Citizenship for foreign players big boost to UAE football
De Lima is the third footballer to be granted the UAE citizenship.
In a massive boost for UAE football, Al Wasl's Fabio de Lima became the third player to be granted UAE citizenship over the fortnight, making him eligible to represent the national team.
The 26-year-old Brazilian-born striker, who joined The Cheetahs in 2014, will be integral to coach Ivan Jovanovic's plans when the UAE resume their World Cup qualifying campaign in March.
De Lima, who was adjudged the Best Foreign Player at the Arabian Gulf League Awards in 2016-17, is the third footballer to be granted the UAE citizenship.
Former Al Wasl teammate Caio Canedo, now at record League winners Al Ain, and Al Wahda's Sebastian Taglaibue were earlier given UAE passports. Jovanovic, who formerly coached Al Nasr, will look to the trio when the UAE take on Malaysia and Indonesia next month.
The Whites are placed fourth in Group G in the second round of qualification. The top team from each group will progress to the third and final round along with the four best runners-up.
The UAE's only appearance at the World Cup was in Italy in 1990.
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