The Zesh Rehman foundation launches Football for All in Croydon
The Zesh Rehman Foundation has officially joined forces with Crystal Palace to help change the perceptions and myths surrounding Asians in football.
The partnership was born following the recent Audience with Zesh Rehman, which took place at Selhurst Park. The event addressed a range of issues including social inclusion, how to break down barriers and the future for British Asians in football.
The Football for All programme has since been launched to offer opportunities to aspiring footballers and coaches to develop their skills through coaching clinics and courses, soccer schools and volunteer placements.
The sessions will take place in Croydon, an area badly affected by the London riots last year. As a result they will take place on Friday nights from 8-10pm to give young people somewhere to go and something to focus their attentions on while also keeping fit.
As well as providing a safe environment to play football the programme will give participants an accredited training package with workshops to address social issues such as youth crime, anti-social behaviour, substance misuse, equality and diversity and conflict resolution.
Zesh Rehman, who set up the foundation in 2010 to address social inclusion and community cohesion and integration as well as helping more Asian youngsters into football, said: “My career has given me an insight into the understanding of the role that football has to play in inspiring young people, raising aspirations and achievements, and tackling a range of social issues such as racism, youth crime and educational under-achievement though the work of clubs, community groups and the wider football family.
This project with Crystal Palace will hopefully inspire more young people to take up the game, create community role models and inspire future coaches.
Colin Morris CEO of the Crystal Palace FC foundation added:
We are a community based club and want to appeal to all communities – we don’t have any Asian coaches within our department. This project will help to address this and encourage more Asians to become coaches and have opportunities within Crystal Palace.