Ranti Martins- India’s best Foreigner?

To many people Ranti Martins is not a well known name but in India he is somewhat of a household name. The Nigerian, who made a name for himself in India, scored over 200 goals over a 12 year spell for Multiple Indian Clubs but most notably the I-League side Dempo SC where he scored 147 goals in around 160 games and won 7 major trophies during his 8 years with the club. The iconic striker who now plies his trade in the Malaysian Super League with Penang FA has been dubbed as possibly the best foreign player to ever play in India and rightly so. The 2 time I-League foreigner of the year may not compare in terms of careers to the likes of Robert Pires or Alessandro Del Piero or may not compare in raising the profiling of the 2 top leagues in the country but what Ranti Martins managed to do and achieve during his time in India was much better than the other foreigners who played in the league.


Ranti Martins started his career in Ghana where he joined King Faisal Babes from the Asante Kotoko Academy. Unfortunately he failed to make a senior league appearance and was sold to the Indian Side Dempo SC that very same year, and this is where he would really make a name for himself. In his first year with the National Football League side the then 18 year old Martins would score 15 goals in his first season. He finished the season as the leagues 2nd top scorer behind fellow Nigerian Dudu Omagbemi. To top his first season off he managed to lead the side to their First National Football Championship in the clubs history, a very impressive feat for a teenager who took the big risk and moved continents to get game time.


His last season with Dempo was possibly bis best in his entire career. He finished the 11/12 season with 32 goals in 25 games as was awarded the Leagues best player award. Martins however ended his time with Dempo in 2012 when he signed for Prayang United on a free transfer. Martins did not need time to adjust and hit the ground running with his new club and he bagged himself a hat-trick on his league debut with the side. The 30 year old would finish the year with 26 goals in 25 games, his great form was rewarded and he won the best Player in the I-League for the second year running.


His next season with Prayang was very hot and cold. The striker started the season in typical Ranti Martins fashion by scoring goals however, He would have a baron run and he went 1 month before he scored again which was very unlike the great finisher. This season was one to forget as he would only manage 4 goals in 15 games. In the same year he was sent out on loan to fellow I-League side Rangdajied United as Prayang were suffering from financial problems. Ranti found his old self again and he scored 8 goals in 8 games during his time with the Mawngap-Mawphlang based club. He also had a short spell with the Indian Super League side FC Goa but was one to forget and the Nigerian failed to score in 8 appearances with the club and ultimately returned to the more familiar I-League.


The very next year Ranti would join East Bengal on a 2 year deal and in these 2 years he exceeded the clubs expectations. In 33 games he scored 29 goals and set the league alight just as he had done throughout his career. He was yet again also awarded the best player in the I-League in his final year with them. Unfortunately even though he was scoring goals he was not in Trevor Morgans plans and that very same year he left.


This year Ranti Martins ended his 12 year period in India’s top division and opted to sign for Malaysian Super League side Penang FA and in his typical style he managed to score 2 on his debut for the side. There is no doubt that he has left behind a legacy and is definitely a role model to not only Nigerian youngsters but to the Youngsters of India. Ranti Martins will go down in history as one of the best players to ever step foot in India.



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