Malaysia close to securing naturalisation for Nigerian striker ahead of 2022 World Cup qualifiers

Malaysia appear to be doing all that they can in order to fight for a place in the 2022 World Cup. Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) are making all possible arrangements to ensure that the upcoming qualifiers are a success. 

To make this happen, FOX Sports Malaysia are reporting that the services of UKM FC striker Michael Ijezie Chukwubunna could be secured by the Malaysian national team by way of naturalisation.

The news was public earlier, but efforts have been sped up to make the Nigerian striker available to coach Tan Cheng Hoe for the upcoming qualifiers in June for bot the World Cup and Asian Cup 2023.

Reports suggest that the move for naturalisation is now in its final stages and Cheng Hoe might just have him available before he announces his squad for the qualifiers where they will face Timor Leste.

“FAM does not guarantee Ijezie can be used in June, but I’m told the process is positive, they’re doing a careful assessment before the next phase,” Cheng Hoe said.

“Of course it’s good news because he will make our squad stronger. I hope Ijezie will get approval from the government, and be able to immediately test him.”

“Because it will take time for him to understand my will and also to form an understanding with his teammates. Instead of getting a green light and getting lowered when opposed to Timor Leste.”

Regardless, the coach has faith in his current crop of players, but if the naturalisation of Ijezie does materialise, it would make him the second such player to play for Malaysia after Pahang player, Mohamadou Sumareh.