PSL players stranded at OR Tambo

2012-03-02 15:28

Four Absa Premiership-based Malawian players have been detained since yesterday at OR Tambo International Airport as their yellow fever certificates were deemed invalid by the airport health authorities.

The players – SuperSport United’s Atusaye Nyondo, Black Leopards’ David Banda, Bloemfontein Celtic’s Limbikani Mzava and Santos’ Tawonga Chimodzi – had just returned from doing duty for the Flames in the 2013 African Cup of Nations qualifiers against Chad midweek.

City Press has established through their clubs – in the limited time they were able to keep contact with the stranded players – that the airport authorities had threatened to send them back to Nairobi by today, where the players initially connected their flight en route to Chad.

Kenya and Chad are yellow fever regions and, according to the South African government health regulations, any person without a valid yellow fever certificate will be refused entry.

Attempts by City Press to reach the Airports Company South Africa were unsuccessful.

OR Tambo International Airport spokesperson Unathi Batyashe-Fillis’ phone rang unanswered and there was no response from the health office, despite numerous messages left for the manager in charge.

Meanwhile SuperSport and Leopards have been forced to reshuffle their squads as the two sides have fixtures this weekend.

SuperSport will engage Batau FC in the Nedbank Cup Last 32 tomorrow.

Leopards left for Zimbabwe this morning – without Banda – for the Confederations Cup return leg fixture against Motor Action on Sunday.

Said Leopards director David Thidiela: “It is a problem because we needed Banda for this game. I tried to speak to the authorities and I was told the player would be sent back to Nairobi.”

Celtic team manager John Maduka said the Malawian Football Federation had turned to him for assistance in freeing the players.

“I spoke to Limbi (Mzava) yesterday and he said the airport officials said their yellow fever certificate were invalid and they were going to be sent back to Kenya to inject. I received an email from the federation saying the four players have been detained and if I could help from this side,” said Maduka, who himself is a former Malawi national team player.

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