 2013 to deliver Sidelined-2-Sidelines - a coach education and mentoring programme funded by the Premier League and the PFA - while coaches from ZRF also worked alongside the Foundation at last year’s Asian Star (pictured top).
Sadiq and his colleagues will once again be in attendance for the seventh edition of Asian Star and the 28-year-old, who studied business management at university before turning his attention to coaching in 2013 after coming to Cobham with his nephew, believes the event is a must for youngsters with a love of the game.
‘I always thought you had to be a player to get into football but Asian Star and the Zesh Rehman Foundation taught me that it was about the individual, it was about how much you wanted it and how hard you worked,’ said ZRF sports development officer Sadiq.
‘It has been an exciting couple of years, starting with taking my nephew down to Asian Star in 2013 to coaching at Asian Star in 2014 and at this year’s event, and working with the Zesh Rehman Foundation.
‘Asian Star gives a platform for young people. It gives them the belief and the motivation and the drive, as well as the knowledge and connections to make it in the world of football.
‘It is so impressive to be at Cobham as well, and you can see it in the kids, whether they were 7 or 10 or 12, that it was a huge deal to them to be at Cobham and they were buzzing.
‘For Chelsea to do something like Asian Star, to give young Asians the belief and the passion to go on and try and achieve their dreams in football, is an amazing thing.’
Asian Star was launched in 2009 and has grown in size ever since, attracting almost 400 young players to our Cobham training ground last year, where they competed in a series of matches and tests to examine speed, skill and ability. The winners in each age group were all invited to join the Chelsea Foundation’s Football Development Centres.
Chelsea will also be inviting managers, coaches and scouts from clubs at all levels of the game to identify talented youngsters, while workshops and useful information will also be available to parents.
Asian Star returns on Monday 25 May, with applications for players aged 9-12 now open at www.chelseafc.com/asianstar.