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FIFA deny Angola's bid to use Portuguese stars

The Angolans had sent a delegate to Zurich in a bid to seek clarity on the international status of Chainho and Pedro Emanuel.

india Updated: May 13, 2006 12:24 IST

FIFA confirmed on Friday that Angola will not be able to use two former Portuguese youth internationals at the World Cup finals next month.

The Angolans had sent a delegate to Zurich last week in a bid to seek clarity on the international status of Chainho and Pedro Emanuel, both of whom were born in Luanda but had appeared for Portugal's youth team in an international competition.

A FIFA spokesman said that Angola had made no formal bid to get the status of the pair's international eligibility changed in their favour.

"FIFA administration analysed the request and informed the Angola Football Association that, from the FIFA point of view, such a change would most probably be rejected by the Players' Status Committee since the player is already older than 21," a FIFA spokesman said.

Since January 2004, players with dual citizenship or nationality who have not played international soccer above under-23 level have been eligible to apply to change the country they represent, as long as they do it before they are 21.

Porto defender Emanuel, now 31, finally agreed to play for Angola after rejecting several previous offers from the country of his birth after talks with coach Luis Oliveira Goncalves.

Emanuel was a member of the Porto side which won the 2003 UEFA Cup and the 2004 UEFA Champions League and Angola had been keen to use him to bolster a defence which Goncalves said looked fragile and inexperienced at the African Nations Cup finals in Egypt earlier this year.

Chainho, formerly with Benfica and Greek club Panathinaikos, plays at Maritimo.

Last week, Angolan Football Federation vice president Jose Luis Prata travelled to FIFA's Swiss headquarters in Zurichin a last-ditch bid to gain permission for the two players to appear for the World Cup debutants.

In Luanda on Friday, he criticised the age limit of 21 and said he would seek a change in the ruling at the next FIFA Congress in Munich next month.

Angola intend naming their 23-man squad for the World Cup finals on Sunday, one day ahead of FIFA's deadline.

Angola begin their World Cup campaign against Group D opponents Portugal in Cologne on June 11.