Coach Ruudy Jamie O'Hara

Jamie O’Hara eager to reunite with Harlow Town Ladies boss Ruudy Yusuf on return to management | Football News

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Jamie O’Hara eager to reunite with Harlow Town Ladies boss Ruudy Yusuf on return to management | Football News

Information about Jamie O’Hara eager to reunite with Harlow Town Ladies boss Ruudy Yusuf on return to management | Football News

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Jamie O’Hara says he can imagine working with Harlow Town Ladies boss and former Billericay first-team coach Ruudy Yusuf for the rest of his managerial career.

Ex-Billericay boss O’Hara added renowned east London talent developer Yusuf to his coaching staff at the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign after an initial trial period, following a personal recommendation from former Premier League striker and then-Billericay assistant Gifton Noel-Williams.

Yusuf took on additional responsibility when Noel-Williams departed in the summer and remained part of a coaching set up that included former England international Paul Konchesky, before the trio left the club at the turn of last year.

Konchesky has since become assistant at West Ham Women, with Yusuf recently becoming Harlow Town Ladies manager, following a spell as boss of London All Stars.

Asked if he could envisage working with Yusuf again if he returns to management, O’Hara said: “Absolutely, he would be my first phone call. I still speak to him daily and he trains my son at the minute.

“He’s doing elite one-on-one coaching – and he’s doing it with professional footballers as well – and I can see that he is getting better and better every day. So, he’s definitely someone I will have around me probably my whole career, to be honest.

“When he came in, I was really impressed with everything he offered, his knowledge of the game and his tactical awareness [and understanding] of what we were trying to do. It was great to have him on board.

Coach Rudy Yusuf and former Billericay Town assistant manager Gifton Noel-Williams
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Ruudy Yusuf on the touchline with ex-Billericay Town assistant Gifton Noel-Williams

“I was obviously really happy to bring him in, but he deserved it at the end of the day. I wasn’t doing anyone any favours. He knew the game, I loved his energy, I loved what he brought to the table in terms of his sessions and the way he wanted to do things. We had the same mindset.

“He was really good with his attention to detail, the stuff he did before training, setting up, being the first one there, the last one to leave, always looking to learn, always looking to help the team out in any way that he could. I was really impressed with everything that he did.”

Yusuf is one of the only managers from Britain’s South Asian community plying his trade in the top four divisions of either the men’s or the women’s game.

Asked if he was predicting big things in the game for Yusuf, former Spurs and Wolves midfielder O’Hara said: “I mean absolutely. He will be in the professional game. He will be a professional coach.

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Gareth Southgate welcomes the push for greater Asian representation across football as he appears alongside Leicester’s Hamza Choudhury and Manchester United starlet Zidane Iqbal in an FA video series during South Asian Heritage Month

“We talk a lot about where he wants to be and where he aspires to be and I think he is happy coaching at the minute and being part of a coaching set-up where he is still learning his game and still learning his trade.

“And one day, I think he will go into management [at a higher level]. It’s something he has talked about wanting to do, but absolutely he will be in the professional game for sure.”

Mesut Ozil last played for Arsenal in March 2020 and was left out of Mikel Arteta's Premier League squad for 2020-21
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Mesut Ozil played more than 250 games for Arsenal and joined Fenerbahce in January

Ozil: I will help British South Asians in Football

Mesut Ozil says he will give British South Asian players a platform to shine after linking up with partners including the Football Association and Bradford City for the launch of the Football for Peace Mesut Ozil Centre.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News last year, former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey spoke about growing up in Leicester and playing football with South Asian kids as a youngster, adding the community has an unquestionable passion for the game.

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Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari last month called for an independent regulator to help combat online abuse

Yet despite making up around eight per cent of the UK population, less than 0.25 per cent of players across the leagues in England are from a South Asian background, with Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari telling Sky Sports News that this is “the biggest statistical anomaly in football.”

“I have always been surprised why the South Asian Community are only allowed to be fans of the game,” World Cup winner Ozil said.

“Why are we not seeing more players or managers breaking into professional football? I want to promote them, give them an opportunity to be successful both on and off the pitch.

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Brentford board member Preeti Shetty tells Sky Sports News she hopes her recent appointment offers South Asian women hope that they can be whatever they want to be

“I myself am from an ethnically diverse background and understand the challenges. I hope the Football for Peace Mesut Özil Centre will become the platform they need.”

Bradford City CEO, Ryan Sparks, said: “We are delighted to form part of the Mesut Ozil Football for Peace Development Centre, that will facilitate the growth and inclusion of the South Asian community in football. Inclusion and diversity is fundamental to the success of our club and Bradford as a whole – and we pride ourselves on providing a welcoming and warming environment for all.”

Nabi nets on long-awaited return

Adil Nabi, meanwhile, made an instant impact on his return to action for OFI Crete in the Greek SuperLeague.

West Brom academy graduate Nabi suffered a serious knee injury at the beginning of last season, keeping him sidelined for almost a year.

Despite the injury, Nabi was rewarded for his loyalty to the club with a new two-year deal, and he needed only 13 minutes after coming off the bench on his return to find the back of the net with a superb finish against league leaders PAOK.

Nabi, Riise, Carlos and Malouda played for Delhi in 2015 Indian Super League season
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Adil Nabi featured alongside John Arne Riise, Roberto Carlos and Florent Malouda during the 2015 Indian Super League season

Nabi, who counts Peterborough and Scottish Premiership side Dundee among his former clubs, made history in 2015 when he made a temporary switch from West Brom to Delhi Dynamos, becoming the first player to make a loan move from the Premier League to the Indian Super League.

He played under Brazil legend Roberto Carlos at Delhi, alongside Champions League winners John Arne Riise and Florent Malouda.

Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News in 2015, former Liverpool and Roma full-back Riise said former England youth international Nabi “has got some amazing skills and is going to be a top, top player”.

De Silva and Hamilton shine for Sri Lanka

It’s been an international break to remember for Sri Lanka duo Dilon De Silva and Marvin Hamilton as they scored their first goals for their country.

The English-based pair made their international debuts in a World Cup Qualifier against Lebanon back in June, and have just featured in four South Asian Football Federation Championship matches for Sri Lanka against Bangladesh, Nepal, India and the Maldives.

Former Gillingham player Hamilton, who currently plays for Burgess Hill Town, was assisted by De Silva for his maiden international goal, a glorious long-range strike against Nepal. QPR U23 midfielder De Silva got on the scoresheet himself late on, converting from the spot as Sri Lanka slipped to a narrow 3-2 loss.

‘Proud’ Mishra wants more South Asian coaches

Meanwhile, Charlton Women assistant manager Riteesh Mishra has spoken of his pride at representing British South Asian coaches at the top level of football.

Mishra is assistant to Karen Hills at Championship side Charlton Women, making him the highest-ranked South Asian coach in the elite game in England.

“I’m very proud, for my family name and for myself, that I’m able to represent the community in women’s football and elite football in general,” Mishra told Sky Sports News.

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Sky Football takes a look at British South Asians in the game

“On the other hand, it’s quite disappointing that there haven’t been others – especially at the top end of the game – who have been able to break through. We are starting to see good progress, and I just hope the fact that I’m speaking to you can give younger coaches just the idea that you can make a profession in professional football.

“It is tough. But we can see there’s a lot of work going on behind the scenes to help coaches like myself get to the top – and then it’s about our quality, our resilience and our endeavour to try and stay there once you get into those jobs, that’s really important.”

British South Asians in Football

For more stories, features and videos, visit our groundbreaking South Asians in Football page on skysports.com and stay tuned to Sky Sports News and our Sky Sports digital platforms.

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