Sunday Sep 18, 2022. 11:00
PSV Eindhoven midfielder Ismael Saibari has revealed that he turned down overtures from Belgium coach Roberto Martinez in order to remain eligible for Morocco.
Born in Spain, Saibari is of Moroccan descent and has represented the country at junior international level. He is also eligible to represent Belgium, having moved there as a child with his family.
He is set to join the Atlas Lions U-23 team for a camp from 19 to 27 September, as part of the team’s build-up for the African Nations Championship (CHAN) early next year and the U-23 Africa Cup of Nations, set for June 2023.
“Roberto Martinez called me. I thought it was great that such a big name called me but I told him that I was choosing Morocco,” the 21-year-old told Eindhoven Dagblad, as quoted by Africa Foot United.
“He told me that I will always be welcome if I am not making my debut yet. Yes, my choice is final for Morocco.”
Saibari has been on PSV’s books since 2020 and has primarily played for their reserve team Jong PSV. He has also represented Beerschot, Genk and Anderlecht in his youth career.