Access Denied: Worry in Nigeria as top athletes struggle to secure visas to major events

Commonwealth champion Ese Brume. Photo: Imago

Access Denied: Worry in Nigeria as top athletes struggle to secure visas to major events

Joel Omotto 08:30 - 30.04.2024

There is an outcry in Nigeria as the country’s athletes and teams keep missing out on various events due to denial of travel visas by host nations.

Nigeria’s sports personalities seem to be finding it hard to secure visas to foreign countries for unknown reasons.

A number of track and field stars, as well as footballers, have missed out on recent events due to their inability to get clearance to travel to the host countries.

Commonwealth Games long jump champion Ese Brume is currently feeling the pain after she missed out on last weekend’s Suzhou Diamond League because she was denied a Chinese visa.

"I don't really know why they refused to give us visa this time around. Last year, they did not waste time before giving us the visa to attend the Diamond League in China. We were shocked when they handed our passport to us without visa," Brume's coach Kayode Yaya told The Guardian.

This is the second time in a month that the two-time African Games champion has been denied a visa after she also failed to secure a UK visa in March for the World Indoor Championships which took place in Glasgow.

While Brume licks her wounds, Nigeria’s relay team is still not sure of participating in the World Relays Championships slated for May 4-5 in Nassau, Bahamas.

Just like recent editions, the athletes have struggled to get clearance, with the relay team yet to secure US visas yet they are meant to travel this week for the event which will take place at the weekend.

Nigeria’s relay team also missed the 2021 and 2023 World Relays due to visa hitches.

Meanwhile, early this month, members of Nigeria's U-15 junior team were denied visas to attend a tournament in Spain.

The team, affectionately known as Future Eagles, had both players and officials miss out on the UEFA U16 Development Tournament due to the visa hitch with no reasons given for the denial.

This came two months after Nigeria's national football team pulled out of a planned friendly match against Argentina, which was to be held in the US, after the players failed to secure visas on time.