KUALA LUMPUR, May 11 — Two foreign players claiming to have Malaysian ties have been asked to provide documentary evidence to show that they can be considered for inclusion in the national team Harimau Malaya.
Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam said besides the documentation proof, the Naturalisation Programme Committee, chaired by FAM deputy president Datuk Wira Mohd Yusoff Mahadi, would also be evaluating Harry Edge’s and Marcel Kalonda’s qualities to ensure both meet the technical requirements set by the football body.
“Their names have been floated on social media but that does not mean we will take them in as naturalised players or nominate them to the committee because they still have to undergo several processes required by FAM, for due diligence before they can join the national team,” Stuart told Bernama recently.
Stuart confirmed that FAM had contacted the players recently and requested their representatives to provide documentary evidence soon for evaluation by the committee.
He added that Edge and Kalonda will also be subjected to several other screening processes before they can be considered for selection, whether as naturalised players or mixed-blood players.
“We received so many claims of certain players having Malaysian ties but when further checks were conducted by FAM, it was clear that they did not have any documentation to support those claims,” Stuart said.
Recently, Edge’s father, Declan Edge, said on social media that his son was open to the idea of representing Malaysia since he was born in Melaka, while Kalonda claimed that his grandfather hails from Sabah.
Harry Edge, who was born in New Zealand, is representing Swedish club Torslanda IK while Kalonda from Congo is playing in the Zambian League.
Meanwhile, Stuart said Harimau Malaya are expected to play their three matches in the second qualifying round of the World Cup 2022/Asia Cup 2023 in October and November, after they were postponed by the Asian Football Confederation following the Covid-19 pandemic.
He added that FAM had not received the official dates from AFC, which is expected to make an announcement on this year’s football calendar soon.
According to the earlier plan, Malaysia were to play the United Arab Emirates on March 26 in Dubai, Vietnam at the Bukit Jalil National Stadium on March 31 and Thailand in Bangkok on June 9.
Malaysia are second in Group G with nine points from five matches and have a good chance of qualifying for the Asia Cup 2023 finals in China if they record positive results in the remaining three matches. — Bernama