South Asian representation in English games is increasing, but there is still more to be done, says Riteesh Mishra.

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South Asian representation in English games is increasing, but there is still more to be done, says Riteesh Mishra.

While there is “still a lot of work to be done,” Charlton Women’s assistant manager Riteesh Mishra is positive about South Asian representation in English football, emphasizing the need of role models and exposure.

The Football Association provided an update on its Asian inclusion policy last month, noting that Asian populations made up 7.8% of England’s population according to the 2011 census.

According to the survey, Asian participation in grassroots football for over 16s was 10.7% (male) and 13.5 percent (female), with roughly 2% of Asian coaches, volunteers, and referees.

It stated that there were a “limited number” of professional Asian players in both the men’s and women’s games, and that roughly 1% of both the Premier League and EFL apprentices were Asian.

Mishra, a British Indian, has been a member of Nottingham Forest’s academy since he was 13 years old. He retired from playing at the age of 18 after injuring his leg, and he has been coaching at Charlton since 2014.

“I don’t think there’s one reason why there’s a lack of representation,” the 30-year-old, who is the most senior South Asian coach in English women’s football, told the PA news agency. Clearly, there is a dearth of female representation in professional football.

“I was at a club in Forest that I believe provided me with a lot of wonderful possibilities and was quite supportive of me. I got the impression that they were only looking at me as a player and didn’t throw up any other obstacles that others from ethnic minorities might have encountered.

“However, I don’t believe that all clubs are set up to allow South Asian footballers to flourish. What I mean is that there isn’t necessarily a coaching framework in place where young South Asians may see role models or engage with people who will make them feel at ease when they enter the training ground.

“You’ll have greater confidence when you feel extremely comfortable and know there’s possibly someone there who understands the trip you’re on. (This is a brief piece.)

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