Originally Posted by OAnimal
So what's the problem if we naturalize a player or two?
It's a matter of principle, one in which I follow Walter due to previous experiences on the same subject with Belgium. In the nineties, we naturalised three players - Luis Oliveira, Josip Weber and Branko Strupar. A process after which I'm not so pro it anymore, mostly since these players often don't have the emotional tie with the country and the team that Belgians (and Slovenians) do have.
Oliveira didn't have that imo or maybe not as much as Strupar and Weber. Though I must admit that I tend to nuance here because Weber and Strupar - due to their immense popularity at that time - were "adopted" bij the Belgian public opinion like someone would do with say a son in law.
Secondly, I believe that it's a signal that puts out a lack of full trust in the youth internationals. Our current NT-coach wishes to naturalise Congolese striker Mohammed Tchité who now plays for Standard. Tchité is interested and interesting in that this guy has potential (but still needs to confirm that potential), but first of all I'm kind of doubting his tie with Belgium as well as the fact that we have quite some young promising strikers with Belgium U-21. Then my Q is: why risk jeopardizing their development on NT-level for a guy that's a) ok, but not that great either and b) who mostly seems chosen on short term because he's an Emile Mpenza-type striker. It doesn't necesarily have anything to do with roots, because I consider immgrants sons like Messoudi and Haroun who have lived in Belgium (nearly) all their lives, speak good Dutch,... as genuine Belgians, whereas I have my doubts about a guy like Tchité who only lived here for two years or a guy like Malbranque who as far as I know, maybe never lived in Belgium, but just happens to have a double passport.
Having said this, I'm willing to admit that there are nuance differences from case to case which make some perhaps more acceptable to the general public than others. Take Manaseh Ishiaku for example, the new striker we bought with Brugge this month. He came to Belgium a few years ago as a refugee for internal conflicts in Nigeria and went through a lot of administration trouble, because one of the guys who needed to assist him was involved in some sort of fraud sceem. Since he has shown sincere gratitude for the spontaneous help he received from several Belgians, married a Belgian girl in the meantime and showed great integration will, I don't doubt him at all when he claims in the press that he feels like Belgium's a second home nor the sincerity of his wish to play for Belgium should they call him up. However, due to the reasons I mentioned earlier on, I still have a bit of reserve in that this would perhaps be ok if we could use his type of player, though I see building a team around the Belgians around more as an priority than just starting naturalizing left and right and risk bringing in guys who are often just in our of opportunism and who couldn't be bothered when push comes to shove.