Umaid Wasim – DAWN
KARACHI: With some eye-catching performances in K-Electric’s Pakistan Premier Football League (PPFL) title, the idea of playing Nigerian striker Oludeyi Abayomi Sunday as a naturalised-Pakistani in the upcoming 2018 World Cup qualifiers has been floated in the country’s football circles.
Sunday’s blinding pace and movement was the catalyst in helping Hasan Baloch’s side clinch their maiden crown and he isn’t averse to the idea of featuring for Mohammed Al Shamlan’s side.
With the striker haven’t as yet featured for his native country at senior level, Sunday could be eligible to play for Pakistan if he’s granted citizenship of the country. But for that he’ll have to live in Pakistan continuously for five years, according to FIFA’s eligibility rules.
“I love this country,” Sunday told Dawn in an informal chat after inspiring K-Electric a 2-0 win over Pakistan Army which helped seal their maiden PPFL crown on Friday. “If I get the nationality, I won’t mind playing for Pakistan in the future.”
With the first-round of the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup to be held in March, Sunday wouldn’t meet the eligibility requirements set by world football’s governing body but he may be primed for a Pakistan debut come the qualifiers of the 2022 edition.
For now, though, he’s focussing on more success and “bigger things” with K-Electric.
As Pakistan’s domestic champions, K-Electric will be playing the qualifying round for the 2016 AFC Cup in August and Sunday is hoping to make an impression in Asia’s second-tier club tournament.
“I want to win more titles with K-Electric,” Sunday added. “Taking the team to the AFC Cup, though, would be a great achievement as it will personally help me grow further as a player and improve.”—U.W.
Published in Dawn January 10th , 2014