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Youth Tamil footballer to train with top English Footballing Association scouts

A young Tamil footballer from Ilford, will have the opportunity to train with Premier League talent scouts after winning a national football competition last month.

After being ranked first out of over 500 footballing applicants in the under-16 category, Raj Vijayarajah, will be given the chance to train at the English Football Association’s St George’s Centre of Excellence.

Photograph: Grifith Photographers

Arsenal FC scout Tony Day, freestyle footballer Abbas Farid, BBC Asian Network presenter Noreen Kahn and TradeNext chief executive Moshin Jameel formed the judging panel that decided the winner of the Search for An Asian Football Star competition.

Speaking on his success to the Tamil Guardian, Vijayarajah said,

“It was great winning the competition. I doubted myself at first, but once on the pitch I felt I was going to win. It’s great to see that competition is encouraging different ethnicities to be professional footballers. There were never Asian footballers to inspire me to pursue professional football when I grew up. I think Tamil parents are afraid to commit to football because after fleeing oppression in Sri Lanka they want to encourage their kids to look for stable careers. As a Tamil, I hope that my success at this early stage will inspire others in the community to pursue their football dreams.”

Vijayarajah, born in France, grew up in east London, and plays for his school football team at Mayfield High School.  He has also played in the British Tamil Football Association league, for a London based, Sunday league football team called East London Elite (ELE).