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The Vietnamese government has granted citizenship to five more foreign players who are plying their trade in the V-League and also the Vietnam First Division.
The five players are Marcelo Barbieri (from Brazil) who plays for Hoang Anh Gia Lai, Wandwasi Rodgers (Uganda) with Thanh Hoa, Jonathan Quartey (Ghana) with Hanoi ACB, Thierry Ngale (Cameroon) with Song Lam Nghe An and Amaobi Uzowuru (Nigeria) with Binh Dinh.
With their citizenships approved, the five players have also adopted local Vietnamese names where they are now known as Doan Marcelo, Nguyen Van Rodgers, Le Van Tan, Le Hoang Phat Thierry and Dang Amaobi respectively.
All five players have lived in Vietnam for at least five years and have fulfilled other Vietnamese citizenship requirements.
With the five, there are now 18 naturalised players playing in Vietnam – 15 of whom are playing for eight clubs in the V-League while the remaining three players are playing for three Vietnam First Division clubs.
Ninh Binh currently tops the table for former foreign players, with three naturalised players on their books.
Former V-League team Dong Tam Long An’s Fabio Dos Santos was the first foreign football player to be granted Vietnamese citizenship, but has only made a single appearance for the national team during a friendly against Olympic Brazil in 2008.
Besides of Vietnam, Indonesia who have biggest population in Southeast Asia region too has started recruiting burgeon naturalized players into their national football team.