List of Sikh Footballers
This is a list of Sikh footballers (soccer).
Sikh footballers have been part of the football community for many years, with players contributing to the sport both on and off the field. While historical records are limited, notable players like Roger Verdi, Jarnail Singh and Inder Singh paved the way for modern-day players such as Manprit Sarkaria, Danny Batth and Harmeet Singh.
There has also been various football clubs founded by Sikhs such as Punjab United, Balestier Khalsa and Sporting Khalsa. In 2016, Sporting Khalsa reached the fourth qualifying round of the FA Cup.
The movie Bend It Like Beckham which was based on a Sikh girl who wanted to play professional football, grossed $76.6 million at the box office, making it the highest-grossing football sports film.
The list includes players with at least one game of professional experience outside of India.
- "The Sikh footballers making a name in the game". BBC Sport.
In January, Bhupinder Singh Gill became the first person of Sikh-Punjabi heritage to officiate in a Premier League match, running the line during Nottingham Forest's 1-0 win over Southampton. Now, a new generation of Sikh footballers are getting into the game, as Harpz Kaur reports for Football Focus.
- "From Nairobi to the NASL: the unsung pioneer who marked Pele out of the game". The Guardian.
An unlikely star of Sikh heritage in an era when British Asians were virtually absent from the game. Roger Verdi, a son of ethnic Punjabis, who changed his name to help navigate the murky waters of less enlightened times.
- "Was Inder Singh India's greatest forward?". The Away End.
However, very few can match Inder Singh – an inside right forward who was not only a brilliant goal scorer, but also a scorer of barely believable goals. He is our Messi, he is our Ronaldo, he is our Neymar; over his career, Inder Singh had grown accustomed to embarrassing opposition defenders and mesmerizing every spectator in sight with his silky, skillful moves and glorious goals.
- "From facing death to playing through pain: The story of Jarnail Singh, Indian football's gutsy hero". Scroll.
More than fifty years after his heroics in India’s gold medal-winning exploits at the 1962 Asian Games and twenty years after his death, Jarnail Singh is still fondly remembered as one of Indian football’s true gems who knew no fear.
- "Punjab United: Our Lives follows the fortunes of Punjab United, a semi-professional football team in Gravesend run by British Sikhs, as they face their toughest season yet". BBC.
- "Derby founder of Punjab United honoured for contribution to football". Derbyshirelive. 5 May 2018.
It started out as a kickabout in Arboretum park with the Indian and Sikh community who lived in the area. I was never a very good footballer but I was a very good organiser and have been involved with the club ever since.
- "Introducing Sporting Khalsa, a Club With Deep Roots and Big Ambitions". Vice News.
Now regularly competing at the top of the ninth tier of the English game, the Midland Football League Premier Division, and with ambitions to climb higher, the club was founded by a group of friends whose families are originally from northern India, the Punjab, and moved to England in the fifties and sixties. Having met through two local Sikh temples – one in Willenhall, the other in Pleck – the younger generation bonded over football.
- "Jagjit Singh Sekhon: A true Singapore hero". AsianSamachar.
I significantly remember when Jagjit was the President of the Singapore Khalsa Association (SKA). He reached out to the other communities by opening up sporting events to non-Sikhs. In his effort to project the Sikh community’s name in the sporting arena, he even spearheaded support to Balestier Khalsa Football Club since its entry into the S-League.
- "18 Winning Facts About Bend It Like Beckham". www.mentalfloss.com. 2018-03-12. Retrieved 2020-05-18.
- "Harmeet Singh, the 'Norwegian Iniesta' who wants to score for India". CNN. 21 May 2019.
Singh is also influenced by his religious heritage. As he gets older, he feels the need to do more charity work “because this is a big responsibility as a Sikh,” the faith he was born into.
- "Just eight players of Asian descent in PL and EFL last season. That must change". The Athletic.
Kandola, who has lived in the same Tettenhall house his entire life with his Indian-Sikh parents
- Aizlewood, John. "Danny Batth is at the heart of Wolves' frugal defence". The Times.
The son of a Punjab-Sikh, Batth proudly categorises himself as British-Indian and often finds himself co-opted into an ambassadorial role
- "Brandon Khela Becomes First British South Asian Baller to Sign a Pro Deal at Birmingham City". Versus. July 2022.
Speaking exclusively to VERSUS about the move, Brandon said: “To make history at the boyhood club which I have played for since the very start, I feel very honoured and grateful. As well being the first South Asian (Sikh) professional here at Birmingham City I am looking to inspire more players of my heritage to break through
- "Mal Benning hoping Wembley appearance will inspire future Indian Sikh players". The Independent. 27 May 2022.
Mal Benning wants to inspire the next generation of Indian Sikh players as he goes for promotion with Port Vale.
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