Football in India has been trying to catch pace with its more famous counterpart Cricket. However, players like Gurpreet Singh Sandhu, Sunil Chettri etc., are slowly but surely changing the face of Indian Football- one game at a time. Indian players who play for international tournaments are not only making the country proud but also changing the way the crowd perceives the game.
There is something satisfying about watching our home-grown players thrive for international tournaments. The previously held negative image of Indian Football players slashes down every time these players score a goal or save one. It is a exhilarating feeling of bagging the victory after crossing multiple obstacles.
📝 – After Mohammed Salim’s brief stint with Scottish club Celtic Football Club in 1936 where he played two friendlies- it took our country 63 long years before another Indian bagged a contract into a foreign club’s roster. In 1999, Bhaichung Bhutia scored a three-year contract with English second division club Bury FC.
However, the scenario today has undoubtedly changed- we can spot more and more Indian players making us proud. With many gambling websites offering a legal space for placing sport bets, we can see a spike on football bets from Indian audience, who previously used to bet just on cricket matches.
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She has to be the first in our list- the first-ever Indian woman to sign up with a foreign club. She will also become Scottish Rangers FC’s first-ever Asian Footballer. Although her international career is just starting- the 29-year-old from Manipur has been making noise at the national level for quite some time. She has been awarded All Indian Football Federation player of the year two times now. She was called up to the senior Indian team at the age of just 15, right at the beginning of her international career.
A graduate of the TATA Football academy, Pal was the first Indian goalkeeper to play abroad. He was signed by the Danish top-flight club FC Vestsjaelland. Reputed as a reliable shot-stopper- Pal’s excellent reflexes between the sticks earned him the nickname of Indian Spider-Man. After his famous international career, where he gained remarkable skills and learned incredible techniques, he came back to play for his country. He is currently associated with Indian Super League and plays for Hyderabad FC.
During the time when Indian players were still playing Football barefooted – Mohammed Salim had started making waves in this sport. At the national level, he helped Black Panthers win a flurry of titles. His talent caught the attention at the international level – which resulted in the Chinese Olympic side inviting him for the first time to play friendlies. He was even offered contracts by two international clubs – Celtic FC, and a German club, of which he joined the former.
The skipper of the Indian football team, Sunil Chhetri was making waves at the international level before he became widely famous as the Indian cornerstone. He has played for two international clubs Kansas City Wizards and Sporting Lisbon. He now leads the Indian team – and plays for Bengaluru FC for ISL.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu
He was signed by Norwegian club FC Stabaek in 2014 and made a debut for them in 2015. He also featured in the Norwegian cup run in 2016. He was the first Indian player to play in the European top-division league. The defining moment of his career was his feature in the UEFA Europa League in a qualifying round match for Stabaek. He returned to India in 2017- and remains the best goalkeeper in the country ever since.
Indian football players abroad. Conclusion
The scenario of Indian Football is undoubtedly changing. As quoted by Sunil Chhetri- “what our players might lack in technique, they make up for that with hard work”. We can see a trend of players polishing their game in international clubs and coming home to make our home team strong. The days ahead sure seem golden for Indian Football.