Nigerian team cannot get Italian Visa for Sudtirol 2009

Well, it has happened again! A Nigerian national team has once again been denied entry Visas to a major championships.

So the report I'm hearing that the Nigeria’s 14-man team to the 6th World Youth Athletics Championships in Bressanone, Italy has ran into visa hitch with the Italian embassy in Lagos, two days to the start of the competition is hardly surprising.

Now this championship, The World Youth Championships in Bressanone, Italy has been on the IAAF calendar all year, so why are the team members still in Nigeria two days to the Opening ceremony?

South Africa and Kenya named their teams over three weeks ago and I'm sure visa issues, if any arose, would have been resolved early as the teams are all in Italy by now.

The Italian Embassy refused to issue the team visas after the embassy officials rejected the supporting documents - even with the Federal Government of Nigeria official letter head - covering the athletes’ trip to Italy for the Championships, which starts on Wednesday 8th july.

Secretary of the Athletics Federation of Nigeria, Maria Wophill said: "They have been turning us back and forth for days. First they asked to go and get court affidavits, swearing to the authenticity of documents and then they asked to go and get letters from parents of each of the children making the trip.

"This is the highest point of frustration. Do they mean that a covering letter duly signed by the minister of foreign affairs was not genuine enough to give these kids visas?

"We have also presented them a letter of undertaking we gave to the IAAF declaring that the kids would not defect in Italy," Wophill added.

One question to ask is, why does it always take a 'last minute rush' for Nigeria to select and confirm her teams to major events? Even journalists have a hard time receiving the sent media accreditation forms from the federation and two of them simply abandoned plans to travel to Italy.

What do you think? Have your say

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