Punjab lad Gurpreet Sandhu becomes first Indian to start for top-tier European club
Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made his way into the record books becoming the first Indian to start for a top-division European club when he started for Norwegian club Stabaek.chandigarh Updated: Apr 24, 2015 23:23 IST
Indian goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu made his way into the record books becoming the first Indian to start for a top-division European club when he started for Norwegian club Stabaek.
He kept a clean sheet as his side romped to a 6-0 win. The 23-year-old Sandu had moved to Stabaek in August last year.
The 6’ 6” goalkeeper is now the only Indian to have started a match for a top tier European side. He was delighted at achieving his dream and said that he couldn’t “ask for more”.
"I'm really proud and happy that it happened. I was waiting for the chance -- the team won, that's the main thing and (I got) a clean sheet and I thank the team for that," Sandhu told the club's website.
"I'm the only Indian player to play for a top division club in Europe so... I'm lucky," he said.
Before the match:
He first got into the limelight when he played for the Indian team that won the 2007 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Championship qualifiers. He represented the country in the 2009 U-19 and 2010 U-22 AFC Championship qualifiers as well.
He was signed by East Bengal in 2010 and represented the club in the I-League, Federation Cup, the AFC Cup among other tourneys.
In 2010, he competed in the Guangzhou Asian Games as well. Acknowledging the efforts of every coach he has played under, he said, “I am grateful to John Burridge (former Manchester City goalkeeper) and television presenter Joe Morrison who have helped me in shaping my career.”
Morrison and Burridge, impressed by Sandhu’s performances in the 2011 I-League, were instrumental in getting him a trial first at Wigan Athletic, the English Premier League club, in 2012. Sandhu then landed the Stabaek FC contract with the duo’s help.
Gurpreet Singh Sandhu started playing at the age of eight at St Stephen’s School academy in Chandigarh.
The goalkeeper was part of the Indian team that won 2007 AFC (Asian Football Confederation) Championship qualifiers.
Was selected in national squads for u-19 and u-22 AFC Championship qualifiers in 2009 and 2010; and also signed by East Bengal.
Played in Guangzhou Asian Games 2010.
Stabaek FC is a Norwegian association football club based in Baerum. Founded in 1912, it won the Norwegian Cup, its first title, in 1998. Won the 2008 Norwegian Premier League and reached the final of the Norwegian Cup as well. In 2009-10 the club played the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions league. In 2012-13, the club was in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Europa League.