Instead, he used the tragedy as a springboard for a personal challenge that has seen him emerge as one of British sport’s most inspiring characters.
Using sport as the catalyst, Zafran has engaged with the local community in Birmingham to offer the hope of a brighter future – channelling their energy and youthful enthusiasm in a way that would previously have been unthinkable.
“Zaf has used sport as a source to get these youths away from crime and used their energy in a positive way which gets these youths back in education and then in employment,” said Gulnaz Begum, who has witnessed at first hand Zafran’s incredible work.
“Zaf started all this 4 years ago after his young brother-in-law was murdered in a local park. Zaf started going around in parks and alleyways and started to liaise with these frustrated youths.”
That was a brave move, particularly after suffering such a tragic loss but the results of his approach are staggering. Zafran now runs numerous sports, including football, at an academy designed to offer young people access to activities that they would otherwise have struggled to access.
Incredibly, he now has 8000 youths registered on his books. Furthermore, he has opened a women’s academy in which women who are not able to continue with further education due to family values can get the chance to enjoy and participate in sporting programmes.
Perhaps this quote sums up his contribution best.
“Zaf is a community hero and has changed thousands of lives with his soft and humble approach.”