Not known to many, there have been names of Indian footballers who went abroad to ply their trade. With the country being a cricket-crazy one, few people might be aware of the popularity of football. The nation of India has been home to the cricketing greats.
But there was in fact a period when India witnessed the growth of football. The country had potential to show the world that it was on the way to being a force to be reckoned with. With a massive population, potential talent was in plenty. All this talent required was nurturing. Here things took an unfavorable turn.
India’s football love affair seemed to slip away. All of a sudden, infrastructure was lacking. The base level game hurt and deprived the country of valuable talent. The facilities present upset the professional game. Though, a flourishing football league still stands in India.
Here is a look at such Indian footballers who made a move abroad and experienced the world’s top leagues.
Not exactly Indian, Michael Chopra was the first player of Indian descent to appear in the English Premier League. He climbed the ranks at Newcastle in their youth team. Following a torrid 6 years where he failed to break into the first team, he bided his time on a club tour through various loans. He donned the colors of Nottingham Forest, Watford, and Barnsley.
2006 was a breakthrough for Chopra when he signed for Cardiff City for £500,000. During the 06/07 season, he put up eye-catching displays. This prompted Sunderland to make a swoop for him.
Going back 6 years, Yan Dhanda was the first Indian to pen a professional deal with Liverpool. The Reds have been a first division team for as long as memory serves and so this was a milestone for a youthful Dhanda. However, he was unable to make the first team. He had to be content playing for the U18 and U23 teams.
This led him to making a switch over to Swansea where he saw first-team football. The 2018/2019 campaign witnessed him score a debut goal and go on to net three more times. Even though Swansea sits in the Championship, Dhanda broke in to the Premier League despite not making it big.
Top-drawer football does not only mean the English Premier League. Narsingh’s footballing career soared to great heights while in the Netherlands. He even donned Dutch international colors after good showings at SC Heerenveen and PSV Eindhoven. During his time at PSV, Luciano Narsingh was appraised as one of football’s top talents in the world. However, an injury in 2013 proved to be a major hitch in the spectacular career he was building.
The winger made EPL appearances while on a short spell with Swansea in 2017. In 2019, he moved back to the Dutch league, signing for Feyenoord.
Of Indian origin, Batth’s began his English football career at 15 on joining the Wolverhampton Wanderers academy. Presently, he occupies a spot in the Stoke City backline. Batth has experience in facing Premier League giants like Manchester City, Liverpool and West Ham.
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