In the news - Manisha Tailor

5th November 2010 at 00:00

Manisha, 30, is a trainee headteacher at Barham Primary School in Wembley, north London. In January she will graduate with the NPQH heads' qualification and she is also studying for an MA in leadership. She has a level 2 in coaching and is involved in the Football Association's latest campaign to inspire more people to get involved in coaching. Ms Taylor is using the campaign to promote football as a multicultural sport.

Not the stereotypical footballer, are you? "No. I started playing when I was eight years old with my twin brother, back in 1988. I was naturally involved in sport at school - I was on the athletics team. Sport in the house was quite prominent, and it was mostly football."

Which team gets you chanting? "I'm a huge Arsenal fan. I've been on the waiting list for a season ticket for seven years. My heroes are Cesc Fabregas and Rachel Yankey, who plays for the Arsenal women's team. She does lots of community work and is a major influence - kids really respond to her."

Are you taking a leaf out of her book? "The FA put me in touch with Rachel four years ago. I want to work with her on developing a core curriculum based around football - similar things have had a phenomenal impact on boys. Those who were disengaged and not interested were brought back into learning. We tried to get the girls involved but it's much harder."

Any other obstacles? "I think there is a huge shortage of under-represented groups in football. I have worked in Brent for seven years and it is very multicultural. These kids just don't want to play football - even the boys. I play with them at lunchtimes in the playground but it is hard to get their interest."

Bit of a Bend It Like Beckham moment? "In the film an actress learnt to play football for the role. I really want to influence kids and to do that it needs to be real. As part of the campaign, the FA asked me to the recent England vs Montenegro match to do a penalty shoot-out at half-time. Now people have seen an Indian lady doing that, the profile is being raised."

What other goals do you want to score? "Brit Asia TV has a talk show called Broken Silence. Jaz Dhami, a Punjabi singer, and I want to be on the show, talking about the campaign, kids and sport. But in the long run, I want to utilise my two passions: education and consultancy in football. I'm trying to bring it to the younger generation."

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