LONDON, UK -- GLOBAL FC's Sudanese striker Izzeldin E. Elhabib or Izo for short, wants to play for the Philippine Azkals.
That is of course easy said than done and seriously, the Azkals need another prolific striker to pair with star striker Phil Younghusband up front.
Phil is the only most consistent scorer for the Azkals and Izo's addition to the team will make them formidable. Izo is Global's top striker last UFL season scoring 13 goals.
Izo wants to be a naturalised Filipino citizen so that he could play for the Azkals as soon as possible. He even wants to play in the Suzuki Cup this November but obviously that is not possible because he still needs a congressional approval before he could become a Filipino citizen.
''It is an honour to play for the Azkals. I want to be a Filipino,'' Izo said in an on-line interview.
Fifa, the world football governing body, allows naturalised players to play for national teams. Serbian Alexander Duric played for Singapore during the Suzuki Cup in 2010 while Uruguyan Cristian Gonzales played for Indonesia at the same tournament.
Both players have lived in their adopted country for a long time where have married local women and where they also play professional football.
Izo loves the Philippines so much that he is ready to give up his Sudanese citizenship and get a Filipino passport. He also loves playing in the country's top football league the United Football League where he plays for the recently crowned UFL champs Global.
''Philippine football is in the right way now and it will become big in Southeast Asia very soon. UFL is only a semi-pro league right now but it is growing and becoming better. It is not yet an ideal league but it is the best thing that is happening to Philippine football,'' he said.
Izo loves playing for Global. He used to play for Kaya. He also considers Global chairman Dan Palami as the best football manager he has ever worked for in the Philippines. "He is an elder brother out on the field, a good friend when you need him and he never let us down.''
Izo is also thankful for the Global management. "Global has been very generous to me since I signed up for them.'' He then gifted his team with 13 goals in the last UFL tournament and even scored two goals in the UFL Cup final in 2010 against Airforce. He considers that match as his most unforgettable so far in his football playing career in the country.
When asked about the legendary and former Cebu based coach Graeme Mackinnon who briefly coached Global last season, Izo has only praises for him. ''Graeme is one of the top coaches I have worked with. I learned a lot from him I think he just did not get along with some of the players that is why he left early,'' Izo added.
The 25-year-old striker who considers the legendary Ronaldo of Brazil as his all time favourite player, came to the Philippines in 2005 to study BS Biology. His two older brothers Bads, and Fide are also in the country. They also play football. Bads is the team captain of Global while Fide remains at Kaya.
Izo has stopped studying but he plans to finish his studies soon. As of the moment however, he is still full-time playing the beautiful game.
The Elhabib siblings were born in the town of Alobead North of Sudan but actually grew up in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where their family lives. Izo started playing football when he was only three- years-old.
There are many foreigners who would love to play for the Azkals if given a chance. Izo is the first to go public.
The Philippine Gilas national basketball team have naturalised some Americans to beef up their line-up. But these Americans do not even live in the country and only come to the Philippines because the Gilas management have splashed expensive contracts for them.
Izo has not even demanded a single centavo to play for the Azkals. He just wants to play for nothing because he loves the Philippines. GOD BLESS email@example.com