Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin has said that the FAM is open to the idea of using naturalized players if it will help to transcend the performance of the national team, but stressed that it is not a priority as developing homegrown players is still more important.
Malaysia fielded five foreign players against Liverpool with Vincent Bikana, Thiago Junior and Patrick Wleh all in particularly impressive.
Malaysia saw their ranking slumped to 168th in the FIFA rankings, following sub-par performances at the international scene, which included a 6-0 mauling at home by Palestine.
Following the events that unfolded, Hamidin said the option to field more naturalized players will be considered provided if the government gives the green light in citizenship issues.
“This is not the main priority of FAM but it would be extremely positive if the federal government allows it. However, it will not be implemented on a whole scale because to us, grassroots development and home grown players are still our main priorities.” Hamidin said, as quoted by Harian Metro.
“Naturalization is only an option for us and the FAM fully supports that idea. There are many procedures that are first needed to be implemented and this matter needs to be brought to the executive council before getting approval by the federal government.”
National coach Dollah Salleh is fully supportive of having naturalized players if it means boosting the performance of Harimau Malaya. When asked whether if naturalization is key to help the national team Salleh said “Yes, I hope so.”