Football Tribe Malaysia
After months of waiting, JDT attacking midfielder Liridon Krasniqi has finally been confirmed as a Malaysian citizen and is eligible to play for the Malaysian National team, thus becoming the second naturalized player after Mohamadou Sumareh.
Malaysian FA Secretary-General Stuart Ramalingam said the 28-year-old has been granted Malaysian citizenship by naturalization after receiving his identification card at the National Registration Department (NRD) in Putrajaya.
“With the acquisition of the identification card and the title of Malaysian citizen, the 28-year-old Liridon on January 1, 2020 is now one step ahead to represent Malaysia as the player awaiting for final approval from FIFA,” he said.
“FAM will send the latest documents regarding the approval of Krasniqi as a Malaysian citizen to FIFA to complete the required documentation process.
“With the arrival of Krasniqi, it is our hope that he will be able to strengthen the national team.”
The Kosovo-born player is part of FAM’s new initiative of short term and long term naturalization processes.
Krasniqi arrived to Malaysia in 2015 to join Kedah and helped them win the second division title, FA Cup and Malaysia Cup during his four-year tenure.
Last season, he joined Melaka United, before deciding to join current league champion JDT this season.
At the moment, Krasniqi could be eligible to debut for Malaysia in a game against United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the second qualifying round of 2022 World Cup/ 2023 Asian Cup.
“After doing some research and discussion, we feel that there is no obstacle for Krasniqi to represent Malaysia in the near future,” Stuart said.
“Based on the five-year term, we believe he can be registered for the national team, before the game against the UAE.”
According to the official date, Krasniqi will complete his five-year term in Malaysia on March 25, one day before the national team play UAE.
Stuart also revealed that Krasniqi is looking forward to represent the country.
“He asked me when he can be called up to the national squad, that was the first question for me and that showed his passion for wearing the national team jersey.”
FAM are also working hard for the upcoming third naturalized player, Guilherme de Paula, but the application is still pending.
“De Paula’s application will take a little while as there are a few things to take care of, to ensure we meet FIFA’s requirements,” Stuart said.
“I hope it can be resolved in one to two weeks, to ensure De Paula can wear the national jersey.”
National team head coach Tan Cheng Hoe welcomed the country’s latest naturalised player, and believes Krasniqi would give the national team more options in the attacking line-up.
Cheng Hoe was responsible for bringing in Krasniqi when he was the head coach for Kedah back in 2015.
“If Liridon is destined to play with the national team one day, it will have a great impact as he has a strong character and is highly motivated.
“We know that when he was in Kedah, he played well and was a scoring machine for the team besides working hard in every training session and match. So, I hope he will continue his contribution with the national team.
However, Cheng Hoe will continue to monitor and evaluate the overall performance of the 28-year-old player before listing him in the national team.
“From the physical, tactical and technical aspects he has improved but we have to monitor his performance with JDT this season as he has not been playing competitively for almost a year.”