Australia coach Holger Osieck is cutting through red tape to free Sydney-born Uruguayan striker Richard Porta for Socceroos duty.
Osieck revealed efforts to bring Porta under Australia’s umbrella have been stepped up and he remains hopeful of a breakthrough.
Porta moved from Sydney to Uruguay as a young child but never let go of his dream of playing for Australia.
The prolific forward, now playing for Dubai Club in the UAE Pro League, represented Uruguay at under-20 level and must gain a clearance to become eligible for a Socceroos call-up.
“He has been monitored. He plays well, he scores, and he could be a potential candidate for us,” Osieck said.
“However, he represented Uruguay at an international tournament. He played in the South American championship for the under-20s.
“That doesn’t make him automatically eligible for us.
“In order to get him ready for our team, first of all he has to commit to Australia then we have to go through a process of paperwork.
“We’ve then got to get the release from the Uruguayan Federation then FIFA (and) AFC (Asian Football Confederation) have to agree.
“If that has been done then he could be a serious candidate for us.
“I can assure you we are not blind (to Porta’s talent). We see what kind of people we have got.”
Asked if Porta was eager to represent Australia, Osieck replied: “He is interested in playing.
“One obstacle we face is he hardly speaks English and I’m not too firm in Spanish, so it’s going to be tough to communicate.
“The ball is in his court.”
The Socceroos have churned through strikers in recent years without finding a consistent marksman.
Porta is a proven goalscorer, scoring 41 goals in 78 appearances for River Plate from 2001-07 to twice take out Uruguay’s golden boot award.
Last year he scored 17 goals to help lift Nacional to the Uruguayan league title.
He has found the back of the net eight times in eight matches for Dubai Club this season.