Khairy says no go for naturalised players


KUALA LUMPUR: Despite Malaysia’s embarrassing results in the 2019 Asia Cup finalisers and the ensuing criticism of both coach and players, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin has no interest in engaging the services of naturalised players.

Malaysia’s exit from the 2019 Asia Cup qualifier on Monday saw calls for the resignation of head coach Nelo Vingada. The national team lost 1-4 to North Korea.

However, Khairy said the revival of football in Malaysia could not take place overnight as there were many factors to consider.

“We may get good results in the short term by using naturalised players, but that is not the solution to the ills of Malaysian football or to improve the standard of football in the country.

“Many have suggested using naturalised players but I feel it will only make the situation worse,” he told reporters during a National Transformation 2050 (TN50) question-and-answer session here today.

Khairy said a total change in the landscape of football in the country would need time and support from all parties and stakeholders.

“We had initially targeted to qualify for the World Cup, so I suggest we start to bid to host the World Cup by 2034, and by 2050 we can qualify for the World Cup as the host,” he said in jest.

A naturalised player is one who has acquired citizenship through living in Malaysia for a certain period of time, or any other criteria enforced by the government.