The latest edition of South Asians in Football Weekly is out after another productive week for the community in the Beautiful Game…
Arjan Raikhy opened his Leicester City account in style with the opening goal of the game in last week’s Papa Johns Trophy clash with Wigan.
The Sikh-Punjabi wonderkid, who Sky Sports News revealed was joining the Foxes after leaving Aston Villa in the summer, scored a screamer on the half-hour mark, drilling into the top left corner from 25 yards before Leicester’s U21s fell apart and went on to lose 7-1.
Raikhy shot to prominence after a wonder goal against Chelsea for Villa’s U18s back in November 2020.
The technically-gifted midfielder made his senior first-team debut just two months later in an FA Cup third-round tie against Liverpool, a moment described by supporters’ group Punjabi Villans as “incredible”.
The central midfielder enjoyed another productive campaign the following season as he earned the distinction of helping two teams – Stockport County and Grimsby Town – get promoted back to the Football League during two separate loan spells.
Raikhy attended the South Asian Heritage Month friendly between Sporting Khalsa and Punjab United earlier this summer prior to completing a move to the Foxes.
Academy graduate Hamza Choudhury proudly captained Leicester for the first time under Enzo Maresca against Norwich the following night.
Choudhury, who featured in a first-of-its-kind South Asians in Football Team of the Season and is the only British-Bangladeshi to have played in the Premier League, filled in at right-back in the absence of Ricardo Pereira for Maresca’s Championship table-toppers.
The Loughborough-born former academy captain put in a stellar display to help Leicester earn a convincing 2-0 win at Carrow Road to maintain their 100 per cent league record away from home.
Explaining his decision to name 25-year-old Choudhury captain for the clash with Norwich, Maresca said: “He’s one of the academy players. He was born here.
“Also in the way he works and we are trying to give some of them responsibility.
“Hamza is not in this moment an academy player joining the first team. Absolutely not.
“Now he’s in the first team and he has to show responsibility and leadership.”
Odisha FC president Raj Athwal visited the Houses of Parliament last week before jetting off to India for the start of the Indian Super League season.
Athwal and the Odisha Government were hosted by Baroness Verma in the House of Lords for discussions about South Asians in Football, and opportunities centred around trade and corporate social responsibility.
Aqsa Mushtaq is set for a return to club football in Greece, Sky Sports News understands.
The attacker, who features in the first timeline documenting the history of South Asian heritage players in the modern women’s game, spent the second half of the campaign at Championship side Lewes FC.
Mushtaq has previously played in the Greek top division for Avantes Chalkida, winning the Most Valuable Player Award with the Crete-based side last year.
Mushtaq is a graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne University where she scored 13 goals in 17 matches in her final season at the North Carolina-based college.
In 2019, Mushtaq was named South Atlantic Conference Player of the Year, helping her secure a move to Napoli, where she became the first player of Pakistani heritage to join a women’s team playing in Italy’s top division.
Michael Chopra was back on Sky Sports News last week as he joined Newcastle fans in Milan ahead of their Champions League clash with AC Milan.
Chopra was part of the Newcastle squad that last played in the Champions League some 21 years ago and joined supporters on a day to remember ahead of a 0-0 draw and a point gained at San Siro.
Ali Zafar’s wondergoal helped Scottish football trailblazer Shadab Iftikhar get off to a winning start as Pakistan U19s head coach.
Zafar’s 35-yard strike gave Pakistan a 1-0 win over Nepal in their first match at the U19 South Asian Football Federation Championship.
Shah Jahan scored a late equaliser in Pakistan’s second game of the competition to clinch a 1-1 draw against Maldives, booking a semi-final place for Iftikhar’s boys.
Iftikhar became the first British South Asian ever to manage in senior Scottish football when he took on a six-month spell at Scottish Highland League side Fort William, ending in May last year.
London Seaward attacker Zahmena Malik has also been back in international action with Pakistan over the last week.
Malik helped Pakistan earn a goalless draw in their friendly tournament opener against Malaysia, before then going on to play in their second game, which saw Pakistan slip to a 1-0 defeat to host nation Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, Manchester United stopper Safia Middleton-Patel was part of the Wales squad for the country’s first Women’s Nations League match.
Middleton-Patel, who turned 19 last week, was an unused substitute in Wales’ 1-0 defeat away to Iceland.
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