Said Jamal from Afghanistan on cusp of Castleford Tigers spot

Image source, Castleford Tigers
Image caption,
Said Jamal, who fled Afghanistan, hopes to make an impact in rugby league with Castleford Tigers

A boy who fled war-torn Afghanistan after his father was killed by the Taliban is on the cusp of a professional rugby league career.

Said Jamal, 15, arrived in the UK and settled in Rotherham, South Yorkshire about four years ago.

He played school rugby and at Dearne Valley Bulldogs before being spotted by Super League team Castleford Tigers.

"It's not an easy thing for a person like me to get into this level", the teenager said.

"It means nothing is impossible, you can do everything you want."

Said is playing for the West Yorkshire club's youth academy side as a full-back and has ambitions to play the game as a professional.

Off the pitch Said wants to become a cardiologist.

Image source, Anna Gowthorpe/
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Said carried the ball out to the referee before kick-off at the 2016 Wigan v Warrington final

He has already made an appearance at one of rugby league's biggest games - the Grand Final at Old Trafford.

In his Dearne Valley Bulldogs strip he carried the ball out to the referee before kick-off at the 2016 Wigan v Warrington final.

"To be in that dream was a great feeling. It will motivate me," he said.

He was 12 when he joined the community club, based at Bolton upon Dearne, near Barnsley, and very soon he was captaining the team despite the language difficulties.

"It was a different environment for me and I couldn't speak properly but I really enjoyed it."

"For me it's a family, the support from everyone is incredible", Said added.

Image source, SWPix
Image caption,
Said has been captain at Dearne Valley Bulldogs

Duncan Henderson, his coach at Deane Valley, said : "He has gone through a real tough time in Afghanistan, things you can't imagine.

"He lost a lot of his family out there, including his father and some siblings, through the Taliban attacks."

"I am immensely proud of his success, it is thoroughly deserved."

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