Twins Amar and Arjun Singh Purewal are set to make history as the first British South Asian brothers to line up against each other under the arch in a Wembley Cup final.
The Sikh Punjabi twins from Sunderland have played alongside one another for much of their careers. But they find themselves on opposing sides when Amar’s Hebburn Town play Arjun’s Consett AFC in a rare North-East derby in last season’s rescheduled FA Vase final, taking place on the early May Bank Holiday.
The Purewal brothers are no strangers to making history and are iconic figures in the North East having between them played for clubs including Darlington, Durham City, Jarrow and West Auckland.
The 31-year-olds entered the record books as teenagers back in 2008 when they became the first twins ever to score in the same FA Cup tie, both netting for Bishop Auckland in a 3-2 Extra Preliminary Round win over Darlington RA.
Amar and Arjun also both play for the Panjab FA, who are recognised as a CONIFA (Confederation of Independent Football Associations) nation. The twins’ boss at international level, Manraj Singh Sucha, is thrilled they are finally getting the recognition they deserve as British South Asian football trailblazers.
He told Sky Sports News: “It’s going to be incredible firstly for them two, the boys have put the work in over a number of years and have a great pedigree in terms of where they have come from, and they have carried on and come to this point where they are able to play at Wembley against each other.
“It’s an incredible story for the boys themselves but obviously the inspiration that it is going to give to so many other young lads and other South Asians in general to say ‘Look, this is what’s possible, you can do it but you’ve got to put the work in’.
“It’s just an incredible story, it’s amazing for them, we are really proud and the whole community is going to be really proud to see them walking out on May 3 and playing at Wembley. Unbelievable, isn’t it!”
Britain’s South Asian community has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, and Monday’s FA Vase final comes against a backdrop of soaring infection rates across South Asia, particularly in India.
Shadow Rail Minister Tan Dhesi hopes the Singh Purewals’ prospective appearance at the home of English football can offer a ray of hope to South Asians in Britain, and across the world.
The Sikh-Punjabi Labour MP told Sky Sports News: “It has been a very, very difficult time for many within the South Asian community due to the pandemic, particularly with what is happening, and in India and the sub-continent at the moment there are many more that are feeling the pain.
“But we need to draw upon inspirational stories at this time and these individuals are role models for others to achieve greater things in future, and I think within English football it is important we have that diversity reflected.
“This is history is in the making. Two brothers, lining up against one another in a final at Wembley will be remarkable. That is something that needs to be highlighted, and I am glad that you are doing it.
“British South Asians have a great deal to contribute to football and the wider sporting arena so a very well done to Amar and Arjun and I hope they achieve great things in the future.”
‘Another moment to celebrate’
Official Three Lions fans group Apna England reacted with delighted to the news that twins Amar and Arjun Purewal will make history at the home of English football on Monday.
Apna England spokesperson Jay Mann told Sky Sports News: “What an incredible journey it has been for the Purewal brothers! Monday will be a joyous occasion for them, their family and friends and the entire South Asian community, bar none.
“Representation of South Asians is important across the board right from the grassroots level to the boardrooms. This is another moment to celebrate as we continue to build the game that is inclusive for all.”
‘Football most popular sport for British South Asians’
Preet Kaur Gill, Member of Parliament for Edgbaston in Birmingham and Britain’s first Sikh female MP, says the next generation of British South Asian footballers will no doubt be inspired by the twins’ historic appearance at Wembley on Monday.
“This is a fantastic story and an incredible achievement by the Purewal brothers and I’m so looking forward to seeing them play,” she told Sky Sports News.
“While football is the most popular participation sport for British South Asians they are still hugely underrepresented in all professional leagues.
“For young people to see these successful South Asian footballers playing at Wembley in a cup final will be such a source of inspiration and show other South Asian players exactly what’s possible.”
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