SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 By Mohammed Fajah Barrie in Lubumbashi
Six players of the national team Leone Stars missed their flights to their respective locations in Europe and USA yesterday after they were denied entry into Zambia from the Democratic Republic of Congo border due to lack of a Zambian visa.
The players are England-based Mustapha Dumbuya, USA-based trio of John Trye, Abdul Rahman Bangura and Michael Lahoud, and Sweden-based strikers Alhassan ‘Crespo’ Kamara and Alhaji ‘Adriano’ Kamara.
This means the players will miss their domestic league matches in the weekend.
Five of the affected players, excluding Trye, were part of the Leone Stars starting line-up that lost 2-0 to the Leopards of DR Congo in a 2015 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Lubumbashi on Wednesday.
“We left Lubumbashi in the earlier hours of the morning on road heading for Zambia to catch a flight. On our arrival at the Zambian border, we were stopped from entering the country by immigration officials because they said we needed visa to enter their country,” goalkeeper Trye explained to the Sports Writers Association of Sierra Leone (SWASAL).
“We were told by the SLFA officials that everything, including our visas, had been arranged with the Vice President of the DR Congo Football Association, Tshimanga Donatien. We went together to the border with the Vice President but he left us there and we were told by the immigration authorities to wait. We waited for close to four hours and finally told by the immigration officials to pay over US$700 each for the visa. We refused to pay and decided to return to Lubumbashi. We went along with Mohamed ‘Medo’ Kamara to the border but he was allowed to enter because he presented his Finnish passport.”
The players have expressed disappointment over what they described as an embarrassing development.
Finance Officer in the Ministry of Sports, Francis Kaikai, who is in charge of arranging flights for the players, said all arrangements were made with Donatien and money was given to him for the visas and air tickets for the players.
“I’m disappointed at Donatien because he has proven to be unreliable and we’ll obviously take the matter up with the appropriate authorities,” Kaikai said. “We’ve now issued tickets to the players to fly from the Lubumbashi airport on Friday.”
Donatien couldn’t be reached on his mobile phone for his reaction as he has travelled