Tony Carr MBE helped celebrate the achievements of young Bangladeshi footballers on Tuesday, as he joined West Ham United Academy coach, Anwar Uddin at the 17th annual Bangladesh Football Association Awards.
Born in Bow, the Club's Academy director retains close ties with the local community and was only too glad to present awards at Stepney's Troxy Hall, in front of some 600 people gathered to applaud outstanding BFA schemes.
Carr, who recently marked 40 unbroken years at the Club, has unearthed many a star in his exceptional tenure at the Boleyn Ground, including Uddin, still the only player of Bangladeshi origin to play in the Football League.
That said, Carr is confident of others following in Uddin's footsteps. He told whufc.com: "The likes of Anwar had a good football education with us and he definitely won't be the last Bangladeshi footballer to make the grade.
"It's just a matter of time and my advice is simple - keep practising, keep working hard and you never know who's watching."
Uddin, who signed professional forms with the Hammers at the turn of the Millennium, went on to play in the Football League for Bristol Rovers, Dagenham & Redbridge and Barnet, winning promotion twice during his time with the Daggers.
He was also part of West Ham's FA Youth Cup winning team in 1999 and is now teaching the next generation of Hammers as a part-time coach with the Academy, working with the Foundation Phase (Under-8s to Under-12s).
Uddin hands out awards at Stepney's Troxy Hall on Tuesday
A patron of the BFA and head of the Sporting Bengal Academy, the 31-year-old insists nothing would give him greater satisfaction than to bring through Asian youngsters who cut it at the very top.
"The Premier League is very competitive and players compete within a global market," he explained. "I see no reason why we can't have a crop of young Asians making the grade in the Championship, League One, League Two, and even Non-League football.
"Nothing would make me prouder than to play a hand in delivering a crop of ready-made footballers to mainstream football."
The Club and West Ham United Community Sports Trust are committed to developing engagement with the local Asian community, having already established a triangular strategic partnership with the Stifford Centre, (a Bengali and Asian community hub in Stepney), and the Bangladeshi FA UK.
Pictures courtesy of AZ Images