East Bengal has reportedly signed Indian origin player Omid Singh for the next season. It has been indicated that it will be a two-year contract. The player who is currently playing for the Persian Gulf Pro League club Naft Masjed Soleyman FC had expressed his interest to play in ISL last year.
Ever since Igor Stimac took charge of the team, he has advertised Indian origin players to be allowed to don the national team colours. His predecessor Stephen Constantine also advocated this. But the sporting rules in the country dictate that only a player with Indian citizenship can play for the national team, and due to the dual citizenship not being valid in the country, the player in question will have to give up their foreign passport. It is also necessary for the player to reside in the country for a year before they can apply for citizenship.
In this regard, in January, the 28-year-old’s agent told us that Omid Singh wishes to play in the Indian league as a foreign player for some time. During which the formalities can be dealt with and he will give up his Iranian passport for taking up Indian citizenship.
Singh, whose father is from Punjab, and mother is an Iranian, is primarily a left-winger, but can also play on the right-wing. In his 97 appearances so far in the Iranian leagues and the Persian League, he has picked up 8 goals and 5 assists.
The move to India is a big one, not just for the player and East Bengal, but with respect to the Indian team as well. If this ends up being fruitful, then we may see several players of Indian origin repeating this soon.
In the past, players like Danny Tanveer Batth, Micheal Chopra and Arata Izumi have been willing to give up their foreign citizenship to play for India. Izumi even went ahead and gave up his Japanese passport, and represented India in 9 matches. It looks like Omid will soon join Arata as one of the few Indian-origin players to make this move back to India.
As far as East Bengal is concerned, there have been some whispers that they will be following Mohun Bagan and join ISL for the next season, but with the lockdown in the country, there hasn’t been much news in that regard. With their sponsor Quess also set to cut ties with them this year, they will also need a sponsor should they wish to make the move to the top tier league.
They have been making the right noise with the transfers, signing Novin Gurung from Real Kashmir and Sankar Roy from Mohun Bagan. They have also been unconfirmed reports of them being interested to sign Jeje Lalpekhlua, Mohammed Rafique and Balwant Singh. With Omid Singh also joining them, it might be a sign on things to come for the Red and Yellow outfit.