East Bengal FC: Players who have represented their nations in the FIFA Youth World Cups!

Published by Sabyasachi C on

Last Updated 4:46 PM 10th May 2020 .

East Bengal Football Club has been one of the pioneers of bringing in top quality foreign players into Indian football, starting from the days when they signed in Iranian Majid Bishkar who was a part of the 1978 World Cup squad, to bringing in Costa Rican 2018 World Cup star Johnny Acosta in recent times.

We will today talk about the East Bengal FC foreign recruits who had represented their nation in the FIFA Youth World Cups – U17 or U20. The fans would be surprised to know that even one FIFA U17 World Cup Golden boot winner have donned the Red and Gold kit and was even part of a memorable Kolkata Derby win.

7. Jamshid Nassiri

If Majid Bishkar was the highlight among the trio from Iran that joined East Bengal FC in 1980 for having previously represented Iran in the 1978 FIFA World Cup, there was another young Iranian Jamshid Nassiri who was part of the Iran’s squad in the 1977 FIFA World Youth Championship (presently known as FIFA U-20 World Cup).

Jamshid Nassiri was a prolific goal scorer and played for East Bengal FC in two stints, scoring 72 goals in total for the Red and Gold brigade and helped them lift two Federation Cup titles.

Nassiri was part of the Iran U20 squad that finished second in the group along with heavyweights like Brazil, Italy and Ivory Coast. Iran even drew goalless against Italy and defeated Ivory Coast but lost to Brazil as they couldn’t get pass the group stages. Nassiri however didn’t score in the tournament but was an important member of the squad.

6. Willie Brown

Willie Brown part of the Ghana 1991 U17 World Cup winning squad

East Bengal FC have brought in Willie Brown from Ghana who had joined East Bengal FC in the 1999/00 season, who had previously represented Ghana in the 1989 FIFA U16 World Cup as a 14 year old and also 1991 U17 World Cup as a 16 year old.

Willie Brown had scored 4 goals in the 1999/2000 National Football League campaign for East Bengal FC before returning back to his homeland

5. Emmanuel Opoku

In 1998, three Ghanians – Suley Musah, Jackson Egypong and Emmanuel Opoku joined East Bengal and in a flash became heroes for the Red and Gold fans. Among the three, Emmanuel Opoku – the elegant and skillful midfielder had played for the Ghana senior national team and was also a part of the U17 World Cup team that finished runner’s up in 1993 losing to Nigeria.

Opoku (5) – bottom row, second from right, 1993 U17 World Cup

Opoku was a starter in all the matches for the Ghana U17 side as they reached the final and lost 2-1 to Nigeria.

Emmanuel Okopu was part of the East Bengal FC team that won the 1998 CFL defeating a strong Mohun Bagan team.

4. Abu Iddrisu

Abu Iddrisu joined East Bengal in 1999 for the Calcutta Football League but little did anyone know that he was one of the stars of Ghana’s 1995 U17 World Cup triumph at Ecuador defeating Brazil in the final.

Iddrisu was the third highest scorer in the tournament with 3 goals including a goal each in the semifinal and the final, a 3-1 win over Oman and a 3-2 win against the mighty Brazil respectively to lift the trophy.

Abu Iddrisu part of the 1995 Ghana U17 World Cup winning squad

Abu Iddrisu had scored two goals for East Bengal in the CFL once against FCI and other against Port Trust before leaving back to his country.

3. Gilmar da Silva

In 2002, two Brazilians: Douglas Silva and Gilmar da Silva joined East Bengal FC in perhaps one of the greatest seasons the club has played in their history as they went on to win all 5 tournaments they participated in including the National Football League title.

Little did fans know that Gilmar da Silva represented the mighty Brazil in the 1989 FIFA U16 World Cup held in Scotland where the Seleção were knocked out in the quarterfinals via tie-breakers by Bahrain.

2. Enrique Esqueda

Enrique Esqueda joined East Bengal FC in 2018/19 season and was the top scorer for the Red and Gold brigade with 9 goals in the I-League campaign where the team ended as runner’s up.

Enrique Esqueda was part of Mexico’s 2005 FIFA U17 World Cup winning squad where they defeated mighty Brazil 3-0 in the final. Esqueda was in the famous Mexico U17 squad that included the likes of Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, Giovani Dos Santos, Carlos Vela and Hector Moreno.

Enrique Esqueda made 15 appearances for the Red and Gold brigade scoring some important goals that led them the the second spot missing the title by just a single point.

1. Ishmael Addo

One of the most decorated strikers in Ghanaian football history, becoming the top scorer in three consecutive seasons, Ishmael Addo joined East Bengal FC in 2008/09 season as a replacement for Edmilson Marques Pardal who suffered illness and was ruled out for the season. Addo was also part of the famous 3-0 Kolkata Derby win in February 2009 where Nabi scored twice and Sunil Chhetri added the third.

Ishmael Addo had played for the Ghana national team before joining East Bengal FC. However, little did the fans knew that Addo won the golden boot in the 1999 FIFA U17 World Cup where Ghana finished third. He was also part of the squad two years later where Ghana finished runner’s up in the 2001 FIFA U20 World Cup.

Addo’s resume could perhaps be listed among one of the greatest to have come to play in India. He also scored five goals including two in the final as he led Ghanian club Hearts of Oak to their first CAF Champions League title in 2000.

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