Zesh Rehman created historical past after changing into the primary British-Pakistani to play within the Premier League however needs to be remembered for uplifting others to do the similar.
The 37-year-old performed 30 instances for Fulham between 2004 and 2006 and stays the one participant from that background to play on the best possible stage of English soccer.
It’s an fulfillment that nobody will ever be capable of remove from him, however he says it’ll imply not anything until it is helping others from equivalent backgrounds consider they might have a profession in skilled soccer.
Rehman, who’s ultimate in on 500 profession video games and is recently player-manager of Southern FC in Hong Kong, informed the PA information company: “This is one thing that I can at all times be happy with, however for me it will be even higher if that fulfillment is used somehow to make a distinction and encourage other folks to observe and optimistically building up numbers around the board.
“No longer simply gamers, however boardrooms, media departments, finance departments. There are more than a few jobs to be had in soccer and by way of being visual within the recreation it’ll encourage other folks to be desirous about skilled soccer.
“That’s the larger image about what legacy I wish to go away, no longer simply being remembered for being a participant, however any individual who did make a distinction.
“From a tender age it used to be a dream to wreck that barrier, that ultimate ceiling within the recreation to return via and encourage no longer simply other folks from equivalent backgrounds, however from all backgrounds.
“I’m hoping to encourage extra other folks to consider that it’s conceivable to have a adventure within the recreation it doesn’t matter what their background.”
Having been the primary participant of his race to play at this kind of stage, Rehman may have been open to abuse throughout the recreation.
However he mentioned he used to be no longer subjected to racism right through his time in skilled soccer and mentioned he additionally won honest remedy from the media.
“In skilled soccer you must are compatible into the dressing room tradition in England, which is a large factor, and know the way to embody all your team-mates and crowd,” he mentioned.
“Don’t get me mistaken, there’s some antagonistic crowds and also you pay attention feedback however at the moment you know the way to do your speaking at the pitch. It used to be principally at the more youthful ages the place you were given the peculiar remark, however at that age you’re simply serious about enjoying that it is going over your head.
“There have been no articles that I learn that I assumed have been harsh or may have been worded otherwise.
“I had some excellent write-ups, it used to be all certain relating to breaking the mold and being a pioneer, so there wasn’t anything else that affected me.”
Rehman has spent the closing 10 years in Asia and in that point he has received his UEFA Professional Training License and a point in sports activities control in a bid to get forward of the sport.
As the one present British-Pakistani skilled participant with a UEFA Professional License, he’s development revel in as a player-manager in Hong Kong and hopes in the future to go back to the English recreation and additional spice up the numbers of black and ethnic minority managers and coaches.
“I’m truly taking part in the demanding situations, I’m finding out each day,” he mentioned. “The aspirations are to return again and be a trainer at a membership the place I will lend a hand.
“Possibly even an assistant, a building trainer, no longer essentially a head trainer immediately, one thing I will be informed at and proceed to expand.
“This can be a excellent platform to get excellent revel in of day by day training, decision-making, recruitment, budgeting, all most of these issues which is excellent revel in.
“There’s an upward curve and there’s a other adventure of the ones guys in there. There are a large number of position fashions there to appear as much as, there’s a lot trust that it may be executed and optimistically other folks can observe swimsuit and feature an extended training profession, one thing like Chris Hughton has executed.”
Rehman’s need to make a distinction has noticed him paintings along Danny Batth, Malvind Benning, Otis Khan, Easah Suliman and Neil Taylor on a Skilled Footballers’ Affiliation programme, headed up by way of his brother Riz Rehman, designed to lend a hand gamers from all backgrounds with their adventure in soccer.
“Over time I’ve been bombarded with letters and emails and requests from folks and scholars and gamers.
“This initiative is helping them to get first-hand perception, mentoring on problems they’re prone to face within the gadget whether or not they’re an academy participant, a student or first-team participant.
“The purpose is to make their adventure a bit bit more straightforward and to present again. It’s great to grasp you’ll be able to make a small distinction however doubtlessly trade any individual’s existence.”