Scouring the globe: Players of ASEAN heritage in leagues around the world

Wan Kuzain ASEAN prospect

Football is a global game, arguably the most popular sport in the world. The recent World Cup is a testament to the global reach of the sport, with current World Champions France’s lineup comprising of immigrants. With this, it’s high time ASEAN goes global.

Now this can be a sensitive topic, but maybe it’s time the rest of Southeast Asia jump into the trend by looking for players with ASEAN heritage who are eligible to play for countries in the region. With the AFF Suzuki Cup in the horizon, now would be good to see which players can be tapped to play for some of the countries that comprise the ASEAN Football Federation.

Let us a look at a number of footballers that can possibly line up for heritage nations for this year’s tournament.



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Wan Kuzain bin Wan Kamal (born September 14, 1998) – Attacking Midfielder, Sporting Kansas City, MLS

Wan Kuzain will be a familiar name to followers of Malaysian football. The Carbondale Illinois native was born to Malaysian parents and is eligible to appear for both the USA and Malaysia. The “Malaysian Messi” has already made Six first team appearances for Sporting Kansas City in the MLS, a club known for previously having Asian players in their books with India captain Sunil Chettri and Ceres Negros captain Martin Steuble formerly in their books. Kuzain has already done better in his short career, having made more appearances than both men combined for the American side. Kuzain has indicated that he is open to playing for Harimau Malaya if a call would be made, and he could be just what the national team needs. With players like Safiq Rahim approaching the tail end of their careers, Kuzain could be the heir apparent Malaysia needs specially if he establishes himself in MLS and/or other top leagues.



Navarone Foor (born 4 February 1992) – Winger, Vitesse, Eredevisie

The left footed winger has over 200 appearances in the Dutch league system and over 50 caps for Vitas. Able to play on either wings or centrally, the winger is an attacking threat that is a level or two above any player in the Merah Putih lineup. Able to provide good service or finish chances himself, Foor can form a deadly tandem with Kedah star Andik Vermasnsyah on the opposite side of the wings to give Indonesia a dynamic threat that can scare any team in the region.



Gerrit Holtmann (born 25 March 1995) – Winger, FSV Mainz, German Bundesliga

Another German with Filipino roots, Gerrit Holtmann got into the Azkals radar just last year through ex Manager Thomas Dooley’s German network. The left footed winger started his professional career as a player for the reserve side of Eintracht Braunschweig, making his professional debut in the 2.Bundesliga in 2014. Now the Azkal prospect plays in the Bundesliga for FSV Mainz, having made 22 appearances so far, equaling Stephan Schröck’s total appearances in the German top flight.



Luke Terry O’Nien (born 21 November 1994) – Midfielder, Sunderland, English League One

The 23 year old midfielder has made a steady rise in the English Football ladder with his recent move to League One side Sunderland after achieving promotion from League Two with his old team Wycombe Wanderers. O’Nien has already expressed his desire to suit up for Singapore in the past. The Lions will be getting a prototypical box to box midfielder, bullying and harassing opponents in the midfield while able to score a few goals himself. O’Nien scored a career best eight goals and provided four assists to help Wycombe achieve promotion last campaign.



Davy Armstrong (born November 3, 1991) – Midfielder, FREE AGENT

Cambodia’s national team has rarely been successful in the international arena, much less in the ASEAN region. Adding a player of Armstrong’s quality can help the Kouprey Blue in the short term. The son of a Cambodian father who emigrated to the US after the Vietnam war, Davy would be eligible to suit up for the nation of his father’s birth. Currently a free agent, and recuperating from injury, the hard nosed midfielder made over 40 appearances for USL side Colorado Springs and could be a good option for any Thai League or MSL team looking for an ASEAN quota player.



Tasso Dwe (born February 1, 2000) – Winger, Arendal, Norwegian 2.Division

The youngest on this list, Norwegian raised teenager is one to watch for the future. The diminutive winger stands at only 168 cm but is capable of playing on both wings. He is eligible to play for Myanmar through his parents heritage. Tasso has mostly appeared for Arendal’s reserve team, but at 17, he has already shown glimpses that he is ready for first team action, scoring a goal in his first appearance, coming on as a substitute during a NM-Cup fixture against FK Tonberg. Tasso has also appeared on the bench on 12 occasions during Arendal’s first season in the OBOS-Ligaen, just a level below the Norwegian Premier League.

Photo credit: Wan Kuzain Instagram Page