Should India endorse dual-citizenship and give talented athletes a greater opportunity?
Shikha Uberoi speaks about the dual citizenship issue.
In June earlier this year, India lost to Guam in a World Cup Qualifier. Ranked way below us in the FIFA Rankings and boasting of a population less than that of most districts in our country, the loss to the tiny island in Micronesia perhaps came as a rude wake-up call for the footballing aficionados who had been dreaming of an upheaval in the fortunes of the national team.
Deeper introspection, however, brought forward a much talked about and contentious problem in Indian sport, that of not allowing athletes with dual nationalities to represent the national team. While Guam had 7 players in their first XI who were playing in NCAA and were citizens of USA too, one can only wonder what could have been had the likes of Michael Chopra, Luciano Narsingh, Harmeet Singh and Neil Taylor taken the field for India that day.
And this problem isn’t football-specific. People like Prakash & Stephen Amritraj, amongst others, haven’t been permitted to represent India either.
Sportskeeda recently caught up with Shikha Uberoi, who too was disallowed from representing the national team after her family shifted base to New Jersey. With much lament, she shed light on the situation, “It’s unfortunate that our country doesn’t have the provision to let people have dual citizenship and in turn represent the national team.
If only the government would incorporate that bit, we will be doing so much better. I mean, look at the talent pool- it’s massive, all they need is to allow them to ply their trade here.”
Adding how possessing another passport can and should not act as a deterrent, she added, “If I or anyone else for that matter wants to represent the country, we should be allowed to- it will be a win-win situation for everyone.”
Needless to say, we couldn’t agree more with Shikha, for we hold the norms and regulations of the government in the highest regard, but making an exception for sports wouldn’t do anyone any harm, would it?