Inclusion of Indian origin players could change our results dramatically, asserts Igor Stimac
Igor Stimac has asserted that the inclusion of Indian origin players from foreign countries in the Indian football setup can help the country on the international stage. There are quite a few players of Indian descent playing abroad but government regulations do not allow them to play for India.
It is a never-ending debate on why Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) and Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) are not granted permission to play for the Indian national side. Igor Stimac raised his voice this time, urging the Indian Government to change the citizenship regulations to accommodate players under such categories to bolster the Indian football squad. As per the existing law, India forbids any Indian National for holding dual citizenship, which means the player is ineligible to play for the 'Blue Tigers.'
"I am feeling depressed and tired at repeatedly saying we have to reduce the number of foreign players in Indian domestic football. It will take time to grow as a football nation. If the government can change the citizenship regulations then we can get seven or eight players of Indian origin who are playing abroad, and that would change our results dramatically,” said Igor Stimac, as reported by ESPN.
Former Indian coach Bob Houghton was also vocal regarding the matter and showed interest in including former Premier League star Michael Chopra in the Indian squad years ago, but unfortunately, he was talking to a deaf ear. Japanese footballer Izumi Arata also played for the ‘Blue Tigers’ but only after he gave up his Japanese citizenship.
Meanwhile, if we look at the current batch, Indian-origin player from Iran, Omid Singh has been under Igor Stimac’s radar and wants him in the squad. Even though the Croat has approached the AIFF regarding this matter, the apex body is yet to give a response.