Monica Sharma – One Passionate Football Player

We are kicking off 2014 in style and it gives us great pleasure to feature the first post of this new year, from Chesham United Ladies FC player Monica Sharma.……a passion from the start


Being brought up in Hounslow by humble grandparents and a supporting family, allowed me to develop an unconditional love and passion for the game of Football. Many footballers start their development at very early ages, however mine started from a somewhat late age of 12 years. I was very much influenced by my dad and uncles who played for a local team, J&S Hounslow, now currently Indian Gymkhana FC. The players and all those associated with the club became family and still are. Watching every game on weekends, come rain, snow or sun to then talking about it afterwards became a huge part of my weekly routine. I’m sure for many people this does not coincide with the norm of what a young Punjabi girl should be doing at my age, but that didn’t stop my family from sharing their own experiences with me.


……pushing the passion to the next level

The beginning of secondary school is where I really started progressing my passion for the game and made the decision of taking up football as a long-term commitment. Even thinking about it now, I am truly grateful to my PE teachers who put so much time and effort in me. I was trialing with Chelsea FC at 13 years of age, but lacked the experience and physicality, which was why I played for Middlesex County Girls to turn these weaknesses into strengths. I always believed in my ability but that’s not good enough, I needed someone else to believe in my potential too. It was then that I came across a coach at Brentford Ladies FC who weaned me in, and eventually becoming the youngest player at 16 years of age to be training with the first team.

Football has always been a passionate hobby, but education is still a priority of mine. I was able to go to University and complete a Science degree and at the same time play football with other like-minded quality players. I was training and competing alongside national level players which was exactly what I needed at this point, helping me progress into a player I am today.

During my last year of university I needed to decide where I wanted to take my football from here. I had a trial with QPR Ladies lined up and a Euro Championships tournament in Turkey to be looking forward to. Unfortunately, injuries got the best of me and it couldn’t have come at a worst time. I sustained a complete ACL rupture which pushed me back considerably for two years. Not being able to do what you love took its toll emotionally and I had to re-consider either starting again or packing football in and focusing on my career. Looking back, in a way this injury was a blessing in disguise. It allowed me to take some time out of football and focus on pursuing another dream of mine, of becoming a Sports Physiotherapist (which I am still working towards).  However, I couldn’t have left football forever.

……if at first you don’t succeed, try again!

Last summer is when I thought I’d give it one last push. Being slightly ambitious in my approach I went along to trial for QPR Ladies, Tottenham Hotspurs  Ladies and Chesham United Ladies FC. Again, I had to decide whether I wanted to play for a name, or develop as a player and play matches consistently, which was why I decided to sign up for Chesham United Ladies FC as a defender. Never had I thought I would be receiving the best of both worlds, playing in the FA Women’s Premier League and still pursuing my career and training as a Physiotherapist.

It requires a lot of hard work and determination, which isn’t easy but it’s definitely worth it. Currently, I have no intentions of giving up football as long as my knees and ankles stay intact. And who knows, maybe one day this small town Punjabi girl will achieve her dreams.

 We would like to Thank Monica Sharma for sharing her experience with us and wish her all the best for the rest of the season.

Follow Monica Sharma on Twitter

Follow Chesham United Ladies FC


LFC v ManU: Rivalries close to home this weekend!

Post - 01-09Anyone who knows the #BASTF team well, will know what a tight-nit group they are.  But for twice a year, for two league fixtures, co-founders Apinder and Davinder are very much on opposite sides. Put it this way, they don’t talk much if at all, why you ask?  Well both their teams go head to head this weekend, who will have the bragging rights until the Capital One cup meeting comes around?  Our co-founders have taken to the blog today to tell us why they think their team will win this blockbuster tomorrow.

Life long LFC fan – Apinder

“They have by far played the most attractive and attacking football, things are definitely on the up”. 

People will point to Liverpool’s extended (and battle-like) performance in the Capital One Cup v’s Notts County as a possible negative ahead of Sunday. What do I say to that? What a load of cobblers. I can’t believe for one minute the LFC players won’t be up for this game. These players are fit enough and the way they play their football, it will be ManU doing all the chasing anyway.

I expect another clean sheet for Liverpool in this blockbuster Premier League fixture, the majestic Coutinho will create havoc for the ManU defense, Sturridge will be explosive as ever, and for me will be this seasons top scorer.

I also expect Gerrard and Lucas to boss the midfield as always, even more so as ManU don’t actually have a midfield.

