Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India, if OCI and PIO players were permitted

Discover the Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India if OCI and PIO players were permitted to play for the Blue Tigers.
Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India, if OCI and PIO players were permitted
Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India, if OCI and PIO players were permitted

In the realm of Indian football, the debate surrounding the inclusion of Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) footballers in the national team roster has long been a topic of discussion. With the potential to bolster the talent pool and elevate the standard of play, the prospect of allowing foreign-born players with Indian heritage to represent the nation has garnered both intrigue and controversy. Today, we will name the Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India if the OCI and POI players were permitted.

Before we get into the names of players who could or could have faced the Indian football team, let's dive into the details and rules for the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) in Indian Football.

Who are Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO)

OCI (Overseas Citizenship of India) is a permanent residency that allows people of Indian origin and their spouses to live and work in India without any restrictions. This residency provides lifetime entry to the country and allows cardholders to own land and invest in India.

As per Wikipedia, the Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) Scheme was introduced by amending the Citizenship Act, 1955 in August 2005. The Scheme provides for registration as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) of all Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) who were citizens of India on 26th January 1950 or thereafter or were eligible to become citizens of India on 26th January 1950 except who is or had been a citizen of Pakistan, Bangladesh or such other country as the Central Government may, by notification in the Official Gazette, specify.

What do the AIFF say about Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) players?

As per the rule of the All India Football Federation, Overseas Citizen of India and Person of Indian Origin players can not don the Indian Blue jersey. The player cannot play for India unless and until they leave their current passports and adopt Indian citizenship. Moreover, as per the law, they will have to stay in India for at least 12 months to apply for an Indian passport.

Why the OCI & PIO players don't want to give up their current nationality to play for India?

The OCI & PIO players do not want to give up their current nationality just because of the strict rules for work permits of players from countries whose FIFA ranking is higher than 70. Leagues like Premier League and others do not provide work permit visas to footballers from countries whose are ranked higher than 70.

This was the only reason Sunil Chhetri could not sign for English Premier League Club Queens Park Rangers in 2009. Queens Park Rangers wanted to sign Sunil for a three-month deal but since India at the time ranked 134 in the FIFA World Rankings, he was denied the United Kingdom work permit.

Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India, if OCI and PIO players were permitted
“My dream for my country is really huge:” Sunil Chhetri describes his dream for this Indian football team post three back-to-back titles.

Did AIFF try to sign any OCI & PIO players before?

AIFF did try to sign Michael Chopra in the early 2000s, a striker from England who featured for clubs like Newcastle United, Nottingham Forest, Sunderland and Cardiff City. However, that was not fruitful for AIFF back in the day. 

Currently, as per AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey, they are trying to approach 24 foreign footballers who are eligible to feature for India. Although Chaubey has not revealed any names yet.

Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India, if OCI and PIO players were permitted
Exclusive Breaking News: Manisha Kalyan signs with Apollo Ladies; set to become first Indian to play in UEFA Women’s Champions League

Have any Indian-origin players featured for India?

Arata Izumi, the Japanese-born mid-fielder gave up his Japanese nationality to play for India in 2012. He played 9 games for India and also was a part of the team which became SAFF Runners-up.

10 Indian-Origin footballers who could or could have represented India

Here are the 10 Indian-Origin footballers who could or could have represented India if Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Person of Indian Origin (PIO) players were allowed to feature for the men in blue.

Dilan Markanday

Dilan Markanday was the first player of Indian descent – to play for the Spurs in a competitive match in 2021.
Dilan Markanday was the first player of Indian descent – to play for the Spurs in a competitive match in 2021.Image | Sky Sports

Dilan, 22 is a winger who plays for the Aberdeen Football Club in the Scottish Premiership. Dilan came from Tottenham Hotspur's youth ranks and was the first-ever British Asian – as well as the first player of Indian descent – to play for the Spurs in a competitive match in 2021. Markanday was born to Deepa and Arun Markanday at Barnet in London, England

Yan Dhanda

Yan Dhanda currently plays for the Ross County in the Scottish Premiership.
Yan Dhanda currently plays for the Ross County in the Scottish Premiership.Image | BBC

Yan Dhanda is a 25-year-old winger playing for Ross County at the moment in the Scottish Premiership. He was born in Birmingham. Dhanda's mother is from England while his father was born to Indian parents in England.

Yan came through the ranks of West Bromwich Albion and Liverpool Youth teams and then made his senior team debut for Swansea City where he faced a lot of racism. He featured for England U16 and U17. Yan wanted to play for India at the senior level but then opted out as playing for India would mean an end to his Premier League career as well.

