A national football tournament held in Northampton for ethnic minority communities saw teams have fun while improving their fitness and promoting “multi-cultural togetherness”.

The seven-a-side tournament, featuring 16 teams from across the country, was held at the University of Northampton’s Waterside Campus on Sunday, October 24.

Organiser Naz Islam said: “Integrating minority groups into wider society is vitally important and this tournament was the perfect way to start that process for many people who may not feel comfortable playing football against teams from outside their community.

“Teams from all backgrounds took part, it was open to everyone.

“Football is a brilliant way to get fit while having fun and we wanted to give everyone the chance to improve their health and wellbeing while enjoying themselves and making new connections to last a lifetime.”

The event raised money for the tournament’s charity partner, an orphanage and school in Bangladesh which aims to give underprivileged children in one of the country’s poorest areas a better start in life.

Leicester City midfielder Hamza Choudhury is blazing a trail for British-Bangladeshis in the Premier League and tournament organisers hope they will unearth the next Asian footballing superstar to follow in his footsteps.

Mr Islam added: “Football breaks down barriers and unities communities. It is a sport that everybody can enjoy, regardless of race, gender, age or ability. We want to use football as the catalyst for change in our community and encourage a new generation of health-conscious, fitness-minded young people.”

Guests at the event included Dominic Goble, the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northamptonshire, who said: “It was wonderful to see different communities from across the country come to Northamptonshire to share a common goal.

“Football is a worldwide game that has the power to bring people together and initiatives like this are vital if we are to have a truly integrated society.”

Other special guests included The High Sheriff of Northamptonshire, Amanda Lowther DL and Mayor of Northampton Cllr Rufia Ashraf.

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