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Rogelio Funes Mori calls for opportunity with the Mexico National Team, but there’s a problem

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Funes Mori’s participation in the 2011 U-20 World Cup qualifiers means he can’t ever play for Mexico under current rules

Cruz Azul v Monterrey - Playoffs Torneo Apertura 2018 Liga MX Photo by Hector Vivas/Getty Images

Rogelio Funes Mori has said that he hopes to get an opportunity with the Mexico National Team when he gets the requirements met as a naturalized player, according to ESPN news. Unfortunately though, under Article V Section 2 of FIFA’s statutes, it seems like Funes Mori is ineligible to play for the Mexico National Team after participating with Argentina in the South American U-20 World Cup qualifiers/Olympic qualifiers. Funes Mori doesn’t qualify for a one-time switch either thanks to those same FIFA rules.

In the 2011 South American U-20 Tournament held in Peru, Funes Mori played and scored twice for Argentina, who qualified to the U-20 World Cup. To make matters worse, that tournament had the dual role of also being the Olympic Qualifiers for the 2012 games, which Argentina failed to qualify over Brazil and Uruguay. While newer FIFA rules mean you can make a one-time switch even after official youth games, you can only do so to a federation of which you had the nationality of during the time you played those official games, which is why many Mexican-American players can still make the switch after playing youth games with one team. Funes Mori didn’t have Mexican nationality when he played the tournament in Peru.

With the news of Gerardo Martino taking the helm, there has been a lot of talks about naturalized players going to the national team, but Mexico should be very careful about it. In the process of 2014, Mexico called up Christian “Chaco” Gimenez, who had already played in a U-20 CONMEBOL Tournament in 2001. Mexico lucked out in that because Argentina hosted the U-20 World Cup that year (they were quantified as an invitee to the tournament and so it wasn’t deemed official for their squad). This invalidated a protest from Panama, something that hasn’t happened with African clubs recently and later on would famously be key in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers in CONMEBOL. In those games, both Chile and Peru got awarded 3 points from their match against Bolivia after they fielded an ineligible player, Nelson Cabrera. After the Gimenez call up, there were calls for Rubens Sambueza to play with Mexico, but like Funes Mori, he wasn’t eligible to play after playing a U-17 World Cup match with Argentina.