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Rehman on the Move
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Rehman on the Move

 
 

Zesh Rehman is one of a rare breed. He’s a British professional football player of Asian heritage. Not only that, he has played in all four of England’s professional leagues, including the English Premier League, with his debut in the top flight coming with Fulham against Liverpool in 2004.

Born in Birmingham, England’s second city in the middle of the country, Rehman has also captained the Pakistan national team. But while he was born and raised in England, he’s about to embark on his second Asian adventure after signing for Hong Kong champions Kitchee SC earlier this week.

There aren’t that many players with Premier league experience in Asia, and in making the move he leaves Muang Thong United, the Thai club he joined in December 2010, which is a rising force in Southeast Asian football. Indeed, it’s a club that’s as professionally run as many in Europe, with a merchandise store that wouldn’t look out of place in the Premier League.

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Rehman played more than 30 games for the Thai team, based just outside Bangkok, helping them reach the final of the FA Cup and the quarter-finals of the continental competition, the AFC Cup.

“Thailand was a great experience and all the players, management and fans were great to me till the day I left,” he reportedly said this week. “I had some very good offers in other parts of Asia and Europe, but all my attention now turns to Kitchee. As a player I’m still yet to reach my peak and I want to continue developing as a player and person.”

The Hong Kong league isn’t yet at the level he has just left behind, but Kitchee is another well-run and ambitious club.

“Kitchee is happy to have secured Zesh as our Asian Foreigner for the upcoming AFC Cup competition,” the club’s president, Ken Ng, said. “Not only has Zesh played at the highest level in England, he has also demonstrated his leadership and good nature as an individual who share our values. We believe that he will make a positive impact at Kitchee and in Hong Kong Football.” 
 
And he could – on and off the pitch. He set up his own foundation to help British Asians increase their representation in professional football and to promote community cohesion and personal development through sport. 

“As a professional footballer who has played in all four divisions of the English professional leagues, and internationally with Pakistan, I have experienced personally the positive impact that sport can have on both individuals and the wider community,” he said.

“As a British born individual from Pakistani heritage I am also aware of the challenges and perceptions faced by young people from minority communities on a daily basis, and how that can have a negative impact on both their mindset and their actions.”

The latest chapter in the Rehman story is about to begin.Zesh Rehman is one of a rare breed. He’s a British professional football player of Asian heritage. Not only that, he has played in all four of England’s professional leagues, including the English Premier League, with his debut in the top flight coming with Fulham against Liverpool in 2004.

Born in Birmingham, England’s second city in the middle of the country, Rehman is also captain of the Pakistan national team. But while he was born and raised in England, he’s about to embark on his second Asian adventure after signing for Hong Kong champions Kitchee SC earlier this week.

There aren’t that many players with Premier league experience in Asia, and in making the move he leaves Muang Thong United, the Thai club he joined in December 2010, which is a rising force in Southeast Asian football. Indeed, it’s a club that’s as professionally run as many in Europe, with a merchandise store that wouldn’t look out of place in the Premier League.

Rehman played more than 30 games for the Thai team, based just outside Bangkok, helping them reach the final of the FA Cup and the quarter-finals of the continental competition, the AFC Cup.

“Thailand was a great experience and all the players, management and fans were great to me till the day I left,” he reportedly said this week. “I had some very good offers in other parts of Asia and Europe, but all my attention now turns to Kitchee. As a player I’m still yet to reach my peak and I want to continue developing as a player and person.”

The Hong Kong league isn’t yet at the level he has just left behind, but Kitchee is another well-run and ambitious club.

“Kitchee is happy to have secured Zesh as our Asian Foreigner for the upcoming AFC Cup competition,” the club’s president, Ken Ng, said. “Not only has Zesh played at the highest level in England, he has also demonstrated his leadership and good nature as an individual who share our values. We believe that he will make a positive impact at Kitchee and in Hong Kong Football.” 
 
And he could – on and off the pitch. He set up his own foundation to help British Asians increase their representation in professional football and to promote community cohesion and personal development through sport. 

“As a professional footballer who has played in all four divisions of the English professional leagues, and internationally with Pakistan, I have experienced personally the positive impact that sport can have on both individuals and the wider community,” he said.

“As a British born individual from Pakistani heritage I am also aware of the challenges and perceptions faced by young people from minority communities on a daily basis, and how that can have a negative impact on both their mindset and their actions.”

The latest chapter in the Rehman story is about to begin.

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