'Overwhelming' support after Luton football coach offers training to youths affected by knife crime
A Luton football coach has received hundreds of messages of support after offering free training to youngsters in order to steer them away from gang life.
Asif Khan is the coach of Luton Phoenix Football Club and offered training for any youths affected by knife crime in a post on Facebook.
Asif felt compelled to speak out following the fatal stabbing of 16-year-old Humza Hussain on Stoneygate Road on June 8.
The message was shared over 3,000 times online and the team has since been inundated with inquiries from youngsters and worried parents looking to keep their children out of trouble.
Luckily, Asif has been able to direct most of the youngsters to local teams and is planning a community football event in coming weeks.
Asif said: “Our team trains each Sunday and I gave an open invitation on the Friday beforehand for any youths affected by knife crime.
“The response was overwhelming and the post was shared thousands of times.
“We had messages from people as far away as Australia and America, just offering support and asking if there was anything they could do to help.
“Parents got in touch with us to raise their concerns about knife crime and asked if they could send their kids to join our team.
“We’re an over 16s team but we’ve been able to suggest teams for most of the people getting in touch.
“We’ve had parents contacting us with kids as young as nine or 10, wanting to get them involved in football.
“Because of the amount of interest, we’re working alongside Luton United Football Club and we’re going to have an open day soon for people of all ages.”
A date has not yet been fixed for the football open day but Luton Today will share the announcement as soon as it is made.
> Are you involved in a group offering support to people affected by knife crime or gang life? Email [email protected]