To his critics, Liridon Krasniqi is a “bad boy” but this has not stopped the footballer from Kosovo from getting his MyKad to play for Malaysia.
Yesterday, the former Albania youth player was granted Malaysian citizenship, thus making him eligible to represent Harimau Malaya.
The critics claimed that Krasniqi had an attitude problem and was alleged to have “gone missing”. However, national team head coach Tan Cheng Hoe insisted he knows how to handle the midfielder.
Cheng Hoe, who dismissed the allegations, is willing to put his faith in Krasniqi, that the latter can be an asset to the national team.
Cheng Hoe should know, having experienced working with Krasniqi in Alor Star when he was coaching the Kedah team from 2014 to 2017.
Krasniqi, who signed with Super League champions Johor Darul Ta’zim for this season, previously played for Kedah (2015-2018) where he made 67 appearances and scored 19 goals.
Last year, he turned out for Melaka United briefly, making six appearances and scoring one goal.
FAM hope the inclusion of Krasniqi will add more bite to the Harimau Malaya midfield.
Krasniqi, who got his MyKad in Putrajaya yesterday, is set to be the second naturalised player in the national team after Mohamadou Sumareh, formerly of Gambia.
The recruitment of the 28-year-old Krasniqi comes under FAM’s naturalisation of foreign players programme.
FAM secretary general Stuart Ramalingam said yesterday they were honoured to confirm Krasniqi’s citizenship.
“Krasniqi is now one step closer to donning the national jersey as a naturalised player and is only waiting for final approval from Fifa.
“We hope Krasniqi’s presence, as the second naturalised player after Sumareh, will strengthen the national team.”
However, FAM will not be able to register Krasniqi so soon for Malaysia’s remaining three games in the pre-World Cup second round against United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Thailand.
But if Malaysia progress to the third round of the World Cup qualifiers, then Krasniqi will be eligible to turn out for his adopted country.