Chelsea net three youngsters of Indian origin

May 7th, 2009 - 6:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Chelsea New Delhi, May 7 (IANS) Top English Premier League clubs these days are on a hunt for players of Asian origin and Chelsea has short-listed three young footballers of Indian origin as part of their talent search programme.
Chelsea found Jai Singh Dhillon (under-14) from Hitchin, Jordan Sadhu (under-13) from Ilford and London’s Aameer Kstantin Murphy (under-12), from a ‘Search for Asian Soccer Star’ contest that concluded Monday.

Chelsea spokesman Simon Taylor told IANS Thursday that the three players have met the pre-requisites of the London club’s initiative to “unearth potential professional footballers from a so-far under-represented community at the top level of sport.”

Dhillon, Sadhu and Murphy will now follow the footprints of other Indian origin footballers like Michael Chopra and Netan Sansara who played for English age-group sides.

Chopra, born to an English mother and Indian father, is a product of Newcastle United’s youth programme and has represented Sunderland and Cardiff City. Sansara was born to Indian parents and had been part of the England under-18 team.

Dhillon, Sadhu and Murphy were selected from 350 young players after three days of trials-cum-competition plus various other tests. Chelsea stars Nicolas Anelka, Petr Cech, Florent Malouda, Salomon Kalou and Deco were there at the academy at Cobham to inspire the young footballers.

An elated Dhillon said: “I am over the moon. I didn’t expect to win at the start because there were so many players. The tests were challenging but I felt I had done pretty well in them.”

“I’d tell anyone who is thinking about taking part to try it even if you don’t think you are the best player. It is good fun,” he added.

Murphy said that the tests were tough but the coaches made the boys feel at ease.

“It was really challenging, but that was the good thing about it. We had good coaches and the matches were not like any other competitions. They were really hard but it was great,” he said in a statement.

In recognition of Murphy’s talent, he was presented a trophy and a Chelsea shirt.

“He (Murphy) will slot in with the under-12s this summer and will be treated like all the other kids on trials, but it’s exciting,” project manager Darren Grace said.

The programme has been a big hit among the Indian community in England. Local coach Jas Jassal brought seven youngsters he works with to Cobham over the weekend, including his own son Amandeep for the under-14 trials.

Jassal is involved in running Concorde FC Juniors, providing grassroots football coaching to youngsters in west London.

“Ten years ago when I was playing I couldn’t see an Asian football star coming through, but now in the next 10 years I can,” Jassal said.

“Chelsea is the first big club to promote grassroots football among the Asian community. It is important to find the talent and nurture it. This has been great three days for the boys and for us to network,” he said.

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