The Italian Embassy in Nigeria has refused to issue visa to some Nigerian players allegedly based on their names, religion and the suspicion that they belong to the dreaded Islamic militant sect (Boko Haram), said Coach of the Nigeria Beach Eagles, Adamu Aoudu.
The players were supposed to join the Nigerian team that participated in the recently held FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup in Italy.
The three players refused visa for the Beach World Cup were Abu Azeez and Shehu Jamal from Wikki Tourists and Emma Zavi from Adamawa United.
Adamu said, “When I came back from the World Cup, I heard that the embassy refused to give the players visa because of their names and religion. It is not fair because they denied me the use of some of my best players who would have made a very big difference in the team if they had been around.”
He added, “There were insinuations that it was the football house that did not press hard for the players to be given visas, but it was when I returned from the World Cup that news filtered to me that they were stopped from the tournament because of their names and religion.”
However, he praised the determination of his players during the World Cup, saying that they displayed the spirit of true Nigerians.
“Those boys were wonderful players. It was very hectic but they never allowed the situation to overwhelm them as they gave their best”, he said.
The Director General, Nigeria Tourism Development Corporation, NTDC, Otunba Olusegun Runsewe, last weekend decried the negative image Nigeria is getting from the Boko Haram issue and the kidnapping in some parts of the country.