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Many winners on Asian Star day

The seventh instalment of Chelsea’s Asian Star initiative proved a huge success today (Monday) as more than 300 young Asian players took part in the event at the club’s Cobham training ground.

On a sun-soaked Bank Holiday Monday, the youngsters took part in a day of activities designed to increase Asian participation in all levels of the game. The winners in each age group are invited to join the Chelsea Foundation's Football Development Centres.

Chelsea Foundation coaches were joined by coaches from the Zesh Rehman Foundation, with participants competing in under-9s to under-12s age groups. Children were judged on a series of matches and tests specifically designed and used by the Chelsea Academy to examine speed, skill and ability

Nyan Mesuria, Ronaq Mussa, Abdullah Javeid and Adam Ahmed were crowned champions in the under-12, under-11, under-10 and under-9 categories respectively. Prizes were presented by former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo and previous Asian Star winner Sam Khan, who now plays for Nottingham Forest’s academy.

Under-12 winner Nyan Mesuria said: ‘It’s a nice feeling, I really enjoyed the testing and the training ground is really nice, it was very cool to see.’

Under-11 winner Ronaq Mussa added: ‘It was a great experience for me, I had a fantastic time. I really enjoyed the small-sided games as it allowed me to showcase my ability.’

Under-10 winner Abdullah Javeid said: ‘It was an amazing experience to test my skills against my fellow peers, I had a brilliant day.’

Under-9 Adam Ahmed added: ‘The whole event was amazing, I feel that I really developed my shooting accuracy, I’m really happy I won my award.’

There were further awards handed out to Ziyad Al-Oyouni, Avi Kochhar, Seif Iqbal and Ameer Aslam in the under-12, under-11, under-10 and under-9 categories respectively after all four impressed the coaches during the testing phase of the day.

However the day wasn't all about the children as Cobham also hosted a number of talks for parents. These included presentations by the Zesh Rehman Foundation and one from the Football Association Equality Department about their work developing opportunities for Asian players at all levels including coaching.

Flo, who played for Chelsea between 1997 and 2000 and now works in the Academy, was making his first appearance at Asian Star and was hugely impressed with both the day and the talent on show.

He said: ‘It must be a great day for the children, coming here to Cobham and using these facilities at Chelsea Football Club. I can imagine that this day is like a great adventure for them.

‘It’s great for the club to be involved in a project like this, Chelsea are involved in a lot of great things for children, including trying to develop grassroots football and most of all allowing children to enjoy themselves which they do on such a day like this. All in all I think that everybody must be happy to be here today.

‘I’m really proud to be working for Chelsea Football Club; they are doing a great job with grassroots football especially with events like Asian Star, which is why it’s so great to be involved with this club.’

Asian Star is the first scheme of its kind undertaken by a professional football club. It is designed to give a much-needed boost to Asian participation at all levels of the game.

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