Mission abandoned in show solidarity

May 24, 2015

Pahang returned from Indonesia after immigration refused entry for three foreign players – Dickson Nwakaeme, Zesh Rehman and Damion Stewart – ahead of the AFC Cup round of 16 clash against Persipura Jayapura on Tuesday.

The Elephants will write to Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to explain the situation and explain that Indonesian FA (PSSI) did not provide the required assistance to facilitate travel.

“We had done everything in our means to seek assistance in obtaining visas for our players,” said team manager Fahrizal Hassan.

“We had asked PSSI to provide us supporting letters since last week… even requested through FA of Malaysia. We were told it would be issued upon arrival. There were no PSSI officials at the airport when we ran into complications.

“We decided to take the next flight back in morning  and in solidarity for the three players temporarily held back at the immigration detention centre while waiting for the flight, the rest of the team decided to sleep at the airport.”

The trio were later sent back as they did not possess a calling visa, a requirement under Indonesian immigration law for passport holders from certain countries. Only Argentinean Matias Conti was issued a visa while Malaysian players to not need a visa.

It takes up to a month to process the visa but Pahang only knew of their AFC Cup opponents two weeks ago and PSSI were obliged under Asian Football Confederation (AFC) competition regulations to assist in expediating the application.

“We have submitted a report to AFC explaining that the hosts has failed to provide assistance in facilitating application of travel requirements,” said Fahrizal.

Pahang await a decision by AFC on the outcome of the tie.

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