Stage is set for Krasniqi to play for Malaysia in W-Cup qualifiers

Liridon Krasniqi (center)

PETALING JAYA: Newly naturalised midfielder Liridon Krasniqi (pic) is set to represent Malaysia in the 2022 World Cup-2023 Asia Cup qualifying match against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) next month.

Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have decided to register the Kosovo-born Krasniqi, following UAE’s footsteps to include their three newly naturalised players – Argentine Sebastian Tagliabue, Brazilians Caio Canedo and Fabio de Lima – for the match on March 26.

He will also be eligible for the other upcoming second-round matches of the qualifiers against Vietnam (March 31) and Thailand (June 9)

The 28-year-old Krasniqi will complete his five-year stay in Malaysia on March 25, which is one of the conditions set by FIFA for a naturalised player to represent his adopted country.

Team manager Datuk Mohd Yusoff Mahadi said Krasniqi could well earn his first cap for Malaysia against UAE if national coach Tan Cheng Hoe includes him in his list for the match.

“We thought that Krasniqi will only be eligible to play in the third round of the qualifiers but the FAM technical team found out that the actual registration deadline is March 20, ” said Yusoff.

“We learned that UAE have registered three of their naturalised players and we did the same.

“We need to submit the players’ list a day before the match on March 25 which is also the day when Krasniqi will complete his five-year stay in Malaysia.

“FAM are now working to get FIFA to approve Krasniqi’s registration.

“We believe he can be listed in the national team before the match against UAE but at the same time he needs to earn his call-up by performing in the M-League.”

Krasniqi, who had not played competitive football for almost a year due to injuries could still be a massive asset for the Harimau Malaya as they are without suspended midfield maestro Brendan Gan for the UAE match.

Johor Darul Ta’zim’s new signing for the 2020 season Krasniqi had previously played for Melaka and Kedah.

He is Malaysia’s second naturalised player after receiving his Malaysian identity card last Monday.

Pahang’s Gambia-born winger Mohamadou Sumareh who had stayed in Malaysia since he was a teenager, became the first footballer to be naturalised and he had donned national stripes since 2018.

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