Drama as Bafana opponents hit by travel delay

Sierra Leone players including Musa Kamara (centre) who will not be traveling for the Bafana Bafana friendly
Sierra Leone players including Musa Kamara (centre) who will not be traveling for the Bafana Bafana friendly

Bafana Bafana's opponents for Saturday's international friendly – Sierra Leone – have been hit by visa issues that will force them to arrive on the eve of Saturday's international friendly.

The Leone Stars will be the visiting team at FNB Stadium (15:00) on Saturday in what will be the fifth meeting between the two nations.

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Bafana have not beaten Sierra Leone in four previous meetings with three draws and one defeat.

"We have had difficulties in securing visas to South Africa which is what has caused the delay in terms of us getting there because originally we were expecting SAFA to provide us with a cover letter to enable us to travel and get visas on arrival," says Ibrahim Kamara, head of marketing and media of the SLFA.

"But then it didn't happen, so we have had to leave Sierra Leone and come to Ghana but then yesterday was a public holiday here, so the embassy didn’t open.

"However, we have been assured that we will get our visas this morning and once that happens, we will be traveling later today. 

"We spoke to the consulate yesterday and were assured that we will get the visas today and we have our direct flight booked for this evening.

"We were hoping to get an umbrella clearance from the SA embassy through SAFA, but we waited and waited until we had to come to Ghana.

"Normally, immigration issues should be on the host FA to make the entry smooth, but it didn’t happen that way,” explains Kamara.

"We are due to now arrive in Johannesburg tomorrow morning (06:00)

"With us here we have seven players using Sierra Leone passports including three foreign-based players and officials. 

"Twelve of our players including the captain Steven Caulker who are using European passports are already in South Africa because there are direct flights from Europe and they don’t need to go through the same visa process as us, so their arrangements have been easier.

"The coach and his technical assistant are also already in Johannesburg," he adds.

The Leone Stars pair of Alhassan Koroma and Alusine Koroma who are based in Spain will not be traveling to Johannesburg.

Alusine will however be joining the squad in Morocco for their next match against DR Congo. 

Alhassan has since been replaced by Prince Barrie of Bo Rangers, the club that Musa Kamara played for last season before joining Libyan club Al Ittihad after his move to Kaizer Chiefs flopped.

Kamara has since been suspended from all SLFA-sanctioned and affiliated matches in Sierra Leone. 

Hugo Broos' Bafana will also play Botswana on Tuesday at the same venue after he settled for lowly ranked opposition in this window.

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