Manprit Sarkaria

Manpreet Sarkaria with the Austiran Cup in 2022-23 season.
Manpreet Sarkaria with the Austiran Cup in 2022-23 season.Image | Kicker

Another left winger who could feature for India if AIFF allowed dual nationality. Manprit, born to a sikh parents in Austria, plays for the Sturm Graz in the Austrian Bundesliga and has also featured for the Austrian senior team once. He was also the top scorer of the ÖFB-Cup 2022/23.

Sarpreet Singh

Sarpreet Singh was the first Indian origin footballer to make debut in the Bundesliga.
Sarpreet Singh was the first Indian origin footballer to make debut in the Bundesliga.Image | Bayern Munich

Sarpreet Singh is an attacking mid-fielder born in New Zealand to Indian parents and plays for Hansa Rostock in the second-division league in Germany. He did feature for Bayern Munich in 2019 for 2 games before signing Hansa Rostock after three loan tenures. He was the first Indian-origin footballer to play in the Bundesliga. He has already featured for the New Zealand senior team nine times.

Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India, if OCI and PIO players were permitted
Top 10 Premier League teams with the most own goals

Joshua Pynadath

Joshua Pynadath in Chelsea's training in 2021.
Joshua Pynadath in Chelsea's training in 2021.Image | X

The 21-year-old California-born forward made his name when he became the first ever player of Indian descent to join Real Madrid's youth program in 2013 and then went on to join Ajax Youth Team in 2015. He is currently playing for Jong AZ in the Netherlands and had a trial with Chelsea as well back in 2021. 

Joshua was born to an Indian father and European European-American mother in 2002.

Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India, if OCI and PIO players were permitted
Top 10 Most Overpaid Forwards In The Premier League

Harpreet Ghotra

Harpreet Ghotra signing his contract with Eintracht Frankfurt
Harpreet Ghotra signing his contract with Eintracht FrankfurtImage | Eintracht Frankfurt

Harpreet Ghotra is a 21-year-old midfielder from Germany who was born to Indian parents and currently playing for Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga. He has been with the Eintracht youth teams since 2015 and now has a contract with the German team till June 2024 with an option to extend the contract.

Shaan Hundal

Shaan Hundal had a short stint at the Inter Miami CF in MLS.
Shaan Hundal had a short stint at the Inter Miami CF in MLS.Image | Inter Miami CF

Shaan holds the dual nationality of both India and Canada as he was born to Indian parents in Canada. The 24-year-old striker is currently playing for the Valour FC team in Canadian Premier League. He has also featured for the Canada U18 and U20 team.

Sai Sachdev

Sai Sachdev playing for Sheffield United.
Sai Sachdev playing for Sheffield United.Image | X

Sachdev is another English young prodigy who can feature for India if AIFF approves the dual nationality system. He has already featured for England U16, U18 and U19 teams and is currently playing for Oldham Athletic, on a loan from Sheffield United. As a young kid, this right-back was part of the Leicester City Youth Academy as well.

Arjan Raikhy

Arjan Raikhy joined Leicester City in 2023.
Arjan Raikhy joined Leicester City in 2023.Image | X

A product of Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion academies, Arjan is a 21-year-old midfielder who plays for Leicester City in England. Arjan made his debut for Aston Villa on 8 January 2021 in an FA Cup third-round tie against Liverpool after making a name for the youth side of the club. However, he was loaned to the National League sides twice before joining Leicester City in 2023. 

Arjan was born to a British-Punjabi Sikh family in Wolverhampton

Top 10 Indian-origin footballers who could represent India, if OCI and PIO players were permitted
Top 10 Most Overpaid Midfielders in The Premier League

Brandon Khela

In 2022, Brandon Khela became the first South Asian to sign a professional deal with Birmingham City.
In 2022, Brandon Khela became the first South Asian to sign a professional deal with Birmingham City.Image |Birmingham City

The first South Asian to sign a professional deal with Birmingham City back in 2022, Bradon Khela was touted to be the one with huge potential by the club. The 19-year-old midfielder is currently on loan to Scottish Premiership club Ross County and also featured for the England U17 team in 2022. Khela's signing with Birmingham City is recognised as a historic moment in British football.

Can the Indian-origin footballers help Indian football grow?

Honestly, we do not know that. It can be a yes or a no. The main reason for the confusion is the culture of Indian football. India do have youth development projects aligned for the future and also have a structure as well.

So, having naturalized or "imported" players can cause a long harm to the development of football since all the focus will be on them. For short-term goals, it can be of good use to promote Indian football and achieve some quick results but without homegrown footballers, Indian football can not go further.

Follow us on Google News.

Related Stories

No stories found.
logo
Sportzpoint
sportzpoint.com