Datuk Hamidin Amin, Secretary-General of the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM), has given his support for naturalising foreign players for the national team.
In recent years, the FAM has recruited foreign players with Malaysian ties such as Junior Eldstal, Brendan Gan and Matthew Davies, but the national football body has always rejected the idea of calling up non-Malaysians for international duty.
It could set to change in the future, though, after the FAM Secretary-General showed his support for naturalisation following Malaysia XI’s match against Liverpool.
Featuring five foreigners in the team, the Malaysian XI side managed to hold the Premier League giants to a 1-1 draw at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium last Friday.
"If it is good for the development of local football, why not?" Datuk Hamidin reportedly told Utusan Malaysia.
"The FAM is willing to call up naturalised players as a way to improve the performance of the national team.”
However, he insisted that the matter needs to be discussed thoroughly among the FAM exco members and get everyone's approval before proposing it to the Malaysian government.
“Everyone must remember that naturalisation requires the government's approval.
"The FAM cannot make the decision lightly without the government's approval because the one who grants citizenship is the government, not us.
"If the government allows it, it will be good for local football, but I must stress that it is not our top priority because we have many long-term plans.
“The development of grassroots football is more important to us and we have planned to bring in more foreign players with Malaysian ties soon.
"We will reveal the identity of those players in the future.”
The likes of Paulo Rangel, Dickson Nwakaeme and, most recently, Vincent Bikana have previously stated that they would like to represent the country if given the chance.