The Diary: The lost Asians of football

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The Independent Online
FOOTBALL fans think nothing these days of their side sending out a Russian, a German, a Romanian or a Dutchman, and there are a number of Afro-Caribbeans and now Africans in the game, but where are the Asians? Well, it's obvious. Asians can't play football. That perversely popular notion has been picked up by members of the Midlands Asian Sports Forum - with a nod to the film White men can't jump - for the title of a project designed to discover why Britain's Asian community is not represented at the top level of the sport in this country, and to see what can be done to change that. Jas Bains, who with Raj Patel, is directing the project points to the results of a 1991 University of Manchester analysis showing that 60 per cent of Bengalis in this country play football, compared with 47 per cent of the English, 43 per cent of Pakistanis and 42 per cent of East African Asians. So much for the traditional theory. Bains, Patel and their team aim to report their findings next summer.

COBB COUNTY, a staunchly conservative suburb of Atlanta, has lost the right to stage the volleyball matches at the 1996 Olympics because of its government's refusal to drop a resolution condemning homosexuality as undermining family values. There is some irony in the matches being transferred to Athens, Georgia.

US 9st weaklings who peevishly respond to images of the archetypal muscular Scandinavian hulk with a whimper of 'He's not real' might be close to the mark. Preliminary results of a study published this week indicate that more than 10,000 Swedish secondary school pupils, about 3 per cent overall, have used anabolic steroids at least once. Almost all of those who said they had used the performance-enhancing drugs were boys, according to the disturbing report from Sweden's Central Association Against Alcohol and Narcotics. The side effects include high blood pressure, volatile behaviour, liver cancer and sterility. A Stockholm hospital has expanded its drug hot-line from two hours to 10 hours daily to cope with calls from steroid users. 'Many feel really bad. Young boys who have turned impotent or aggressive,' a hot-line spokesman said.

GOOD news travels slowly. Certainly reports of Glenn Hoddle's successes at Chelsea last season don't seem to have spread far. Blues fan Jon Ladd, of Bedford, was shocked to learn from the programme for their friendly at Kingstonian last week that his heroes had, in fact, been demoted several divisions. It listed the match as a Diadora League fixture.

TANJU COLAK won the Golden Boot as Europe's leading scorer in 1988. He is about to get the boot, out of football and into a Turkish jail - if he goes home, that is. The 31-year-old former Galatasaray and Fenerbahce striker left Turkey hours before an appeals court upheld a 22-month jail sentence imposed on him for smuggling a Mercedes into Turkey. Colak, apparently in Macedonia preparing for a world all-stars game against Russia in St Petersburg, expects Turkey's President Suleyman Demirel to lift the sentence.

THE Cricketing Songs XI obviously struck a chord. Among the inspired entries were 'In The Shahid Of The Old Apple Tree', 'Patel Lara I Love Her' and 'Pick-tures Of Lillee'. The winner of the Wild Turkey Bourbon is Rob Mount, of Lancaster, for the following:

1 (Peter) MAY Each Day (England); 2 Don't (Glenn) TURN Around (New Zealand); 3 (Alan) BORDERline (Australia); 4 (Imran) KHAN You Feel The Force (Pakistan); 5 Take Me Home JONTY RHODES (S Africa); 6 From A Jack To A (Collis) KING (W Indies); 7 (Kapil) DEVil In Disguise (India); 8 If (Alan) KNOTT For You (England); 9 (Dennis) LILLEE The Pink (Australia); 10 (Michael) HOLDING Back The Years (W Indies); 11 (Allan) DONALD Where's Your Troosers (S Africa). 12th man A N OTHER One Bites He Dust. Umpires: (Dicky) BIRDie Song, and While (David) SHEPHERDs Watch Their Flocks. TV replay umpire: You'll Always Find Me In The (Mervyn) KITCHEN At Parties.

Next week's challenge: a sporting criminals XI. Sports Diary, The Independent, 40 City Road, London EC1Y 2DB.

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