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2017 FIFA U-17 World Cup: Abhishek Yadav - Sunny Dhaliwal is an Indian citizen now

5:51 PM SGT 4/8/17
Abhishek Yadav Namit Deshpande Luis Norton de Matos India U17
The Toronto FC Academy graduate sees his future in Indian football, tells India U-17 team's COO Abhishek Yadav...

There was more hope than despair as the India Under 17 squad were humbled 5-1 by their Mexican counterparts in their opening game of the Torneo de 4 Naciones in Mexico City on Thursday.

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the India U-17 team, Abhishek Yadav confirmed the arrival of the squad's newest member, Sunny Dhaliwal - the goalkeeper who stands at a towering height of 6 feet 5 inches.
"We are delighted to have him on board and would like to thank the authorities as well as Sunny's determination to finally procure an Indian passport. Even though he was a Person of Indian Origin (PIO) but he has denounced his Candian passport and is now a citizen of India," Yadav told Goal over the phone from the Mexican capital.


The Indian visa laws do not allow for a person to hold dual citizenship but have a provision for minors under eighteen years old to do such. However, both Canadian and Indian laws state that a person upon completing his eighteenth birthday will have a further six months time to declare his/her nationality and surrender the other if one has so.

The former national team striker Yadav, who now holds one of the key positions in the Indian Colts set-up confirmed that there would be no complications as such in Dhaliwal's case. "He has an Indian passport but also holds a Canadian citizenship card given that he was born there", said Yadav.

"Having a player of that height in Sunny is a bonus and with the proper training and infrastructure provided to him, I am sure he sees his future in India. As a player, he wants to be a future star of the senior national men's team and being a part of this U-17 World Cup at home will go a long way in him establishing himself as a top prospect," he added.

Under the watchful eyes of Abhishek Yadav and his team of scouts, Dhaliwal becomes the second foreign-based player to join the India U-17 squad. Namit Deshpande, who plays as a stopper was drafted in earlier this year and had already been a part of the European exposure tour in the summer.


"Contrary to Sunny, Namit was born in India and his parents shifted to the United States when he was a toddler. Namit always had an Indian passport so it was never much difficult to draft him in," Yadav revealed.
Born on 28 March 2000, Dhaliwal did not feature in the opener against hosts Mexico and is unlikely to take the field against Colombia (incidentally grouped along with India in the World Cup) on 4 August. Upon completion of his initiation into head coach Luis Norton de Matos's scheme of things, Dhaliwal could be expected to be made available for selection in their last game on 6 August versus Chile.