Date published: 01/02/2013
A youngster from Birmingham will come face to face with his hero, Darren Bent, when he becomes an official Barclays Premier League mascot for Aston Villa FC.
Khalid Egal is getting the chance to lead out The Villans against West Ham United thanks to a scheme being run by Barclays Spaces for Sports.
Khalid, from Saltley, is a regular participant at the Barclays Spaces for Sports site at Green Lane Playing Fields, Bordesley Green and was picked by organisers there for the mascot role.
The 12-year-old described the opportunity as “really exciting” as despite being a long-time Villa fan, he’s never had the opportunity to go to a Barclays Premier League game before.
Barclays Spaces for Sports have now built 200 community sports sites in partnership with the Football Foundation. The programme uses sport to revitalise disadvantaged communities and tackle key social issues by helping young people develop a range of life and employment skills. It is part of Barclays community investment programme and wider Citizenship agenda.
Aston Villa FC striker and England international, Darren Bent said, “I think it’s very important to get local kids playing and enjoying sport. I am pleased that Khalid has the opportunity to be the mascot for our match against West Ham and I hope he enjoys the day.”
Paul Kenna, Development Community Coordinator at the Green Lane Barclays Spaces for Sports site, where Khalid enjoys his football sessions, said, “The Green Lane site is very important to the local community. It is fantastic that Barclays Spaces for Sports are giving the unique opportunity of being a Barclays Premier League mascot to a dedicated participant at our site.”
Khalid said, “I am really excited to be a mascot. Aston Villa are my favourite team but I have never been to a game before so I think it will be very fun to walk out onto the pitch at Villa Park.”
Khalid will take to the pitch on Sunday 10th February at 1.30pm.