Asian Star proves a hit

More than 300 young Asian players took part in the event led by Chelsea coaches, featuring training drills and small-size matches designed to test speed, skill and ability.

Nyan Mesuria (U12), Ronaq Mussa (U11), Abdullah Javid (U10) and Adam Ahmed (U9) were crowned winners on the day and have been offered 12-month placements at a Chelsea Foundation Football Development Centre.

Chelsea Foundation head Simon Taylor hopes the initiative – which began in 2009 – can continue to provide a platform for young Asian footballers to blossom.

???We???ve been running Asian Star for seven years now to give the Asian community the opportunities in football which perhaps haven???t been available in the past,??? Taylor told Sky Sports.

???The talent is definitely. We???ve now had seven kids who’ve been winners here that have gone on to play for professional football club academies.

???I think if football is to truly be our national game then it needs to represent all the communities that we serve. What we can do as a football club is provide opportunities for them and show that football is open and football is welcoming.???

Former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo and previous Asian Star winner Sam Khan, who now plays for Nottingham Forest???s academy, presented prizes on the day.

???I came down to see the talent that is out there and to hand out awards to the new winners,??? Khan said.

???Events like this give young Asians the chance to express themselves and show they are just good as other players.

???But to break through is difficult because you have to be dedicated to what you do. You have to work your hardest every day to be the best you can be. It???s not easy and there are a lot of big sacrifices you have to make.???

Earlier in the day, there were a series of workshops for parents put on by the FA and coaches from the Zesh Rehman Foundation (ZRF).

Fahad Najeeb, 19, has earned FA coaching badges and completed youth modules with the ZRF and now works alongside Chelsea Foundation coaches.

???Knowing Zesh was the first British Asian footballer to play across all four divisions gave me a lot of confidence and made me realise it???s not impossible to break through into the professional game,” he said.

???Kids that I work with at Asian Star can now also take confidence from that. The same way Zesh and his brother (ZRF director) were role models for me, I am almost a role model for them.

???Club initiatives like Asian Star are so important because they give children the insight into what a trial day looks like. It gives them an idea of what coaches are looking for and the pressures they may have to face in the future.???