News Karnataka
Wednesday, April 24 2024

Some of the PIOs available for The Blue Tigers

PIO and OCI Playing for Indian Football
Photo Credit : By Author

With the increasing competitive levels in world football, national football federations are being forced to devise ways to strengthen their national teams. India has not been left behind in this quest. There is a wave especially in Asia to strengthen their football from the leagues going upward, and that has been witnessed in Saudi Arabia’s investment in their top flight, the Saudi Pro League in recent months. In India, one of the long existing laws prohibit the use of non-Indian citizens representing India’s national teams based on their Indian heritage. Those classified as Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) or Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) are not eligible to play for India in international sporting competitions unless they fully adopt Indian citizenship. Somehow, the powers that be feel this provision has placed India at a disadvantage in previous competitions and there is a clamor for change. Indeed, there are a number of players with Indian roots who have gone on to represent other countries with good effect and a measure of success – the likes of Norway’s Harmeet Singh.

There’s hope

However, there is still hope as there are top players available who haven’t had tasted the international experience but their talent is not in doubt, only locked out by the rules guiding use of PIOs and OCIs. Joshua Pynadath is one such player, having been born of Indian and American parents, in the USA. The 21-year-old, a striker, is currently attached to the AZ Alkmaar youth team. He made his USA U21 debut in 2018 but as he hasn’t played for the senior side, Joshua could still be eligible for India with a tweak of the rules. At some point, he was targeted by Barcelona to join their academy but it was Real Madrid who won the race in 2013. The two-footed forward has shown good glimpses and has even tried out with Chelsea. He can be a good bet as a future star in the India team. For now though the bet is for him to progress from the AZ Youth team to do well in the paid ranks and some of the top bookies that can give good options for this are reviewed on SportyTrader, such as Indian betting sites that offer sign up bonuses in 2023 include 1XBet, Betwinner, Stake and more.

Top player

Malvind Singh is another top player of Indian origin that can fit well in this bracket. The left footed 29-year-old defender was born in England. At the moment, he features for Shrewsbury Town in League One of English football. He has no international experience but having earlier played for Port Vale, Mansfield Town York City FC and Wallsall, he would definitely add a lot of quality and experience in the India team if called up. Malvind, who made his debut at Walsall in 2013, has scored 14 goals at club level over the years, a decent tally for a defender. Yan Dhanda is another player who can be key for India. At just 24 years, the midfielder who first signed at Liverpool in 2017 can be a great addition. He has no international experience but after featuring for Liverpool’s U18 and U23s, Swansea U23, and four seasons in the Championship with Swansea he can make for a great addition. Dhanda is currently at Ross County and has scored 23 goals across the last five seasons.

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