RIERA STRUGGLING TO GET ELIGIBILITY
New Zealand soccer player Albert Riera is struggling to get his eligibility to appear for the country after receiving his residency in April.
Before the Auckland City player midfielder can play for the All Whites, he needs to get his citizenship approved, hence the slight delay.
“I’ve applied for citizenship and [they] are trying to fast track it but it’s not easy. It needs to go higher up and it is not in my hands any more,” Riera disclosed.
Coach of the All Whites Anthony Hudson is keen on getting the player in his camp. Riera is one of the top players set to feature in the Club World Cup against continental club champions in Japan. His skill set is one of his selling points and his physique even at 32 years is fine for the country in their race for the 2018 World Cup.
Riera said he spoke with the national team coach who is happy to receive him in his team.
“He has said he would be happy to have me in is squad but there is nothing I can do or he can do. Someone else needs to look at it.
“It would be a great opportunity to give back from everything I have received from this country. I’m very glad for all the experiences I have had,” Riera said.
The player moved to the New Zealand on a working holiday visa and has been with the side for five years. However to get national team action – no matter the talent and desperation – he needs to get his adopted country to give him citizenship which takes time.
The former Wellington Phoenix star has been decent since his arrival at the club and would be needed in the absence of Mario Bilen and Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi.