City winger earns 'unprecedented' international call-up
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Onel Hernandez' long-held ambition of being selected to play for Cuba seems to have taken a step closer to becoming a reality.
The winger has spoken openly about his desire to represent his birth country, but the football authorities of the Caribbean nation have always stood firm on not picking players who do not play in their homeland.
In a move described as 'unprecedented' by Cuban media, Hernandez is one of 11 overseas players selected to represent his country for two World Cup qualifiers against Guatemala and Curacao later this month.
Discussions are believed to be ongoing between Norwich City and Cuba, with the expectation that the 28-year-old will link up with the Lions of the Caribbean for their training camp during the upcoming international break.
Hernandez returned to City's first-team picture after a prolonged spell out through injury recently, starting as they beat both Wycombe Wanderers and promotion-rivals Brentford last week.
Despite having one eye on achieving a second promotion with City, Hernandez will be hoping to help fire Cuba to their second World Cup in 2022 providing he is cleared to play for his birth country.
The winger has featured for Germany U18s on one occasion but has always been very vocal about his desire to play for Cuba.
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Speaking to the Canaries' official matchday programme last month, the winger revealed he had received an invite to link up with the national side.
"I know that there are a lot of people working on it," he explained. "I had a message from the national team, from the people who are there and working on it, and they said for the next international break in March, Cuba has two games for the World Cup qualifications and I have got an invite.
"They also have other invites for other Cuban players who play in America and Costa Rica. I hope that this all goes through because Fifa is involved in the process as well.
"If everything is fine with it then I could make my debut for the Cuban national team next month and it will be incredible.
"It will be a dream to play for my country and if this can happen then I don't need to talk about it any longer because it will be the best thing that has happened."