KUALA LUMPUR – The country’s image and self esteem will be compromised if naturalised players are used to strengthen the National squad (Harimau Malaya) said Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.
Khairy said though FIFA’s residential ruling amended in 2008 states that if a player has been a resident in a country for five years beyond his 18th birthday, he can play international football for his adopted country, Malaysia would not take that option.
“If players based overseas have ties in Malaysia it will be okay but I do not subscribe to the idea of roping in non Malaysians although it is allowed by FIFA, simply because it can tarnish our image.
“To me, it will be better to focus on development programmes like the National Football Development Programme (NFDP) which can produce true Malaysian potential players,” he told reporters after launching the Malaysia Ski and Snowboard Team (MSST) at the Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM), here today.
In recent years, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) had recruited foreign players with Malaysian ties like Junior Eldstal, Brendan Gan and Matthew Davies, but the national football body had always been against the idea of calling up non-Malaysians for international duty, until recently.
The issue of naturalised players popped up when national head coach Dollah Salleh was reported to have said he was open to the idea of engaging naturalized players due to Malaysia’s slide in the FIFA ranking.
Dollah’s idea gained momentum after the Malaysian Selection which included five foreign players playing in the M-League, held English Premier League giants Liverpool to a 1-1 draw in a friendly match at the National Stadium recently.
Meanwhile, Khairy urged the Malaysian National Cycling Federation (MNCF) to be patient before the government channels funds to restore the Velodrom Rakyat in Ipoh, Perak which is expected to cost RM4 million.
He said the issue of no place to train would not arise once the Nilai Velodrome in Negeri Sembilan is completed by December 2016.
“We have to wait for the allocation under the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), so the MNCF need to wait. The question of no place to train should not arise since we will not demolish the Velodrom Cheras until the new Velodrome in Nilai is completed,” he said.
Speaking of the Olympic Council of Malaysia’s aspiration to jointly host the Olympics with Singapore in 2028, Khairy was not receptive of the idea since it would incur billions of ringgit.
“Though according to procedure it will be the OCM who bid for the Olympics, the fact remains that end of the day it will be the government that pays the cost of hosting the mega event,” he said when asked to comment OCM President Tunku Tan Sri Imran Tuanku Ja’afar’s suggestion to bid for the 2028 Olympics. – BERNAMA