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Naturalised Malaysians: What are Vingada’s options for a quick-fix?

The topic of naturalisation often draws a mixed response. While it may be a short-term fix for Malaysia’s international woes, the long-term rewards are uncertain. Leaving the debate aside for another day, which imports in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) could be naturalised and when?

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Currently, the Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) have no plans to follow the route taken by Singapore with the likes of Aleksandar Duric, Daniel Bennett and many more.

The Brazilian may be 34 already, but he is arguably the best centre-back in the MSL

But if there is a change of heart in search of a quick-fix for Harimau Malaya’s woes, FourFourTwo have taken a look at the import players in Malaysia who could fit the bill.

None of them have ties to Malaysia by birth or ancestry, but a five-year residency ruling could be applied as per FIFA eligibility regulations for some that have never played international football for another country.

And coach Nelo Vingada has already signalled his intentions to scour far and wide for the best talent.

MOHAMADOU SUMMAREH

Age: 26

When could he play for Malaysia? Eligible already, pending a Malaysian passport.

There was talk in May that the Gambian had already applied for a Malaysian passport, but Pahang distanced themselves from such talk despite their team manager Datuk Che Nasir letting the cat out of the bag. He was later reprimanded for his comments.

Speedster Summareh signed for Terengganu for the 2012 season before moving to PDRM in 2013.

Mohamadou (right) could pave a new direction in Malaysian football

Three seasons and a promotion to the MSL later, Summareh followed Dollah Salleh in a strange season-long move to Perlis before joining Pahang in 2017.

There are also reports he actually grew up in Malaysia since the age of 11, a criteria that would make him eligible almost immediately if confirmed.

GABRIEL GUERRA

Age: 24

When could he play for Malaysia? 2021

The Argentine forward has goals and assists in him, two areas Malaysia are lacking.

He signed for Malaysia Premier League (MPL) side PKNS for the 2016 season and became an instant hit as the Red Ants finished runners-up to Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) in the FA Cup and won promotion to the MSL.

Guerra could fill some gaps

Having already flirted with the Southern Tigers during the 2016 mid-season transfer window, Guerra made the switch to JDT at the end of the year.

He was initially signed for JDT II in the MPL but was soon promoted to the top-flight side under new feeder club regulations. He is on course to break the 20-goal barrier in all competitions despite rarely playing as an out-and-out striker.

Should he stay in Malaysia until 2021, a then-28-year-old Guerra could don the national colours.