Oh Africa! another asylum disgrace

I am sad this week. just like after the Sydney Olympics in 2000 and the Commonwealth Games in Manchester in 2002, the talking point once again is the disappearance of African athletes from their team.

Now 12 Sierra Leonean athletes are missing again! Well they have been found and as usual they are making pleas for asylum. Now for elite athletes from what? Hunger? or what are they claiming this time?. I can understand if real poor people back in Freetown are crying of hunger, but national athletes are at least a priviledged few.

Have we completely lost the pride in our heritage that we shamelesslessly go hand in mouth, begging for all sorts of countries to make us their slaves. How can free-born adults remove their toga of pride to begin a shameful dance in the street?

What these self serving and selfish individuals have done now, along with all these bad press, was to make it ten times more difficult for ordinary African youths to secure visa to some of these western nations now. How do you now convince any consular office in Africa you will return home after a short trip abroad?

After the Manchester Games in 2002, 21 Sierra Leonean athletes disappeared and consequently claimed asylum. In 2003, three of the 12 Sierra Leone footballers who initially stayed behind after competing in the World U-17 Championship in Finland applied for political asylum.

However , the problem is not limited to Sierra Leone alone. In 2005, eight members of the Zimbabwe's CAPS United and Highlanders soccer teams did not join their teammates on the return flight home after a soccer tournament in London. 43 'fake' members of a purported Nigerian Golf team also went missing in London after getting visas to attend the British Open.

Why do these athletes so hell bent on damaging Africa every time? Whatever is left of our reputation has once again been dragged in the mud by these Sierra Leonean athletes. What makes me mad most of the time would be the lies and claims of torture and abuse they would come up with.

For those who have not been to Africa before, these bunch of ingrates who actually make the teams to these events abroad are the elites and the lucky ones who actually live at least with some measure of comfort in Africa. While not running away from the issue of poverty in the continent, how on earth are we going to get out of the quadmire if all our able bodied and talents elope abroad?

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