Timor Leste will be without seven naturalised Brazilian players for the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Asian Cup joint qualifiers visit of UAE on Thursday night.
The decision to drop their oversea-born legion was taken by Timor Leste Football Federation (FFTL) following a concern from some Timorese who complained to the prime minister, the prosecutor general and the minister for justice regarding the naturalisation program.
“Why will these seven players not play? Good question, because I don’t know. I am only the coach. Of course, I prefer my team to be strong,” said the team coach, Fernando Alcantara, who could not explain the details on decision.
“But they are changing the project in Timor Leste with only new and young Timoreans playing. My objective is to make a good match and give experience for my younger players.”
In their preparation for UAE clash at Abu Dhabi’s Mohammed Bin Zayed Stadium, the Alcantara, who replaced former Brazilian colleague Fabio Magrao in July, revealed that his side will employ ultra-defensive tactics.
“UAE will be so strong as they have to win this next match and my plan is very simple. When my players don’t have the ball, they will stay back. Our opponents are very strong technically and I don’t want to open my team,” he said.