While Bangladesh Football Federation officially started the process of naturalising three African footballers for the Bangladesh team about a week ago, the federation's president Kazi Salahuddin, for the first time, came in front of media yesterday to defend the move. The BFF president said he 'was neither in favour nor against the move', before going on to explaining the background and the positive impact this move might have on the team, during a conversation with reporters at his office.
“I can say one thing that giving the three African booters Bangladeshi citizenship will not harm us in any way, rather it may have a positive impact,” Salahuddin said.
The move has brought a mixed reaction from the football fraternity, with majority voicing their concern over this radical move, ever since the football's governing body started working on neutralising Ismael Bangoura, Samad Yussif and Nkwocha Kingsley Chigozie after being pursued by head coach Lodewijk de Kruif. Detractors feel this will further discourage the growth of local booters, especially in forward positions, while also questioning the quality and age of these three players. But Salhuddin is not of the same opinion.
“The whole world is following this system. Even Japan, which is very cautions in awarding citizenship to foreign nationals, has done this. Then why is it wrong if we do the same?” asked the BFF boss.
“It is true that they are a bit old because they have already played for five years here. But that is the minimum time FIFA demands for neutralisation.
“When a player plays for five years in a country and earns a living from there, it is quite expected that he has already developed an obligation or commitment to that country. So it will not have any negative impact from that perspective. Rather it will create a competitive atmosphere among the locals,” added Salahuddin.