Al Nasr looking into signing Australia international as Wanderley contingency

With Wanderley possibly no longer eligible to count as Al Nasr's Asian representative amidst an investigation into his Indonesian passport, the club are exploring signing an Australian for the role, John McAuley reports.

Al Nasr are considering making a move for an ​Australian international should the club seek to alter their foreign contingent after deciding not to pursue an appeal against the Asian Football Confederation (AFC).

The Dubai side are investigating their options following the events of the past month, when Brazil-born striker Wanderley was provisionally suspended by the AFC for 60 days because he played in the Asian Champions League while allegedly using a falsified Indonesian passport.

Wanderley, a summer signing from Sharjah, was registered as Nasr's Asian representative for the first leg of their quarter-final against Qatar's El Jaish August 24. He scored twice in Nasr's 3-0 victory.

However, the AFC later deemed that Wanderley was playing under a fake passport and so ordered Nasr forfeit the match. Jaish were awarded a 3-0 win instead, with the Doha club then winning the second leg 1-0 in Dubai on September 14 to progress to the semi-finals.

Nasr originally vowed to appeal the decision, and were supported publicly by the UAE Football Association, yet it has been reported that the Arabian Gulf League club have since decided not to pursue that path. Nasr's official line is that they are waiting until the AFC's final decision regarding Wanderley, which is expected on Tuesday.

Subsequently, Nasr have looked into tweaking their foreign contingent for the 2016/17 season if necessary. It is understood they could try to use Wanderley as one of their three non-Asian expatriates, with fellow summer signing Abdelaziz Barrada certain to remain. That means one of Frenchman Jires Kembo Ekoko or Burkina Faso’s Jonathan Pitroipa would then make way for an Asian replacement who can play either as a forward or an attacking midfielder. An Australia national team player features on a sizeable list of candidates.

Nasr have been encouraged by their track record in previously employing Australians, after Mark Bresciano and Brett Holman both excelled in the past at Al Maktoum Stadium.​

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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