Twenty five year old Nigerian Sunday Emmanuel international claims to have been languishing in hardship after being invited by Rundu based club and not being offered a contract or funds to go back to his country.
The former Police Machine Football Club player says he was approached by representatives from Rundu Chiefs after watching his videos and was given an offer to come to Namibia for trials.
Immanuel left Abuja on 29 October 2013 in pursuit of a chance to play in a different country after he had already plied his trade in six other countries, including Senegal, Burkina Faso, Togo and Mali.
However, things went south after arriving in Namibia. “According to what I have seen, I’m suspecting tribalism. I had a trial with Rundu Chiefs and the team manager was impressed with me but however when they went to discuss with the team executives, they told me that they were no longer going to sign me and gave me N$3000 when they were paying players, and I was supposed to use that to go back to Nigeria because they refused to pay my international clearance (ITC), but that money was not enough to pay for a ticket to go back.”
An invite letter dated July 31 2013 and signed by former Rundu Chiefs Chairperson Siwonde Nester Mufenda confirms that the club extended an invite to the Nigerian national who is now in a desperate situation.
The Letter of invite in part read, “We Rundu Chiefs FC would like to request the work visa and international clearance of the above mentioned person as per regulation. Mr Emanuel Edwin Sunday Passport number A01145239 is a professional soccer player from Nigeria. Since this player moved now from his native country club to Rundu Chiefs, we then request for his work visa and his international clearance under Rundu Chiefs FC.
Immanuel currently stays at the Rundu Chiefs club house where he says he has been allowed to stay despite claiming to not be registered to the club or playing a single minute for them.
He says he wishes to take up the issue with Namibian Football Association (NFA) due to the “injustice done to me.”
Ironically investigations by The Villager seem to suggest that the Nigerian lied about his age which Rundu Chiefs were made to believe is 25. However an insider at the club claims the player is actually 38 and found it difficult to fit into their system.
Rundu Chiefs coach, John Sikerete confirmed that such a player had come to the team, but they never sent him an invitation to come. “The player’s agent (who they don’t want to reveal) brought the player to us and we gave him a trial, but the guy cannot play. And he’s my age mate. He’s not 25 like he claimed.” Sikerete revealed.
He further added, “When we called his agent to inform him that his player was below expectations and we would not be signing him, he told him that he had married a Namibian and lives in Oshikango and he should find his own way. Currently we do not have a Nigerian player on our books. The only one we had was Ade Omololu who left for Portuguese club Benfica in September last year.”
At this point in the interview, Sikerete who was standing with Immanuel enquired what his agent’s name is, but Emmanuel could not recall it either.
“It is not Rundu Chiefs’ responsibility to pay for him as we did not invite him. He came here with his agent,” Sikerete continued. “We took pity on him and allowed him to stay at the flat our players’ stay, but he has been paying for himself.”
Acting secretary general of the NFA, Tim Isaacks says that although Immanuel’s plight has not been brought to his attention, cases such as this are not unusual.
“You see, when a foreigner comes to a country they have to follow the correct procedures. I would have to verify his documents, and there has to be substantial proof before the NFA can involve itself,” Isaacks said. He added, “With all due respect a lot of foreigners also just use this as a means to get into the country. They claim to be good, when they cannot even kick a tennis ball. But once they get here, they find their way to where they want to go. If Emmanuel has truly been here since 2013 and he has overstayed and he is illegal in the country then the responsibility is on him to report himself.”
After contacting Rundu Chiefs, Emmanuel informed this reporter that he had been ordered to vacate the flats or he would disappear.