5 Indian-origin footballers who represented other countries

Vikash Dhorasoo (right) played in the 2006 World Cup
Vikash Dhorasoo (right) played in the 2006 World Cup

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter had described India as the "sleeping giant" of world football when he visited the country in 2007. The landscape of Indian football has changed rapidly since, especially with the advent of the Indian Super League.

The likes of Bhaichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri and Gurpreet Singh Sandhu have plied their trades at various European clubs, but not many have successfully made the journey abroad. However, Players of Indian origin (PoI) are making waves in European football. That includes Yan Dhanda at Swansea City, Sarpreet Singh at Bayern Munich and Dilan Markanday at Tottenham Hotspur.

On that note, let's take a look at the five Indian-origin footballers who have represented other countries.

#5 Harmeet Singh

Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh

The Norwegian international is a first-generation immigrant who was born and raised in Oslo. Harmeet Singh's parents hailed from Ludhiana in Punjab and was once dubbed the "Norwegian Iniesta."

The midfielder represented Norway's youth sides at various age levels from the age of 15 until he turned 21. Singh earned plaudits from then-Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola when he scored a goal against the Catalonians for his first club, Valerenga.

The 30-year old was highly regarded for his technical abilities and had the skill to dictate play from the middle of the park. After a good showing in Norway's youth teams, Singh made his international debut against Thailand.

He would go on to make five appearances in international football, four of them in friendly matches. Singh has donned the colors of Feyenoord, Molde and Midtjylland, to name a few.

#4 Sarpreet Singh

Sarpreet Singh
Sarpreet Singh

The New Zealand international is one of the more familiar names on our list, as he grabbed headlines for becoming the first Indian-origin footballer to play in the Bundesliga.

Sarpreet Singh made his debut for the 30-time German champions Bayern Munich in the 2019-20 season. He came on as a substitute for Philippe Coutinho in the Bundesliga fixture against Werder Bremen. The 22-year old also became the first New Zealander to play in the Bundesliga since Wynton Rufer in 1989.

In his relatively young international career, Singh has made six appearances for the Kiwis, scoring his first international goal against Kenya in a 2-1 defeat. The attacking midfielder faced off against the Indian national team in the 2018 Intercontinental Cup.

The 22-year old assisted both goals in New Zealand's 2-1 win over the Blue Tigers. Singh is currently on loan at 2. Bundesliga side Jahn Regensburg.

#3 Luciano Narsingh

<a href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Luciano</a> Narsingh
Luciano Narsingh

Luciano Narsingh was one of the most promising prospects in world football back in the day, coming through Ajax's famed youth academy.

Currently without a club, Narsingh joined Ajax's youth setup along with his elder brother, Furdjel Narsingh. Luciano enjoyed a more promising career of the two, having represented the likes of PSV Eindhoven, Swansea City and Feyenoord, to name just a few.

After making 33 cumulative appearances for the Netherlands' youth team's, Luciano made his debut for the senior side against Slovakia in an international friendly. The versatile winger would go on to make 19 appearances in International football, yielding a return of four goals and four assists.

The 30-year old scored his first international goal against Belgium in 2012, and his last goal for the Dutch came in a 2-1 win against England. Luciano has Indian roots, as his grandparents were immigrant workers from Andhra Pradesh before moving to Suriname.

#2 Neil Taylor

Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor

One of the more prolific names in our countdown, Neil Taylor, is the first British Asian footballer to have played for a Premier League club.

The Wales international gets his Indian ancestry from his mother, who was born in Kolkata. However, Taylor was born in the Welsh city of Ruthin and enjoyed a successful career in both club and international football.

The left-back made 43 international appearances and also earned a call-up to the Wales national team for Euro 2016. Taylor managed to get himself on the scoresheet in a 3-0 win against Russia in the tournament's group stages.

The 32-year old made an appearance for the Great Britain Olympic Team at the 2012 London Olympics. Taylor spent seven years at Swansea City before making the move to Aston Villa for a four-year stay. He was released by the club last month.

#1 Vikash Dhorasoo

Vikash Dhorasoo
Vikash Dhorasoo

Vikash Dhorasoo is the most successful footballer on our list, with two Ligue 1 titles to his name. He also had the honor of playing alongside Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry in the 2006 World Cup.

Dhorasoo was born in Mauritius to Indian parents, and his ancestors hailed from Andhra Pradesh. The now-47-year old became only the second footballer of Indian origin to play in a FIFA World Cup match. He made his name as one of the most creative midfielders in French football, with tremendous amounts of talent up his sleeve.

Dhorasoo played for some of Europe's biggest clubs, including PSG and AC Milan, winning trophies at both clubs. He won two Ligue 1 titles at Olympique Lyon, Coupe de France with PSG and the Supercoppa Italiana at AC Milan.

The prolific midfielder made 18 appearances for the French national team and found himself pitch-side during Zidane's infamous headbutt in the 2006 World Cup finals.

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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