Gone are the days the quota for foreigners in Indian football was dominated by players from Africa. A look at the roster of the teams in I-League 2013-14 suggests there are players from countries as diverse as Australia, Scotland, Japan, Afghanistan, Costa Rica and North Korea.
It is not only the Goan and Kolkata powerhouses that are in the race to acquire these imports. Pune FC have former Bolton Wanderers forward Riga Rahamat Mustapha while Middlesbrough graduate John Johnson plies his trade at Bengaluru FC.
Following the trend is Shillong Lajong FC’s Cornell Glen, who grabbed eyeballs during Trinidad and Tobago’s brave fight against David Beckham’s England in the 2006 World Cup. In that match, Glen rubbed shoulders with one of the best left backs in the world in Ashley Cole and came out on top on more than one occasion.
A globetrotting career has taken the World Cupper to the United States — where he represented Los Angeles Galaxy and Columbus Crew among others in the Major League Soccer — Vietnam and now to the Northeast with Shillong Lajong FC.
Having also represented the island nation 66 times scoring 30 goals, the striker carries tremendous experience to the Lajong squad. Glen was impressive in his side’s 4-0 thrashing of Salgaocar SC as he shifted up and down the pitch, taking the defenders with him helping his teammates to get into goal-scoring positions. “We have begun well in the tournament, but it is important to carry on with the momentum,” he said.
And the Trinidadian thinks football is not always about scoring goals. “When you are a senior member of the team, you will naturally have to step your game up and help your teammates,” Glen said. He added he is enjoying life in the country and said the league competition in Indian football is on the rise.
Glen even advised his compatriot Anthony Wolfe to join Churchill Brothers SC when the latter called him up for advice. “Anthony is a good guy. He asked me about the country before signing with Churchill and I said to him about what to expect here. I am sure he will go on to do well here,” Glen said.