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Derby County's Punjabi Rams land FSA Fans for Diversity Award as Navin Singh prepares to join FA

South Asians in Football round-up: Derby County's Punjabi Rams land prestigious Fans for Diversity award; Wolves technical director Scott Sellars says Kam Kandola is a great role model after 17-year-old pens first pro deal; Navin Singh to join Football Association as commercial director

Derby County have something to celebrate as the Punjabi Rams land prestigious Fans for Diversity award
Image: Derby County have something to celebrate as the Punjabi Rams land prestigious Fans for Diversity award

The Punjabi Rams were crowned winners of the Fans for Diversity award at the 2021 Football Supporters' Association Awards in London on Monday night.

The group, who are an official Derby County supporters' club, landed the accolade ahead of AFC Autism, Apna England, Lady Imps, Love Football Hate Racism and Pride in Football.

The Punjabi Rams ran mental health sessions for supporters during lockdown before embarking upon a fundraising drive for the charity MIND. The group also supported Derby County's foodbank appeal earlier this year and started a free ticket campaign to get children and low-income families into Pride Park.

Earlier this month on Diwali, Sky Sports News exclusively revealed the Punjabi Rams were extending their commitment to Derby County Women's side by stepping in to become a shirt sleeve sponsor for the team.

Punjabi Rams member Jay Mann told Sky Sports News: "This is an incredible achievement for us as a group and testament to the fantastic support that the club and the Derby County fans have shown us.

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Derby County Women's star Kira Rai says she feels blessed to have the support of official club fans group the Punjabi Rams who she describes as 'her community within her club'

"We will continue to serve our community and help drive the agenda of improving representation in football."

Belgium scout Iftikhar appointed Fort William manager

Former Mongolia assistant boss Shadab Iftikhar has been appointed manager of Highland League side Fort William until the end of the season, with an option for a further year.

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Preston-born Iftikhar holds a UEFA A Licence coaching qualification and worked as an opposition scout for Roberto Martinez during Belgium's Euro 2020 campaign.

Ifitkhar has coached at Accrington's academy and has previous managerial experience as far afield as Samoa.

"I can't wait to get started," Iftikhar said.

"I am looking forward to meeting the fans and living in Fort William. Despite not being able to play home games at Claggan, I promise one thing, I will work as hard as possible to give the club, the fans and the town something to be proud of."

Sellars: Local kid Kandola a great role model

Wolves technical director Scott Sellars insists Kam Kandola has a bright future in the game after the 17-year-old put pen to paper on his first contract in senior football.

Kam Kandola
Image: Kam Kandola is an U18s regular and has also played for Wolves U23s

Centre-back Kandola has spent the last decade at hometown club Wolves, and has now become the Premier League's fifth professionally contracted British South Asian footballer, joining Leicester's Hamza Choudhury, Tottenham's Dilan Markanday, Manchester United's Zidane Iqbal and Aston Villa's Arjan Raikhy in England's top division.

"Kam is a great representative of the South Asian community in Wolverhampton," Sellars said.

"There is a real shortage of players from that background in football in general, but we want our club to reflect our local community.

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Punjabi Villans co-founder Ricky Cheema said Britain's South Asian community has 'pure love' for Arjan Raikhy as the youngster prepared to play for Aston Villa in last season's FA Youth Cup final against Liverpool

"I'd love to think that South Asian kids growing up in Wolverhampton will see Kam as a great role model because he's done a lot of work in telling his story and how it has been for him to get to where he's at.

"Hopefully he'll inspire more local boys, not only those who share his background, to believe that they can do it because they've seen Kam do it."

Singh to join FA

The Football Association has appointed Navin Singh as its new commercial director.

Singh will begin his new role early in 2022 after spending the last five years as chief commercial officer of the United States Golf Association.

"It's a huge honour to be joining the Football Association," said Singh.

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Father and son Micky and Bik Singh tell Micah Richards why they set up Birmingham City supporters' club Blues 4 All. (Micah Richards: Tackling Racism is available on-demand on Sky Documentaries and NOW TV)

"I'm excited to work with my new colleagues and our important commercial partners in supporting the FA's ambitious new strategic vision - from helping our teams to be successful in major tournaments to building on our direct relationships with fans.

"I'm also particularly excited by the commitment to women's football and want to add to the considerable work being done to take it to the next level."

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

England could lose out on Man Utd's Zidane Iqbal

England face the prospect of missing out on Manchester United teenager Zidane Iqbal, with Iraqi football chiefs keen to secure the teenager's services at senior international level, Sky Sports News can reveal.

The attacking midfielder was called up to play for the Iraqi U23 side at last month's WAFF (West Asian Football Federation) Championship, helping them reach the semi-finals before their elimination to Saudi Arabia. Iqbal also featured against United Arab Emirates, and took the captain's armband before scoring against Lebanon.

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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

Manchester-born Iqbal is eligible to represent England, Iraq and Pakistan but has yet to be called up to an England age-group squad, despite spending more than a decade with United and establishing himself as a regular member of their U23 squad.

The 18-year-old netted for the club's youngsters against Sunderland in the EFL Trophy last month, and followed that up by scoring United's opener in their 4-2 UEFA Youth League win against Italian side Atalanta.

British South Asians in Football

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