Sikh dad is coaching his son's football team to encourage him to enjoy the sport

'If there are more BAME coaches it would be more normal for these young people'

A Sikh dad from West Bridgford has begun to complete his football coaching badges to encourage his son to enjoy playing sports and get other BAME coaches into training youth teams.

Bal Bansal coaches his son's team, Edwalton Cavaliers Under-8s, once a week and takes charge of the team for weekend match days in games of five-a-side football.

He wants his son, Dhaya Singh Bansal, who is eight, to feel "less conscious" of his appearance compared to other footballers and just "enjoy his game" - like Bal when he was younger and he played for the Junior Reds at Nottingham Forest.

The councillor for the Trent Bridge ward has already secured his FA level one coaching badge, meaning he can train children from Under-7s up to the age of 16.

Mr Bansal said: "I have a little boy who is a Sikh and covers his hair with a topknot [a type of hair cover usually worn by young Sikh males] and he’s always conscious about standing out from others.

“I got into coaching to try and encourage him to get into team sports too. When I was younger I played for Junior Reds and I want him to be able to do things like that.

“He shouldn’t have to worry about things like that and just enjoy his game. If there are more BAME coaches it would be more normal for these young people...

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...“I really hope that doing this encourages more children from a mix of backgrounds to get into football.”

Mr Bansal trains the Edwalton Cavaliers Under-8s at Rushcliffe Primary School, with the team's season due to resume in early 2020 after a winter break.

Tim Stacey, club chairman of Edwalton Cavaliers, said: "Our objective is to encourage even more players, coaches and volunteers from every background to join the club so we can mirror the diversity of the community we're so proud to represent.

"This is why we immediately agreed to give Bal all the support he'll need to join the rapidly growing number of qualified BAME coaches in the club."

A statement on the Nottinghamshire FA website reads: "The FA and Count FAs are here to ensure everyone who is involved in football has a great experience – regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability or disability, faith or age. Both The FA and the County FAs are working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be part of the game.

.A statement on the Nottinghamshire FA website reads: "The FA and Count FAs are here to ensure everyone who is involved in football has a great experience – regardless of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability or disability, faith or age. Both The FA and the County FAs are working to ensure everyone has the opportunity to be part of the game.

"We will all work together on our inclusion priorities over the coming years. These are underpinned by three principles of change; ensuring governance and leadership is diverse and modern, removing any obstacles to access and progression in coaching, talent development or personal development pathways; and enshrining equality, diversity and inclusion in our day to day operations.

"We will challenge ourselves with measurable targets that deliver on diversity and inclusion outcomes."

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