Hamza Choudhury has become an icon for Britain's South Asian community after making FA Cup history, Three Lions supporters' group Apna England have told SSN.
Choudhury - whose father is from Grenada in the Caribbean and whose mother hails from Bangladesh - came on as a late substitute to help Leicester close out a 1-0 lead against Chelsea and lift the FA Cup for the first time.
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The former England U21 midfielder's appearance in the Wembley showpiece makes him the first British South Asian footballer to win the FA Cup in modern-day history, elevating him to legendary status within the community, according to fans group Apna England.
"What Hamza Choudhury achieved on Saturday by taking to the pitch and playing in Leicester's historic FA Cup win is something that will be remembered by so many people for years to come," Apna England spokesperson Jay Mann told Sky Sports News.
"He's a South Asian lad from Leicestershire, who has come through the academy at his hometown club, and he is now an FA Cup winner - that's something that many people are still trying to process. Hamza is a hero and an absolute icon for British South Asians.
"What a brilliant weekend with Arjan Raikhy (another South Asian footballer) helping Aston Villa get to an FA Youth Cup final against Liverpool.
"And looking forward, Yan Dhanda is potentially 180 minutes away from getting promoted with Swansea and joining Hamza in the Premier League. These lads are really helping to break down barriers and inspire."
'Huge moment for modern-day football'
Choudhury's historic FA Cup triumph comes 25 years after the publication of a National Asians in Football Forum report titled 'Asians Can't Play Football', examining the issue of South Asian under-representation in the game.
Yunus Lunat, the first Muslim member of the FA Council, told Sky Sports News Choudhury collecting an FA Cup winners' medal at Wembley Stadium sends out a message to the community that dreams can be achieved.
"He [Hamza] is a role model for the entire South Asian community and that really needs to be celebrated. It's a huge moment, a huge moment in modern-day football," Lunat said.
"Yes, there are challenges there [for South Asians in the game] but dreams can be achieved. That is the message that it is sending.
"This really needs to be celebrated and magnified and used as an example to inspire the younger generation.
"I know the effect this has had on the city [of Leicester], on the community and the relationships and the connections with the club. This has galvanised the whole community and the whole club."
'Never been a prouder moment to be British-Bangladeshi'
Choudhury's mother is from Habiganj in Sylhet, Bangladesh, and news of the 23-year-old's FA Cup success has made front-page news in the country. British-Bangladeshi coach Imrul Gazi is manager of Step 5 side Sporting Bengal United and was among the 21,000-strong crowd at Wembley.
"There has never been a prouder moment to be British-Bangladeshi," he told Sky Sports News.
"But it was not just a momentous day for the British-Bangladeshi community, and Bangladesh, but also for the South Asian football community in the UK at a time where we are fighting hard to tackle that under-representation in the game.
"More power and strength to Hamza. He is a fabulous player and seems like a really humble character, who is really grounded and at a very good club in Leicester.
"There is a lot of love and respect for Hamza globally, I've seen it with my own eyes in Bangladesh. But ultimately, it was a proud day for British South Asians in Football and hopefully we will see all of the recent success continue."
It is the latest development in the most remarkable period for British South Asians in football since the beginning of last month, with Sky Sports News leading the coverage.
We revealed Sunderland Sikh-Punjabi twins Amar and Arjun Singh Purewal would be making history by lining up against one another at the home of English football.
That followed our exclusive that Sporting Khalsa were set to earn promotion to Step 4 of non-League, meaning subject to ratification, the West Midlands side will become the first club borne out of the South Asian community to play in the eighth tier of the modern-day pyramid.
The news came after Leicester midfielder Choudhury was serialised in a comic book about his identity, upbringing and Bangladeshi-Grenadian heritage, as well as his faith.
EXCLUSIVE: @SportingKhalsa set to earn historic promotion to 8th tier of English football; Gareth Southgate meets @ApnaEngland fans group; SRtRC tells @SkySportsNews Hamza Choudhury comic can help inspire next generation of British South Asian players👇👇https://t.co/olhLNLwCjT pic.twitter.com/iT5UwzZhng— Dev Trehan (@DevTrehan) April 26, 2021
A day earlier, Gareth Southgate met with fans group Apna England, the first time a serving England boss has sat down and directly engaged with a South Asian-led Three Lions supporters' group.
Sky Sports News also revealed Birmingham Women academy prospect Layla Banaras was launching a campaign to better prepare Muslim athletes for fasting during Ramadan. Banaras, 15, who trains four times a week, worked with Birmingham City and club nutritionist Isobel Chotham to produce a Ramadan nutrition guide and meal planner.
Official Birmingham City supporters' group Blues 4 All last month worked directly with the club to mark the festival of Vaisakhi, with the Punjabi Rams fans group doing the same with fellow Sky Bet Championship side Derby County.
Sky Sports News also exclusively revealed Bhups and Sunny Singh Gill were to become the first British South Asian match officials ever to preside over the same Championship game, with the pair making history at Ashton Gate when Bristol City hosted Nottingham Forest.
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