South Korean Sports Organization Not Keen on Giving out Citizenship

Michael KohCorrespondent IIIMay 11, 2012

JEONJU, SOUTH KOREA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Teruyuki Moniwa of Cerezo Osaka and Eninho of Jeonbuk Hyundai Mortors compete for the ball during the AFC Champions League quarter final second leg match between Jeonbuk Hyundai Mortors and Cerezo Osaka at Jeonju World Cup Stadium on September 27, 2011 in Jeonju, South Korea.  (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

Eninho currently plays for South Korean K-League team Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors. The South Korean Football Association wants to naturalize the Brazilian-born midfielder for him to become eligible to play for the South Korean national team.

Korea's Sports Organization (KSO), however, recommended against giving the 30-year-old Brazilian citizenship, according to Goal.com. An anonymous KSO staff member reportedly said:

The recommendation from the KSO is not really decisive to get citizenship. We literally 'recommend' someone to the Department of Justice.

[The] KFA will ask Department of Justice directly, we have no problem with it

The current head coach of South Korea, Choi Kang Hee recommended that the Jeonbuk Motors midfielder be eligible for the national team. 

Eninho seems to be eligible to become a South Korean citizen, having entered the K-League in 2007 with Daegu FC. He had played for Suwon Bluewings in 2003, but eligibility requirements are that a person must have lived in Korea for five consecutive years, via Goal.com.

The move is publicly opposed, according to Goal.com—perhaps on the grounds of whether he would "benefit the nation," another requirement for the special citizenship.

Having been living in Korea for so long, the Brazilian should easily be able to become Korean. But if Eninho were to become a naturalized Korean citizen, he should be required to serve in the military, as per all South Korean citizens.

If he were to become naturalized, Eninho would become the first-ever foreign national to play for the Red Devils.