2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Which teams have the most number of players playing club football abroad?

2022 World Cup Qualifiers: Which teams have the most number of players playing club football abroad?


Where does India rank in the list of teams whose players play club football outside the country…

India’s 2022 World Cup and 2023 Asian Cup joint qualifiers second round journey concluded on June 15 with a 1-1 draw against Afghanistan in Doha, Qatar.

Igor Stimac’s side finished third in Group E with seven points from eight matches behind Qatar and Oman. While the Blue Tigers did not make it to the next round of the World Cup qualifiers, they directly progressed to the 2023 Asian Cup qualifying third round.

It was a mixed-bag experience for the Blue Tigers who scored six goals in eight matches but conceded only seven. Against higher-ranked Oman and Qatar, Stimac’s side conceded only four goals and they had also managed to hold the reigning Asian champions Qatar to a goalless draw in the first leg in Doha.

While the team’s defensive record has improved a lot compared to their last campaign where they had conceded 18 goals, there has not been a significant progress in the attack as India could only find the back of the net a mere six times.

Not a single player in the current Indian squad plays their club football outside the country. Out of the 40 nations which took part in the qualifiers, 29 teams had at least one player who plied his trade abroad.

Sunil Chhetri India Afghanistan 2022 WCQ

In the Vietnam national side, their star goalkeeper Đặng Văn Lâm is the only player who plies his trade in the J-League at the Cerezo Osaka club. Unfortunately, Dang was unavailable for selection in the last phase of the recently concluded qualifiers as he had tested positive for COVID 19.

While in the Qatar,  UAE and Saudi Arabia national teams, there are no players currently who play outside the country, there are several players in those countries outside the national team contingent at present who are plying their trade in foreign leagues. Players like Fahad al-Muwallad and Salem al-Dawsari had played in Spain just three seasons back. While Muwallad was on loan to Levante, Dawsari played for La Liga side Villarreal.

Also, the leagues in UAE, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are one of the best in Asia. Their clubs consistently performs well in the AFC Champions League (ACL). Saudi’s Al-Hilal has won the ACL twice in the last five seasons. 

Interestingly, most of Qatar’s players have had regular stints abroad in Europe and they also train at the Aspire Academy which is considered as one of the best training facilities in the world. 

Afghanistan, who finished below India in Group E, have the most number of players playing outside the country (24), followed by Australia, Syria and Iran.

Almost every big team in the continent have their players playing in a league which is of a higher standard than their local leagues. Most of the players from Iran, Japan and South Korea usually ply their trade in Europe.

Teams which are ranked around India like Thailand or Bahrain also have their players playing in the top Asian leagues like South Korea or UAE.

Which are the teams whose players ply their trade in a foreign league?

Group A

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 Syria 17
2 China 1
3 Philippines 14
4 Maldives 0
5 Guam 9

Group B

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 Australia 20
2 Kuwait 1
3 Jordan 9
4 Nepal 2
5 Chinese Taipei 0

Group C

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 Iran 16
2 Iraq 4
3 Bahrain 1
4 Hong Kong 0
5 Cambodia 0

Group D

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 Saudi Arabia 0
2 Uzbekistan 16
3 Palestine 8
4 Singapore 2
5 Yemen 9

Groups E

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 Qatar 0
2 Oman 1
3 India 0
4 Afghanistan 24
5 Bangladesh 0

Group F

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 Japan 14
2 Tajikistan 7
3 Kyrgyz Republic 9
4 Mongolia 1
5 Myanmar 2

Group G

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 UAE 0
2 Vietnam 0
3 Malaysia 5
4 Thailand 3
5 Indonesia 5

Group H

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 South Korea 12
2 Lebanon 10
3 Turkmenistan 1
4 Sri Lanka 8
5 DPR Korea 0

How many teams are over India whose players play abroad?

Position Team No. of players who play outside
1 Afghanistan 24
2 Australia 20
3 Syria 17
4 Iran 16
4 Uzbekistan 16
6 Philippines 14
6 Japan 14
7 South Korea 12
8 Lebanon 10
9 Kyrgyz Republic 9
9 Guam 9
9 Yemen 9
9 Jordan 9
10 Sri Lanka 8
10 Palestine 8
11 Tajikistan 7
12 Malaysia 5
12 Indonesia 5
13 Iraq 4
14 Thailand 3
15 Nepal 2
15 Singapore 2
15 Myanmar 2
16 China 1
16 Kuwait 1
16 Mongolia 1
16 Bahrain 1
16 Oman 1
16 Vietnam 1
17 Maldives  0
17 Chinese Taipei 0
17 Hong Kong 0
17 Cambodia 0
17 Saudi Arabia 0
17 Qatar 0
17 India 0
17 Bangladesh 0
17 UAE 0

Which are the teams other than India whose players only play in their domestic leagues?

Teams like Bangladesh, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei, Cambodia and Maldives have all their national players play in their respective countries. All these teams either finished last or second last in their groups in the qualifiers.

Interestingly for Bangladesh, skipper Jamal Bhuyan was playing in India recently. 

 



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