England face the prospect of missing out on Manchester United teenager Zidane Iqbal, with Iraqi football bosses eager to secure the teenager’s services at international senior level.
The attacking midfielder was called up to play for the Iraqi U23 team at last month’s WAFF (West Asian Football Federation) Championship, which helped them reach the semi-finals before their elimination to Saudi Arabia. Iqbal also played against the United Arab Emirates and took the lead before scoring against Lebanon.
Manchester-born Iqbal is eligible to represent England, Iraq and Pakistan, but has not yet been drafted into an English age group, despite spending more than a decade with United and establishing himself as a permanent member of United’s U23 squad. .
The 18-year-old scored for the club’s youth against Sunderland in the EFL Trophy last month, following it up by scoring United’s opener in their 4-2 UEFA Youth League victory against Italian Atalanta.
Iqbal is one of four British South Asian Premier League footballers on a full-time professional contract alongside Leicester City’s Hamza Choudhury, Aston Villas Arjan Raikhy and Tottenham’s Dilan Markanday.
Markanday: I hope I’m the first of many
Tottenham striker Dilan Markanday says he is desperate to inspire more British South Asian footballers to get through after his historic appearance for the club.
The child-born attacking midfielder Markanday came off the bench in the Spurs’ Europa Conference League away game against Vitesse to become the first British South Asian player in Tottenham’s 139-year history.
Markanday’s performance has rightly been celebrated as a significant moment for the player, the club and the community, but the 20-year-old, who has been nominated for the Premier League 2-month player for October, does not want to stop there. .
“I hope more and more people get through and I’m the first of many,” he said.
“I hope many British Asians take that step, believe in themselves, support themselves and can come through and show what they can do.
“I hope they all see it and like it and are inspired by it, I hope they keep supporting me, following me, and hopefully one of those who see it will continue and do it themselves. .
“The dream is to play for Tottenham for the next 15 years and play every game, but of course I know things may not work out and there will be ups and downs.
“But the only thing I can control are the controllable ones and things will work out for the best. Being around the first team has made me want it even more. It has made me hungry and I want to be in that environment every day for the next 15 more years. “
Diwali Delight for Derby County Women
The Punjabi Rams supporter group has expanded their commitment to Derby County Women by sponsoring the team’s shirt sleeves.
The group, which has been nominated for Football Supporters’ Association Fans for Diversity Award, has built a strong relationship with Derby County Women over the years, with members of the squad and club hierarchy regularly attending end-of-season dinners in recent seasons.
They have been sponsoring the team’s Sikh-Punjabi winger Kira Rai for the past four years. Rai, 22, recently told Sky Sports news that they try to inspire each other and add that she feels lucky to have “her own little community in a club.”
🗣 “If I can inspire other South Asian girls to play football, that’s the most important thing.”
Derby County Women soccer player Kira Rai admits she’s slowly starting to get used to the idea that she’s a role model for girls throughout Britain’s South Asian society pic.twitter.com/VGm2xoDfR5
– Sky Sports WSL (@SkySportsWSL) September 13, 2021
Title-chasing Ewe Rams have won six of their last seven matches in the FA Women’s National League Northern Premier Division and sit just one point behind top rivals Wolves as they chase promotion to the FA Women’s Championship.
The official Deby County supporters’ club, the Punjabi Rams, chose a promising time of year to announce the partnership, with Hindus celebrating the Diwali candlelight vigil and Sikhs celebrating Bandi Chhor Divas last week.
Speaks exclusively to Sky Sports News, Punjabi Ram founder Pav Samra said: “Our relationship with Derby County’s women’s team dates back to 2015, when they showed a fantastic alliance with us, a fan group, by printing our logo on the back of their first team kit.
“With the continuing uncertainty surrounding the future of Derby County, we know the impact is being felt more widely, and as a group we desperately want to support the club as a whole, as well as the women’s team, who are having a fantastic season.
“The Punjabi Rams, who sponsor the team’s jersey sleeves, are more than just a gesture. We are actively demonstrating our belief in a club philosophy while trying to play our part in supporting women’s play in this country.”
British South Asians in football
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