Oslo: After the success of Indian Super League (ISL) last year, Indian football is certainly going places. On Wednesday, a young goalkeeper from Mohali created history by becoming the first Indian ever to play a competitive match for an top tier European side.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made his competitive debut for Norwegian club Stabaek with a clean sheet in a 6-0 thrashing of Runar in the Norwegian Football Cup. Stabbaek play in Norway’s top division Tippeligaen and are managed by former United States and Egypt coach Bob Bradley.
The 6 ft 5 tall Sandhu inked a deal with Stabaek FC on August 15 last year to become only the fifth Indian footballer to be awarded a contract to play professional football in Europe. The 23-year-old Punjab lad had been training with Stabaek’s senior squad since May 2014 and was offered a permanent contract in August.
Before Gurpreet, only Mohammed Salim, Baichung Bhutia, Sunil Chhetri and Subrata Pal have managed to ply their trade in Europe. He is also only the second Indian goalkeeper, after the current India number one Subrata Pal, to achieve this feat.