By Malik Riaz Hai Naveed
Leicester City have won the Premier League title in one of the greatest sporting stories of all time. Congratulations! Leicester started the campaign as 5,000-1 outsiders for the title after almost being relegated last season. Pakistan had his own Leicester experience: Usman Gondal.
Gondal started with a local league football club at the age of 10, where he played on Sundays and was a regular team player. He played upfront and in his last season he scored 64 goals in 18 games. Then he moved on to an all Asian team which played in the local league and he managed to score 30 goals in 10 games.
In 2003, Usman Gondal became City’s first Asian scholar and played for the under-17s. Gondal was snapped up by Leicester Senior Team after he scored in a trial match for their under-19 side against Watford in 2005. Before that, he also had a spell at Nottingham Forest.
“There aren’t any British Pakistanis playing for any of the big clubs at the moment. My role model is Thierry Henry and I definitely try to base my game on his.
“I think the main reason that a lot of British Pakistanis don’t make it as footballers is because they don’t get enough support off their parents.”, he said in 2005.
Usman was scouted by FootballPakistan.Com’s Team consisting of Ifti Younas and Malik Riaz Hai Naveed in 2005. On June 12, 2005 Usman finally made his international debut in the first NBP Test Match of the Pakistan-India series at Quetta. Later in 2006 he was his was also selected for the 14th Asian Cup qualifiers’ first match against Jordan on Feb 22.
Only one year later the 1987-born retired from football because of persisting injuries that hampered his football and focused on his job career.