Four lucky students from the Zesh Rehman Foundation (ZRF) won the chance to have a tour of the Liverpool training ground - Melwood. The youths met the 1st team players, obtained autographs, and more so, were fortunate enough to watch the players train as part of the ZRF's ‘Healthy Active Lifestyle’ programme. Abdulla, Abid, Osama and Dhanish all from KD Grammar School in Manchester, were the winners of the ZRF poster competition and were selected by the Liverpool 1st Team Club Doctor Zaf Iqbal and Riz Rehman, ceo for the ZRF.
Dr Zaf with students
Riz Rehman, Steven Gerrard and Irfan Kawri at Melwood
The ZRF was launched last year by former Fulham, QPR and Bradford City Captain Zesh Rehman with the aim of offering positive opportunities for young people to aspire and excel within the football world.
Recent research from NHS has reported that the majority of Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) groups participating in sports and physical activity is lower than the national average. Thus, resulting in higher risks of cardiovascular disease and type II diabetes, two diseases which are prevalent in BME communities. One of the main factors contributing to such low levels of participation is a lack of BME role models who have little involvement with organised sporting activities.
Dr Zaf Iqbal was keen to get involved with the ZRF and played a huge role in writing up the programme with the ZRF North-West coordinator Irfan Kawri and experienced teaching staff at KD Grammar School.
Talking about the programme, Dr Zaf said:
"With physical inactivity and obesity on the increase among children in the UK, there is a desperate need to try and halt this worrying trend. The pilot was a one week cross-curricular programme for students involving PE, Maths and Science, and was to designed to see if we could increase awareness of requirements and promote physical activity among school children.
"We hoped that by delivering the messages through individuals linked with inspirational role models such as Zesh Rehman and Liverpool FC there would be an added incentive for the children to take interest".
Although Zesh was not present due to his playing commitments in Thailand, he did manage to congratulate the students through Skype. Zesh said:
"We plan to hold more tours and events similar to this in the future. It’s a great way to motivate young people and show them the opportunities available to them if they work hard.
"As footballers, it’s important we act as good role models and give something back to the community".
Talking about the programme and the Melwood visit, Abid Abu, 12, who is also a Liverpool fan said:
"Since the programme at our school I have already started to do more exercise and watch what I eat. It was a dream to meet all the Liverpool players".
Riz Rehman said: "On behalf of the Foundation I would like to thank Dr Zaf and everyone at Liverpool FC who made us feel very welcome".