Currently, the Indian national football team is ranked 148th in the world, and even at the Asia level, the country lies in the bottom-half. If countries such as Nigeria, Costa Rica, etc. can play at the World Cup, why can’t a nation that has a population of almost 1.3 billion make it?
Cameroon, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Honduras and Columbia are so economically backward that they have to seek football employment in foreign lands, including India. India seems to find exceptional players from abroad, whereas the best players of the country are mediocre at best.
Also read: 5 lesser known footballers of Indian origin
What seems surprising is that there are so many brilliant Indian-origin players playing in some of Europe's top leagues, and yet they cannot feature for India. Earlier, Indian national team coach Stephen Constantine had spoken of the All India Football Federation's (AIFF) policy regarding the ineligibility of Indian origin players residing outside India to represent the country.
Imagine what a team we could have had if the players from Europe's top clubs would have been playing for the nation. We might have even qualified for the World Cup, a dream that eludes us till date.
Here is an India-origin XI comprising of top players around the world:
Varshant Ramdhani, the 23-year-old Dutch international who has Indian roots, would be the goalkeeper of this team. The youngster currently plays for Almere City FC, a club which plays in Holland's Eerste Divisie. The club is partnered by the famous Dutch club AFC Ajax. Ramdhani even featured as the goalkeeper for the junior side of Ajax back in 2008.
Right back: Rhys William
Rhys William, whose mother hails from Mumbai, currently plays for Australian club Perth Glory and has represented the Australia national team 14 times. He even featured for English side Middlesborough for eight seasons playing in the Premier League as well in the 2008-09 season and is the right back in this eleven.
William is a versatile player who can player anywhere in the field.
Central back: Danny Batth
Danny Batth, the captain of Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers, is one of the first names that made this line-up. At 26, the central defender is a beast in defense and was named in the PFA League One team of the year in 2014. The player, who is of mixed English and Sikh Punjabi descent, was also in the Wolves squad for the Premier League in three consecutive seasons.
Central back: Netan Sansara
English centre-half Netan Sansara partners Danny Batth in the heart of the defense. Sansara, whose family is of Indian origin, currently plays for Norwegian club Fredrikstad. He started his career in England when he played for League One side Walsall. He then moved to Scottish club Dundee before moving to other clubs. Sansara was also called up for the England under-18 squad once.
Left back : Neil Taylor
Neil Taylor, who represented Wales in the recently concluded Euro Cup in France, is a no-brainer at the left-back spot. A former Manchester City player, he currently plays for Premier League side Swansea City and has played alongside Real Madrid star Gareth Bale for Wales. Taylor, whose mother is a Bengali hailing from Kolkata in India, helped the Wales national team reach the semi-finals of the Euro Cup.
Right midfielder: Luciano Narsingh
Luciano Narsingh, whose grandparents were contract workers from India, will be operating down the right flank. The 26-year-old winger, who plays for PSV Eindhoven, has also represented the Dutch national side 16 times and has scored four goals. The creative fast winger who has played for PSV in the UEFA Champions League will be the focal point of this team’s attack.
Central midfielder: Oscar Sonejee
Oscar Sonejee, who has Indian roots and a large fanbase in Mumbai, is the captain of the Andorran football team. He also holds the record for most number of caps for his nation with 106 appearances to his name and currently plies his trade at Lusitanos. The 40-year-old defensive midfielder will add his experience in the line-up and will be key to breaking down the opponents’ attack.
Central midfielder: Harmeet Singh
Harmeet Singh, who was born to Indian parents hailing from Jalandhar, is a Norwegian international. The central midfielder can thread deft passes for the forwards and can also contribute defensively. The Norwegian Iniesta, as he is known in Europe, has made seven national team appearances and is the ideal partner for Sonejee in the middle of the park.
Left midfielder: Furdjel Narsingh
Luciano’s elder brother Furdjel Narsingh has played for clubs like AZ Alkmaar, Volendam,Telstar, PEC Zwolle and SC Cambuur. The lesser known Narsingh sibling was also a product of the PSV academy but failed to secure a first-team spot and moved to other clubs. The skillful and pacey winger will add some much-needed width to the team.
Right striker: Rajiv van la Parra
Dutch footballer Rajiv van la Parra currently plays for English side Huddersfield Town in the Championship. He has Indian roots and was named after Rajiv Gandhi, the former Indian Prime Minister. Rajiv plays primarily as a winger but can also be deployed as a creative forward. He has also featured in the Dutch Under-21 side and clubs like SC Caen, Heerenveen and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Left striker: Prince Rajcomar
Prince Rajcomar, who was a part of the Netherland's youth team in 2005 FIFA World Youth Championship, features in the forward line alongside Van la Parra. The 31-year-old is a goal-scoring striker who plays for ACS Poli Timioara in Romania and has also played for the Curaçao national team. Rajcomar, whose family hails from India, has scored more than 100 goals in his career and his experience will also come in handy.
Manager and formation
Manager: Robin Dutt
Former German player Robin Dutt would be entrusted to manage this talented side. Dutt, who was born in Germany to a German mother and an Indian Bengali father has coached Bundesliga sides like SC Freiburg, Bayer Leverkusen, Werder Bremen and also acted as the sporting director of the German football federation (DFB). He has won several accolades in Germany and would be the ideal person to coach the Indian-origin side.
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