Need More Asian Role Models in Football: Le Saux
LONDON (PRWEB) May 3, 2006
We need more Asian football role models to attract young Asians into football, said ex Chelsea footballer Graeme Le Saux while addressing an entrepreneurial TiE Manchester event in Manchester.
The “intelligent” footballer who was often bullied at Chelsea for doing A levels and reading the Guardian said because of the lack of Asian role models in football as managers, players and commentators, Asians tend to keep away from the game.
Asians have gravitated to cricket, he points out, because they have many role models in cricket, both in this country and in the sub-continent. From Sachin Tendulkar to Naseer Hussain, British Asians are inspired by successful cricketers but when it comes to football
there is hardly anyone to look up to. Though Newcastle United’s Michael Chopra is someone to watch out for. The British Asian youth need more Michael Chopras and boxing champion Imran Khans to attract British Asians into sports.
Le Saux also blames the lack of Asian presence on the pitch on the tendency of Asian parents to discourage their children from taking up sports seriously. “Asian parents want their children to follow a profession in medicine, law or engineering not in sports.”
To become a successful player one has to start at a very young age.
“It’s the seven and eight year olds who get trained to become footballers. So parents have to encourage and support their children in taking up football seriously,” he said.
He recounted how he started playing in his mother’s garden. “My playing in the garden gave mum’s two rose bushes a pasting, as did the living room patio door. Worst part was a single glazed patio front door that vibrated throughout the whole house when I was playing one-two’s off the outside wall. If I hit it I knew I was in trouble,
my heart would go in my mouth, time would stand still. Shame my Dad didn’t.”
Speaking about his favourite teams, he said, “Liverpool were probably the team I watched most so would have to admit to that, but all footballers were hero’s to me. Keegan, Dalglish, Hoddle, Robertson. I loved the game beyond any individual. Strange thing was, I never saw a player until I was much older.”
Graeme born in Jersey has played for Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers, and Southampton. Graeme has represented England 34 times and was the first Channel Islander ever to do so. A member of the successful Chelsea team that won both the Cup Winners’ Cup and the League Cup in 1998, Le Saux was also part of the England team that went to the 1998 World Cup and one of the few to play in all four of England’s matches.
Le Saux is currently writing his autobiography, a column in the Independent newspaper and his own soccer skills program on Channel Five. He encouraged more Asians to join football and take up sports from a very young age.
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