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AIFF Chief Plans to Approach 24 ‘Persons of Indian Origin’ for National Team Selection

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The All-India Football Federation (AIFF) is currently exploring the feasibility of enlisting Persons of Indian Origin (PIOs) for national team duties, with plans to approach 24 such players in the near future, as stated by President Kalyan Chaubey. The potential inclusion of PIOs and Overseas Citizens of India (OCIs) in the national squad has been a subject of ongoing discussion. National team head coach Igor Stimac has expressed support for selecting PIO players, emphasizing the importance of their participation in the Indian team. However, implementing this idea faces challenges, given that Indian law prohibits dual citizenship. PIO players aspiring to represent India must undergo the process of obtaining Indian citizenship, which includes residing in the country for 12 months before being eligible to apply.

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Without taking the names of the players, Chaubey stated PTI in an interview:

“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 emphasized the importance of India engaging in matches against teams with higher FIFA rankings, stressing that the disparity in rankings should not be excessive. The President of the All-India Football Federation (AIFF) noted that the national team has demonstrated consistent performance in preparation for the impending AFC Asian Cup, scheduled to commence in Doha, Qatar, on January 12.

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