Kalou writes to minister about 'main prize'
10 March 2006, AMSTERDAM — Feyenoord Rotterdam player Salomon Kalou has written a letter to Dutch Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk to express unhappiness at the way his request for naturalisation has been handled.
10 March 2006
AMSTERDAM — Feyenoord Rotterdam player Salomon Kalou has written a letter to Dutch Immigration and Integration Minister Rita Verdonk to express unhappiness at the way his request for naturalisation has been handled.
The 21-year-old soccer talent from Ivory Coast arrived in the Netherlands in 2003. He needs to obtain Dutch citizenship soon if he is to be part of the Dutch team in the World Cup in Germany this summer.
Kalou said in the letter he regretted he had come into conflict with the Minister but he could not back down now.
He could have lived with not making the national side based on his performance but it was harder to accept the "fuss in the courts, parliament and the media", he wrote.
Kalou addressed the Minister directly in the last part of his letter: "You recently described Dutch nationality as the 'main prize'. I will be honest and say that I have never viewed it in this way. I just want to become world champion with the Netherlands - that is my main prize."
In closing, Kalou said he had more or less given up on the idea he will get to play for Holland in the World Cup.
His attempt to obtain a Dutch passport under a fast-track process has to date been blocked by Verdonk.
National coach Marco van Basten and football legend Johan Cruyff have lobbied on Kalou's behalf, arguing he would be a significant addition to the national side. Verdonk has said her advisors don't agree and she wants Kalou to follow the normal process.
This requires him to have lived in the Netherlands for at least five years and to successfully complete an exam on the Dutch language and culture. Kalou has failed the exam once but plans to sit it again.
Verdonk rejected his first application for the fast-track process but was ordered by a court to look at it again. Kalou will be told her final decision at a meeting next week. The Minister has already indicated in the media she is not inclined to change her mind.
[Copyright Expatica News 2006]
Subject: Dutch news + Salomon Kalou