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Five former Indian footballers who joined politics

Published at :December 10, 2023 at 10:08 PM
Modified at :January 14, 2024 at 12:18 AM
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Yash Pratap Singh

Indian Football legend Prasun Banerjee is the first professional footballer to get elected as a Lok Sabha member.

Sports and Politics are two major interests for Indians. Politics has often been an option pursued by athletes after they end their playing careers. And the situation is no different in Indian Football either.

Many notable Indian Footballers have now become politicians, thanks to their contributions for India and their influence in their regions. On that note let us take a look at the five former Indian Football players who joined politics.

Jeje Lalpekhlua

Jeje was very well known as the Mizo sniper for his heroics up front. He was one of the best players that Indian Football has ever produced. Jeje not only played an influential role for India on the international stage, but also produced magical moments for all clubs that he had represented.

The forward is the second highest Indian goalscorer in the history of the Indian Super League. After hanging up his boots Jeje took up politics and formally joined the Zoram People’s Movement. He also won from the South Tuipui constituency in the recently conducted 2023 Mizoram Legislative Assembly election.

Prasun Banerjee

Prasun Banerjee. (courtesy: Facebook)

The Kolkata born legend is undoubtedly one of the best Indian players to ever grace the beautiful game. He began his career with Mohun Bagan where he won 28 trophies before moving on to Mohammedan Sporting where he clinched nine titles. Banerjee was also the vice-captain of the India U-20 team that won the 1974 AFC Youth Championship. The Arjuna awardee made 49 international appearances for India and scored three goals.

Banerjee began his political career in 2013 with Trinamool Congress. He won from the Howrah Sadar constituency and became the first professional footballer to be a Member of Parliament, India (Lok Sabha).

Nongthombam Biren Singh

Nongthombam Biren Singh began his footballing career with the Border Security Forces (BSF) and represented them in domestic competitions. He operated as a defender and also won the prestigious Durand Cup during his playing days.

He is now serving as the Chief Minister of Manipur and is a part of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Singh started his political career in 2002 with the Democratic Revolutionary Peoples Party before making a switch to the Indian National Congress in 2003.

Kalyan Chaubey 

Kalyan Chaubey
Kalyan Chaubey during FIFA-AIFF academy launch.

Often considered to be one of India’s best goalkeepers, Kalyan Chaubey began his footballing career with the famous Tata Football Academy. Chaubey represented India across various age groups and was also a key part of the senior team where he won the SAFF Championship twice.

He represented various clubs namely Mohun Bagan AC, East Bengal FC, Salgaocar SC, Mahindra United, JCT Phagwara, and Mumbai FC. Kalyan Chaubey is currently serving as the president of the All India Football Federation and is associated with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Bhaichung Bhutia

The Sikkimese sniper ranks at the top of our list. He has been an incredible player for India at the international stage with his out of the world performances in the attacking third, Bhutia is a household name in Indian Football. He has won multiple championships for India including the AFC Challenge Cup and the SAFF Championship. 

He has played 82 games for India and has scored 27 goals in the process. Bhutia is also a Padma Shri and Arjuna awardee. He began his political career with Trinamool Congress in 2014. He later created his own political party named Hamro Sikkim Party (HSP). Bhutia also contested the AIFF Presidential elections, but lost 33-1 against Kalyan Chaubey.

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