Harambee Stars prospect Rashid Mahazi has ruled himself out in featuring for the Kenyan national team unless it is the last resort should the Australian national team fail to hand him a call up.
Mahazi, born of a Kenyan father Abdul Mahazi (RIP) and Australian mother Naomi Wood, recently joined Australian topflight side Western Sydney Wanderers ahead of the 2018/19 Hyundai A-League season and in an interview with Australian Dungog, he has told the Kenyan federation that he didn’t want to make a decision until he had to and was not closed in being called to the Australia national team.
"I'm not closed to that option (Australia call up) but at this time point in time it's club first, and then Australia is my country. It's my home. Australia has given me everything in my life so I told Kenya I don't want to make a decision until I have to," Mahazi said.
On his return to active playing, Mahazi said: "I'm not stupid. I knew that meant that it was a high chance that I would never play professional football again, but I was willing to take that risk at the time."
The defensive midfielder later revealed he had suffered an emotional breakdown following the death of his father. Despite a number of reported offers on the table, Mahazi quit football indefinitely to keep a promise to his dad and return to his father's homeland, Kenya.
While he had planned to stay there six months, he ended up staying six weeks, meeting over 50 family members and catching up on lost time.
"Every year my dad would go over for Christmas and every year I said, 'I can't go this year because obviously I'm in the middle of a season. And then last year I said to him, 'I'm going to come with you this Christmas'. Unfortunately he wasn't there, but the rest of us went."
"It brought heaps of us closer, made my immediate family way closer. We've shared stuff that we haven't before, had conversations we've never had. I've lived about five years of a normal crammed into six weeks," Mahazi asserted.
The 26-year-old has a wealth of experience in the Hyundai A-League, having played in over 90 matches for Melbourne Victory, winning both the Championship and Premiership in 2014/15 as well as the FFA Cup in 2015 before taking time off professional football to concentrate on his studies.