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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 May, 2003, 14:56 GMT 15:56 UK
Angolan shirt for Nando
Nando Rafael
Nando Rafael also seeks Dutch citizenship

Angola wants to offer an international career to Germany-based striker Nando Rafael.

Angolan federation secretary-general Delcio Costa said the FA are making enquiries to woo the player.

Angola have had an active policy since 1995 of searching for foreign-based players with Angolan connections to beef up their national side.

The 19-year-old Hertha Berlin striker, who was born in Luanda, is the latest sensation to emerge.

Rafael made his debut for the Bundesliga side against Bayer Leverkusen on 5 April, coming on as a substitute.

He has since had three appearances for the first team.

Rafael fled to the Netherlands nine years ago with his aunt and uncle, after his parents were killed in the civil war in Angola.

He was given refugee status and lived in Amsterdam, joining Ajax's world famous junior section.

Last year, he was the subject of a bitter row between Ajax Amsterdam and civil authorities in the Netherlands, who refused to grant the club a work permit to allow him to sign a professional contract.

In a recent interview in Voetball International, a Dutch magazine, Rafael said he dreamt of becoming a Holland international and was awaiting his Dutch nationality to be approved.

A delay in the nationalisation process meant the Dutch under-19 side could not use him for a recent assignment.

Delcio Costa also said Angola will continue to try and get another German-based player, Rui Marques, to play for the Palancas Negras.

The VfB Stuttgart defender has been regularly called up to play for Angola but has yet to respond to the invitation.




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