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Posted: Thu, 08 Mar 2018 14:46

International Women's Day 2018: Annie Zaidi - the football coach with high ambitions

"I knew football was something inside me - it was like fairy dust sprinkled on me."

"She's a fantastic coach: energy, enthusiasm, dynamic - everything you want all your coaches to be," said Mark Fogarty, director of football at National League side Solihull Moors, where Annie is coaching the Under-15 team.

"She has brought in things that nobody has done and they love her."

It is a message that is mirrored by the parents and players.

"My son came home after the first session with her and said 'dad, that's the best training we have ever had'," said Michael, a parent of one the Under-15 team's players.

"The whole group have responded to her because they know what she's quality. I've been with Solihull Moors for two years and she's by far the best."

From left to right: U15 player's parent Michael, Solihull director of football Mark Fogarty, U15 player Morgan and U15 player's parent Daniel
The people at Solihull Moors have great respect for 'Coach Annie Z', as she is known by players
Under-15s striker Morgan says she is not a light touch.

"She likes to encourage us. Sometimes it's harsh, but it's a good harsh to get us working hard," he said."She's helped me improve a lot."

So what about her prospects of managing the first team in the future?

"Why not? One day - yes," added Fogarty. "I would not put anything past Annie. I think she can achieve anything she wants to."

As for Zaidi herself? She is setting her sights high.

"There's something inside of me saying I might not get to be the national first-team coach, but I know I will get where I need to be," she said.

"I don't want to be known as the Asian girl or the Muslim girl.

"I want to be known as Annie, a really good coach."

(Source & Image: BBC Get Inspired)

Tags: Featured, Football, News, Play Sport, Women's Sport

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  • Leicestershire County Council
    O&W LSA
  • Active Leicester
    Safeguarding
  • Equality Standard
    Blaby LSA
  • Active Rutland
    H&B LSA
  • Sport England
    Melton LSA
  • Charnwood LSA
    NWL LSA
  • County Sport Network
    Harborough LSA