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Eni and Thura among new ambassadors
 Women's Football News 28 Jul 2007
 
The FA have announced an exciting line up of eleven 'Football For All Ambassadors' who share their determination to break down the barriers that still exist in football. 
 
A number of those involved met at Soho Square on Thursday afternoon to discuss their aspirations in the months ahead, and it was clear that everyone was determined to make a difference.
 
Among those who met with FA Director of Corporate Affairs Simon Johnson, Director of Football Development Sir Trevor Brooking and Equality Manager Lucy Faulkner, was England Women's international Eniola Aluko and the 20-year-old striker revealed her pride at being involved in the initiative.
 
"I feel so privileged to have this opportunity, to be a role model to young girls is something that at my age is very special," Eni revealed.
 
"Growing up I wasn't really aware of women's football until I was a little older and I was lucky to be involved when I got the chance, but hopefully now we bring it to girls' attention a lot sooner and get more and more playing the game.
 
"When I wanted to play football I didn't see any obstacles to my dreams, but I know that isn't the case for every young girl and that's why I'm here.
 
"I will do everything I can to help as many young girls have that same outlook, to be able to look forward to what they want to do without seeing obstacles in their way."
 
Women's football is also represented from an administrative perspective, with Thura Win joining the programme who has volunteered a great deal of his time over the past two decades to serve the game.
 
After becoming a referee in 1981, Thura has combined a hectic business career with a passion for volunteer work that has seen him become the Deputy Chairman of Hampshire FA, Chairman of the Portsmouth women's team and a member of the Women's Football Conference.
 
Born in Burma, Win is keen to see an increasing representation of ethnic minorites in the administrative side of football.
 
"When I grew up I was not considered an ethnic minority as where I lived I was part of the indigenous population," Win explained.
 
"But when I moved to this country I obviously became part of the minority and that experience is something that I can draw on to help people in a similar situation get more involved in the game.
 
"I have a passion for football and I am fortunate that my work allows me the time to take on so much volunteer work, but I think that the administrative side of football undoubtedly needs to become more representative of the population. That's why I'm here."
 
A further three of the ambassadors have a background in refereeing, and they each bring different experiences to the programme. Dave Raval is a level four referee and has worked with the International Gay and Lesbian Football Association, which will host the World Championship here in London next summer. Lorraine Deschamps is also a referee, at level five, and having been born in Kenya with a Brazilian education she has a unique perspective on the game and is keen to see the obstacles to involvement broken down at every level.
 
"I'm so delighted to be offered this chance and I really feel excited by what is taking shape here, there are a lot of different characters around the table and we can all contribute very much to the cause," Lorraine explained.
 
Lyndon Lynch, who was the last England coach to win the World Cup with the Learning Disability team in 2002, joins the list as does former West Brom defender Brendon Batson, who has worked with the Equality team over the last year in a consultancy role. Batson has devoted most of his time since retiring from football tackling the issue of racism and is now determined to ensure that Asian players the best possible opportunity to be involved in the game.
 
Yunus Lunat is also determined to increase representation from the Asian community, and has proven in his work with youth football teams that the interest and ability is there among young players.
 
"I started one of the first asian junior football clubs and they have been competiting in a league for four seasons now," Lunat explained.
 
"The quality is there and we have shown that young players can bridge the skills and coaching gap. I compare it to my generation and the language barrier when we joined schools, we can play catch up from that point of view so I don't see why the young players can't do it with football.
 
"What we have to do is to increase the representation of asians in football at levels, and in particular at an administration level."
 
Also involved in the scheme but not present at Soho Square are former Chelsea defender Paul Elliot, FA National Coach Noel Blake and Brian Sangha who set up Guru Nanak, the largest ethnic minority football club in Kent, before joining Kent FA.

 
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