FAM no closer to next naturalised player for Malaysia

Liridon Krasniqi, Melaka United, Safuwan Baharudin, Pahang, Malaysia Super League, Malaysia Super League, 16022019
Sports Regime
Potential candidates have been identified but there are still areas to be resolved for FAM before a new naturalised player can join the national team.

In 2018, Mohamadou Sumareh became the first naturalised player to play for the national team of Malaysia and many see the move as one of success. There's no doubt that Sumareh has proven himself to be an asset to the national team and Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are pushing ahead with more to help the team.

FAM have set up a committee just for this, to find the next Sumareh. But it has not been an easy process for the committee headed by FAM vice president, Datuk Wira Yusoff Mahadi. The players first have to meet to the eligibility criteria that requires them to have stay in Malaysia for five consecutive years.

Once that part is met, then it is a matter of analysing the player from a technical perspective to see if they meet the quality requirement to improve the national team. FAM refused to rush the process and in the end suffer because the player is not suitable for the team handled by Tan Cheng Hoe.

"We have identified four players who could be the next ones to be naturalised. We have received the technical reports and to be honest, it is not overwhelmingly positive that they are the right fit. At the same time we are also working with the relevant government ministries to ensure that we get the process right.

"In Liridon's case, he meets all the technical requirement but at the moment, his fitness is a concern. We will have to wait and see in a few months time whether he can recover from his injury completely and then we can continue the process with him," said Yusoff on Saturday.

The former Kedah midfielder is currently out nursing a thigh injury which has already kept him out of more than six matches for Melaka in the Super League as well as the FA Cup. This season is the fifth year that Krasniqi has played in Malaysia and he will need to complete it to qualify to be a naturalised player.

However his injury could put a dampener in the process as Melaka could look to replace him for the remaining part of this 2019 season if his situation does not improve. The other players thought to be in the list includes Terengganu FC's Lee Tuck and Kuala Lumpur's Guilherme de Paula.


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