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International transfers

Written By Themba Khumalo on Tuesday, April 22, 2014 | Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Players are changing national teams like they’re club level. It looks like international transfer; why not represent your birth country at once?

Players who are born in Europe while having African parents or born in Africa and raised in Europe are doing it often. Same players that represent a European country at junior level, then opt for an African country at senior level.

Why are players doing this?
In most cases, they fail to make it to international’s senior level, and they know that here in Africa they’ll be accepted with warm hands.  Another reason could be competition is too tight in a way that this players start on the bench unless a regular starters are injured or suspended. Every player wants to participate in World Cup or major international tournaments, so they opt for Africa when things are not good on the other side.

Never mind the World Cup or major tournament, players are aware that in international duty gives them more exposure and could see them attract big clubs if currently at a smaller one. It goes without saying that, a call up is assured when opted for a lowly African side after having spent almost whole junior level at Europe.

Yacine Brahimi, the scorer for Granada on weekend against Barcelona is now representing Algeria, after playing for France at junior level. They are a lot of his kind out there including the Boeteng brothers where one represents Ghana while the other represents Germany. If I could list all players who does that the list could be very long, but you do get the picture so far right? I didn’t hesitating writing after the game.

I believe it frustrates other players who have been patiently waiting for a call up, play for their birth country without shame, yet new members get the chance to play in every feature. Though I’m not saying there should be hating or abuse on the new guys.

Elsewhere, there is a battle between countries for a Manchester United youngster (Adnan Januzaj). He is eligible to represent any of those countries. Now you see how crazy is the international transfer? So we are yet to find out which country he’ll play for.

What FIFA says regarding these matters?
Below it’s a summary of what article 15, 16, 17 and 18 say regarding national eligibility.
1. A player can play for any country for whom they hold a permanent nationality.
2. A player who has more than one nationality, acquires a new one or is able to play for several sides can, on one occasion up to their 21st birthday, request to change countries, provided that:
a) The player has not played in a competitive match for his current association.
b) At the time of that appearance they already had the nationality of the country they now wished to play for.
3. If a player wants to get a completely new nationality, then one of the following must be met:
(a)Be born on the territory of the association.
(b)Have a biological mother, biological father or grandparent born on that territory.
(c) Have lived continuously on that territory for at least five years after reaching the age of 18.
4. The player can play in an international match for one of these associations only if, in addition to having the relevant nationality, he fulfils at least one of the following conditions:
(a)Be born on the territory of the association.
(b)Have a biological mother, biological father or grandparent born on that territory.
(c) Have lived continuously on that territory for at least two years.

Players are well aware of the above information; hence they choose nationality like they are choosing clubs. These guys are basically not violating any rule here.

Should FIFA change the rules? Are the rules good for both countries and players? In terms of a benefiting party is completely up to how an individual looks at it. I’m against it, but that’s just me.

These lads should be playing with pride when ever playing for their countries, “eat grass and sweat blood”. Countries in this instance I refer to country of birth of course. They shouldn’t be listening to offers from different countries which are interested in their services. Yes, football is a short career, yes, they want to end their careers with good names, so that says it all on why they do this moves.

Players are just expanding their options. Pity to the ones who don’t have alternatives and not receiving national team ups due to squad now had to make room for people who just changed their nationality. Other lads will end up getting calls up just before hanging the boots.

Laws can be reviewed and revised, but for time being, we just have to go with the current rules. Go on lads – enjoy the international transfers while it last.

What’s your opinion on the matter? Please do leave your comment. You can also follow me on twitter

@ntophonic and share your views. You are certainly not obliged to agree with me.
Hope you enjoyed reading and you’ve learnt a thing or two.

By Ntokozo Skhosana 
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