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British South Asians in football: Who makes it into the 2023/24 Team of the Season?

Sky Sports News' Dev Trehan and Desi Ballers founder Zohaib Rashid pick the second annual combined XI, celebrating the on-field contribution made by British South Asians in football during the 2023/2024 season

It's been another breakthrough campaign for British South Asians in football but who makes it into the 2023/24 Team of the Season?

Players from the community featured at every level of the English women's football pyramid and across every division in the men's game except for the Premier League.

Six players retain their places from last year, but how does the 2023/24 squad shape up?

South Asians in Football Team of th season 2023/24

Sky Sports journalist and FA Level 2 scout Dev Trehan sat down with Desi Ballers founder Zohaib Rashid to pick the second annual South Asians in Football Team of the Season.


Jaz Singh enjoyed the best campaign of his career after a record-breaking season where he helped Tamworth go up to the National League as champions with their second successive promotion.

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Jaz Singh thanked his team-mates live on Sky Sports News after breaking a Tamworth club record and going a remarkable 15 hours without conceding a goal.

Singh kept an astonishing 25 clean sheets and at one stage went more than 15 hours (905 minutes) without conceding a goal - the most minutes played by a goalkeeper without conceding a goal in 91 years of Tamworth club history.

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Asmita Ale had another productive season where she featured for both Tottenham and Leicester City in the Women's Super League.

Ale, who is the first Nepali-heritage player to sign a professional contract in English football, played in Leicester's Women's FA Cup victory against Birmingham City, before featuring in the quarter-final win against Liverpool to help The Foxes reach the last four for the first time in their history.

Pakistan skipper Easah Suliman captains the 2023/24 South Asians in Football Team of the Season after a solid campaign in the Azerbaijan Premier League for Sumgayit FK.

The Birmingham-born centre-back scored four goals for his club and made nine appearances at international level - including captaining his country in the away leg of their first-ever World Cup qualifying win, which came against Cambodia last October.

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Former Leicester youngster Simranjit Singh Thandi reflected on his move to Cyprus where he made his debut in senior football in a 4-0 Europa League qualifying win against Levski Sofia.

Simranjit Singh Thandi emerged as a real defensive stalwart for Doxa Katokopias since joining the Cypriot top-division side in January for the second half of the 2023/24 season.

Thandi started 16 of the 18 matches he featured in, playing across the back line in a season where he reached a century of senior career appearances.

Mal Benning played some of the best football of his career in 2024 after joining Shrewsbury Town, a year on from his play-off final heroics with Port Vale.

Benning, who recently penned a two-year contract extension, was recognised with back-to-back Player of the Month awards in January and February, with the full-back also landing Shrewsbury Town Foundation's Community Player of the Season award.


Hamza Choudhury enjoyed a magnificent campaign after returning to Leicester and signing a new contract following a successful loan at Watford the previous season.

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Hamza Choudhury signed a new contract last summer and opened up to LCFC TV about his journey at the club and his desire to get Leicester City back in the Premier League.

The British-Bangladeshi midfielder featured in 33 matches last term, captaining the side on several occasions and often playing as an inverted right-back, as Leicester City won the title to secure an immediate return to the Premier League.

Millie Chandarana was ever-present in the best season of her career to date. The midfielder helped Blackburn Rovers break a host of club records in the FA Women's Championship, including going on their longest unbeaten run and achieving their highest-ever points haul.

Chandarana's jaw-dropping strike against Charlton Athletic also saw her land her team's Goal of the Season award for the second year in a row.

Zidane Iqbal traded Manchester United for Dutch Eredivisie side FC Utrecht last summer, and the Pakistani-heritage midfielder enjoyed a breakout season in his first full campaign in senior football.

Iqbal impressed away at Feyenoord, managed last term by new Liverpool boss Arne Slot, making 29 appearances for club and country over the course of the season, including scoring his first international goal for Iraq.


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Ross County's Yan Dhanda scored this stunning free-kick against Hearts in the Scottish Premiership last sason.

