Chandarana: Honour to be up there with best South Asians in football

Trailblazer Millie Chandarana says it’s a special feeling to be recognised among the best South Asian heritage players in English football.

Chandarana, who was the only British South Asian with a professional contract in the Women’s Championship last season, enjoyed an excellent campaign and featured in every Blackburn Rovers game last term.

The midfielder also bagged Rovers’ Goal of the Season following her stunner against Charlton Athletic, with her performances earning her a place in the British South Asians in Football Team of the Season – highlighting the best male and female players from the community – for the second straight year.

“It’s such an honour to be in the Team of the Season for the second year,” Chandarana told Sky Sports News.

“It was an honour for the first year, but to be named for the second year is really great and it’s brilliant to see so many players who are British South Asian – both male and female as well – in the team of the season.

“That’s something that’s quite unique, I’ve never seen that before. And to be in and around the best names in the country is something that is really special for me.”

The team will go on show in Gravesend on Saturday when Punjab United host Sporting Khalsa at the Steve Cook Stadium in the second annual celebratory fixture between the two sides ahead of South Asian Heritage Month, which runs from July 18 to August 17.

Punjab United and Sporting Khalsa both have Sikh owners and both teams play in Step 4 of the National League System, in the eighth tier of English football.

Representatives of Sporting Bengal United, Punjab United, Leicester Nirvana and Sporting Khalsa gather at a tournament
Sporting Bengal United (L) and Sporting Khalsa (R) will both take part in the Diversity Football Festival at Wolves’ training Ground later this month

“It’s great that the Team of the Season can be showcased at such an amazing game that is now happening for the second year in a row,” Chandarana said.

“I think it’s also down to the great talent that is on the pitch now across the UK – that being showcased is amazing in itself because everybody should know about the great South Asian talent in the UK.

“Hopefully in years to come there will be so many more people coming into that team. It’s just really nice knowing that it is going to be showcased at an event and a game like that.”

‘I will miss playing in blue and white.”

London, UK. \day#4\ December, 2021.

Chandarana is one of four role model players showcased in a groundbreaking timeline and exhibition, documenting the journey of South Asian heritage players in the English women’s game.

South Asian timeline

She has just announced on social media that she is leaving Blackburn Rovers. It follows a record-breaking campaign where Rovers got their highest ever points tally and league finish, went on their longest unbeaten run, and also played in front of a record crowd.

“After some years in the blue and white, I’ve decided to leave the club,” the midfielder wrote.

Blackburn Rovers star Millie Chandarana chats with Sky Sports News' Dev Trehan after an away match at Crystal Palace
Blackburn Rovers star Millie Chandarana chats with Sky Sports News’ Dev Trehan after an away match at Crystal Palace

“I’ve made some great memories here and made friends for life.

“Blackburn Rovers’ women’s team has played such a big part in the journey of women’s football from the beginning, and it’s been a really special place for a lot of people.

“It’s hard to find the right words, but I just want to thank everyone past and present who have made my time here special – and for all of the support we have received over the years. I will miss playing in blue and white.”

British South Asians in Football

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