PETALING JAYA: The much criticised Football Association of Malaysia’s (FAM) naturalisation programme has been put on hold.
The FAM executive committee made the decision yesterday as they wanted to find out if it is viable for the next cycle of the World Cup 2026 qualifiers.
The programme, which was mooted in 2018 to strengthen the national team, came under fire following Malaysia’s second round exit at the 2022 World Cup qualifiers in June.
The presence of naturalised players such as Liridon Krasniqi, Guilherme de Paula and Mohamadou Sumareh failed to lift the team.
FAM president Datuk Hamidin Mohd Amin (pic) said the exco will gather inputs from their committees before deciding on the next course of action.
“The Naturalisation Programme Committee, National Team Management Committee and Technical and Development Committee will review the programme and produce a report based on the feedback gathered,” said Hamidin in a virtual press conference after chairing the exco meeting yesterday.
“We want to find out if there’s a need for the programme to continue. If we’re to carry on, it will be for the next World Cup cycle.”
However, Hamidin was quick to defend the programme.
“I think we have done our best (with the naturalisation programme). From the start, the main objective was to provide the coaches with more top quality players to choose from,” he stressed.
“When we brought in these two players (Krasniqi and De Paula), it didn’t mean they would take us to the World Cup.
“These players did not fail. It’s the entire team that failed. “
Hamidin said FAM will explore options of recruiting players of mixed heritage.
The mixed heritage players currently in the Super League are Brendan Gan, Matthew Davies, Junior Eldstal, the Insa brothers – Natxo and Kiko – La’Vere Corbin Ong and most recently Belgium-based Dion Cools.