So it will be a triple wammy this weekend for LFC:

1. Beating their fierce rivals to the joy of the KOP
2. A bonus achievement over ex-Everton boss David Moyes
3. Celebrate Bill Shankly’s 100th birthday in style

My Prediction > 2 – 0 to the home side

“You will never walk alone”

Life long ManU fan – Davinder

Thank you for your kind rhetoric – words not wisely chosen and biased quotes that will soon become misquotes!
It’s a game of two halves
The first Relaxing with a cup of cha and a packet of oreos
The other half constantly nagging to change the channel!
Not an easy game against a Liverpool team that has claimed maximum points thus far. However, this is Man Utd, a team that produced an emphatic win against Swansea City, with Robin Van Persie and Danny Wellbeck continuing to produce goals worthy of the best of the season.
Wayne Rooney should retain his starting place after impressing on Monday, while Ashley Young could get the nod following his encouraging cameo.
Sturridge will no doubt pose a threat but i have the belief we are well equipped in our defensive line up to overcome any form of attack – Jones, Ferdinand, Vidic and Evra continue to star in the Fantastic Four!
I think my learned friend has forgotten the name that most United fans revere – Carrick – the heart of our team and a descendant of a worthy line of world-class midfielders that played for us. Too good for the ageing Gerrard and the force is with Carrick against Lucas!
It’s a massive game filled with mutual respect, but at the same time a passionate hatred for their bitter rivals. I think We’llbeck Man U for the win and leave the Liverpool fans with the resonating chant of championne as they walk home alone in shame!
My prediction 2-1  to Man Utd
Happy 100th birthday Bill
But your team no longer has the will
It will be us cutting the cake
As your hopes are fake
Van Persie and Wellbeck will be there to score
Your fans will cry – please Moyes No more!!!!!
Whoever wins this coming weekend, one thing is for sure, it will be back to business on a Monday morning!

A Catch up with Baljit Rihal, BASTF Ambassador


In a “twitter-style” interview, BASTF Ambassador Baljit Rihal takes time-out to answer some questions, giving us an insight into what’s keeping him on his toes.

While people are jetting away this August on Summer holidays for a break, this is not the case for you.  How busy have you been?
Lots of projects going on. Primarily focusing on AFA preparations. Media interviews lined up – radio, tv, print..There simply aren’t enough hours in the day.
How are preparations coming along for the AFA2013 event?
All on schedule. Nominations are being looked at and a shortlist will be revealed soon. We are working hard to reach out to Asians In Football across the country.
How will this year’s event differ from last year?
Bigger venue. More sponsors and supporters. More professional clubs have taken an interest. The AFA team has expanded with the addition of a marketing and event management team. It will be a more professional and polished event. We will also have the Barclays Premiership trophy on display..(with a dash of entertainment thrown in too)..
You have organised tournaments around the country ahead of AFA2013, how have these been received?
It’s been a resounding success and far exceeding expectations for our first AFA Trophy. Over 200 teams competed at regional Goals Centres. There has been a good buzz about the event over the summer and we are glad we attracted a wide range of teams.
The AFA Trophy finals take place on 18th August, what are you hoping for from the day?
It’s one week away.. I just hope teams come along; compete and enjoy the occasion. BritAsia TV will be filming the event and some scouts will be present on the day to see if they can spot some unearthed talent. All are welcome to attend the event, it will be a chance to see some good football and also meet some great people.
Can you give us an insight into what 2014 holds for you and team post AFA2013? 
Where do I start? Projects include The Asian Cricket Awards, The British Asian 11, Star TV India, another Football development centre. I will also be developing my football agency to a higher level working with established agents. I will be heading another initiative to get the Asians In Football cause to a greater platform…

A Big Thanks to Baljit from the BASTF team.

Timeout from my coaching – a short note!


Some years back, having been a parent on the sidelines, our then U7’s coach rang me up one evening and said he was going on a 3 week break and whether I could help run training sessions with the kids as cover.  I reluctantly agreed, unfortunately he never came back to training, however fortunately I got the opportunity to coach and from that moment on an emotional journey and bond with my players began.  For all those involved in any aspect of coaching, you will only too well know the high’s and low’s, but more importantly you will understand that this is an opportunity to make a positive impact on someone…..but now I have called it time-out…….for now! Continue reading

My Biggest Influence In The Game

My message is that if you can show great strength in character, everything is doable

Manisha Tailor – Ambassador for BASTF

How I fell in love with the ‘beautiful game’

Since the age of 8 years old, my twin brother and I together ate, drank and breathed football – which at times Biggest Influence_small got us into quite some bother at school! Our parents were not always impressed with the lack of attention spent on our school work, as for us, spending time organising lunchtime matches was far more important – primary school was awesome! Joint at the hip, quite literally, until secondary school that is (mum and dad intentionally sent us to separate secondary schools) – our love for the game both playing and watching continued. He however, influenced by my dad, became a Liverpool follower – they never did manage to convert me, I am a Gooner through and through!  My twin – the reason I fell in love with the beautiful game we know as football. Continue reading

Asian Women in Grass Roots Football: Manjit Uppal

I love new challenges and am always keen to meet or read about inspirational people. I love working with young people, as well as supporting them, I feel I learn a lot from them….

Mother of two Manjit Uppal talks about her experiences in football, how it all began and how the importance of family support has helped her in supporting youth in sport.

I am a 43-year-old mum of two boys aged 18 and 12. I have been married for 22 years to my wonderful husband.

I have worked as a learning Mentor at a local Birmingham School for the last 8 years with predominantly Asian and Afro-Caribbean students. I work full-time alongside a dedicated team of Mentors.

I have always enjoyed sports, whether it’s watching or playing. I also run regularly, having taken part in the Birmingham half marathon most years.

I joined a martial arts class, to support my sons and 9 years on, I have gained my black belt. I love football and have followed Liverpool FC for as long as I can remember, I have two brothers who eat and sleep the sport. Continue reading