India has always had a strained relationship with football but there have been some players with Indian links who have been able to showcase their talent. 15-year-old Yan Dhanda was recently in the news as a talented youngster with Indian connections who plies his trade for the Liverpool youth team. Here is a list of 5 footballers of Indian origin who have been able to showcase their talent on the field.
#1 Vikash Dhorasoo
Born to an Indo-Mauritian parents originally hailing from Andhra Pradesh, Dhorasoo is undoubtedly the most successful Indian origin footballer to play football.
The 40-year-old amassed 18 caps for the France National Team and was even part of their 2006 World Cup squad but was left on the bench throughout the tournament.
Dhorasoo spent most of his time with Ligue 1 clubs Le Havre and Lyon but also played for Italian giants AC Milan and current French champions Paris Saint Germain. After retiring from the game in 2007 Dhorasoo became the chairman of French club L 'Entente SSG.
#2 Michael Chopra
Blackpool striker Michael Chopra is another footballer with Indian roots. Chopra, who was born to an English mother and Indian father, began his football career with the Newcastle United youth team in 1993 where he gained praise for his lethal eye for goal. The 30-year-old bagged many goals for the Magpies youth teams but just made 21 appearances for the first team as he was sent on loan to various clubs.
The striker enjoyed a prolific spell with Cardiff City in the 2006-2007 season and became the first Indian origin player to score in the Premier League, when he scored for Sunderland. Chopra ended the 2006-2007 season with 22 goals in 42 appearances.
The striker expressed his desire to represent India in the 2011 AFC Cup but his hopes were dashed due to the Indian government’s refusal to accept people with dual citizenship.
The forward is all set to play in the Indian Super League for the Sachin Tendulkar-owned Kerala Blasters side.
#3 Roger Verdi
Roger Verdi was born as Rajinder Singh Virdee to Sikh parents in Kenya but adopted a more English sounding name due to racism. The defender moved to England as a 7-year-old and played for the youth teams of Wolverhampton Wanderers and Ipswich Town but neither team offered him a professional contract.
Verdi then moved to North America where he appeared for various teams including San Jose Earthquakes, Montreal Olympique, Miami Toros and St. Louis Stars. He made a total of 103 appearances before moving into coaching.
#4 Neil Taylor
The 25-year-old defender is currently the only footballer with Indian connections to ply his trade in Englands top football competition. Taylor was born to a Welsh father and Indian mother who hails from Kolkata. Taylor began his football career with Manchester Citys youth team before moving to Conference side Wrexham for whom he made 75 appearances before being spotted by Swansea City.
Taylor has made 78 appearances for the Swans and would have lifted the League Cup with them in 2013 had it not been for an ankle injury which ruled him out for the rest of the season. The defender has represented Wales at youth levels and has amassed 15 caps for the national team.
Taylor was selected by Stuart Pearce for the Great Britain team in the 2012 Olympics and made 5 appearances for the squad helping them reach the knockout stages of the competition.
#5 Netan Sansara
The 24-year-old defender was born to Indian parents in Watsall, England and made 40 appearances for his local team. Sansara had spells with Dundee United, Corby Town, PAEEK and FC Vestsjaelland before joining Conference side Boston United.
The defender who is capable of playing as a centre back or a left back made a couple of appearances for Englands youth teams but never got a chance to progress further. Sansara was called up by the India national football team for a warm up for a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Qatar but hasnt made an appearance for the national team yet.