Indian Football: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) is considering picking Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) for the Indian football team and will approach 24 such players soon as per AIFF President Kalyan Chaubey.
It’s worth noting that there has been a debate ongoing for a long time which is regarding inclusion of PIO and Overseas Citizens of India (OCI) players in the national team.
Indian football team head coach Igor Stimac has been vocal about the necessity to select PIO players for the Indian team. However, the Indian law does not allow dual citizenship.
Kalyan Chaubey reveals what AIFF is planning
It should be noted that if a PIO players desires to play for India, they would have to take up Indian citizenship. A person must also stay in India for 12 months before applying for citizenship.
“We are looking to approach 24 PIO players who are playing across the world. But you know there is the issue of dual citizenship (not being permitted to play for India). So, we have to see how this can be done within the framework of Central Government’s rules,” Chaubey told PTI in an interview. He didn’t mention any players.
— IFTWC – Indian Football (@IFTWC) December 19, 2023
India is currently ranked 102 in FIFA charts. Chaubey further stated that India needs to play matches against higher-ranked countries but the difference in FIFA rankings should not be very large.
“The realistic approach would be to play against countries ranked from 76 to 100, that would enhance the confidence of our team. Once we are in the top 75-80 we should look to play European sides” he said.
We will have to wait and see how this idea pans out.