Saturday, January 21, 2017


Timor Leste Face AFC Wrath

Days after the Chinese government told Super League clubs to reign in their sending, in AFC/FIFA land this is not for some reason considered government interference, comes the news the AFC have kicked Timor Leste out of the AFC Asian Cup 2023 for playing illegal foreigners in international matches since 2011.

There have been suspicions for a while the country had been playing games. Their line ups frequently featured Brazilian players who had become Timor Leste nationals in order to bolster the national team. The idea of importing players for national glory is nothing new of course. It is a path Singapore has taken before and Qatar continues to take. But there are ways of doing it and it seems Timor Leste broke the rules.

Timor Leste are accused of using 12 illegal players in a variety of games including AFC and FIFA  recognised games as well as non official games. As some of the games were played against Indonesia it is worthy of highlighting the who, where, when and what etc.

07/07/12 AFC Under 22. 3 illegal players
14/11/12 Friendly. 2 illegal players
14/12/13 SEA Games. 4 illegal players
15/09/14 Asian Games. 3 illegal players
11/09/14 Friendly. 4 illegal players.

A number of players also played in Indonesia during this period. Of course a Timor Leste national would find it easier to get a work permit than a Brazilian.

Players with links to Indonesian clubs. (Only South East Asian teams mentioned.)

Paulo Helber Rose Ribeiro (Dili United, Lanexang United, Bhayangkara)
Diogo Santos Rangel (Sriwjjaya, Gresik United, Osotspa, Songkhla United, Timor Leste U23 SEA Games 2011))
Paulo Cesar da Silva (Songkhla United, PSM)
Felipe Bertoldo (Mitra Kukar)
Jaime Braganca (Chonburi, PDRM, Persija (IPL))

One other player who was named as playing illegally for Timor Leste was Patrick Fabiano who I saw play several times for Kazma in Kuwait.

I'm not sure if the players will face any sanction or not. Surely they must have been aware of the corner cutting being carried out on their behalf?  I guess they were so thrilled at the prospect of becoming an international footballer the excitement blurred the lines between honest and dishonest.

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