Goal Singapore supporters open to naturalisation for Lions

Head coach Bernd Stange recently admitted he was looking at a few foreign youngsters who could potentially don national colours in future, thus reigniting debate over the concept
Singapore coach Bernd Stange recently revealed that he has been keeping an eye on some young foreign players, with a view to having them don national colours in future.

The German, who has made youth a priority since taking over the Lions in May last year, explained that he is open to the idea of naturalisation if it can help to strengthen the team. Stange added that some of these players could be called up for the Singapore Selection side to face Juventus in the National Stadium opener in August.

"There are very few players who have the chance to play for Singapore soon, because you know Fifa rules state that they have to stay for a long time (five years) here and then, they can apply for a passport," Stange said.

"I will choose one, two or three players from our S.League if I feel they deserve to play against Juventus and if I believe they have a chance to maybe become Singaporeans and support our football development.

"I have a few players in my mind now and at the end of July, I will nominate them. I am not ready to mention any names now."

The majority of Goal Singapore readers do not object to the idea, with 56.9% indicating that they are open to naturalising players for the current Singapore side. A further 18.1% were neutral, while the remaining 25% were opposed to the idea, perhaps believing that the all-local route is the way to go.

The likes of Mustafic Fahrudin (Serbia), Aleksandar Duric (Bosnia), Daniel Bennett (England), Precious Emuejeraye (Nigeria) and Qiu Li (China) have starred in various Suzuki Cup-winning campaigns for Singapore in the past, as pointed out by Stange.

Some of the players Stange is believed to be keeping an eye on are Courts Young Lions duo Sherif El-Masri and Jordan Webb (both Canadians), along with Home United defender Sirina Camara (France) and Balestier Khalsa's Paul Cunningham (New Zealand).