National football head coach Tan Cheng Hoe sees him as “an asset” and hopes that things will fall into place for Kosovo midfielder Liridon Kraniqi who became the second naturalized Malaysian after getting his MyKad on Monday.
The 28-year-old was one happy man when he collected his MyKad from the National Registration Department in Putrajaya and hoping to don Malaysian colors at the earliest.
FA of Malaysia (FAM) secretary-general Stuart Ramalingam said he will be submitting the necessary documents and paperwork to FIFA for approval for Krasniqi to play for Malaysia – his new country after completing five years of residing in the country.
The first naturalized Malaysian is Gambia-born Mohamadou Sumareh who currently plays for Pahang in the M-League. He became a Malaysian in 2018.
Krasniqi played for Kedah moving to Melaka United last year. This year he was signed up by six-time Malaysian Super League champions Johor Darul Takzim who also won the Malaysia Cup and the Charity Shield last season.
Cheng Hoe is equally excited with Krasniqi getting his Malaysian citizenship and is hoping that the midfielder will give him “more options” in the team as the Harimau Malaya have three important fixtures in the World Cup/Asia Cup qualifiers next month.
Malaysia, lying second in Group G with nine points after five matches will play the United Arab Emirates on March 26 (away), Vietnam at home on March 31 and Thailand on June 9 (away).
“I know Liridon’s capabilities when I was coaching Kedah. He has the character and capabilities to win matches. To me, he is an asset to any team and getting into the national team is an asset,” said Cheng Hoe when contacted.
Meanwhile, Cheng Hoe added that the “core of the present team” will be maintained with the Harimau Malaya squad goes into national training. – BY RIZAL ABDULLAH