Talented GCU footballer is nominated for Young Scot Award

03 February 2016

Picture courtesy of Garry McHarg/Sunday Mail

Picture courtesy of Garry McHarg/Sunday Mail

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) student Aminah Din has been nominated for a national newspaper award in recognition of her pivotal role in inspiring and coaching young football fans.

Aminah, who is studying a BA in Accountancy and was named Scottish Women in Sports’ Role Model of the Year in November, will find out in April if she has won the Diversity category in The Sunday Mail’s Young Scot Awards.

Aminah is one of Scottish football’s rising stars and is helping kick down cultural barriers by coaching other Asian girls in the sport.

Aminah said: “I am happiest when I am on the football pitch. Starting out in football was hard as people didn’t have high expectations of what I could do and I got a few odd looks - I was the only girl on the school football team and, on top of that, I was an Asian girl.  Even now it is uncommon for Asian women to play.”

Aminah, who started playing at the age of five, plays for SEMSA (Scottish Ethnic Minorities Sports Association) regularly and coaches eight- to 15-year-old girls – largely from Glasgow’s Asian community – every summer.

“We play regularly in tournaments but it’s more about having fun and keeping fit than competition,” she said. “Football can break down barriers, that’s why I love coaching other Asian girls. Some have never played before so I can be teaching them the very basics. Lots of the girls keep it up. So many of them remind me of myself. Some members of the community thought it was weird for someone like me to be playing competitively, but my own family has been incredibly supportive. Now, I can show other girls what I have achieved – it’s who I am.”

Aminah is regularly scouted and has already turned down a scholarship to play in the US. She said: “I am focusing on my education. I want to pursue a business career and football was just a hobby. However, my passion has developed and maybe that hobby will develop into a career, too. I never thought football would bring me this far. In the meantime I am concentrating on my studies and enjoying coaching and playing for fun. Women’s football has a great, supportive atmosphere.”

Aminah still has no idea who nominated her for the Sunday Mail Award. “The nomination is so unexpected – it’s really great and I feel I have already achieved something,” she said. “My family is so proud. I hope I can inspire more Asian girls to take up the sport. I have been compared to the girl in Bend it Like Beckham and it’s true. I’m delighted to be nominated but the award itself is just a title, the main purpose is to raise awareness and get people into sport.”