It’s no longer news that Nigeria will not be playing at the 2015 Amsterdam Homeless World Cup, despite the assurances given by the government of Netherlands while bidding to host that all countries, regardless, will be allowed entry.
The Dutch government have chosen to deliberately target Nigeria for entry refusal, having granted access to 47 other countries including Cambodia, Namibia, Philippines, and India.
Unless there is an urgent solution rescinding the decision to exclude Nigeria by not issuing visa to the team out of the participating 49 countries, this will strongly be considered an official discriminatory policy.
It’s been months of hard work for everyone and just an effortless, shameful decision by the Dutch government has turned the world of the players, officials, sponsors and other associates of the Nigerians team into nightmares.
We have all played our part but we are left pondering how this effort has come to naught.
What else can we do?
What is the difference between 48 countries granted entry and 1 country refused entry?
Is the exclusion of Nigeria from the 13th edition of the Homeless World Cup for sporting reasons?
Maybe the government of Netherlands are able to enlighten the watching world how they arrived at this equation.
It’s most disheartening that the Nigerian team that has represented Nigeria well in this tournament in all the years (2005–2015) we attended, winning the “UEFA FAIRPLAY” award for exemplary conduct on and off the pitch during the Milan 2009 Homeless World Cup, are being treated like inferior beings in 2015.
In the words of Mel Young, President of the Homeless World Cup “The Dutch government is sending out completely the wrong message. Here are people (Team Nigeria) whose behaviour is impeccable and they have done everything which was asked them, yet they are denied access to a sporting event for no apparent reason. They are all heroes and should be treated as such.”
However, this heartbreaking news has been communicated to the players and accompanying officials, whilst further meetings with other stakeholders in the communities will hold to chart a way forward.
Meantime, we seize this opportunity to inform the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, His Excellency, President Muhammadu Buhari, about this discriminatory action by the government of Netherlands, praying that the necessary diplomatic steps are taken to seek redress.
The Homeless World Cup,will kick off on Saturday 12th September in Amsterdam, Netherlands with 48 participating nations instead of the planned 49 with Team Nigeria’s exclusion.
Nigeria Homeless World Cup team
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