Football Association of Malawi (Fam) has said it has not given up on its plans to have Nigerian and Nyasa Big Bullets striker Babatunde Adepoju secure Malawian citizenship.
Fam is hoping that Babatunde can feature for the Flames during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and Chan qualifiers.
Fam sub-technical committee chairperson Tiya Somba-Banda said they were optimistic that the Nigerian will acquire citizenship before the qualifiers.
“It is work in progress and hopefully he will be available,” Somba-Banda said.
The Nigerian helped Bullets win the Airtel Top 8 Cup for the first time after scoring eight goals in three matches including all four goals in the 4-1 victory over Mighty Wanderers.
Head of technical Marian Mario Marinica said he selects players on merit.
“I am interested in getting to the national teams all the players on merit basis. If/ when Babatunde will get Malawian citizenship, I will assess him at that time,” the Romanian who is expected to return in the country on Friday having went straight to his home from Turkey for holiday.
This season Babatunde has already scored one goal in a 3-1 win over Ekwendeni Hammers in a TNM Super League match at Kamuzu Stadium.
However, Babatunde refused to comment on the matter yesterday.
His local representative, who refused to be named, was also reluctant to comment on the matter.
Department of Immigration and Citizenship Services National Public Relations Officer Wellington Chiponde said the applicant was better placed to indicate whether an application was submitted to Immigration office as they track applications of citizenship through file numbers.
“But in a nutshell, application of Malawi citizenship by any person from Commonwealth countries requires one to satisfy certain conditions for the application to be processed and the subsequent approval by the approving authority,” he said.
Chiponde said upon fulfilling all conditions as per the checklist, the person may submit an application for Malawi citizenship.
“The current arrangement requires the applicant to pay a prescribed fee of $20,000 (about K16.3 million) when the application has been approved,” he said.
A person applying for Malawian citizenship should be ordinarily resident in Malawi.
In addition, the person should be a resident for five years and have adequate knowledge of at least one vernacular language.
Before the Afcon finals in Cameroon between January and February this year, Fam and the player did not succeed in getting his Malawian citizenship with the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.