Written By: Jasbir Authi 6/8/15
A Pride of Birmingham winner has been praised by England boss Roy Hodgson for his coaching work.
Mohammed Zafran, from Small Heath, was presented with the Sir Bobby Moore trophy at the FA Community Shield match between Arsenal and Chelsea on Sunday (August 3), after he was named the winner of this year’s FA Respect Award.
Zaf, as he is fondly called, was recognised by the FA for his coaching programmes which have helped more than 13,500 youngsters from Bordesley Green, Ward End, Saltley andAlum Rock areas.
The father-of-two was motivated into reaching out to youngsters after his brother-in-law Sarfraz Khan, 23, was fatally stabbed in Larches Green Park, Sparkbrook, in March 2010.
In the last five years, Zaf, 36, has won many high-profile awards for his work including a British Empire Medal, a National Diversity award and, last year, he was a Pride of Birmingham winner.
The England coach told him: “Your work is so unique and I have not come across an individual who has done so much work and made such a difference to the community single handedly.
“Its such a shame that it had to start off with the tragic murder of your brother-in-law, but the way you changed things around is truly outstanding and the accolades you are getting are totally deserved.
“The FA will help you with the progress of your academy. Birmingham should be proud of you for what you are doing.”
The trophy was presented to Zaf by FA Chairman Greg Dyke, who invited him to sit on the selection panel next year’s worthy winner.
A film of Zaf coaching a group of youngsters at South City College during one of their sessions was shown to 80,000 spectators at Wembley for the match.
An FA spokesman said: “It’s long been recognised that football has the power to change lives and few people have made better use of this than Mohammed Zafran.
“Following the murder of his brother, Zaf decided to respond to this tragic event by engaging with local young people, many of who were involved in gangs, and setting up football and cricket sessions to offer them a positive way to engage with the local community.
“He has turned a calamity into inspiration and the biggest tool he has had is his smile.”