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Chopra playing for India in Asian Cup "not priority": AIFF

sports Updated: Nov 19, 2010 22:11 IST

Cardiff City's Indian origin striker Michael Chopra is keen to don India colours in next year's Asian Cup but the AIFF today said ensuring him play for the country in the continental showpiece event in January was "not its priority".

All India Football Federation General Secretary Kushal Das told PTI that AIFF was examining the "procedure" and "rules and regulations" on how Chopra can play for the country but he was not sure if the 26-year-old striker will do that in the Asian Cup to be held in Doha from January 7-29 next year.

"Michael Chopra is serious about playing for India and he has expressed his desire to us. So, we are looking into the rules and regulations on how he can play for India. But at the moment, it is not our priority," Das said.

"We will follow the procedure and we are looking if he (Chopra) can play for India," he said when asked about Indian government policy that only allow Indian citizens to represent the country in international events.

India coach Bob Houghton is expected to submit the squad for the tournament next month and Das hinted that Chopra can look for playing for the country in future.

"I can't say whether he will play in the Asian Cup or not. May be we can look for him playing for India in due course. We have to see how that can be done," Das said.

Chopra, who was with English Premier League side Sunderland before joining Championships side Cardiff City, had flown down to Dubai on November 14 to meet Houghton and national team players who are training there, to discuss the matter.

If Chopra joins the Indian squad for the Asian Cup, it would be a boost for the players, who are low on morale after the drubbing at the hands of Kuwait and United Arab Emirates in the international friendly matches.

Under FIFA rules, Chopra qualifies to play for India through his Indian-born grandparents and English media reports said he had been given permission by his Cardiff City boss Dave Jones to play for India.

Chopra had represented English age-group national teams upto Under-21.