[Community] Sadiq Khan MP visits the Zesh Rehman Foundation
Wednesday 31 Oct 2012
Sadiq Khan MP, the Shadow Lord Secretary and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice, attended the Zesh Rehman Foundation (ZRF) ‘Football for All – Soccer School’ in south London last weekend.
The weekly football session, which is currently into its fifth week, has so far seen over 100 young children aged 3 to 14 sign up to attend. The football sessions are delivered by FA qualified coaches and aim to give an enjoyable experience to young people regardless of their ability.
"I had heard about the work of the Zesh Rehman Foundation through friends whose children have been attending for the past few weeks and wanted to see it for myself," said Khan, the second ever Muslim to become a Minister in the UK.
"There is currently a lack of opportunities for young children from Asian backgrounds in the area and it’s fabulous to see the ZRF offering football for all in the Tooting area.
"It was great to see young boys and girls playing together and enjoying themselves - I’m positive this project will continue to grow and be a success.
"All the coaches seemed to have built up a fantastic rapport with both the children and their parents and I’m not surprised that so many children from across Wandsworth have attended.
"It's great to see Zesh Rehman putting his time into something positive and he's a brilliant role model for these young children to aspire to."
The ZRF was launched by former Fulham, Queens Park Rangers and Bradford City star Zesh Rehman, the first British Asian Muslim to play in the Premier League, in May 2010.
The aim of the ZRF is to help aspiring footballers and coaches develop their skills through coaching clinics, soccer schools and personal development courses.
The ZRF also use the power of sport as a platform to address and aid community cohesion and integration, while also providing opportunities for young people and adults to get involved in coaching.
Riz Rehman, an ex-professional footballer with Brentford, oversees the work of the Foundation with his brother Zesh currently playing in Hong Kong.
"To have someone so influential like Mr Sadiq Khan showing his support for our ‘Football for All’ initiative is a great honour," commented Riz.
"We have found that a lot of young children living in the area have missed opportunities to attend weekend sport activities due to other various commitments such as language lesson which generally run in the mornings.
"Our 2pm start means that children who otherwise would not get the opportunity to play can get involved and the feedback so far from parents and children has exceeded expectations.
"It’s pleasing to see children and parents from all backgrounds attend, having fun and making new friends.
"It's not just football skills we're trying to improve but the life skills of children and it’s a chance for them to build their social skills, get fit and active, and potentially progress onto junior club football."
For more information on the Zesh Rehman Foundation, please click here.
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"In a world where there are so many problems, it is great to see football bringing people together and helping to breakdown the negative stereotypes that exist in society."
Gordon Taylor, PFA Chief Executive