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Naturalised Players A Complex Issue – AFC Technical Director

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KUALA LUMPUR – The idea of naturalising foreign players to play for Malaysia’s national football team ‘Harimau Malaya’ is a complex situation, said Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Technical Director, Andy Roxburgh.

Roxburgh pointed out that hiring local players was rather important for the national team as they played for their own blood country.

“I followed the issue (suggestion by Malaysia to naturalise players) after the match between Malaysia and Liverpool. It is a very complex issue. For me, some fans or people in the country, they may not appreciate it.

“On the other hand, you may see any player that you can get and take them. We see in international football, there is no transfer market to buy players for the national team,” he told Bernama on the sidelines of the AFC National Coaches Conference here Tuesday.

Roxburgh added normally in international football, citizens play for the national team.

He said no ‘adopted to the country’ player should play in a national team and that local players will be more passionate to represent their country.

“If they are residents for five years or more and play in the local league, it will be different. For me it’s more like making a compromise..if you are willing to adopt, it will need strict conditions like how long they have been resident and how committed they are to the country,” he said.

However, Roxburgh said the final decision on the idea was with the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM).

On July, national head coach, Dollah Salleh stated that he welcomed the idea of naturalising foreigners to play for the national team if it can give a boost for local football.

It was also supported by FAM general secretary Datuk Hamidin Amin.

— BERNAMA

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