Aman Dosanj was recently appointed an FA ‘Football for All’ ambassador, joining an elite band that also features star footballers Alan Shearer and Sol Campbell and England women’s team coach Hope Powell.
The Football for All initiative is a programme meant to ‘‘make sure everyone has a chance to be involved in football, regardless of ability, race or religion’’, as the FA website says.
Dosanj has already represented England at the Under-16 level; what does this development mean for her? ‘‘As an ambassador, the FA is using my image on resource and publicity material, my statements and quotes’’, she told The Indian Express. ‘‘They encourage the ambassadors to be as active as possible by attending events, suggesting ideas and initiatives.’’
Aman’s role is pretty much a continuation of what she has been doing unintentionally all the while anyway. ‘‘My brief is to do what I have already been doing. Promote the game and help include the Asian community into football.’’
How? Basically by being the first British Asian to play for England — ‘‘the proudest and most memorable day of my life’’.
The appointment came about by chance: The FA had invited Aman for a discussion panel at a Football for All conference sometime in 2003. FA official Dermot Collins later met her at another conference and commended her on her suggestions. And the final offer came at a third conference, where Aman spoke about her personal experience while playing in England.
The ceremony was held earlier this year, when Aman was presented with the certificate by then FA chief executive Mark Palios (who resigned last week following the Faria Alam sex scandal).
The goalkeeper’s response was straightforward: ‘‘Some people don’t receive the right information on how to get into the game, but I had the right channels opened to me. I’ve been lucky. I haven’t experienced any racism. But it is one of the factors which discourages people. But things are improving all the time.’’
The FA, for their part, have been equally effusive in their praise for her. ‘‘Football for All is about the power of football to build a better future. And Aman suits our ambitions perfectly,’’ a spokesperson said.
Apart from the England U-16 tag, Aman has also earned a few other colours: She’s played for Southampton WFC, Hampshire U-16s and Arsenal Ladies. She’s currently taking it easy because of a knee problem, apart from trying to go to the US where she wants to play professional football. Between that happening and the knee becoming okay, it’s just Football for All for her.