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Malaysia banking on first foreign-born star M. Sumaresh to deliver the goods

Malaysia’s international friendly against Sri Lanka on Friday will be the first time a foreign-born naturalised player dons the famed national team jersey.

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Pahang FA’s 27-year-old attacker Mohamadou Sumaresh has been granted Malaysian citizenship last week and has been called up by head coach Tan Cheng Hoe for their upcoming friendlies.

This is the first time a foreign-born player has been awarded citizenship and the forward who scored nine goals in 38 appearances since joining Tok Gajah in 2017 is expected to go straight into the starting lineup.

Malaysia are set to take on Sri Lanka in Colombo on Friday before heading back to Malaysia to play Kyrgyzstan on October 16. They round off their preparations for the 2018 AFF Suzuki Cup with one last friendly on November 3 against Maldives.

The Harimau Malaya will be hoping to add a second AFF Cup title after their 2010 triumph and are in Group A alongside Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam and Myanmar.