The President of Badminton Federation of Nigeria, BFN, Mr Francis Orbih has decried the continued refusal of the Egyptian embassy to issue the 20-member delegation visas to the All Africa Senior Championships in Egypt in Cairo.
The Championships which is also a qualifying series for African Badminton Players to secure their rankings ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games served off yesterday even as the BFN was making frantic efforts to get visas for Team Nigeria players and officials.
Orbih in a chat said the embassy had accepted to issue visas to only 15 out of 20 applicants.
“As we speak, they have refused to grant us our visa. I just spoke with Dr Sanusi Mohammed of NFF who has good rapport with the embassy and he has stepped in to get us the visas.
“The Embassy said out of 20-member delegation, they will only issue visas to 15 applicants. We have 12 players, 3 coaches and that is 15 already.
“That means I will not be going. I am the president of BFN, I’m the 2nd vice president of Nigeria Olympic Committee, and also board member of Badminton Confederation of Africa, so what other criteria do they want to determine how to issue me visa?.
“So they are just being difficult. Although I learnt they increased it to 17, we have it on authority that nothing is being done about our application,” he said.
However, when Daily Trust contacted the Egyptian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr Assem Hanafi Elseify, he said the embassy received numerous visa applications late January for the championships and asked the Badminton federation president to come to the embassy to separate the applications of the real players from others.
He said this has become imperative so that human traffickers would not use the opportunity to traffic their victims to Egypt.
The Ambassador, however, assured that the embassy was ready to issue the visas immediately if the “head of federation or his deputy can come to see me and Consul tomorrow (today) at 10am” to identify the real applications from others.
Nigeria is currently ranked number one team on the continent while Egypt is its closest rival.
The delegation which is to be led by the BFN president includes the Vice president, Chairman Technical committee, the team Manager, Technical Director, Secretary General and two umpires invited by the BCA.