16 Jun 2010

Having lived in Scotland for nearly a decade,I quite understand why a Scottish football legend is not happy with the inclusion of foreign born players in national teams.The Scots are so proud of their identity that some of their sentiments could easily be mistaken for racism.However,although one could finds racists almost throughout the world,Scotland is generally a very welcoming countries to foreigners.

Hendry was quoted in the Daily Record stating categorically that he would rather see Scotland not reach another World Cup final than "play a fraud like Cacau".He was referring to a Brazilian-born German striker,Claudemir Jeronimo Barretto,commonly known as Cacau,who qualified to play for the Germans because their rules allow for naturalisation after two years' residence in the country.

The Scottish legend who captained Hendry, who captained Scotland at France '98, would "rather go down in history with the distinction of being the last man to do that than see his homeland become a haven for uncapped players".

"Every time I went out on the park to play for Scotland I regarded it as going to war for my country", said Hendry and made it clear that the sight of a German team with one Brazilian and three other players who were born in Poland beating Australia was unappealing to him.

I am certainly sure that even after the Swiss victory over Spain with their sole goal coming from a Cape Verde-born Gelson Fernandes,Hendry, with his Scottish Highland upbringing, which represents tradition, heritage and refusal to make nationality an administrative matter,would change his opinion on the the inclusion of foreign born players in national teams.

In my opinion,however,Scots might as well continue to face humiliation in international football should mentality such as Hendry's continue to dominate.I understand the importance of national integrity and identity when it comes to national teams but in football,like in many other sports,winning is everything.It is a result driven business,and when a team wins,identities of those who made such a victory possible is obviously immaterial.

With globalisation bringing people of different background even closer,it is quite hard to pretend that foreign born citizens have a lesser status and role to play in their current nationalities.Why should the issue of national identity be confined to football when we see how many foreign born GPs saving lives in hospitals?If Hendry is comfortable to be served by a foreign born doctor or nurse,why would he feel that a foreign born German player is "a fraud"?

It's important to embrace our diversity and integration by allowing the few who were not born in Scotland to give something to this country they now call home.It would not in any way whatsoever make "a pure Scots" like Hendry less Scottish,just like the goals scored by the likes of Hendrik Larson didn't make Celtic less Scottish.

And HERE is the Daily Record article in question.


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