Home Affairs Correspondent
Three students made history for their Muslim school when they made it to Manchester schoolboy football trials.
Karim Elhelw, Sajjad El Hassan and Umar Ameen from Kassim Darwish (KD) Grammar school for Boys in Manchester, attended the trials on June 7 where all the best players in the City took part in the Manchester schoolboy squad for next season’s under 15s.
Head of PE and professional football scout and coach, Irfan Kawri, told The Muslim News of the challenges and progress made by in the sports department.
KD’s football team had a reputation for losing by double figures and had never won a match against another school in the city. Generally PE and school sport were not really viewed as a priority and like most Muslim schools, the emphasis was strongly on academic achievement. With limited resources and having a very small pool of students to pick from compared to other mainstream schools, there was an enormous challenge ahead to improve.
This academic year, the school teams have grown in strength making them more competitive against other schools in the city. Competing against schools with over a 1000 intake and state of the art sports facilities, KD Grammar won a number of matches and drew some games. The few games they lost were by the narrowest of margins.
The school was praised for its improvement in sport. In its March report, Ofsted noted: “There has been an improvement in the standard of football played at the school. Under the guidance of a qualified coach, the school now holds its own with other Manchester schools and in 2013 was runner up in a national tournament for Muslim schools.”
Kawri said, “It has been a very tough challenge since I came here to get the boys to a standard where they can compete. With us having such a small number of lads to choose from to play for the teams you almost have to pick lads to make up the numbers and then you have to work with what you’ve got. The attitude, commitment and enthusiasm of the boys have been top draw but it has taken time to get there. The whole culture has changed at the school and I cannot thank the Head Teacher, Charles Mills, enough for his support as he really does value school sport and has implemented a synergy with his leadership.”
Head Teacher Charles Mills said, “The synergy which has been created by the transformation of football in the school has had a very positive impact on academic performance.”