Thirty one year old twins - Amar Singh Purewal and Arjun Singh Purewal- are all set to become the first British South Asian brothers to play against each other in a Wembley Cup final by Football Association (FA) of England. The brothers, whose parents immigrated from Punjab to England in the 1970s, will be keenly watched by their mother Kulwinder Purewal. With the twins representing two different clubs in the final–while Arjun is captaining Consett FC, Amar plays for Hebburn Town– it will be an emotional moment for the family.
“It’s a privilege for me to lead Consett FC at Wembley Stadium and to play against my brother Amar. This final is the biggest game of our football careers, and we have told each other to enjoy it. The whole family is both excited and nervous for us and wish that we could both win. Our late father would have been delighted with our feat,” shares Arjun.
The siblings’ parents moved to England from their ancestral villages from Punjab in the 1970s with their father Gurdawar Singh Purewal working as a bus driver initially in Coventry before the family moved to Sunderland and started a convenience store at Ryhope in 1985. The twins, youngest of five children, started playing football in the neighborhood before joining junior clubs in Sunderland. When their father passed away in 2001, Kulwinder, who also works as a part-time interpreter, supported their football dreams. Amar was in the junior team of Newcastle United, but was released after an injury in 2004. The following years saw Amar, a striker, play in the Northern League with clubs like Ryhope Collliery Welfare FC, Newcastle Benfield, Bishop Auckland, Durham City, Darlington, Shildon, and West Auckland FC before joining Hebburn Town.
Arjun, a centre-back, would ply his trade for Bishop Auckland, Durham City and Darlington along with Amar apart from playing for Whitby Town and Blyth Spartans. “As youngsters, both of us supported Coventry FC as they won the FA Cup in 1987, two years before our birth. After our father passed away, our mother supported our football training virtually on her own managing the store and working as a part-time interpreter. Our elder sisters Baljinder Kaur, Daljit Kaur and brother Harminder Singh Purewal too supported us,” shares Amar.
The twins also play for the club Panjab FC, a football club for players with Punjab roots and were part of the team when it reached the final of the CONIFA World Cup, a tournament for sub-national entities, minorities not affiliated with FIFA, in Russia in 2016. That was one memorable match with Arjun leading the team and Amar scoring seven goals. The brothers, who made a trip to India as kids, are also both qualified coaches and run AP Coaching for school kids in Sunderland. Even though they have been to India only once, the brothers keep track of Indian football and have been impressed by the Indian skipper Sunil Chhetri. “Apart from playing for our clubs, both of us work in primary schools running PE lessons and train school clubs. We hope to grow it further in the future,” shares Arjun, who has played in more than 150 matches for Consett FC.