Soccer-Kosovo ask Januzaj to play in friendly


By Fatos Bytyci

PRISTINA, Feb 17 (Reuters) - Kosovo have asked Manchester United winger Adnan Januzaj to make his international debut in a friendly against Haiti on March 5, the Balkan country's football federation (FKK) told Reuters on Monday.

FIFA ruled last month that Kosovo, which declared independence from Serbia in 2008 but is still not a United Nations member, may play friendlies against other nations excluding those which emerged from the former Yugoslavia.

"The invitation to him (Januzaj) is symbolic but we believe that he is obliged to show his people that he will be there when needed in a historic moment," FKK general secretary Eroll Salihu said.

"We should have an answer by the end of this week and Januzaj's appearance would simply show that he has not forgotten his people, even he can play only for 10 or 15 minutes," he added.

Kosovo are also temporarily prohibited from displaying their national symbols or playing the national anthem, but those measures would take a back seat if Januzaj turned up for the game against Haiti in northern Kosovo's ethnically tense town of Mitrovica.

Born in Belgium to ethnic Albanian parents from Kosovo, the 19-year-old Januzaj is being wooed by a number of national teams including Belgium, Albania and England.

Salihu said the FKK had spoken to Januzaj's uncle and father and clarified that the youngster would still be free to choose to play for another country in the future.

"It's a friendly so it will not be an obstacle and he would be eligible to play for whoever he chooses," Salihu said.

Kosovo is yet to become a member of FIFA and many other international organisations as the country's progress is blocked by Serbia and its ally Russia.

(Editing by Ed Osmond) (

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