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Birmingham City: Sikh-Punjabi teenager Brandon Khela makes historic appearance for Blues

Brandon Khela's dad to Sky Sports News after watching his 18-year-old son make Birmingham City history: "Naturally, it is a really proud moment for the family. We're delighted to see Brandon rewarded for his efforts with this historic debut for Birmingham City."

Brandon Khela Birmongham City
Image: Fans across the world are celebrating Brandon Khela's Birmingham City debut

Punjabi teenager Brandon Khela became the first British South Asian to represent Birmingham City's men's first-team in the club's Carabao Cup win against Cheltenham Town.

Khela came on as a late substitute in Birmingham's 2-0 victory on Tuesday night. Junior Bacuna scored both goals as Birmingham followed up their opening weekend draw against Swansea by easing past their League One opponents to take their place in the second round of the Carabao Cup

Brandon's father Dov Khela told Sky Sports News: "Naturally, it is a really proud moment for the family. We're delighted to see Brandon rewarded for his efforts with this historic debut for Birmingham City."

Speaking to BluesTV after the game, Brandon said: "I'm buzzing, I'm over the moon. It was a really proud moment for me and my family. I'm just happy we won the game as well. It was a great night really."

Khela played for Birmingham City's U23s last season and signed his first professional contract at the club a little over a year ago.

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The technically-gifted midfielder made an instant impression on Lee Bowyer during his spell in charge of Blues, with the former England midfielder rewarding the Sikh-Punjabi teenager with a place on the bench for Birmingham's 2-2 draw with Stoke during the 2021/22 season.

Khela, started playing football aged three and could have joined hometown club Coventry City, but opted for a move to Birmingham after he was scouted by the club. He has since played in every age-group side.

More from South Asians In Football

The former Arden Academy pupil has already represented England at youth level. Brandon is not the only footballing talent in the family, with younger brother Reiss opening scholarship terms with Leicester City earlier this year.

His debut, which comes during South Heritage Month, provides a shot in the arm for a community that remain chronically under-represented across the English game, with Kick It Out chair Sanjay Bhandari describing it to Sky Sports News as "the largest statistical anomaly in football."

Khela's debut is the icing on the cake for Birmingham City and British South Asians in Football this year after trailblazer Layla Banaras became the first South Asian heritage woman to represent Birmingham City Women, aged just 16 at the time.

Banaras, who has been with Birmingham since the age of eight, came on as a substitute in a 4-0 Women's FA Cup win against Huddersfield at St Andrew's.

Speaking after that game, Birmingham manager Darren Carter said Banaras was fully deserving of her first-team opportunity.

"I said before she went on that she has earnt the chance," Carter said.

"Ever since she stepped up and trained with us day-in and day-out, you've seen that she has got stronger and more confident, and she deserved that .

"Her attitude has been brilliant and she totally deserved to get on the pitch."

Banaras featured in the first-ever timeline documenting the journey of South Asian heritage players in the modern English game. The timeline went on display at Stamford Bridge and Wembley Stadium earlier this year.

British South Asians in Football

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

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