History beckons for twin brothers Amar and Arjun Purewal as they face other each in Hebburn Town v Consett Wembley final
History beckons for twin brothers Amar and Arjun Purewal when they walk out at Wembley for the FA Vase Final on Monday afternoon.
The twin brothers will be on opposing sides as Hebburn Town and Consett do battle to become the tenth North East club to experience success in the competition’s 47-year history.
But no matter what the result is, the Purewals will have achieved something that goes far beyond any of their numerous on-field achievements in the game.
Hebburn forward Amar and Consett centre-back Arjun will become the first South Asian brothers to line up against each other in a Wembley cup final.
The brothers will also provide a historic moment for Sikhs in football as governing bodies look to try and increase their involvement in the game.
Amar – who is the older twin by just two minutes – is hoping to set an example for aspiring Sikh footballers at grassroots level by making his mark on the grandest stage in English football.
He told The Gazette: “You don’t hear much of South Asians or Sikhs in football.
“I think you’d be lucky to name more than one – there’s Yan Danda at Swansea City, but other than that I can’t really think of any in England.
“It’s a big thing for us because if we are seen playing there (at Wembley), it might put us on the map and put Sikhs on the map.
“It can show that they can do it, people from grassroots can do it.
“Hopefully, it’s a big thing for the Asian community watching as well.”
There will be an additional source of pride for Steelmen defender Arjun as he prepares to lead Terry Mitchell’s side out on to the hallowed turf.
The Consett captain is determined to make the most of what has been described as “history in the making" by Sikh-Punjabi MP Tan Dhesi.
Arjun explained: “It’s mainly the fact that we have got there, we are still dedicated and motivated, that should be enough to show other people they can be motivated to do it themselves.
“We have this platform, we have to use that and then it’s about people watching following suit.
“I am so excited and proud to be leading the team out, it’s a big moment.
“It’s going to be a great experience; one you just want to enjoy and hopefully get my hands on that trophy.”
The two brothers have experienced different preparations for their big day out at the home of football.
Hebburn went knocked out of the Durham Challenge Cup by Birtley Town and have battled their way through two testing Vase ties as their attempts to reach the final of this season’s competition continues.
Consett also saw their Challenge Cup run ended by the Hoops two weeks ago and have faced a Sunderland academy side and England Universities in friendly fixtures.
Arjun insisted that his side are “more than ready” for Wembley, despite only playing one competitive fixture this year.
“It’s been slightly different for us because we are out of this season’s Vase.
“We played Birtley Town in our first game back, it didn’t go to plan, we looked rusty, and we got beat.
“But we have had a couple of games against Sunderland academy and England Universities, and we have had a lot of training sessions.
“If anything, we are more than ready for this game now and people might say it’s not the competitive side of it, but football is football.
“You can’t take it easy whether it’s a friendly or a cup final.
“We are ready, we really are – but we know it will be a tough game.”
Amar offered a similar assessment of Monday’s tie but expressed believes that the experience in the Hornets squad can give them the edge.
“They’re a good team, there’s no doubt about it and they are there for a reason.
“We have the experience and if we play at our best, I firmly believe we will come out on top.
“It’s a cup final, anything can happen, and hopefully we come out on the right side of it.”
The duo have recent experience of preparing for a major cup final – albeit in somewhat different circumstances.
The Purewals have represented the Panjab FA in the ConIFA World Cup – a competition held for states, stateless peoples and regions unaffiliated with FIFA.
The Panjab FA were founded in 2014 to represent the Punjab community around the world and made an impressive first appearance in the 2016 competition.
The tournament was held in Abkhazia – a territory between Russia and Georgia – and the Purewals were influential in helping their side reach the final.
Around 8,000 supporters made their way to the Dinamo Stadium to see Amar continue his fine form by grabbing his seventh goal of the tournament to put his side ahead against the hosts.
A late equaliser took the game to a penalty shoot-out and it was Abkhazia that held their nerve to lift the trophy.
Amar described the tournament as his best experience in the game – but insisted that Monday’s trip to Wembley will go one step further.
“We went to a country that felt in the middle of nowhere and, as a team, we just gelled,” he explained.
“We turned up at the stadium for the final and there were rows full of people supporting the home nation in their game against us.
“Scoring in the final, being ahead in the final was just surreal.
“That was very close to being my best experience in football.
“But it doesn’t get much bigger than playing at Wembley, you literally couldn’t get better.”
And what better place to make history, no matter what the result is come 3 o’clock on Monday.