BIRMINGHAM-BORN Yan Dhanda is aiming to become one of the first Indian-origin players to make it big in English football, and the prospect excites him.
The 20-year-old currently plays for Swansea City as an attacking midfielder and he is looking forward to inspire the next generation of British Asian footballers.
“I’m super proud to be where I’m from and where my family originate from and I think I’d be stupid not to be,” he told Sky Sports News. “I’m in a position where I could be one of the first players with Indian ethnicity to go on and achieve great things and that excites me.”
He also said he would never hide the fact that he was Indian, because he is proud of who he is.
However, his journey towards a career in professional football has not been easy.
Dhanda has had to deal with outright racism, but he has learned to develop a thick skin.
The footballer said he had the P-word hurled at him when he was very young and playing ball with his friends in a park near his home in Tipton.
But his journey towards a career in the professional game was far from smooth, with Dhanda forced to develop a thick skin in the face of adversity and outright racism as an up-and-coming young footballer.
“I’ve had people say the P-word, or like corner shop this or corner shop that – because people stereotype Asians to have those sort of jobs.
“It has been a problem for me growing up, but it hasn’t really affected me. My dad’s told me since I was young that if you get racism whether it’s in football, or school, or wherever, just let it make you work harder.
“I’ve said it before – it doesn’t really affect me, it just drives me on even more. I’ve been strong enough to see past it and not let it or let anyone get to me.”