Yan Dhanda's influence at Ross County was undeniable, with the 25-year-old standing in as captain on several occasions, including for the Staggies' visit to Celtic in January.

Dhanda scored one of the best goals of his career earlier in the campaign, with a stunning free-kick against Hearts at Tynecastle Park. The attacking midfielder scored three goals and got two assists in his last four Ross County games ahead of a move to Hearts in the summer.

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Yan Dhanda bidded the perfect farewell to Ross County by helping them maintain their Scottish Premiership status.

Amar Purewal leads the line after an incredible season where he captained Hebburn Town and fired them into Step 3 of the National League system for the first time in their history.

Purewal was ever-present and scored 30 league goals to land the divisional Golden Boot award as Hebburn Town won the title and earned promotion to the Northern League Premier Division.

Aqsa Mushtaq continued to blaze a trail in Europe, consolidating her reputation as one of the best players in the Greek League after a stunning season with OFI Crete.

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Aqsa Mushtaq looks back on making history as the first player of Pakistani heritage to play professionally in Italy.

Bradford-born Mushtaq, who features in the first timeline documenting the history of South Asian heritage players in the modern women's game, helped OFI to a second-placed finish behind all-conquering PAOK, scoring 10 league goals and contributing eight assists.

The Squad

Rohan Luthra is in the squad after enjoying a stunning first half of the season during a loan at Slough Town, which included a run of seven clean sheets in nine games and helping the Rebels reach the FA Cup first round.

Bivesh Gurung is included after an excellent season where he amassed 37 appearances and scored a fairytale winner against Barrow to help Maidstone United to the FA Cup third round for the first time since the club was reformed in the mid-90s.

MAIDSTONE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 2: Bivesh Gurung of Maidstone United celebrates with fans after the Emirates FA Cup Second Round match between Maidstone United and Barrow at Gallagher Stadium on December 2, 2023 in Maidstone, England. (Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)
Image: Bivesh Gurung of Maidstone United celebrates with the fans after their FA Cup Second Round match win against Barrow

Kira Rai earns her spot in the squad after helping Derby County Women make history as the Ewe Rams won the club's first-ever national trophy. Rai, who wears shirt number 15, is in her 15th year at the club.

Adil Nabi is in after a blistering end to the season with four key goal contributions in his last four games for Doxa Katokopias. Nabi saw a sensational effort direct from a corner go down as an own goal, before netting three goals in Doxa's last three games.

Brandon Khela is also in after making history alongside Yan Dhanda when Ross County became the first SPFL side ever to start two British South Asians in a Scottish Premiership game. The Birmingham City youngster scored the first goal of his senior career in the final game of the season to end his Ross County loan on a high.

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Ross County duo Yan Dhanda and Brandon Khela discuss making SPFL history together and breaking down barriers as South Asians in The Game.

Dillon De Silva is included after impressing at Torquay United before earning a move up a division to National League side Wealdstone. The winger also scored on the international stage for Sri Lanka in a 2-0 win against Bhutan in this year's inaugural FIFA Series.

Riya Mannu makes the cut after an unforgettable season as the 17-year-old wonderkid became the first British South Asian ever to play league football for Birmingham City Women. Mannu was also named as the Birmingham's academy player of the season.

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Dilan Markanday rounded off the scoring in an emphatic cup win for Blackburn at home to Cardiff last season.

Dilan Markanday earns a spot after making 27 appearances for Blackburn Rovers in all competitions last season. Markanday scored two goals in three EFL Cup starts, before Rovers exited the competition with a 2-0 loss at Chelsea.

Tarryn Allarakhia secures his place after making history as he became the first British South Asian to play at an Africa Cup of Nations in the modern era. The Tanzania winger also became the first Wealdstone FC footballer ever to feature at a Cup of Nations.

Simran Jhamat is in after ending the season as West Brom Women's top goalscorer in all competitions, with Nathan Minhas rounding off the squad after a sensational season where he scored 17 goals for Slough Town.

British South Asians in Football

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