We need Malaysians lah!

Will Paulo Rangel feature for Malaysia in the near future?

Dollah Salleh feels that naturalised players will help strengthen the national side. The Gaffer, however, thinks we should stick with local players and push them to do well in the international arena. 

IMAGINE Brazilians, Nigerians or Argentineans saying, “Wei, pass bola kat sini lah … Buat ape nak pi solo? (Pass the ball here…Why are you going on your own?) to our local players … in an international football match!

If national coach Dollah Salleh has his way, we might see that happening in the near future.

The man, who previously coached Selangor MPPJ, Pahang and Selangor says he might be selecting naturalised players for tournaments and friendlies in the near future.

Many initially rejected the idea but since Dollah lamented about Malaysia’s inability to produce top quality forwards, there have been murmurs with regard to naturalising foreign players to strengthen the national team.

Two days ago, Oman 6-0 thrashed our national team in a one-sided affair at Al-Seeb Stadium. Now, there are more calls for FAM to revamp its structure and some fans are echoing what Dollah’s view. 

FAM president Tengku Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah has said that if Malaysia is going to naturalise players, a proper study needs to be conducted beforehand.

“We must look at what is available in the country first, and choose our locals first, not taking naturalised players just to fill quota.

“If we want to choose the naturalised players, they must play better than our existing local players. I am no expert but what Dollah said is rational, but we must give opportunities to local players first,” said Tengku Abdullah.

Fair enough, but in a way, he is suggesting that FAM is open to the idea of having naturalised players in the national team. 

Of course, this will be music to Dollah’s ears. And he will surely be thinking of selecting Paulo Rangel and Dickson Nwakaeme if they are given Malaysian citizenship.

Some countries, even European nations, have opted to select naturalised players. Recently, Italy selected Brazilian-born Eder and Argentinean Franco Vazquez to face Bulgaria and England.

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini was one dead against the idea of selecting naturalised players.

“What I can say – I’m not the first manager and very luckily I won’t be the last to select these naturalised players,” Italy manager Antonio Conte said referring to Mancini’s criticism.

The former Juventus coach also added that of the 736 players at the 2014 World Cup, 83 were naturalised.

Some say naturalisation is the way forward but if you ask me, we do not need naturalised players for our team. Foreigners in our team, will only hamper the progress of our football.

The problem to me is: We have lots of gifted players whose talents seem to wane when they go professional because club sides rely on foreigners to boost their fortunes in the league.

Of course, we have to blame our players too. Some of them feel that their places are guaranteed in the squad even if they do not perform. The tak apa (so not care) attitude needs to go away if we want to move forward.

Players need to push themselves and say they can do better than the foreigners. If that happens, Dollah will have no cause to complain about the quality of our players.

Club coaches should also encourage local players to keep up to the standards of these foreign players.

I will always remember this quote from Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin: “With all due respect, playing in the Malaysian league will not help aid their development but to play in the J-League, or play in the competitive leagues in the Middle East, China or even in Europe, that will help them!”

Our players need to move beyond their Jaguh Kampung tags and think big. We need to show the world that we too can produce world-class players and that there is no need to naturalise players.


> The views expressed are entirely the writer’s own.
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Dollah Salleh , Paulo Rangel , football


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