Michael Chopra is one of the most common names among Indian football fans due to his continuous attempts to somehow make a breakthrough into the Indian national team. The 33-year-old was the first Indian origin player to play in the English league when he made his debut for Newcastle United in 2009.
With 60 Premier League appearances to his name and a further 250 in the championship, he is a player no short of experience playing at the highest level. Having him in the lineup would have given India a much more strength in firing upfront, especially in the 2011 AFC Asian Cup when he first made an attempt to play for India.
Sunil Chettri has been by far the most technically sound player in the team for a long time now since Baichung Bhutia retired and with Chettri in the back end of his career, it is high time that India produces someone who can
carry the burden for a long time.
Chopra is 33 years old now, and after failing to fulfil his dream of playing in India, he has his eyes set on coaching and hopes to procure the AIFF D licence once his playing days are over.
The most recent Indian origin player to have approached the Indian national team is Wolverhampton Wanderers’ defender, Danny Batth.
The 27 years old has loads of experience playing in the Championship and have a player of his stature in the national team would surely be a boost like nothing before for the Indian national team. With our defence not bad at the moment, Danny Batth playing as a central defender could have easily strengthened our defence.
With the AFC Asian Cup just a just over a year away, his approach was rightly timed, but the rules by the government of India make it impossible for a player to represent the National team with a dual citizenship.
With him at the heart of defence alongside Jinghan or Anas, it would do a world of good, but with the laws not permitting, we lose yet another good opportunity to strengthen our national team.
In May 2013, Sansara was crowned the British Indian Awards sports personality of the year. Currently playing in the American second tier, he has previously played in the Norwegian and Scottish top divisions.
The 28-year-old defender has been playing regular football over the past few seasons. However, he hasn’t shown any intention of representing India at the international level even though he hasn’t represented England at any youth level.
The Scottish and Norwegian leagues are far above the Indian football level without any doubt, and to have a player who is a regular at that level would have been a big boost.
Luciano Narsingh is probably the most decorated footballer to make the list. He was unlucky to miss out on the 2014 FIFA world cup due to injury. He’s a player who can play on both sides of the midfield and can outpace his opponents.
Holicharan Narzary, Udanta Singh and Sunil Chettri are the takers for a place on the wings in the national team. Having him on the side would have been an unimaginable wonder for us. But for a player of his level, who is a regular at the club and national level, it is impractical to even think of him giving up his bright career to play for India.
The lesser known of the two Narsingh brothers, Furdgel Narsingh plays in the Dutch second division as a winger and is yet to represent the national team which makes him eligible to play for India as well. But the complexities involved in doing so will not motivate him to think about it.
Unlike most of the players in this list, Vikash Dhorasoo was born in India from where he along with his family migrated to Iran in search of work and later settled in France.
The central midfielders have represented a number of big clubs in France including AC Milan, PSG and have represented France 18 times. He was an unused substitute in the 2006 world cup which shows the potential this Indian origin player had.
Oscar Sonejee Masand
Losing Oscar Sonejee Masand to Andorra has been one of the greatest mistakes done by the AIFF. Unlike the other players who had to give up their passports to play for India, Oscar at the time of approaching AIFF didn’t have any passport. But AIFF’s failure to give Oscar a satisfactory response prompted him to take up Andorran passport to enable him to play at the international level.
He has played in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League qualifying rounds and has gone on to represent Andorra more than 100 times. Had AIFF been more responsible, things could have been brighter now.
The 27 year old Norwegian full international has established himself both at the club and international level. The deep-lying defensive midfielder with Indian roots is another one of them whom India have missed out on, owing to the citizenship regulations.
Other than Rowlin Borges and Eugeneson Lyngdoh, India has a very limited choice in central defence, and Harmeet Singh would have been a perfect fit into the squad.
The 27-year-old has represented Norway at every youth level and is currently playing in the Swedish League. His grandparents still stay in India and frequently gives a visit.