Southeast Asia Indonesia

Ilija Spasojevic turns his back on Montenegro to play for Indonesia

Ilija Spasojevic has pledged his international future to Indonesia after rejecting a call up from his native country Montenegro.

The Bhayangkara FC forward has revealed his desire to don Merah Putih jersey despite being born in Montenegro and had a chance to play in 2018 World Cup qualifier.

Montenegro head coach Ljubija Tumbakovic wanted to select him for World Cup qualiying round’s fixture in European zone, where they failed to advance to Russia in the end.

“I have played for three national teams. Yugoslavia, Serbia and Montenegro but only in youth levels from U-17 to U-21. When I played in Malaysia (at Melaka United), I got a call-up from Montenegro (senior team),” Spasojevic told reporters.

“The call-up came after I scored plenty of goals in Malaysian league.They said that I was included to their plan for World Cup qualifier.”

“But I said to the federation (of Montenegro) that I prefer to play for Indonesia. I love Indonesia because I feel my future is here. It was all I said and they accepted it.”

The 30-year-old striker has officialy received his Indonesian citizenship on Tuesday. He was eligible for naturalisation after marrying a local woman and have stayed in the Southeast Asian nation more than five years since 2011.