Women's football: Finchley football coach hails Arsenal's Rachel Yankey as she heads for Wembley

Optimized Football Coach Manisha Tailor

A female football coach from Finchley has paid tribute to England legend Rachel Yankey MBE after being shortlisted for an award to be presented at Wembley Stadium next week.

A female football coach from Finchley has paid tribute to England legend Rachel Yankey MBE after being shortlisted for an award to be presented at Wembley Stadium next week.

Manisha Tailor, who hails from Finchley north London, is nominated for the Woman in Football award at the Asian Football Awards which will be held at the national stadium on October 8th.

She is a coach at Harlesden-based Gibbons Wreckers, a grassroots football club founded by the Arsenal Ladies star who eclipsed Peter Shilton in June to become the most capped England player of all time.

Tailor became the first British Asian female to hold a scouting position for a League club after joining Brentford FC earlier this year, and she praised Yankey for the impact she has had on her blossoming career.

“Since I met Rachel in 2006 she’s continued to nurture my learning and has always shown a lot of faith and belief in what I can do,” the grassroots hero said.

“I was coaching without any coaching qualifications and she inspired me to get on to a formal coaching pathway and put me in touch with the London FA.

“I’ve since done my FA Level 1 and 2 coaching qualifications as well as my Youth Modules and the plan is to do my UEFA B License next year with a view to becoming an FA educator.

“I’m just fortunate to have people like Rachel who really do have a lot of belief in what I do because if it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be a coach."

Tailor has also had the opportunity to work with Arsenal’s Girls Centre of Excellence and the football inclusion campaign Kick It Out but she revealed how at one stage she fell out of love with the game.

“My love for the game came from my twin brother and playing football is all we ever did,” she said. “He became depressed when we were 18 and 15 years on sadly he has not recovered.”

“I was dressed in my kit when I came home one day after working with Rachel and my brother started following me around staring at my kit and smiling.

“Something just clicked inside of me. I realised not only I am doing the right thing, but achieving something in football could have a positive impact on his recovery.

“I fell in love with the game because of my twin but I am the person that I am because of Rachel,” she added.

“She’s given me hope and restored a lot of faith and trust within me that I lost when my brother fell ill. She’s made me understand how powerful the game really is.

“Had it not been for my brother and Rachel I wouldn’t be in the position that I am in.”

Tailor, who appeared alongside Yankey in the BBC’s Women’s Football Show, says it’s fitting that she will be attending the awards at Wembley Stadium, close to where she now coaches alongside the England legend.

“To be going to Wembley for the awards night is brilliant I couldn’t really ask for a better venue,” she said. “The fact that it is near where I coach and near where my coaching journey began is a bonus.”

“It’s nice to be recognised for the work that you do, but I think it’s really important to be humble and take things in your stride,” she added.

“I don’t lose sight of my values and beliefs. I want to impact the community, not just the local community but the wider community. I want to make a difference to people’s lives - as a teacher that’s what I set out to do and as a coach that is my goal.”

The Asian Football Awards will take place on October 8th at Wembley stadium and will this year form part of the FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations.

Blackpool striker Michael Chopra is once again in the running for the Player of the Year Award while West Bromwich Albion starlet Adil Nabi is one of the favourites for the Young Player of the Year. Manchester United’s Japanese midfielder Shinji Kagawa is one of the frontrunners for the newly-created South-East Asian Player of the Year Award.

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