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Meet the only South Asian female coach in English men’s football

Meet the only South Asian female coach in English men’s football

Sayan Chatterjee

Published: 15 Feb 2021 10:03 AM GMT

Standing at just above 4’9”, Manisha Tailor is often mistaken for a member of the medical staff by opposing teams. Such perceptions are one of the sad realities that still plague the English leagues that many Indians know and love. But with her grit and determination, Tailor has carved a name for herself in an arena that has for long been deemed a man’s world. Made an MBE in 2017 for her services towards football and diversity in sport, the Queens Park Rangers (QPR) academy coach has come a long way from being a primary school teacher.


A die-hard Arsenal fan, Manisha grew up in London in the 80s and was inseparable from his twin brother Mayur. Like most other Asian families, playing football was never seriously considered as an option for her at that time. Then during their late teenage years, Mayur developed a mental illness that continues to affect the family, 22 years since. The initial diagnosis was that the bullying that he had experienced during childhood had resulted in his adverse mental state leading to hallucinations although the exact reason for his deteriorating health remains a mystery. However, football was always something that kept the two connected, and that is one of the reasons why Tailor is so passionate about giving back to the community through the game.

Tailor was doing well professionally as a deputy head and trainee head at the school when the opportunity of working in football came about. Former England international Rachel Yankey offered her a chance to work part-time at her grassroots project called The Rachel Yankey Football Programme and there was no looking back. Soon after, she started volunteering at QPR’s academy and it was there that she found a mentor in former manager and current QPR Technical Director Chris Ramsey. The Premier League’s Elite Coach Apprenticeship Scheme came about next, which enabled her to grab a full-time role at the club. Tailor went on to work with the club’s U9s through to the U13s in various administrative positions and is currently preparing for her UEFA ‘A’ license.


Besides her role at QPR, she has been involved in a number of education-based projects like Kick It Out as well as different charities and other organisations. She also has her own company (called Swaggarlicious) which campaigns around mental health and has been an integral part of the English Football Association’s youth modules. All this work in education and coaching led to her winning the prestigious Women in Football award in 2013 at the Asian Football Awards. With a CV that includes spells with the Gibbons Wreckers Youth Football Club, Indian Gymkhana and Arsenal Ladies Centre of Excellence apart from her more recent assignments, she is indeed an inspiration for young girls of colour who want to make football their career.

(with inputs from an article on The Guardian)

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