Mamelodi Sundowns weigh in on prospect of Gaston Sirino playing for Bafana

Gaston Sirino will become eligible for Bafana Bafana when he acquires his permanent residence after having been in the country for five years
Gaston Sirino will become eligible for Bafana Bafana when he acquires his permanent residence after having been in the country for five years
Phillip Maeta

Uruguayan midfielder Gaston Sirino’s eligibility for Bafana Bafana shouldn’t be a subject of discussion if it will improve the fortunes of the national team.

This is the opinion of Mamelodi Sundowns coach Rulani Mokwena.  

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Sirino arrived in South Africa in January 2018 and has now completed five years in the country which allows for to apply for permanent residence.

This will then make him eligible for Bafana Bafana having never been capped for Uruguay before making one of many players across the world playing for countries where they were not born.

At the recent World Cup, as many as 136 players represented countries other than the one where they were born.

"The nationalisation of good players is something that should not be surprising us," says Mokwena when asked about Sirino, who turns 32 next month.  

"I’m surprised that we believe we are one of the best and for sure should be one of the best teams on the continent.

"We should be at every World Cup and should be participating and winning the AFCON because of the quality of the football players that we have.

"I don’t know why (it is surprising) that issue of nationalisation of talented players, particularly players that come from players that export so much quality and have a conveyor belt that brings so much quality.

"If there is a surplus that should be utilised because they are very good players that should be playing at international level and cannot get to that level because of the quality and quantity were not everyone can play for the national team.

"I’m surprised that as a football nation, we have so much of this discussion because it is a normal football thing for big national teams.

"For example, France, who have won the Euros, and World Cup and were in the final this year with players who descend from Africa but are now eligible to represent that national team.


"So, it surprises me that it is a discussion because it shouldn’t be a discussion.

"In fact, the talk should be on how do we make our national team better and if our feeling is that one of the solutions is to nationalize some of the exceptional players that don’t get to play for their national teams then for sure if it is at the end a possibility that can help us to win and get ourselves into that level then I see no reason why we should not be able to do that.

"To talk about Gaston as a human being.

"Incredible footballer.

"Incredible human being and someone that we are very lucky as Mamelodi Sundowns to have," says Mokwena.

FIFA revised its eligibility rules in 2020 to align players to have a genuine link with national teams that they play for with the criteria bordering on place of birth, naturalisation by residence, or family heritage linked to grandparent’s birth.

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